Atlanta Grade School Friends Newsletter
April 23, 2022

National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month! Wikipedia notes, "This month is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month."

The following is an interview with Kevin Stingley, a member of the Board of Atlanta Grade School Friends and an outstanding volunteer. Thanks for the amazing work you have done, Kevin!

In July 2017 Kevin began cleaning out the dilapidated Atlanta-Miller Grade School. He donated "230 hours of actual hands-on work, not counting meetings or travel (I live two hours from Atlanta in Rusk)." We asked him the following questions.

How was the building when you started?

I was surprised it was still in fair shape considering all the water damage, rot, and decay. The water damage was something that needed immediate attention. There was a drainage problem that was causing the floor joists to rot out. The roof leaked like a sieve!  And there were numerous critters living in the building. I also cut down the trees along the front of the building that had grown up causing problems to the edge of the roof. Unfortunately, the first-grade wing could not be saved, too much structural damage, it was really unsafe. But the rest of the building has good bones and that has been a blessing.

Why so many hours?

I'm an archaeology steward for the Texas Historical Commission and I've done some historic restoration before so I knew the building could be saved. It was a doable project so I couldn't wait to get started. I really enjoy doing that type of work. I was visiting my mother in Atlanta every few weeks, so I thought why not spend some time working on the building while I'm in Atlanta and it snowballed from there. I had recently retired after 34 years as a teacher/coach/administrator at various schools in East Texas, so I had a little time on my hands but logistically it was a problem living 125 miles away, though.

Why is this project important to you?

Most people that went to school have fond memories of their childhood and Atlanta-Miller Grade School. I can't count the number of times we have heard stories from people who went to school there and the special memories they have of that building. Old school buildings are an important part of a town's culture and history and that is so true in Atlanta, Texas.

How to you find the leadership of Atlanta Grade School Friends?

Jane Barnhill has done an outstanding job leading the board and keeping everyone moving forward with the project. After a time, it was evident that we needed "professional" work done on the building so the board stepped up and hired a great construction manager and Danny Stanley lined up a very capable construction crew that has kept the progress moving along and they have done a great job. The board and nonprofit have done a tremendous job. A lot of people have put in a lot of time and effort doing "behind the scenes" work that most people don't know about. And the city of Atlanta and townspeople and alumni of Atlanta Grade School have been extremely supportive in every way.
Thanks again, Kevin!
To see a video on YouTube about Kevin and our invaluable volunteers, click on the collage at the top of this article.
Earlier this year, Atlanta Grade School Friends took time to count its volunteer hours - the time donated by many devoted volunteers - since the nonprofit's inception. We believe the statistics noted are conservative! We would like to thank each and every volunteer and community champion for their help making the restoration of Atlanta-Miller Grade School a reality. Thanks to you, we are on our way.
"Volunteers in the United States hold up the foundation of civil society.
They help their neighbors, serve their communities, and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways."

Independent Sector


Atlanta-Miller Grade School Cookbook

Atlanta Grade School Friends wishes to thank volunteer Margaret Miller Fitts for spearheading the cookbook project. We have contacted several former students of Atlanta-Miller Grade School and former AISD teachers for their favorite recipes.  

We hope to have all recipes collected by the first week of May and compiled by the end of May. We anticipate sending the cookbook to the printer in June and we should have the cookbooks ready by our Founder's Day event in September.

Our goal is to include between 400 and 500 recipes, including some from former Atlanta-Miller Grade School teachers that we have obtained from family or older cookbooks. Plan to order plenty of the cookbooks - we have already have many orders! To submit a recipe, kindly email:"

Thank you!

Update from Danny Stanley

Atlanta Grade School Friends is fortunate to be affiliating the school and future school events with the Texas Forest Trail Region. The Texas Forest Trail Region is a 35-county area of East Texas and one of 10 designated heritage tourism regions in the State of Texas. Its purpose is to foster economic development by preserving and promoting Texas’ unique history and culture.

Mr. Del Polikretis, Executive Director of Texas Forest Trail and his wife toured our facility, and both expressed their positive regard for the project. We will be included in their calendar of events and will be able to access their assistance with special projects as they arise. This is significant, inasmuch as our efforts will be publicized up and down the entire east side of the state!

Several entities have expressed interest in occupying various parts of the school building once restored. We take this as a validation of our efforts, and it spurs us on to greater things. 

Atlanta Grade School Friends has received several sizeable donations over the past several months. The first was sufficient to purchase and, very soon, install a flagpole. We will be able to order a commercial grade product which will last for a very long time. I have learned a great deal about flagpoles and know now there is a lot to consider when purchasing one. We plan to have a special dedication after it is installed as well as honor the family that supplied the funds.

Also, we received a donation to purchase the property at 108 West Miller Street. This is located next door to the school on the west side. We wish to sell the house (which can be moved) and clear the lot. In the future, that property will serve as a parking lot which would give easier access to the front entrance. Presently street parking is prohibited. 

Ms. Carolyn Appleton, based in Austin, has been under contract for several months as a fundraiser. She is wonderful to work with and has a vast knowledge about accessing funds for historical restoration. We currently have a State Historical Marker that will be mounted, along with the new flagpole. Carolyn and her colleague Toni S. Turner are working diligently to have Atlanta-Miller Grade School placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Last but not least, you may have noticed we now have a new website and a new MailChimp email account to update those who have a desire to be in the know. Tell friends and family to sign up! Carolyn has also set up an online donation platform via Qgiv that is tied directly to our bank, allowing donations at any time and from any location without having to rely solely on the mail. With her help, we can now view the building's restoration with a very positive attitude. We are well on our way.

More later,
Treasurer, Atlanta Grade School Friends
In Memoriam
We are sad to report the loss of one of our beloved Atlanta Grade School Friends, Angela Heath Barnes. Angela played a big part in the restoration of our grade school's front doors. She will be greatly missed. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

To read about Angela and her life, follow the link below to the Hanner website.

Angela Heath Barnes
Community Service at Atlanta-Miller Grade School

When our grade school was active, it hosted Girl Scout troops and Boy Scout troops. As the Girl Scouts note on their website, "Community service projects make the world a better place right now. Whether your girls engage in a short-term community service project, like collecting toys for kids who live in shelters, or a long-term or recurring project, like weekly volunteer shifts at a soup kitchen, their work fills an immediate need in the community."

We can see by our devoted alumni today that this ethic of community service has lasted a lifetime. Thanks again to our many devoted volunteers and donors. We have accomplished a great deal, thanks to you.

This photo appears at the top of this month's MailChimp e-newsletter and on our Facebook page.
Sign Up for Email

Click on the logo to sign up quickly and securely for email from Atlanta Grade School Friends. We would deeply appreciate your sharing our sign-up link with family and friends. Please know we do not share our email list with others, and MailChimp is a very secure platform. Questions? Email us anytime:
New Website
New Website
Online Giving
Online Giving
Copyright © 2022 Atlanta Grade School Friends, All rights reserved.

Atlanta Grade School Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization EIN 46-0492043

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp