Thumbs Up! - Sept. 17, 2012

Kiwanis clubs are a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Established in 1915, Kiwanis sponsors in the neighborhood of 150,000 service projects each year, raises more than $100 million for projects and devotes six million volunteer hours of service. In August, Roger Marietta, president of the Albany Kiwanis Club, was honored with the "Extra Mile Award" for his outstanding leadership over the past year. Marietta has been instrumental in increasing the Albany club's membership by more than 30 percent as well as sponsoring a Circle K Club for students at Darton State College. While not working on service projects, Marietta teaches at Darton and sits on the Albany City Commission. One can't help but wonder what he does in his "spare" time.

The Cancer Coalition of South Georgia held a fundraiser in Plains on Aug. 25 to help pay for cancer screenings for the uninsured and underinsured. There was fun, food and an auction that resulted in raising $50,000. The Cancer Coalition serves 32 south Georgia counties, and the funds it raises are needed. Guest auctioneers for the evening were former President Jimmy Carter and Food Network celebrity Paula Deen. A special thank you goes out to Deen and Carter for taking time out of their busy schedules to help with such a worthy cause.

While most teenagers and many young adults are not completely sure of future plans regarding education and/or career, not so for one Bainbridge High School grad. Cadet Stephen Ray Dunn Jr. recently completed Cadet Basic Training at the U.S. Military Academy. Summer instruction included first aid, rifle marksmanship, mountaineering, hand grenade use, and nuclear, biological and chemical training. Dunn expects to graduated from West Point in 2016 and be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. This sounds like an excellent plan.

Albany Technical College continues to spread its services throughout the metro Albany area. Last week ATC President Anthony Parker put on a big smile, took hold of a giant pair of scissors and cut the ribbon at the new Lee County Adult Education Center. Already with a presence in Lee County, ATC's program has produced at least 75 General Education Diploma (GED) graduates each year. With a permanent home for adult literacy, the numbers should exceed those in the past. One step at a time, people will have the chance to finish something that was interrupted -- a high school education. Beyond that, the sky is indeed the limit.

It is a dream-come-true for many Albany residents. Finally, there is an Olive Garden restaurant in town to satisfy the need for pasta and breadsticks. In these tough economic times, this popular chain was willing to come to Albany and build a brand new eatery. Please remember that servers work primarily for tips and when the service is good, act accordingly.

Something is up at Worth County High School. The students, teachers, administrators and parents have obviously worked hard to make the best of student opportunities. More WCHS students this year passed the Advanced Placement (AP) exams than in the last four years combined. Passing the exam in any particular course allows the student to earn college credits while still in high school. The credits put an incoming college freshman ahead as soon as he or she enrolls, cuts down on the time needed to graduate, and last, but far from least, reduces the cost of college. Well, done, one and all!