Jackson EMC awards gants Local wins Miss Georgia High School America

LAWRENCEVILE -- The Jackson EMC Foundation, a charity funded by the electric cooperative's members through their contributions to Operation Round Up, has awarded three agencies that provide services to Gwinnett County residents a total of $40,000 in grants.Awards included: $15,000 to Family Promise of Gwinnett County for its family mentoring program, which assigns trained volunteer mentors to work one-on-one with low-income families that have overcome homelessness.

$15,000 to Rainbow Village, a Duluth nonprofit that helps families in domestic or economic stress rebuild their lives, to provide counseling for residents of its transitional housing to help adult heads of households gain financial skills such as budgeting and establishing strategies to address financial problems, that will help them become self-sufficient.

$10,000 to the Vision and Hearing Care Program, a service of the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation to help provide surgical procedures to restore sight, eye exams, prescription eyewear and digital hearing aids for low-income residents in the 10 counties Jackson EMC serves.DACULA -- On Aug. 6, Sydney Morales, a junior at Dacula High School was crowned 2012 Miss Georgia High School America Queen.

Girls from all over the state attended the pageant for the title of Miss Georgia High School America and other prizes and opportunities.

Morales competed in interview, fun fashion, evening gown and on-stage question and was crowned the new queen at the end of the pageant.

It was Morales' second attempt at the crown.

As Miss Georgia High School America, Morales has won up to a $1,000 scholarship and will represent Georgia at the National Miss High School America Pageant scheduled for March in San Antonio.

Morales enjoys playing violin in the Philharmonic orchestra, participating on her school's tennis team and serving on the student council.

She is the founder of the Jeans for Teens program and an advocate for Gwinnett County Relay for Life, where she raised $6,000 in 2011.