Best in class: Students recycle milk cartons into home for butterflies

Vanderlyn Elementary School in DeKalb County was one of four national Carton2Garden project winners, honored for students’ creation of a monarch butterfly garden using recycled materials. Students repurposed milk and juice cartons from the school cafeteria to build or enhance the school gardens, then researched designs and found plans for a full sized plastic-bottle greenhouse, using donated plastic milk jugs. When Dunwoody Nature Center asked if it could build a milkweed garden on campus, milkweed seeds and other flower seeds were planted in the cartons, they sprouted, and a beautiful butterfly garden was revealed. During the fall, Dunwoody Nature Center will return, bringing some monarch larvae to place in the garden. It will also help collect milkweed seed to share with the community to help save the monarchs.

Walnut Grove Elementary School principal Stephanie Cortellino was honored as the 2014-15 Georgia PTA Outstanding Principal at the Georgia PTA’s annual convention and leadership training this summer. In addition, the Walnut Grove PTA was honored for its “Males on Board” program and for increasing membership.

• A salmon and mashed potato casserole created by Julie Murphy, a teacher in Fayette County’s Kedron Elementary, is the only recipe submitted by a nonprofessional chef to make it to the finals in the second annual ‘No Power? No Problem!’ recipe contest sponsored by Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security. In September, National Preparedness Month, her dish will square off against six well-known Georgia chefs in the final phase of the competition. The contest, part of the Ready Georgia campaign, focuses on recipes that can be made during power outages. Ingredients must be nonperishable and prepared using manual tools and alternative heating sources. Murphy decided that if her family were without power for several days she’d want to serve comfort food. “I started with a mashed potato base, the ultimate comfort food,” she says, and added “salmon, and then some dill to go with the salmon. The recipe just evolved as I thought about what foods would taste good together.” She cooked it in an iron skillet on a charcoal grill to comply with the alternative heating source requirements of the competition.

Zoey Hartman, a senior at The Center for Advanced Studies magnet program at Wheeler High School, scored a perfect 36 composite score on the June administration of the ACT college-entrance exam. ACT Inc. reports that fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score of 36. Zoey joins fellow Wheeler Magnet senior Matthew Reese in achieving the honor this year.

Katheryn Antonowich, Lauren Antonowich, Abby Lewis, and Grace Lombardo from Pinckneyville Middle School finished in seventh place in the junior division of global issues problem solving at the Future Problem Solving Program International Conference this summer at Iowa State University.

Gwinnett County schools’ educational television access channel, GCPS-TV, won two prestigious Telly Awards this year. The district’s broadcast department won a 2015 Silver Award for the “Welcome to School” video/segment and a 2015 Bronze Award for “Iyonna’s Story.”

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School has been named an Affiliate Partner with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc., in downtown Atlanta. The collaboration will give Holy Innocents’ access to educational programming and professional development opportunities, internships, and special admission fees. School-sponsored field trips to the Center will be free for the school, for example, and students and families will get discounts on admission. The Center’s staff will also deliver up to 10 hours of curriculum support. “Having this type of partnership provides opportunities for inclusive dialogue as we prepare global leaders of tomorrow,” said Keith A. White, the school’s director of community outreach and associate director of admissions.

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