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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Gwinnett students take top honors at International Media Festival

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Gwinnett County Public Schools students walked away with 85 wins during the 2009 International Media Festival, an annual event designed to inspire students to achieve academic excellence through the creative use of media technology.

This year's event took place in Louisville, Ky., in late October. Gwinnett's 139 student projects competed against projects from around the world in several categories, including live action video, animation, Web sites and sequential still productions. An additional 30 single photo entries from Phoenix High also were submitted.

Out of the 85 awards, six were honored as a Judge's Favorite, and two received an additional award, Best of Festival, the highest honor a project can receive.

Gwinnett's top winners were:

* Best of Festival: Reuben Dayal, Austin Hall and Samuel Sims of Gwin Oaks Elementary for "Tarantula," sequential stills with audio, and Andrew Bitner, Anna Elliott and Tristan McDowell of Harmony Elementary for "Save Our Oceans," live action video

* Judge's Favorites: Indya Hilfort of Phoenix High -- "Pined," single photo

Jose Martinez of Phoenix High -- "School Panorama," single photo

Alicia Ramsdell of Phoenix High -- "Tabbys," single photo

Aubrey Stafford of Phoenix High -- "Sweet Haven," single photo, and "From Screaming," single photo

Victoria Vazquez of Phoenix High -- "Passion," single photo

The students earned the invitation to compete at the international level after top finishes at the Georgia Student Media Festival. Before the state-level event, students competed at their local schools and in a districtwide event.

Centerville Elementary and Sweetwater Middle receive National PTA grant

Two Gwinnett County schools are Georgia's recipients of a grant from the National PTA.

Centerville Elementary and Sweetwater Middle each received a Healthy Lifestyle Grant from the National PTA. The $1,000 grant is awarded to schools across the nation to support a healthy lifestyle initiative.

At Centerville Elementary, the funds were used for a special event with the PTA Dads Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) group. It also will be used to purchase basketball equipment for the physical education department.

With the assistance of the grant, Sweetwater Middle held a community health fair, providing health screenings and information to parents and community members.

More than 250 schools from 43 states applied for these grants.

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