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Thumbs Up! - May 14, 2012

While certainly not a completely lost art, handwriting skills seem to have lost a large part of the once very important part of elementary school curriculum. The use of computers and the stress on standardized testing can be credited with at least part of this change. But at Live Oak Elementary School in Albany, all is not lost. Paraprofessional Daniel Araujo is the school's handwriting coach and a strong advocate for legible handwritten assignments. To reinforce the need for good penmanship, the top handwriters from each grade level entered the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. The following students received certificates of recognition for their proficiency: Aundray Wright (kindergarten), Gabriel Arnold (first grade), Joy Hollis (second grade), Jada Bell (third grade), Rykerria Price (fourth grade) and Dyani Willis (fifth grade). Keep up the good work.

A recent fundraiser of the Exchange Club of Albany can be declared nothing less than a grand success. The annual Deputy Dawg Golf Tournament raised a whopping $9,500, the bulk of which will go directly to help with the fight against child abuse. Club secretary Bill Banks stressed the importance of all the event's sponsors at its last meeting. Thank you, one and all.

The first weekend of May found "Cops on Doughnut Shops" all across the nation collected much-needed funds for Special Olympics. Locally, law enforcement officers took to the Krispey Creme on the corner of Pine Avenue and Slappey Boulevard to collect donations. Just as with any other athletic endeavor, there are costs involved to participate. The funds collected will assist with travel, food, equipment and more as Special Olympians compete locally as well as at the state and national levels.

'It's been a long journey, and this night is most precious for me. I can't wait to get back to school tomorrow and share this with my children." These were the words of Carolyn Ford, a math teacher at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School, upon hearing her name called as the 2012 Teacher of the Year for the Dougherty County School System. Ford was selected from the cream of the school system's crop of teachers. "There has not been a day in my life that I felt I made the wrong decision (to become an educator)," Ford said. The children (and their parents) that are fortunate enough to spend time with this educator are glad she chose this career path and no doubt understand the reasons for the Teacher of the Year designation.

Relay for Life events have been occurring at break-neck speed over the last few weeks. Donations to the American Cancer Society have come in pennies and dollars and checks of many denominations. One such event took place in Sylvester/Worth County on April 30 and raised an impressive amount of money. A total of just under $70,000 was raised for the needs of those suffering from cancer and those yet to be afflicted. Taking the total population number for Worth County as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 count, that sum comes to $3 plus a few pennies for each resident. Just think if that much per capita was raised in every county.

The Junior League celebrated 80 years in Albany last week. The all-woman volunteer organization takes on projects big and small throughout each year. Some projects, to name only a few, include supplies for GraceWay, back-to-school party and school supplies for Girls Inc., Christmas gifts for foster children, Women's Build for Habitat for Humanity, manning a water station during the Snickers Marathon and supplies for Camp Good Grief. Happy anniversary, ladies!

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board