GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists named

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

This week, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of more than 1,600 black high school seniors who have been designated semifinalists in the 47th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program.

These scholastically talented students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 800 Achievement Scholarship Awards, worth more than $2.5 million, to be offered this spring. About 80 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win an Achievement Scholarship award.

The semifinalists from Gwinnett are as follows:

* Berkmar High School: Dina A. Hassan

* Brookwood High School: Joel A. Owen, Dania A. Roach, Aida J. Syrkett

* Dacula High School: Patricia E. Ekpo

* Duluth High School: Taryn Wilson

* Grayson High School: Candice E. Cobb, Brianna I. Edghill, Paige G. Harrell, Kara E. Thompson,

* Greater Atlanta Christian School: Joshua Douglass

* Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology: Wesley Mitchell, Amarachi O. Nnakwe

* Norcross High School: Coryn F. Wilson

* Parkview High School: Tiffany A. Agard

* Peachtree Ridge High School: Tara K. Carey, David J. Cox, Kendall A. Fears, Aviance Washington

* Shiloh High School: Siobhanna L. Brown, George M. Coleman, Raheem D. Smith

* South Gwinnett High School: Jamal B. Gaddis, Kadeem J. Yearwood

Additional National Merit Scholarship

semifinalists announced

In addition to the 51 Gwinnett County Public Schools students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, four students who attend classes outside of the public school system are in the running for the prestigious award.

The additional semifinalists are Thaddeus J. Howard, who is home schooled in Buford; Marchel. J. Cabato and Nita Jain, both of Greater Atlanta Christian School; and Jack W. Eidson, of Wesleyan School.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

The names of the semifinalists who attend Gwinnett County Public Schools were published in the Sept. 26 edition of "Good News From Schools."


counseling students receive SACES graduate fellowships

Two University of Georgia counseling students have received the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Emerging Leaders Graduate Fellowship.

Monica Coleman is in her first year and Ken Jackson in his second year in the College of Education's counseling and student personnel services doctoral program at UGA's Gwinnett campus.

SACES Emerging Leaders Fellows receive a stipend of $200 to attend the ACES national convention and Emerging Leaders workshop. Candidates for the fellowship are committed to enhancing diversity, with particular attention to racial/ethnic diversity.

Selection criteria include the nominees' commitment to the profession of counselor education and supervision, their leadership experience and potential, and their participation in state, regional or national ACES organizations and conferences.

Coleman, of McDonough, has been a school counselor at Henry County's Dutchtown Elementary School for the past five years and is a licensed professional counselor. Prior to her present position, she was a counselor at Luella Middle School for three years and, before that, was a special education teacher.

Jackson, of Atlanta, has been head counselor at Decatur High School since 2008. He has worked in education for 25 years as a counselor, principal and English teacher. He has led workshops and seminars for local schools and national conferences in diversity, presenting extensively in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. His research interests include LGBTQ student advocacy, counselor training and attitude, and social justice issues in K-16 settings.

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