To demonstrate there is more to a city than bricks and mortar, services, laws and elected officials, municipalities statewide reach out to their communities.

The annual Georgia Cities Week from April 22 to 28 gave cities the chance “to share information about valuable services provided to residents and how cities positively impact their quality of life,” Amy Henderson, spokeswoman for week sponsor Georgia Municipal Association, said in a statement.

With this year’s theme of Georgia Cities: In the Spotlight, Stockbridge responded by ramping up its participation to include events like a mixer hosted by the new Stockbridge Association of Businesses.

City Councilwoman Neat Robinson hosted a housing forum, City Councilman Alphonso Thomas led a Don't Trash Stockbridge clean-up initiative and City Councilman Elton Alexander spearheaded a Trail Alive fitness event.

The week concluded April 28 with a library book drive and community art project and the opening of a Little Free Library at the Ted Strickland Community Center, hosted by the Stockbridge Main Street Program.

But that was not until Robinson and about 500 Stockbridge High School students cheered for both the home team and visitors from Henry County public safety agencies during a Unity in the Community basketball game.

She said at the April 27 exhibition game that “bridging the gap between teens and law enforcement” was its purpose.

“We do this event so that way it shows unity with our law enforcement and our young people. They’re human, just like you,” Robinson said. “So when you see these officers, we want to definitely thank them for their service. I would like for each and every one of you to give them a big round of applause for the service of keeping you safe right here in your community.”

The matchup between six seniors on coach Rodney Latham’s varsity team and a squad of mostly Henry County Sheriff’s Office deputies kept spectators guessing until Stockbridge senior Elijah Austell’s buzzer-beating dunk for the Tigers win.

Elijah Austell

Stockbridge High School senior Elijah Austell recreates his last-second basket that won the Tigers v. Henry County public safety game April 27.

“They pulled it off at the last minute,” student commentator Tyler Roberts, who gave the half-time report, said after the game.

The visiting team, which included Roberts’ uncle Deputy Levester Sims, had experience on its side but came up short in the 31-29 final score.

“They only lost by two points,” Roberts said. “It was a nice game overall and I really enjoyed it and had fun.”

Other sheriff’s office participants included deputies Bear Ferebee and Walter Wool Fork, detention officer Craig Lyle and Sgt. Courtney Head. Magistrate Judge Martin Jones also suited up, as did high school employee Vickie Reid.

The home team included seniors Terrynce Jackson, Kavonte Ivery, Ocean Scott, Kaelon Hinton and Jalen Burgess, as well as Lady Tiger Nahiah Fareed-Williams.

Nahiah Fareed-Williams and Vickie Reid

From left, Stockbridge High School Lady Tiger Nahiah Fareed-Williams and school employee Vickie Reid vie for the ball during the Unity in the Community game April 27.

McDonough’s participation in Georgia Cities Week included a Touch-a-Truck event, Lunch on the Square and a city hall visit from resident and NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

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