North Atlanta art teacher receives $5,000 award

North Atlanta High School art teacher Natalie Brandhorst received a 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassador in Education Award and a $5,000 check for the school May 13 at an awards ceremony in which she was hailed for building bridges between the Buckhead school and the community.

Brandhorst was selected as Georgia’s only 2009 MetLife Ambassador by the National Civic League because she encourages students to engage in the community through art projects, the MetLife Foundation said. It also noted that her students take on issues such as environmental sustainability and hunger.

“Recently, she worked with students, parents and local Girl Scouts to raise awareness about hunger in Atlanta,” the foundation said. “Students and Scouts used the school kiln to make hundreds of ceramic bowls as part of an ‘Empty Bowls’ hunger education project. For the culminating event, members of the community brought canned goods to the school.”

The foundation also praised Brandhorst for partnering with artists and businesses to provide her students with art supplies.

First lady reads to E. Rivers students

Georgia first lady Mary Perdue read to E. Rivers Elementary fourth-graders May 20 and encouraged them to participate in a national reading program this summer.

Perdue read the fourth-graders “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.”

As one of Scholastic Books’ “reading ambassadors,” Perdue told students about the publisher’s nationwide literacy campaign, Summer Challenge, in which children agree to read and log 1 billion reading minutes.

Scholastic donated some 500 books to E. Rivers, one for each student.

“The kids were very excited about the visit,” Principal David White said. “They asked very good questions, and not just about reading, but also about what it’s like to be a first lady. This was a very big deal for us.”

N. Atlanta’s top grads

North Atlanta High School honored Harvard-bound Maria Diece as the valedictorian and University of Georgia-bound Lucy Wille as the salutatorian of the Class of 2009.

Among the private schools in Buckhead, the honorees include valedictorian Meagan Knowlton and salutatorian Virginia Parker at Atlanta Girls’ School, valedictorian Connor Wakamo and salutatorian Judson Green at The Lovett School, valedictorian Chris Dudiak and salutatorian Alex Zhang at Pace Academy, and valedictorians Tom Gieryn and Rebecca Kahn and salutatorians Palmer Greene and Simonne Berry at the Westminster Schools.