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Board Meeting Recognitions: November 12 & 21, 2019

Each month the Fulton County Board of Education recognizes outstanding students, staff and schools that have been honored at the state, national or international level. Honorees must have placed first at the regional or state level or be among the top finishers at the national or international level.



Adi Bora

2019 Bright Spark Invention Challenge

Johns Creek High School junior, Adi Bora, is an engineering student who recently took home a regional-level award. His Design Thinking invention, the "Independence 1000", won Best Overall High (high school) at the 2019 Bright Spark Invention Challenge this fall.

Bright Spark is the education arm of the design consulting firm Bridge Innovate; and the Invention Challenge is a 30-day competition for students in fourth grade through college. Entrants are challenged to create a new service or product that solves an existing problem.

Adi's invention was created to help a fellow JCHS student with cerebral palsy. His Independence 1000 is a portable device with gamified joy-stick designed to strengthen fine motor skills in hands. Adi gave it to his friend Jason who hopes to one day be able to operate a motorized wheelchair. Additionally, Adi hopes the device will be used to collect data in the therapy field. Through the Governors Honors Program last summer, Adi has enhanced his engineering skills. He has a repertoire of other projects notably including a self-tying shoe and a current design in process for a hyperactivity soothing device. His engineering teacher is Dr. Stephen Sweigart.



Five Johns Creek High School seniors

2019 Bright Spark Invention Challenge

Five Johns Creek High School seniors won the Best Prototype award in the Bright Spark Invention Challenge for their device designed to help prevent hot car deaths in children and pets.

Sagar Patel, Tyler Watson, Daniel Cooper, Ben Kleiner, and Thomas Tostenson are all in their fourth of engineering and together, they created a 3-D working prototype called the "Life Protector." It is a temperature sensor in a small box that fits on a vehicle dashboard. From their research of models on the market, they based their design on cost and accessibility. The Life Protector's sensor triggers an alarm when a car interior exceeds 102 degrees. Their plan for future models is for the device to send a phone call to an emergency contact. This group completed the design process in less than four weeks. Their engineering teacher is Dr. Stephen Sweigart.

The videos of these winners can be viewed here. Scroll down to "This Year's Winners."



Nutrition Team

2019 Nexus Award

Fulton County Schools' Nutrition department won yet another award to add to their growing collection of accolades. The Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program honored FCS' Nutrition team with the 2019 Nexus Award during the annual Director's Conference in Athens, GA. FCS was recognized at the super system level which is for those districts with 24,000 or more students. This award is a platinum level, influential award provided to exceptional school nutrition programs in Georgia.

The team includes:

  • Alyssia Wright, Executive Director
  • Denielle Saitta, Project Manager of Marketing & Communications
  • Emily Grody, Area Supervisor of Menus & Wellness
  • Leslie Lew, Coordinator of Programs
  • Stephanie Ruppel, Area Supervisor of South Learning Communications
  • Ruth Taylor, Coordinator of Menus & Wellness


Notable achievements during the 2018-2019 school year include (but are not limited to):

  • Incorporating school garden produce into school meals from the 88 school gardens
  • Identifying local or regional farmers to supply farm fresh produce to all 95 school cafes
  • Using innovative meal delivery services to offer students breakfast through kiosks in the morning
  • Collaborating with local nonprofit partnerships to provide breakfasts and lunches during summer months




Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge

Fulton County Schools was recently recognized with a prestigious award by the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, an honor largely due to the leadership of the Facilities Services department. The district was named a 2018 Top Performer for its sustainable design and energy savings.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge program was launched in 2011 with the goal of improving energy performance at a minimum of 20% by 2020. The City of Atlanta joined in 2011 and soon expanded to a Metro Area program inviting Fulton County Schools to participate. FCS' energy saving of 23% since 2011 helped Atlanta achieve their 20% reduction goal two years ahead of the 2020 deadline.

In 2018, 96 Fulton County Schools buildings earned the Energy Star label. This would not be possible without the outstanding utilities management and development of sustainable design requirements of Joseph Clements, Executive Director of Facilities Services and Russell Holly, Coordinator of Facilities Services. Additionally, the provision of SPLOST dollars has allowed FCS to design it right, build it right and operate and maintain it right.



Jaidah Bienaimie

Red Ribbon Campaign Poster Contest

Jaidah Bienaime, sixth grade student at Ronald E. McNair Middle School, was honored at the Fulton County Schools Board of Education recognitions in November for winning the 2019 Governor’s Red Ribbon Campaign Poster Contest. The Red Ribbon Campaign is an initiative aimed at building awareness of the importance of a drug-free lifestyle. During each week-long campaign in October, students across the U.S. create messages and activities to demonstrate their commitment to living drug-free.

To kick off the Georgia event, the winner of the annual poster contest in the visual arts segment is announced. This year’s theme is “Life is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.”

Not only did this McNair student’s work win first place in the middle school category but she won Overall for the elementary, middle and high school categories!

McNair’s visual art teacher Maurel Denge says Jaidah “shows a lot of talent and embodies an awesome work ethic.” Jaidah completed her art poster for competition in just four days.

The winning poster will be featured in next year’s Governor’s Red Ribbon Campaign Planning and Resource Guide, distributed to all schools and organizations across the state of Georgia.

In addition to being named a 2018 top performer, FCS was selected to receive the Lifetime Commitment MVP Award for the sustained contributions to the ABBC. Joseph Clements accepted the award at the ABBC Goal Achievement Celebration at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on behalf of the district.