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Class Notes: Hall media specialist named regions best of the year
East Hall Middle's Jennifer Parker earns North Georgia honor
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A Hall County Schools media specialist was recently named the best in her field in this region of the state.

Jennifer Parker, East Hall Middle School media specialist, was honored as the Library Media Specialist of the Year for the North Georgia District by the Georgia Library Media Association.

“I believe it is essential for the library media specialist to be a leader within the school, system, and professional community,” Parker said in her application for the award. “... And I believe that each media specialist must be their own best advocate at the local school level.”

Parker will compete with other district honorees for the state award, which will be announced at the association’s annual state conference Nov. 4-6 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.

She said one of her primary missions in the East Hall Middle library is to promote a passion for reading.

“I have been an avid reader since, as a child, my elementary school library media specialist introduced me to ‘The Boxcar Children’ book series,” she said. “I will never forget my primary goal as a media specialist is helping children discover a love of reading.”

The Georgia Library Media Association is the state’s largest professional organization serving school library media professionals. It is dedicated to advancing and empowering school media specialists and education in Georgia schools.

It is the state affiliate of the American Association of School Libraries and the American Library Association.

Georgia Lottery transfers $980.5 million to education

This year’s Lottery for Education Account means record dollars for Georgia’s Hope Scholarship Program and lottery-funded preschools.

The Georgia Lottery Corp. announced last week that fiscal year 2015 profits transferred to the State Treasury’s Lottery for Education Account will amount to $980.5 million, approximately $35.4 million more than last year’s transfer.

“We are pleased to have raised more dollars for education than in any previous year,” said Georgia Lottery President and CEO Debbie Alford. “This would not have been possible without the support of our players, retailers, business partners and employees across the state.”

Georgia Lottery profits go toward specific educational programs, including the Hope Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program.

More than 1.7 million students have received the scholarship, and more than 1.3 million children have attended the statewide, voluntary preschool program.

UNG announces campaign to establish tourism center

The University of North Georgia has kicked off a $1.25 million campaign for a new tourism center that started with a $100,000 gift.

According to a release from the university, the lead gift from Donald and Nancy Panoz, founders of Chateau Elan Winery Winery and Resort, will go toward establishing the Bill T. Hardman Center for Tourism and Hospitality as a unit of the university’s Mike Cottrell College of Business.

Hardman, who died in 2013, was Georgia’s first tourism director in 1959 and had a “very positive economic impact on this region and the state,” according to UNG President Bonitaé Jacobs.

“For more than 20 years, UNG has hosted the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College, a certification program for tourism professionals that Bill began,” Jacobs said. “The Hardman Center at the University of North Georgia will help support the educational needs of individuals in tourism, which is a $57 billion industry for Georgia.”

Tourism supports more than 411,000 jobs and is Georgia’s fifth-largest employment base, according to the state’s Department of Economic Development.

The new center will support students pursuing careers in hospitality and tourism, as well as professionals in North Georgia who work in the industry. Students will have opportunities for internships and academic experiences, and industry professionals will have access to research and data analysis services, plus non-credit and certificate courses and workshops.

Hardman, who lived in Dahlonega, helped secure a $30 million appropriation from state lawmakers in 1973 to construct the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. He was inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2002.

For more information or to make a financial contribution to the campaign, contact Bobbi Larson at 706-864-1623 or

Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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