Paul Duke STEM Parent Newsletter

Volume 23/February 5, 2021

Upcoming School Events

February 8th - 11th PDS Staff Appreciation Week

February 8th Access Test for ELLs

February 12th Student & Teacher Holiday

February 15th Student Holiday

March 2nd, 16th & April 20th Digital Days (Asynchronous)


STUDENT AND STAFF GOOD NEWS (SGN) was born out of a desire to share the good stories of our students! Paul Duke STEM Students, YOU inspire us to be the good in the world. Keep on doing what you’re doing and continue to share YOUR GOOD NEWS! We will also have special weeks where we will focus on the GOOD NEWS of the PDSHS STAFF! Please send Good News to and the news will be printed in the next week’s newsletter. (Sponsored by the PTSA)


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Please congratulate these DECA students and DECA Sponsor Lauren O’Connor!

We had some winners last week! Our students worked really hard and placed in the top 8 to move on to the international level in April.

Top 8 win medals and top 3 win trophies!

● JJ Mauney - 5th Place Principles of Business & Admin

● Faith Nnakwe - 4th Place Principles of Finance

● Aidan Ventimiglia - 2nd Place Business Finance

● Kasha Salia - 4th Place Quick Service Restaurant

Abigail Sirakoulis - 3rd Place Job Interview

Candace Cang & Sarah Tan - 2nd Place Personal Financial Literacy

● Candace Cang & Sarah Tan - 6th Place Business Law & Ethics

● Grayson Preston & Jasmine Monroy - GOLD Re-Certified for School-Based Enterprise

● Serenity Howell & Marth Reyes-Sanchez - 1st Place Chapter Chronicles

These students were also competitors and while they didn't place, they will always be winners to us! Congratulate them on completing a competition in a virtual setting during a pandemic: Landon Shell, Iam Garcia, and Yazarah Jack

Congratulations to our GHP Semifinalists!

Aidan Ventimiglia Mathematics

Alexandra Tarassenko Music

Kaitlyn Chan Visual Arts

Kobe Grossman Visual Arts

Sahana Parekh Music

Good luck in your upcoming interviews!

Paul Duke STEM Free ACT/SAT Diagnostic Test Feb 20th

PTSA has partnered with Applerouth to offer a SAT/ACT Diagnostic Test. Any Paul Duke STEM student can register for free. Each student that completes the exam receives a detailed score report highlighting strengths and weaknesses to help you select a test and target areas for improvement. Students can complete the exam at home by print the test and submitting a picture of their results. Students without printer access can request assistance from their counselor.

Register online and use event code M410378

Also, save the date, a free full proctored SAT practice exam will be offered Feb 27th. Registration details will be available next week.


Topic: Paul Duke STEM PTSA General Meeting

Date: Wednesday, February 17th

Time: 7 p.m. EST


Please join the Paul Duke STEM PTSA for a virtual General Meeting on Wednesday, February 17th at 7 p.m. This meeting is open to any Paul Duke STEM PTSA current and interested members (parents, teachers, and students).

We will discuss our 2020 accomplishments, financial report, and 2021 initiatives and opportunities as well as approve by vote our Nominating Committee for open board and committee positions in 2021-22.


Celebrate Black History Month by supporting PDS Black Culture Association (BCA).

Orders can be placed on The price is $10 for adult t-shirts and $8 for youth t-shirts.

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Do you have a special talent? Would you like to perform for the Black History Month Program? This is event is open to ALL students who want to take part in celebrating this part of American History!

Please, click on this link to learn more about it.


We are excited to introduce the HoPE Chapter here at Paul Duke STEM!

HoPE (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education) is a nonprofit organization with a one of a kind, interactive extracurricular programming that provides a powerful community for students to feel connected, grow, and maximize their potential.

In addition, HoPE builds communities for students to succeed through HoPe Leadership Chapters led by high school students for which intensive leadership development training, educational coaching and resources, plus community service opportunities are provided.

To learn more about the HoPE Program, click here.

If interested in joining this chapter, click here to complete a form.


The SHH is an honor society for high school students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).

This honor society recognizes your achievements to date but more importantly builds a framework for future success. From networking, to leadership opportunities, to exclusive member trips and content, this society exists to help you achieve even more.

Please click HERE if you are interested in joining the National Spanish Honor society.

Do not miss the opportunity to learn more about how to support your student during these critical times.

Our Title I page provides you with a variety of articles from discussing how to talk to your children after racial incidents to coping with frightening news.

Click here to read Helping Children Cope with Frightening News.

Please, click here to explore our Title I page.

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Click the links below to watch videos about our wonderful counselors.

Dr. Brent Henderson

Last names: A-K


Dr. Henderson's Video

Ashley Morris

Counselor for Special Projects


Ms. Morris' Video

Leslie Patel

Last names: L-Z


Ms. Patel's Video


Do you want to learn more about colleges such as Gwinnett Tech and University of West Georgia?

Please click on this link, to sign up for colleges virtual information session.


At Paul Duke STEM, we are preparing our students for the next step of their life. For some, that means entering the workforce, and for others, that means more education and training. Regardless of your plans, the Counseling Department at Paul Duke STEM is here to answer questions and provide resources.

Click here for more information regarding college application, financial aid, scholarships, military sites, and more.

Supporting Children's Mental Health During Chaotic Times

To learn about how to support your child's mental health during chaotic times, please click HERE (for English) and HERE (for Spanish).


Norcross High School offers a driver education program to all students. This program is licensed by Georgia Department of Driver Services.
You may take the online driver education course at anytime, from anywhere, on any device. The cost is $65 for the online class and $280 to complete the 6 hours of driving (actual real driving) in person at Norcross.

Click here to find out more information about how to take advantage of this great opportunity!

digital students only - fall pictures pick-up

Has your digital student taken school pictures in the fall?

Please, come by the front office during school hours to pick them up.


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We are happy to announce that "The Print Shop" is now open. Please join us to congratulate Ms. Wright and our Graphic Design students!

The shop is open on Fridays during 4th block. You can also click here to visit The Print Shop website where you can place online orders using the contact page.

Follow The Print Shop on Instagram: @printshoppds

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ON-CAMPUS PARKING is available for eligible licensed student drivers at PDS.

  • Interested students must follow the steps to complete the application through
  • Parking fee for the spring semester is $35.
  • Do not drive on campus until you have stopped by the front office to pick up your parking permit.
  • Parking on campus without a permit will result in parking fines, vehicle immobilization, or towing of your vehicle.
  • Students with a learner permit will not be allowed to park on campus.

ATTN ALL Juniors and Seniors

Show off all of your best high school memories in one place and order your Paul Duke STEM Class Ring, Letter Jacket (anyone who has earned a letter), and Senior Cap/Gown Packages now!

Click here for you digital class ring/letter jacket brochure!

Seniors, make sure to order 1 of 3 exclusive Cap & Gown Packages NOW and show off your 2021 pride. Click here to see which package is best for you! Make sure to order before the price increases!

You can order online at anytime as well, but make sure you’ve been custom sized by us before ordering a letter jacket online!

-Scholastic Images (770-614-9353)


Yearbooks are on sale now! Reserve your copy today before the price increases in January. The price is $65 and can be purchased through The yearbook staff is excited to share the theme "A/PART" this year and to capture all of the ways we are "apart" while we are a part" of the school community.

Yearbook Pricing Scale

January 1 to Spring Break - $75

After Spring Break, in person purchases only

Order through



Payment for Junior Class Dues of $160 can be made on MyPaymentsPlus. Junior Class Dues cover both years of prom and assorted other class activities. The full amount is due before students can attend prom 2021 at Fernbank. Contact Ms. Whittington if you have any questions.


The time we have all been waiting for is here! The Official Class of 2022 Senior Jersey is ready to be purchased!

To place an order click here. The last day to place an order is Sunday, March 14th.


On February 7th, at 5pm EST join a panel of college admissions experts who will be discussing how the ongoing pandemic is impacting the college search and the admissions process for current high school juniors and sophomores. Click here to participate in this hour long webinar.

Students, parents, and guardians are all welcome - bring a notebook and your questions to this highly informative session.

Topics will include:

  • Testing: What is the status of test-optional admissions? When should students consider this option? And how will colleges view your application if you don't include test scores?
  • Classes & Grades: How will colleges evaluate grades from online, remote, or hybrid learning? How do honors, AP, IB and dual enrollment classes factor into the process?
  • Extracurriculars: How should students use their time outside of school? With many in-person activities on hold, what types of extracurricular activities are colleges looking for?
  • College Visits: What's the best way to "visit" campuses and explore what colleges have to offer? How can students demonstrate interest remotely while campuses are closed?
  • Essays: What are colleges looking for in students' essays? Should you write about your experience during Covid in your essay?


"Sincerely, Gen Z" is a compilation of essays by teens about modern issues and opinions. Paul Duke STEM 9th grader, Aidan Ventimiglia, designed the cover, the chapter icons, and contributed some of his own work to the book. You can now pre-order a copy of this book by clicking here. Profits from the sales will be donated to not for profit organizations.


Have you seen our outdoor classroom and meeting space? It’s a huge hit in use by many classes, events and clubs.

Please consider donating to help us complete the shade structure and install the speaker system!

Please DONATE TODAY! Donations of any amount are appreciated!


It’s scholarship time at Peach State Federal Credit Union! For our 2021 Scholarship Program, we are awarding more than $167,000 in scholarships and educational grants. Our 19th Annual Legacy Student Scholarships, Rick Cost Scholarship and Dr. Frances Davis Scholarship are part of this program.

The five $5,000 Legacy Student Scholarships are given in honor of past and present Board members and employees who have served Peach State for 20 years or more. They will be awarded to high school seniors who are pursuing a college degree in any field.

Our $2,500 Rick Cost Scholarship honors Mr. Cost, retired CFO of Gwinnett County Public Schools, for his contributions to the Gwinnett County school system. It will be awarded to a Gwinnett County Public Schools graduating senior pursuing a degree in education. Click here to complete an application.

Our $2,500 Dr. Frances Davis Scholarship honors Dr. Davis, Associate Superintendent of District Performance and Community Engagement at Gwinnett County Public Schools, for more than two decades of service on Peach State FCU’s Board of Directors. It will be awarded to a Gwinnett County Public School graduating senior pursuing a degree in education. Click here to complete an application.

All scholarship winners will be chosen by March 31, 2021 and notified shortly thereafter.

In order to be considered, completed applications and supporting documentation must be received by Peach State no later than February 26, 2021.

Please note: students should not submit multiple applications for our scholarships. Applications to more than one of our scholarships will not increase eligibility or chances of being selected.

For more information, please visit

A note from Peachtree State Federal Credit Union.

"We are aware that many colleges are waiving SAT and ACT scores due to the current COVID pandemic. In light of this situation, we have decided that we will also waive this requirement for all of our student scholarships. This includes the five Legacy Student Scholarships as well as the School System & Community Honoree Scholarships. Students will not need to include a copy of these scores when submitting their applications."


Families can now have access to our PDS Plan and Promise through our Title I webpage of our school website and available also at our Parent Center.

The plan describes how our school will provide opportunities to improve family engagement that will support student learning at school and at home.

The Promise is a written agreement that outlines how the school, the students, and the family will work together to ensure your child’s academic success.

If you haven't signed off the Plan/Promise through MyPaymentsPlus site, you can download, print, and return a signed Cover Page to Silvana Ebong at or by texting a picture of the signed document at (762)499-0989.


SY 21 Online Application Now Available!

Click here for the application for free or reduced lunch.

The Free- and Reduced-Priced Meal application must be filled out each school year. Note that those eligible for free- and reduced-priced meals may be able to access other types of public assistance or services that may be available during this pandemic. If you have other questions or need this information in other languages, please contact the Free and Reduced Help Line at 678-301-6307.


If for any reason, your family has to quarantine/isolate due to an exposure to COVID-19, please send one email to the email address In the email, please list your student's name(s), grade level(s), date when quarantine/isolation began and the last day that your student was on campus FOR ANY REASON.

By sending one email to this address the school's health response team will be notified. We will follow up with appropriate information.

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Paul Duke STEM Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA) Welcomes our Trailblazers

So far, over 250 students, parents, and staff have joined the PTSA. Please help us reach 100% participation by becoming a member. You can sign up at

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It is time to celebrate our wonderful Paul Duke staff & teachers and shower them with gratitude - for who they are & all they do - especially in this season when education has required so much of them! We would love your help to celebrate them well.

Click here for the Sign Up Genius:


Attention Seniors! The PTSA is now accepting applications for our 2021 College Bound Scholarship. To qualify, you must have at least a 3.5 GPA, be a member of PTSA (this can be done on My Payments Plus before February), and be accepted to an accredited college or university by April 15th. Applications can be found on the website. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 2nd.


Show your school spirit with Paul Duke STEM Spirit Gear for your student and family! We have lanyards, water bottles, winter caps and more!

Ordering is easy! Just click here or sign up genius link below, select your items, pay online.

We will contact you when it is ready to pick up at the front desk of the school.Please contact Jordan Mai at or Angie McCann at if you have any questions.

All proceeds support our PDSHS PTSA programs and activities throughout the year.


Are you a Paul Duke STEM DAD and interested in getting involved and using your skills to help our students and school? Please email and let our chairperson, Leonard Jack, Jr. know if you would like to join in the fun!

Interested in Playing Water Polo?

Competitive Spring Water Polo Season - Open to All 8th - 12th Graders.

Practice Starts February 8, 2021

All practices at West Gwinnett Aquatic Center

4488 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross, GA 30071

For more information and registration,


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Thank you Mathnasium for you generous donation to Paul Duke STEM PTSA to support our Saturday Interventions, Outdoor Classroom and more! Parents, you can learn more about how Mathnasium Learning Center can help your student catch up or get ahead at
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A big thank you to Illuminating Design (Bill Frey) for donating your time, talents and lights and bringing our vision to life!

Parents, please consider our partner for any needs you have in the future for:

Artistic lighting

Event Lighting

Holiday Lighting

Movie screen rentals

Help Paul Duke STEM While You Shop

Kroger Rewards Program

You can support Paul Duke STEM PTSA and our school by shopping at Kroger!

Simply visit Once logged into your Kroger account, search for Paul Duke Stem HS PTSA either by name or SI217 and then click Enroll. New users will need to create an account which requires some basic information, a valid email address and a rewards card. If you do not have a Kroger rewards card, please visit the customer service desk at any Kroger. The closest Kroger to Paul Duke STEM High is at 3455 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

Publix Rewards Program

Over the years, Publix Partners has contributed more than $30 million to over 4,500 schools giving back to support education. Simply sign up for a account, select Paul Duke STEM, the enter your phone number at checkout. Please note that you have to re-enroll each year.

Amazon Smile

Paul Duke STEM and our PTSA are now on AmazonSmile! Already shopping on Amazon? Switch to AmazonSmile, a website operated by Amazon with the same products, pricing, and shopping features as and our school receives 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. Go to or click here to register PTA Georgia Congress (our charitable arm). Thank you and happy shopping!

Click here to view a video on how to add an Amazon Smile "app" to your phone.

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A big thank you to the following Paul Duke STEM High School Community Partners for their generous donations. Please contact Aminta Bumrungsup at if you are interested in becoming our community partner.

Diamond Partner ($5,000 Donation or more)

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Platinum Partner ($2,500 Donation)

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Blue Partner ($500 Donation)

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Friends of PDS Sponsorship ($100 Donation)

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