Best in class: Student’s nonprofit helps Haitian girls help themselves

• What started as a Girl Scout Gold Award project for McIntosh High student Lauren Ladouceur has turned into a successful nonprofit organization that teaches young girls in Haiti to provide for themselves and their families by sewing handbags. Ladouceur’s nonprofit organization, LOVE2Haiti (, caught the attention of Porsche, which honored her with its 2015 Porsche Driving Force Youth Award. LOVE2Haiti collects and provides sewing supplies and native-language instruction, and secures markets in the United States to sell the handbags.

Riverwood International Charter School participated in the Positive Athlete Georgia program in 2014-15 for the first time, and three Raider student athletes won the Positive Athlete of the Year award: Pascal Acree (tennis), Bayne Jarvis (cross country), and Danielle Jenkins (swimming). The school won the 2014-15 Positive School of the Year award, which was accepted at a ceremony by principal Dr. Robert Shaw and athletic director Mike Santoro. Positive Athlete Georgia accepted nominations during the school year from parents, teachers, and coaches to recognize student-athletes in 25 sports whose attitudes have a positive impact on their team and school environment.

Victor Peters, a senior at The Cottage School, was awarded first place for the Fall 2014 high school division of the Georgia Council on Economic Education’s Stock Market Game InvestWrite competition. His essay was on emerging drone technology, specifically the company AeroVironment (Nasdaq:AVAV) a publicly traded company that produces drones, missile guidance systems and components for electric cars.

Snellville area high school students got a financial boost to start up their businesses at the fourth annual Shark Tank competition last month, the capstone project of a yearlong elective at South Gwinnett, Brookwood and Central Gwinnett high schools. Students pitched their business plans to a jury of local business owners for funding. The jury gave the Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year award to Jim Walker, of Phoenix Ironworks, a custom knife company. Sydney Wiley, of Live Love Monogram, and Alexander Pourhossein, of AP Furniture, were runners-up. Startup Funding was awarded to: Pourhossein, who attends SGHS, $425; SGHS students Dayana Moreno and Christopher Bernard, of Devine Delicacies, $400; SGHS student Montrez Cox, of Stellar, $100; CGHS’s Aston Graham, $100; CGHS’s Wiley,$450 and Walker from BHS, $515. The jury was Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, of Georgia Property Restoration; Alysa Cooper, of SarahCare; Philip Gossling of DoYourOwnPestControl; Alicia Wehner of Brand and Britt Insurance; Maria Peifer of Delta Community Credit Union and Candi McClamma of Altitude Realty. Funding was provided by Walton EMC, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, SarahCare, DoYourOwnPestControl, Delta Community Credit Union, Altitude Realty, Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce and the Snellville Entrepreneur Council.

• The United States Department of the Air Force has given the Air Force Junior ROTC unit at Sandy Creek High the highest rank achievable, Distinguished Unit Award with Merit. Only 68 AFJROTC programs, out of 889 nationwide, received the “with merit” distinction, which recognizes cadets’ personal growth and accomplishments, contribution of the instructors as mentors, and the support of the school and local community.

MariAlice Johnson, a sophomore at Shiloh High School of Snellville, has been nominated to attend the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Boston June 28 30. The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

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