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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Sweetwater MS WordMasters among nation's top 10

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Some Gwinnett students from Sweetwater Middle recently placed among the nation's top competitors during the WordMasters Challenge, a national language arts competition.

A team of sixth-graders placed among the nation's top 10, while other students earned perfect scores, outperforming thousands of students from across the country.

The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words. It then challenges them to use the words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships.

A team of Sweetwater Middle sixth-graders tied for fourth place in the nation, earning the top spot during the meet's gold division, the most difficult level of the competition.

Three of the sixth-graders were among the select 47 students in the nation who earned a perfect score: Brian Barrett, Thalia Kuser and Tony Nguyen. In addition, eighth-grader Aaron Ackerman also earned a perfect score, one of 157 students nationwide to do so at that grade level.

About 190 school teams consisting of 22,000 students participated in this first meet. Two other meets are scheduled for this school year. The Sweetwater Middle sixth-grade team is coached by teacher Lois Bean.

School publications earn national recognition

One of the items that many Gwinnett County Public Schools graduates will save in years to come -- the school yearbook -- is now an award-winning publication at several Gwinnett schools.

The American Scholastic Press Association recently recognized five Gwinnett schools for the quality of their yearbooks and magazines: Osborne Middle, Brookwood High, Dacula High, Mill Creek High and South Gwinnett High. South Gwinnett High received two honors, one for its yearbook and another for the school's magazine.

The publications received awards as part of the Scholastic Review and Contest, a national competition to recognize exceptional school publications.

The six Gwinnett winning publications are:

* "Ascending Heights" -- Osborne Middle -- 2009 Yearbook, second place

* "Accipiter" -- Mill Creek High -- 2009 Yearbook, first place with special merit

* "Cometa" -- South Gwinnett High -- 2009 Yearbook, first place

* "Myriad: Our Generation" -- South Gwinnett High -- 2009 Magazine, first place

* "Pegasus" -- Brookwood High -- 2009 Magazine, first place with special merit

* "Peregrine" -- Dacula High -- 2009 Yearbook, first place

In the competition, each school yearbook and magazine is scored on a point system. Those school publications with special and outstanding design and content received a first place with special merit. The school publications were judged by a panel of educators who are experienced faculty advisers for scholastic publications. Thousands of publications participated in the contest.

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