Best in class: Dodgen middle-schoolers win state Science Olympiad

• The team from Dodgen Middle School, from east Cobb County, won the middle school division at the state Science Olympiad competition this year. It’s the first time a Cobb County middle school has won the state competition since Science Olympiad was started 31 years ago. Dodgen had taken second place in the state for the past 2 years. Six regional competitions narrowed the middle school competitors from 114 teams to 24 before Dodgen won the state event on March 21. The team will now go on to represent Georgia at the National Science Olympiad in Lincoln, Neb., on May 16.

• Eight members of Alpharetta High School’s chapter of the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America club competed in the 2015 State Leadership Meeting in Athens and all were ranked in the top 10 of their competitive event. Six placed either first, second or third, and four students qualified for the national competition in July in Washington, D.C. Alpharetta also won the themed banner challenge for the conference. AHS winners were: Arman Quereshi and Kristin Smith, gold, (national qualifier) star event, advocacy, “No Kid Hungry”; Jiabin Du, silver, (national qualifier) star event, applied math for culinary “Cost Control through Conversions”; Destiny Storey, third place, (national qualifier) state event, knife skills; Nate Patino, gold, star event, recycle and redesign; and Evan Schmitz, silver, star event sports nutrition.

Cadet Capt. Jonathan Chase Strickland, a member of the University of North Georgia (UNG) Corps of Cadets, was honored March 25 by Gov. Nathan Deal and both chambers of the state Legislature for his ranking as top Army ROTC cadet in the United States. Strickland earned the top ranking as U.S. Army Cadet Command’s Cadet of the Year out of 5,617 ROTC cadets scheduled to graduate during the 2014-15 academic year. A native of Gainesville, Ga., Strickland is a graduate of North Hall High School and the son of Jon Strickland and Tracy Strickland.

• Atlanta Public Schools’ Henry W. Grady High School received the 2015 Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s (CSPA) Gold Crown Awards for The Southerner newspaper and Nexus magazine. Each publication was one of 20 nationwide to win a Gold Crown in its respective categories. This is The Southerner’s second consecutive Gold Crown Award. The Southerner has for the first time won all three top national press association awards for a high school publication – the CSPA Gold Crown, the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker and the Quill and Scroll Gallup Award – in the same year. This is also the first Gold Crown Award for the school’s pop culture magazine Nexus, which earlier had won three consecutive Silver Crowns. More than 1,200 newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and digital publications issued during the 2013-2014 academic year were eligible for judging in the 2015 CSPA Crown Awards Program.

• Seventy scholastic chess teams competed at Creekland Middle School for the state team title on March 21 in one of four sections:K-1, K-3, K-5, and middle school. Winners were: K-1, co-champions Brumby and Eastside. (Fulton Sunshine Academy finished in third place with 3.5 points and strong tie-breaks over Westminster, who finished fourth); K-3, Fernbank; K-5, co-champions Daves Creek and Medlock Bridge (Daves Creek took home the first-place trophy by a narrow margin on US Amateur Team tie-breaks); middle school, Paideia.

Antonela Kljajic, a third-year German teacher at Starr’s Mill High in Fayette County, is Georgia’s 2015 Teacher of Promise for the Foreign Language Association of Georgia. The award recognizes teachers in their first, second or third year of teaching who show promise to be an outstanding teacher and leader in foreign language education. In addition to teaching, Kljajic sponsors the school’s German Club and German Honor Society.

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