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Middle Georgia students, educators win multiple awards and 2 other shout-outs

Ashley McConnell, a second grade gifted teacher at Kings Chapel Elementary School, back middle, stands with her students, Principal William Ray and Assistant Principal Shelley Shillcutt after receiving the 2018-2019 Gifted Teacher of the Year award which is presented by the Houston County Association of Gifted Children.
Ashley McConnell, a second grade gifted teacher at Kings Chapel Elementary School, back middle, stands with her students, Principal William Ray and Assistant Principal Shelley Shillcutt after receiving the 2018-2019 Gifted Teacher of the Year award which is presented by the Houston County Association of Gifted Children. Special to the Telegraph

Schools, teachers and students have won multiple awards and recognitions in the past weeks including Ashley McConnell, who won Houston County’s 2018-2019 Gifted Teacher of the Year award.

“I was so excited and surprised,” McConnell, a second grade teacher at Kings Chapel Elementary School, said. “I was just thrilled to be recognized for all of my hard work because I really do love it, and I put everything into it... I’m proud to be here.”

McConnell said she loves teaching gifted because she’s able to give her students ownership over their learning process and allow them to have a choice in how they want to learn.

Principal William Ray said that McConnell “changes the way her students think about the world,” and he knows this because his own child took her class.

“It is a pleasure to work with her because she is such a dedicated professional and takes her children’s learning very seriously,” Ray said.

Houston County High School students

Eight Houston County High School students won awards in the first Congressional App Challenge, which was presented by U.S. Congressman Austin Scott. The challenge, which is held for Georgia’s Eighth District, was created to inspire students to get involved with science and technology, according to the press release.

“The Congressional App Challenge is a great way to showcase the innovation and technological talent of students across the Eighth District, and the submissions we received in its inaugural year clearly expressed this,” Scott said in the release.

Rumi Lee won first place for “AidMe,” a first aid medical assistance app for students to learn medical intervention techniques. She is invited to attend the #HouseofCode event in Washington D.C., according to the release.

“Wraith’s Wrath” by Tien Tran, Donghyun Kwak, Carter Richter, and Connor Richter won second place, and “Rate-It R” by Christopher Saetia, Nikita Shetty, and Aaron Mathieson won third place. All of these students attend Houston County High School.

Carter Elementary School and Alexander II Magnet School

Bibb County had two schools on the Title I Distinguished Schools list: Carter Elementary School and Alexander II Magnet School, according to the press release.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods released the list on Dec. 4 which recognizes the highest performing Title I schools in the state.

“In addition to identifying schools in need of additional support, it’s important for us to recognize and applaud schools when they’re doing well,” Woods said in the release. “These public schools are among the very best in the state and are doing extraordinary work on behalf of their students and communities.”

Keep Georgia Beautiful

Keep Georgia Beautiful (KGB) celebrated its 40th anniversary this week by paying tribute to Macon’s Carolyn Crayton, who helped launch the state organization.

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) president and CEO Helen Lowman lauded Crayton at a private reception Wednesday at the Blacksmith Shop before the statewide convention convened in Macon Thursday.

Crayton founded Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful in 1974 as one of the first local pilot programs of the national organization.

She encouraged Georgia Governor George Busbee and legislators to create Keep Georgia Beautiful in 1978.

In 2017, KAB created the Carolyn Crayton Award to recognize those who support the mission of local affiliates.

Keep Georgia Beautiful also awarded its Carolyn Crayton Woman of the Year award to Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe of the Live Thrive Atlanta program working for a healthy and sustainable environment.

KGB also honored Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful with an affiliate award for communities with a population between 100,001 and 150,000 people.

Amy Schwartz Moretti

Amy Schwartz Moretti, the director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, was awarded one of the Top 30 Professionals of the Year by Musical America, according to a release.

The award is presented to 30 professionals who are making a difference in the musical community, and Moretti was recognized for her work directing the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, according to the release.

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