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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

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.

Bomb threat caused evacuation at Chestatee Middle Academy

Bomb threat caused evacuation at Chestatee Middle Academy

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- A bomb threat written on a bathroom wall at Chestatee Academy middle school forced police to evacuate the building.

The threat was discovered at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Hall County Sheriff's officials were called in to investigate. They completed a sweep of the building, but found nothing suspicious.

Students and teachers returned to class at around 11:15 a.m.

Hall County Sheriff's spokesperson Gordon Higgins said parents of Chestatee Academy students received a phone call and email about the threat.

The sheriff's office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for this false alarm. Higgins said Chestatee Academy principal David Robles announced the award to students and encouraged anyone with information to call the police.

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

3 Hall students named Georgia Scholars

3 Hall students named Georgia Scholars

(WXIA) -- Three students at two Hall County high schools have been named 2014 Georgia Scholars by the Georgia Department of Education.

A Georgia Scholar is a high school senior who has "achieved excellence in school and community life," according to the GDOE. Only 116 students statewide earned the title this year.

To achieve the honor, a student must take challenging courses and earn high grades in them, participate in extracurricular activities and take part in interscholastic events within the school and community.

Hall County's 2014 Georgia Scholars include:

Chestatee HS
* Morgan Ivey
* Drew Smith

Flowery Branch HS
* Anna Black

Puppies to help Brenau students study for finals

Puppies to help Brenau students study for finals

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Brenau University students get to take advantage of some adorable relief while studying for final exams this week.

The Hall County Animal Shelter will bring puppies to the Gainesville school, providing a pick-me-up for stressed students.

"Taking the puppies to campus serves as a stress reliever for the students, and it gives the puppies a chance to socialize," Hall County Animal Shelter program coordinator Cindy Langman said.

Langman added she hopes playing with the puppies will encourage students to volunteer at the shelter.

5 Hall high schools among America's Most Challenging

5 Hall high schools among America's Most Challenging

(WXIA) -- The Washington Post has unveiled its 2014 list of America's Most Challenging High Schools.

The newspaper determines the annual rankings through a ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests a school gives each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Five Hall County schools made the list, which features more than 2,000 high schools across the country. The listed numbers are each school's national ranking.

904. Flowery Branch HS
1078. North Hall HS
1238. Chestatee HS
1416. East Hall HS
1552. West Hall HS

Additionally, Gainesville High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 1969 on the list.

See the full list at washingtonpost.com.