Rotary honors Cross Keys kids

The Rotary Club of Brookhaven welcomed the winners of the Laws of Life Essay Contest from Cross Keys High School to its meeting April 24 so they could read their winning essays.

The luncheon also featured the presentation of the club’s Teacher of the Year award to Cross Keys art teacher and swim coach Lisa Beavers.

In the essay contest, Mayra G. was the 12th-grade winner. Kevin M. was the 11th-grade winner and the overall winner for the school. Vy T. was the 10th-grade winner. Giovanna O. was the ninth-grade winner. (Cross Keys asked that the last names of the students not be used.)

The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest asks high school students to select a “law of life,” such as “It is better to than to receive,” and to write about how the character value contained in the law applies to the student’s life. The contest challenges students to reflect upon core values such as generosity, courage, perseverance and compassion, and it rewards students who are willing to take a stand for their beliefs.

The Georgia contest, in its 10th year, has had Rotary Club support since 2002. With Rotary involvement, the contest generated more than 46,000 essays last year.

Last school year, 34 Georgia Rotary clubs sponsored 47 high schools in the contest. Sixteen additional schools participated in the contest but did not have a Rotary sponsor.

The Brookhaven Rotary Club has sponsored the essay contest at Cross Keys High School the past two years. Last year the school did not have enough students participate to qualify for the statewide contest. This year, the English department required the essays from a larger portion of the student body, allowing Cross Keys students to compete at the state level.

Valedictorians, salutatorians celebrated by DeKalb County

The top students at the two high schools fed by Brookhaven’s elementary schools, Cross Keys High School and Chamblee High School, were honored with their peers from DeKalb County’s 19 other public high schools at a special school system recognition program May 5 at Lithonia High School.

The valedictorians and salutatorians from all 21 high schools received well wishes from DeKalb Board of Education Chairman Thomas Bowen and members Sarah Copelin-Wood, Jesse “Jay” Cunningham Jr., Don McChesney, Dr. Pamela Speaks and Paul Womack Jr. They also heard remarks from Superintendent Crawford Lewis.

The valedictorian at Cross Keys this year is Romilia Ibel Salgado, and the salutatorians are Uyen Thuy Ha and Eduardo Rafael Mares. At Chamblee, the valedictorian for the nonmagnet program is Isabel Medina, and the co-valedictorians for the magnet program are Brian Michale Seifried and Lillian Claudia Wang. With two valedictorians, Chamblee’s magnet program doesn’t have a salutatorian, but the nonmagnet program does: Bibha Sharma Gelal.

The valedictorians are finishing their high school careers this month with the highest grade-point averages in their respective senior classes, while the salutatorians finished second. For their accomplishments, the honored students received medals and will be featured speakers during their high school graduation ceremonies.

The county recognition program May 5 included a solo performance by flutist Matthew Phillip Hughes, the salutatorian at DeKalb High School of the Arts, and a performance by Lithonia High’s chorus.

“We join you tonight in the pride you surely feel for your children,” Gloria Talley, the county’s superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told parents and others in the audience. “We, too, feel that pride. Outstanding graduates, congratulations on your academic distinction of valedictorian and salutatorian. (Those titles) indicate that you have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded you, and you have come to know the joy and satisfaction that true learning brings.”

Two students, Chamblee’s Brian Michale Seifried and Stone Mountain High School’s Hung Quang Do, won laptop computers as door prizes, provided by ING.

Marist senior wins German scholarship

The American Congress and the German Bundestag Youth Exchange Program have selected Marist School senior Andrew Heekin as the recipient of a full scholarship to study a year abroad. Heekin will travel to Washington, D.C., for a week of orientation, then spend a year of travel and study in Germany. He will learn about all aspects of German life within the European Union.

Marist Environmental Club nominated

Voting was set to end May 15 for Keep Atlanta Beautiful’s Stepping Lightly in Atlanta Awards Contest, in which the Marist Environmental Club is one of four nominees.

The online voting for the award is part of WSB-TV’s People’s Choice Awards at

The winning school program gets $1,000.

The Marist Environmental Club is working for sustainability in the school and throughout the community. The focus has been on an organic vegetable garden, the Green Cup Challenge to reduce energy use at Marist School, a recycling program and reusable lunch bags. The garden was designed by Marist mothers, overseen by Marist teachers and built by Marist students. The Brookhaven Catholic school is redoing the cafeteria to make it more energy-efficient, and produce grown in the Marist garden will be sold in the cafeteria.

Also, the club is reducing paper bag consumption by selling cloth bags with the Marist Environmental Club logo. Each bag sold is the equivalent of taking 10 cans out of a garbage dump and saving 180 paper bags per year. The club has sold 75 bags, or saved 13,500 paper bags.

The Keep Atlanta Beautiful nomination comes as Marist enters the second month of its yearlong Terra Project: Marist Blue and Gold Make Green. The sustainability initiative is designed to raise awareness, improve the stewardship of resources, reduce waste and save money. The program involves every aspect of the school’s operations.

The program features a different initiative each month. Updates on the program are available at

Atlanta International finishes IB continuum

Buckhead’s Atlanta International School is the first school in Georgia authorized to deliver all three International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, offering a coherent sequence of international education to students ages 3 to 19.

An IB World School since it was authorized in 1992 to deliver the IB Diploma Program to students ages 16 to 19, the school later received approval to offer the IB Primary Years Program, designed for ages 3 to 12. This year, the Atlanta International School was authorized to offer the IB Middle Years Program, developed for 11- to 16-year-olds.

The school now offers a full range of international education programs that focus on developing the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills students need for a globalizing world.