Middle-schoolers earn Academic Bowl's top spots

After daily practices before and after school, two Gwinnett County Academic Bowl teams earned titles its students had worked so hard for - Academic Bowl for Middle Grades State Champions.

The state finals of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Academic Bowl for Middle Grades were held earlier in February at the Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. GCPS' Duluth Middle came out on top, earning the state championship title, while Lanier Middle placed as first runner-up.

In speaking about the Duluth Middle team's formula to succeed, Duluth Middle teacher and Academic Bowl team coach Linda Koch said the students are very committed to the team and advancing their own knowledge.

"The students know that the question material from the tournament is directly related to the middle school GPS (Georgia Performance Standards) curriculum," Koch said. "Since they realize that speed is critical to winning, they work on knowing concepts well, analyzing quickly, making connections between concepts, and honing needed skills to almost a razor-sharp edge. They are able to make intellectual leaps very quickly, and they work very hard to develop this."

She also said the students' interest in the school work contributes greatly to their winning record.

"These students are really great learners," Koch said. "Their school work is top of the line, and they really are a pleasure to have in class because they are involved in learning. Their attitudes are contagious. Gwinnett can be proud to have these students represent our system."

The PAGE Academic Bowl features teams of middle school students who field questions on subjects ranging from Georgia history to mathematics, science, literature and the performing arts. Teams compete against the clock to answer toss-up and bonus questions in order to score points. The goal of the program is to inspire students to excel academically, to enhance student self-confidence and self-esteem through high achievement, and to encourage both a team and competitive spirit.

Since starting an Academic Bowl team seven years ago, Duluth Middle has filled two trophy cases, bringing a trophy home almost every year. The Wildcats have made it to the state finals five consecutive years, with 2009 making the first year they earned the state championship.

Koch coaches the team along with Duluth Middle teacher Sylvia Barteaux. Scott Johnson and Marci Lyn Cooper coach the Lanier Middle students.

More than 2,000 students from across Georgia compete at the local, regional and state levels of the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades.

Gwinnett Tech

culinary arts program earns national credentials

Gwinnett Technical College's culinary arts program has earned accreditation from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation.

The ACF credentials assure that a culinary arts program meets the high standards set by the American Culinary Federation for faculty, curriculum and student services. Gwinnett Tech is now one of only seven colleges in the state with ACF accreditation.

"We are very excited to earn this accreditation, which we received for the longest time period offered," said Chef Kerri Crean, Gwinnett Tech culinary arts program director. "This recognition demonstrates the hard work and dedication of our program's instructors and administrators, as well as the high standards of excellence that our program and the college have always maintained."

The culinary arts degree program covers every aspect of modern cooking and trains students in the specialities of baking, hors d'oeuvres, pantry presentation and banquet-style dining. The program also teaches students how to run a restaurant by providing a foundation in the managerial and personal skills that are needed to interact with customers, manage employees and successfully operate a business.

The culinary arts associate degree can be completed in about two years. Gwinnett Tech also offers a diploma in culinary arts, as well as several specialized certificate options.

Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post. For more good news, visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com Monday.