Brookwood High teacher earns top science fellowship



A Gwinnett County Public Schools teacher is the first Georgia educator to earn a national fellowship to help motivate and engage high school students in scientific research.

Jonathon Wetherington, a science teacher at Brookwood High, was selected from a large national pool of high school mathematics and science teaching candidates for this year’s Society for Science and the Public Fellows Program. The national organization and its fellowship program support high-quality, independent scientific research by the most interested and motivated students.

As a SSP Fellow for 2011, Wetherington will receive a grant for $8,500, which he plans to use to develop a formal student research program at Brookwood High. He also is invited to attend the Fellows Institute from July 25 to 29 in Washington, D.C.

Wetherington can retain his fellowship for up to four years to ensure that promising students can pursue independent research through their high school years.

Wetherington joined Gwinnett County Public Schools and Brookwood High in 2007 from Emory University, where he was a Frederick Gardner Cottrell Postdoctoral Fellow. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in cell biology and earned his doctorate degree in biological science and pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia.

Wetherington teaches biotechnology, anatomy and physiology.

GSMST students conquer WorldQuest title

Gwinnett County Public Schools represented the state of Georgia during the Academic WorldQuest 2011, a national competition that tests students’ knowledge of international affairs, geography, history, culture and current events.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology students participated in the national event Friday and Saturday at the Georgetown Conference Center on the Georgetown University campus in Washington, D.C.

The school earned the spot to compete at the national level after three teams from two different Gwinnett schools earned top finishes during the Metro Atlanta Academic WorldQuest Competition, held earlier this spring. During this local event, GSMST took Georgia’s top spot for the third year in a row.

A second GSMST team earned third place, while a team from Parkview High placed second. Archer High and Mountain View High also were represented during the event in which several schools throughout Georgia participated.

The winning teams and their team members were:

• First place: Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Team A

Nikhil Lakhanpal, Benjamin Pham, Seong “Daniel” Jin Park and Marcus Raimondi

Beverly Jerrim, GSMST teacher and team coach

• Second place: Parkview High Team A

Shahdat Ahsan, Ekta Patel, Tiffany Agard and Eli Watkins

Regina Loveridge, Parkview High teacher and team coach

• Third place: Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Team B

Dakotah Rice, Daniela Ruiz, Hanfei Wang and Maria Yoveva

Beverly Jerrim, GSMST teacher and team coach

The competition consists of four-member teams answering rounds of questions. A full competition includes 100 questions, 10 rounds of 10 questions per round. The winning team is the one with the highest number of right answers.

The Academic WorldQuest is sponsored by the World Affairs Councils of America, a nonprofit organization which works to educate, inspire and engage Americans in international affairs.

Results from the national competition were not available by press time.

Seven Gwinnett schools earn counseling distinction

The work of counselors at seven Gwinnett schools have earned national distinction.

The American School Counselor Association presented six schools with the “Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) Designation,” while a seventh school has been recertified.

The RAMP designation, awarded to schools that are aligned with the criteria set in the ASCA National Model, recognizes schools that are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment.

The schools and their counselors are:

• Annistown Elementary: Terri Allen

• Bethesda Elementary: Kate Anderson, Aara Bunyan and Rachel Fogelman

• Grayson Elementary: Dana Edwards and RoseMary Ruffner

• Magill Elementary: Trina Clinkscales, Martha Holt and Joanie Huston

• Mason Elementary: Paige Price and Robin Zorn

• Jones Middle: Karen Bevak, Pat Marr, Ashley White and Lisa Winter

• Peachtree Elementary: Janice Flake, Millissent Flemmings and Mary Pederson

Peachtree Elementary originally earned RAMP designation in 2009 and has been recertified.

These Gwinnett schools join a select group of other schools from across the country that have received the national recognition since the program’s inception in 2004. In 2010, Radloff Middle and Collins Hill High School earned the distinction. In all, 10 GCPS schools have now been recognized with the RAMP Designation, which is valid for three years.

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