Best in class: Flat Rock chorus performs at gala with Chenowith

— The seventh-grade show chorus at Flat Rock Middle School in Fayette County was chosen by the ArtsBridge Foundation to perform at its fundraising gala last month at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which featured Kristin Chenoweth as the headliner. “It was an amazing evening. It was a true red-carpet event where our students were treated like stars,” says chorus teacher Dana Lamb. The ArtsBridge Foundation connects Georgia students in grades K-12 with the arts.

Nancy Blair, principal of Rising Starr Middle School in Fayette County, has won a Bammy Award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences in the Middle School Principals category. Bammy Awards are cross-discipline awards to acknowledge good work done in education. The Academy has a board of governors, a council of peers, and the executive committee.

— The number of band students from Fayette County Schools making the cut to perform with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra has nearly doubled from a year ago, and is a record-breaking number for the school system. The 12 students accepted into the 2015-2016 ASYO season are Jennifer Deng, violin, J.C. Booth Middle; Jefferson Downs, cello, McIntosh High; Wilfred Farquharson, viola, Fayette County High; Tyler Lane, French horn, McIntosh High; Errol Rhoden, III, tuba, Fayette County High; Kalli Edwards, bassoon, Fayette County High; Rachel Anders, flute, McIntosh High; Parker Olson, percussion, McIntosh High; Michael Dehan, percussion, McIntosh High; Alisha Zamore, clarinet, McIntosh High; Steven Lukehart, trumpet, McIntosh High; and Ryan Kontos, bass (first alternate), Whitewater High. Teachers of these students include Amanda Moran (orchestra), J.C. Booth Middle; Patti Davis (orchestra), Fayette County High; Dr. Myra Rhoden (band), Fayette County High; James Hagberg (orchestra), McIntosh High; Barbara Baker (band), McIntosh High; and Darilyn Esterline (orchestra), Whitewater High.

Maxwell High School of Technology is one of five schools around the nation selected to compete in this year’s Quaker State Best in Class Challenge, a six-week competition involving high school auto shop classes. Students will restore, tune, and customize a used car into a showroom-ready, creative representation of their school. Each high school team will compete for a custom spread in Popular Mechanics, the opportunity to participate in the Mecum Auction in Austin, Texas, in December and prize money and scholarships. Max Chavez, auto services teacher and department chairman at Maxwell, said, “This challenge will allow our students to demonstrate industry skills, teamwork, and creativity by taking a used vehicle and converting it to a road worthy piece of art.” Quaker State has teamed up with AutoZone to help the competing five schools. Each will receive their vehicle (valued at $3,000) from local car lots and receive a $2,000 AutoZone gift card to purchase parts and supplies for the competition. Over the next few weeks, the students will be scored on their progress, quality of work, and overall final product. Online voting also will be taken into consideration.

— The National Strength and Conditioning Association and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition have named Wesleyan School in Gwinnett County a 2015 Strength of America award winner. The school competed with hundreds of others for the recognition in these four major categories: supervision, education, program, and facilities. Wesleyan School leaders made the commitment to hire Dustin Wolf as a full-time strength coach last year and said they believe this award is a testament to the school’s overall dedication to students.

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