Thumbs Up! - Jan. 27, 2013


Westover High School once again took the top spot in the district Academic Decathlon earlier this month. The win, a fourth consecutive, earned the team of scholars the opportunity to compete in the state competition in Gwinnett County in late February. Under academic coach Brian Collier team members Reginald Mosley, Evan Drew, Othellious Cato, Lloyd Fisher, Ann Belocura, Ian Smith, Tyler Sheffel, Willie Tyson, Chelsea Lee, Chirag Mendpara, Wai Lam, Dillon Notz, Annie Loudermilk and Thomas Langstaff are already winners but here’s wishing you the best of luck at state.

Asia Cook just has that personality that allows her to make friends (and win votes). If the name sounds familiar, Cook is the current Miss Albany State and now the winner of a national online competition sponsored by Verizon Wireless. As the grand prize winner of “The Ultimate Reign Competition”, the prize package includes $15,000 to support her community service initiative for the American Red Cross, a $5,000 scholarship, a Smartphone, a tablet and a Bluetooth headset as well as a gift card valued at $1,500. Cook will use her winnings to encourage young people to donate blood and she also plans to sponsor a 5K charity run.

To be named as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Award recipient is indeed an honor. As Albany has for a number of years now, the 2013 MLK Day Celebration was a time to reflect on the event’s namesake and those people that carry out his dreams. The prestigious awards this year went to Lucy Hazel Dunn, Master Sgt. Nathaniel Lowman (retired) and Christopher Cohilas. The Youth Service Award was presented to Lee County High student Ashlee Nicole Harden and Westover High School student Sa’Haara-Jade Aidelia Bryant. These two young ladies, not yet even old enough to vote, have impressive backgrounds both in academics and community service.Congratulations, one and all.

In the world of technical colleges, being nominated for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) is a special honor. Albany Technical College has narrowed its original pool of 10 nominees to four. Tomorrow, those finalists will be interviewed by an Albany Area Chamber of Commerce panel and the 2013 GOAL winner will be selected. The final four nominees are Michael Carroll (Firefighter/EMSP), Brooke Geissler (Design and Media Production Technology), Aamir Greene (Telecommunications Engineering Technology) and Cayla Osteen (Dental Assisting). Win or place, there are no losers among the finalists.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful held its 24th annual Cheers to Our Volunteers Celebration Luncheon last week. There were definitely enough volunteers for KADB in 2012 to call for a celebration. More than 34,000 volunteers performed 208,744 hours of community service, valued at $5,383,643. During those hours there was graffiti removal, electronics disposal, placement of storm drain markers, litter removal, tree planting, drug disposal, environmental education and more. Awards were presented to a number of businesses and organizations as well as individuals for the work done to improve and preserve the local environment. In such an impressive crowd of community-oriented citizens, one stood out above the rest, which is no small task. The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carlos Phillips.

Yes sir, it has been an award-winning first month of the year in Albany. To each recipient, whether listed here or not, Thumbs Up!