News You Can Use - 03/15/2004

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
03/15/2004 - 03/21/2004

At the 2004 High School All-State Band auditions, Gwinnett County Public Schools had 50 students qualify as members and six qualify as alternates. For more information, call Alan Kirkland at Berkmar High, 770-921-3636. For a list of names, call Sue Peterson at 770-822-6508.

Principal John Campbell of J. P. McConnell Middle is the recipient of the United Ebony Society's "Pacesetter of the Year Award for 2004. For more information, call 770-554-1000.

The Gwinnett Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held Feb. 20 at the Gwinnett County Fair Grounds in Lawrenceville. More than 120 students participated, with more than 90 judges evaluating their projects. Gwinnett County Public Schools had 30 first-place winners chosen to participate at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, with four alternates on standby. The state fair will be held April 15-17 in Stegeman Coliseum at the University of Georgia. Exhibitors for the International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held May 12-18 in Portland, Oregon, will be chosen from winners at the state level. For more information, call 770-513-6629.

Sweetwater Middle’s math team earned honors in two recent math events.At the Rockdale Mathematics Competition at Rockdale County High in January, team members Agni Chandora, Heidy Flores, Mai Himedan, Joel Mathew, Joanna Pak, Michael Simpson, Kedron Spence, Grace Uttarotai and Helen Uttarotai earned first place in their division and third place in the overall Algebra I competition. Michael Simpson and Grace Uttarotai won individual recognition with their second and tenth-place performances in the competition. In February, at the annual Mathcounts competition at Georgia Tech, team members Joel Mathew, Michael Simpson, Kedron Spence, and Grace Uttarotai earned the sixth-place team spot for the Gwinnett Regional Chapter. Michael Simpson earned the second-place individual score and qualified for state competition to be held at the Sci Trek Museum on March 20. For more information, call 770-923-4131.

Grayson High student Kelly Amon won the Miss Georgia Homecoming Queen Pageant on March 7 at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center. She won a $3,500 scholarship. The competition was based on grade point average, rigor of curriculum, community service, extracurricular activities, career goals, business interview skills, essay, evening gown, poise, personality, and appearance. Ms. Amon will compete in the national Miss America Homecoming Queen Pageant at Disneyland in July. The winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and travel and celebrity opportunities. For more information, call Nancy Amon at 770-972-8836.

Duluth High student Enrique Carrion was awarded one of three Roberto Goizueta scholarships to Georgia State University. Enrique and his family came to the United States from Peru in Dec. 2002. For more information, call Paula Pittenger at 770-476-5206.

Richard Marshall, band director at Collins Hill High, was surprised at a surprise "reunion" banquet, where band boosters, friends, family, and former students congratulated him on 10 years of excellence as band director at the school. The Richard Marshall Scholarship Fund has been created in his name to purchase uniforms and instruments for needy students. Nearly $4,000 has been raised. Mr. Marshall was awarded the National Band Association Citation of Excellence by Georgia's chapter president after the Collins Hill High band performance at Jam Fest. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

Anne Holloway, R.D. Head Elementary teacher, was named 2004 Teacher of the Year and Dr. Barbara Lunsford, Henry Partee Elementary principal, was recognized with the Outstanding Individual Award by the Gwinnett County Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Both were recognized at the annual CEC Program held at Meadowcreek High. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

The Duluth Middle PTA recently sponsored an essay contest to celebrate diversity. Students were presented with the following scenario: “If Martin Luther King, Jr., visited your school, what would he say about the race relations of your generation?” The winning essay was written by Brendan Hodge. Brendan’s essay was titled “My Talk with Dr. Martin Luther King.” Immanuel Phillips placed second and Shilpa Darivemula placed third in the contest. Brendan is invited to be a guest writer for VOX Newspaper, a nonprofit youth communication tool created by and for teens, which reaches 80,000 people in metro Atlanta. For more information, visit In addition to the essay contest, Duluth Middle celebrated diversity with informational bulletin boards, a lunchtime Latin jazz performance provided by the Atlanta History Center, and a “Carnival" presentation hosted by the International Club. Students also made unique paper masks to commemorate Chinese New Year, and teacher Natalie Mattson made a presentation about African-American performers. For more information, call 770-963-1100.

Laura Magner, a teacher at Rebecca Minor Elementary, received a $500 grant from the Shopa Foundation. Her students will research cultures at school and create an international potted culture garden that represents the most prevalent cultures of the student population at Rebecca Minor Elementary. For more information, call 770-925-9543.

Deborah Tozzi, an ESOL/Reading teacher at Norcross Elementary, has been awarded a $100 classroom grant from Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education. Ms. Tozzi to fund a project, called “Lap Reading at Norcross.” For more information, call 770-448-2188.

Laura Magner of Rebecca Minor Elementary published a book, titled “Creativity Calendar: Weekly Practice Activities to Encourage Creativity." It is available from Pieces of Learning Press. For more information, call 770-925-9543.

KB Homes, in conjunction with the EDK Landscaping, will plant trees on the W.J. Cooper Elementary campus on March 19 at 2 p.m. County Commission Chairman F. Wayne Hill and District 3 Commissioner John Dunn will be on hand to dedicate the new playground along with 4th grade students. Kim Sturgill, 4th grade teacher, headed this project for the school. For more information, call 770-554-7050.

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

The K.E. Taylor Elementary PTA will host its annual science fair on March 15, following the PTA meeting at 7 p.m. There will be a reception for participants and their families. Students will compete in two divisions (grades K-2 and 3-5) in four categories (experiments, demonstrations, collections, and inventions). The inventions category is new this year. More than 250 students are expected to participate. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

The Dacula Middle PTA is sponsoring a Cultural Arts Program March 16-18. Georgia Ensemble Theatre will present, "And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank" using video and live acting. The presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m.each day and will last approximately 75 minutes. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

The Parkview High PTSA is hosting a college fair on March 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Seventy colleges will participate. For more information, call 770-921-2874.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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 went 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 session also will be offered in Spanish. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

Kanoheda Elementary will hold an annual International Festival March 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the school. Classrooms throughout the school will have displays and information on the countries of Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Canada, Italy, England, India, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Children will be issued passports to visit each country, and will be given a stamp for their passport as well as a trinket at each destination. Local restaurants will be providing food samples from a variety of cultures. For more information, call 770-682-4221.

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 supportive 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

Mountain Park Elementary will sponsor "Riding the Technology Wave!" on March 22 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Students and parents are invited to see the innovative and creative ways that Mountain Park uses technology to enhance learning. A video will be shown featuring students. Technology stations will be set up throughout the school for participants to observe and learn more about integration of technology into the curriculum. There will be prizes and drawings for those who attend. For more information, call Bev Knight at 678-380-7259.

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 Road. 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 Mason Elementary, 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.

Peachtree Elementary will sponsor a Literacy Night on March 25 at 7 p.m. Students are invited to wear their pajamas as they settle in for an evening of sharing stories, both written and oral. After a brief PTA business meeting, parents are invited to walk through the halls to see their children's work. Parents and students will then return to the cafeteria for cookies, milk, and coffee before the entertainment begins. Jim Meeker, a teacher at Peachtree, will entertain the audience with tales by Hans Christian Anderson. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to attend a drawing session conducted by two professional animators/illustrators, Adam Fuchs and Jeremy Seymour while parents shop at the Scholastic Book Fair in the media center. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

Beaver Ridge Elementary will hold a Scholastic Book Fair on March 25. The school's second Annual International Heritage Night and Science Fair also will be held on this date. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

The Norcross High Drama Department will present the show “Anything Goes” 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 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.

K.E. Taylor Elementary will sponsor a carnival, called "Tour the World with Taylor." Lunch will be served at noon and the carnival hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Participants can experience different cultures, games, activities, and food. For more information, call Darlene Wright at 770-822-0065.

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. For more information, call 770-972-8471.

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

This week (March 15-21), tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for:
“Teachers up Close,” featuring Test Taking Strategies, 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--

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., April 15, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville.

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