Economy slows Weber challenge

The Weber School looks as if it won’t meet its March 31 deadline to turn $3 million into $9 million, but the head of the Jewish high school’s capital campaign is confident donors eventually will rise to the challenge.

“Everybody knows that we’re going to raise the $3 million,” said Sandy Springs commercial developer Steve Berman, the capital campaign chairman. “We’re going to meet our end of the obligation.”

The Sandy Springs school accepted that obligation a year ago when benefactors Joe and Felicia Weber issued a challenge: If the school could raise $3 million toward its ongoing $32 million Weaving a Legacy capital campaign, the Webers would contribute an additional $6 million. But if the school falls short of its $3 million goal, the Webers won’t give any of the $6 million.

Berman said the school was ahead of schedule to meet the goal until the economy collapsed in November.

With about two weeks left until March 31, Weber had raised about $2 million from 110 donors. Most of the gifts came from school parents, while most of the money came from school board members, Berman said.

As part of a big push with the challenge deadline looming, Weber students produced a four-minute YouTube video, posted at about three weeks ago.

But with the goal still about $1 million away, the school is likely to extend the challenge period as long as it takes.

Berman is confident the school will meet the challenge. “People recognize the opportunity, that they can triple their dollars. They see that leverage, and they get excited about it.”

Riverwood cuts off out-of-district admissions

Riverwood International Charter School is projecting that its enrollment will exceed the building’s capacity for 2009-10, so the school’s Governance Council has closed admission to students who live outside Fulton County.

As part of its new charter this year, the Sandy Springs school began admitting out-of-county students, provided that they reimbursed Fulton County Schools for tuition costs of about $6,000. The program drew about 100 students, helping push the school toward capacity.

Next year, no non-Fulton residents will be enrolled as cost-reimbursement students unless they already attend Riverwood or have siblings at the school.

In addition, Riverwood will accept only 100 ninth-graders who live in Fulton County outside the school’s attendance zone. Siblings of current Riverwood students received automatic acceptance; others were entered in a lottery in early March. If the school falls short of enrollment projections in the fall, students who lost the lottery will be offered admission.

Four from North Springs make All-State

North Springs Charter High School seniors Kathryn Black and Rebecca Hurd, junior Simon D’Acevedo and sophomore Trevor Dworetz were named to the Georgia All-State Orchestra.

Black, Hurd and Dworetz were named the orchestra’s first chair on the harp, flute and trombone, respectively.

The orchestra performed in Savannah on March 7 after two days of rehearsal.

Black, D’Acevedo and Dworetz also played in the pit orchestra for the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

Hurd, who plays the oboe and piano as well as the flute, is a full-time joint-enrolled student at Georgia State University.

Holy Spirit second in Odyssey of the Mind

Holy Spirit Prep’s Odyssey of the Mind team finished second at the regional tournament in Savannah last month and captured the coveted Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award.

Under the rules of Odyssey of the Mind, an international educational problem-solving competition, any team winning a Ranatra Fusca Award advances to the next level, although Holy Spirit also earned a berth in the state tournament by placing second.

The team representing the Sandy Springs Catholic school consists of Amy Dixon, Emily Dixon, Janie Janeczko, Marilyn Lapu, Catherine Lennon, Charlie Martin and Sam Rodriguez.

The state finals are April 4 at Columbus State University, where Holy Spirit will try to win a spot in the world finals in late May at Iowa State University.