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Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy recently held a graduation ceremony for its Class of 2014.

Many classmates met for the very first time during the event at the Gwinnett Center.

"We are very proud of our graduates," GCA lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. Altogether, the Class of 2014 secured $1.33 million in college scholarship offers.

Emily McClure of Columbus is GCA's valedictorian. She will attend Georgia College and State University on the Zell Miller Scholarship in the fall.

Learn more about Georgia Connections Academy, the state's free virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, at georgiaconnectionsacademy.com.

RELATED | Georgia Cyber Academy graduates first class

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

30 Ga. students appointed to military academies

30 Ga. students appointed to military academies

(ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE) -- Thirty Georgia high school students nominated by Congress members representing Georgia have been appointed to U.S. military academies.

Each year, members of Congress nominate students to attend the nation's military academies. Nominees who are accepted into the academies are awarded full four-year scholarships that include tuition, books, board, medical and dental care.

The nominees are:

U.S. Air Force Academy
* Casey Blaney, Augusta
* Micah Hayden, Roswell
* Joseph Humphries, Peachtree City
* Zachary Jones, Richmond Hill
* Nathan Katich, Buford
* Harrison Summerour, Dawsonville
* Christana Wagner, Alpharetta

Cherokee County participates in Seamless Summer program

Cherokee County participates in Seamless Summer program

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Cherokee County School District has signed up for the USDA's Seamless Summer Option for Children program.

Seamless Summer provides breakfast and lunch in the summertime to children who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Last year, nearly 65,000 kids ate nutritious meals through Cherokee County's Seamless Summer program.

More than 32 percent of Cherokee County's students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Families do not need to provide proof of income for their children to be fed through Seamless Summer.

This year's program begins Monday, June 9 and ends Friday, July 25. Food giveaway locations include:

East Gate Mobile Home Park
6310 Bells Ferry Road, Acworth
* Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Shadowood Mobile Home Park
6359 Bells Ferry Road, Acworth
* Lunch (clubhouse): 10:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.
* Lunch (playground): 11:05 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

(WXIA) -- The three Interstate 20 construction projects that have plagued drivers for several weekends will continue.

As long as the weather cooperates, crews will work on the following stretches of I-20 this weekend:

Atlanta
Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Windsor Street and Boulevard from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 am. Sunday.

Douglas County
Two lanes in both directions will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Newton County
Two eastbound left lanes will be closed between Almon and Alcovy roads from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has smaller projects scheduled in Cobb County:

I-285
Two northbound lanes will be intermittently closed at South Cobb Drive for overhead sign work; two lanes will always remain open.

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

(WXIA) -- Diners at two metro Atlanta-based restaurant chains had a hand in making wishes come true for five very special children.

Throughout March and April, J. Christopher's and Reveille Café customers donated more than $47,000 to the Make-a-Wish organizations in Georgia and Middle Tennessee. Make-a-Wish grants surprises to children living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Thanks to the diners' generosity, Make-a-Wish was able to send five kids on trips of a lifetime:

Andrea, age 3
Hematologic (blood) disorder
Andrea got to go to Disney World and meet her idols -- Mickey and Minnie; Peter Pan and Tinkerbell; Pluto and Goofy.

Bryce, age 4
Wilms' tumor (kidney cancer)
Bryce got to fly on a plane to Disney World, ride the rides and meet Mickey Mouse.

Elijah, age 8
Respiratory condition
Elijah took an "absolutely awesome" trip to Disney World.