Athens Parent Feb. 2020

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A Resource for Families in Athens, Oconee County and the Surrounding Area

February 2020

Building Families... Building Businesses



Georgia PreK Foothills High College Prep


Ways to Turn Your Day Around!

2 Athens-Oconee Parent

“Building Families...Building Businesses” February 2020 • Vol. 22 No. 2 LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1998


Shannon H. Baker


CBW Creative


Sarah Danis


Anniston Howell WEB MANAGER


Shannon Baker, Liz Conroy, Sarah Danis, Melissa Eisler, Rebecca Hastings, Janeen Lewis, Cassie Wright Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine is published six times a year. Reader correspondence and editorial submission welcome.We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without express written consent of the publisher. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this magazine. Distribution of this product does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services herein. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 Advertising: Editorial: Office & Production: Calendar: Website: PUBLISHED BY

on the cover (Seated) Braden DeLamater and Lexie Houston. (Standing) Logan and Elliott Williamson. PHOTO BY CASSIE WRIGHT 3


support 3Please our advertisers who make this FREE family resource possible!

Alice DePass Studio of Dance 13 Athens Academy 16 Athens Family Vision/Dr. Springer 15 Clarke County School District 23

contents FEATURES 8 Georgia’s Pre-K Program 10 Helping Make Mountains Into Hills: Foothills Charter High School 14 College Prep: Navigating the High School Years 16 Countdown-to-College Checklist 18 Every Breath You Take! 20 8 Ways to Turn Your Day Around! 22 Educational Options


Children First 9 Downs Preschool 21 Foothills Charter High School 3 Kids R Kids 11 Linder & Linder Family Dentistry 13 Manning Brothers 15


Newell Orthodontics 21 Georgia Dept. of Public Health 19 Prince Avenue Christian School 19 Pump It Up 4 Root Awakenings 2


Rush Trampoline Park 24 Saint Joseph Catholic Parish School 3 Starry, Starry Night 17


Women’s Center of Athens 11


6 Show & Tell 12 Get Out!



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Read Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine anywhere, any time ... online! Visit and click “read online.” Also, check out our online calendar for up-to-date, family-friendly events.

Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine 5


Compiled by Shannon Baker

A Luncheon to fight the War on Hunger in our communities Wednesday, March 18, 2020 • 11:30am at The Classic Center



fter picking out a hand-made ceramic bowl on arrival, guests will choose from an assortment of soups from local restaurants and simple sandwiches. The empty bowl represents the hunger in homes across our area. Along with music, fellowship and nourishment, you’ll have an awareness that many of our neighbor’s bowls are empty. Attendees will also learn about childhood hunger during the summer months and join the War on Hunger by sponsoring children’s weekend meals during the summer. There will also be a silent auction. Tickets are $45 which includes lunch and a custom-painted bowl and, most of all, helps fight hunger right here in our hometowns!

After-School Snack!

BANANA “SUSHI” INGREDIENTS: 1 flour tortilla (I like to use whole wheat, but you can use white, too) 1 banana, peeled 2-3 Tablespoons peanut butter small smear of Nutella TO MAKE: Spread peanut butter on one side of a tortilla. Add a thin line of Nutella. Peel banana and straighten it a bit (it’s okay if it cracks a little). Place on top of Nutella. Roll tortilla up around the banana, making it as tight as possible. Slice into 1/2 - 1 inch “sushi” rounds and serve. -

Eat Your Veggies with

RAINBOW FRITTERS 1 cup grated zucchini 1/2 cup grated carrot 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper 1/2 cup corn kernels (thaw if frozen) 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon chopped parsley 2 eggs 1/4 cup flour (use chickpea flour to make gluten free) Oil for frying

Place the grated carrots and zucchini on a clean cloth and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Place in a mixing bowl. Add the peppers, corn, parsley and Parmesan and mix until combined. Add the egg and stir until mixed. Finally add the flour and mix until combined. In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium low heat. Use an ice cream scoop to ensure equal portions of mixture and drop gently into the pan. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. -

Send your ideas & photos to P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or e-mail 6 Athens-Oconee Parent


I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.”


Steve Irwin


A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals What do the ingenious sea otter, the incredible shrinking reindeer, the tree-dwelling baby dragon or the Dodo’s long-lost cousin have in common? They are all at risk of disappearing from our world forever. Published by Chronicle Books, this book by Millie Marotta is all about the amazing creatures that are now endangered around the globe, from oceans and forests to mountains and snow. Filled with beautiful beasts, glorious illustrations, facts and tales, it will make you fall in love with the animal kingdom – and maybe even try to save it. Stop by Treehouse Kid & Craft near downtown Athens to pick up this book!

Milestones – markers for children from birth to 5 years in how they play, learn, speak, act and move – are important to take note of as your child grows. Track your child’s development with the new Milestone Tracker App so you can act early if you have a concern about your child’s development.

Yarn Art YOU’LL NEED: • Aleene’s brand Tacky Glue (for younger kids try sticky contact paper) • Yarn • Pre-stretched canvas or a small sheet of masonite board

figure 1


tart by drawing a simple shape with the Tacky Glue onto the canvas or board. You can trace this out first with a pencil, or freeform as you go. Follow the glue line with a piece of yarn (figue 1). To keep things easy, you may want to start out with your thickest yarn first. Continue adding simple yarn shapes until you are happy with the base design. Fill in the enclosed shapes with a heavy coat of glue. Then, starting from the outside in, encircle the shape with yarn, adding different colors and thicknesses of yarn as you go (figure 2). figure 2 7


What you need to know

Provided by Georgia Department of Early Care & Learning (DECAL) •



PRE-K Program Georgia’s Pre-K Program is a state lottery funded educational program for all age eligible four-year-old children in Georgia. The purpose of Georgia’s Pre-K Program is to prepare children for success in Kindergarten and later school years. Pre-K programs usually operate on the regular school system calendar for the length of a typical school day. Programs may be offered at local public schools or through private providers of preschool services. To participate, children must be four years of age on or before September 1 of the school year and must be a resident of Georgia. Proof that a child is age eligible and is a Georgia resident is required to register for Pre-K. Acceptable proof-ofage includes birth certificate, passport, hospital record of live birth, green card, pink card or Federal I-94 card. You may order a birth certificate online directly from Georgia’s State Office of Vital Records using Official Vital Event Records (ROVER). Acceptable proof-of-residency includes a lease, utility bill or letter from a shelter or employer. All children enrolled in Georgia’s Pre-K 8 Athens-Oconee Parent

Program must have hearing, vision, and dental examination certificates (DHR Form 3300) on file within 90 calendar days of program entry. Form 3300 must be signed by a private practitioner or representative of a local Department of Health. Immunizations (DHR Form 3231) must be up-to-date or affidavits must be on file within 30 calendar days of program entry. Only health departments and physicians licensed in Georgia can obtain blank immunization certificates (Form 3231). Take your child’s personal immunization record to a health department or Georgia physician and they can complete the form and give any required vaccines.

resource and referral consultant, or call Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning at 404-6565957 (toll-free at 1-888-4GA-PREK) and ask for the Pre-K consultant of the day.

a child 3Registering for Georgia’s Pre-K

a Georgia’s 3Locating Pre-K Program To locate a Georgia’s Pre-K Program, use the online Provider Search, contact the Georgia’s Source for Finding Quality Child Care toll-free at 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS (877-255-4254) to speak with a child care


Each Pre-K provider sets its own registration dates. Therefore, it is necessary that you check directly with the Pre-K provider where you want to enroll your child to learn when and how you can register. Because participation in Georgia’s Pre-K Program is voluntary for public schools and for private child development centers, there may not be enough spaces in every community for all four-year-olds who wish to participate. Every effort will be made to contract with eligible centers to create enough spaces for children who want to attend OR to match children with available spaces in other Pre-K program in the area. n 9


Q&A with Foothills Education Charter High School tea

By Liz Conroy • Photos by Callen Moore


Helping Make

Mountains Into Hills

What can Athens-area students do who must work each day but still want to graduate from high school? Or what about drop-out students who want to return and complete their secondary education? These individuals might do well to check out this non-traditional high school: Foothills Education Charter High School (Foothills). Its doors are open to interested students of all learning styles and backgrounds, including those with English as a second language. Importantly, there are no fees for any student aged 14 to 20 years old. School hours are 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and school days are Monday through Thursday. The timing allows Foothills to use already established school buildings, such as Classic City High School. The Boys & Girls Club of Athens even offers their gym for Foothills students to work out so they can receive their gym credits. The one-on-one support offered by Foothills advisors (mentors) helps individuals who may feel lost or overwhelmed in large, traditional high schools such 10 Athens-Oconee Parent

as Clarke Central or Cedar Shoals. The classes have no more than 16 students. Mentors work to communicate regularly with students, parents, and guardians. They know it takes time to build trust in these relationships. Foothills has a unique approach to blended learning. It offers both web-based and textbook instruction and allows students to move at their own pace. Students who are at least 14 years old may enter Foothills, and students who are 14-16 yearsold must attend school each day and sign in for their classes. Older students, however, may choose to study mostly at home. All students must arrive with dedication and interest in graduating. A well-attended and inspirational ceremony allows friends and family to watch as students receive their accredited Georgia High School diplomas. Recently, ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher, Julia Duncanson (JD) answered questions about Foothills in an interview for Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine (APM):

APM: How is Foothills unique, compared to traditional public schools? JD: Some kids are anxious in large classrooms in traditional school settings. At Foothills, they have regular one-to-one connections with teachers and mentors. That means less drama for them, making it easier for them to focus on learning. They learn basic skills like how to take notes. These kids blossom at Foothills because they come into their own stride here. They know they can complete their high school diploma at their own pace, so they have less anxiety. For students working full-time during the day, Foothills allows them to work on their studies at night. Some students want to recover credits. Maybe they didn’t do well in their public high school and got behind. They can come to Foothills get caught up and even have time to grow up, too. Then they may decide to transfer back to their home school to be with friends. This helps the county because it improves the graduation rate.

ol teacher and superintendent APM: What is your role at Foothills? JD: I am an ESOL teacher at the Foothills-Clarke [County] site. I provide language support for students as they progress. Our Foothills-Clarke ESOL team ensures that all of our students are receiving services based on their language proficiency. APM: How have parents/ guardians responded to what Foothills provides for their young adults? JD: Parents and guardians are greatly appreciative and supportive. They receive a call each week from the student’s mentor who updates them on the student’s progress and goals. If a student is 18 years old or older, however, the mentor must get the student’s consent. Social workers are also available to arrange home visits if necessary. APM: What are some of the challenges and rewards for teachers in this setting? JD: The only challenge that I have faced as a teacher is losing a student to full-time work. So many of our students provide for their families and, at times, work schedules interfere with school. . . . [Many] students return to school once they figure out how to balance their work schedule and school schedule. Foothills offers high school students facing challenges the flexibility they need to succeed. It is an alternative to the traditional public school setting that is long overdue!


uperintendent Sherrie Gibney-Sherman (SGS) agrees that a flexible, non-traditional high school like Foothills has been needed for a long time. She also answered questions for APM: APM: What standards must Foothills have as a charter school in Georgia? SGS: Under the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia, Foothills is accredited, well-monitored, and must meet established standards and rules for a state charter school. This is the assurance we are able to give to parents when they ask about standards. APM: How would you summarize what Foothills has to offer? SGS: By working with students one-on-one, they learn at Foothills that they can do it! Classes are small and a tutor is always available if a student feels lost. It’s the first time that some kids realize that they’re really smart. The students quickly learn that people really care. APM: What do students need to bring? SGS: Laptops are provided to each student. If a student has children, then we help them find childcare. But students must bring determination to graduate. If they’re not serious about graduation, then we are not the place for them. But we will say, “Come back when you are!” n

Liz Conroy is an Athens-based freelance writer.


FOR INFORMATION, call 706-395-9775 or visit www. Foothills Education Charter High School is located at 2451 Jefferson Rd., Suite B, P.O. Box 7427, Athens, GA 30607. 11

getout! ONGOING n Ice Skating Athens on Ice Public Skating will be offered outside the 440 Foundry Pavilion at The Classic Center. Skating only available on select days through March 1st, so be sure to check their website. classiccenter. com/272/Athens-on-Ice n Treehouse Kid & Craft In this class, kids can make, paint, draw, and sometimes sculpt! Each week will be something different inspired by the seasons, holidays, nature, artists, or community happenings. Ages 2-4 10am. Ages 5-10 11am. Fee. Call to reserve a spot- 850-8226 n Open Chess Play

at the ACC Library

All skill levels, come out for chess! Led by volunteer members of our local Chess and Community Conference who

Compiled by Sarah Danis

assist players and build skill levels. Open to ages 7-18 years. Athens-Clarke County Library. Mondays. 4-6pm. 613-3650. n Garden Earth Explorers Families will join one another for a morning of adventure discovering Garden Earth through songs, puppets, stories, hikes, activities or games in the children's garden. Each week will highlight a new theme such as water, soil, foods we eat, pollination, plants or trees. Thurs & Sat mornings 10:15 a.m. Alice H. Richards Children's Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Free. 542-1244 n Storytimes at the

Oconee County Library

Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am and 11am. Storytime is for all preschool aged children and their caregivers. Come for stories, songs, movement, crafts, and fun! 769-3950

Some events, dates and times are subject to change. Please call individual event organizers to confirm schedules. All area codes are 706 unless otherwise noted.

n Bogart Library S

n Lego Club at the

Fall in love with stories, rhymes and songs every Monday at 11:30 for ages 3-5 and Wednesday at 10:30 for ages 3 to 8. Free. 770-725-9443

Let’s build! Join us in creating Lego art and playing Lego-based activities. Lego blocks provided! For children up to age 11. Free. 4pm. Feb 12, 26, Mar 12, 26. 769-3950

tory Time

n Bogart Library Monday

Funday Story Time for Little Ones

Little ones ages birth to three and their caregivers are invited to join Miss Donna for songs, finger plays, wiggles and lots of giggles on Mondays at 10:30. Free. 770-725-9443 n Athens Library Preschool Story Time Story program for children ages 18 months to 5 years old and their caregiver. Lively time of sharing books, songs, puppets, nursery rhymes, early literacy and preschool activities. Tues and Wed 9:30-10am and 10:30-11am. 613-3650 n Athens Mothers’ Center

Social Group

Come and meet other moms experiencing similar joys and challenges! Tuesday and Friday mornings from 9:30-11:30am year-round (except when Clarke County Schools are closed). Dads are welcome on Fridays. Covenant Presbyterian Church n Fantastic Friday Drop in gymnastics program for ages 10 months to 4 years. An instructor supervises the fun while a parent and/or caregiver lead their little ones through amazing obstacle courses. A parent or caregiver must remain with the child at all times. Fridays through 4/26 (No program 3/15 or 4/19), 10-11:30am, Bishop Park Gym, $5-$7.50 per child per visit. Parents are encouraged to register online prior to coming to the program to ensure no delays. You may also register the day of the program. 12 Athens-Oconee Parent

OC Library

n Babies and Beasties


Interact with nature through hands-on activities, crafts and outdoor adventures. Ages: 18 months - 2 years with adult, Saturdays 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28 from 10-10:45am, Sandy Creek Nature Center, $12-$18, 613-3615

FEBRUARY 2020 3 Check Out the Moon at

the Oconee County Library

Get bundled up and come look at how the moon looks up close! Dr. Snook will bring telescopes for everyone to get an amazing view of the moon outside of the library. Free. Oconee County Library. 7pm. 769-3950.

7-9 Athens Consignment Sale

Huge consignment sale. 2/7 sale open to the public at 5:30-8pm for a $4 entry fee (no kids under 12 except babies in carriers); 2/8 the sale is from 8:30am to 6pm with no entry fee; 2/9 the sale is from 8am to 12pm with many items HALF OFF. Tuckston United Methodist Church.

13 Drew & Ellie Holcomb at The Classic Center Ellie, a solo Christian music artist, is reuniting with husband Drew for the You & Me Tour.

15 ESP’s Big Hearts in Bloom

Be BOLD with Extra Special People (ESP) at Big Hearts 2020, the most magical and heartwarming night of the year. Cheer on individuals as they leave their disabilities in the wings and shine on stage. This year's theme is Big Hearts in Bloom and we hope you will join us in celebrating our participants of all abilities and supporting ESP's Miracle League! This moving show has music, dancing, and a chance to support the kids of ESP. Tickets required. The Classic Center Theatre. ESP- 769-9333

15 GMOA Family Day: Celebrating Black History Month

Explore important works of art from the museum's permanent collection by artists of color then make your own work of art. Georgia Museum of Art, 10am-12pm, 542-4662

15 Space Science at the Oconee County Library

Come to the library to learn awesome and fun space science with Dr. Snook! Free. Oconee County Library. 2pm. 769-3950.

18 Mardi Gras Party at the Oconee County Library

Let’s celebrate with music, crafts, extra-special snacks, and prizes! All ages. Free. Oconee County Library. 4pm. 7693950.

21 Pagemasters: Kids’ Book & Movie Club - “Curious George”

Which was better, the book or the movie? We’ll talk about what we think and watch the movie, too! Copies of the book are available at the Circulation desk for check-out all month long. For elementary school-ages. Oconee County Library. 4pm. 769-3950.

26 Parent & Tot Recycling Trot

Join us for a walk with our babies or toddlers in strollers that gets us all of us moving, chatting, and doing good for our community all at the same time! If you have older children, get THEM involved in picking up litter & recycling with the fun pinchy things or gloves! Come collect recycling & trash as we walk with our children in the neighborhoods surrounding reBlossom. Mom, dads, grandparents, and caretakers with their kiddos welcome! Expectant parents welcome too! 1011am. 220 North Milledge Ave. 549-8900 (also on March 25)

28-Mar.1 Shrek the Musical! Dessert Theater

Shrek and Donkey lead a cast of fairy tale misfits on a great adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance. Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek is a lively and thoroughly entertaining show with a powerful message for the whole family. Shrek is a tale that reminds us that we are all different and beautiful in our own way and of the golden rule-to treat others as we want to be treated. This event will also feature desserts from some of the finest chefs in Athens. 2/287pm. 2/29- 2 and 7pm. 3/1- 3pm. $22 adult/$15 student. Morton Theater. 613-3771

MARCH 2020 5-7 Kindermarket Consignment Sale

Huge consignment sale. 3/5 sale open to the public at 5pm for a $4 entry fee; 3/6 the sale is from 9am to 6pm with no entry fee; 3/7 the sale is from 8am to 12pm with many items HALF OFF. Athens YMCA. 915 Hawthorne Avenue

7 GMOA Family Day: Women Sculptors

Can you name five women artists? Learn about more than that when you explore sculptures at the museum by women, including Rachel Whiteread, Beverly Buchanan and Beverly Pepper. Enjoy Art Cart activities in the galleries and create your own sculpture. Georgia Museum of Art, 10am-12pm, 542-4662

13-14 The Amazing Acro-cats

The Amazing Acro-cats Featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats are a troupe of rescued house cats. This one-of-a-kind, two hour long purrformance features talented felines roll on balls, ride skateboards, jump through hoops, and more! The finale is the only all-cat band in the entire world - Tuna and the Rock Cats! 3/13- 7pm. 3/14- 3 and 8pm. Tickets required. Morton Theater. 613-3771 n 13


The most important thing about making a college de

By Janeen Lewis • Photos by Cassie Wright

Navigating the High School Years


The high school road to college may seem like four of the most challenging years families face. There are deadlines, tough financial choices and parents and children don’t always agree on colleges. If that isn’t stressful enough, every year there are tasks that high school students should be checking off their to-do list. How do parents help their high school students navigate all the details and decisions they must make during their countdown to college? Here is some advice from the pros – a parent who’s been through the process and a college admissions counselor. STARTING THE CONVERSATION It all starts with a conversation between parent and child. But often the question that starts the conversation is the wrong one, according to Rick Clark, an undergraduate admissions counselor. 14 Athens-Oconee Parent

“Parents ask ‘Where do you want to go to college?’ “Clark says. The biggest question that parents don’t ask or lose sight of is ‘Why do you want to go to college?’ “ That why is important, and should be followed up with questions like “What do you hope to get out of this? What do you want to study? What do you want to do long-term?” says Clark.

Freshman Year THE IMPORTANCE OF ACADEMICS Rachael Fain, a mom of three, stresses the importance of the GPA during freshman year. Fain’s daughter, Hannah, graduated from college in 2017. Fain also has a son, Matthew, who is a junior in college. “My children started taking high school classes in eighth grade,” Fain says. “A GPA

is harder to bring up in junior and senior year, so our goal their eighth and ninth grade years was to keep their GPA high.” The freshman year is also important for getting on a challenging track of classes. “Course choice is important,” Clark says. “Math in particular is something students need to pay attention to.” Taking challenging classes in high school helped Fain’s son Matthew make his college decision. He decided to pursue his degree at the University where he took dual credit courses when he was in high school.

Sophomore Year GETTING TO KNOW YOU Tenth grade is a good year for self-reflection. Students can take personality tests and the PSAT to figure out their strengths

ge decision is finding a good fit for you. and weaknesses. They can also start thinking about the kind and size of school they want to attend. Understanding what they are good at will help high school students be realistic about the school that is the best fit for them.

Junior Year BALANCING GRADES AND ACTIVITIES Grades are crucial during the junior year. Junior year also involves a more challenging track of classes and leadership roles in clubs and activities. It’s hard to do it all, so how important are the extracurricular activities? It depends on the student and the college. “At one of my children’s colleges, extracurricular activities were really important,” Fain said. “At the other one, they didn’t’ matter as much.” Clark says one out of every four students who apply to the school where he works are accepted. “Most students that apply have good test scores, good grades and good courses. Then the review committee asks ‘Is this kid a good fit for us?’” Clark says they look for students who are innovative or who are entrepreneurs, and they ask “How does this student use their time?” “If they are a good student who goes home and plays video games, what will they contribute to the school?” Clark says. But it stands out if students are responsible, if they work a job or if they make an impact some way.

Senior Year FIND YOUR FIT Clark says the most important thing about making a college decision is finding a good fit. “Fit doesn’t really mean can the student do the work, but are they aligned well to the school.” For example, Clark says two universities can look the same on paper. A student will apply to each with the same grades and same test scores and get accepted to one and not the other. “That is what fit is,” Clark says. “How a student fits with a school, not just from an academic standpoint.” If you and your child do not agree on the same school, Clark says how you approach the topic may resolve a lot of conflict over the situation. “Continue to tell your kids you love them, and that no matter where they go to college, it will be great.” The good news is that there are many schools across the country and probably more than one of them will match your student’s personality and academic standing. “If you or your child feels overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember there is a school for every student,” says Fain. n Janeen Lewis is a writer, teacher and mom to Andrew and Gracie. She has been published in several parenting publications across the country.



Countdown to College 15


A Timeline That Will Take You Places


reparing for college can be overwhelming for high school students and their parents because of the many steps it takes to get an acceptance letter. But breaking the college to-do list into manageable steps for each year of high school makes the process less stressful and teaches students responsibility, the very thing they will need for what they want to achieve -- a college education. Follow this stepby-step guide for a smoother countdown to college.




FRESHMAN YEAR • Talk to your parents and guidance counselor at the beginning of the year to set goals. • Take the most challenging courses available to you. • Make good grades. • Try a variety of activities.

20 Athens-Oconee Parent 16


• Take advantage of opportunities to visit college campuses when you travel.

SOPHOMORE YEAR • Visit college and career fairs. • Build your resume. Make a list of awards, accomplishments, and activities. • Take the PSAT for practice (you can take it your sophomore and junior year, but it won’t count until you are a junior). • Start studying for the ACT and SAT. There are many test prep guides available online and in book form. • Assess your strengths and weaknesses and take a personality inventory. • Research possible careers. • During the summer begin researching colleges that might be a good fit.


JUNIOR YEAR • Take the PSAT. • Accept leadership roles in the activities that suit you best. • Narrow your list of possible careers. • Narrow your list of possible colleges. • Take the ACT and SAT. • During the summer volunteer or find an internship or job related to your future career. • Write a college entrance essay draft. Have it critiqued by a guidance counselor or teacher.

• Narrow your college search to six to eight schools. • Post all important deadline dates on a wall calendar. • Retake the ACT or SAT if needed. • Polish your resume. • Ask for teacher recommendations. • Visit the colleges you are applying to. • Send out all your college applications. • After you receive your acceptance letters, compare scholarship and financial aid packages and make your final decision. • Notify all the schools you were accepted to of your decision. • Celebrate the beginning of a new timeline at college! n 17



Encourage more awareness and balance in life.

By Melissa Eisler

Every Breath You Take!

Meditation, yoga, and other mindfulness practices are popping up in school systems nationwide – and for good reason. Studies have shown that teaching kids mindfulness practices can build students’ attentiveness, respect for fellow classmates, self control, and empathy, all while reducing stress, hyperactive behavior, ADHD symptoms, and depression. In addition, grades are shown to improve for students who participate in mindfulness programs. In a world where electronics rule, behavior and disconnection is a rising problem – our next generation needs to build the muscle of awareness. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, aunt, grandfather, babysitter or otherwise spend time with kids of any age, try out these three practices to introduce kids to meditation and mindfulness. GUIDED MEDITATION

THE BALLOON This guided meditation brings a visual component to a very simple deep breathing exercise. You can do this standing or seated. 1. Relax your body and begin to take deep inhales and slow exhales through the nose. 2. Start to take a slow, deep breath to fill your belly up with air, as if you’re trying to blow up a big balloon. Expand your belly as much as you can. 3. Slowly let the air out of the balloon (through the nose) as you release the breath from the belly. 4. Encourage your kids to feel their entire body relax each time they exhale, each time air is slowly being released from the balloon. You can even make a “hissing” noise to encourage them to slow down the exhale even more, “Like letting air out of the balloon.” 5. Continue for several minutes.

18 Athens-Oconee Parent


FOLLOW THE LEADER This meditation works best for kids who are at least 5 years old. Say something like, “Let’s pretend that your breath and your mind are best friends. Your mind is the follower, and your breath is the leader.” Then follow the steps below to guide them through the meditation. 1. Sit down comfortably and close your eyes. 2. Bring all of your attention to your breath and slow it down, taking deep inhales and slow exhales. 3. Let’s have the mind follow the breath – no matter what. Picture yourself as your mind, the one that’s following your big brother, your breath. Try to focus your mind on the breath and follow as the breath inhales and exhales. 4. Count your breaths at the end of every exhale. Don’t let your mind count before the end of the exhale. The mind always wants to jump ahead, but don’t let it. Allow it to remain focused on being the follower. 5. Count to 10 slowly, always at the end of each exhale, continuing to let the mind follow the breath.

mund Jacobson developed in the 1920’s. It’s used to help alleviate tension when people are in a situation that makes it difficult for them to relax. Guide your kids with these steps: 1. Sit down or lie down comfortably and close your eyes. 2. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths as you begin to relax. 3. Bring all of your attention to your right foot. Squeeze and tighten the toes then the entire foot; tense and squeeze it tightly. Hold for two deep breaths. 4. Then release all tension in the right foot suddenly. Relax it completely and notice the tension release. 5. Take a deep breath, and then move your attention to your left foot, tightening and releasing like the right foot. 7. Move slowly up and around the body – foot, calf, knee, thigh, butt, belly, chest, arm, shoulders, neck, face – squeezing one body part at a time to create tension, immediately followed by the contrasting sensation of release and ease. Follow each part with a deep, cleansing breath. End by tensing the whole body at once (do this one twice).


hen you’re finished guiding your child through the relaxation technique, make sure they spend at least a few minutes in quiet, encouraging them to keep their breathing slow and steady. Try one or all of these meditations to encourage more awareness, mindfulness, and overall balance for your kids and the whole family. n


FROM TOE TO HEAD This practice is great for kids (and adults) of all ages, whether they’re having trouble sleeping, stressed out, sick and in bed, or acting out. It’s based on the progressive muscle relaxation technique that Dr. Ed-

Melissa is a Certified Leadership Coach and a certified meditation and yoga instructor. She is passionate about motivating people to live a healthy, balanced, and purposeful life. Melissa is also the author of The Type A’s Guide to Mindfulness: Meditation for Busy Minds and Busy People, and the creator of, a personal blog about mindfulness and life balance in the modern world. 19


A bad morning does not have to mean a bad day.

By Rebecca Hastings

8 ways to turn your day around!

e 1 Exhale

Seriously. It helps. Let out all that you’re holding on to and breathe. It sounds so simple but research shows that breathing can change your state of mind, and perhaps that’s the best change to turn things around.

2 Pick One Thing

Multitasking is often counterintuitive, making us less productive because we are unable to organize information well. Plus it increases the stress hormone in the body. When things are going bad the one thing we don’t need is stress. So, pick one thing you can do. Address the broken zipper. And then move on to the next. Find a shoe solution. Picking one thing at a time and working through your micro-emergency list in a serial fashion will help you get more done with less stress for everyone involved.

3 Verbalize

Being honest goes a long way, especially with kids. They know you’re upset just by a look or the sound of your voice. It is okay to tell them the morning isn’t going well. It’s good for them to see that we can identify things that aren’t ideal. Saying something like, “Boy this morning is not going the way I hoped it would. Could we turn it around together?” shows your child that you recognize how things are and that you need their help to make it better. Let them be an active participant in turning things around. You’re giving them useful skills for later in life. Think aloud. “Alright, let’s see how we can go about this. First the broken zipper. Then the shoe. And on the way to school we can work on math.” 20 Athens-Oconee Parent

4 Stop

Take thirty seconds and have everyone freeze. Stop looking for the shoe. Stop cleaning up the cereal. Stop huffing around the house. We have 86,400 seconds in a day. Surely we can spare 30. If you feel up for it, do a few deep belly breaths together. Or get everyone do 30-second wiggle to shake the harried feeling out. Once they get past the shock of actually stopping the frantic rush to beat the clock and start doing something fun instead, they will likely start giggling. Laughter releases stress and you will all be in a better shape to take your morning back. Anything that will let you create a pause in the frantic downhill slide of the morning and turn it around into a playful happy one again is game.



Whatever happened and whatever is to come, hug your kids. Taking a moment to hug your child helps bring stress levels down and lays the foundation for what really matters to you. You love your child. Choosing that moment, even in all the busy chaos, reminds you both how important you are to one another.

6 Apologize

This one feels hard for a lot of us because it means we are human and we are admitting it to our children. I’ll let you in on a secret: they already know. Saying you’re sorry for the way you spoke to them or the way you tossed all the shoes out of the shoe bin shows that it’s okay to make mistakes. Plus it will help

you let go of any mistakes and move on. Kids are usually a pretty forgiving bunch.

7 Be Grateful

It may sound cliché, and it may be the last thing you’d think of doing, but that’s part of why it works. Think of something you are grateful for, right in the moment. Better yet, say it. Out loud. You can shift those feelings of stress and a lack of control just by being grateful. The easiest one that works every time? “I’m grateful for you.” Not only will it change your mood, but it will change your child’s mood. The day will be looking better already. Another one I love (because it also lets me expend all that I-MUST-rant-now energy): “Boy, this morning is rough and we’re all being such goof balls. But am I glad I have you goof balls to share the morning with. What a sad thing it would be to be a goof ball all alone. I do so love my family of goof balls.” “Goof balls” is what works for my family. Pick anything else that gets the giggles out of your family and go all out with it!

8 Be late

Before I say anything else you should know, I hate to be late. I’m the person that considers on time fifteen minutes early.But the truth is, it is OK to be a few minutes late now and again. What’s the worst that can happen? Your kids will be late to school and perhaps get a tardy slip. Let them. They will learn to make better choices and will be motivated to get out the house early next time without you having to nag them. You will be a few minutes late to work. So be it. You will choose to wake up a little earlier tomorrow. Or you will learn to be better organized. Or you may just learn that it

really isn’t that big a deal to be late once in a while and learn to lighten up. Either way, everyone is learning something important. So take a deep breath, and say out loud for the benefit of everyone involved: “Alright, we’re going to be late today. We’ll deal with the consequences, learn from it and try not to let it happen again in the future, alright?”


aking space for these eight tips will turn even the craziest morning around. But what if you think it’s too late? What if the kids are already on the bus or you’re sitting at your desk wishing things had gone differently. There is still hope. Here are three bonus tips for when you think it’s too late: • Head to your child’s school if possible, or call and ask to speak with them. Showing up or calling with an apology and a hug will help both of you have a much better day. • Set aside time for after school or work to be together. Go for a walk, color, snuggle and watch a movie. Be sure to say out loud “I’m sorry we had a rough morning. You still know that I love you no matter what.” • Spend a few minutes together before bed. It may lay the foundation for a better morning tomorrow. On average there are 180 days in a school year. Each of your kids will be in school for 12 years. That makes 2,160 mornings with the potential to be rushed and harried. So, bad mornings will happen; it’s a given. But you can turn it around for you and your kids to have a better day! n

Rebecca considers herself a writer, wpeaker, and friend. Check out her website at for more information and to order her book, Worthy. 21

educationaloptions ... found in this issue of Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine

3Athens Academy 1281 Spartan Lane, Athens, GA 30606 706-549-9225 “Exciting things are happening every day at Athens Academy! Ranked in the top ten schools for STEM education in the state, our innovative curriculum and highly qualified faculty are preparing students for success in college and beyond. Athens Academy offers each child an unparalleled education and a wide variety of academic, athletic, art, service, and leadership opportunities. Schedule your individual tour today!”

County 3Clarke School District 706-546-7721 “At the Clarke County School District, we believe in tomorrow. We believe by preparing students for the new and broadening opportunities ahead, we are strengthening our community. Our passionate faculty and staff work tirelessly to help ensure our students grow academically, socially, and emotionally. We are dedicated. We are committed. We work hard to be better every day. The CCSD has 21 schools and more than 14,000 students. We have 2,288 days to make a difference that will last a lifetime. We do not just count the days – we make the days count. Every student. Every classroom. Every day.”

22 Athens-Oconee Parent

3Foothills Charter High School 2451 Jefferson Rd., Suite B, Athens, GA 30607 706-395-9775 or Toll Free 833-FHCHARTER

“Foothills Education Charter High School is North-Middle Georgia’s answer to the dropout problem. We offer a unique opportunity to any student who wishes to earn an accredited Georgia High School Diploma. We have 16 locations across the North-Middle Georgia region, offering a full range of high school courses in a convenient, flexible, self-paced format. All Classes are held in the evening so you can work during the day and attend school at night. Tuition is 100% FREE for students who enroll at Foothills full time. All courses are mastery-based, which means you cannot fail a course. There are no deadlines, so you can take as much or as little time as you need to successfully complete your coursework. To better meet the different learning styles of students, Foothills offers a variety of course formats including textbook and webbased instruction. All methods provide self-paced, individualized mastery learning.”

3Downs Preschool 3831 Mars Hill Road, Watkinsville, GA 30677 770-725-1020

“Downs Preschool is a Georgia Pre-K Program – registration inform ation can be found on our website at We offer a friendly, educational and nurturing environment for childre n. and encourage early learning and the development of social skills through play, creative activities and other noncompetitive exercises. As profess ional educators, our teachers emphasize the growth of the child as a whole.”

3Kids R Kids 1471 Jennings Mill Road, Watkinsville GA 30677 706-546-9400 “Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy is a 3 Star Quality Rated Preschool in the Athens/Oconee area, serving this community since January 2000. We are a hands on learning environment serving infants through school age, including three GA lottery funded pre-k classes, an afterschool program including summer and break week camps.”

Avenue St. Joseph Catholic 3Prince 3 Christian School Parish School 2201 Ruth Jackson Road Bogart, Georgia 30622 678-726-2300 958 Epps Bridge Pkwy, Athens, GA 30606 706 543-1621

“Founded in 1978, Prince Avenue Christian School provides a comprehensive, quality, college preparatory education with a Christian worldview from pre-K through 12th grade. We desire to honor God, pursue excellence, and disciple students through academics, athletics, and the arts. From preschool through the twelfth grade, Prince Avenue Christian School offers a college preparatory program that promotes traditional Christian values, fosters academics, and actively promotes character training. Our student to teacher ratio is 11:1.”

“Established in Athens in 1949, Saint Joseph Catholic Parish School is a ministry of Saint Joseph Catholic Parish and is a part of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. We are proud to represent the strong tradition of quality education for which Catholic Schools have come to be recognized worldwide. Please also view our Mission and History page on our website to learn more about our important role as the oldest private school in Athens. We serve students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. All students are welcome at Saint Joseph School, regardless of Religious affiliation.” n 23

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