— Northview High School’s mock trial team, state champion, represented Georgia at the National High School Mock Trial Championship last month in Raleigh, N.C., and was runner-up. In the first two rounds of competition Northview bested Wyoming and Idaho, winning every judge’s ballot in these matchups. The team remained undefeated in the next two rounds, beating Colorado and Iowa before reaching the championship matchup with Nebraska. The Nebraska team became the national champion. On Northview’s team, Amber Scales received three Outstanding Attorney awards (rounds 1-3), and Patrick Wu received two Outstanding Attorney awards (round 4 and the Championship round). Harsha Sridhar received four Outstanding Witness awards (rounds 1-4), and Mary Kate Korbisch received the Outstanding Witness award for the championship round. The team is coached by teacher Elizabeth Lake, along with attorneys Denise Abramow, Paul Dietrick and Jim Stewart. The state coordinator is Michael Nixon.
— The J.C. Booth Middle School robotics team, the “World Class Warriors” became the first Georgia team to win the First Lego League (FLL) U.S. Open competition championship last month at the Legoland Hotel in California. Their victory was even more remarkable because the Warriors suffered two robotic malfunctions in the first half of the competition, but catapulted their score in the final seconds to clinch the international contest. The six-person team of seventh- and eighth-graders is just in its second year at Booth.
— For the second year in a row, gymnasts representing the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s Perimeter Gymnastics program brought home regional and state championship wins. Lauren Henderson, 11, was Region 8 Xcel Gold All-Around Regional Champion at the 2015 Xcel Regional Championships, May 1-3 in Savannah. A Woodward Academy student, Henderson placed first in floor exercise and was named Region 8 Xcel Gold Floor Exercise Champion, with a score of 9.575. In addition, Halle Kwatnez, 12, who attends The Davis Academy, was named Xcel Platinum State Bar Champion and Region 8 Xcel Platinum Bar Champion, with scores of 9.15 and 9.25 respectively. Fourteen-year-old Maja Jovanovic, a student of Henderson Middle School, was named Xcel Level 6 Georgia State Beam Champion, with a score of 9.225. “I could not be more proud of all of our competitors,” says Stacey Harris, director of the MJCCA’s Perimeter Gymnastics program.
— Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science in the University of North Georgia’s Mike Cottrell College of Business, has released “Teach Your Kids to Code,” a colorful programming book for children and parents. “As a computer science professor, I often grade my students’ apps at home in the evenings and my young sons would sometimes sit in my lap as I graded,” Payne said. “My children kept coming up with fun ideas for making the programs and after some time, I had gathered a number of programs that my boys enjoyed.” “Teach Your Kids to Code” uses the programming language Python – the same language used by Google, IBM and in K-12 and university computer science courses – and helps parents teach their children how to draw shapes, program colors, and develop animation and fully playable games through computer programming. Payne spent more than two years planning and developing the book.
— The Sandy Creek High School orchestra program has earned the Georgia Music Educator’s Association “Exemplary Performance Award.” This award is presented to middle and high school bands, orchestras, and choruses that achieve outstanding results in all areas of performance including large group performance, solo and ensemble performance.