Teen Harvard scholar addresses Ivy Prep's new students



Noni Carter — the 19-year-old author, classical pianist and Harvard scholar — recently served as the guest speaker for Ivy Preparatory Academy’s annual New Scholars Ceremony.

Carter, a native of Fayetteville, is receiving national attention for her award-winning novel, “Good Fortune.” The novel, which Carter began at age 12 as a 25-page short story, evolved into a compelling historical slave narrative that teaches youth to treasure history, value education and to persevere through life’s challenges.

Carter, whose debut has been compared to Alex Haley’s “Roots,” is one of the youngest writers ever signed by literary powerhouse Simon & Schuster.

“Our entire campus is buzzing about Noni’s visit to help inspire our girls to believe, achieve and succeed during the upcoming 2010-11 school year,” Nina Gilbert, Ivy Prep’s founder and head of school, said before Carter’s visit. “Noni is not much older than our scholars. Therefore, she is the perfect tangible example of where hard work can take our scholars in just a few years.

“I am certain that Noni’s words of wisdom, that far exceed her 19 years, will encourage our students to reach for new heights and to never take their education for granted.”

Since the release of “Good Fortune” in January, Carter has become a highly sought-after national speaker. She continues to participate in national book and college speaking tours and has been featured on National Public Radio. She recently accepted an invitation to participate Sept. 4 and 5 in the Decatur Book Festival — one of the largest literary events in Georgia.

Earlier this year, “Good Fortune” received the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for literary excellence. The Parents’ Choice Awards is the nation’s oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children’s media and toys.

“My passion is to inspire an appreciation of history, ignite a stronger sense of identity and reinforce lifelong learning, especially among young people of color,” Carter said. “What I believe and expound in my personal life and in my writings are perfectly aligned with the mission of Ivy Prep Academy. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful ceremony that beckons a new beginning for Ivy Prep scholars.”

Ivy Prep, an all-girls charter school located in Norcross, is designed to develop middle and high school scholars who are prepared to enter and succeed in the colleges and universities of their choice. This year, about 480 students are enrolled in sixth through eighth grades.

GTC environmental horticulture students earn industry scholarships

Two Gwinnett Technical College environmental horticulture students, Catherine Buckley and Barbara Fite, were recently awarded academic scholarships by the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association, a trade organization for professionals in the landscape design, construction and maintenance industry.

“It’s a great honor and opportunity for our students. Both Catherine and Barbara are passionate about their career choice and are dedicated students,” said Aaron Poulsen, Gwinnett Tech’s environmental horticulture program director. “Aside from the scholarship money, they get a MALTA membership, which is important because it will get them involved in the industry.”

Each year, MALTA awards $3,000 in scholarship money to college students enrolled in a horticulture program. Students are judged on their academic transcript, involvement in extracurricular activities and a letter of recommendation provided by their horticulture instructor.

Buckley, from Atlanta, was recognized for her service as Gwinnett Tech’s Horticulture Club secretary, MALTA member and DeKalb Master Gardner.

Fite, who also resides in Atlanta, serves as president of the Horticulture Club and is an active participant in extracurricular activities sponsored by Gwinnett Tech’s environmental horticulture program.

Both students are in the second year of the two-year program.

Gwinnett Tech offers an associate degree and a diploma program in environmental horticulture, plus certificate options for landscape design technician, horticulture installation technician and floral designer.

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