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Grady students earn prestigious scholarships

A peek around at some Midtown school news to use

Four students were awarded 2012 Gates Millennium Scholarships this week.

Raveen Ford, Abena Amoakuh, Chantil Coleman and Shafiq Gyagenda were among 22 Atlanta Public Schools students to receive the prestigious scholarship given to only 1,000 students from around the country.

The Gates Millennium scholarship covers the students’ tuition, room and board through their undergraduate education and beyond if students decide to pursue advanced degrees.

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A team of Grady debaters won the National Urban Debate League policy debate earlier this month. Seniors Holden Choi and Ben Dean beat out top-ranked teams from 20 cities to win the title at Georgetown University on April 15.

The Grady Jesters debate team is coached by Lisa Willoughby.

The teams from Grady and North Atlanta High School represented the Atlanta Urban Debate League (AUDL). AUDL is the nation’s oldest urban debate league and is supported and organized by The Barkley Forum at Emory University. The team debated the topic, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.”

Junior Isabelle Taft has been named National Points Leader for the regular tournament season in Extemporaneous Speaking (Extemp). The National Points Race, conducted by Extemp Central, is a competition designed to reward extemporaneous speakers for placing high at selected national circuit competitions throughout the year. Taft advanced to final rounds in Extemp at tournaments held at Wake Forest University, Emory University, George Mason University, Harvard University and the 2011 National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament.
 
These accomplishments continue the long-standing tradition of success of Speech and Debate at Grady. The Jesters recently won the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association State Championships in March, the third time in a row for the team. The team won the Eleanor E. Wright Award of Excellence in Debate at the 2011 National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Grand Nationals as well as being named a School of Excellence in Debate at the 2011 National Forensic League (NFL) National Tournament, the largest high school academic competition in the world.

The Jesters are the first team from Georgia to win both honors from these organizations.
 
Taylor Walker, Grady HS Class of 2011, was named National Student of the Year of the National Forensic League and represents the over 100,000 students and coaches of the league. Grady HS is the only school in the nation to ever have had two finalists for National Student of the Year- Walker in 2011 and Michael Robinson, Class of 2009.
 
The Jesters will compete this May in Baltimore at the 2012 NCFL Grand Nationals and the NFL National Tournament in June in Indianapolis.

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Ben Dean has earned a Benjamin E. Mays scholarship to Emory University. Shaun Kleber is one of 36 high school seniors to be offered the University of Georgia’s Foundation Fellowship. The UGA class of 2016 was chosen from 900 applicants. Congratulations to Grady's Camille Harris for being named a McNair Scholar at the University of South Carolina. Choi has been named a John Carrol Scholar at Georgetown University. Taylor Allen has been awarded the Chik-fil-A Scholarship to Virginia Tech.

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Grady's Chorus and Musical Theatre Performance Group, Triple Threat, will perform their combined spring concert on Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27, at 7 p.m. on both nights in the school auditorium. The show is open and free to the public (donations accepted), and all are invited to attend.

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A parent presentation will be delivered on Friday, April 27 at noon at Inman Middle School. Inman PTA will be providing a light lunch for all at the parental portion of this J. Tom Morgan presentation. Don’t worry about missing lunch or trying to pick something up on your way over as lunch is covered. Ignorance is No Defense books will be for sale for $10. 

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Please join the family next week for the 5K Star Run sponsored by the Centennial Place School Foundation. This fun run at Georgia Tech will take place on Sunday, May 6 at 8 a.m. and will follow the Pi Run route.

If you are coming from either W. Peachtree or Spring streets, turn on to 5th St., and head towards Tech's campus. 5th will turn into Ferst Street. When you see the baseball field on your right, the Klaus Advanced Computing building will be ahead on your left. The race activities will start behind the Klaus Building.

Adult runners are $25 and elementary runners, ages 5-12, are $7. Proceeds benefit Centennial Place Elementary and more info is here.

Centennial Place is an APS year round school and is among fourteen district schools to earn the state Title 1 Distinguished School recognition this year. Centennial Place has earned this recognition for nine consecutive years and has made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for eleven consecutive years.

AYP is a federal measure of academic achievement covering various categories of students, including those with disabilities and language challenges. Title 1 schools have significant populations of students who are economically disadvantaged and receive federal funding to assist with the education of their students.

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Finally, was recently named a National Green Ribbon School for the continuous effort to be environmentally friendly and health conscious.

Springdale Park was among 78 schools nationwide to receive the inaugural award.

"Science and environmental education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the jobs of the future," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

"Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can expand their coursework while also helping children build real world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments."

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that began in September 2011.

Honored schools “exercise a comprehensive approach to creating ‘green’ environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.”

The 78 schools were chosen from more than 350 applicants. Among the winners are 66 public schools including 8 charters, and 12 private schools. Forty-three elementary schools, 31 middle and 26 high schools were selected.

"These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement.

Springdale Park is located in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. Students from Midtown, Poncey-Highland, Virginia-Highland and a portion of Druid Hills attend the elementary school.

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