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Wesleyan School Announces STAR Student and STAR Teacher

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Jacob Price
Jacob Price

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has honored Jacob Price as Wesleyan School’s STAR
student
for the 2020-2021 school year. In turn, Jacob chose Deborah Brown, high school math,
as the teacher who has had the greatest influence on his academic life.

Beyond stellar academics, Jacob is a four-year member of Wesleyan’s state-champion cross-country team and swim and dive team, where he earned back-to-back Gwinnett County Diver of the Year awards. He is also a three-year member of the Honor Council where he was elected as the president and serves as a peer leader for freshmen. Jacob was Wesleyan’s co-nominee for the Morehead Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a National Merit scholar, and AP Scholar with Distinction granted to students who have earned scores of 3 or higher on 5 or more exams.

When asked why he selected Deborah Brown as his STAR teacher, Jacob said, “I’ve had Mrs. Brown as a math teacher for 3 out of my 4 years in high school, and her class, especially AP Calculus BC, was the first time I really found math interesting. I always liked math before, but it was always just a bunch of numbers. However, Mrs. Brown has shown me how to look at not only math but the world differently – as an observer, a problem solver, and as she would put it, as ‘someone who’s just playing around with math.’ Mrs. Brown’s style of teaching specifically has taught me the benefits of challenging myself mentally. With each class I am presented with some new concept or critical thinking problem that helps me grow as a mathematician every day. I’m extremely grateful for Mrs. Brown constant support and encouragement the last 4 years, and I know that I would be nowhere close to where I am today if I didn’t have her as my teacher.”

Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown, Wesleyan’s STAR teacher, earned both her BS and MAT in mathematics from Georgia State University. Deborah has taught for over twenty years and is in her ninth year at Wesleyan School.

She has taught the entire range of high school math courses: pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Algebra III, Euclidean Geometry, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and multivariable calculus. Beyond the classroom, she advises the Wesleyan math team and serves as new teacher mentor coordinator for the high school.

In its 63rd year, the STAR program is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Department of Education. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score in a single sitting on the SAT, taken through the March test date of their senior year and be in the top 10% or among the top 10 students in their class based on grade point average. Students and their teachers are honored by receiving special recognition in their communities from more than 165 statewide civic organizations.

Wesleyan School is a Christian, independent K-12 college preparatory school located in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. To learn more about the school, visit wesleyanschool.org

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Education

Greater Atlanta Christian School 2021 Seniors celebrate with a Campus “Drive Through”

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Andre' Moxie, Clemson bound
Andre' Moxie, Clemson bound

Graduation for high school seniors is one of life’s major milestones, especially for the 2020-2021 school year. So the Greater Atlanta Christian School seniors celebrated a few days early with a “Senior Drive Through” on their 88-acre campus in Northeast Atlanta. Last year’s class of 2020 inaugurated the event during the most challenging time of Covid-restrictions, and its overwhelming success assured it would be repeated in 2021. Now, it’s a “GAC tradition.”

drone footage, shot by Evan Simmons, GAC faculty

Each of the 172 seniors decorated their cars and drove through the campus to the exuberant cheers of pre-K – 12th-grade faculty and staff cheers. Personalized photo signs for each senior marked the path of the 88-acre campus in Northeast Atlanta, led by GAC’s president, Dr. Scott Harsh. At the end of the route, students received a tasty treat to continue their celebration at home.  

Trinity Rossum, UCLA bound

Dr. Harsh commented, “We have so much to be grateful for in this school year. Our seniors have done extraordinarily well, and the parade is one additional way to celebrate them. Completing this school year is a significant accomplishment for students and faculty alike. I couldn’t be more proud of them all.”

Parker Holland, Georgia Tech bound

GAC’s graduation is May 27 for the graduates’ immediate families in Long Forum and will be live-streamed on GAC’s Website.

Faculty, staff and students cheering on graduates

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Education

Greater Atlanta Christian School Announces Valedictorian and Salutatorian

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Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) recently announced the valedictorian and salutatorian for the 2021 Class. 

Darlene Nguyen of Duluth has been named class valedictorian and will attend Emory University in the Fall. She is the daughter of Ben and Kelly Nguyen of Duluth. 

Parker Hallock of Norcross has been named class salutatorian and will be attending Georgia Tech. He is the son of Mark and Sarah Hallock.  

The 172 outstanding graduates will matriculate to colleges and universities from coast to coast. Commencement will occur on May 27 at 7 p.m. at the Long Forum on the GAC Campus, 1575 Indian Trail Road, Norcross, GA.  Graduation is reserved for the graduates’ families and will be live-streamed on GAC’s website.

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Simpson Elementary teacher turns author with recent release of “My Teacher Looks Like Me” children’s book

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My Teacher Looks Like Me by Autumn Dodson. Photos from author site.

Some of the first adult role models for a child outside of their immediate family often come from their teachers. Ideally those teachers are people that children can relate to and can sense a positivity from that they can imitate in their own lives and grow from. Autumn Dodson is one such teacher, giving her second-grade class at Simpson Elementary School a chance to learn from a teacher who can help them see things from new perspectives.

Author Autumn Dodson

Through her work at the school, Dodson was inspired to write a children’s book titled “My Teacher Looks Like Me” because of a meaningful interaction with one of her previous students.

“I am the first African American teacher at Simpson Elementary. It was last year in one of my parent teacher conferences that Naomi’s (who is the main character in the book) mom explained that I had made the biggest impact on her daughter’s life. It was in that moment that I realized that I am making a difference, and I am exactly where I need to be,” Dodson said.

Dodson mentioned that she had not necessarily planned to write or publish a book, but that the idea came to here rather organically, informed by past experience.

“As I was growing up, I always thought it would be really cool to write a book, but I never thought that I would actually end up doing it. I am currently getting my doctoral degree in education. My dissertation topic is on the effectiveness of African American teachers in the classroom.

As I was doing research, I realized that the lack of African American teachers is a huge issue in education. I got the idea to write a book based on a personal experience I had from one of my previous students, who was an African American,” Dodson said.

Children’s insecurities related to race can be very confusing and damaging if not addressed in an understandable way, so books like these can be a tool for change, in addition to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment.

“I believe it is important for schools to have a diverse staff. All kids should have someone who looks like them. It should never be a point where a kid totally feels isolated because they do not think they belong or cannot relate to someone else in that setting,” Dodson said.

The official release date for the book is May 23, with a book launch party held on the Peachtree Corners Town Green on that date. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, visit autumndodson.com for more information.

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