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Thumbs Up! - Nov. 11, 2013

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL: See who deserves a Thumbs Up! this week

Anyone thinking that a fundraiser must involve $100 dinners, silent auctions and evening wear, think again. The children at Kinchafoonee Primary in Lee County will tell you it is all about the head gear. Every Friday, children and faculty are permitted to wear his or her favorite hat all day long by simply paying a dollar. The funds raised each month go to various organizations or, as in October, a very special person. Kindergarten student Brandon Mendoza was diagnosed in February with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It was for Brandon that classmates and teachers donned their caps and hats last month. Primary school children know little about such things as leukemia but the little sponges quickly learn about the joy of giving, a lesson that will remain a part of their lives as they grow into the citizens that will lead whatever community becomes home in adulthood.

Nancy Askey spent most of her career working on the cardiac floor of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. After retiring, she became a part of the Mended Hearts Organization, a group of volunteers that spends time with patients who are preparing for some type of heart procedure or recovering from the same. With 675 volunteers for the hospital and nearly 70,000 hours of volunteer hours for 2013, choosing a recipient for the Lillian B. Allison Volunteer of the Year Award could not have been an easy task. And so we say to the one person that stood out among the many, congratulations Nancy Askey,

Call it recess or physical education, children need to play. They need to exercise, run, climb and jump just as much as they need to learn the state capitols or at what temperature water will boil. In study after study it has been proven that a healthy body, which includes physical activity, leads to better academic performance. Patricia Green, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School, applied for and received a School Grant for Healthy Kids in the amount of $2,500. The wellness initiative money will be used school-wide and, meanwhile, everybody benefits.

Just a step or two away from full accreditation, the nursing program at Darton State College took a giant leap in that direction recently. After a site visit from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), it was clear that the program meets standards for nurse education on both the state and national level. Also clear is Darton’s desire to produce nurses that can declare their education as coming from an accredited school. The not-even-a little-easy accreditation process was, after all, elective.

In the beginning, most students plan to graduate from high school and most of them plan to do so with their fellow classmates, caps, gowns and family in the crowed audience. It does not always happen that way. For those students that struggle early in school academically or find themselves mixed up in a variety of possible troubles or simply live in such a dysfunctional family that survival becomes their main focus, even a GED can seem out of reach. Col. John Ostrander, director of the Dougherty County Jail, has seen it all. What he and others were privileged to see last week was three young inmates, as well as one former inmate, receive their GEDs. The young men will now have something besides a record when released from jail and a much better chance at success. Hold your heads high and don’t look back, the best is yet to come. The jail’s GED program, by the way, is funded entirely by donations from the community.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board