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Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

(WXIA) -- More than 80,000 Georgia children are enrolled in the state's Pre-K Program for the 2014-15 school year.

Pre-K is open to all 4 year olds, regardless of household income. Assistant commissioner Susan Adams said that it is the first school experience for many children.

"For this reason, we take our roles very seriously, and we work really hard to provide Georgia's children with positive and meaningful experiences," Adams said in a release.

In Pre-K, students study language, literacy and math while making new friends and building foundations for lifelong learning. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recommends parents visit their children's classrooms in advance to familiarize them with their new surroundings, and dress them in comfortable clothes and shoes every day. If students have a tendency to feel lonely, parents can send them to school with family photos to cheer them up, and blankets or stuffed animals to snuggle at naptime.

LIST | Georgia's 20 best high schools

LIST | Georgia's 20 best high schools

(WXIA) -- U.S. News and World Report has unveiled its list of the 20 best high schools in Georgia, and almost all of them are in metro Atlanta.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology leads the pack. The Lawrenceville charter school is the No. 1 high school is Georgia and No. 3 in the country, with 100 percent of its students passing their Advanced Placement exams, and all students proficient in math and English.

The school has a 17:1 student-teacher ratio, which is average for Georgia. About 75 percent of its 696 students are minorities.

These schools round out Georgia's Top 20:

2. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School (Augusta)
Ranked No. 73 nationally

* 100% of students take AP exams; 76% earn passing scores
* 100% of students proficient in math
* 100% of students proficient in English
* 17:1 student-teacher ratio
* 55% minority enrollment

Ga. libraries launch college savings sweepstakes

Ga. libraries launch college savings sweepstakes

(WXIA) -- Public libraries across Georgia will participate in this year's Summer Reading Program and college savings sweepstakes.

The initiative, which is hosted by Georgia's Path2College 529 Plan, will award one grand prize and four regional scholarships to five lucky participants. The winners will be chosen at random from five groups.

The grand prize is a college scholarship worth $5,529 and a $1,529 grant for the winner's library. The runners-up will each get $1,529 to put toward a Path2College 529 Plan and $529 for their libraries.

Georgia parents, grandparents and legal guardians can sign up their children at path2college529.com. Entry closes on Aug. 10.

The program provides students with activities throughout the summer and encourages them to read by giving them prizes for finishing books, ebooks, audiobooks and magazines.

Participating library groups include:

Holy Innocents' grad named National Leader of the Year

Holy Innocents' grad named National Leader of the Year

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- Helping teens is something that Amber Abernathy just seems to do naturally. Two years, ago, the 2014 Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School graduate won a national award for a non-violence seminar she created for middle school students—most of whom were surrounded by gang activity or violence at home. And this year, Abernathy has been named the 2013-2014 National Leader of the Year for Girl Talk, a peer-to-peer mentoring program in which high school girls help middle school girls deal with issues they face during the early teenage years.

The award is the highest and most prestigious one offered by the nonprofit, international program. By honoring the service of Girl Talk’s most committed leader and sharing her ideas and community service projects with other chapters around the country, Girl Talk hopes to encourage more girls to become involved at their own schools.

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

Past, present explored in Ventulett Gallery exhibit

Past, present explored in Ventulett Gallery exhibit

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- The Ventulett Gallery at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church presents “Scenes of Past & Present” by painters AC Brown and Jan Eubanks, from June 5–July 7. The public is invited to view the exhibit and attend a wine-and-cheese opening reception on Thursday, June 5, from 6–8 p.m. in the Gallery.

Eubanks' style is “somewhere between realism and expressive contemporary, where sincerity is honored but still challenges the viewer, ” she says. "I want my paintings to be visually exciting and poetic."

Eubanks is a graduate of the Arts Students League of New York and the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, and her work has been exhibited at the High Museum of Art, the Swan House Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, among other locations. Corporate collections including Eubanks’ work include the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, Tyler Perry Productions, and Kaiser Permanente.

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.