This year's theme for the recent National School Lunch Week was "The National Basketball Association: Join Our Team!" The week's lunch menu items played on basketball terms, such as Jump Shot Breaded Chicken and Slam-Dunk Mac and Cheese. Cafeteria managers and their staff members decorated the cafeterias, showed team spirit by dressing alike (some went so far as to have cheerleaders and referees), games were played, community leaders and parents were invited to schools, live bands, pep rallies, school cheers and dances. Children also learned the importance of good nutritional eating habits.


Students in the Dougherty County School System's elementary gifted education program recently attended a two-night, three-day environmental education program at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center near Eatonton. During their stay, they participated in educational classes taught by University of Georgia professors. They participated in hands-on lessons, including water conservation, habitat preservation and industrial pollution.

Students also took part in classes on ichthyology (fish dissection), leadership building, canoeing, herpetology and working with pioneer tools. They also hiked through the forest to view and learn the history of the 2,000-year-old eagle effigy for which Rock Eagle is named. The trip was organized by Julie Sellers and Anne Dodson, L.I.F.E. Lab teachers. Chaperones were David Alford and Scott Gore.

The Albany High School Lifespan class seniors in Food and Nutrition recently participated in performance assessment learning at the school's cafeteria. The exercise spanned a three-week period. During the first week, students observed the workers while they performed their regular duties. During the second week they engaged in regular briefing and for the final week they had a opportunity to participate in hands-on activities.

The students performed many duties, ranging from clerical to sanitation and food preparation. The tasks included sending faxes, writing on menu boards, washing utensils, preparing salads, helping prepare breakfast, bread making and turkey wraps. Georgia Professional Standards require that the students design and demonstrate a nutritious diet and that they "identify and describe resources, both governmental and other, that provide a nutrition safety net for eligible individuals at different stages of the life cycle." At the end of their job shadowing experience, students are required to make oral presentations to their classmates, detailing what they have learned.


The Byne Christian School High School Bible classes recently collected a total of 490 pounds of food to donate to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia.

A ceremony was recently held at Lake Park Elementary School to dedicate the Freedom Shrine, a collection of historical American documents, donated to Lake Park by the Exchange Club of Albany. Several members of the Exchange Club of Albany were present including President Larry Sculley. The ceremony also featured Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, who told the students about the importance of recognizing the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom.

Fourth-grader Mason Montgerard talked about the Preamble to the Constitution and fifth-grader Sierra Mulkey shared about the Gettysburg Address.


Lee County's Palladium Players were recently named the runners-up in the state AAAA One-Act Play Contest. Along with the second-place trophy for their production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," four actors received special honors. Rab Davis, who had the title role of Picasso, was named the best actor in the state. Derek Gobin, Ankur Bhavsar and A.J. Austin were named to the all-state cast.

Brenda Tucker, a former teacher with the Dougherty County School System, was recently selected to head up the Early College Awareness Program in Georgia. The program is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Club of Georgia.

The Early College Awareness Program was initiated in the 1990s by a Harvard admissions officer. It is designed to make middle school students and parents aware of the importance of a college education so that they can begin thinking and planning early enough to make the transition from high school to college a reality.

The Early College Awareness Program brings seventh- and eighth-grade students and their parents together for a half-day event. The event consists of a panel of college students who share their experiences of attending college; a financial aid presentation for parents explaining the resources available to make college affordable; a guidance counselor presentation detailing curricular and standardized test requirements for college; and an inspirational guest speaker.

Prior to directing the Early College Awareness Program, Tucker was a teacher at International Studies Elementary Charter School where she was 2007 Teacher of the Year.

Brett Hammock, a Deerfield-Windsor School graduate, was selected recently as a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society in the Georgia Southern University chapter. The health and physical education major is the son of Lila Swords and is expected to graduate May 2011. Students qualify for the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society by completing a minimum of 30 semester hours at an accredited college or university, while maintaining a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average or a scholastic rating of within the top 15 percent of their class.


The Albany State University Marching Rams band recently was chosen as one of eight bands to participate in the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase on Jan. 30 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

A total of 45 marching bands from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) began competing for the eight slots in the Honda Battle of the Bands three months ago. The selection process included online voting by fans and selection by HBCU band directors and presidents.

Honda will present the ASU music program $1,000 for participating in the pre-qualifying process. For being selected as one of the eight bands to perform in the Honda Battle of the Bands, ASU will receive $20,000 for music scholarships.

Other HBCU marching bands selected to perform in the 2010 Honda Battle of the Bands are Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, North Carolina Central University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University, Tuskegee University and Virginia State University.

The 2010 Honda Battle of the Bands marks the eighth year of the event.

This will be the third time the ASU Marching Rams band has appeared in the Honda Battle of the Bands. ASU also participated in the 2007 and 2008 events.

"Being selected to participate in the Honda Battle of the Bands is a tremendous honor," said Michael Decuir, director of ASU bands.


Darton College's spring semester starts Jan. 6, but people interested in attending the Albany school can apply now. They can apply for admission online at www.darton.edu/admin/admissions and for financial aid online at www.darton.edu/admin/finaid. Students who are planning to sign up for financial aid are encouraged do so as early as possible, since it can take several weeks for the financial aid process to be completed.

Applications for admission are available in the Admissions Office, and admissions and financial aid counselors are available to speak with applicants. For more information or for a free printed spring class schedule, call toll-free at 1-866-775-1214, or call (229) 317-6740.


Javier Gonzalez, director of the College Assistance Migrant Program and the High School Equivalency Program at Abraham Baldwin College, will be the featured speaker at the ABAC fall commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Gressette Gym.

"I feel extremely honored to have the opportunity to address the graduating class," Gonzalez said. "Having come from a humble background, where earning a college degree was a very rare exception, I learned the value of education at very early age."

Gonzalez has been a member of the ABAC staff since 2003. In recent weeks, he has been selected to attend the University System of Georgia Executive Leadership Institute. The institute addresses the need for succession planning by identifying and developing high potential employees to equip them to become the next generation of leaders.

Education Notebook submissions should be typed, concise and e-mailed to ethan.fowler@albanyherald.com; faxed to (229) 888-9357, Attn. Ethan/Education Notebook; or dropped by our office at 126 N. Washington St.