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Pat Conroy to visit UNG

Pat Conroy to visit UNG

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Atlanta native and bestselling author Pat Conroy will participate in the University of North Georgia's tribute to writer Mary Hood next month.

Conroy, best known for writing The Prince of Tides, will give a reading in the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building on the school's Gainesville campus on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

Other participants include Hood and novelist Philip Lee Williams.

"As far as I know, Mary Hood has never written an uninteresting sentence in her life, and I've read and loved everything she's ever written. In the immaculate work of Hood, I've always found her choice of subjects both offbeat and surprising," Conroy said. "This conference in Mary Hood's honor will be a celebration of her splendid and ongoing career, and there is nowhere I would rather be than reveling with her throngs of admirers and literary disciples as we laud a most magnificent writer."

Brenau freshman named GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year

Brenau freshman named GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- A Brenau University freshman is this year's GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year.

KayLynn Samples received her award, which included a $1,000 scholarship, during the recent Georgia State Employer Committee conference in Savannah.

GeorgiaBEST is a program that ensures high school and college students learn the skills they need to join an increasingly competitive workforce.

RELATED | Kennesaw State freshman named first-ever GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year

Samples graduated from Chestatee High School earlier this year and is studying mass communications with an emphasis on broadcasting and public relations at Brenau. She said her two most important soft skills are attitude and communications.

9 Hall schools make SHAPE Honor Roll

9 Hall schools make SHAPE Honor Roll

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- Nine elementary and middle schools in Hall County have been named to Georgia's 2013 SHAPE Honor Roll.

The SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) program was created last year to recognize schools that work hard to combat childhood obesity. It challenges students and teachers to make lifestyle improvements in three key areas: nutrition, wellness and physical activity.

Schools can be honored at three levels: gold, silver and bronze.

Learn more about the SHAPE Honor Roll

Hall County's SHAPE Honor Roll schools include:

* Chestnut Mountain School of Creative Inquiry
* McEver Arts Academy
* North Hall MS
* Riverbend ES
* Sardis Enrichment School
* South Hall MS
* Spout Springs School of Enrichment
* Sugar Hill ES
* White Sulphur ES

Gainesville school police considering using assault rifles

Gainesville school police considering using assault rifles

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Gainesville City Schools is looking into letting campus police officers at three of its eight schools use assault rifles.

The charter schools are considering allowing officers to bring a semi-automatic police assault rifle into the school and keep in a locked safe while they are there.

Right now officers only have pistols.  The rifle has twice as much ammo, fires three times farther and is more accurate. 

By having it in the school, their reasoning is the officer can react more quickly and effectively to a heavily armed intruder.

The three schools are charter schools and their governance councils plan on discussing and voting separately.

The city school board will then vote on October 1st whether to spend the $6,000 needed or only part of it, if all three schools don't participate.

2012 Ga. Schools of Excellence named

2012 Ga. Schools of Excellence named

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education has identified the state's 2012 Schools of Excellence.

The annual honor is presented in two categories: Highest Performance and Highest Progress. Fourteen schools made the cut in each area.

"These schools are the epitome of excellence," Georgia School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a statement. "I offer my congratulations to our 2012 Georgia Schools of Excellence."

Barge added that he plans to visit all 28 schools at some point during the school year.

Metro Atlanta's Schools of Excellence include:

Atlanta Public Schools
* KIPP STRIVE Academy, Southwest Atlanta (Progress)

Bremen City
*Jones ES (Performance)

Clayton County
* Elite Scholars Academy, Morrow (Performance)

Cobb County
* Garrison Mill ES, Marietta (Progress)
* Kennesaw Charter Science and Math Academy (Progress)

Monday is the first day of school

Monday is the first day of school

ATLANTA -- Summer is officially over in almost all of metro Atlanta.

A number of districts begin their school years Monday, including Clayton, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton, Hall and Griffin-Spalding counties, as well as the city of Gainesville.

Be part of 11Alive's school celebration! Submit your pictures of the first day of the 2013-14 school year to our back to school photo gallery.

Path2College sweepstakes end Aug. 15

Path2College sweepstakes end Aug. 15

ATLANTA -- Georgia's Path2College 529 Plan is making it easier for families to pay for college by holding two scholarship giveaways.

The deadline to enter both contests is Thursday, Aug. 15.

Mitch Seabaugh, director of the Path2College 529 Plan, said the two sweepstakes are designed to encourage families to start saving for college while their children are still very young.

"If 10,000 more Georgia families start saving for college, that's 10,000 more children who will have a head start toward achieving their dream when they graduate from high school," he said in a statement.

Seabaugh added that the sweepstakes also benefit young students because they provide money for schools and libraries.

The first contest -- the 10,000 Reasons to Save Sweepstakes -- will gives $10,529 to two lucky winners: a current Path2College account holder and a non-account holder. The two winners' schools will each receive $10,529.