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Utopian Academy Scholars Take Center Stage During School Choice Week


More than 200 scholars at Utopian Academy for the Arts showed their school pride by participating in National School Choice Week activities last week.
The national focus highlighted the increasing educational options for families across the country that exercise school choice and pick the schools that meet their needs.
Early in the week, scholars from Utopian Academy’s Broadcasting Club tested their news reporting skills at the Educate GA Summit hosted by Rep. Valencia Stovall at the State Capitol in Atlanta. The summit on issues impacting public education locally and nationally featured talks by Gov. Nathan Deal and Richard Woods, Georgia Schools Superintendent, as well as workshops on increasing parent engagement, boosting student achievement, and expanding the use of technology in the classroom.
Nearly a dozen students, teachers, and administrators at Utopian Academy attended the summit. The field trip gave members of Utopian Academy’s Broadcast Club a chance to cover a live news event. Student journalists interviewed education officials, state lawmakers, and conference participants. The highlight of the day for students and teachers was meeting Gov. Deal.
“The students did an awesome job,” said Ms. Lauren Lawson, Broadcast instructor at Utopian Academy.  “This was a great experience for them.”
Utopian Academy had the only student group reporting the news at the conference. The students were praised for their “tough questions,” and professionalism. They were invited to cover other community conferences. One educator asked students to collaborate on a Black History Month video.
Later during National School Choice Week, Utopian Academy scholars took center stage at the annual School Choice Rally hosted by the Georgia Center for Opportunity.
The rally attracted nearly 1,000 people to Liberty Plaza from schools across Georgia. The annual event empowers Georgians to exercise their right to school choice so that every child has the opportunity to attend a quality school.
The rally featured two celebrity guest speakers – rap legend, Ludacris, and actress and director, Keisha Knight Pulliam, who gained fame for her role as “Rudy” on “The Cosby Show.”
Gov. Deal and Artesius Miller, executive director of Utopian Academy for the Arts, also addressed the crowd.
“Our school is one of very few state charter schools in the good state of Georgia, but we are one of many doing some dynamic work,” Miller told the crowd of students, educators, and parents. “We are very grateful to the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia for giving us the ability to serve the families of Clayton County, Georgia. We are appreciative of the governor for his support for school choice. We are also appreciative of the state legislators who have done amazing things to make sure that we have choice for families statewide.”
Utopian scholars move onto the lawn of Liberty Center following Mr. Miller’s speech to prepare for their performance. As soon as the music began, the crowd of more than 200 students leaped, somersaulted, and twirled their scarfs in unison. Students had been rehearsing the School Choice Week flash mob dance for weeks. They received a standing ovation for their performance.
Officials with the Georgia Center for Opportunity praised the group for doing a “great job.”

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