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Collins Hill mourns loss of graduate and former football player

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As his Collins Hill teammates finished off the football program’s first state championship in 2021, then Collins Hill senior Jayden Faison was in his own fight.

Faison was an inspiration during the state title run and he spent the latter stages of that breakthrough season in the hospital battling cancer. He kept fighting through Friday, when he died less than two years after his diagnosis.

His legacy at Collins Hill revolves around that fighting spirit, which he showed on the football field and while facing cancer.

Collins Hill coach Drew Swick remembered Faison as a hardworking player who didn’t say too much, but always had a smile on his face. Swick was part of a group, along with then Collins Hill head coach Lenny Gregory and principal Kerensa Wing, that visited Faison in the hospital in late April 2022 to present him with his Collins Hill High School diploma. At the time, Faison was using a wheelchair, but has been preparing for the moment for two weeks so that he could walk and receive his diploma. That spirit paid off on the football field, where he was an undersized inside linebacker at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. He made up for the lack of ideal size with speed, hard work in the weight room and intense preparation.

While he didn’t start on the loaded state championship team’s defense, he was on every special teams unit and was regarded for his tackling ability. Swick, who was promoted to head coach after the 2022 season, said the Collins Hill program plans to wear a Number 8 patch in honor of Faison’s number this season, as well as make the Number 8 jersey special, one that is given to a top defensive player each season who earns the right to wear it.

The semi-annual Kidsignments sale is back this coming week and runs through Saturday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

The sale features quality, gently used infant, kids, teen and maternity clothing, shoes, accessories, games, puzzles, toys, bikes, baby equipment and much more from more than 1,000 families who are sellers at the event.

This week’s schedule at the Kidsignments sale at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds:

Tuesday, February 28th is  9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 1 is 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Items are 25% off unless the tag is marked ‘NR’

Thursday, March 2 is 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Items are 33% off unless the tag is marked ‘NR’.

 Friday, March 3 will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with Items are 40% off unless the tag is marked NR

And Saturday, March 4 is 9 6 p.m. and will have Items that are 50% off unless tag is marked NR

Head over to Kid Signments dot com for more information.

While things didn’t go well for Georgia’s men’s basketball team in Saturday’s loss to Missouri, its fans can take solace in what happened Saturday in Norcross.

Bulldog signee Lamariyon Jordan went off for 36 points — 27 in the second half — as fourth-ranked Norcross pulled away from Osborne for a 72-60 victory in the Class AAAAAAA second round. The defending state champion Blue Devils (25-4), unbeaten in February, will host Newton at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Elite Eight, marking the fourth time those two have played the last two seasons. Jordan, who also grabbed 12 rebounds, scored the first seven points of the third quarter to open up a more comfortable lead that grew as big as 18 in the second half. The 6-foot-6 wing scored 16 of his team’s 20 third-quarter points and made all four of his 3-pointers in the second half. Samarion Bond and Toby Ojukwu up Jordan in the fourth quarter to keep Osborne from making it a close game. Ojukwu, who had four rebounds and three assists, was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in the fourth. Bilal Abdur-Rahman scored 11 for the Blue Devils. Up next is a rematch with Newton, a team Norcross beat 73-71 earlier this season on Jordan’s game-winning 3-pointer in the Hawks-Naismith Classic. The two teams played twice last season, including Norcross’ victory in the state semifinals.

Gwinnett County has seen a wave of big construction projects in recent years.

Lawrenceville got a new arts center and college corridor while the Gas South Convention Center underwent a major expansion; Duluth got a new entertainment district; Sugar Hill built a downtown district; Buford Highway in Suwanee has been transformed with new housing; and the Exchange at Gwinnett has risen out of the ground near Buford.

But, the construction isn’t finished. Not by a long shot. A new wave of big construction projects, including new development and some redevelopment projects, is coming along across Gwinnett County.

From Snellville and Lilburn, to Dacula and out to Peachtree Corners, and even in Lawrenceville, there are major projects that are either already under construction or will be coming up in the next few years.

The new wave of big projects offer a range of focuses. Northside Hospital is turning its Gwinnett campus in Lawrenceville into what is expected to eventually be the biggest campus in the hospital system with a new 15-story patient tower. That tower, by the way, will also be one of the tallest building in Gwinnett County when it’s done — although the Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta hotel will retain its title as the county’s tallest building.

Northside is also working on a medical office park on Buford Drive, across the street from the Exchange at Gwinnett, in the Mall of Georgia area.

For more information on all the projects in Gwinnett, head over to Gwinnett Daily Post dot com.

For the second time in four years, Primerica officials have donated a vehicle to the American Red Cross to help with blood collections across the metro Atlanta area.

Primerica and its philanthropic arm, the Primerica Foundation, presented a Ford Transit Connect van to Red Cross officials while also hosting a blood drive on Wednesday.

It is the latest action in a longstanding relationship between Primerica and the Red Cross that stretches back to 2011 and has seen more than $400,000 in disaster relief donations and medical equipment given to the Red Cross. Primerica employees have also donated more than 3,000 pints of blood during blood drives held over the last 20 years.

Primerica previously donated a Dodge RAM Promaster City Van to the Red Cross in 2019. The vehicle donated this week is expected to help the Red Cross grow its blood supply, coming at a time when the organization is trying to increase its supply across all of Georgia. The new vehicle will be used to transport blood from Red Cross processing, testing and storage centers to patients in hospitals and cancer treatment centers. Primerica officials said the vehicle can also be used for emergency deliveries of rare blood and urgent blood to hospitals that are experiencing shortages.

Gwinnett County Public Schools appointed two elementary school principals and a new district-wide instructional technology and innovation chief on Thursday night.

The board voted to appoint Ashley Coughlin as the new principal at Berkley Lake Elementary School and Stacey Pickett as the new principal at White Oak Elementary School. Board members also voted to appoint Lisa Watkins as the new executive director of instructional technology and innovation. Coughlin has worked for GCPS since 2007, when she joined the district as a teacher at Suwanee Elementary School.  She moved from Suwanee Elementary to Roberts Elementary School in 2010, where she also served as a teacher. She then became the local school technology coordinator at Harris Elementary School in 2012 and then became an assistant principal a that school in 2014. Pickett has worked in education since 1998, when she became a teacher in DeKalb County Schools. She joined GCPS in 1999 as a Title I teacher at Stripling Elementary School and then moved to Cooper Elementary School as a teacher in 2003. She became the assistant principal at Gwin Oaks Elementary School in 2004 and has been an assistant principal at White Oak Elementary School since 2009. Watkins has worked in education for more than 30 years, with much of that time spent in GCPS. She joined the district in 1991 as a language arts teacher at the Gwinnett Online Campus and stayed in that position until 1999, when she became an instructional lead teacher at the online campus. She became  GCPS’ director of school technology in 2017.

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