News You Can Use - 03/08/2004

During the school year, the Department of Communication & Media Relations produces a media tip sheet called "News You Can Use, which is distributed to metro Atlanta news outlets electronically. This publication provides school and system news, including recent honors, upcoming events, calendar items, and photo opportunities at local schools and central office locations. The tip sheet is sent out at the end of each week, and covers news and GCPS items of interest for the coming 7-10 days.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
03/08/2004 - 03/14/2004

Melissa Young, a Brookwood High teacher, has been named Spanish Teacher of the Year by the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

This year’s PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Champion and Division I (large school) winner is Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High. The Berkmar High team, coached by IV Bray, scored the highest overall in Division I and II, and will represent Georgia at the United States Academic Decathlon National Finals in April. For more information, call Lynn Varner, PAGE manager, at 1-800-334-6861.

Parkview High senior Bryan Overcarsh is Gwinnett County's 2004 STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Recognition) student. Mr. Overcarsh chose Dr. Dorcas Okor a chemistry teacher at Parkview, as his STAR teacher. As the county's top academic senior, Overcarsh will represent Gwinnett in the state competition. The state banquet will be held April 29. For a complete list of GCPS 2004 STAR students and teachers, visit the GCPS Web site at

The 20th Annual Science Olympiad regional tournament was held recently at Gainesville College. The Science Olympiad is a national organization with chapters in all states. Duluth Middle earned five first-place wins, four second-place wins, and a third-place win at the tournament. For more information, call 770-476-3372.

Berkmar High German teacher Jana Mueller-Schobel served as a judge for the German State Governor's Honors Interviews.

The College Board was recognized Norcross High with the “Access to Education Award.” Norcross High scored the highest of any high school in Georgia on the seven identified criteria dealing with the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and improving scores on Advanced Placement exams. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Norcross High students Robert Pendergrass and Jack Tung presented at the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at the University of Georgia in February. For more information, call Anne Granville at 770-448-3674.

Brookwood High’s Mock Trial team placed second in regional competition. Some team members received individual awards. Team members include Katie Addler (Outstanding Attorney Award); Courtland Allen (Outstanding Attorney Award); Ravish Barter; Tabatha DeRoche; Ashley Fish; Brett Lacy (Outstanding Attorney Award); Courtney Long; Meridee Luke; Casey Miller; Channing Miller; Nadreika Morris; Philip Pinto; Daniel Seibels (Outstanding Attorney Award); Jibran Shermohammed; Adam Weber (Outstanding Witness Award); Gary Wheeler (two Outstanding Witness Awards); and Chu Xu.

Trickum Middle Math Counts team members Yasmin Assar, Rachel DelGaudio, Alex Huston, and Maylene Xie earned fourth place in the Chapter Competition. Based on high individual scores, the following students scored well enough to advance to the State Competition to be held at SciTrek on March 20: Rachel DelGaudio (third place), Maylene Xie (fourth place), and Yasmin Assar (sixth place). For more information, call 770-921-2705.

Erin Kirby, a Norcross High violist, has won the concerto competition for the Buckhead Youth Symphony. She will perform a solo on March 28, and will next compete in regional finals. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Dr. M.H. Mason Jr., Elementary 5th grade student Nikhil Lakhanpal has been selected to be an ambassador to Japan for a two-week children's conference this summer. Nikhil will go to Fukuoka, Japan, Atlanta’s sister city, as a Junior Ambassador to the 16th Annual Asian-Pacific Children's Convention. Nikhil is one of eight children chosen by the Japan-America Society of Georgia to participate. Nikhil’s trip is fully funded and he will stay with a Japanese host family. For more information, call Nikhil’s mother, Sangeeta Lakhanpal, at 770-232-2956.

Parkview High’s Culinary Arts team— comprised of students Bricklyn Holland, Kelley Mell, and Layla Walk— earned first place in the county wide Culinary Arts Competition at Berkmar High. For more information, call 770-921-2874.

Several R.D. Head Elementary students were honored at the annual student reception, sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children. Students honored were Laurelle Bassa, Anthony Kirkpatrick, Josephine Macauley, Garrison Miller, Chris Watkins, and Ishraq Zahed. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

Jose Medrano, 5th grade student at G.H. Hopkins Elementary, was presented with an award for academic achievement by the Council for Exceptional Children on March 2. His teachers are Vernay Gilliard and Heather Harrison. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

KB Homes in conjunction with the EDK Landscape Company will plant trees on the W.J. Cooper Elementary campus on March 18 at 2 p.m. Kim Sturgill, 4th grade teacher, headed this project, and all 4th grade students will participate in the ceremony. For more information, call 770-554-7050.

Lindsay Johnson, a Brookwood High Junior Beta Club member, donated a box of chapter books to G.H. Hopkins Elementary as part of a service project. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Representatives for the Collins Hill High Volunteer Center have been selected to present at the National Service Learning Conference for the third year in a row. The conference will be held in Orlando, Fla., March 29-31. Students attending are Sherri Alexander, Ronald Alonso, Whitney Perry, Kristina Stafford, Candrisse Watkins, and Jaime Winterton. The students will be presenting “Creative Classroom Connections to Your Community.” For more information, call 770-628-4100.

The Peachtree Ridge High School Foundation is hosting the “Lions Classic Golf Tournament ” at the Tournament Players Club at Sugarloaf on March 8. This tournament serves as a vehicle to provide funding to further the vision of Peachtree Ridge High. The foundation was created to encourage support for the school, ensure academic excellence, and provide the necessary facilities to enable our young adults to compete and excel in Gwinnett County. The Peachtree Ridge High School Foundation is a Georgia nonprofit corporation recognized as tax exempt under IRS Sec. 501(c)3. For more information on this event, contact Diane Clausen at 678-957-3166.

The Arcado Elementary Community Theater will present “My Fair Lady” March 11–14 at Parkview High theater. Ticket forms and information are available at the Arcado Elementary office. For more information, call 770-925-2100.

The Brookwood High dance team will perform the swing number “Sing Sing Sing” in the National High School Dance Competition on March 11-14. Of the 162 choreographic works submitted from 72 schools in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Bermuda, 60 were accepted. The Gala Performance will be held at the Merriam Theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia from. For more information, call Anna D'Antonio at 770-972-7642.

The third annual Centerville Elementary Parent/Teacher Basketball Game will be held March 12 at 7 p.m. in the Shiloh High gym. Advanced tickets can be purchased for $6, or $5 with a PTA membership. Everyone is invited to come early and attend the Slice and Dunk Pizza Social, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Shiloh High cafeteria. Tickets include one slice of pizza and a drink. For more information, call Kimberly Adcock at 770-982-6976.

Lawrenceville Elementary will host an International Night celebration on March 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Events include Folkloric Colombian dancers from Argentina performing the Tango Rio; a parade featuring native dress; a slide show presentation; and displays and food samples from Bosnia, Mexico, Colombia, China, Japan, and Africa. For more information, call 770-963-1813.

Dr. Ronnie Akers, assistant professor and chair of Reinhardt College’s Physical Education Department, will provide a dance presentation to all Duluth Middle physical education classes on Friday, March 12. In addition to introducing a variety of dances to the students, Dr. Akers will teach each class several dance steps. Dr. Akers has taught various classes in physical education, personal wellness, tennis, line and social dancing, and weight training at Reinhardt College, the State University of West Georgia, and Jacksonville State University. For more information, call 770-476-3372.

Sycamore Elementary will hold a Spaghetti Supper and Instructional Fair on March 16 at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Beginning at 7:15 p.m., students and teachers will share students’ Language Arts work with parents. Parents may view portfolios, dramatic presentations, books created by students, classroom newspapers, and PowerPoint presentations. Counselors Erma McNeal and Robin Zorn will present a session at 6:15 p.m on how to support students taking standardized tests such as the Gateway Assessment and the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests. The school plans to make the program an annual event. For more information, call Principal Brenda Anderson at 678-714-5770.

Sycamore Elementary students will have the opportunity to meet and hear author David M. Sargent, Jr., on March 16. Mr. Sargent speaks to students all over the United States about how he became an author. In addition, Mr. Sargent will talk to students about the writing process and introduce students to several of his animals that have inspired his writing. For more information, contact Margaret Beville, media specialist at 678-714-5770.

The Parkview High PTSA will host a College Fair on March 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Parkview cafeteria. For more information, call 770-921-2874.

Pam Alexander, illustrator and co-publisher of the Yumion books, will visit Beaver Ridge Elementary on March 16. The Yumion books include “The Onion Ambassador,” “Yumion Goes to the City,” and, most recently, “Yumion Goes to the Mountains.” The series is written for grades K-2 and provides factual information about Georgia. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

Students may register online through March 17 for the fourth mini-session at Buchanan High School of Technology at The fourth mini-session begins Mar. 22. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

Alton C. Crews Middle will perform “The Music Man, Jr.” for its spring musical March 18-20 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria. Tickets are $4 and go on sale March 10. For more information, call 770-982-6940 or visit

G.H. Hopkins Elementary will sponsor a Parent-to-Parent session, titled “Never Cry Alone,” on March 18 at 6:30 p.m. The session deals with children and parents sharing their emotions and feelings. Childcare will be available. The sessions also are offered in Spanish. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

Berkmar High is making its 2004 Georgia High School Graduation Test a community event. Berkmar High is enlisting area businesses to help fund a series of events and incentives to encourage students to do their best during testing. On March 19, Berkmar High juniors will attend a motivational pep rally to encourage 100% attendance during testing. Nutritional snacks will be provided to students during the testing days of March 22-25. Prior to the week of testing, local businesses have been asked to place support messages on their marquees. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Lawrenceville Elementary will host several parenting workshops on selected Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Material will be available for parents to use at home with their students. Lunch and childcare will be provided. Following are the dates and topics. For more information, call 770-963-1813.
March 20 Testing Strategies
March 27 Fitness and Nutrition
April 24 Building Self-Esteem/Discipline
May 15 Summer Learning Strategies

Alton C. Crews Middle will sponsor the school’s sixth annual Instructional Technology Media Fair, “Crewsin’ Through the Jungle of Learning,” on March 23 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The fair will showcase how students use technology and media to enhance learning. Students will present more than 100 instructional demonstrations. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

Carolyn Coil, nationally recognized speaker and author in the field of gifted education, will present the “Top 10 Questions Parents and Teachers Ask Most Often About the Gifted Child” on March 23 at 7 p.m. at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Rd. in Lawrenceville. There will be a question and answer session, and books may be purchased at the door. For more information, call Genie Quinn at 770-232-3370.

The Brookwood High Performing Arts Department will present the following plays in the theater. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the designated nights.
“Noises Off” March 24-27
“You Can't Take It With You” April 14-17
“Fiddler on the Roof” May 6-8
Tickets are $6 for adults, and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Beaver Ridge Elementary will hold a Scholastic Book Fair on March 25. This also is the date for the second Annual International Heritage Night and the school’s Science Fair. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

The Norcross High Drama Department will present the show “Anything Goes” on March 25–28. Tickets are $6 and will be on sale during lunch the week of the show. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

The Dacula Middle PTA is sponsoring an open house for a Celebration of Learning on March 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Student work will be displayed throughout the school. Band, strings, chorus, drama, and other student groups will be performing. Additional parking is available at from Hebron Baptist Church and Dacula High, and shuttle bus service will be provided. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

Award-winning author Nikki Grimes will visit Dacula Middle on March 25. Ms. Grimes has devoted her career to writing books and poetry with a multicultural theme. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

Iyawalona Yeye Olori Oriyomi, a dance instructor, will visit Brookwood High on March 26. Ms. Oriyomi will present a class in African dance. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

This year’s Environmental IQ Bowl will be held on March 27, from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Shiloh Middle. GCPS CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks will make opening remarks for the event.

The Arcado Elementary annual Fun Run will be held on March 28. The Fun Run includes a 1K and a 5K race, sponsored by the PTA. For more information, call 770-925-2100.

The G.H. Hopkins Elementary chorus will hold a concert on March 30 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

The North Gwinnett High Student Government Association and PTSA will co-sponsor The Operation Drive Smart Expo on March 30. The goal of the Expo is to educate as many teens as possible on the different aspects of safe driving. The Expo is held on the football field for the duration of the school day. Self-contained driving simulators will allow students to get behind the wheel in a 3-D unit, and they also can try driving a DUI cart. Student Government Officers will guide students through the stations with their social studies classes. For more information, call Laura Beth Galletly at 770-945-9558 or email

Registration for the new Grayson High School Technical Education Program will begin in early March for rising GCPS juniors and seniors who are pursuing college preparatory, technology/career preparatory, or dual diploma options. Registration takes place at local high schools. Specialized classes in 14 curriculum areas are planned for August 2004, including Biotechnology, Commercial Photography, Culinary Arts, Digital Media and Design, and Music Technology. Classes are offered in a half-day or evening format. For more information, call Principal Keith Chaney at 770-554-1071.

This week (March 8-14), tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for:
“GCPS Focus,” airing at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. each day.
“In Five,” a five-minute news update, airing at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily.
GCPS TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Charter Communications on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or send an e-mail to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

A new after-school club for 4th and 5th grade girls is offered at J.C. Magill Elementary. The club promotes cooperation, team building, self-esteem, social skills, and “girl pride,” with games using physical activities and running. Culmination of the club will be a 5K run for the Gwinnett community in May. For more information, call 770-554-1030.

Lanier Middle gifted students are finding that learning can be fun and beneficial as they participate in a new program, titled “Problem Solving in the Real World,” The 9-week classes are "Building Homes of Our Own" and “Stock Market.” The program promotes higher-level and critical thinking in the context of real world, problem-solving situations. For more information, call Susan Hall at 770-393-3360, or email her at

Sweetwater Middle is sponsoring a reading enhancement program which incorporates reading strategies and skills with computer technology in a small-group setting. Sweetwater Middle is able to offer this class as a result of a $37,000 after-school Reading Challenge Grant, awarded in November 2003. Transportation is not provided. These sessions will be held on most Saturdays through May 1. Students in the program must report to Sweetwater at 8:30 a.m. and be picked-up promptly at 1 p.m. For more information, call 770-923-4131.

March is Music in Our Schools Month, National Middle Level Education Month, National Nutrition Month, Women’s History Month, Social Work Month, and Youth Art Month.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 11, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville. Prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing will be held on GCPS’ proposed lease/purchase agreement. The hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during March. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.