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Sonha C. Payne, a teacher at Flowery Branch High School, was named 2008-2009 Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher of the year by the Northeast Georgia chapter of the American Chemical Society.

The award was presented during a special meeting of the chapter at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia in Athens. Payne received a plaque and $500.

She has been a teacher at Flowery Branch since 2004, and previously worked at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.


Jeffrey Hendricks of Gainesville recently was awarded the William Tyler Ray Scholarship at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources' spring awards banquet. The scholarship is based on grade-point average, demonstrated leadership, maturity and well-defined career professional goals. Hendricks is majoring in fisheries and aquaculture. Hendricks also was inducted into the Blue Key Honor Society.

Fourth- and fifth-graders from Flowery Branch Elementary School recently competed in Mathfest at the Georgia International Convention Center. Fourth-grader Joey Griffing placed third in his grade's competition and fifth-grader Andrew Hathcock placed first in his grade's competition and also was named fifth-grade math champion for being the first student to correctly answer a seventh-grade math question.

Gainesville State College's Rho Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa recently celebrated the induction of 55 new members into the chapter. Phi Theta Kappa is an honors society recognizing excellence at two-year colleges.

New members are Marsha Black of Alto; Kevin Cottrell of Cornelia; Erin Modlin of Dahlonega; Heather Craig, Wendy Hewett, Maria Teresa Johnson, Caitlin O'Dell and Amy Thornton, all of Flowery Branch; Laurel Alexander, Samuel Brackin, Daniel-Issac Brunson, Leonardo Lacayo, Lindsay Moon, Nguyen Nguyen, Kathryn Poff, Kelly Stauter, Lee Tankersley, Nathan Wilson and Cristy Worthington, all of Gainesville; Rebekah Atkins of Gillsville; Jason Kennedy of Homer; Whitney Lee of Mount Airy; Sara Goodwin of Talmo; and Stephanie Langley of Winder.

Leslie Norman Smee, son of Lloyd and Florence Smee of Flowery Branch, recently received his master of science degree in human-computer interaction with a management of technology certificate from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Smee is a 1997 graduate of Johnson High School. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta in 2003.

Hall County teacher Debbie Clark was nominated for the University of Georgia College of Education's Crystal Apple Hall of Fame award. This award places her in the top of the college's 50,000 graduates. She also was named 2003 Teacher of the Year for Hall County and was the 2005 Georgia High School English Teacher of the Year.

North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega recognized several area students at its 2009 Student Honors Banquet on April 9.

The Siler Scholarship Award for academic excellence was awarded to Carla Ganyard of Gainesville; Hannah Chapman, Lauren Jent and William Maxwell of Dahlonega; Kellie Gregory of Hoschton; and Leah Springer of Braselton.

Justin Long, son of Brad and Renee Long of Flowery Branch, graduated summa cum laude from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. He has been selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

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