EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: Sands honored in Jones County

Louis Sands, senior U.S. district judge for the Middle District of Georgia, a Mercer alumnus and current member of the University’s Board of Trustees, was recognized at the Jones County Ninth Grade Academy on May 11.

A portrait of Sands was unveiled, along with a plaque recognizing him as a native of Jones County, graduate of Maggie Califf High School -- which was located at the site of the current Ninth Grade Academy -- and one of Mercer’s first African-American students.


Stacy Hinson of Tattnall Square Academy and Shannon Thompson of the Gatewood School in Eatonton were selected as Braves All Star Teachers of the Year and presented the award at a game last week. The Braves recognized five educators from 200 nominees from across Braves Country who have made a difference in the lives of their students as well as in the community.


Mercer University alumnus Adriel Taslim has received a Robertson Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree at the University of California, San Diego.

Taslim, from Redding, California, studied in Mercer’s renowned Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in the Townsend School of Music. He earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in May 2014 with majors in violin performance and French. He has spent the past year teaching in Thailand with Service First, a program based in Mercer’s Institute of Life Purpose.

Taslim will be pursuing a Master of Pacific International Affairs degree in UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.


Northside High School drama teacher Brian Barnett has been nominated for a Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. He was nominated by the Northside High Thespian Troupe 2892.

Barnett, a 1985 Northside graduate, has served as the drama teacher since 2000. In 50 years, the school has won 47 regional titles and 19 state titles for one-act competitions. That’s more than any other school in Georgia.


Perry High School’s Eli Guidry was one of 13 students from Georgia public high schools who were named semifinalists in the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. Each year, up to 141 students are named as U.S. Presidential Scholars. The 13 Georgia students are among 565 semifinalists named this year from a field of more than 3,900 initial candidates.

Students have the opportunity to become U.S. Presidential Scholars based on two paths of accomplishment. The majority of the scholars are selected on the basis of broad academic achievement; additionally, 20 additional students are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts, or creative writing.

Telegraph writers Oby Brown and Jeremy Timmerman contributed to this report.