More Good News from Schools: GGC students embark on college's first study abroad trip

Georgia Gwinnett College business professor Spero Peppas and 14 business and marketing students today embark on a 10-day tour of Belgium, France and Switzerland.

The trip includes visits to the Coca-Cola headquarters in France, the European Parliament and UPS headquarters in Belgium, the Swiss Bankers Association in Switzerland and more.

Students will be lectured by the president and directors of marketing, communications and nutrition for Coca-Cola France, visit the organization that oversees champagne production in France, receive a presentation on the French fashion industry at the American University in Paris, hear presentations at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and go to Fribourg to visit the corporate headquarters of Vibro-Meter, a leading producer of vibration detection equipment for the aerospace and aircraft industry.

Peppas, the first faculty member hired at the college, tapped his network of international business connections to create GGC's first-ever study abroad offering.

"It's a thrill for me to get to help students experience these things," said Peppas, who was hired by the college in July 2006 and previously served as a marketing consultant for the United Nations and as a professor of marketing at the American College of Switzerland.

"I really enjoy showing the students around," he said. "Some may never have left Georgia before, and others definitely have never been out of the country. It's an eye-opener to get to meet the people they will meet."

The trip marks the pinnacle of an upper-level business and marketing course designed to help students enhance their intercultural communication skills while examining the theories, practices, differences and similarities of several companies and organizations, according to the college.

"We want GGC students to better understand how the world is interconnected and how people do business differently around the world," Peppas said. "We plan to do this annually and to expand the internationalization of the campus. There will be more and more opportunities like this for our students."

Each student will be required to keep a daily journal during the 10-day trek and to do a research paper and presentation as part of the course. A blog will be posted today on the college's Web site, www.ggc.usg.edu, for students to post entries about the trip.

Gwinnett fine arts students earn national spotlight

The artwork of four Gwinnett County high school students will be part of a national exhibit June 4 to 6 in New York in honor of their national recognition in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2008.

The Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Phoenix students are part of a group of 1,000 students recognized nationwide.

The 2008 Gwinnett recipients are:

· Daniel Bailey of Collins Hill, who received the Gold Award in drawing for "Toe to Toe." Bailey's teacher is Karen Campbell.

· Sidney Copeland of North Gwinnett, who received the Silver Award in digital imagery for "Bleachers." Copeland's teacher is Bruce Bowman.

· Kari Loomis of North Gwinnett, who received the Silver Award in computer artwork for "Lend a Helping Hand to the Environment." Loomis' teacher is Yvette Kim.

· Luis Nava of Phoenix, who received a Silver Award in digital imagery for "Night Sanctuary." Nava's teacher is Becky Raffalovich.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Inc. The nonprofit organization's awards bring a national audience to the outstanding visual art and writing created by young students in grades seven through 12 by showcasing their work and encouraging their creative journey and career development.

The Silver Award recognizes excellence, while the Gold Award is presented to the most exceptional works in each category. There are 14 categories in the arts section, while the writing competition has 11 categories. The student's teacher is honored along with the student. In addition to the awards, students are eligible for scholarship opportunities.

The honorees will celebrate their recognition at a Carnegie Hall special event in June.

Students win honors in math tournament

Students from Annistown, Berkeley Lake, Mason, McKendree, Parsons and Winn Holt elementary schools won honors in the annual Witzzle Pro Tournament, a mental math game that tests knowledge of numbers and operation.

The fifth-grade winners were:

· Daniel Valdes of Winn Holt - first place

· Ben Scott of Parsons - second place

· Lawrence Augh of Parsons - third place

Ben also had the highest scoring round.

The fourth-grade winners were:

· Andy McCaffrey of McKendree - first place

· Joanne Lee of Mason - second place

· Ganesh Prabakaran of Berkeley Lake - third place

Raven Johnson of Annistown had the highest scoring round.

Parkview student named runner-up in state STAR competition

Maylene Xie, a senior at Parkview, was recently named the runner-up state STAR student of the year.

For 50 years, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators has honored the state's highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who inspired them through the STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) program.

Xie was presented with a crystal bowl and two $1,000 scholarships - one from the PAGE Foundation and one from The Coca-Cola Company. Her STAR teacher, Mary Lynn Huie, received the Mozelle Christian Award of $500 and a crystal bowl from the PAGE Foundation.

Eighteen STAR student region winners were finalists in the culminating event of the STAR program, which began earlier this year with the naming of 483 STAR students selected at each of the participating public and independent schools across the state.

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