From the plethora of "best of" recognitions and their copycats floating around town, it's clear there are plenty of superlatives to celebrate.
Columbia County is blessed with lots of them, especially local citizens and groups who've received noteworthy honors:
-- If the phrase "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy" was in the dictionary, Jeff Hardin's picture would be on it.
The former chairman of the county's library board recently was honored for his tireless work in the construction of the county's new main library and performing arts center.
Hardin received his plaque at the first major performance of the Columbia County Ballet during a ceremony in which the former Ron Jones Academy of Ballet and Augusta Dance Theatre was conferred resident company status.
-- Columbia County's top-notch school system received further accolades this past week when 11 county schools were singled out for state recognition.
The honors, based on student performance, reward schools with high percentages of students meeting or exceeding state standards, and for schools showing the greatest gains in test scores. Three Columbia County schools - Bel Air, Greenbrier and North Columbia elementary - received awards in both categories.
-- There are many keys to student achievement, but at the top is good teachers. Grovetown Middle School has three of the best.
Language arts teacher Penny Barclay was honored Thursday night as the county's 2006-07 Teacher of the Year. Chosen by a panel of outside observers from among five finalists, Barclay will now compete for the state title.
Also from Grovetown Middle, Kathleen Kohl and Kimetha Hampton recently earned master teacher status, just two of 199 in Georgia receiving the recognition from among 890 candidates.
-- But school isn't all work and no play. At the top of the playlist is Greenbrier High School's softball team, which recently racked up win No. 300.
This remarkable program, coached its entire 11-year life by Garrett Black, has been region champion every year of its existence, and is the defending state champ.
-- Last, but not least, congratulations to Brittany Murray, an Evans High School sophomore who recently won the Miss Junior Teen Augusta pageant.
When you want to find the best, there's no reason to look beyond Columbia County!
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