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Friends Club leads to bond between classmates

Friends Club leads to bond between classmates

CANTON, Ga. -- The Friends Club at Freedom Middle School in Cherokee County encourages regular and special education students to spend time together.

Recently, the club allowed two wonderful students to form a bond.

Dylin Hardeman is a basketball player at Freedom Middle. Nicholas Wendel is a special education student who is confined to a wheelchair.

The two met through the Friends Club, and Dylin slowly began to gain Nicholas's trust by giving him high-fives in the hallway and complimenting him.

Now, Dylin spends time helping Nicholas achieve his goals, including grasping objects and building his social skills.

When Dylin heard Nicholas loves sports, he even had all his teammates sign a basketball and present it to his new friend.

Learn more about Freedom Middle School at cherokee.k12.ga.us.

Ga. Lottery posts educational transfers totaling $15B

Ga. Lottery posts educational transfers totaling $15B

ATLANTA – As the Georgia Lottery Corp. celebrates its 20th anniversary, lottery officials today announced record proceeds to education for the first half of fiscal year 2014. The Georgia Lottery’s first-half transfers to the Lottery for Education Account will bring the total raised for educational programs in the state to $15 billion since the lottery’s inception in 1993.

Georgia Lottery returns to education for the first half of fiscal year 2014 totaled $462.1 million, more than $11.6 million ahead of the same period last year.

“More dollars will go to fund educational programs in Georgia than ever before as a result of our strong start to the fiscal year,” said Georgia Lottery President and CEO Debbie D. Alford. “We are proud of our accomplishments and remain committed to maximizing revenues to benefit Georgia’s students.”

The first half of the fiscal year spanned from July 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013.

Path2College launches savings sweepstakes

Path2College launches savings sweepstakes

(WXIA) -- Path2College, Georgia's 529 savings plan, has kicked off this year's $25,000 Reasons to Save Sweepstakes.

The promotion is designed to get parents thinking about saving for college while their children are still young.

Through the sweepstakes, one lucky child will be awarded $15,000 for his or her college education. The winner's school will receive $10,000.

"All you have to do is go online and enter for a chance to win," Path2College exeuctive director Mitch Seabaugh said. "There's nothing to lose by entering, and both a child and his or her school have a lot to gain."

To enter, visit path2college529.com. The sweepstakes is open to current Path2College 529 Plan account owners or non-account owners who live in Georgia and are at least 21 years old.

The contest closes on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Scholarships available to high school and college students

Scholarships available to high school and college students

(WXIA) -- The Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia is offering three scholarships to Georgia's college students and high school seniors.

To qualify for the COAG Scholarship, a student must be a high school senior or GED candidate and a Georgia citizen, and should be scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2014.

Current students at accredited Georgia colleges and universities are also welcome to apply. The scholarship is available to students majoring in government or law enforcement; political science; accounting or finance; business; or pre-law.

COAG is offering scholarships in three amounts -- $500, $1,000 and $1,500. Applicants must write a 1,000-word essay that answers the question "Who are the locally elected constitutional officers and what differentiates them from other county offices?"

Author Carmen Agra Deedy visits Canton ES

Author Carmen Agra Deedy visits Canton ES

CANTON, Ga. -- Students at Canton Elementary School STEM Academy were thrilled when one of their favorite authors visited earlier this month.

Carmen Agra Deedy is a much-loved author of children's books. She has published more than 20 of them, most notably "The Library Dragon" and "Agatha's Feather Bed."

During her visit to Canton, Deedy told some of her most popular stories to students. She also spoke to them about the importance of becoming strong readers, writers and speakers.

Deedy was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. She lives in Decatur, where she is constantly honing her storytelling skills.

RELATED | Author Lois Ruby visits Macedonia ES

Ga. high school graduation rate increases in 2013

Ga. high school graduation rate increases in 2013

(WXIA) -- The public school graduation rate in Georgia continues to climb.

The Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday that the state's graduation rate was 71.5 percent in 2013 -- almost two points higher than in 2012 and four points above 2011's rate.

Every state uses a U.S. Department of Education-mandated four-year adjusted cohort rate to calculate graduations. It tracks the number of students who graduate from high school within the standard four years.

State superintendent Dr. John Barge said the more rigorous calculation method still shows an increase in Georgia's graduation rate.

"Despite the economic challenges our districts are facing, we have more high school students graduating today than we have had in several years, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers," Barge said in a statement.

Cherokee County's 2013 four-year graduation rate was 78 percent.

Creekland MS academic bowl teams win high school tournament

Creekland MS academic bowl teams win high school tournament

CANTON, Ga. -- Two academic bowl teams from Creekland Middle School placed first and second, respectively in a recent tournament, despite being made up of some of the youngest students at the event.

Creekland's A Team won the tournament, while the B Team came in second, according to school principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman. The event was made up primarily of high school teams.

Academic bowl rules allow each team to have as many as five members. The Creekland teams each had four participants.