You never know just what will turn up in your own back yard.

Linda Evans, a lower school resource specialist at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, kept a fossil on display in her yard for years. “It sat by my reflection pool literally for decades,” Evans said. “About two years ago, we were doing some construction out back, so I brought it in and sat it on my hearth, where I’ve been looking at it for the last two years.”

Recently, she decided to find out just what it was. She sent it to the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville. Experts there told her it was a nautiloid, an ancestor of the squid, and was more than 400 million years old.

She showed the ancient beast to her students, then donated the fossil to the museum.

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Mount Vernon Presbyterian School seniors Alex Butler and Miles Mallory led a group of scouts on a one-day hike on the challenging Art Loeb Trail in western North Carolina and set a record for the longest and most difficult one-day hike, the school said. The scouts collectively raised more than $8,000 for the newly established, inner-city Troop 2010. Both Alex and Miles earned their Eagle scout rank during a Troop 379 honor court earlier this month. Pictured left to right – Butler, Rep. Edward Lindsey of Buckhead and Mallory.

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Honor Roll

Photos by two Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School students won awards at the “My Atlanta” photo competition, which is part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography series. Senior Kelsey Sasser’s picture won the Critic’s Choice award, and junior Gillian Levy’s photograph was named Viewer’s Choice.

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Sandy Springs optometrists Rachael and David Sweeney were named volunteers of the year by Prevent Blindness Georgia.

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Looking for actors

Recent Penn State graduate Jesse Cramer will head a new improvisational group being set up by Act 3 Productions, a Sandy Springs theater company. He’ll hold auditions Dec. 3. “I’m looking for actors with a willingness to learn and a playful sense of humor,” said Cramer.

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Jay Shorter was named 2011 volunteer of the year by the Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA in Buckhead. Shorter volunteers three times a week at the Y’s membership desk. He greets members, answers phones and assists with information and tours. “It’s important for me to be friendly and welcoming, because I represent the Y when [people] first come in,” Shorter said. “I want to make a good impression, and let them know they’re going to be safe, happy and healthy while they’re working out and playing at the Y.”

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Jamie Arthur, vice president for institutional administration at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, has been conferred a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University.  Dr. Arthur has served in several roles at Holy Spirit Preparatory School since 1996, including principal of the Lower School.

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Taylor Wickline, Ridgeview Charter School media specialist, has been chosen by Fulton County to receive the 2011 Exceptional library media program award by the Georgia Department of Education.

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Cadet Capt. Mitchell D. LaVallee, a senior from Sandy Springs, has been appointed a company commander at Riverside Military Academy.

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