Best in class: Fayette robotics team takes third in state contest

• The Mega Cardinals Robotics Team from Crabapple Lane Elementary School in Fayette County took third place in the FIRST Lego League Georgia Regional State Tournament recently at Georgia Tech. The first-year team of nine fourth- and fifth-graders competed against 600 teams from Georgia, including teams from Fayette’s middle schools. Team members are Ian Rigney, Matthew Villiger, Sofia Fuenmayor-Diaz, Marc van Zyl, Keelen Garcia, Christian Clarke, Drew Lakly, Roshan Kolachina, and Mark Redahan. Fifth-grade teacher Pat Costa, third-grade teacher Natalie Schmitt, and several parents coach the team. In addition to programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field, the competition requires teams to complete a project challenge. This year’s challenge was to find a solution to a real-world trash problem. The Mega Cardinals came up with an idea to take K-cups, the single-serve coffee pods, out of landfills and recycle them into doors that are stronger than a traditional wood door.

Becky Wilder, nutrition manager at Cleveland Elementary, is the third recipient of the Cheryl Calhoun Award, established two years ago by the Fayette County school system’s nutrition program. The school system’s nutrition staff nominated and voted for the winner. School nutrition director Kokeeta Wilder says recipient Becky Wilder was selected because she best exemplifies reliability, dedication, hard work, and a positive attitude. The award is named in honor of the district’s longest-serving school nutrition director, who died of cancer in January 2007.

Woodward Academy senior J.P. Mulkey, senior design editor of The Phoenix, the Academy’s yearbook, won a Gold Circle Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in the feature photo category for his photo “I Nominate.” His photo of Chris Freer and George Dietz was taken during the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and appeared in the 2015 yearbook. This is the first time The Phoenix has earned a Gold Circle Award. This year’s Columbia Scholastic yearbook and digital media categories attracted 4,232 entries by students at colleges, universities, and secondary schools throughout the United States. There were 506 winners.

Holcomb Bridge Middle School was recently named a Microsoft Showcase School, one of only two schools in Fulton County to receive the honor. The Showcase Schools program recognizes schools that are leaders in technology-driven personalized learning. This designation provides the school’s teachers and leadership team with access to innovations in educational technology around the world and designates it as the host school for a showcase event to share information with educators throughout the Southeast.

Lauren Morel, a student at South Forsyth High School, has been selected as a National Youth Delegate to the 2016 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Morel joins a select group of 250 students from across the country to participate in an intensive study week-long of leadership in environmental science and conservation. Morel was chosen based on academic accomplishments and a demonstrated interest and excellence in leadership in the sciences and conservation studies. The event is sponsored by George Mason University, National Geographic and the National Zoo.

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