Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published April 1, 2010

In the end, it all came down to “conjunctivitis” for Julia Denniss to take home the trophy for the 49th Annual Statewide Spelling Bee sponsored by the Georgia Association of Educators.

A seventh-grader at Marist School, Julia earned the right to stand among other word fans at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C. in June. She also takes home $1,475 in prize money.

No stranger to success in the spelling arena, Julia was the Georgia spelling bee champion last year.

Young people raised $12,000 as they learned about homelessness and hunger in their community and around the world.

Middle school students at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta participated in a “Cardboard Campout” in early March.

Anne Renkes, the middle school coordinator at the parish, said it was a first time event for this program that required the students to give up their comforts, learn to depend on others and go without food.

Middle school youth at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, took part in a “Cardboard Campout”and raised $12,000 for relief agencies. Above, a wall of broken hearts draws attention to the number of children that perish in one hour because of hunger.

Advocates and law enforcement officials talked with the young people during the experience.

Katheryn Preston from the Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness spoke to the young teens about the organization and helping families in need.

She said many people are struggling are in their midst and they may not even know it. The average age of a homeless child is 9 years old and parents will go without something to be sure their children have what they need so they won’t be singled out and ridiculed, she said.

The Alpharetta police came and “visited” the box city and spoke to them about the homeless in the community.

It wasn’t a one-day event. The week before the campout the students spent time in daily prayer. The activities centered on Catholic social teaching. Students hung signs about world hunger along the pathway into the church. A wall of broken hearts representing the number of children that perish in one hour because of food insufficiency and a wall of helping hands representing the people who are part of the solution were displayed.

The evening allowed the people to pray for those who do not have the choice to be hungry and to understand their role fighting poverty.

The money will be donated to North Fulton Community Charities, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Catholic Relief Services.

Congratulations to St. Pius X High School substitute teacher Chase Turner.

He was spotlighted by The Sunday Paper, an alternative newspaper in Atlanta, to receive one of its “2010 Unsung Hero Awards” in its March 21 edition.

Turner apparently earned the students’ respect with “his ability to motivate, inspire and tell a great story.” He apparently keeps their attention after the tasks are done by weaving a tale about his life as a ninja and being born on a banana plantation in Burma. The epic has grown to include cats that make their home on the moon and ninja warriors dueling in space.

Rachel Braham, dean of students, couldn’t say enough nice things about Chase.

“He is just a fabulous, all around guy. He is very nice, disciplined. He is a first-class person all around. Teachers ask for him because he is capable on many levels to instruct the class. The kids enjoy him because he is straightforward. He knows almost every name.”

According to Braham, students nominated the long-term substitute for the recognition.

To contribute people/items to Notable, please contact Andrew Nelson at or (404) 877-5512.