Friday, November 14, 2014

Cross Country Teams Finish Strong

Story Courtesy of Coach Lars Porter

It was a great year for the Homewood High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams.  The boys team finished the season bringing home their third-straight State Championship trophy.  The girls team outplaced all early season rankings by finishing as the 6A State Runner-up.  Both races were close and required official results to confirm the placing.
      The girls team raced first on November 8th, and five seventh-grade girls joined five high school girls in what we knew was going to be a tight race. John Carroll had been ranked first all season, but Scottsboro had come on strong towards the end of the year. The Lady Patriots were led by Lainey Phelps who placed 2nd individually.  Edie Smith followed her in fifteenth place, earning All-State honors.  With just a minute and twenty seconds separating Homewood’s first and fifth runners, the girls secured the runner-up team score only 11 points behind John Carroll.  Scottsboro’s girls finished only three points behind the Patriots.
    The boys team raced later in the morning, and the seasoned team appeared focused and ready to win their third straight title.  Opelika’s boys cross country team has been formidable all season, however, so everyone knew that it was going to take an honest effort to win.  As the boys came through the 1-mile marker under 5:00, Homewood’s boys were in charge.  As the boys came through two miles, Alex Ngei, Logan Sadler, and Andy Smith were in the top five, but Opelika’s #3, #4, and #5 runners had moved up significantly.  Alex finished the race in 2nd place behind Opelika’s Ben Bryant.  Logan Sadler placed 4th with Andy Smith placing 5th.  Fulton Williams battled to secure All-State honors with a 12th place finish.  As the coaches tallied the unofficial score, it appeared that Opelika’s late move in the race placed the two teams tied through five runners.  Scoring defaults to the sixth runner’s place, which would have given Opelika the win.  As official results were released and indepently qualifying athletes were removed from team scoring, Homewood landed one point below Opelika making the results official.
Needless to say, it was an extremely exciting day that put well-deserved closure to a season of dedicated work.  With some rest over Thanksgiving break, the boys and girls will enter Indoor Track with high expectations.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Homewood Football Team Advances to 2nd Round of the Playoffs
The Homewood High School football team beat Hartselle in an intense battle this past Friday night. The Patriots trailed late in the 4th quarter and came back to win the game 25-21, sending Hartsville home. The Patriots secured a spot for themselves in the second round of the 6A playoffs. The Patriots will play at Gardendale this Friday, November 14th, at 7:00 p.m. Students can purchase an "I Believe" t-shirt in the school store to wear to the game. Good Luck, Patriots!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Catherine Pittman Crowned Miss Heritage
Sophomore Catherine Pittman was crowned as Miss Heritage 2014-2015. Pittman was crowned by Sarah Hale, last year's winner. Over 50 students competed in the Miss Heritage pageant. In addition to winning the crown, Catherine also received a $1500 scholarship. Way to go Catherine!

HHS Peer Helpers Reach Out to Elementary  Schools During Red Ribbon Week
The week of October 27th-October 31st, the HHS Peer Helpers spoke to 4th and 5th graders at the Homewood elementary schools about living a drug, alcohol, and
tobacco-free life.  After Introductions, the Peer Helpers described
their Homewood High School activities and why they pledge to live a drug,
alcohol, and tobacco free life. They performed a Frozen themed skit
that taught the kids in a fun way about the dangers of alcohol. The students and peer
helpers celebrated by dancing to the Ice Cream and Cake song-- that's how
they party! Elementary students then asked the peer helpers questions about high school
and were given a Red Ribbon Week tattoo to represent the good choices they can make
to live a healthy lifestyle. Each elementary school has celebrated Red Ribbon
Week with dress up days such as "Shade out drugs- wear sunglasses" or "Protect
your future- where something that represents what you want to be when you grow up."
Another group of Peer Helpers traveled to the Middle School on Oct. 31st to teach
individual classes about making good choices and the consequences of drugs,
alcohol, and tobacco use.

Story Contributed by Jana Watts
Posted by HHS Openline Blog Staff Member Qamya Richardson

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Miss Heritage Pageant 2014

The Miss Heritage Pageant will be Saturday, November 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the HHS Auditorium. There will be 55 girls competing for the title. The winner will be awarded  a $1,500 college scholarship. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at the door. Come and support these young ladies as they compete for the title of Miss Heritage!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Homewood Teacher Receives Award from ABC 33/40

Homewood High School teacher, Ms. Kathy Smith, was honored as the ABC 33/40 Benchmark Teacher of the Week on October 22, 2014.  Homewood Principal, Dr. Zack Barnes, presented the award during Ms. Smith's 6th period class to loud applause from her students. Ms. Smith is in her 41st year as an English teacher at Homewood High School and was truly moved by the award. A cameraman from ABC 33/40 videotaped the event, which will appear on the ABC 33/40 website through the end of the year. Ms. Smith will also attend a luncheon at the at the ABC 33/40 station where she will formally receive this award. HHS administrators Amanda Esslinger, Dr. Tony Lott and Latta Johnston were also on hand for the presentation, as well as her longtime colleagues Nancy High, Pamela Houston and Rhonda Moss.
Dr. Barnes and Ms. Smith

Dr. Lott, Dr. Johnston, Dr. Barnes, Ms. Kathi Smith, and Mrs. Esslinger


Monday, October 20, 2014

Patriot Homecoming Parade 2014
Samantha Nichols

Jameeria Huntley
Emi Ferderber

Hunter Midgett

Rachel Dantzler

Tacallya Bush

Abby Bals

Dixon Simmons and Joy Korley

Miss Heritage Sarah Hale

Miss Fire Prevention Lily Dendy

Mr. and Miss Aerospace Juan Sanchez and Makayla Harris

Monday, October 13, 2014

Homewood Band Shows Support for Former Student Ameer Abdullah
Homewood High School Band showed support for Ameer Abdullah by spelling out "Fear Ameer" during the 2014 homecoming pregame show. Ameer Abdullah, former HHS student and current standout  running back for Nebraska University, was a preseason Heisman Trophy hopeful and is currently in the Heisman Trophy watch.  Off of the field, Abdullah is a standout in the classroom and a role model for young adults. The ROTC program, under the direction of  Colonel Paul and Sergeant Simmons, used their drone to capture images of the band spelling out "Fear Ameer," which is part of a nation-wide campaign to show support for the running back. The Patriots are proud to have Ameer representing our school. #FearAmeer!!
Image courtesy of HHS ROTC program

Friday, October 10, 2014

HHS Student Meets the President
Jessica Tolbert and Girls Nation meeting with President Barack Obama.
 Jessica is on the fourth row, seventh from the left.
Homewood High School senior, Jessica Tolbert, attended Girls State from June 8-13. The 2014 session of American Legion Auxiliary Alabama Girls State was held on the campus of the University of Alabama. For one week, Jessica was a citizen of an imaginary state, took part in the political life of her community, primarily through campaigning for and electing city, county, and state offices. Later on in the week, she was elected Girls State Attorney General. She was also awarded a $12,000 scholarship from University of Alabama, a $6,000 scholarship from Auburn University, and a $1,000 scholarship from Troy University and Huntingdon College. At the closing ceremony of Girls State, Ms. Lee Sellers, Alabama Girls State Chairperson, announced that Jessica Tolbert was one of 98 girls selected from across the nation who will be attending Girls Nation. Girls Nation took place from July 19-26 in Washington D.C.. Girls Nation teaches rising high school senior girls about the United States federal government. She was very excited to represent Alabama Girls State 2014 at Girls Nation. While there she visited several national monuments including WWll memorial and Vietnam memorial. When she and her fellow Girls Nation Senators visited the National Cemetery, Jessica participated in the patriotic ceremony there. She read an emotionally moving poem called "No, Freedom Isn't Free". While at Girls Nation she was appointed to serve as Chief of Staff of the Girls Nation government. She also attended daily senate session as a Girls Nation Senator. On the last day of Girls Nation, Jessica and her Girls Nation comrades met President Barack Obama. He greeted them with a Hello Everybody! He took pictures with Boys Nation and Girls Nation. He then commended the Senators for their achievements and encouraged them to continue doing the right things to impact the world.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Homecoming Week Begins
Homcoming Week 2014 kicked off on Monday with Movie Character Day. Homecoming week is filled with dress-up days, a parade, football, and the dance on Saturday. Here is a list of homecoming activities, as well as dress-up days.


Multiply Minor
Check out these students and teachers who dressed like twins to "Multiply Minor!"
The Patriots beat Minor in an intense battle, winning 14-13. Go Patriots!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Familiar Faces: Mrs. Moss

Get to Know that Leading Lady in the Front, Mrs. Rhonda Moss!

Meet Mrs.Rhonda Moss. She is often referred to as Homewood’s favorite school mom! She is the main office secretary and coordinates all incoming phone calls, ensures that all orders are delivered to the correct teachers and is the first smiling face you see during school. We like to think of her as the air traffic control of the high school. She attended Auburn University and got a degree in Education. She is a big Auburn football fan, WAR EAGLE!  She loves to cook, eat, God and of course the city of Homewood and Homewood students. If you need anything during the day, Mrs.Moss is your go to gal!
Familiar Faces: Mr. Welle

            Last year, Mr. Welle started teaching Latin at Homewood High School. If you don’t know anything about him, here are a few facts:

  1. He went to Stanford University.
  2. He started learning Latin during his senior year in college, and he can speak quite a few languages including English, German, Italian, French, and Greek.
  3. He is also a man of many ties; he owns about 230 ties and is still collecting!

Mr. Welle’s favorite things about the Homewood school are the students and the diversity present among us. He also runs a few awesome clubs including: Chess club, Latin club, and Ancient Technology Team. If you are ever considering what language to take at Homewood, pick Latin you will certainly not regret it!
Post submitted by Andrew Hardie

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Coach Jamie Williams is new to Homewood High School. He teaches Biology, Physical Science, and P.E.  He has a Bachelor's Degree in Science Education and a Master's  Degree in Education and Administration from Auburn University. In addition, Mr. Williams also coaches football for our school. He is currently the Offensive Coordinator. He is also a former athlete himself. Mr. Williams loves the environment and people of Homewood . To him, those are two things that make Homewood different. 
A Few Extras...
Favorite Quote: “ Preach the gospel everywhere used words are necessary”
Things he wants students to know about him:
He’s a Christian
He’s married
He has a one year daughter
He plays the guitar player
He is a carpenter

Post submitted by Jeremiah Dunham & John Wright

Steve Carleton

Mr. Carleton is a new teacher at Homewood High School. Mr Carleton teaches Anatomy and Physics. Mr Carleton currently coaches for robotics and wants to start a fishing club for anyone who is interested in the great outdoors. He has a Master's Degree in Teaching from Coastal Carolina and an Associate Degree from a school in NY.  An interesting fact about Mr. Carleton is that he was featured in a low budget film, Far Side of the World, back in the early 2000's.
Post submitted by Kevin Cortez Gonzalez & DeMario Burt


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Five Minutes with Coach Brown

            The other day, I ran into my English teacher from 9th grade, Coach Brown, and was able to interview him. If you haven’t had Coach Brown  for a teacher then you are missing out, because he is probably the best teacher ever! He went to college at Auburn and started teaching in January of 1998. When asked what the best part of teaching is he said, “I like to hang out with the kids, laugh with them, and help them learn new things.” If you have had him as a teacher, you can definitely relate to this. He is one of the funniest people you will meet, and you also learn a lot of great lessons in his class. Coach Brown finally said this about teaching, “I became a teacher because a lot of people hate their jobs, but I love my job! When you love your job, you never feel like it is work.” If you have been in his class, then you can tell he loves his job and cares for his students.

Post submitted by Andrew Hardie

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Mr. Keith Depew is one of the coolest new teachers at HHS. He’s teaching 9th grade World History,  which is a really fun class. He also coaches 9th Grade Football and Junior Varsity Baseball. He graduated from the University of Alabama Birmingham, which is also known as UAB. While at UAB, he was a member of the baseball team.

Five things to know about Mr. Depew:

  1. He has a little sister who is a 9th grader in another school district. 
  2. He’s engaged and is getting married in December of this year.
  3. Even though he teaches World History, his favorite subject is English.
  4. Coach Depew doesn’t like chocolate. (Are you kidding, Mr. Depew??!)
     5.   His favorite quote is: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

Mr. Depew is one of my favorite teachers here at Homewood High School. If you don’t have him for class, you should take the time to get to know him. Welcome, Coach Depew!

Post submitted by Jordan Wright


Jeremiah Dunham, Senior student athlete at Homewood High School, broke the school record for back squat. On July 24th, 2014 at football practice he back squatted 500 pounds to break the school record. He is now planning to break the school record for bench press, which is currently set at 300 pounds.
Jeremiah broke the record because he was determined to squat the most in the school. When interviewed about this upcoming season, Jeremiah said, "I am just excited and looking forward to my senior year." Congratulations, Jeremiah!

Post submitted by Trenton Owens and Jackson Page

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ms. Keel teaches 9th grade Geometry and Algebra 1. She is also a Freshman cheerleading coach. She earned her degree at the University of Auburn in Secondary Math. She comes from a family of four (mom, dad, and two sisters). 
Three Things Ms. Keel Loves:
When students work together...When people smile... and Homewood High School!!
One of Ms. Keel's favorite quotes is:  
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” Thomas Eidson
Ms. Keel feels that  she has  found her home at Homewood High School. Welcome to HHS, Ms. Keel!
Post submitted by Lawrence Jackson
Boy's Basketball Team to Host
Pancake Breakfast and Garage Sale

The Homewood High School Boy's Basketball Program is hosting a pancake breakfast and garage sale at the Homewood High School gym on Saturday, August 23rd.  Ticketsfor the breakfast are $5.00. The pancake sale will be from 7a.m. until 10 a.m. , and the garage sale will be from 7a.m. until 12 p.m. All the profits made from the sale will help fund the team’s trip to Orlando during Christmas break. For more information or to buy  tickets, please contact the school at 205-871-9663.

Post submitted by Malik Cook

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mary Margaret Jackson Signs with Birmingham-Southern

Family, teammates, coaches and classmates packed the HHS Patriot Room to witness Patriots Track and Field star Mary Margaret Jackson’s signing of her Letter of Intent to run Track at Birmingham-Southern College. The event took place on May 6 at HHS. Mary Margaret has been a part of one State Championship, and three State Runner-up Track and Field teams at Homewood.

Mary Margaret is the daughter of Doug and Melissa Jackson of Homewood, who were by her side during the signing along with coaches Tom Esslinger and Lars Porter.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Patriots Win Boy's and Girl's
State Track & Field Titles
It was the best day in program history for the Homewood Patriots' track and field teams this Saturday at the AHSAA State Championships in Gulf Shores. Both the boys and girls teams won their first outdoor track and field titles. The boys previously won three indoor track and field titles, but this was the first time to win outdoor.
Winning outdoor gave the boys team the rare Triple Crown, which is when a team wins Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track in a single school year. The girls ended the amazing run of eight straight by St. Paul's and beat them by one point in thrilling fashion. The girls were two points behind St. Paul's going into the final event, which was the 4x400m relay. Relay team members Mary Margaret Jackson, Hunter Midgett, Joy Korley, and Alex Studdard had the race of their lives and beat St. Paul's by two places in the final event, giving Homewood the one point win and the first girls championship in school history. Head Coach Tom Esslinger stated, "That race was the perfect way to end this season and get us the championship, because it took everyone on the relay team doing their very best. That is the way the whole team beat a tremendous team like St. Paul's. It took everyone staying focused and doing their jobs."
Kiara Williams was the top scorer for the girls and won both the long jump and 100m hurdles. She also placed 2nd in both the triple jump and the 200m. Ann Mosely Whitsett also had a tremendous day by winning the 800 meter, placing 2nd in the 400m, placing 3rd in the 300m hurdles, and placing 4th in the 1600m. Sarah Blake led the throwers by placing 2nd in both javelin and discus. The girls 4x100m relay team (Maiyah Lee, Jasmine Griffin, Alex Studdard, and Elysa Griffin) also earned All-State honors by placing 2nd. Coach Esslinger said, "Words can't describe how happy we all are about winning, especially since we have been second to St. Paul's a couple of times before."
The varsity boys easily won the 5A boys competition. Andy Smith led the team by winning both the 1600m and 3200m. Smith also placed 4th in the 800 and anchored the 4x800m relay team that won. Other members of that relay team are Logan Sadler, Tristan Lindsey, and Hunter Poole. Logan Sadler also won an individual title in the 800m. Dominique Linson placed 2nd in the high jump, Tristan Lindsey placed 2nd in the 800m, Mike Rohdy placed 3rd in the 1600m, and Alex Ngei placed 3rd in the 3200m. All of them earned All-State honors by placing in the top three.
Head Coach Tom Esslinger said, "By finally winning the outdoor title in the boys, we feel like we finally got that missing piece of the puzzle. The kids have worked so hard for their success, and I would also like to thank our amazing coaching staff at both the high school and middle school. None of this could be accomplished without their hard work and knowledge." The high school coaches are Tom Esslinger, Lars Porter, Josh Donaldson, Rebecca Phillips, Michael Niezgoda, John Schultz, Brittany Hines Steele, and Kenneth Hollis.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mike Rohdy Signs with Samford University

Homewood Patriots Track & Field standout Mike Rohdy signed a Letter of Intent on April 30, 2014 to run track for Samford University. Mike has been a member of four HHS State Championship Track & Field teams since his freshmen year.

Mike was joined by his parents, Michael and Katherine Rohdy, sisters Allison and Elizabeth, brother Andrew, grandparents Mike and Brenda Rohdy, and a packed HHS Patriot room of teammates , friends and coaches.
Mike Rohdy is surrounded by his family during his scholarship signing.

Mike Rohdy and HHS Track coaches Tom Esslinger and Lars Porter

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Owen Ferguson Signs with
Birmingham-Southern College
Surrounded by family, teammates, coaches and classmates, Homewood Patriots guard Owen Ferguson has signed a Letter of Intent to play basketball at Birmingham-Southern College on April 30 in the HHS gym. Owen becomes the first Patriot to sign a basketball scholarship from the 2014 Sub-Regional Champions who qualified to go to Jacksonville for the state regionals. He is undecided on a field of study at this time, but he will decide in the near future.

Owen is the son of Matt and Ashley Ferguson of Homewood and the grandson of Colleen Ferguson.


Holocaust Survivor Visits
Homewood High School
Dr. Auerbacher and the HHS Student Body
Holocaust survivor and author, Dr. Inge Auerbacher, spoke to the students at Homewood High School during an assembly on April 28. Dr. Auerbacher was the last Jewish child born in Kippenheim, Germany on December 31, 1934. During the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, Jewish people were imprisoned and most perished. She and her family spent three years imprisoned in a Nazi Concentration Camp from 1942 – 1945, starting when she was only seven years old. Her family was among the only 1% that survived the concentration camps where many perished in gas chambers.

Dr. Auerbacher and her family moved to New York City where she spent 38 years as a chemist, and she later received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Long Island University. She has also published four books, including “I Am A Star – Child of the Holocaust” and “Beyond the Yellow Star to America." All of her books are available at

Today, Dr. Auerbacher travels across the country sharing her life with people of all ages. She returns to her birthplace in Germany every year and has visited the house where she was born. Her message of inspiration and courage reached deep into the heart of many Homewood students. HHS junior Steven Craig was truly moved by Dr. Auerbacher’s visit. He stated, “She truly inspires me and shows us all that anything can be possible.”