Thumbs Up! - May 13, 2013


One of the most prestigious awards in the field of mental heath has been bestowed upon one of Georgia’s best known advocates for people with disabilities. Annette Bowling, executive director of Albany Advocacy Resource Center, has been awarded the Nobis Foundation Barrier Breaker Award. The award bears the name of the first draftee for the Atlanta Falcons way back in 1966. Tommy Nobis is the founder and volunteer board member of Nobis Works (formerly Tommy Nobis Center) that began in 1977 to provide vocational training to persons with disabilities. The center has grown from operating out of a trailer into a 52,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art center in Marietta. Bowling has provided leadership to Albany ARC for the past 40 years knocking down barriers along the way for disabled citizens from preschool children to senior adults. Where others have failed or simply given up, Bowling has driven on and this award is proof positive that her work has not been in vain. Congratulations!

Consider this: Less than 2 percent of the American public serves in our country’s armed forces. And, less than 2 percent who serve attend the Army’s Special Forces Qualifying Course. Of those who take the course, less than 2 percent make it through. An Albany native and Dougherty High graduate has joined that small group. Capt. Henry Mathis III has more goals ahead. After he leaves the Army, Mathis would like to work either with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or perhaps the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Capt. Mathis is a good example of just how far hard work can take a person.

Academic Bowl competitions are tough. There are numerous rules and courtesy is a must from participants, coaches, parents and spectators. And then, there are the questions. What percent of the U.S. states are contiguous? How many square units larger is a square with a side of 9 units than a square with a side of 3? What is the term for a fixed window above another window or door? By knowing the answers to these and many more questions, Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School won the regional competition and placed third in their state division. This group of young scholars will next take on teams from across the country in the National Academic Quiz Bowl to be held May 31-June 2. Here’s wishing the team and coaches the best of luck.

Getting a driver’s license is much more complicated for teenagers than ever before. What was once a free elective course in high school, a driver’s education course is now rather expensive. Funded by a grant from State Farm Insurance, 10 teen winners of the “Celebrate My Drive” essay contest at Albany Technical College have received $250 scholarships to take the course. The new drivers will attend 30 hours of classroom training as well as six hours of supervised training on the road. From drivers everywhere, thanks State Farm and ATC.

School children are eager for summer break and parents are eager to keep them busy. No other place in the world offers a more diverse (and almost always free) calendar of events than the public library. A search of the Dougherty County Public Library calendar finds storytimes, T-shirt art, a teddy bear picnic, a patio party, Wednesdays with Chehaw, a pajama party and much more. Check out the library and you will find a sure cure for the “I’m bored” song of summer.