Thumbs Up! - Aug. 20, 2012

Sometimes the perfect person lands in the perfect job and that is just what appears to have happened at Albany Technical College. Drenda Davis-Jackson has walked a winding road before arriving at ATC, with stops at Goodwill Industries, Head Start, Albany State University and Troy University. Since 2009, Davis-Jackson has served as retention and STARS (Student Tracking and Retention Services) counselor at ATC. Now, Davis-Jackson has been named the new director of admissions at the college. From social services to event planning to working directly with students and staff, this multi-talented lady will no doubt be just what the 14-member admissions team needs to maintain the already successful department.

The Junior League of Albany is at it again. Members vote on a project to focus on and the current two-year signature project is the Junior League Closet. Located at the Lily Pad, the closet is, and will remain, stocked with clothes, hygiene items, toys and more. The Lily Pad is the local facility that provides resources, including a safe haven, to adult and child victims of physical, sexual and/or mental abuse. When the time comes to flee from a dangerous situation, it is most often a "go now, go quickly" occurrence. The Junior League's goal is to provide whatever is needed by the new arrivals -- be it toothbrushes, pajamas, soap or stuffed animals -- so that the professionals on staff can take care of the business at hand. Thank you, ladies!

Football season has not officially started but Albany State's defensive end Justin Blash is garnering a lot of attention. Blash has been named to the Boxtorow Preseason All-American team. The senior, who had already been named to the All-Conference First Team, is definitely going to be a player to watch this season. Congratulations and here's hoping for a safe and winning season.

From a Baker County farm to Washington, D.C., Shirley Miller Sherrod has lived a life most of us can only imagine. With the release of her new book, "The Courage of Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear," Sherrod tells a story that needs to be read. There was her early farm life, the murder of her father, segregation, the Civil Rights Movement and so much more. The national release date for the book is Aug. 28.

School is in session and it is time for a little math. The Albany YMCA and the Dougherty County School System have been awarded a $2 million grant to provide after-school and summer programming for Magnolia Elementary School students. The Title I Century 21 grant will be spread out over the next five years. The student population at Magnolia, according to the DCSS website, is 475. Give or take a few students (and assuming every student is in need of extra services), basic math reveals that the benefit per child will be about $840 per year. The possibilities for how to use these funds are endless. Programs at the Y, computers, books (the real ones with pages), tutors, parent involvement and on the list goes. When the first year is over, it will be fun to see just how the money was spent and the measurable changes in the lives of families with children at Magnolia Elementary School.