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Good news from schools: Arcado collecting soccer gear for Iraqi kids

Each year in honor of America Recycles Day, Arcado Elementary students collect used athletic shoes for the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program. This year, the Lilburn school decided to collect gently used soccer gear as well, and the donations will help Iraqi children.

Although the soccer gear was slated to be given to the Major League Soccer's Passback Program, plans changed when Arcado's PTA Environmental Committee co-chair received an e-mail from a friend whose cousin, Allan Giese, is stationed in Baghdad and working on the reconstruction of Iraq.

Giese had e-mailed his friends and relatives asking them to each send him one soccer ball for Christmas. He said he wanted to give the balls to Iraqi children as a sign of goodwill, in hopes that getting them involved in sports would keep them from being recruited by insurgents.

Members of the PTA contacted Giese to ask if he could use the soccer gear, because the school had begun to receive donations of cleats, jerseys, shin guards and shorts.

"Yes, yes, yes!" Giese replied. "The kids here have nothing. I live in Baghdad and they estimate there are 3 or 4 million kids in the area. Some of the slum areas are as bad as anything you will ever see. These are the places where kids are recruited to be suicide bombers because the family will get a payment and become local heroes.

"Anything we can do to reach out in a friendly nonthreatening way will be warmly received by the kids," he added. "I was asking for soccer balls because (that) is the most popular sport."

Donations of gently used or new equipment can be dropped off at the school at 5150 Arcado Road in Lilburn. Soccer balls are particularly welcome, and jerseys with names and numbers will be accepted. The PTA is also accepting donations to cover shipping.

For more information, e-mail the PTA committee at environmental@arcadopta.org.

Students to enter technology contest

An integrated technology solutions company is helping Georgia's fifth- and sixth-graders recognize how technology helps them learn by encouraging the students to submit original artwork representing technologically innovative classrooms.

Richardson Technology Systems will award the winning class with the Indigo Learning System, a wireless student response handheld platform. Three runners-up will receive TeachLogic's Quantam system, an infrared wireless communication device.

Submissions should be sent by Jan. 18 to the attention of Tracy Novak at 70 Crestridge Drive, Suwanee, GA 30024.

Visit www.RichardsonTSI.com for more information.

Peachtree Ridge Foundation gets new president

Peachtree Ridge Principal Steve Flynt recently welcomed Mike Stokke as the new president of the Peachtree Ridge Foundation.

Outgoing Foundation President Kevin Butler, who served for four years, received an award for outstanding service.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.