Amerson River Park recognized for cleaner river and other Middle Georgia awards

The pleasure of living in Middle Georgia comes largely from people in the community who commit their time and effort to make it such a great place.

Often, these community leaders, students and organizations receive awards for their efforts in being the best they can be and making Middle Georgia a better place.

Here is a list of people in Middle Georgia who have recently received awards.

Clean 13 Report

A Macon park was recognized for its ability to create a community around efforts to clean the Ocmulgee River and produce a more sustainable future for Georgia, according to a news release.

Amerson River Park, nominated by Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us), was recognized on the third annual Clean 13 Report that was released by the Georgia Water Coalition, which works to protect Georgia’s water, according to the release.

“Amerson River Park has been a true collaboration of many people and organizations over the years to be a major component in miles of both walking and water trails,” said Claire Cox, president of Georgia Women, in the release. “More people and neighborhoods connected to the Ocmulgee River means more people are taking care of it and keeping it clean. The river is for everyone, and Amerson River Park is providing the access for people that both want to enjoy it and keep it clean.”

Amerson River Park opened in May 2015 after the completion of $5.5 million of improvements, and it is part of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, according to its website. The park is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. March-October. It closes at 6 p.m. November-February, according to its website.

“I’m delighted to see our community continue to be recognized for improving the quality of life by providing a place for all people to enjoy, and to provide people access to the Ocmulgee River,” said Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert in the release.

2019-2020 Student Advisory Council

Two Bibb County middle school students were selected out of more than 1,000 applicants to be two of the 130 chosen to serve on the 2019-2020 Student Advisory Council, according to a news release.

State school Superintendent Richard Woods selected Heien Chang and Connor Martin, both Howard Middle School students, to discuss issues related to education, to be ambassadors and participate in service projects, according to the release.

“The teachers got an email, and they came up to us, and they were like, ‘Congratulations! You’re in the Student Advisory Council,’ ” Heien said.

Both Heien and Connor said they are excited and honored to be selected for the council, but they were also shocked.

“I thought, well, there’s probably a lot more gifted people in the school district, and so it’s surprising and such an honor that I was able to get put onto it,” Connor said. “If I didn’t have such brilliant teachers and friends, I would probably not be here.”

Both Heien and Connor said the issues they discussed in their application about public schools in Georgia concerned scheduling for students, and they presented different ideas to help lower student stress.

Connor said the only break students get during the school day is lunch, and he thought it would be good to add to that break. Heien said her school is currently on a period schedule with more and shorter classes. She said she thought it would be better to move to a block schedule so students could focus on fewer classes and have more time for each.

“I think it’s a really big honor to be on there, and I really hope that I could represent the students that can’t really have a voice in what they do,” Heien said.

Other Middle Georgia middle school students selected for the council were:

  • Anna Lowe - Otwell Middle School

  • Jaabili Gosukonda - Feagin Mill Middle School

  • Phillip Porter - Otwell Middle School

  • Riley Dorrity - Monroe County Middle School

Middle Georgia high school students selected for the council were:

  • Haley Raymond - Houston County High School

  • Mary Lowe - Forsyth Central High School

  • Nicholas Henson - Denmark High School

  • Rumi Lee - Houston County High School

  • Sade Collier - Perry High School

  • Sai Prakash - Forsyth High School

Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year

Heather Williams, of the Central Georgia Technical College Child Development Center in Warner Robins, is one of two teachers to be named Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year, according to a news release.

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning chose Williams to serve as an ambassador for the program, and she received a check for to go to her school, her classroom and herself.

“The Georgia Pre-K Program’s reputation as an exemplary early childhood education program for 4-year-olds can be attributed directly to the outstanding Pre-K teachers and assistant teachers who implement this program daily,” said Commissioner Amy Jacobs, in the release. “These awards are a small way for us to say thank you and to recognize their efforts. We congratulate Heather and Johnathon and look forward to working with them throughout this school year.”

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Jenna Eason is a multimedia reporter at The Telegraph and creates serviceable news around food, culture and people who make a difference in the Macon community. Jenna joined The Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2018 with a journalism degree.