9th-grader picked for state council

COVINGTON -- Alcovy High School ninth-grader Lindsey McDonald has some important meetings to attend this school year.

The Georgia Department of Education announced Monday that McDonald and 52 other Georgia high school students were selected to be on the state's 2009-10 Student Advisory Council.

"The Student Advisory Council is an invaluable resource to me and the leadership of the Georgia Department of Education," State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said in a press release. "It gives me a tremendous insight into how state policies and procedures are working in the classroom, and it allows me to communicate directly with students in schools throughout Georgia."

McDonald said she was having a bad day before she recently found out she was accepted.

"When I got home from school and saw the package from the Georgia Department of Education, I thought it was going to be more bad news," she said. "When I opened the package, all I wanted to see was the word 'Congratulations!' and that is what I saw. I felt ecstatic and began telling everyone."

She was chosen from more than 550 students in 108 state school districts who applied to be a member earlier this year. Students had to fill out an application and answer essay questions to be considered.

"It was a difficult task to choose the members of the Student Advisory Council this year, and I'm grateful to every student who applied," Cox said. "I think we have a great group of students this year, and I'm looking forward to our first meeting."

McDonald said she applied for the council to get more involved in the community and school.

"I am willing to do anything that will help others," she said. "I want to do everything I can while I am in high school so that my college and scholarship applications look impressive. I was thinking ahead when I applied."

During the council's first meeting Monday and at several other meetings throughout the school year, McDonald said she is looking forward talking to Cox and issues that affect schools from around the state.

"I am most excited about being able to talk about standardized testing and how the tests should have a larger impact on curriculum and what is taught in the classroom," she said.

McDonald also is a member of the Key Club, a national service organization at AHS, and Certamen, part of the Junior Classical League that offers enrichment opportunities and knowledge of Greek and Roman culture and language. In her free time, she enjoys writing dramatic and fantasy fiction.

"Lindsey is a dynamic, well-rounded young lady," said Stacey Kitchens, guidance department chair at Alcovy. "I know she will represent Alcovy well. We are very proud of Lindsey and her accomplishments."

Then Alcovy freshman Arie Smith represented Alcovy and Newton County on the council for the 2007-08 school year.

Cox invites students to apply for the council at the beginning of each school year. More information is available at the council's Web site, www.public.doe.k12.ga.us.