• INSPIRED. Ari Wright-Thompson, Southern Lee High School

    INSPIRED. Ari Wright-Thompson, Southern Lee High School

    For Southern Lee High School senior Ari Wright-Thompson, high school has been all about leadership. “My grandmother always had politics on TV,” said Wright-Thompson. “And socially, I like dealing with solutions to problems that will best fit everyone.” Wright-Thompson has expressed that passion for finding solutions to problems and serving others over the last two years of his high school career, during which he served as the junior class and senior class president, and plans to pursue political science at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

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  • INSPIRED. Reanna Vaughan-Williams, Lee County High School

    INSPIRED. Reanna Vaughan-Williams, Lee County High School

    “All the world's a stage,” as Shakespeare put it, and for Lee County High School senior Reanna Vaughan-Williams that's been literally true for most of her life. “[Theatre has] been my home away from home,” she said. “I’ve literally lived here, and it’s given me bonds that will last forever.”

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  • INSPIRED. Nery Villalba Martinez, Success Was "Worth The Struggle"

    INSPIRED. Nery Villalba Martinez, Success Was "Worth The Struggle"

    There was a time less than a year ago when Lee Early College senior Nery Villalba Martinez wondered if she'd be able to graduate. Not because of her performance in the classroom, but a tough situation at home meant that the young woman who is the daughter of immigrants and now set to be the first in her family to attend college had to work extra hard to strike a balance between school and home. “At first I was debating whether I would be able to graduate,” she said. “But at the end, all the hard work I was able to put in, it was worth the struggle.”

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  • INSPIRED. Leslie Cottrell, 2019-20 Teacher of the Year

    INSPIRED. Leslie Cottrell, 2019-20 Teacher of the Year

    When Leslie Cottrell came to Greenwood Elementary as an AIG specialist in the fall of 2017, she quickly dubbed herself the students' “thinking coach.” Her diversity of instruction – and the enthusiasm which she brings with her – paid off Monday night when Cottrell was named Lee County Schools' 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.

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  • INSPIRED. Reading Program Gets Little Wheels Turning

    INSPIRED. Reading Program Gets Little Wheels Turning

    Across Warren Williams Elementary School Tuesday, preschoolers eagerly listened to stories from special guests – volunteer tutors joined students to read to them on a regularly scheduled day and time in an effort to help boost their reading comprehension ability. “We went from 25 percent proficient in children who were learning English to 46 percent proficient – in one year,” Principal Silvia Huffer said. “We think a lot of that success is from the reading program.”

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