News You Can Use - 01/26/2004

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
01/26/2004 - 02/01/2004

Brookwood High had 18 students selected to participate in the University of Georgia (UGA) January Festival held Jan. 22-25. Students audition at UGA for band and chair placement. They rehearse and prepare a concert program, listen to other bands, participate in clinics, and perform a concert presentation on Sunday. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Arlene Hawkins, Five Forks Middle social worker, is one of eight outstanding volunteers from across the U.S. selected to represent all delegation leaders on the People to People Student Ambassador Programs International Student Ambassador Advisory Council. Each year, students from across the nation in grades 5-12 are escorted by professional educators on an educational journey of discovery and cultural understanding. For more information, call Megan Hulsey at 1-800-669-7882, ext. 521.

David Jahner, Foreign Language coordinator, contributed a chapter on recruitment and retention, titled “Support for New Language Teachers in Gwinnett County Public Schools” for New Visions in Foreign and Second Language Education. For more information, call 770-513-6861.

The National Soccer Coach’s Association of America selected Bill Holleman as the National High School Coach of the Year for 2003. Mr. Holleman competed with six other regional winners for National Coach. Last spring he achieved his 500th career victory, in addition to earning his seventh state soccer championship. He will be coaching the McDonald’s All American High School Soccer game on June 12, 2004, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Mr. Holleman and other coach of the year recipients will coach the top graduating high school soccer players from across the United States. He is currently the athletic director and men’s soccer coach for Peachtree Ridge High. For more information, call 678-957-3100.

A team of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from Richard Hull Middle won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge, a national language arts competition entered by more than 240,000 students annually. Competing in the difficult Gold Division of the challenge and supervised by Dimitra Hill, LuAnn Kosa and Kyle Wade, the school’s 8th graders tied for eighth place nationally. Chelsea Bailey, Tyler Droll, Aleena Lakhanapal, Kyle Pate, Megan Prescott, and Liz Robinson won highest honors for individual achievement. Others who also achieved outstanding results in the meet include: Eric Anderson, Josh Brinker, Jimmy Cai, Joy Choi, Christina Carroll, Charles Chong, Kristen Colburn, Carolyn Davenport, Brittany Fuller, Eric Jernigan, Dolly Krishnaswamy, Caitlin Martin, Nancy Ouyang, Claire Pierce, Taylor Russell, Shelby Schuller, David Torcivia, and Cecilia Trode. For more information, call 770-232-3200.

Brookwood High student Michael Kim was nominated to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy (NYLF/DID). For more information, visit the Web site at or call 1-877-705-5733.

Dory Rogers, Spanish teacher at Shiloh High, was named the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) K-12 Teacher of the Year for Georgia. She will be recognized at a luncheon during the annual FLAG conference in Athens on Feb. 28. For more information, call 770-972-8471. Lynne Gant, J.P. McConnell Middle Spanish teacher, was named Foreign Language Association of Georgia’s “Teacher of Promise” for 2004. This new award recognizes a first-, second-, or third-year teacher who demonstrates outstanding teaching skills and the potential to become a leader in foreign language education. Ms. Gant will also be recognized at the luncheon. For more information, call 770-513-6861.

South Gwinnett High won several awards at the Atlanta College of Art Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition 2004 competition. Rick McKibben and Mattie Matakis earned two Gold Key Awards. The two Silver Key Award winners are India Davis and Aaron Marsh. Mattie Matakis also earned the American Visions Nominee Award. The two Gold Key Award winners will advance to the national level of competition. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have existed for more than 80 years. Past winners include Andy Warhol, Phillip Pearlstein, Truman Capote, and Robert Redford. For more information, call 770-972-4540.

Berkmar High also had several students honored at the Atlanta College of Art Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition 2004. Charlotte Carlstrom won a silver medal for Photography. Zac Finley won a gold medal for Photography and will advance to the national level. Cervando Miranda won a silver medal for Two-D art. Brian Robinson won a silver medal for Drawing and Painting. For more information, call Diana Preston at 678-924-5328.

Four sophomores were selected by school counselors as administrators to serve as representatives of Norcross High at the Hugh O'Brian (HOBY) Leadership Seminar. The seminar was held Jan. 17 at North Gwinnett High. The HOBY representatives were Sonia Howard, Gabby Potts, Carmen Rodriguez, and Matthew Vargo. For more information, call LaShawn McMillan at 770-338-3674.

The Brookwood High Debate Team won its fifteenth region championship on Jan. 12. The team has an eighteen year history under the direction of Leslie Watkins. They will compete in the Georgia High School Association AAAAA Championship in early February. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

McKendree Elementary will host “Passport to the World,” an international festival celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the community. The festival will be held on Jan. 26, following the 6 p.m. PTA meeting. Students and parents from Chile, Colombia, Ghana, India, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Yugoslavia, and other countries will walk in the traditional dress of their native country to the tune of the many different national anthems. Following the parade, students and parents will “visit” each continent and experience crafts, games, food, songs, artifacts, and dances from the different countries being hosted throughout the building. “Passports” will be stamped as participants enter each continent through beautiful displays created by the McKendree Art Department. International folktales will be shared in the Media Center. The Meadowcreek High Mexican folk dancers will perform in the cafeteria. This event is hosted by the McKendree PTA and English to Speakers of Other Languages Department. The festival is open to the public. For more information, call Judy Rice at 678-377-8931.

The Berkmar High marching band will perform at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lilburn Wal-Mart opening on Jan. 28 at 7:30 a.m. Once the store is officially opened, the band will lead shoppers and dignitaries through the store while playing and marching to popular tunes. For more information, call Sandra Martinez at 678-924-5328.

The G.H. Hopkins Elementary Student Council will launch a conservation campaign in January as a reminder to use resources wisely. Student Council members will research conservation and present their findings during morning announcements. Students are invited to participate in recycling paper. For more information, call Angela Schoenknecht at 770-931-7012.

On January 26, Knight Elementary will sponsor a “Math Knight” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

Gwinnett Technical College will host a career fair for Spanish speakers. Assistants will be available to help Spanish speakers find employment. The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 29 on the college campus off Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. More than 30 companies are expected to participate in the fair. For more information, call Gwinnett Tech at 770-962-7580, ext. 252. Call 770-932-7580, ext. 484, for help in Spanish.

Bethesda Elementary will hold its first Family Literacy Night on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. The evening will begin with supper served by the Bethesda Literacy/Intervention Team in the school cafeteria. Stories will be read by a Young Audience professional storyteller. Parents will have the opportunity to learn strategies and methods to help their children become more proficient readers, both in English and Spanish. Other activities will include a book fair and the opportunity for all families to sign up for library cards through the Gwinnett County Public Library. For more information, call 770-921-2000.

Arcado Elementary 4th graders will have a visit from David Mark Lopez, a children’s book author, on Jan. 30 at 9:15 a.m. Mr. Lopez plans on writing 12 stories, all with historical references and all with female role models. For more information, call Gail Handler at 770-925-2100.

The Brookwood High Fine Arts Department will present an encore performance of “Les Miserables” on Jan. 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. in the Brookwood High theater. For more information, call Ken Lindahl at 770-985-0653.

Tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for “GCPS Focus” this week (Jan. 26-Feb. 1). The show airs 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., and midnight each day. “In Five,” a five-minute news update, airs at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily. GCPS TV airs “ArtStage,” a new fine arts program, daily at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This new series features music, dance, theater, and visual fine arts programs and performances conducted in schools across Gwinnett County. Last Fall, GCPS TV, in partnership with Gwinnett Technical College, produced and aired a beginning English class for adult learners, called "English. . . Yes, I Can!" (Series 1). To help viewers extend their learning, GCPS TV has produced the next level class of English instruction--“English...Yes I Can!” (Series 2). The class will be aired in hour-long segments four nights a week between Jan. 12 and Feb. 12. The shows will be aired at 9 p.m., then repeated at 1 a.m. the same night. The week’s programs will be reaired in a four-hour block from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. In addition to these shows, a new “BookTales” titled “Students as Authors/Illustrators” will air daily at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Ÿ Adelphia on Channel 20
Ÿ BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Ÿ Charter Communications on Channel 22
Ÿ Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or send an email to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

The Dance Department of Brookwood High will hold their annual “Girl Scouts Love to Dance” workshops on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the school. The workshops will enable participants to earn their merit badge in dance. The Jan. 31 workshop is for Brownies and the Feb. 7 workshop is for juniors and cadets. This is a community service outreach project sponsored by Nu Delta Alpha, the dance honor society. For more information or to register, call 770-985-0653.

Harbins Elementary 4th grade students in the classes of Bridget Saldana, Shelly Treadway, and Candice Walker will host “The Living Wax Museum” on Feb. 3. Students will research a person from colonial times and prepare a two-minute monologue. They will dress up as the character and stand motionless until their “tap light” is pushed, then will speak. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

Harbins Elementary will host a PTA cultural arts program beginning with a spaghetti dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 5. “Soweto Street Beat,” a world-class, one-of-a-kind dance troupe, will present an exotic performance with choreography illustrating the history, culture, and song and dance traditional to the Zulu Nation, South Africa’s largest ethnic group. The Gateway tests also will be discussed during the business portion of the meeting. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

The staff of Knight Elementary will present “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” on Feb. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. in the Parkview High Theater. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

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.
February 7 Math Strategies
February 21 Homework Help
March 20 Testing Strategies
March 27 Fitness and Nutrition
April 24 Building Self-Esteem/Discipline
May 15 Summer Learning Strategies

Maxwell High School of Technology will hold a spring open house on Feb. 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 770-963-6838.

“ River of Words,” initiated by the former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, is a project designed to nurture respect and understanding of the natural world. Students in grades K-12 are invited to submit poetry and art focusing on the importance and preservation of America’s watersheds for entry into this international competition. The entry deadline is Feb. 15. An exhibition that includes Georgia’s winning entries in poetry and art will travel to libraries, schools, and nature centers around the state for a year beginning in July. For more information or to receive a 2003 Georgia Teacher’s Guide, contact Petey Giroux at Georgia Project WET, Environmental Protection Division, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30354, 404-675-16368, The River of Words national Web site is

Knight Elementary 4th and 5th grade drama students will perform “Let Freedom Ring” at the Feb. 16 PTA meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. The play depicts three historical events--the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the encampment at Valley Forge, and Paul Revere’s Ride. For more information, call Johnsie Cooper at 770-921-2400.

Berkmar High students are collecting Valentine's Day cards to send to the U.S. troops in Iraq which the soldiers can send home to their loved ones. Berkmar students also will deliver Valentine's Day cards to a local senior citizen center in appreciation for what they have done through their lives: working, raising families, and building a better America. For more information, call Diana Preston 678-924-5328.

Berkmar High Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will celebrate children's author Dr. Seuss' "Reading Across America" program by holding a children's book drive Feb. 2-27. FBLA members will visit an elementary school and read a Dr. Seuss book, distribute paper Dr. Seuss hats, and share a birthday cake commemorating the 100 year anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Students will discuss the importance of reading and distribute bookmarks with Dr. Seuss book titles. For more information, call Diana Preston 678-924-5328.

The Parsons Elementary PTA will sponsor Lion Cub BINGO at the Jan. 30 PTA meeting. Dinner will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. The PTA meeting will run from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m., and BINGO begins at 7 p.m. Proceeds from a silent auction will support the PTA. Raffle tickets for a Nintendo Cube may be purchased during the event for $1, and there also will be a bake sale. Meal tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information, call 678-957-3050.

Sycamore Elementary faculty and students raised more than $1,600 for Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. Students made donations to enter a drawing for an activity with their favorite teacher. Some of the activities sponsored by the staff included a Mexican dinner with a teacher, creating a bear at the Build a Bear store with the principal, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese and tour behind the scenes, cosmic bowling, dinner and a manicure, and participation in a tennis camp. For more information, call Kelly Eastes at 678-714-5770.

Students may register online for the 4th mini-session at Buchanan High School of Technology at The 4th mini-session begins Mar. 22. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

February 2-6 is National School Counseling Week.

February 11-12 are early release days for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences.

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