Thumbs-up: To academic excellence. Taylor Whisenant, a K-6 collaborative teacher at Athens Renaissance School, was recently named a 2022 Inspire the Future: Educators Recognition Program honoree. In April, the robotics team she led won the All Start Rookie Award at the 2022 Rocket City Regional Competition, which qualified them to go to Houston for the FIRST championship. The high school portion of the event featured 454 teams divided across six divisions. Athens Renaissance was in the Carver Division and ranked 12th out of 75 teams, earning them the Highest Rookie Seed Award.

Thumbs-up: To preservation. Chapman Mountain, a 472-acre untouched woodland area alongside Hwy. 72, has received a 92-acre addition expansion of preserved land to fill an existing hole in the Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve. With many people contributing to the Land Trust of North Alabama, the organization raised $370,000 toward the purchase. The preserve will now total 551 acres.

Thumbs-up: To recreation. Plans to turn an abandoned chicken plant site into an asset for the community received support May 9, from members of the Limestone County Legislative Delegation. The members presented community grants totaling $26,967.50 to the city of Athens toward the playground/splash pad phase on the Pryor Street side of the site. The city is seeking additional grant funding for this phase. A series of community meetings led residents to share ideas for a park, such as walking and biking trails, splash pad, dog park and amphitheater. The city plans to start with the splash pad and playground area.

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