Friday, March 06, 2009

Gifted Fayette County Student Selected as Distinguished Award Recipient for Georgia

A student at Peeples Elementary is the state’s sole recipient of the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award, which recognizes students in grades 3-6 who have distinguished themselves in academic achievement, leadership or the visual or performing arts.

Conner Jay Gayda, a gifted student, was nominated by Fayette County’s Gifted Coordinator Ann Richardson for the honor that is given to one student in each state through the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC). Conner was nominated for coordinating a fundraising project to benefit the Joey’s Toy Box Foundation, which collects toys for young cancer patients receiving treatment at the AFLAC Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at the Children’s Hospital at Scottish Rite. The foundation was the brainchild of Newnan resident Joey Doolittle, who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the muscle, at the age of three months. He died from the disease on July 4, 2008; he was 9 years old.

“Conner is an amazing young man and is extremely concerned about the welfare of others. He decided to organize the fundraising project after hearing the story about the charity in our enrichment class,” says enrichment teacher April Degennaro.

As Georgia’s recipient of the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award, Conner will receive a $500 U.S. Savings Bond along with a Certificate of Excellence from the NAGC. He will be honored in a special award ceremony sponsored by the Georgia Association for Gifted Children on March 13 at Callaway Gardens.

The distinguished student award program was established through funds provided by Maggie and Reg Green to honor the memory of their seven-year-old son, Nicholas, who was killed in a drive-by shooting while vacationing in Italy in 1994. The Greens felt if was important to recognize the gifts and talents in children who are now the age that their son was when he died.

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