Best in Class: DeKalb students win awards in film, video

DeKalb County students won several honors in an international award program for season two of the student-produced television program "The Bridge." The Aurora Awards, a competition created in 1996 to recognize excellence in the film and video industries, named DeKalb's PDSTV-24 a multiple gold award winner. "The Bridge" received awards for editing; original score/music; music variety and educational programming, and DeKalb was the only school system among the fall 2014 winners. The series features high school students in a group forum where they discuss hot topics from a teen perspective. Season 2 includes celebrity guests and performances from Whodini, Famous 2 Most, SalsAtlanta, Sydney Rhame and Zaviel Janae as well as experts and community leaders discussing domestic violence, school resources, social media and driver safety, and interacting with police officers.

Woodward Academy senior Meghana Gudur was recently selected as a winner for the 2015 National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Award. Meghana plans to major in computer science with a concentration in bioinformatics in college next year. Currently, Meghana codes websites for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. NCWIT is a nonprofit coalition focused on improving diversity in information technology and computing from kindergarten through college and in academic, corporate and entrepreneurial careers. The Aspiration Awards, such as Meghana won, highlight young women in grades 9-12 who have aptitude for IT and computing paired with strong leadership qualities and academic goals.

• Students from the Habitat for Humanity campus chapter at Pope High School in Smyrna 'splayed Santa for four deserving families in Cobb County. On Dec. 17 the students dropped off four carloads of presents at the Northwest Metro Atlanta Habitat for Humanity offices. "This year, as a board, we decided as our way of giving back to the community, we wanted to do to make it more personal," said Megan Lee, president of the Pope High School Habitat chapter. "We wanted to specifically find a family to make a connection with and help them have a memorable holiday season." Habitat's Family Resources Team found four families who have hit hard financial times this season, and the students worked hard to fulfill all the items on the wishlist such as bicycles, scooters and sports equipment.

• The Inman Elementary Chess Club will start its own tournament in February. The club, with 89 members in grades 3-5, will continue competing in Clayton and Coweta counties, but club members and their sponsor, Inman teacher Charlie Harper, hope a competition in the county will attract more people. "We specifically want to hook more Fayette county students and citizens to this extraordinary game, as well as increase the number of local events for all chess players in the surrounding communities," says Harper. The club needed game clocks, which usually cost from $25-40, for the tournaments. A $1,000 donation from the Fayette County Kiwanis Club and a $150 donation from an Inman Elementary family enabled Harper was to buy 25 chess game clocks. The first Fayette County Chess Tournament is scheduled Feb. 28. The club plans to invite players from Clayton, Coweta, Henry and Spalding counties.

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