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More good news from schools

GCPS schools to compete in Odyssey of the Mind

Five Gwinnett County Public Schools teams will put their creativity to the test, joining students from around the world to compete at the 29th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

The international educational event challenges students to apply their creativity to develop solutions to specific problems.

The student teams representing J.P. McConnell Middle, J.E. Richards Middle, Trickum Middle and two teams from Peachtree Ridge High qualified to participate with teams from 40 states and 25 different countries, having earned a top spot at the state level.

Elementary schools participate in Division I, while middle school teams are grouped in Division II, and high school students in Division III. Each team selects the problem they will develop a solution for. The problems vary from technical to artistic.

This year, the competition takes place Saturday to June 3 at the University of Maryland.

Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education honors students

Five Gwinnett County Public Schools graduates enrolled in the school district's gifted education program were recently honored by the Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education, a nonprofit association.

The organization honored the recent graduates and other Gwinnett students, along with their teachers and administrators for their contributions to gifted education in Gwinnett County.

The five graduating seniors were awarded the Ruth Cowan Scholarship, based on their essay titled, "My Vision for My Future." Cowan was the school system's gifted coordinator in 1978, when GAGE first formed.

The recipients of the $500 scholarship were:

* Pretty Jose - Dacula High

* Meng Lee - Duluth High

* Yoon Mun - Brookwood High

* Daryan Rahimzadeh - Grayson High

* Maylene Xie - Parkview High

In addition, five elementary and middle school students received scholarships for the GAGE/Georgia State University Summer Institute for Scholars and Leaders. These students each received a $175 scholarship based on teacher recommendation and their answers to the essay question "What I Have Discovered About Myself in the Gifted Program."

The recipients were:

* Bria Bowen - Beaver Ridge Elementary

* Michelle Fisher - Simpson Elementary

* Sidney Miller - McKendree Elementary

* Emmett Rutledge - R.D. Head Elementary

* Andrew Udell - Dacula Middle

A group of educators also were honored with the following awards:

* Gifted Program Teacher of the Year: Donna McGinley - Level Creek Elementary

* Classroom Teacher of the Year: Sheryl Johnston - Rock Springs Elementary

* Administrator of the Year: Jim Curtiss - Margaret Winn Holt Elementary's principal

* The Hughes Award: Diane Armillei - Simpson Elementary

(The Hughes award is named after Greg Hughes, who is a parent, former president and business partner of GAGE.)

One gifted student per elementary, middle, and high school also was selected as Outstanding Gifted Student of the Year. The students received a certificate for their excellent accomplishments throughout the school year.

The Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education started in 1978 under the name Gwinnett County Supporters for the Gifted. It adopted its current name two decades later. The organization currently has about 700 members. Every year, GAGE recognizes outstanding gifted education students.

Sorority awards $15,000 to Gwinnett students

Ten Gwinnett County high school students have been selected to receive the Beauty P. Baldwin Scholarship from the Upsilon Alpha Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first black Greek-letter sorority in Gwinnett County.

The 2008 Beauty P. Baldwin Scholarship recipients are:

* Mehiret Wondimu - Central Gwinnett High School

* Shanise Lawrence - Berkmar High School

* Kiana Nicholas - Central Gwinnett High School

* Kaitlyn Gaddis - South Gwinnett High School

* Monique Jones - South Gwinnett High School

* Vonee Hemans - Brookwood High School

* Mi'lisa Patton - Peachtree Ridge High School

* Mia Crayton - Brookwood High School

* Mallory Fox - Parkview High School

* Kameon Prather - North Gwinnett High School

The Beauty P. Baldwin Scholarship was established to honor the first black female superintendent in Georgia, Baldwin of Gwinnett County. Baldwin is also a charter member of Upsilon Alpha Omega Graduate Chapter.

Typically, the scholarship is reserved for black female students; however, in an effort to embrace black males, the chapter awarded scholarship to a male student for the second year.

Scholarship recipients have already been accepted to an accredited 4-year college or university. In addition to high scholastic achievement, the recipients possess leadership potential, good character and have participated in community service activities.

Chapter members will honor the recipients and award scholarships on June 14 at a Scholarship Reception at Hopewell Christian Academy in Norcross.

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