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Press Release: Communities In Schools of Atlanta's 15th Annual Choose Awards Dinner

March 22, 2019 Atlanta, Georgia For Immediate Release

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, approximately 350 friends of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta gathered to honor recipients of the Student Success Awards, the Patty Pflum All In For Kids Award and the Anne Cox Chambers Champion For Kids Award at the Annual Awards Dinner held at Flourish Atlanta. This year’s Dinner was co-chaired by Louise Sams, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Turner Broadcasting, Inc., and Jack Sawyer, President of Wilmington Trust’s Wealth Advisory.

CIS of Atlanta’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Brown, Esq., opened the evening by thanking the many supporters and sponsors of the Dinner, and especially the 4,500 school children attending 65 schools throughout metro-Atlanta who CIS of Atlanta serves daily. Brown stated, “Every day, the goal of Communities In Schools of Atlanta is to be the most impactful and innovative CIS affiliate in the country and the best practitioner and model of student drop-out prevention in the country.”

Nell Campbell-Drake, CIS of Atlanta’s Board Chair and Vice President in the Retail Payments Office (RPO) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, hosted the Dinner’s awards ceremony beginning with the Student Success Awards. Valentina Williams (G.A. Towns Elementary School), Aaron Ford (Price Middle School), Jhonatan Lopez-Perez (Cross Keys High School), Christopher Whitaker (Frederick Douglass High School), and Lashiora Polk (Charles R. Drew High School) each received the Student Success Award for overcoming challenges and displaying outstanding commitment to academic achievement. Dr. Stephen Green, Superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, attended the Dinner to support 2019 Student Success Award honoree Jhonatan Lopez-Perez from Cross Keys High School located in DeKalb County. Also, many members from the DeKalb County and Clayton County school boards attended the Dinner.

This year marked the inaugural Patty Pflum All In For Kids Award to applaud the extraordinary effort, dedication and determination of a CIS of Atlanta staff member. This award was established in honor of CIS of Atlanta’s co-founder and Dinner attendee Patty Pflum who served in many roles throughout her tenure at CIS of Atlanta, including executive director for 20 years. Quintin Avery, CIS of Atlanta Site Coordinator at Forest Park High School, was the recipient of the Patty Pflum All In For Kids Award.

The Dinner’s awards ceremony concluded by honoring Helen Smith Price, Vice President of Global Community Affairs of The Coca-Cola Company and President of The Coca-Cola Foundation, with the Anne Cox Chambers Champion For Kids Award. CIS of Atlanta’s co-founder, Neil Shorthouse, joined Nell Campbell-Drake on stage to share his personal perspective of working with Helen for several years at CIS of Atlanta. A native from Atlanta, Georgia who matriculated through the City of Atlanta School System, Smith Price motivated students, challenging them, “…you may meet people who will underestimate your potential. Don’t worry about their estimation. Ask yourself, with all that I have, and with what I know right now, what is the best I can do? And then just do it. I guarantee you that someone will help you if you need help.”

Annually, the Choose Success Awards Dinner raises critical revenue through Dinner ticket sales, program advertisements, sponsorships, and contributions. These funds are used to further CIS of Atlanta’s mission of surrounding students with a community of support; empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

The Dinner could not have been made possible without the kindness and generosity of several sponsors, including the presenting sponsors - The Coca-Cola Company, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Cox Enterprises, Southern Company, Turner, Wells Fargo, and Georgia Pacific.

About Communities In Schools

With humble beginnings since 1972, Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization – serving nearly 1.5 million children across the country annually in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation.

Media inquiries contact Lisa Simon at


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