Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MLIS Student Honored Nationally for Excellence in Genealogy

Myron McGhee, Valdosta State University graduate student, recently received a first place award for Excellence in Genealogy by the National Archives's Acting Archivist Adrienne C. Thomas.

A scholar in VSU's Master of Library and Information Science program, McGhee was awarded as a result of his participation in an essay contest celebrating both the 75th anniversary of the National Archives and the Fifth Annual National archives Genealogy Fair.

His $1,000 prize signifies his achievements in genealogy research based on genealogical records from the National Archives that trace his family's ancestry using federal, state and local government records. McGhee's essay, "The Use of National Archives Holdings for Genealogical Research," was originally written for his Archives Theory and Issues course at VSU.

A circulation specialist for Emory University, McGhee was honored at the aforementioned genealogy fair held on April 22, at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

The National Archives is known worldwide as a treasure chest of genealogical information. Each year, millions of people use federal records in the National Archives to search for their family roots. Census schedules, ship passenger arrival lists, citizenship papers, military pension files, land patents and court records offer detailed evidence to flesh out family histories.

Information about National Archives holdings relating to genealogy can be found at This competition provided an opportunity for students to share their research "treasures" with the public.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Joe Doyle Selected as 2009 Henry Toll Fellow

Council of State Governments program recognizes leaders from across the nation

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Joseph B. Doyle, Director of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Office of Customer Service, is one of 40 emerging state leaders from across the nation selected for the prestigious Toll Fellowship Program sponsored by The Council of State Governments.

The annual week-long seminar, which will be held in Lexington, Ky., Sept.12-17, is named in honor of Henry Toll, a Colorado senator who founded CSG in 1933. The seminar seeks to develop the next generation of leaders from all three branches of state governments from across the country. This year's dynamic program focuses on trends analysis, policy development, media and constituent relations, and leadership and institutional changes. The experience gives these leaders perspectives they would not ordinarily obtain during the course of their regular governmental service.

Doyle was nominated by Governor Perdue, with endorsements from Chief Financial Officer Tommy Hills and Chief Operating Officer Jim Lientz.

“Joe Doyle has worked hard to remake the culture of state government, working closely with agencies to ensure our citizens are treated just as businesses treat their best customers,” Governor Perdue said. “His efforts have led to agencies providing better customer service often at the same or less cost, and protected Georgia consumers from unlawful business practices. I was honored to nominate him for this deserved recognition.”

Doyle was selected from many outstanding applicants by a committee of state elected and appointed officials as one of the most promising leaders of state government. This year’s applicant pool included state leaders from all three branches and represented 40 states and two US territories. Past Toll Fellowship graduates include governors, US Senators and members of Congress, as well as leaders in state government.

Doyle has been tasked by Governor Perdue to lead two state agencies:

- The Office of Consumer Affairs protects consumers and businesses from unlawful or deceptive practices in the marketplace.

- The Office of Customer Service is a unique program which engages all Agencies and state employees in improving service to citizens. This is done by Speeding up Service Delivery (Faster); being Helpful and Courteous (Friendlier) and Simplifying Access to state services (Easier).

Doyle is the 10th Georgian selected for the program since it began in the mid-1980s, and the first Georgia selected since 2005.

The Council of State Governments is the premier multibranch organization forecasting policy trends for the community of states, commonwealths and territories on a national and regional basis. CSG alerts state elected and appointed officials to emerging social, economic, and political trends; offers innovative state policy responses to rapidly changing conditions; and advocates multistate problem-solving to maximize resources and competitiveness. CSG promotes excellence in decision-making and leadership skills and champions state sovereignty.

For more information about the Henry Toll Fellowship Program, visit or contact Krista Rinehart at (859)244-8249.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Three from DNR Honored for Right Whale Work

Three employees of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Nongame Conservation Section have been recognized for their outstanding work during the 2008-2009 right whale calving season.

Senior wildlife biologists Clay George and Mark Dodd and wildlife technician Kate Sparks received awards at the recent Southeastern Implementation Team for Right Whale Conservation conference in St. Augustine, Fla., for their contributions to disentangling North Atlantic right whales.

The 2008-2009 calving season included five documented whale entanglements. Four of the whales were freed from the life-threatening fishing gear and line.

Along with Dodd, George and Sparks, those honored for their part in the disentanglement efforts included Tom Pitchford and Katharine Jackson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Patricia Naessig of Wildlife Trust, Jessica Taylor of the New England Aquarium, Brian Sharp of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and Chris Slay of Coastwise Consulting Inc.

According to conference organizers, the group endured harsh conditions and made personal sacrifices to ensure that the critically endangered animals were given every chance for survival.

“We are very proud of the work that Clay, Mark and Kate accomplished during the 2008-09 season,” Nongame Conservation Section Chief Mike Harris said. “Their dedication and commitment to conservation of Georgia’s wildlife are an example for all of us in the Wildlife Resources Division.”

The Southeastern Implementation Team for Right Whale Conservation is made up of more than a dozen organizations and agencies, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wildlife Trust, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the New England Aquarium. All work together to advance right whale conservation along the eastern U.S. coast.

Decimated by commercial whaling in the 19th century, approximately 400 North Atlantic right whales remain. Almost 200 were sighted off the Georgia coast this winter, up from 150 in 2008. The total includes 39 sets of mother and calf pairs, breaking the previous record of 31 calves set in 2001. The rest of the whales were juveniles and non-breeding adults.

Sparks, Dodd, George and wildlife technician Adam Mackinnon, all part of the Nongame Conservation Section staff at the Brunswick office, also completed training and testing requirements this year to earn the designation of captain.

Georgians can help conserve right whales and other nongame wildlife through buying a wildlife license plate featuring a bald eagle or a ruby-throated hummingbird. The program is vital to Wildlife Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section, which receives no state funds for its mission to help conserve wildlife not legally hunted, fished for or trapped, as well as rare plants and natural habitats in Georgia.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Royal Presented CAES Medallion of Honor

During graduation ceremonies for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences May 9, State Rep. Richard Royal received the college’s highest honor: the Medallion of Honor for Service.

“Richard Royal was one of the most respected members of Georgia's House of Representatives,” said J. Scott Angle, UGA CAES dean and director. “For the college, he provided expert advice and worked behind the scenes to help our college effectively support Georgia's largest industry - agriculture.”

The medallion is given in recognition of service to the college and the agricultural industry in Georgia.

“It was a great honor" to receive the medallion, Royal said. “I was extremely happy that during my political career, I was in a position to assist the University System of Georgia and especially the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia.”

Royal’s strong legislative voice for agriculture in Georgia has provided outstanding leadership and support for CAES, particularly for the college’s campus in Tifton, Ga., said Joe West, CAES assistant dean in Tifton.

“His support has strengthened our ability to deliver high-quality agricultural programs,” West said. “Support for faculty positions, facilities and his advocacy have helped to ensure that the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will continue to deliver the research and educational programs to further Georgia’s agricultural industry.”

Royal was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1983. He represents the 171st District, which includes Mitchell and Colquitt counties. He served as chairman of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee and chairman of the Property Tax Sub-committee of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Royal also served as a member of the Appropriations and Natural Resources and Environment committees. He was also appointed to the Tobacco Advisory Committee by the Speaker of the House and to the Fiscal Affairs Committee by the Governor.

Royal attended Mitchell County High School and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to his service in the House of Representatives, he served on the Camilla City Council for 10 years.

He received multiple awards and honors for leadership from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association. In 2003, Royal became the first recipient of the Presidential Citation from Georgia Tech.

Royal and his wife, Marilyn, have five children and nine grandchildren. He is a deacon at Pebble City Baptist Church and has been a Sunday school teacher for over 24 years. When not in session, he is a consultant for the petroleum industry.

CAES is one of the oldest colleges of agriculture in the nation and among the top five in the nation for research and extension programs. This year, the college also celebrated its largest student body in history, breaking a record that has stood since 1978.

“It is our mission to support Georgia agriculture through our research programs on campus at our Agricultural Experiment Stations across the state and to delivery that research through UGA Cooperative Extension to producers, families and businesses who need it,” Angle said.

“But our greatest challenge,” he said, “is to attract, educate and graduate the workforce that will support and lead the industry in the future. With strong commitment from state legislators like Richard Royal, we are making large strides toward meeting the employment demands of the industry with highly qualified graduates.”

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dr. Emily Abrams Massey of Atlanta Honored as 'Healthy Hero' by the AMERIGROUP Foundation

/PRNewswire/ -- The AMERIGROUP Foundation today announced that it is honoring Dr. Emily Abrams Massey, principal of Seaborn Lee Elementary School, by designating her a "Healthy Hero."

Dr. Massey has served as principal at Seaborn Lee for more than six years. After noticing an increase in the number of overweight children suffering from health issues, Dr. Massey decided to take action. With a clear vision to improve the overall health and well-being of her students, Dr. Massey worked with the school nurse and cafeteria chef to devise a plan that would help change her students' eating habits and promote healthier lifestyles. Adopting principles from Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler's book, "Healthy Kids/Smart Kids," last year Seaborn Lee became a sugar-free zone with a new menu, including healthier choices such as grilled foods, whole-grain cereals, and fruits and vegetables. Dr. Massey quickly got parents on board to help create a support system for students and to encourage healthy families.

"Dr. Massey demonstrates a strong commitment to improving the lives of children and families through a cooperative, community effort," said John E. Littel, Chairman of the AMERIGROUP Foundation. "Her commitment offers a tremendous example of the meaningful results each of us can have within our own community. The AMERIGROUP Foundation is pleased to recognize and support her continuing efforts and achievements."

"I am absolutely elated to be receiving recognition from the AMERIGROUP Foundation for my efforts to create a healthier school environment," Dr. Massey said. "I am proud of our partnership and the great work that the AMERIGROUP Foundation is doing within the community. This is a great testament for all of the 17 schools within my cluster that are incorporating the Healthy Kids/Smart Kids Sugar-Free Zone."

The AMERIGROUP Foundation periodically honors "Healthy Heroes" who have made a significant difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, AMERIGROUP Corporation, which administers publicly funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments. AMERIGROUP Community Care of Georgia brings healthcare services to about 213,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in the State.

To honor Dr. Massey's service, the Foundation will present a $1,000 contribution to the organization of her choice, the American Diabetes Association.

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TSA Names Mary Leftridge Byrd Federal Security Director for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

/PRNewswire/ -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has named Mary Leftridge Byrd as the federal security director for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"A strong and dynamic leader, Mary has a proven track record in helping large organizations achieve success," said Lee Kair, TSA's assistant administrator for Security Operations. "Her energy and determination will be real assets as she leads TSA operations at the world's busiest airport."

Leftridge Byrd began her career in criminal justice and law enforcement in 1974. She has served as warden and superintendent of medium and maximum security institutions in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Most recently, she was the assistant and deputy secretary with the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Leftridge Byrd holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University. She has been recognized for professional excellence and in 2005 received the criminal justice professional of the year award from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. In 2008 she was elected to the American Correctional Association, National Board of Governors.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears Joins Schiff Hardin LLP in Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- Schiff Hardin LLP takes particular pride in announcing that Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears will join the firm in its Atlanta office as a partner on October 15, 2009, following her retirement from the Georgia high court. She will become a member of Schiff Hardin's Litigation Group, focusing on general and appellate litigation, as well as corporate compliance issues.

"I am honored to be joining such a distinguished law firm with a long history of service and dedication to its clients," said Chief Justice Sears, the first woman and the youngest person ever to become a Georgia Supreme Court Justice.

Schiff Hardin Chairman Robert H. Riley, emphasized the significance of her decision to become a Schiff Hardin partner. "Chief Justice Sears is a uniquely gifted lawyer and person. It is a great honor to have her join our firm. This is an important day for our clients, who now will have access to the insights and experience of a great jurist," Riley said.

Schiff Hardin's Managing Partner, Ronald S. Safer, echoed Mr. Riley's praise. "Chief Justice Sears is not only an outstanding jurist and an outstanding lawyer, but an outstanding person. I cannot overstate the positive impact Chief Justice Sears will have in expanding our client service capabilities, our law firm culture and our strong competitive position - both in Atlanta and across the United States. What a wonderful honor this is to the entire Schiff Hardin family that Chief Justice Sears selected our firm from among the many other premier law firms that she could have chosen," Safer said.

Schiff Hardin's Atlanta Office Coordinating Partner Michael K. Wolensky added, "We are so proud that an attorney and civic leader of Chief Justice Sears' stature is joining us. Our clients will be well-served by Chief Justice Sears' sound judgment and unique legal skills. We also are committed to supporting her ongoing activities as a community leader, serving as a member or on the board for so many important organizations."

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears

When appointed in 1992, Chief Justice Sears became the first woman and the youngest person ever to become a Georgia Supreme Court justice. Born June 13, 1955 in Heidelberg, Germany, she grew up traveling the globe with her family and father, Lt. Colonel Thomas Sears, who served as a Master Army Aviator in the U.S. Army. The Sears family eventually settled in Savannah, Georgia, where she attended elementary and high school. In 1976, Chief Justice Sears earned her B.S. degree at Cornell University and moved to Atlanta, where she earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1980.

After earning her law degree, Chief Justice Sears decided to stay in Atlanta. There, she made a name for herself working as a trial lawyer for the law firm, Alston and Bird. In 1985, after five years of working, Mayor Andrew Young appointed her as a judge in Atlanta's City Traffic Court. After serving three years in this position, Chief Justice Sears was elected to the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia. She became the first African American woman to hold such a position in the State of Georgia. In February of 1992, Governor Zell Miller appointed Chief Justice Sears to Georgia's Supreme Court. Chief Justice Sears retained her seat on the state's Supreme Court by winning a statewide election in the fall of 1992. This made her the first woman to win a contested statewide election in Georgia. In 1993, Chief Justice Sears received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Morehouse College. She then continued her education and earned a LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. She was sworn in as Chief Justice of Georgia's Supreme Court on June 28, 2005.

Chief Justice Sears has several civic and professional affiliations. She served as chairman of the American Bar Association's Board of Elections, the Judicial Section of the Atlanta Bar Association, and the Atlanta Bar's Minority Clerkship Program. She founded and served as the first president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. Chief Justice Sears is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Links, Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Georgia Trend magazine has honored Justice Sears as one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians," and in 1993 Business Atlanta magazine named her as one of the "Under Forty and on the Fast Track." In 2001, she was the recipient of the Emory Medal from Emory University for being an "Outstanding Young Alumna."

During her tenure on the Georgia Supreme Court, she spearheaded two major initiatives: the Georgia Supreme Court's Commission on Children, Marriage, and Family Law and the Committee on Civil Justice. The Commission on Children, Marriage, and Family Law was established to address the legal and administrative issues stemming from the increasing fragmentation of Georgia's families, while the Committee on Civil Justice was established to develop, coordinate, and support policy initiatives to expand access to the courts for poor and vulnerable Georgians.

In addition to practicing law at Schiff Hardin, Justice Sears plans to devote half her time over the course of the next 18 months to two other ventures. Starting August 15, she has accepted an offer from the Institute for American Values to serve for one year as the William Thomas Sears Distinguished Fellow in Family Law. The fellowship is named after her beloved brother Tommy, who died in November 2007 at the age of 53. The Institute for American Values is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution based in New York City. Its goals are to produce cutting-edge scholarship in the area of marriage and family, influence how Americans think about financial thrift and generosity, and increase Americans' engagement in Islam-West relations.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fayette County Resident Receives High Girl Scout Volunteer Honor

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc. recently awarded Laura Bosma of Peachtree City with the Honor Pin at the council's annual adult volunteer awards presentation.
The Honor Pin is reserved for a distinctive group of volunteers who have made a significant impact on the Girl Scout movement and who have provided outstanding service to two or more counties within the council’s jurisdiction. The service provided goes above and beyond the expectations of the position(s) held and contributes to the council's goals and objectives.

Laura has held many positions within her service unit such as leader, recruiter and day camp committee member. Laura also enjoys conducting program aide trainings and actively makes an effort to include girls as an integral part of the training by allowing them to have hands-on experiences.

“As a leader, Laura demonstrates high levels of organization. Her girls have an excellent foundation of understanding what it truly means to make the world a better place,” says Amy Vassey, fellow Girl Scout volunteer.
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Governor Announces Agricultural Awareness Week Observance Award Winner

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that East Jackson Elementary School in Commerce is the winner of the fifth annual Agricultural Awareness Week Observance Award.

“Georgia farmers continue to make our state one of the most vital and diversified farm economies in the nation,” said Governor Perdue. “Agriculture Awareness Week gives our students the opportunity to learn how this evolving industry impacts the citizens of our state.”

During National Agriculture Week of March 15 to March 21, fifth grade classes all across the state were encouraged to participate in events and classes to help students learn about agriculture, Georgia’s oldest and largest industry. By using agriculture as a teaching tool for science, math, language arts and social studies, the students learned the origin of food and fiber, the economic and environmental contributions of agriculture and the impact of agriculture on society.

The East Jackson Elementary class was judged as best in the state for using innovative teaching techniques including the “Adopt a Chick Program.” The students adopted 60-day-old chicks, met weekly with high school students and other volunteers to learn about poultry and how to care for their chicks, collected data to complete a record book, and participated in a Poultry Show during Ag Awareness Week.

The East Jackson students, led by teachers Renee Kiley and Kimberly Ashe, learned about Georgia agriculture through several creative avenues. Aside from learning about poultry, the students learned important aspects in soil and water conservation of the land. Students also learned how to grow food and products for our society through a lesson in planting, care and harvesting. It was the unique nature of the program that distinguished East Jackson from the many other worthy finalists.

The other finalists were:

Bacon County Elementary, Alma
Buchanan Elementary School, Buchanan
Carrollton City Middle School, Carrollton
Early County Elementary, Blakely
Free Home Elementary School, Canton
Lamar County Elementary, Barnesville
Lyerly Elementary, Lyerly
Piedmont Academy, Monticello
Washington-Wilkes Elementary, Washington

The Agricultural Awareness Week Observance Award was initiated by Governor Perdue’s Agriculture Advisory Committee to promote awareness of the benefits of the agriculture industry.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Richmond Co. Resident Named Top Hunter Ed Instructor

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently selected Col. Jack Bradford of Augusta as the 2008 Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. This award is presented annually in recognition of an instructor who displays outstanding volunteer efforts in educating sportsmen and women on wildlife conservation and the importance of safety while hunting.

“Each year, countless hours are spent in an effort to select one Hunter Education Instructor that stands out above the rest – Jack Bradford possesses these high standards and is well-deserved of this prestigious award,” says WRD Capt. James Bell, State Hunter Education Coordinator. “His reputation of being a thorough instructor and his dedication and passion to the topic is well-known.”

Retired Army Col. Jack Bradford, who primarily serves the Hunter Education program in the Augusta-Richmond County area, has been an active instructor for 16 years. Bradford is the Georgia Hunter Education Association Deputy District Director for east central Georgia and coordinates all hunter education classes in Richmond County. In 2008 he was lead instructor for 11 classes and attended all other classes in case assistance was required. He also makes himself available for assistance with other classes outside of his region and volunteers countless hours in other activities, including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and the Fort Gordon Sportsman’s Club. He also supports the WEE CAN SKI program, who provide water-skiing opportunities to disable children.

Some of Col. Bradford’s most innovative ideas include building models of all types of tree stands in small scale (for use in the classroom), created a homework study sample exam for student use and searching and using additional videos and literature to enhance the program. According to regional law enforcement staff, one of the most valuable contributions is his ability to coordinate all class supply needs and ensuring that paperwork relative to the classes is filed in an efficient manner.

“Col. Bradford shows his passion for the subject by providing class participants with an outstanding educational experience,” says Capt. Thomas Barnard, who nominated Bradford. “His dedication, professionalism and organizational skills are what makes him tops for our area – in fact, he has been nominated for top instructor in east central Georgia three times - and now, he is getting that same type of recognition statewide.”

The selection of the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year begins at the region level. Each of the seven WRD Law Enforcement Regions picks the outstanding instructor in their area and sends them to Capt. Bell. The applications are then submitted to the Hunter Safety Committee. This committee is made up of WRD personnel from Game Management, Fisheries Management and Law Enforcement who are knowledgeable in working with volunteers and about hunter safety education. The committee then makes the final selection.

For more information on the Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year or hunter education classes, call the WRD Conservation Education Office at (770) 918-6414. For more information on GHEA, visit their website at .

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Two Georgia Youth Honored for Volunteerism at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Two Georgia students, Alizeh Ahmad, 16, of Dalton and Zachary Eller, 14, of Milton, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer work during the presentation of The 2009 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The two young people – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from former First Lady Laura Bush at the 14th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception, held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Alizeh and Zachary were named the top high school and middle level youth volunteers in Georgia last February. In addition to their cash awards, they received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events.

“The young people receiving these awards genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others and have accomplished so much – in their own communities and around the world,” said Mrs. Bush, who delivered the keynote address at last night’s ceremony. “I thank and congratulate them for their outstanding volunteer work. Students with this kind of commitment and leadership ability are essential to the future of our nation.”

Alizeh, a junior at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., helped persuade her school to raise money to build girls’ schools in Pakistan, and has become a vocal advocate for the rights and education of Pakistani women. “Because my family is originally from Pakistan, I have always felt a significant bond and love for the country,” said Alizeh. After reading “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson, an American who builds girls’ schools in Pakistan, Alizeh felt she had to join that effort.

She encouraged others to read the book, and soon it became a popular topic of conversation in her school and community. A fund-raising committee at the school picked up on the excitement and decided to devote its annual festival to raising money for Mortensen’s organization. Alizeh brought her perspective as a Pakistani-American to the planning of the festival, and ensured that Pakistani culture was represented, recruiting Pakistani women to donate ethnic food and offer henna tattoos. The festival ended up collecting $62,000, enough to build a school and supply it with furniture, textbooks, and five years’ worth of supplies. Afterward, Alizeh asked her classmates to write letters to schoolgirls in Pakistan, and then traveled with her family to see firsthand the schools Mortenson has built. While there, she purchased more school supplies for students there, and made a movie to present to audiences back home.

Zachary, an eighth-grader at Northwestern Middle School, has earned close to $8,000 for a local pet rescue organization by baking and selling dog biscuits. “I have always loved animals,” said Zack. “My first word was ‘dog’.” When he was 6, Zack began asking for pet food in lieu of birthday presents. His younger brother followed suit, and over the years they have donated more than 1,000 pounds to local animal shelters.

But Zack wanted to do more, so he began volunteering at a pet rescue operation, where he socialized abandoned dogs awaiting adoption. “I decided to make biscuits for the dogs I saw there,” he explained. “Everybody loved them, so I made more and began selling them at functions in my community.” Zachary, with help from his brother, now bakes his doggy treats on the weekends and in his free time during the week. He also sells biscuits through a website at “There is a huge homeless pet problem in America,” said Zack. “It is good to know that I have helped save many homeless animals.”

“Alizeh and Zachary are inspiring examples of young Americans who care deeply about the needs of others and who have taken the initiative to help meet those needs,” said John R. Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “By honoring them, we hope not only to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, but also to inspire others to follow their example.”

Nearly 20,000 young people submitted applications for the 2009 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the Points of Light Institute’s HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and were flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created 14 years ago by Prudential Financial, Inc. to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored nearly 90,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.

“The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is a fabulous partnership between NASSP and Prudential, allowing us to recognize the outstanding young people in our schools and communities,” said NASSP President Larry Bradley. “This year’s honorees exemplify the true spirit of helping others and by doing so they give America and the world a promising future, a future filled with compassion and hope.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are supported by the American Association of School Administrators, the National Middle School Association, the National School Boards Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, Girl Scouts of the USA, National 4-H Council, the American Red Cross, YMCA of the USA, the Points of Light Institute, and other national education and service organizations.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Georgia is One of 22 Teams of U.S. Middle School Students Named State Finalists in National Green Community-Based Competition

Kudos to Georgia Finalist SFMS Eagles of South Forsyth Middle School in Cumming, Georgia:
  • After learning that the state of Georgia had been in a drought since year 2006, Team SFMS Eagles decided that they wanted to base their project on conservation and reuse of water. The team developed a solar powered model that collected rain water for reuse in the school's plumbing system. After testing their model on several different occasions, Team SFMS Eagles concluded that if the mechanism was scaled to the correct size (theirs was smaller replica) this device could help save thousands of gallons of water per year.
and to Georgia's Honorable Mention Pace Academy Team Pace Eco Knights in Atlanta.

Well done!

/PRNewswire/ -- 22 teams of U.S. middle school students have been named state finalists in the inaugural Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. The web-based national competition encouraged middle school students to team up and "go green" by creating and implementing environmental change in their local communities. From the 22 state finalist teams, two national winning teams and one grand prize-winning team will be chosen and announced on May 18, 2009 at, where a complete list of the state finalists can also be found.

"Congratulations to all of the state finalist teams. It's truly inspiring to see students all over the country taking such an active role in promoting sustainability, starting right at home," said James Whaley, President, Siemens Foundation. "We are tremendously proud of all the teams who participated. Their innovative ideas and projects bring new awareness and ways for us all to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives."

Over 2,000 students participated in the inaugural year of the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge and state finalist projects covered topics such as e-waste recycling, ecosystem restoration and water conservation.

To enter the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, teams of two to three students in sixth through eighth grade, under the mentorship of a teacher or adult supervisor, were asked to identify an environmental issue in their community, research the issue using scientific investigation, and create a replicable green solution using web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. A panel of environmental experts and science educators then reviewed and selected the top projects.

As a state finalist team, each student member will receive an eco-friendly prize pack, which includes a recycled messenger bag, a solar charger, a recycled USB drive, a recycled journal, a reusable water bottle and other sustainable supplies. In addition to the prize pack, the team's adult advisor will receive a free one-year membership to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and a one-year subscription to Discovery Education Science, the digital resource library designed to deepen understanding of science.

The two national winning teams will earn savings bonds, teacher education resources and unique "Discovery Experience" trips. The grand prize-winning team will receive a comprehensive prize package, which includes an appearance on Planet Green, Discovery's 24-hour eco-lifestyle network and a once-in-a-lifetime Discovery Adventure Trip, accompanied by a Discovery TV personality.

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and NSTA have partnered on the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge to educate, empower and engage students, teachers and communities to become "Agents of Change" in improving their communities nationwide. The initiative expands to elementary schools in 2009 and to high schools in 2010.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Clayton State’s Fuqua Receives “Best Paper” Award from BCAA

Dr. Ronald Fuqua, Clayton State University assistant professor of Health Care Management, recently received the “Best Paper Award” at the Business and Health Administration Association (BCAA) International conference for his paper, “Aging, Health Services and Long Term Care Track.”

“The paper is the qualitative part of my dissertation,” Fuqua explains. “I had analyzed data on the reduction of physical restraints in a nursing home as the result of the Nursing Home Reform Act known as OBRA 87. This paper presents the qualitative research I conducted through in-depth interviews with the nursing home's management team.
“My dissertation was an extended effort over almost four years. The adaptation of this paper was about a month's worth of effort.”

Fuqua admits that there were some challenges which included extensive research.

“The greatest challenge was updating the literature since much of the original work was funded on some older work,” he says. “I conducted in-depth interviews using a prepared interview schedule. Probing was determined by the answers provided. The analysis required transcribing the recorded interviews and a process of categorizing and identifying when saturation had occurred. Once the same answers began appearing, the need to collect more information was satisfied.”

Despite a few challenges the experience was very rewarding.

“I feel great about what was learned in the research but I must admit that little recognition was a nice feeling!” he says.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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