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Maxwell High School principal honored as patriotic employer

LAWRENCEVILLE - When Donna Powers was named earlier this year as a patriotic employer, she said she felt surprised.

The principal of the Maxwell High School of Technology said the award was quite an honor but she doesn't feel she has done anything extraordinary, but she was honored by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and the Office of the Secretary of Defense for her support of employees who serve in the U.S. Military Guard and Reserve.

Powers honors those who serve - and who have served - in the armed forces by putting up placards outside of classrooms that lists employees' military service, honoring the veterans at faculty meetings and asking students during morning announcements on Veterans Day to thank their teachers who have served.

"They're protecting our basic freedom," Powers said. "They allow us to do what we do every day."

Powers was nominated for the award by school counselor Chad Wilson, who serves as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

"It's very hard sometimes being in the reserves," Wilson said. "You're balancing two lives. She makes it easy. ... I've never had an employer who is so supportive of the military."

Wilson served active duty in the Air Force during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and he said he decided to join the reserves after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. During the 2006-07 school year, Wilson had to miss about three weeks of work for training duty.

Wilson's extensive training as a medic has been valuable to the school, Powers said. In addition, she said she was fortunate to have another counselor at the school who served the students while Wilson was training.

"At times, (the absence is) difficult," Powers said. "It's just one of the things we deal with."