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OUR VIEW: GCPS students stand out with Relay fundraising

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2013 Relay for Life Photos

There are a lot of reasons to be proud of the students who make up Gwinnett County Public Schools. Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting offered up more than a million of them. A little more than $1.1, to be exact.

Each year a large contingent of GCPS schools and central office departments participate in Relay For Life, the largest fundraiser of the year in Gwinnett County for the American Cancer Society. And each year the students make huge contributions while learning teamwork, comaraderie and the value of charitable work.

This week that work was recognized as the top teams were honored during the school board meeting, led by North Gwinnett, which raised more than $123,000.

North Gwinnett principal Ed Shaddix was understandably proud of the students and what raising money for Relay For Life, held earlier this year, helps teach them. Said Shaddix: “It gives kids an opportunity to practice and see immediate results from servant leadership.”

Rounding out the top five teams were Norcross High, which raised nearly $87,000, Peachtree Ridge High, which raised more than $38,000, and Mill Creek High School, which raised nearly $38,000. The GCPS transportation department, which raised more than $31,000 for the cause, was also honored.

In all, the GCPS teams accounted for 59 percent of the total money raised for Gwinnett’s Relay For Life, playing a major role in the No. 1 Relay event in the country. The lessons learned through this hard work will carry over for the rest of the students’ lives, said Kirsten Baker, an assistant principal at North Gwinnett and the school’s co-chair for Relay For Life.

“We continue to fight back as we raise money against this disease. We aren’t satisfied,”Baker said. “(The students) organize fundraising projects that really lead the world. We’re creating a legacy of young leaders who know what it’s like to invest in a community.”

It’s a legacy that deserves recognition. We salute all the students and employees of GCPS who participated in Relay For Life for their community service and for setting an example of charitable service.