Thumbs Up! - May 21, 2012

Earlier this month, the 13th annual Dougherty County School System's Science Olympiad was held at Chehaw. Each elementary school in the district entered a team of 18 third, fourth and fifth grade students. Pairs of students from each grade level competed in nine activities to earn points. The school with the top score was declared the winning team. Overall winners: Lake Park, first place; Morningside, second place; Magnolia, third place. Special, and equally as important, recognition went to teams as follows: Most Cooperative - Turner Elementary, Most Persistent - Morningside Elementary, Most Creative - Radium Springs Elementary, Best Sportsmanship - Northside Elementary and last but far from least, Best Team Spirit - West Town Elementary. It sounds like science was the subject of the day but not the only lessons learned. Good job.

The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia includes Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon and Albany. Across that 45,000 square miles, an impressive number of awards for 2012 were earned. Je'nell Hubbard, a Westover High School student, took one of only 30 gold awards the council received. Requirements for gold medal consideration include at least 80 hours of dedicated effort that show civic responsibly as well as a deep understanding of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Hubbard's project was a "No texts, No wrecks" campaign. Silver awards went to Albany-area scouts Brittney Cameron and Ander Hall, the highest award possible for a scout in grades 6-8. Congratulations, young ladies.

'I told him we'd try to work together for a year, but we agreed if it didn't work out that I'd go someplace else." Such was the reply by Betty Lowe when asked by her husband Graham, headmaster at then-Deerfield-Windsor School, if she would take on teaching middle school math and science. The year was 1969 and now, after nearly 60 years of marriage and 43 years of working to educate an untold number of students, the couple has retired-together. Here's wishing you many more years together and a very, very happy retirement.

About ten days ago, 79-year-old Carol Dozier answered her doorbell only to be met with a fist to the face. It was an anonymous tip to police that resulted in the attacker's arrest. A few days later, in an unrelated case, neighbors saw what they believed was a burglary in progress. The good folks wrote down the tag number of the getaway car and were able to quickly , and quite accurately, describe the four criminals for the responding officers, resulting in four arrests. The tip and the observant neighbors are to be commended for their actions.

Whether she is a personal friend, a casual acquaintance or a total stranger, Judy Randle touches the lives of those around her every day. She is a business owner, an employer and a busy community volunteer. Randle's first venture into business was a telephone answering service that evolved into today's Central Monitoring, Inc. The company has grown from three employees and 300 accounts to 30 employees and 12,000 clients in 14 states. For all her efforts, big and small, far and wide, Judy Randle has been named the Small Business Administration's 2012 Women in Business Champion of the Year, not only for the state but for SBA's Southeast Region IV. For a small business owner, it just doesn't get much better than that.

It is the last week of the season for "American Idol" and Leesburg's own Phillip Phillips has made it through. This young man has not felt well for a number of weeks, has been away from friends and family and exposed to who-knows-what challenges. Phillip has endured, persevered, entertained and proven he is an outstanding musician. The same young man that left for the bright lights four months ago wept tears of disbelief as he and his family rode the short parade route for his homecoming day and saw the thousands of supporters lining the roadsides. Phillip Phillips is a winner, plain and simple.