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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Lanier, South Gwinnett take home awards in Clear Air competition

Lanier High and South Gwinnett High each were honored recently in a competition hosted by The Clean Air Campaign.

Lanier captured third place in the 2014 Get There Green High School competition, while South Gwinnett took home honorable mention.

The competition is an action-oriented high school program designed to educate students about pollution reduction, help students create and implement sustainable transportation plans for their schools and introduce high schoolers to the broader context of community transportation planning. Students are judged based on the plans they develop to reduce impact of daily transportation behaviors on local air quality.

Lanier students administered environmental and transportation surveys to students, encouraged students to sign clean commuting pledges and distributed goodie bags to clean commuters.

Gwinnett Rotary honors essay contest winners

The Gwinnett Rotary Club recently hosted several local winners of the Georgia Rotary Laws of Life essay contests, including the winners from schools the club sponsors, Berkmar High and Peachtree Ridge High. This year’s school winners were Alea Garcia of Peachtree Ridge and Quang Tran from Berkmar High. Trevor Bramblet of North Gwinnett High, who finished first runnerup in the state, was also invited to speak.

These students, along with other grade level winners from their sponsored schools, were presented with achievement medals and honored for their participation and exceptional accomplishments.

The contest asks students to select a saying that is a “law of life,” for example, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or “adversity makes a person stronger” and to use that saying to examine and write about key life lessons and core character values such as honesty, generosity, courage, compassion and perseverance. As a program of the Rotary clubs in Georgia, the contest reflect Rotary’s emphasis on values, high ethical standards, and service to others.

To learn more about this program and read some of the winning essays, visit www.georgialawsoflife.org.

Brookwood teachers named to LearnZillion Dream Team

Brookwood High teachers Melissa Huneycutt and Robin Valentine have been selected as members of the 2014 LearnZillion Dream Team for knowledge of curriculum. These educators are among the 200 talented math and English language arts teachers selected from an international pool of 4,000 applicants. As members of the Dream Team, these educators will attend TeachFest in New Orleans, then collaborate with local peers to create resources that will help teachers and students across the country.

Berkmar High teachers participate in personal finance program

Berkmar High social studies economic teachers participated in the Everfi personal finance program— a collaboration between GCPS, Brand Bank and Everfi. The program uses a new media learning platform that consists of the latest technology and video, animations, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation.

Students gained valuable knowledge on banking, investing, saving, credit cards, renting vs. buying, credit scores and taxes. When they completed 10 units, students earned their financial literacy certification. Berkmar has 345 students who are Everfi certified and financially literate, and 103 students close to completing their certification.

Students earn 60 local, two statewide scholarships from Walton EMC

For the sixth year, students from all corners of Walton Electric Membership Corporation’s 10-county service area are the recipients of college scholarships from Walton Electric Trust.

More than 170 applicants vied for $159,000, with 33 being selected for the full scholarship of $4,000. The trust board also awarded 27 runner-up scholarships of $1,000 each.

The scholarship committee looked for dedication to community, a strong work ethic, extracurricular involvement and triumph over obstacles and hardships. Recommendations from teachers and other adults involved in the students’ lives were also considered.

Walton EMC awarded these scholarships because of unclaimed refunds. After efforts are exhausted to find the rightful owners, the money goes into an endowment provided for by Georgia law. Earnings from the endowment fund the yearly awards.

Since its inception, Walton Electric Trust has awarded 250 scholarships worth $621,750.

This year’s full scholarship winners include Seid Gibanica, Eric Hays, Hannah Lambert, Danielle Mussatt, Alexander Sullivan (Parkview High); Sara Davis, Jazmyne Simon (South Gwinnett High); Drew Cushwa, Jessica Evans, Saritha Mangones, Allison Myers, William Walker, Brittany Wesner (Brookwood High); Ligia-Ioana Raileanu (Archer High); Hannah Cheek (Shiloh High); Markell Jackson (Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology); Joseph Long, Genesis Oji, Jordan Woody (Loganville High); Tyler Browning (Loganville Christian Academy); Nicholas Cain, Ali Miller, Brittany Potts, Christopher Slaton (Walnut Grove High); Lee Briney Jr., Whitney Lester (Salem High); Lindsey Borchers (Heritage High); Katie Windham (Paragon Academy); Audrey Hardison, Halie Sorrow (George Walton Academy); Victoria Turner (Monroe Area High); Kylie Bush, Lydia Sloan (North Oconee High); Laura Tomlin, Haley Wingo (Westminster Christian Academy); Charles Faust, Daniel Faust (Athens Christian); Olivia Ricketts (Prince Avenue Christian); Kathryn Jones (Madison County High); Celie Davis (Morgan County High); Jayce Delker (Georgia Cyber Academy).

In addition, Sarah Kang of Brookwood High and Claire Rohrer of South Gwinnett High are both receiving one of eight $1,000 Walter Harrison Scholarships from Georgia EMC, Walton EMC’s statewide trade association.

Notre Dame groundbreaking ceremony

Notre Dame Academy will host a groundbreaking ceremony at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 18 to mark the start of construction on its high school expansion.

The ceremony will take place outside at its elementary and middle school campus located on River Green Parkway off Peachtree Industrial in Duluth. Attendees will include past and present families, faculty, staff and members of the community including Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris.

The event will be catered by The Varsity and the King of Pops and will also feature construction equipment and games.

Using the purchase of the 21 acres of land adjacent to its existing campus, NDA will expand its current footprint to include high school grades and launch a high school with the inaugural freshman class in the fall of 2015.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and the first phase of the expansion will include a 12-classroom building and a multi-purpose gymnasium and fine arts building that will serve students in PreK-3 through 12th grade. Future phases will include an additional 22-classroom building and full athletic facilities.

Keith Farner writes about education. Good News from Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Daily Post.