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A children’s Halloween movie night basket with Halloween movie popcorn, candy, gift card for Memphis Pizza Cafe, and a cozy blanket!PRESENTED BY
So, you know what that means… Stress, stress, and did I mention stress? If that’s what you’re feeling every single year around the holiday season, then you are not alone. From tailgating in fan-favorite gear, to spooky fall fests around town, and even last-minute dinner gatherings or travel plans, things kick o rather quickly and make for a speedy response just to keep up.
The holiday season is one of the most cheerful and merry times of the year — at least for me — but can also be a very overwhelming period of our lives where we feel most committed to doing and being all things to serve and bring joy to others. Oftentimes, we can feel empty or mentally impacted from exhaustive attempts to celebrate and end the year with a bang. But who doesn’t crave some good ‘ole pleasantly-spiced recipes (pulled
out once a year), extravagant decorations, drives through neighborhoods scouting out beautiful lights dancing excitedly, last-minute gift ordering, and the curious pleasure of ripping open boxes with amazement.
If you unintentionally backslide or just don’t feel up to checking o your to-do list with glee, just know that life will go on with or without the perfect holiday blueprint to complete the busiest quarter of the year. Whatever your plans, be sure to check in to celebrate you. The holiday season — Halloween through New Year’s Day, in my book — is a wonderful time of year where we pay-it-forward in being intentional with spreading joy and laughter. Why? Because, we have so much to be thankful for and this is a time to share that message, if even to a stranger in passing. If all goes as planned,
that’s great. If not, that’s great. The point of these moments is to feel exceptionally enthusiastic about being in this world with a purpose and making lifelong memories.
In this issue of Memphis Parent, we hope to spread a little love and cheer through our journey of stories celebrating family, honoring traditions — new and old — sharing a di erent take on holiday recipes that are fun and festive, and giving gifts that are meaningful and lasting.
Cheers to good weather and adventure this fall. Wishing you and your families a joyous holiday season and happy New Year!
Later, my friends!Erika Cain Editor
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Holiday classics, circus arts, monster trucks, & more!
The Nutcracker, a mesmerizing part of the World Ballet Series, showcases a diverse cast of 50 professional ballet dancers who come together to breathe new life into this classic holiday tradition. Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, December 15, 7 p.m.
5 • Thursday
Shout-Out Shakespeare Series: The Tempest Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s ShoutOut Shakespeare Series produces free performances of Shakespeare in nontraditional, outdoor venues throughout the Memphis metro area with a multicultural cast of classical actors. Various outdoor locations, October 5-22
13 • Friday
Carden International Circus
For over 50 years, the Carden family has been bringing an astonishing and awe-inspiring show to people across the country. From amazing feats of athleticism with aerial acrobats, to magniﬁcent elephants, beautiful camels and horses, and so much more, this show has something for the entire family.
Agricenter International, October 13-15
26 • Thursday
Underwater Bubble Show
Back by popular demand, the Underwater Bubble Show returns to Buckman by way of Latvia and takes audiences below the surface into a majestic world where fantasy becomes reality. UBS incorporates drama, pantomime, dance, puppetry, juggling, aerial arts, acrobatics, contortion, sand art, and imagery with the beauty of soap bubbles. Buckman Performing Arts Center, October 26, 5 p.m. & 7 p.m.
4 • Saturday
Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party
Fans of all ages will experience the thrill of watching their favorite Hot Wheels Monster Trucks in the dark.
FedExForum, November 4-5
17 • Friday
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy Gale is whisked away by a powerful twister and ﬁnds herself in the mystical land of Oz. With the help of a Scarecrow, a Tin-Man, and a Lion, she embarks on a journey to meet the Wizard so she can make her way back home.
Playhouse on the Square, November 17-December 22
24 • Friday
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
This annual tradition wraps a Broadway-style production around an infusion of contemporary circus arts. As lights dim and the music swells, a fantastical cast of holiday storybook characters come to life on stage.
Landers Center, November 24, 7 p.m.
5 • Tuesday
A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage
The classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation that celebrates the timeless television classic so the whole family can join the Peanuts characters in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas.
December 5, 7 p.m.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This is a campaign that was started in 2006, by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness about bullying and educate people about ways to prevent bullying. Your children’s schools may devote some time this month or throughout the school year to one of the many bullying prevention programs. Unfortunately, the success rate of these programs is not outstanding.
Overall, it appears that there is only a reduction of 18-19% in actual bullying in schools that have anti-bullying programs. However, some programs claim as high as a 70% reduction in bullying. On the other hand, there is a study that shows schools that make peer intervention a large part of their bullying program may actually have an increase in bullying and make worse outcomes for those being bullied. This is because when students step in to stop bullying, it may make the victim feel powerless in handling the bullying and make them seem even weaker to the bully.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2015), bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance,” and is repeated over a period of time. Using power to bully may include physical strength, or ridiculing others with intent to control or harm them. And, as we all know, there is a new form of bullying–cyberbullying. This includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
Bullying has been around for centuries, from biblical times to the present, and it is seen in such literature as Lord of the Flies which is required reading in many schools. Nevertheless, before the 1980s, bullying was not considered a serious problem but often part of the rites of passage for children. However, this changed in the 1990s, after a string of massacres in schools and the media focus on relating these events to bullying. The unfortunate news is that school bullying behaviors seem to be increasing—possibly due to the recent advent of cyberbullying.
Bullying statistics vary based on who is doing the research. Nevertheless, the picture is not pretty about bullying in schools. According to fairly recent statistics from PACER’s National Bullying Center, as many as one in ﬁve school children report being bullied. And of this group, more girls than boys are bullied at school. Worst of all, 41% of those who were bullied think it would happen again. It is reassuring to note that 46% of those bullied have notiﬁed an adult at school about being bullied.
The statistics about cyberbullying show a high number of students are bullied online. The most likely place is on YouTube, followed by Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook, in that order. According to some bullying statistics, as high as 42% of students report being bullied online, and 35% say they have been threatened online.
Due to public awareness of the dangers of bullying, the states have enacted laws about how school districts should address incidents of both bullying and cyberbullying. However, these laws vary from state to state. The school districts can work with state agencies to ensure they have up-to-date policies. Also, school districts are required by law to submit
data on bullying to the U.S. Department of Education, so it can be included in Civil Rights Data Collection surveys. Besides the legal obligations school districts have in decreasing bullying, failing to do so interferes greatly with student learning.
• Know the signs of whether your child is being bullied or is a bully. (visit stopbullying.gov)
• Be aware that children do not tell parents about bullying or ask for help for many reasons.
• Be aware of the bullying policies at your children’s schools.
• Keep the lines of communication open with your children by talking with them every day about their experiences at school.
• Teach your children from a young age how to be kind to others, share, and empathize.
• Teach them how to handle situations when someone is being mean to them.
• Stress the importance of letting the school know about incidents of bullying–even anonymously.
• Be sure to talk to them about appropriate behavior before they start interacting with others online and digitally.
• Cyberbullying can largely be eliminated by removing social media accounts as well as reporting incidents to the online sites.
• If bullying your children persists at school or cyberbullying as well, contact the appropriate school personnel.
• If the school cannot resolve a bullying situation, it can be necessary to consult an attorney.
• In extreme school bullying situations, it can be best to remove children from that school.
The holidays are certainly a special time when families gather, charities are gifted, cities light up across the globe, and the feeling of glee spreads like wildﬁre.
There’s nothing like the season of fall that kicks o some of the most stressful (yet fun) few months of our lives—football, spooky costumes, Hallmark movies, grandma’s sweet potato pie (or pumpkin, whichever side of the debate you’re on), and all of the Christmas festivities we try to cram on our calendars. We know the time is coming, but somehow it always seems to creep up on us, year after year. It’s like parenting, really. No matter how hard you convince yourself you will have a solid plan in place before the next recurring event, you ﬁnd yourself begging the question “where did the time go?” Life just doesn’t play out that easy.
The destiny we ﬁ nd ourselves wrapped up in to hurry and get to the excitement of Christmas morning can be very adventurous, but also exhausting—even to
a point of being intensely daunting. Yeah, there’s a lot to do between football kick-o and carving the turkey, but the overall joy of planning and executing (or just attending) a series of events, gets some of us really revved up. On the other hand, others can become really stressed, and even depressed. As much joy as we experience during this time, there’s also an increasing amount of sadness, whether grief, job loss, family conﬂict, and the continued path of feeling indebted to all things surrounded by the holidays. We haven’t even factored in how expensive it can become.
What if we did a reset this year and committed to bringing back good ingredients into the holiday season, like fun and joy? Would you really permit yourself such freedom? Seriously, even children
don’t experience the same level of fun anymore since the digital world has been embedded into our lives. Though you may not remove all the stress from the hustle and bustle of keeping up with the coordination of activities—planning, cleaning, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping, hosting, giving, and supporting event after event, after event—but you can certainly be more intentional about where and why you invest your time and energy. Whew! I’m stressed just pondering over it.
The holidays are about creating and cherishing joyful moments with our loved ones. According to Dictionary.com, joy is: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation. When I think of the word “joy,” I think of peace
Let me preface by stating “Christmas is my favorite time of year!”Illustration © Ahmad Safarudin Dreamstime
of mind. That’s it. No matter the multiple meanings that correlate with it, the purest form of joy for me is rooted deeply in contentment—with myself and others. It also makes for a good path of genuine love for one another.
So, where did we get o track with feeling joyful and how can we ingrain it back into our lives? Let’s just start with trying out a short list of things this holiday season, and go from there. I bet you’ll even catch yourself feeling quite merry along the way.
Here are ﬁve simple ways you can replace stress with joy, leaving you feeling like you’re truly having fun (okay, at least a little bit):
For starters, we have to know what path we’re on and why. Oftentimes, creating a schedule and marking actual items on your calendar can keep you from overcommitting and balancing out saying yes vs. no. Your planned-ahead schedule (lots of free templates available online) will be your roadmap to get you from point A to Z, and everything in between. Stick to it! Don’t you dare turn left, when you need to go right. It’s okay if you don’t attend every single event or gathering, and save some of your valuable time for just you and your family. Be sure to allocate and track your budget. Almost forgot, ask for help!
We all have a certain amount of capacity, based on our lifestyles. Everyone can’t deck out their homes with di erent Christmas trees in every room, or even embellish their dinner space like the State Dining Room at the White House. While Pinterest gives us amazing ideas to soak up and try, some things are just way too much when you’re handling all of the logistics. Instead, check out simple and elegant ways to beautify your space and presentation to leave your guests in awe when they visit. Plus, who’s gonna help you take it down and pack it all away?By Erika Cain
Take a moment to stop, breathe, and meditate. Then, get back to the business of having fun. Happy Holidays!
Create your own family traditions and combine old ones that bring you joy and happiness.
Holiday traditions have been passed down for generations, and it’s great to keep those memories alive and close to your heart. It’s also good to create new ones with your own family. Get everyone involved—especially the children—with brainstorming fun ideas to start making new memories to turn over to your grands and greatgrands to come. So many wonderful ideas can be surfaced: holiday party games, watching movies in pajamas, baking cookies to swap, crafting or collecting ornaments, donating to a local Angel Tree, sending Christmas cards to soldiers, vacation in the mountains, and so much more. Besides, traditions don’t become what they are without someone starting them.
Do you need to purchase a gift for every single person in your life—relatives, friends, co-workers, church members, neighbors, etc.? Absolutely not. There are so many ways we can give to others that do not include breaking the bank and leaving you stressed and in debt. Aside from your immediate family, think of those who are important in your life. Maybe that’s a gift you want to give to someone every year, or just for a season. You can gift others by baking them a dessert they love, volunteering your time, making a bouquet of fresh ﬂowers from your garden, or any other cool and crafty ideas you can ﬁnd via Google. The goal is to make it memorable and add joy to their day.
Give yourself permission to have fun. Channel your battle and philosophical energy to a place of knowledge and logic. Don’t take the fun card away from family gatherings by bringing up uncomfortable topics or anything that causes tension. Keep thoughts of joy and the reason for celebrating at the forefront. Remember, we’re spreading joy this season which should leave us feeling like we’re having fun.
During a holiday season that may not quite feel the same for many families, you can add a magic touch to at-home festivities with activities and treats that get everyone involved. Creating decorative holiday sweets allows little ones and grown-ups alike to take part in the fun, and the end result is delicious desserts for all to enjoy.
Start with a main ingredient like wholegrain, freshly-popped popcorn. It’s a clever way to create artsy representations of the season at hand that celebrate festive ﬂavors like peppermint, coconut, chocolate, and other sweet eats.
For example, Coconut Popcorn Snowballs add fun and flavor to wintertime with a coat of sweetened coconut “snow” and candy cane handle while easy-to-construct Holiday Popcorn Snowmen are sure to be a hit with your children.
Add to the holiday spirit throughout your home with wintery Jingle Balls that call for colored sugars to create a magical sparkling e ect, then take the creativity to the next level by encouraging kids to make their own red-nosed, sleigh-pulling team of Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer.
Yield: 8 Balls (4 inches)
• 2 cups shredded or ﬂaked sweetened coconut
• nonstick cooking spray
• 3 quarts popped popcorn
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
• 3 cups miniature marshmallows
• 1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
• 8 candy canes or candy cane sticks (about 3-4 inches)
1. Place large sheet wax or parchment paper over the work surface. Spread coconut on paper.
2. Spray a large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows until melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.
4. Spray hands with cooking spray and press mixture ﬁrmly to form into balls. Place balls on coconut; roll and press coconut to coat. While holding popcorn balls, gently press candy cane into each ball.
5. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage.
Yield: 12 Cups
• nonstick cooking spray
• 12 cups popped popcorn
• 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 3 cups mini marshmallows
• 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
• assorted colored sugars
1. Spray a large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Add popcorn.
2. Spread plastic wrap on cookie sheet; set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows; stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour over popcorn, mixing until well coated. Let cool for 2 minutes.
4. Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and form popcorn mixture into 3-inch balls. Gently press colored sugar onto balls. Let sit on a prepared cookie sheet until cool and set.
• 8 cups unsalted, unbuttered, popped popcorn
• 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
• 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons butter or light olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 16 pretzel sticks
• 16 eyeball candies
• 8 red candy-coated
Yield: 5 Snowmen
• 1 package (1 pound) large marshmallows
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional for greasing hands
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 10 cups popped popcorn
• (optional) sprinkles, licorice, gumdrops, cinnamon candies
1. In a large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and stir. Butter hands well and form into balls.
3. Decorate with optional candies, if desired.
• chocolate candies
1. Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often, until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
3. Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls. Place each ball in a paper mu n cup liner.
4. Insert one pretzel stick on each side of the ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for “eyes” and one red chocolate candy for “nose.” Repeat with remaining balls. Let cool completely.
Discover more decorative dessert recipes at popcorn.org!
One of the worst experiences in youth sports is being stuck on the sidelines for an extended period. Many athletes, despite their best e orts, succumb to all manner of injuries, whether it’s muscular, sprains, or even a concussion. Despite a quicker recovery speed for children and teenagers, injuries sustained through physical exertion require diligent recovery e orts to ensure that athletes can get back to their best, as soon as possible. To help gauge proper recovery methods and rehab exercises, Memphis Parent spoke with Campbell Clinic’s Dr. David D. Spence.
As a specialist in pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine since joining the Campbell Clinic faculty in 2012, and as a father himself, Spence has seen patients carrying most types of sports injuries walk through his doors. The most common youth sports injuries, according to Spence, are sprains. “We’re talking ankle injuries, knee sprains, ligament damage,” he says. “And if you look at the numbers nationally, you’ll see that’s the most common type of youth sports injuries nationwide, too.” Spence also cautions that young athletes, who still have open growth plates, are vulnerable to overuse injuries like Osgood-Schlatter (knee) or Sever’s disease (heel). Overuse injuries are more likely in young athletes that specialize in one sport year round. Spence encourages parents to have their kids pursue di erent fall and spring sports before high school. “The single biggest risk factor for injury in youth sports is singlesports specialization,” he adds. “Studies have shown that the earlier you specialize into a single sport, the higher risk you are for injury because you’re really overworking the same muscle grooves and joints.”
The best way to avoid an injury during the season? As always, it comes down to following a proper warmup routine. Having a growing body means that things get tight,
and proper stretching techniques are critical, depending on which sport an athlete is currently playing. “The basics are a good warmup, good cooldown, before and after exercise,” says Spence. “I really emphasize with kids that you should be doing sport-speciﬁc exercises with good technique. For example, pitchers [in baseball] would focus on exercises that improve their throwing mechanics.”
As youth athletes ﬁnish going through their proper stretching routines, Spence encourages slowing down to really make sure kids are putting the proper care and e ort into exercise. It’s easy to rush straight out onto the ﬁeld, but a slower, measured approach before and during the season will pay dividends in the long run.
“Steady, gradual progress is better than a rapid increase, particularly with speed or strength training,” he says. “You think about distance runners, right? You don’t walk out the door and run a marathon, you have to slowly add mileage and distance. And it’s the same for all sports. You just need to grow incrementally and be consistent with your workouts and give the process time.”
One problem that’s unique to modern athletics is the proliferation of conﬂicting recovery and workout information on social media platforms. Spence warns that athletes might do more harm than good by blindly following a routine they see on a TikTok or Instagram reel. “I encourage a lot of my athletes to not fall for these gimmicks they see on social media,” says Spence. “You need to ﬁnd credible people, and coaches, and parents that are experienced
in what they’re trying to accomplish. If you’re a ballet dancer, then you want to go to someone that understands dance, and understands technique, and how you get from A to B, because sports training really needs to be speciﬁc to that sport. And doing things correctly from the start means that you’re less likely to get hurt.”
As kids continue to grow and their bodies change, injuries will be inevitable. But taking proper care during warmup, training, and cooldowns can be the di erence between a kid getting in the starting lineup every week or being stuck in a spell on the sidelines. And as the season progresses, kids need to make sure they’re not overworking themselves. “Their bodies can only tolerate a certain amount of stress in a day or a week,” says Spence. “So oftentimes you have to cut out some activities if you’re going to continue on with others.”
And when young athletes stay out on the ﬁeld and court, the beneﬁts continue to stack up. There are the obvious physical beneﬁts: muscle development, neuromuscular control, cardiovascular health, and a reduced risk of obesity. Physical boons aside, Spence also highlights the boosts to mental health. “The mental and psychological beneﬁts are perhaps even greater,” he says. “You learn to work as a team, you see elevated self-esteem scores, and kids that are active in sports actually see their math and reading scores go up. Plus, with participation in youth sports, it keeps kids more focused in an age where they are so distracted with all the devices and other similar things.”
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In fact, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonproﬁt organization focused on heart and brain health, identiﬁed a strong interconnection between the mind,
heart, and body in its scientiﬁc statement, “Psychological Health, Well-Being and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection.”
“Research has clearly demonstrated negative psychological factors, personality traits, and mental health disorders can negatively impact cardiovascular health,” says volunteer chair of the statement writing committee Glenn N. Levine, M.D., FAHA, master clinician and professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of the cardiology section at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. “The body’s biological reaction to stress, anxiety, and other types of poor mental health can manifest physically through an irregular heart rate or rhythm, increased blood pressure, and
inﬂammation throughout the body. Negative psychological health is also associated with health behaviors that are linked to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke, such as smoking, lower levels of physical activity, unhealthy diet, being overweight, and not taking medications as prescribed.”
Studies have found some people, including people of color, may face a greater risk of poor health outcomes due to chronic stress, depression, and anxiety linked to psychosocial stressors, particularly those related to social and economic inequality, discrimination, systemic racism, and other societal factors. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found U.S. adults who reported feeling highly discriminated against at work had an increased risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who reported low discrimination at work.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being,” says Levine. “It a ects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Practicing mindfulness in all forms allows one to be more aware of and have more control over emotional responses to the experiences of daily life.”
Research shows anxiety, stress, and depression can have a negative impact on physical health and may even increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.Creating simple routines to improve your mind, heart, and body connection. By American Heart Association
Consider these tips from Levine to improve your mind-heart-body connection:
• Practice meditation regularly. Even simple actions such as communing with nature or sitting quietly and focusing on your breath can have a positive impact.
• Get plenty of good, restful sleep. Set a regular bedtime, turn off or dim electronics as bedtime approaches and form a wake-up routine.
• Make connections and stay in touch. Reach out and connect regularly with family and friends, or engage in activities to meet new people.
• Practice mindful movement. There are many types of gentle mindful practices like yoga and Tai Chi that can be done about anywhere with no special equipment to help ease your soul and muscles.
• Spend time with your furry friend. Companion animals are often beloved members of the family and research shows pets may help reduce physiological reactions to stress as well as support improved physical activity.
• Work it out.
Regular physical activity—150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a mix of both recommended weekly—can help relieve tension, anxiety, and depression, and give you an immediate exercise high.
“Wellness is more than simply the absence of disease,” says Levine. “It is an active process directed toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. When we strive to reduce negative aspects of psychological health, we are promoting an overall positive and healthy state of being.”
Learn more about the importance of heart health at heart.org.
Because most colleges and universities require applicants to submit ACT or SAT results as part of admissions consideration, prepping for the test itself can be a critical component of that process.
While it can oftentimes be hard to deal with the anxiety that comes with a rigorous test meant to show your mastery of certain subjects and concepts, such as reading and mathematics, consider these test prep tips to help boost your score while simultaneously lowering stress.
To allow yourself as much ﬂexibility as possible, taking college entrance exams during your junior year of high school is encouraged. If you don’t get an ideal score, you can reﬁne your approach and retake the exam with a better idea of what to expect.
Any test prep plan should start with a practice SAT or ACT exam. Taking practice tests under realistic conditions can help you gain a better understanding of the content of the test, improve your time management, and help combat test anxiety. You can use your practice test as a baseline to set goals and focus the rest of your prep on areas you would like to improve before the real thing.
If you ﬁnd studying on your own di cult or not as successful as you’d hoped, a prep course can put you through the paces and hold you accountable. Complete with homework and in-class practice, prep classes can range from small groups to larger classes taught by test experts. Some school districts even o er after-school programs dedicated to ACT or SAT prep.
To help reduce test day stress, gather everything you’ll need the night before. Check the list of banned items—cellphones aren’t permitted—to make sure you don’t accidentally bring something you’re not allowed to have. Ensure your bag is packed with your admission ticket, valid photo identification, several sharpened pencils with erasers, an approved calculator (with fresh batteries), and a watch, if allowed.
While it can be tempting to stay up late the night before the test to cram, you’re likely to perform better with a full night’s sleep. Sleep is important for retention, and eating a balanced breakfast before heading out the door can aid in your ability to focus. To make your morning easier, prep breakfast before bed to keep an early morning from starting even earlier.
Remember, the college admissions process involves more than just test scores. For more education tips and information, visit eLivingtoday.com.
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The inspiring journey of this month’s Outstanding Teacher, Ms. Leigh Allen.
“We all have a light, and I pray I teach my students each year to shine theirs brightly,” says this month’s outstanding teacher, Leigh Allen, preschool teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School (OLPH). Education is the cornerstone of a thriving society, and behind every successful education system are dedicated educators who inspire, nurture, and empower young minds. Allen, a remarkable educator, exemplifies the essence of a teacher who imparts knowledge and instills a deep love for learning and a sense of belonging in her students. Her journey is a testament to her unwavering commitment, resilience, and profound impact on her students’ lives.
Allen’s educational journey is closely connected to her own life. “I chose teaching as my profession due to my love of children,” says Allen. “I grew up babysitting, and my mother was a teacher. I have a passion for 4- and 5-year-olds.” Raised in Germantown, she is a product of the public school system, attending Farmington Elementary and Houston High School. Armed with an Early Childhood Education degree from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), she embarked on her career, teaching at various institutions, including Arlington Elementary and Riverdale Elementary, before finding her calling in a kindergarten classroom at Macon Hall Elementary.
Allen decided to stay at home to raise her two boys. Still, life’s twists and turns eventually led her to choose the teaching path, driven by her deep affection for children and her familial connection to the teaching profession through her mother. Her heart’s calling, coupled with a natural affinity for the inquisitive minds of younger children, motivated her to delve into teaching again. “I think they [4- and 5-yearolds] are the coolest people on our planet,”
says Allen. Her role as a substitute teacher at her son’s school allowed her to reconnect with the classroom setting, reigniting her passion for shaping young minds.
In 2019, an unimaginable tragedy took place as Allen’s oldest son died in a car accident. In the face of such adversity, she found solace and purpose in her desire to recommit fully to teaching. Drawn by the memories of her son’s love for OLPH, she sought a position there. “I wanted to be at the school where my son was so loved, and the place he loved so dearly,” says Allen. The School’s opening provided a platform for Allen to channel her grief into a transformative force for herself and her students. Her dedication to teaching the “littles” and her adeptness at nurturing their social and emotional growth served as a guiding light for her students. “I love teaching the littles because they are sponges and generally have inquisitive minds that are fun to teach and guide,” says Allen.
Allen’s classroom is a haven of learning, love, and encouragement. Her distinctive ability to recognize and encourage each child’s unique potential sets her apart. Her goal is to transmit knowledge and kindle a genuine love for learning, school, and life. Beyond the curriculum, Allen instills in her students the importance of embracing their inner light and
allowing it to shine brightly. She exemplifies the ideal educator who imparts knowledge, helps her students discover their potential, and empowers them to let their individual lights illuminate the world.
Allen’s journey from childhood within Germantown’s public school system to becoming a beacon of inspiration at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School is a story of passion, perseverance, and profound impact. She is very respected and loved by parents as well. One parent stated: “This woman has created an unbelievable space for the children of her class. She is a beacon of light and love. The way she develops and cares for these children is truly one in a million.”
Her dedication to teaching the youngest learners and her ability to connect personally creates a learning environment that nurtures young minds and shapes them into confident, compassionate individuals. Allen’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of education and the enduring influence teachers like her have on shaping future generations.
We want to shine a light on your child’s teacher, or even a teacher who made a di erence in your life. Submit your nomination today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-K will help give your child the basic skills they will need later in school. Plus some programs provide extra support, like devices, for home learning. And, depending on your income, it’s all free.
Pre-K will help give your child the basic skills they will need later in school. Plus some programs provide extra support, like devices, for home learning. And, depending on your income, it’s all free.
High-quality early childhood programs benefit the whole community. First 8 Memphis coordinates services for kids birth through third grade.
High-quality early childhood programs benefit the whole community. First 8 Memphis coordinates services for kids birth through third grade.
To enroll your child in Pre-K, visit: PrekMemphis.com
To enroll your child in Pre-K, visit: PrekMemphis.com
Grandpa Tom was quiet, gentle, and possessed of a warm smile, tended four rows of corn in the backyard, and had a great collection of ties. Grandma Lula was a bundle of energy, cheery, and capable of turning that backyard corn into something scrumptious.
They were the only grands that I knew. My maternal grandparents died long before I was born, so I had to rely on letters and stories from Mom’s side of the family. I did ﬁnd a cache of letters that Grandma Cora had written to her sister detailing how she had been courted by Mr. Hays, who would become my Grandpa Walter. They met cute, that’s for sure.
I got to thinking about our children and how they experienced their grands. The oldest got to take guitar lessons from his mother’s father, Abuelo Moncho, a celebrated guitarist in Puerto Rico. Doña Lola was a wizard in the kitchen and lovedBy Jon W. Sparks
Youngsters and oldsters both beneﬁt from trading memories.
December 7, 1941, when the ﬁlm suddenly stopped and the announcement was made that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. She recalls the tornado that ripped through her home town less than a year later, leaving 52 dead. She later got a job working for the district attorney and was there for years. The DA’s o ce was elected, so she cycled through several of them, but they all kept her on. She knew how things worked and where things were (not bodies, though, I’m pretty sure).
them completely. My mother died before she saw our little ones, but my father had several years to be with them, caring and sweet and loving to listen to the kids.
Now I’m looking at it from another angle and thinking about my granddaughters. They are experiencing considerable good fortune because they’re not just my grands, but they have all four of us wise elders living and active nearby. We all get to dote on the girls and we spoil them frequently. And, unapologetically.
One thing I’ve been determined to do is to take my 9-year-old granddaughter to a birthday party, and it’s not a Chuck E. Cheese bash. It’s for my late father’s sister who is turning 100. We’re gathering at a Methodist church in Oklahoma, where Aunt Mozelle will hold court for friends and family.
In my thinking, it’s essential that our granddaughter get to visit with her greatgrand aunt. They’re both whip smart and funny. Whatever the combo of heredity and environment, it’s present in both, and I’m betting they’ll get along famously.
Aunt Mo has had an interesting century. She remembers being in a movie theater on
She was, and is, quick-witted and fashionable. She is kind and generous, although if you know what’s good for you, you will need permission before trying to help out in the kitchen. Aunt Mo is also incredibly silly. When she and my Dad would sit down for a conversation, she’d pour a glass of Pommac soda and he’d get a glass of buttermilk with chunks of cornbread dropped in. They’d start telling tales and their Oklahoma twangs would get deeper and their tales gooﬁer.
They’d talk about their father, my Grandpa Tom. Through them, I discovered that he never learned to drive. Someone had decided he needed to learn, so they parked a car in a barn, and got him to agree to try to drive it. He commenced to put it in gear, hit the gas, and ran it backwards, crashing through the rear of the building. They said that he got out of the car, and without a word, dusted himself o , and walked back to the house. He never drove again.
That gives you a taste of why it’s important for the young to mix with the seniors. There are stories and observations and jokes and wisdom going both ways. My memories of my grands are precious, such as the time I got stung by a wasp and Grandma ﬁxed the hurt and Grandpa smoked out the o ending nest. I don’t remember the pain, but I do recall the love. Although I do have one regret: Failing to ask Grandpa for some of his ties.
At age nine, I knew my paternal grandparents from the occasional vacations we’d take to visit them. They were unimaginably ancient.Brother John (Left) and Sister Mozelle (Right), working on some shenanigans.
Five of my favorite local nonproﬁts you can help support.
According to their website, Music Export Memphis was founded on two core beliefs: Music makes cities better, and musicians choose to live in cities where there are opportunities. As a musician who has beneﬁtted from their programming and someone who supports this cause, hosting an event or becoming a monthly donor are easy ways to throw your hand on the pile of this worthy cause.
It must mean that the holidays are right around the corner. While this season can be a festive, fun and exciting time for many of us, it can be a sad and lonely time for others. The good news is that you can help.
That’s right, with so many reputable and impactful nonproﬁts in our community, you can make a di erence in many ways, and not just by donating money. You can also contribute your time and talents. And don’t forget to get the kids involved!
According to Charity Navigator, a charity assessment organization that evaluates hundreds of thousands of charitable organizations based in the U.S., while there is nothing wrong with donating at any time, your donations can be more impactful if you build a giving strategy with the needs of nonproﬁts in mind.
That’s good advice to heed as we venture into this giving season, especially when there are matching opportunities and built-in incentives that will make your gift go farther for the organization you choose to support.
While the following list could ﬁll an entire page, I decided to share a short list of ﬁve of my favorite nonproﬁts to support:
Sheltering those experiencing homelessness in a safe environment of hospitality, RITI Memphis is always looking for volunteers and in-kind donations like clothing, food, appliances, etc. Their overall philosophy is that no one should sleep in the cold while churches are warm and empty each evening. That’s something I think we can all agree on. Getting your place of faith committed or donating monthly is a great way to get involved.
From holding o cials accountable to supporting and encouraging people with their criminal record, via the Clean Slate Fund, Just City’s mission is to transform local criminal justice policy and practice to ensure it is fair for all people regardless of wealth, race, or ethnicity. If you care about criminal justice reform, there are many ways to volunteer and contribute.
Plain and simple, Volunteer Odyssey makes volunteering easy. They are a volunteer center based in and built for Memphis and a one-stop shop for meaningful volunteer opportunities. Whether you want to volunteer with kids or animals or in an o ce setting, they have you covered. The organization itself even o ers volunteer opportunities, but supporting them with a donation is always welcome.
Church Health provides a ordable healthcare including dental, eye care, and more to folks who fall through the gaps of our healthcare system. They’ve been around more than 30 years, and honestly have helped out so many people who thought they had nowhere else to turn. They accept medical supplies as well as cash donations.
The wintry nip in the air, the smell of ﬁre pits, football fever, the darker days?
5 • Thursday
Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig are throwing a Sing-Along Party and you are invited! In this new show, you can join in the fun as Peppa and friends teach some of their favorite songs in this 60-minute interactive musical adventure. Landers Center, October 5, 6 p.m.
7 • Saturday
Art for Elephants
Watch as the Memphis Zoo’s elephants take to the canvas.
Memphis Zoo, October 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cereal & Flicks
As part of the Crown Me Royal Fest, Cereal & Flicks kicks it old school with a family-friendly outdoor ﬁlm screening by youth ﬁlmmakers, games, and a special performance.
Location TBA, October 7, 7:30-9 p.m.
Grounded Nature Foraging Workshops
Grow your foraging knowledge and skills with hands-on practice! This is an opportunity to learn plant ID and safe uses from a local naturalist. Registration is open to ages 10 and up.
Grounded Nature Preserve, October 7, 9-10:30 a.m.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert Relive the ﬁlm that started it all. Watch the wand choose the wizard, a troll running amok, and magic mirrors in high-deﬁnition while a live orchestra performs John Williams’ iconic score. Orpheum Theatre, October 7-9, 2 p.m.
12 • Thursday
Home(From)School Day: Black American Portraits
You will be able to learn about the special exhibition, “Black American Portraits,” and create your own masterpiece in the studio. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, October 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
13 • Friday
Soul of the City Tour
For 20 years now, Elmwood’s residents have returned from beyond to meet the public and tell a few stories. This year, the reenactment tour will be accompanied by tarot card readings and food trucks.
Elmwood Cemetery, October 13-14
Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, oh my! Halloween is taking over the Memphis Zoo for its annual haunting at Le Bonheur’s Zoo Boo. Grab your boo crew, costumes, and trick-or-treat bags to make sure you score those hallowed sweets. Memphis Zoo, select nights, October 13-31, 6-9:30 p.m.
14 • Saturday
Repticon Memphis is a reptile event featuring vendors o ering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages, and merchandise as well as live animal seminars and frequent free ra es for coveted prizes. Exciting, educational, family-oriented fun for everyone!
Landers Center, October 14-15
21 • Saturday Bluey’s Big Play
When Dad feels like a little bit of Sunday afternoon time out, Bluey and Bingo have other plans! Join them as they pull out all of the games and cleverness at their disposal to get Dad o that bean bag. This is Bluey as you’ve never seen it before, brought to real life.
Orpheum Theatre, October 21-October 22, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Goat yoga is where you can relax your body and mind while surrounded by little goats. Goat Yoga is not recommended for children under the age of 6.
Overton Park Shell, October 21 & November 11, 4:30-7 p.m.
Meet the Author: Stephan Pastis
Novel welcomes Stephan Pastis to celebrate the release of Looking Up, a middle-grade novel about a girl struggling with loneliness and the curveballs of life — featuring black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Novel, October 21, 6 p.m.
With a diverse lineup of short performances, guests can expect a wide range of musical genres and styles, showcasing the versatility and skill of the students. In addition to the performances, the festival provides interactive concerts encouraging audience participation and engagement, educational opportunities, face painting, balloon art, and Memphis’ favorite mascot Pouncer.
Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center at the University of Memphis, October 22, 1-6 p.m.
27 • Friday Night at the Museum
The Art Museum at University of Memphis will host its ﬁrst Night at the Museum, which will include several interactive, kid-friendly programs inspired by the visual arts in the collections that will bring the museum to life.
Art Museum at University of Memphis, October 27, 5-8 p.m.
28 • Saturday
Día de los Muertos Festival & Parade
Honor your ancestors and celebrate the cycle of life and death with this festival at the Brooks o ering art-making activities, face painting, music, costumed performers, dance performances, and more.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, October 28, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Disney Junior Live on Tour: Costume Palooza!
This show brings beloved Disney Junior characters and favorite Marvel Super Heroes live on stage for a jam-packed, concert-style show with singing, dancing, acrobatics, and more.
Orpheum Theatre, October 28, 4 p.m.
Enjoy a not-so-spooky celebration featuring friendly Halloween characters, music to boogieman down to, and some hair-raising fun on a hike through the garden with stops for treats, handson activities, learning opportunities, and more.
Memphis Botanic Garden, October 28,
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Butter & Jam: ¡Olé! by Flamenco Memphis
This performance will explore ﬂamenco rhythms through percussion instruments such as cajón, castanets, and the dancer’s own feet and hands! Parents and children (8 and under) are invited to move and groove in this highly interactive performance.
Germantown Performing Arts Center, October 28, 10:30-11:30 a.m.By Abigail Morici
5 • Sunday
Memphis Grilled Cheese Fest
Beneﬁting THRIVE Memphis, this festival will have samples, bands, vendors, face-painting, kids area, and more.
Hi Tone, November 5, noon-4 p.m.
Memphis Japan Festival
The Memphis Japan Festival is a fun, familyfriendly, interactive and hands-on experience of Japanese culture. Festival highlights include traditional and contemporary Japanese music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts, merchandise, children’s activities, and more.
Memphis Botanic Garden, November 5, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
7 • Tuesday STOMP
Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, and more ﬁll the stage with energizing beats at STOMP, the inventive and invigorating stage show that’s dance, music, and theatrical performance blended together in one electrifying rhythm.
Heindl Center for the Performing Arts, November 7, 7:30 p.m.
10 • Friday
Schoolhouse Rock, Live!
Based on the cherished animated series that taught generations of youth about grammar, math, science, and history, Schoolhouse Rock, Live! is packed with classic catchy tunes and clever lyrics that will bring a smile to folks of all ages.
The Circuit Playhouse, November 10-December 22
11 • Saturday
Peanut Butter & Jam: Songs by Jake Back by popular demand, it’s Jake! He will once again bring his unique blend of music, sketch art, puppetry, and storytelling into a truly one-of-akind children’s experience. Parents and children (8 and under) are invited to move and groove in this highly interactive performance.
Germantown Performing Arts Center, November 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
16 • Thursday
Truist Zoo Lights is back this year with brand new light displays and your favorite holiday activities. Visit with Santa, cozy up with your family by the s’mores stations, or dash across the ice at the ice rink!
Memphis Zoo, select nights, November 16-January 1
17 • Friday
Take the Soul Train to Christmas
Two days before winter break, Nate, Ida, and Rosa are assigned to write a research paper that chronicles how African Americans have celebrated Christmas throughout history, and what ensues is a holiday spectacle through the evolution of the African American Christmas experience.
Hattiloo Theatre, November 17-December 17
18 • Saturday
Mark Nizer 4D
Mark Nizer combines juggling, comedy, and technology to create an immersive 4D experience. With help from some unique 4D glasses, watch as Mark Nizer turns the theater into a circus-worthy experience full of lights, juggling tricks, and lasers.
Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, November 18, 2 p.m.
23 • Thursday
Memphis Hungry Turkey
Thanksgiving is the biggest running day of the year. Run the tradition. Kids Dash (8 and under) starts at 8:15 a.m., and 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. Memphis Pyramid, November 23, 7 a.m.
24 • Friday
Holiday Wonders at the Garden
This seasonal light exhibition is all about the holiday season and outdoor fun with themed nights to get you and the family into the spirit. Memphis Botanic Garden, select nights, November 24-December 23
1 • Friday
A Christmas Carol ’23
Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is approached by the ghostly vision of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him of an upcoming spiritual journey. An eye-opening exploration leads to happiness and enlightenment, not to mention song, dance, and holiday cheer.
Lohrey Theatre, December 1-23
It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play
Watch an angel get his wings as he reminds a down-on-his-luck George Bailey of all the things that make his a wonderful life in this radio-play adaptation of the Christmas classic.
Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, December 1-3
Nutcracker : Land of Enchanted Sweets
The timeless tale of Clara and her cherished Nutcracker comes to life on the Buckman stage this Christmas. The dancers of the Buckman Dance Conservatory o er a fresh interpretation of this endearing holiday classic.
Buckman Performing Arts Center, December 1-3
9 • Saturday
The Christmas Fiesta
Enjoy the Christmas traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean, learn about parrandas, posadas, piñatas, and more.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, December 9
15 • Friday
The Nutcracker Ballet
This production of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet features dancers from Singleton Community Center’s Esprit de Corps dance troupe as characters like Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, and more.
Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, December 15-17
16 • Saturday
Breakfast with Santa Santa Claus is comin’ to town for breakfast at the zoo.
Memphis Zoo, December 16, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
13 • Saturday
Peanut Butter & Jam: Rachel Rodriguez
Through Rachel Rodriguez’s interactive, bilingual music and movement presentations, children learn some Spanish, develop culture appreciation, and learn concepts through songs. Parents and children (8 and under) are invited to move and groove in this highly interactive performance.
Germantown Performing Arts Center, January 13, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
19 • Friday
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Witness the wonder of Charlie Bucket’s journey through Willy Wonka’s factory in this fantastical musical.
Playhouse on the Square, January 19-February 18
America at the Crossroads: The Guitar and a Changing Nation
Explore the guitar’s inﬂuence on American history, culture, and politics.
Museum of Science & History, on display through October 22
Grind City Picks: The Music That Made Memphis
Explore the iconic instruments, ri s, and guitarists that put Memphis on the map. Museum of Science & History, on display through October 22
Family Yoga at the Garden is a fun way for parents to bond with their kids while learning simple yoga poses and relaxation techniques. This outdoor yoga class is open to all ages and family members, with a creative focus on children ages 1-6.
Memphis Botanic Garden, Wednesdays through October 25, 10-10:45 a.m.
Las Catrinas: Tradición, Humor y Cultura
(Las Catrinas: Tradition, Humor and Culture)
This exhibition in the Dixon’s interactive gallery will have Las Catrinas on display. Las Catrinas are ubiquitous characters associated with the Day of the Dead.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, on display through January 7
Movie Nights at Overton Square
Enjoy a free screening of a movie every Thursday at the Square. Blankets and folding chairs are welcome.
Overton Square, Thursdays through November 16
“ The Questioneers: Read. Question. Think. Play!”
Based on the book series by Andrea Beaty, this traveling exhibit celebrates science, technology, engineering, art, math, perseverance, and passion. Children’s Museum of Memphis, through November 12
Family Day at the Stax Museum
On the second Saturday of each month, the Stax o ers free admission as well as special programming for young people including live music, arts and crafts, snacks, games, activities, and more.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music, second Saturdays of the month, 1-4 p.m.
Kaleidoscope Club (ages 5-9)
Each week, participants will enjoy an art or horticulture project that sparks creativity and critical thinking.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Wednesdays, 4-5 p.m.
Kids in the Garden (ages 7-10)
This fun, hands-on gardening workshop teaches kids the basics about horticulture and the ﬂora around them.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, second Saturdays of the month, 10:30 a.m.-noonBy Abigail Morici
Mini Masters (ages 2-4)
Introduce your little ones to the arts and nature with crafts, movement, and more.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Project Pop-up! (all ages)
Pop in to the Dixon for a pop-up like no other! Each month, participants explore a new part of the Dixon with an inspiring project for all ages. Supplies are provided.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, ﬁrst Saturdays of the month, 10-11 a.m.
Enjoy stories, songs, art activities, and creative play that connect with Collierville history every Friday at the Morton Museum. Morton Museum of Collierville History, Fridays, 10:30 a.m.
The ﬁrst Saturday of every month at the Brooks is Super Saturday! From 10 a.m.-noon, the museum will have free admission and artmaking led by art educator, Mrs. Rose. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, ﬁrst Saturdays of the month, 10 a.m.-noon
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Holy Rosary Catholic School
Ages 2, 3, 4
4841 Park Avenue, Memphis TN 38117 901-685-1231 | holyrosarymemphis org
Immaculate Conception Cathedral Catholic School
Ages 3, 4
1669 Central Avenue, Memphis TN 38104
901-725-2710 | myiccs.org
Incarnation Catholic Preschool
Ages 1, 2, 3, 4
360 Bray Station Rd , Collierville TN 38017
901-861-5414 | goics.org
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School
Ages 1, 2, 3, 4
8151 Poplar Avenue, Germantown TN 38138
901-753-1181 | olphowls org
St. Agnes Academy/ St. Dominic Catholic School
Ages 2, 3, 4
4830 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis TN 38117
901-767-1356 | saa-sds org
St. Ann Catholic School
Ages 3, 4
6529 Stage Road, Bartlett TN 38134 901-386-3328 | sascolts org
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
Ages 2, 3, 4 2100 N Germantown Pkwy, Cordova TN 38016
901-388-7321 | sfawolves.org
St. Louis Catholic School
Ages 3, 4
5192 Shady Grove, Memphis TN 38117 901-255-1900 | stlouismemphis.org
St. Paul Catholic School
1425 E. Shelby Drive, Memphis, TN 38116