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More Good News from Schools

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced 11 Gwinnett County Public Schools graduates received a college-sponsored scholarship.

The graduates are part of a group of 2,800 students nationwide who have earned the honor. The scholarship winners represent six high schools - Brookwood, Duluth, Norcross, North Gwinnett, Parkview and Peachtree Ridge. The scholarships are worth between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

The winners are:

* Michael G. Angell of North Gwinnett High - National Merit Brigham Young University Scholarship

* Christina M. Carroll of Peachtree Ridge High - National Merit Georgia Institute of Technology Scholarship

* Meredith A. Cole of Norcross High - National Merit University of Georgia Scholarship

* Michael S. Gallagher of Brookwood High - National Merit Georgia Institute of Technology Scholarship

* Cullen K. Graham of Parkview High - National Merit Georgia Institute of Technology Scholarship

* William C. Herald of Duluth High - National Merit University of Chicago Scholarship

* Alan J. Lee of Duluth High - National Merit University of Georgia Scholarship

* Charles C. Liu of Brookwood High - National Merit Emory University Scholarship

* Parth M. Tejani of Brookwood High - National Merit Georgia Institute of Technology Scholarship

* Armin Vosough of Brookwood High - National Merit Georgia Institute of Technology Scholarship

* McKenna K. Zerfas of North Gwinnett High - National Merit Northwestern University Scholarship

Each sponsoring college or university selected its scholarship winner from among the finalists in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. Nearly 200 higher education institutions are sponsoring scholarships through this program this year.

More than 1.4 million students entered the competition last school year as juniors by taking the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening for program entrants. The highest scoring participants in each state were then selected as semifinalists.

Finalists were then selected by a review of the student's academic record, scores from two standardized tests, an endorsement/recommendation by the school principal, and a self-descriptive essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Wesleyan participates in Festival Disney

Wesleyan School's advanced band members took the stage at the Walt Disney World Resort on March 28 and 29 during the fourth annual Festival Disney.

During the event, the ensembles participated in adjudicated performances, personalized feedback clinics and a high-energy awards ceremony.

Ensembles from as far away as Japan packed their sheet music, instruments, flags and dance shoes to travel to the Walt Disney World Resort and take part in the largest single site Disney-produced music festival.

The festival series schedule includes two days of adjudicated performances, where band, choral, dance, auxiliary, jazz and concert ensembles receive written and recorded feedback from nationally recognized music educators.

To conclude the event, groups are invited to the Festival Disney Awards Ceremony. All ensembles receive an exclusive Festival Disney Award, and every participant receives a Festival Disney Medal to commemorate their participation. Competing groups will vie for Best in Class and Festival Disney Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards.

Each director selects the group's classification and one of three adjudication categories when they register. The categories include Competition - where groups are rated and ranked for the top awards, Ratings Only - where the ensemble is awarded a rating but not a ranking, and Comments Only - where the group receives only written and verbal feedback. Immediately following their performance, concert ensembles will participate in a feedback clinic with one of the adjudicators.

Festival Disney is open to junior, middle and high school music groups. MENC: The National Association for Music Education officially endorses Festival Disney. This music festival is part of Disney Performing Arts which offer instrumental, vocal and dance groups the opportunity to learn, perform and celebrate at the Disney Parks.

For more information go to www.FestivalDisney.com.

Heather Darenberg writes about education for the Gwinnett Daily Post. More Good News from Schools appears online Monday.