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School news
Madison Chambers, left, and Daniel Torres, right, hold plaques they were awarded by the Evening Optimist Club of Gainesville during the group's recent Youth Appreciation Banquet. The two are fifth-graders at Martin Elementary School and are pictured with their teacher, Marcia Bagby.

Rebecca Hartfield, a science teacher at North Hall High School, has been named a 2008 Class Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. Hartfield was nominated by Brittany Dial, a senior at North Hall. Hartfield teaches International Baccalaureate biology, advanced placement biology and honors chemistry at the school.

Vince Binder of Gainesville was one of two students at the University of West Georgia who helped the school's debate team finish the fall semester ranked third in the country. The team achieved its ranking at Wake Forest University in a national competition among more than 150 debate teams. The squad's next competition will be at the University of Southern California and California State University at Fullerton this month.

Seven Hall County teens are among more than 122 youth who recently graduated from the Georgia National Guard's Youth Challenge Academy in Macon. The local graduates are Dustin C. Barnes, Franco D. Alvarado, Jonathan A. Beauford, Daireon A. Downs, Branden L. Mullin, Clinton A. Smith and Francisco Gonzalez. Georgia's Youth Challenge is a 22-week residential youth program for teens ages 16-18 who have dropped out of school. The military-styled program provides teens with the opportunity to complete basic academic courses leading to a high school diploma or GED. The voluntary program also provides life-skills training.

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