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Greater Atlanta Christian School student John Meshramkar receives Kimberly-Clark Bright Futures Scholarship



GAC student John Meshramkar receives the prestigious Kimberly-Clark Bright Futures Scholarship.  45 students were chosen in North America to share the $900,000 scholarship, which totals $20,000 over a four-year period. 

Kimberly-Clark Foundation’s Vice President, Jenny Lewis, shared, “Our scholarship recipients are exceptional students who demonstrate academic excellence and promise for building a bright future. We are honored to recognize their achievements and are pleased to support them as they pursue their studies in higher education.”

Meshramkar served as the Head Prefect (high school president) this past year, where he led six other prefects in student, faculty, and administration initiatives.  Throughout high school, John held leadership roles in the Student Advancement Leadership Team (SALT), National Honor Society, Beta Club, National Spanish Club, and others. 

 He earned multiple awards throughout high school and volunteered in the Young Men’s Service League, tutoring via Corner’s Outreach homework club, working as a Spanish translator at the Norcross Community Cooperative and serving on various mission trips in the US.   He has also been a multi-year GHSA state qualifier in Track and Swim and played on the water polo team.

John commented, “The Kimberly-Clark Scholarship is something I’m very grateful for. College is a time for growth and exploration, but students often get dragged down by the financial burdens that come with education. This Kimberly-Clark scholarship is a blessing that has given me some peace of mind as I head into the next stage of life. With less financial pressure, I now have more of an opportunity to make the most of my college experience through things like study abroad or undergraduate research. I, like many other students, worked hard in high school, and this scholarship is a motivation for me to keep that determined spirit.”

John is the son of Nitin and Beena Meshramkar of Berkeley Lake and plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Fall.  

Source: Press Release from Greater Atlanta Christian School

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Spring into Summer Reading at Local Schools and Library Events



GAC 5th graders first time back in the library since last March.

There are few natural highs superior to a good book by the pool on a perfect summer day. To foster a genuine love affair with reading at a young age, schools and libraries must get super creative, especially in our current socially distant climate. So, let’s peel the page back and see what’s in store for burgeoning Peachtree Corners book lovers.

Gwinnett County Public Library Events

The Gwinnett County Public Library system offers countless educational and recreational programming of all kinds. Here are some upcoming highlights.

Storytime LIVE! via Google Hangouts
April 2, 10:30-11 a.m.

Enjoy a new storytime with stories, songs, games and a new way to get social via Google Hangouts. This program is geared towards toddlers/preschoolers, but any child is welcome to join in! There is a limit of 25 kids and their caregivers, so please register at gwinnettpl.org.

Virtual Author Talk
Martha Alanis

Author Martha Alanis

April 10, 11 a.m.
Diverse Voices: A Bilingual, Children’s Author Storytime featuring Martha Alanis.

Open Your World Book Club
April 20, 3-4:30 p.m.

For adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Readers and aspiring readers are invited to join online for reading, listening and discussion of adapted versions of classic short stories and novels. Registration required.

Read Like a Trailblazer—Paul Duke STEM High School

In keeping with the school’s overall motto of “We are the Trailblazers,” the media center at Paul Duke Stem High School is currently running a reading promotion aptly titled “Read Like a Trailblazer.”

“What I am trying to get kids to do is to define what a trailblazer is — someone who challenges the status quo, who sees an injustice and wants to fix it or address in some way,” said Media Specialist Christine Pulliam. “So we have been promoting a lot of memoirs from revolutionaries of thought or action, who can help kids think outside of the box and not always operate in a straight line, but create new paths.”

At the moment, the Read Like a Trailblazer promotion mainly pertains to recommendations to students to pick up titles they might not normally consider, so that they can relate to and learn from the heroes of past and present. Perhaps it might inspire them to blaze their own trails in avenues previously unexplored.

Pulliam is “bursting with ideas” to do more, such as a weekly writing workshop for thoughtful students to create comprehensive exposés centered around compelling historical trailblazers, or perhaps turning that enlightening research into beautiful informative school posters.

As is to be expected, the trail of the library aisle has limited access to students at this time for safety reasons, which in turn limits the ability to implement complex, comprehensive promotional projects.

But the trailblazers of Paul Duke are not easily deterred. We suspect that given a little time, the resourceful staff that keeps books on the shelves and insightful ideas in the minds of teens will find a way to keep the fires of the trailblazers lit.

GAC Reads! Program, Middle School Book Club and More

Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC) Spartans have lots of literary inspiration at their disposal.

The first week of March marked special learning moments for the Early Learning Village at GAC, which is comprised of Pre-K3 and Kindergarten classes. GAC Reads! is an annual program for the little ones to connect with books and reading in an intentional way.

This year, there is a focus on American authors, with a wide range of authors both male and female, as well as current and ‘tried and true’ choices across many cultures. Each day of the week had a creative student participation theme and a compelling recommended list for teachers to pull from during story time.

■ Monday – “American Authors” Red, White, and Blue Day
■ Tuesday – Silly Socks Day
■ Wednesday – ABC Day
■ Thursday – Hat Day
■ Friday – Pajama Day

The GAC HS/MS Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Bonnie Baker, expressed lots of enthusiasm for the progress of the GAC Middle School Book Club. “The GAC Middle School Book Club is off to a great start,” Baker said. “Twenty students from 6th to 8th grades are meeting during lunch to learn about new books, play literature related games and talk about the great books they have read.

“In March and April, the book club will be giving input on our summer reading program and helping to choose our theme for this summer’s Ultimate Reading Challenge. They will also be creating book reviews to be displayed in the library for other students, helping those who struggle to find good books their peers have enjoyed,” she said.

Author Talk with Marsha Skrypuch
Fourth and fifth graders Zoomed with author Marsha Skrypuch on March 24. Ms. Skrypuch specializes in writing historical fiction for children’s literature.

Alphapalooza Contest
First to third graders are invited to participate in the book contest Alphapalooza! The contest requires students to read a book from each letter in the alphabet and keep a journal.

Virtual Book Fair
The Henderson Media Center, along with Scholastic, will have a virtual book fair April 26 through May 7. Students can buy books for summer reading and support the Media Center.

Book Character Dress-Up!
GAC Elementary (Pre-first to fifth grades) hosted Book Character Dress-Up Day on March 24. Students dressed as their favorite book character and were encouraged to bring the book to school.

GAC K3 field trip to library on silly hat day

Caldecott Art Contest for Pre-first to Third Grades
The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

The Caldecott Art Contest was hosted by the Henderson Media Center, collecting all entries by March 26. Pre-first to third graders turned pieces of artwork that illustrates a book cover or a scene relating to a Caldecott Medal (or Honors) book.

90-Second Newbery Contest for Third to Fifth Grades
The Newbery Medal has been recognized as the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The 90-Second Newbery Contest invites students in third to fifth grade to create a short movie or piece of artwork that tells the story of a Newbery-winning book. Films are about a minute and a half long, and artwork could be any medium of choice; all entries were collected by March 26.

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Gwinnett County Recognizes Top Students and Teachers, STAR Honorees and Winners Announced



 The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation and Partnership Gwinnett partnered to announce the PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program highlighting Gwinnett’s best and brightest students and teachers. These awards celebrate the achievements of STAR students and teachers from each Gwinnett County high school, both public and private.

“We are very proud of our high school students for being recognized as academic achievers of excellence within their respective schools,” said Gwinnett Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson. “These young people are incredible representatives of our powerful public and private school systems in Gwinnett County.”

Since its creation, the STAR program has honored nearly 28,000 students and the teachers they have selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination.

STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 170 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue with their STAR Students at every level of the program.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the celebration of these exceptional Gwinnett County students and teachers each year,” said Adam Forrand, Vice President of Education, Talent & Leadership Development at Partnership Gwinnett. “We thank our teachers for the extraordinary investment they make in their students every day. We hope to see these students continue their personal and professional paths right here in Gwinnett County regardless of where their post-secondary plans take them.”

PAGE and the PAGE Foundation honor outstanding students and educators and, encourage academic excellence through competitive academic programs such as PAGE STAR, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.

For more information or to learn how to get involved in local economic development efforts, please visit partnershipgwinnett.com.

Source: Partnership Gwinnett release

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Earth Day and Nasmyth Environmental Center at GAC



gac earth day
Lisa Chase assists students in making “seed bombs.” Photos courtesy of Margie Asef.

April 22 marks Earth Day on the calendar, and Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) plans to celebrate Mother Earth in compelling ways.

The Greenhouse at GAC.

“Our Nasmyth Environmental Center lead teacher, Lisa Chase, will be making pollinator garden seed bombs with our wee ones (K3-5th grade) as part of Earth Day. She helps kids care for our environment all year. As an added bonus, there will be an afterschool workshop for kids to make a home-worm-bin,” GAC Director of Communication Margie Asef said.

“I decided to do the seed bombs, because it was a fun way to tie in the importance of pollinators to our environment,” Lisa Chase said. “Our seed bombs are a mix of wildflowers that will attract a variety of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. We can talk about pollinators with all the grades at their appropriate levels. Little ones can learn about how bees make our honey and the older students are able to connect growing wildflowers with past lessons on sustainable agriculture.”

GAC Lower School Principal Rhonda Helms gave a comprehensive overview of the work and value of the Nasmyth Environmental Center on campus. “Teachers in the Nasmyth Environmental Center work diligently to create integrated and holistic learning activities,” Helms said.

“Whether they are in the greenhouse studying fish and plants in the aquaponics system, collecting data on the trout eggs beginning to hatch, caring for the chickens in their coop, learning about hydroelectricity while spending the day on one of GAC’s pontoon boats at Lake Lanier, or studying the medicinal effects of plants in our rainforest, students participate in lessons that have an experiential approach to learning that guides them to understanding their role and impact on the environment and their responsibility in sustaining it.”

Aquaphonics at GAC.

The goal is hopefully to encourage “a love for exploration, sensory stimulation and learning through a robust STEM curriculum,” according to Helms. More information on the work of the Nasmyth Environmental Center can be found at greateratlantachristian.org.

“Although I see the glints of future environmentalists in some of my students, each one can be part of the solution. If we all work together to make small changes it will create a larger impact,” Chase concluded.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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