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Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy recently held a graduation ceremony for its Class of 2014.

Many classmates met for the very first time during the event at the Gwinnett Center.

"We are very proud of our graduates," GCA lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. Altogether, the Class of 2014 secured $1.33 million in college scholarship offers.

Emily McClure of Columbus is GCA's valedictorian. She will attend Georgia College and State University on the Zell Miller Scholarship in the fall.

Learn more about Georgia Connections Academy, the state's free virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, at georgiaconnectionsacademy.com.

RELATED | Georgia Cyber Academy graduates first class

Berry students earn scholarships, fellowships

Berry students earn scholarships, fellowships

ROME, Ga. -- A number of Berry College undergraduates have earned prestigious fellowships and scholarships for their academic dedication.

One recent graduate -- Stephanie Tomys, a political science major from Newnan -- received one of only 51 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships. Each fellowship is worth $5,000.

The National Science Foundation awards funding to promising students through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. This year's honorees from Berry include:

* Mandi Dean, Sylva (N.C.)
Math major
Will attend the Summer Math Program at Carleton College in Minn.

* Alex Peterson, Ballwin (Mo.)
Math major
Will study at the University of West Georgia

* Brandon Sanders, Orlando (Fla.)
Physics major
Will have a software development summer internship with NASA

More Berry College students who were awarded enriching opportunities are:

Berry College relocates stadium due to bald eagle nest

Berry College relocates stadium due to bald eagle nest

ROME, Ga. -- The site of Berry College's much-anticipated stadium is being relocated due to a pair of popular bald eagles that built a nest at the campus near Rome, Ga. A webcam streaming live video from the nest has received more than 17 million views and the eagles' Facebook page has more than 60,000 "friends."

Berry had planned to build its new stadium close to the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center, which would provide convenient parking and access to the campus entrance. In spring of 2012, the bald eagle couple built a nest in a tall pine tree just off the major parking lot. Given the very public location of the nest, officials were not sure if the eagles would return and use it. They returned in fall 2012 and successfully produced two eaglets in 2013. A third eaglet hatched in February 2014 and took its inaugural flight last week.

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Berry College launches $100 million fundraising campaign

Berry College launches $100 million fundraising campaign

ROME, Ga. -- Berry College has announced LifeReady, a $100 million fundraising campaign.

It may seem like a lofty goal, but the college revealed Saturday that over $70 million has already been donated.

"We are immensely proud of the Berry that exists today, yet we envision still a better Berry in the years ahead," Berry College president Steve Briggs said in a release. "The improved Berry we envision involves not a change in course, but innovative progress in the same direction."

Berry plans to use the LifeReady money to fund scholarships, establish student mentoring programs, revise two historic buildings on campus, and build both a campus welcome center and an athletic stadium, among other projects.

Visit berry.edu/lifeready for more information about the campaign.

Students encouraged to read this summer

Students encouraged to read this summer

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has created a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for students in all grades.

The program was announced Thursday at Timber Ridge Elementary School in Cobb County. Its goal is to close the achievement gap that widens during the summer months, when children often don't read.

"No student should have to start the school year having fallen behind," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "That's what we know, and that's what we're committed to preventing, because that loss is preventable."

The challenge encourages students to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. The GDOE outlined suggested summer goals for children based on their school years:

* K-2: 10 books
* 3-5: 8 chapter books
* 6-12: 5 fiction books and 5 nonfiction books

Shorter student's poem to be published

Shorter student's poem to be published

ROME, Ga. -- A Shorter University student will have one of her poems published in the June 2014 edition of TWJ Magazine.

Courtney Liddell is an English major from Sacramento, Calif. The poem, "My Life Captain," is her first piece to be published in a national magazine.

Liddell said she began writing poetry shortly after her mother's death in 1998.

"Poetry is my way of expressing how I feel, and it is a way to pay tribute to my mother," she said.

She said "My Life Captain" is "about God being the one who controls the outcome of my life. At times, I feel lost, and I am not sure if I should go left or right. I try to remind myself that God is always in control of the paths I take."