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Pinckneyville Middle School Kids Headed for the Odyssey of the Mind World Championship



Odyssey of the Mind

This time last year a determined team of creative problem-solvers from Simpson Elementary School represented our city and state on the international scene at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals hosted at Iowa State University where they finished first in the world and brought home an enormous trophy and memories that will last a lifetime. This May, five members of that winning team plus two new members will be heading back to the World Finals to represent Pinckneyville Middle School, and they need your support.

Odyssey of the Mind
The Simpson Elementary team with their 1st place trophy
Odyssey of the Mind
Closing Ceremonies at the 2018 World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) is an international program that allows teams of students to solve problems in a creative manner. Each year, the teams are given long-term problems that they will solve with certain criteria included in the solution.

Also included is a “spontaneous problem” wherein teams are asked to perform random tasks on the spot without prior preparation. For example, a team will be asked to create a bridge made of unique materials that can support a certain amount of weight. To solve these types of problems, teamwork and good communication are required, along with creativity. Plus, they have to think under pressure. This makes the program challenging and fun at the same time.

Overall, the OotM is a program that combines science, technology, engineering, and math with arts (STEAM)! They allow the students to bring out their knowledge and ideas in an exciting and productive environment.

Why the Odyssey of the Mind is Good for the Kids

Children can gain a lot of benefits by joining the Odyssey of the Mind. For one, healthy competitions, such as the OotM, inspire kids to do their best not only in the competition but in everything they do in life, especially in their studies. But, that’s not all. This program enables the participants to build their self-confidence, create new friendships, and develop their life skills. It also allows them to explore and recognize their true potentials. Overall, this program allows the students to learn while having fun.

Meet the Team

This year’s team from Pinckneyville Middle School is composed of seven students (six sixth-graders and one fourth-grader), namely Addie, Claire, Elisa, Emma, Kylie, Molly, and Sophia. They have been working very hard since September to prepare for this year’s competition. They’ve created an original play, including writing the script and making the costumes, sets, props, and make-up. They’ve done all these things without help from adults and with a budget of only $125 – because those are the rules!

Their hard work was rewarded when they won First Place at both the regional competition last February and the Georgia State Finals held earlier this month. They’ve achieved this despite being one of the youngest competitors in the middle school division. But their journey is not yet over. They are now qualified for the World Finals, and they have to defend their title as World Champs this May in Michigan.

Who’s the Competition?

Odyssey of the Mind started under the name of the “Olympics of the Mind.” It has programs for kids starting in kindergarten to college. This year, these talented and skillful students will be contending against teams from the United States as well as Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Mexico, the UK, and many more. It is exciting and inspiring to see our students compete on a global stage.

Show Your Support

The students of the Pinckneyville Middle School (Addie, Claire, Elisa, Emma, Kylie, Molly, and Sophia) have definitely done an amazing job reaching the World Finals for the Odyssey of the mind. But they are hoping that you can help them raise some money for their registration fees, meals, lodging, transportation, and other necessities.

The competition will take place from May 22-25, and the team would like to have the donations in by May 17th.

As these students write, “It is an honor once again to be one of the teams from all over the world that will be competing at the World Finals and to represent Peachtree Corners, Gwinnett County Public Schools, and the state of Georgia! We sincerely appreciate any assistance, large or small, that you can provide as we prepare to make the long trek from Georgia to Michigan! Thank you!”

You can visit their GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/pinckneyville-odyssey-of-the-mind

With that, let’s encourage and support them as they represent Gwinnett County on an international scale!

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Summer Meals Program Coming to Gwinnett Parks



A program to make sure children have access to healthy meals during summer break is coming to three Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation locations. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on May 7 approved a memorandum of understanding with the nonprofit Georgia Nutritional Services, Inc. to serve as the sponsor for the federal Summer Food Service Program at no cost to the County.

Where it will be offered

As the sponsor, GNSI will secure Meals for Kids to serve as the food vendor for the program. The meals program will be offered at:

  • Best Friend Park Gym, 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd. in Norcross; Lilburn Activity Building, 788 Hillcrest Road in Lilburn;
  • Rhodes Jordan Park, 100 East Crogan St. in Lawrenceville.

What Age Group

The Summer Food Service Program will be available for children age 18 years and younger and those age 19 years and older who have a physical or mental disability. The program will provide a free daily meal and snack for summer camp attendees and will be open to the public as well.

The program will run weekdays June 3 through June 28 and July 8 through Aug. 2 (no service July 1-5).  Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and snack from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For a location to be eligible for the Summer Food Service Program, the site must be located in a Board of Education school cluster where more than 50 percent of its students receive free or reduced lunch.

District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque said as an added benefit, all three parks are in close proximity to a transit bus stop for easier access by participants. “I am proud of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation for expanding its healthy lifestyle programming to include providing nutritious, accessible meals for children,” said Fosque.

For more information about the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, visitwww.GwinnettParks.com.

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Motion, Timelapse, Long Exposure and Experimental Technique Workshop



Location: 310 Technology Parkway – Peachtree Corners City Hall

Time: 6 to 9pm

Level:  All levels Novice to Expert

Age:  All Ages

Class Size:  Limited to 40 (must live or work in Peachtree Corners)

Camera / Laptop Requirement:  Bring your camera or borrow one of ours

Who should come: Anyone interested in learning new, fun, and advanced techniques to create fun and compelling images well beyond the ordinary. 

What to expect: This is going to be a hands-on workshop where we will learn to take ordinary environments and make them extraordinary.

For questions or to sign up contact Jim Stone at jstone@tytancreates.com

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Four Peachtree Corners Students Among those Receiving AP Scholar Recognition at GAC



AP Program Greater Atlanta Christian

Greater Atlanta Christian’s Academic Program Reaps High Rewards for AP Scholars

Wednesday was College Signing Day and everyone was excited for what the future holds for these students. But are they ready? That is the big question and the motivation behind why Greater Atlanta Christian School invests considerable resources into developing the best AP Program in Atlanta. The Norcross-based school is tied for the top Atlanta private school to have the highest AP pass rate at 84% in 26 AP courses. In the last year, two additional courses have been added bringing the total to 28, the most of any Atlanta private school. That means more opportunity for GAC students to better prepare for the academic challenges that await them.

During this week’s Academic Awards Night, GAC awarded high school students who have performed at the highest level in the AP Program. Over 30 AP Scholars with differing distinctions were recognized. Their performance indicates strong college preparedness, something students are able to achieve before they even begin which gives them a “leg up” on their peers. Scores on the AP exams are used by colleges to determine if they will grant course credit for what the student has already learned.

Says High School Principal Shane Woodward: “These accomplishments are not only indicative of the caliber of students we have but of the quality of our faculty as well. Our teachers’ ability to engage and challenge our students, while equipping them with knowledge of standards that are essential in the Advanced Placement curriculum, is phenomenal. These accomplishments do not just happen. They require careful planning and quality assessment, over time, to understand exactly what students need. Our teachers put a lot of effort into making these scores a possibility for our students and I couldn’t be more grateful for their efforts.”

Among those 33 awarded are:

AP Scholar

Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.
Mary Grace Manton (Peachtree Corners)
Navya Sarikonda (Peachtree Corners)
Kaitlyn Williams (Peachtree Corners)
Christopher Barbieri (Lawrenceville)
Ethan George (Lawrenceville)
Catherine Wanning Cheng (Suwanee)
Lillian Clark (Duluth)
Evana Darby (Duluth)
Caroline Lowenstein (Duluth)
Savannah Hill (Braselton)
Summar Hill (Braselton)
Ethan McDonnell (Tucker)
Sofia Nadal  (Monroe)
Julia Nguyen (Doraville)
Spencer Yates (Berkeley Lake)  

AP Scholar with Honor

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
Sam Collins (Peachtree Corners)
Roy Dixon (Lawrenceville)
Celeste Hosfeld (Suwanee)
Sarah Kester (Duluth)
Christopher Johnson (Berkeley Lake)  

AP Scholar with Distinction

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
Elise Karinshak (Lawrenceville)
Christine Melley (Lawrenceville)
Pranathi Singareddy (Lawrenceville)
Harry Zhang (Lawrenceville)
Matthew Marino (Suwanee)
Alex Wright (Suwanee)
Eunice Park (Duluth)
Adrian Tomasevic (Duluth)
Nataly Beacham (Winder)
Calvin Dong (Johns Creek)
Hunter McIntosh (Snellville)
Grant Mimms (Alpharetta)  

National AP Scholar

Granted to students in the US who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
Victoria Huynh (Lilburn). To note, Victoria also earned a perfect score on her AP Government exam, a rare achievement by only 113 of the over 300,000 students who took the exam globally last May.

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