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'Celebration' honors educational partners
Event slated for Friday at conference center
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Forsyth County News

Though the Grammy Awards are tonight, several educators and businesses know Friday is when the real awards will happen.

The annual Celebration of Excellence honors those in the community who support education in Forsyth County’s schools.

Judi Jenkins, school business and community relations facilitator, said the event is something “we look forward to each year because it provides the opportunity for our community to gather as a collected group to recognize individuals and businesses that make Forsyth County Schools a success.”

During the luncheon, held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, one of three finalists will be selected as 2013 Teacher of the Year.

The finalists at each level are Big Creek Elementary second-grade teacher Courtney Stokes, South Forsyth Middle math educator Liz Watterson and South Forsyth High engineering and technology education teacher Nick Crowder.

“One of the highlights of my year is visiting the classrooms of these outstanding teachers,” said Superintendent Buster Evans. “These visits reaffirm to me that we do have the best teachers in the nation, and that their joy and passion for teaching is what makes Forsyth County one of the leading school systems in the nation.”

The celebration, jointly held by the school system and the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, also honors businesses that have made a commitment to help foster education in the community.

Jenkins said about 900 businesses work with the system’s 36 schools. Last year, those businesses provided more than $1.6 million to local education.

“These funds, in addition to the thousands of volunteer hours and countless in-kind services, have improved student achievement in all subject areas, enriched students’ life experiences, helped grow career opportunities, and boosted educator support and morale,” she said.

“It has been an absolutely outstanding year for our Partners in Education program.”

James McCoy, chamber president and CEO, said celebrating the relationships between businesses and local schools “will hopefully encourage many, many more.”

“Business people are engaged in the school system and that is something that is often rare in communities,” McCoy said. “It’s important for us to celebrate those contributions and those commitments.

“Those businesses, for the most part, are giving of their time and their resources because they believe in the power of a school system that creates economic opportunity, and so they are making some investments in the future.”