Twenty-nine fifth graders earned the President’s Education Excellence Award based on academic achievements, and students were recognized for honors and activities during the year. Recognition Day is special for our graduating fifth graders.

The President's Education Awards Program was founded in 1983 and honors graduating elementary, middle and high school students for their achievement and hard work. The President's Education Awards Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It was developed to help schools recognize and honor students who have achieved high academic goals through hard work and dedication to learning. Each year, thousands of elementary, middle, and high schools participate by recognizing deserving students. To be eligible for this recognition students must meet the following criteria: 

Students are to earn a cumulative grade point average of 90 or higher on a 100 point scale in reading, writing and math during  4th grade through the 2nd trimester of 5th grade. 

Students must score 90% or higher in national norm rankings in Reading Comprehension or Mathematics 1&2 on the 5th grade ERB administered test this past January. 

The winners are: Thomas Anderson, Addison Boehm, Ann Boehm, Addie Cannon, Stone Caputo, Catherine Curtis, Margaret Daniel, Quinn Davenport, Meg Finger, Henry Forrester, Samantha George, Thomas Gillenwater, Anderson Golden, Charlotte Hoss, Jack Houghton, Helen Kates, Nina Lail, Brooks McKenna, Luke Mouw, Grey Mullins, William Oehmig, Sunjay Ravinder, Patrick Rice, John Robbins, Zoe Robinson, Luke Sawrie, Lela Kate Sorrow, Ari Soss, and Caroline Trainor.
Linda Moss Mines, representing the Daughters of the American Revolution and who retired as a history teacher at GPS, gave out two awards.
The Citizenship award is based on an essay fifth graders write. All essays were submitted using a number value (no name) and were reviewed separately by independent readers who selected the top essay. The essay prompt was "Throughout the fifth grade year, we have discussed many character traits and shared responsibilities that help each of us to be good citizens in our school, community and country. Describe a good citizen and some of the character traits he/she possess. Include a personal experience or event when you felt a sense of pride being a citizen of our country."
Mrs. Mines quoted from the winning essay, "Treating people equally and not discriminating because of race, gender, or religion is the foundation of being a good citizen. Viewing others as important and deserving of kindness and equal rights would shift the entire world." The winner is Addison Boehm. 
The history award was chosen similarly and based on the prompt: "After learning about various wars in which the United States has been involved, how do you think these conflicts changed the lives of some or all Americans? Give specific examples to support your thoughts." Mrs. Mines mentioned the winner wrote about specific examples from the Vietnam War and World War II and included mention of a family member killed in war. The winner is Meg Finger.
Erin Worthington '95, granddaughter of Helen Murray, presented the geography award in honor of Mrs. Murray, who was a longtime sixth grade teacher at Bright. The award, given by her family, is based on a deep understanding of geography and an appreciation of other world cultures. Students were administered a national level geography test with the highest score chosen for this award. The winner is Thomas Anderson.
Austin Center '85, chair of the Board of Trustees, presented the Center Community Service Award on behalf of his family. The winner is Carter Witt, who participated in the Shine Bright community service club and collected art supplies for the Chambliss Center. He also supported the causes of other students in Shine Bright, and he sponsors an Ethiopian boy and his family. His efforts help to better their lives and give them opportunities they may not have otherwise. In addition to the award, Mr. Center donated Legos for robotics to a kindergarten class in Israel that has many Ethiopian immigrants in honor of Carter. 
Finally, Mary Kilbride presented the Benjamin Kilbride Scholarship to fourth grader Charlie Scearce. The scholarship, founded in 2001, is awarded to a rising fifth grader who is a leader, takes and shows an interest in other students throughout the school, exhibits a contagious enthusiasm for life, and is a student in good standing.
The Recognition Day ceremony also featured selections by the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Hand Bells groups and naming all the students who participated in Hand Bells, after school sports, after school activities, the spelling bee, Pi Day and the Youth Southern Student Writers.
Congratulations to all our fifth graders on a great year!