SECTION C • SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014
SPOTLIGHT ON EDUCATION: GEORGIA GWINNETT COLLEGE
LOOKING AHEAD Preczewski focuses on vision, not title By Keith Farner
There is no timetable for the Board of Regents to name an official president, spokesman John For the first time in his career, Millsaps said. Stanley “Stas” Preczewski is putThe standard process for finding ting down roots. a college president includes the forAfter he spent a career in mation of two separate committees: the U.S. Army, a campus search committee and a Preczewski has Regents search committee. worked at Georgia Preczewski earned a bachelor’s Gwinnett College degree in engineering at Cornell since 2005, first as University in 1980 and concurrentprovost and now as ly received his Army officer cominterim president, mission. His other degrees include the longest time he a master’s in engineering from the and his wife have University of Massachusetts, a Stas lived anywhere. In master’s in National Security StratPreczewski their time together, egy and Planning from the United they’ve moved 19 States Naval War College, and a times. doctorate in Higher Education from “It’s nice to have roots,” Precze- the University of Missouri. wski told the Daily Post in a recent Preczewski met his wife, Jean, a interview in his office. “I know my legal assistant in Buford, 42 years neighbors’ names. They know me. ago and they have been married We’re not packing again. So that for more than 30 years. They have stability is quite nice.” three adult children, each of whom At the office, Preczewski said he hold the rank of captain in the U.S. and colleagues can communicate Army. in shorthand and more efficiently With a military background as a because they know each other well, retired colonel, Preczewski said he and what to expect. makes decisions based on the misFor the second time in his career, sion and the vision of the college. Preczewski is an interim president He also doesn’t treat the interim of a college institution, this time title as a sort of on-the-job interas GGC now counts 9,869 stuview for the permanent position. dents — while class sizes remain at “I’ve never made a decision, 22 — as it nears an eventual goal ever, in my life that benefits me, in of 13,000 students. Yet because of fact I’ve done things that have hurt his personality, and the way GGC myself,” Preczewski said. “We’ve was built, Preczewski believes the always operated, and will always interim title doesn’t change the job operate, in the best interest of the description. students. If we do what’s in the “Whether you have interim bebest interest of me, generally that’s fore you’re name, the decisions still not what’s best for the students. … have to be made and the responsiThere’s only one reason a college bility is still the same,” Preczewski exists, there’s only one reason we said. “You just have that word out have jobs. It’s because students front. I operate the same, whether choose to come here. They choose to come here because they’re sucit’s there or not there.” cessful here.” The appointment, which began While the job description hasn’t on July 1, follows GGC President changed, Preczewski’s duties have Daniel Kaufman’s recent move as since he was provost, which he the new president of the Gwinnett admitted to being largely internal to Chamber of Commerce. Preczethe campus. The president’s duties wski previously served as vice president for Academic and Student are largely external, and deals with every stake holder that touches the Affairs. university: students, faculty, staff, Preczewski was also interim alumni, parents, donors, legislators president of Georgia College & and the Board of Regents. State University in Milledgeville “Everybody has a slightly diffrom July 2011 through June ferent twist of what they would 2012. While he learned some leslike to see a college to do,” he said. sons in his first stint as an interim president, Preczewski said GCSU’s “You’re job is to find that middle more than 100-year-old history is a point. It’s not a science, it’s an art.” stark contrast to GGC still being in See GGC, Page 9C the development stages.
File photos of the Georgia Gwinnett College campus. (Photos courtesy of GGC)
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spotlight on education
Post-secondary education institutions call Gwinnett home When it comes to postsecondary education in Gwinnett County, there are a wealth of opportunities. Locals seeking a career that requires a college education need look no further than their own county. Nearly a dozen institutions make their home in Gwinnett County, offering a variety of choices for just about any career or trade one might want to pursue. Ashworth College The Norcross-based institution offers diplomas in high school, college prep, specialized career and certification as well as associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. According to its website, Ashworth is “a worldwide leader in comprehensive, nationally accredited
online education.” The college offers more than 115 career-relevant online programs. Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, the institution aims for a “lifestyle-friendly curriculum that let you learn when, where and how you want.” For more information, visit www.ashworthcollege.edu, or call 800-9575412. Ashworth College is located at 6625 The Corners Parkway, Suite 500, Norcross. Brenau University’s Evening and Weekend College Located in Norcross, the North Atlanta campus of-
fers undergraduate degrees in the fields of education, interior design and business. In addition, masters degrees in occupational therapy and nursing are offered at the local campus. Programs are designed for people who work, and classes are offered in an accelerated format. According to its website, Brenau aims to “challenge students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment. “As students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees or non-degree programs at Brenau campuses and online, each prepares for a lifetime of intellectual accomplishment and appreciation of artistic expression through a curriculum enriched by the liberal
arts, scientific inquiry and global awareness.” For more information, visit www.brenau.edu or call 770-446-2900. Brenau University’s North Atlanta Campus is located at 3139 Campus Drive, Suite 300, Norcross. DeVry University Duluth Center Located next to Gwinnett Place Mall in the Koger Center complex, DeVry University Duluth Center offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in some of today’s fastestgrowing career fields. In close proximity to Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, major financial institutions, and Atlanta’s thriving business and high-tech community, DeVry University Duluth provides access to possible career opportunities in a wide variety of industries. The Duluth Center offers spacious classrooms, a fully wired computer lab, and a commons area. Once enrolled at the Duluth Center, students may also take courses at Atlanta-area locations or online. For more information, visit www.devry.edu or call 770-381-4400. Georgia Campus — Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Located in Suwanee, Georgia Campus — Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine aims to train students from Georgia and nearby southern states to practice osteopathic medicine and encourage them to locate locally upon
completion of programs. In total, enrollment at the college is projected at 687 for the 2011-12 academic year, compared to 86 students in attendance when the campus first opened in 2005. In total, 228 first year medical and pharmacy students at Georgia CampusPCOM were presented their white coat jackets in November during a ceremony at the Gwinnett Center for the Performing Arts. Georgia Campus—Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is located at 625 Old Peachtree Road N.W., Suwanee. For more information, visit www.pcom.edu or call 678)-225-7500. Georgia Gwinnett College Still a new college, the institution continues to grow. Georgia Gwinnett College opened its doors on Aug. 18, 2006, as the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century and the first four-year public institution created in Georgia in more than 100 years. Since 2006, the college has grown from 118 students to nearly 10,000. According to its website, the college aims to “provide access to targeted baccalaureate level degrees that meet the economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region.” For more information about Georgia Gwinnett
College, visit www.ggc. edu, or call 678-4075000. Georgia Gwinnett College is located at 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville. Gwinnett College The mission of Lilburn’s Gwinnett College is to provide diploma and associate degree higher education programs. “These programs of high quality are designed to prepare a diverse student population to meet the needs of employees in the legal, medical and business fields.” “GC has its goal of preparing students academically, intellectually, personally, and professionally for successful careers and advancement. With day and evening classes available, students can get associate’s degrees in business, legal administrative and medical assisting. Students can also become certified in accounting, massage therapy and computer operations. For more information, visit www.gwinnettcollege.com or call 770-3817200. Gwinnett Technical College Since opening in 1984, the local technical college has sought to provide career-focused education and training that support economic and workforce development in the community.
See OPTIONS, Page 3C
ENTER TO WIN
Win a family four-pack of tickets to Dinosaur Train LIVE: Buddy’s Big Adventure coming to Cobb Energy Centre Feb. 22
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facebook.com/gwinnettdailypost Tickets on sale at Cobb Energy Centre Box office, Ticketmaster.com, or call 800-745-3000
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 • 3C
spotlight on education •From Page 2C
During its history, Gwinnett Tech has expanded its campus to include a variety of new facilities, including the new life sciences center, the corporate training center, environmental horticulture center, the computer training facility and the George Busbee International Center for Workforce Development. For more information, visit www.gwinnetttech.edu or call 770)-962-7580. Gwinnett Technical College is located at 5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. Saint Leo University Saint Leo University’s Gwinnett County location at 3555 Koger Blvd., has served the educational needs of adult learners in Atlanta for more than 30 years, offering bachelor’s degree programs for working adults. Based in Florida, the Duluth satellite of this Catholic university offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in several subjects such as criminal justice, teaching and business administration. Rooted in the 1,500-yearold Benedictine tradition, the University seeks balanced growth in mind, body and spirit for all members of its community. According to its website, Saint Leo University aims to create a “student-centered environment in which love of learning is of prime importance. For more information, visit www.saintleo.edu University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus The local satellite of University of Georgia aims to be “a highly accessible and vibrant center of advanced
learning for non-traditional and working professionals in greater Atlanta and northeast Georgia.” The campus offers 11 master’s degrees, four educational specialist degrees, three doctoral programs and three graduate certificate programs. The full-service campus facility offers IT support, student affairs, a library, UGA Bookstore, security guards, 21 state-of-the-art programs, 60,000 square feet of learning space and computer labs. The campus is located at 2530 Sever Road, Lawrenceville. For more information, visit http:// gwinnett.uga.edu or call 678-985-6800. University of Phoenix Gwinnett Learning Center The University of Phoenix Gwinnett Learning Center in Duluth caters to adults who need to balance their educational needs with professional and family commitments. It’s facilities are focused on those who are considering changing jobs or want to advance within their current company, or are considering going back to school to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The local University of Phoenix location largely focuses on business and nursing degrees, but it also offers degree programs in technology, psychology and criminal justice. The campus is located at 2470 Satellite Blvd., Duluth. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu or call 678-731-0555.
Student Teach in Gwinnett County Public Schools! RECOGNIZED AS A TOP EMPLOYER
For information about student teaching placement in GCPS, please contact your field placement coordinator.
4C • SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014
Local teen earns Girl Scout Gold Award A Lawrenceville teen has reached the highest achievement possible in Girl Scouting. Virginia Harvey has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. For her final project to obtain the award, Harvey produced a video on scolio-
sis surgery for the benefit of future scoliosis patients and their families. “I selected this project because I wanted to share my experience with others,” Harvey said. “I was diagnosed with a 38 degree curve of scoliosis in eighth grade.
Reading, my favorite activity, became uncomfortable because I could not sit for any length of time without back pain. After two years of wearing a back brace, I elected to have scoliosis surgery. Although I read many brochures and websites, I
still went into the surgery with many questions. An informative video would have been very helpful to me,” Harvey said. Harvey’s role was to plan the project, determine who would be interviewed, conduct the interviews of her
First Home Game is April 11th!
Win Tickets to Gwinnett Braves
By Tyler Estep
• 4 field box tickets • 4 Gwinnett Braves shirts • $50 to spend at Coolray Field Concessions & parking
Mail your completed entry form to GDP/GBraves P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 or visit gwinnettdailypost.com/contests to enter at NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Sponsors and their families are not eligible. All entries must be completely filled out to be eligible. Void where prohibited & restricted by law. Entries must be received by February 28, 2014. Winners will be notified.
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by Dr. Dennis Devito of Children’s Orthopaedics of Atlanta. Harvey is a lifelong Gwinnett County resident and became a Girl Scout in fall 2001 when she was a kindergartener at Dacula Elementary School. She is in her 13th year of Girl Scouting with Troop 1517, Apalachee Service Unit, Girl Scout Council of Greater Atlanta. She is the first member of the Apalachee Service Unit to earn the Gold Award and will officially be presented the award as part of a councilwide ceremony at the Fox Theatre in March. Harvey is the the daughter of Patrick Harvey and Jennifer Pinson Harvey of Lawrenceville and is a senior and honor student at Peachtree Ridge High School. She is an active member of First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville. — From staff reports
Sugar Hill to host Medicare seminars
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surgeon, her mother, her sister and herself, supervise the editing of the video and then Virginia distribute Harvey the video, all of which took more than 80 hours. “I had to use leadership skills of organization, research, time management and persistence,” Harvey said. “I hope that many, many people will learn something useful from the video as they watch it in future months and years.” The video is on YouTube and will be available on the Children’s Orthopaedics of Atlanta website and will also be distributed to Atlanta area children’s hospitals for viewing by patients and families.” Harvey’s spine is now completely straight following the successful surgery
SUGAR HILL — An educational seminar on Medicare will be held next month at the Sugar Hill Community Center. The seminar, called “Medicare 101,” will be held on March 4, and March 11. Geared toward residents who are approaching age 65 or retirement and finding themselves in need of Medicare, the classes will provide information and materials about
Medicare options available. A 30-minute PowerPoint presentation will be followed by discussion and question and answer session. The classes will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. and are strictly educational. No sales attempts will be made. The Sugar Hill Community Center is located at 1166 Church St. After next month’s classes, seminars will also be held on April 1 and 8, as well as May 6 and 13.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 • 5C
spotlight on education
GTC continues to grow By Keith Farner keith.farner@ gwinnettdailypost.com
Growth at Gwinnett Technical College has continued in recent months as enrollment totals reached record levels. Gwinnett Tech’s enrollment increase of 7.4 percent was the largest in the state for the fall term, according to figures released by the Technical College System of Georgia. That brought Gwinnett Tech to 7,180 students registered for fall classes, an alltime high, and double the number it was in fall 2000. The college also noted a 5.7 percent increase in credit hours taken, officials said in a news release on Thursday. The spring semester, which began on Jan. 6, also appears to be keeping pace as enrollment is projected
to remain at about 7,000 students. Late last year, Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels also outlined more details about the new $24 million campus on Old Milton Parkway in North Fulton County scheduled to open in January 2016. Construction is scheduled to begin in April on the 100,000-square-foot building that will cost $6 million annually to operate, Bartels said. “The technical college system never gets special allocation when we open new buildings, much less new campuses,” Bartels told lawmakers in an annual preGeneral Assembly meeting in December. Specific categories of students, and the ways they pay for school, also rose. The largest spike in students came from those who are dual-enrolled
taking high school and college credit simultaneously. That’s now 142 students, up 173 percent. Students using the Hope Grant or Hope Scholarship jumped 32.6 percent in the first term after the restored 2.0 grade-point-average requirement went into effect. The Hope program is used by 37.9 percent of students. Pell Grants were used by 48.7 percent of students, a 9.9 percent spike in the fall. And students taking classes exclusively online rose 14.5 percent to 798. There are 4,357 students who take a hybrid class, which combines online and in-class instruction, which is up 24 percent. Veterans are also enrolling at GTC in greater numbers as the college now serves 320 veterans, an increase of 23.5 percent over the previous fall term.
Counselors encourage students to plan ahead for ACT, SAT From Staff Reports If there’s one piece of advice Gwinnett counselors give to students preparing for college, it’s start early. Taking the PSAT in the 10th and 11th grade is a good start, so they’ll be familiar with that format on the SAT. The U.S. College Board reports that the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are “a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support and scholarships, in a way that’s fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in
the 21st century.” There are also plenty of free websites to offer insights into the tests. They are www.testpreview.com, www.educationplanner. org, www.careersandcolleges.com, and www.gacollege411.org. Students considering taking the ACT can use many of the same websites as well as www.actstudent.org. Counselors also encourage students to take each test more than once to become more familiar with the test environment, format and questions. Reading varied texts such as novels, political analysis and sports articles helps to improve vocabulary and reading skills. On the SAT, some questions are ordered easiest to
hardest, so some students may benefit by answering the questions out of order. On the test day, dress in layers, wear a watch and bring a snack and water. Counselors also encourage students to bring an approved calculator with fresh batteries, several No. 2 pencils and a pencil sharpener. The ACT Test is a curriculum- and standardsbased educational and career planning tool that assesses students’ academic readiness for college, while the SAT focuses more on reasoning and critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. Colleges in Georgia will typically accept either the SAT or the ACT.
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Winn Holt educator named Science Teacher of the Year Good News from Schools
Keith Farner A Gwinnett science specialist was recently honored by teachers across the state for the work she does exploring the world of science with her students. The Georgia Science Teachers Association selected Tracey Rivers, a K-5 science specialist at Winn Holt Elementary, as its 2014 Elementary Science Teacher of the Year. GSTA formally honored the veteran educator during the 2014 GSTA Annual Conference in Macon. Each year, the organization recognizes excellence in science teaching through its awards and recognition program. The organization selects a “Teacher of the Year” for each level of K-12 and higher education. Rivers began work in Gwinnett County Public Schools as a substitute teacher in 1997 and later taught at Simonton Elementary for three years before she moved to Winn Holt in 2004. GSMST student named Intel semifinalist Willie Jin of the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is a semifinalist in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Annually, students entering the Intel STS compete for $1.25 million in awards. Only 300 students are announced as semifinalists each year. From this select pool, 40 finalists are then invited
Tracey Rivers and Winn Holt Elementary students observe a science project during the local school Winn Holt Elementary science fair. (Special Photo)
to Washington in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top award of $100,000. GSMST Physics and Engineering Teacher Sheila Harmony also won a Teaching Tool Grant of $625 from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association-Atlanta division. Nesbit principal named Arts Educator of the Year Nesbit Elementary Principal Clayborn Knight was named Arts Educator of the Year during the Fusion: Third Annual ArtWorks celebration. ArtWorks! Gwinnett is the nonprofit, tax-exempt arts organization supporting the arts in Gwinnett County. ArtWorks! promotes and builds support for art and cultural opportunities to enrich all of Gwinnett County. North Gwinnett High Tannery Row winners North Gwinnett High students competed in the third annual Tannery Row High School Art Competition. 2-D winners from North Gwinnett High are Hae Reem Park, first place, and Jennifer Park, third place. 3-D winners from North Gwinnett High are Savana York, second place, and Em-
ily Toomer, third place. Osborne Middle Lego team wins second place The Osborne Middle Firehawks Lego League Robotics Team, led by Osborne Middle sixth-grade science teacher Steven Clark, won second place in state competition. More than 500 teams competed at the University of Georgia in the championship tournament. Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program In 2014, Kohl’s will honor more than 2,300 youth who are making a positive impact in their communities with nearly $400,000 in scholarships and prizes. Ten top winners will receive $10,000 each. Last year, 69 students from Georgia were recognized for their outstanding volunteer efforts. Nominations for volunteers, ages 6 to 18, will be accepted through March 14 at kohlskids.com. Two nominees from each of the more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores nationwide will win a $50 Kohl’s gift card, and nearly 200 will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward higher education. Kohl’s will also donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf.
FREE FLORIDA FLYAWAY! Enter for a chance to win! Enter for a chance for you and your sweetheart to win the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival VIP package in Clearwater Beach, FL April 10-13, 2014! Package includes round trip air transportation for two, three nights accommodations at Shephard's Beach Resort and VIP passes to the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival including certificates to Columbia Restaurant as well as the Official Sugar Sand Bar, one cabana rental, lunch at Pier 60 Concession and VIP dining for two at Sugar Sand & Sunsets Value of trip is $3,806. Enter by March 1, 2014. TWO grand prize trips will be awarded. ENTER ONLINE AT CONTEST CENTRAL on gwinnettdailypost.com or send completed entry (only entries completely filled out will be eligible) to Gwinnett Daily Post/SugarSand P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
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ENTER BY MARCH 1, 2014! Rules: No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Sponsors and their families are not eligible. All entries must be completely filled out to be eligible. Trip winner is responsible for any and all taxes and/or liabilities associated with the value of the trip package which is estimated at $3,806 and which must be claimed as income in the 2014 tax year. The Gwinnett Daily Post is required by law to furnish a federal form 1099 to the Internal revenue Service and this form will state the $3,806 value of the trip package. Must be able to utilize trip date of April 10-13, 2014...no substitution dates will be made available and winner will still need to claim the trip value on their 2014 taxes.Winner’s acceptance of prize also grants permission to publish the winning entry information in future Gwinnett Daily Post publications. Once winner is notified, they have three days to accept the trip. If confirmation of acceptance is not made, a new winner will be drawn. 172552-1
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 • 9C
spotlight on education •From Page 1C Meanwhile, Preczewki is proud to share retention statistics that show 87 percent of students who started in August remain on campus, a two percent improvement from last year. The school’s new advising center is also credited for a three-fold increase in retention of at-risk students. Preczewski also said keeping costs low continues to be a priority as GGC is $40 a credit hour cheaper than the next closest fouryear only college, despite getting less state money. And he hasn’t looked at other institutions or sought advice from other presidents because the GGC model hasn’t been done
before, and the school has already broken records for accreditation and enrollment growth. “What pieces of other colleges can we do on a large scale,” he said. “We’re taking the best that’s out there and putting it together in one institution for everyone.” Asked about potential growing pains for the school, Preczewski balked at the term because of the plan in place since it opened. “A growing pain is something that happens when you say, ‘Gee, we didn’t know that was going to happen,’” he said. “We’ve been very proactive from day one of staying out ahead of what’s next.”
Complaints of parking problems from students last fall were not necessary, because Preczewski said the college has plenty of parking; it just may not be where students want it, or close enough to classroom buildings. “Before, you literally could get the parking spot next to your class,” he said. “Now, you have to park farther away.” So the July opening of a $30 million Allied Health and Science Building, which will bring another 1,000 students, is just another step in an ongoing building process that has included dining and residence halls and expansion of academic buildings. “Dr. Kaufman’s vision
was to have a crane on this campus, somewhere, for 10 years,” Preczewski said. “And so far we’ve had a crane on this campus every year since we opened the doors. Everything has happened according to the plan from 2006, and we haven’t varied from that because it’s working quite well.” What’s next is largely based on making the college more efficient. GGC opened a call center last fall to answer general questions while employees in the admissions office can tend to students face-to-face. Previously, the college accepted about 20 of those calls a day; now it counts more than 200. Preczewski would also
like to add a career services employee in every school, and add new majors. “We’ve thought about this for a year and now we’re ready to put the resources in place and we know what outcomes we want to have,” Preczewski said. “Now we simply just execute.” Last year, the General Assembly agreed to a sixyear draw down of $1.375 million per year for GGC. Preczewski said the college can handle the drop in funding because it knew it was coming and planned for it. “We’ll take the cut, since we know it’s coming, and it will have no effect on the quality of our education,” he said.
Institutions around the country are beginning to take notice of GGC’s success, for reasons that include managing with less money. Preczewski said he’s been invited to speak about GGC’s model at national conferences. And he’s proud to share the recent U.S. News & World Report No. 5 ranking that GGC received for Southern public colleges. That has helped market the college by word of mouth, and Preczewski said the college officials have been surprised that they didn’t have to do as much marketing. “Success breeds success,” he said. “We’re getting a reputation for quality.”
10C • SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014
Why happy families need 12 great relationships I love my family. We were on a group tour recently. One of our fellow tour members, a woman we didn’t know prior to the trip, who had shared a bus, hikes and meals with us for a few days, said, “I can tell you all really enjoy being around each other.” It was one of the nicest compliments I’d ever gotten. Our family isn’t perfect, but our observer was right, we do enjoy being around each other. I realized in that moment, creating a happy family is about multiple relationships. Each person has an individual relationship with every other member. In a family of four,
Lisa McLeod there are 12 relationships. Each person has a personal relationship with the other three. That’s six total relationships. Then there are two sides to each relationship, so that means 12 dynamics in play. The same exponential relationship model applies at work. Even if everyone has a good relationship
with the leader, if one team member dislikes another, it has a chilling effect on the entire group. Case in point, my younger brother and I ruined many a family trip (and dinners, and TV nights, and zoo, museum, Dairy Queen trips, and just about every other thing my mother tried to plan) with our constant fighting. In any group, if one relationship, or even one side of one relationship is out of whack, it makes every single other relationship worse. My colleague Seth Kahan (www.visionaryleadership.com), says the exponential relationship dynamic is actually a mathematical formula: 2
n – (n + 1) where n is the number of people in the group. This formula factors in the sub groups, trios, quads, etc., that occur in any group of more than two. For a family of four, the exponential number is 11, 24 - (4+1) = 16 - 5 = 11 total relationships. Which doesn’t include the two sides of each relationship. But you get the point. No matter which formula you use, the exponential relationship concept reinforces what you already know, families, and groups, are complicated. Imagine how much different our family trip would have been if one of our kids had been angry with one of the parents. Actually you probably
don’t have to imagine it, you’ve likely made that trip yourself, as have we. Imagine, or remember, what a work team is like when two key players have an unspoken disagreement. You can feel the tension in every meeting. So, what does a leader or parent do with this information? You have to create conditions that enable your team to have successful, independent relationships with each other. Yes, I know it’s more work, but you will ultimately benefit. Here are three tips to get started: 1. Set aside time to spend with each member alone. 2. Provide team members with space and time to get to know each other individually, outside the
larger group. 3. Set an expectation that people will put time and effort into their relationships. The last one is critical. Many work places, and many families, focus exclusively on output, creating the best product, doing the project faster, or getting the best grades. But one of the secrets to creating great output is through mutually supportive, enjoyable relationships. The team that dislikes each other is rarely innovative or successful, much less fun. Group relationships are complex. But they’re worth it. When you look around the table and realize, we all really like each other, you’re destined for great things.
Tales of the hot pink luggage Some missing something or the other required me to prowl through closets at Mama’s house. That’s when I found it. I pulled it out and smiled broadly, warmed by the memories it evoked. You know the feeling I am sure. You find something that somewhere back in time meant so much but years have passed and you have forgotten its existence. Then you find it and it’s like running into an old friend who reminds you of happy times. You would probably laugh if you saw it — a piece of hot pink Samsonite luggage. I’m laughing now because it’s part of a three-piece set that includes a beauty case (a thing of the past), a tote bag and a 22-inch Pullman. What that luggage — so 1970s — means to me can never be adequately summed up here. But let me try. When I was just a kid, the age where I still tugged on Mama’s apron strings and sat in Daddy’s lap, my small arm reaching up and stretching partway around his neck, I loved suitcases. I was fascinated with what they represented — travel to somewhere different than where I was. My family never traveled for they couldn’t afford to stop working long enough to take time off. In my entire growing up, my parents and I only took one true vacation — two weeks when we traveled to West Virginia and Pennsylvania to visit some of Daddy’s family and stayed in Holiday Inns along the way and ate at Howard Johnsons. It was a grand adventure. I was 11 that summer and so thrilled that I planned my wardrobe for two months. Mama and I sewed and made me the most wonderful set of clothes for the trip including a polyester blazer with a light gray background scattered with tiny navycolored anchors because nautical was trendy that summer. It had gold buttons with anchors on them and I thought it was the smartest, chicest garment I had ever seen. I was so happy to be able to pack a suitcase and go on a trip. When I was still that little apron-strings-tugging girl, I played often with a piece of brown, real leather Samsonite luggage which I
was always packing with clothes and pretending to go to New York on book business. When I was in the seventh grade, I began to beg for pretty luggage. I had seen the hot pink, stylish Samsonite in Belk department store and I was captivated. If only I had it, I told myself, then surely travel would find me and take me off to see the kind of things of which I read — airplanes, big cities, taxi cabs and historic places. It took two birthdays and one Christmas to get those three pieces of luggage and each one received made me happy beyond measure. I still have all three since I brought that one home from Mama’s. Two pieces have flight tags from the old Eastern Airlines which went out of business 25 years ago. When I got home, I set the Pullman at the foot of the stairs, intending to take it to the attic. But, for days, I couldn’t. It made me smile every time I saw it and reminded me of how a girl’s childhood dreams came true. Every one of them. Just recently I bought a new set of luggage that is designed with bright, cheery colors all over it. It makes me happy just like the little girl who sat in her daddy’s lap. Tink laughed as I wheeled it to the check-out counter. “One thing’s for sure — you’ll be able to spot that at baggage claim,” he said. I adore it. I baby it and scrub marks off of it when we return home because, just like the hot pink luggage, it reminds how childhood dreams came true. Now, that’s a nice piece of baggage to carry around. Ronda Rich is the bestselling author of “There’s A Better Day A-Comin.’” Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for her weekly newsletter.
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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 • 11C
Proud to be an American as a way of life Susan Larson
Proud to be an American. For Leslie Watkins of Snellville, that is more than a song title. It’s a way of life. As a proud and active member of the William Day Chapter — Daughters of the American Revolution, Watkins spends her days traveling around presenting
living history presentations on lifestyle during colonial times. Working with her brother-in-law, Bruce Maney, a member of the Button Gwinnett chapter — Sons of the American Revolution, they carry their “Traveling Trunk,” one of 13 such
visual aids supplied by the Georgia Society of the SAR. Dressed in period costumes, Watkins and Maney display more than 130 items people used during the time of the American Revolution. While their presentation is extremely entertaining, it is not mere play acting. Yes,
Watkins has a B.A. degree in speech and theater, but add to this her M. Ed. in English, multiple state certifications including Gifted Education and 32 years experience in her field, with 24 of those years spent teaching at Brookwood High School.
Her Education Outreach Program is geared towards the Fourth Grade Social Studies Performance Standards and fully complements the curriculum. Having spent years training Gwinnett County Public School teachers to accurately assess students on Gateway essays, Watkins is skillful in addressing specific educational objectives in a 15 to 60 minute presentation. Taking the subject matter beyond the text book, Watkins and Maney make lessons real with such items as buffalo horns, a quill pen and a turtle shell with rattles. Maney dresses like a continental soldier, but this program does not include any weapons. However, they dramatically present details of military battles and survival battles of every day life, adding humor when they can by calling boys’ corn husk dolls “homemade action figures.” Watkins said her favorite part of the program is performing a first person narrative of Nancy Hart, who even if she hadn’t had bright red hair would have been considered one of the most colorful characters of her time. Wearing a red wig and getting into Hart’s spunk and spirit, Watkins says her goal is to empower fourth grade girls to realize they can do whatever they need to do. Since 2010, Watkins and Maney have visited more than 200 schools and interacted with over 18,000 school children and there is evidence of a positive correlation between their presentation and students’ CRCT scores. And the best part of the program is that it is entirely free. But you don’t have to be a fourth grader to get in on this act. Watkins and Maney perform for historical organizations, genealogical societies, senior groups and historic events. They also lay wreathes on newly discovered the graves of Patriot soldiers. Their next Gwinnett appearance will be at the Winn House on Feb. 22, George Washington’s birthday, to commemorate Georgia History Month. (More info: www.gwinnetths.org ) To schedule a program, call Bruce Maney at 770972-1751 or email email@example.com. Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artists talk rescheduled for upcoming Wednesday By Camie Young
After last week’s ice, local arts enthusiasts will still have an opportunity to participate in an artists talk in Snellville. The Snellville Arts Commission event canceled last week has been rescheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The event features artists Tracie L. Hawkins and Bill E. Leavell. Hawkins is a Stone Mountain art gallery owner who is an oil painter and fiber artist. Her art is isnpired by nature and historical events. Leavell, who manages a Stone Mountain gallery, uses graphite and charcoal to capture the human spirit. His work is inspired by the human face and the emotion it portrays. As part of Black History Month, the artists’ work titled “Fabric of Our Emotions,” will be on display at City Hall through Feb. 28.
12C • SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014
PET OF THE WEEK
GWINNETT GAB Dacula eatery to offer bingo, biscuits, soda The Potter’s Country Cookn’ in Dacula, in partnership with C&C Consulting Services, is holding breakfast Bingo from 9 to 10 a.m. every third Tuesday, with the next event scheduled for Feb. 18. In addition to Bingo, the restaurant will
offer biscuits and sodas for $3. The Potter’s Country Cookn’ is at 1955 Gravel Springs Road. For more information on the event, call 770-940-1727.
CarFit Program offered at center On Feb. 25, the Centerville Community Center will host the AARP
CarFit Program from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to individuals who hold a valid driver’s license, the 20-minute, interactive, customized educational program is intended to improve driver safety. Drivers will learn the safest “fit” for their vehicles and receive recommendations on adjustments, adaptations and local resources.
Drive-ins are welcome, and the center is at 3025 Bethany Church Road in Snellville. For more information, call 770-985-4713. Gwinnett Gab appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. To submit an item to Gwinnett Gab, email gab@gwinnettdailypost. com.
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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 • 13C
Obama, Facebook and the culture of narcissism Queen Victoria of England, who had an era named after her, was famously modest in her dress — and her personal style dominated two continents for more than two decades. In terms of women’s fashions, the Victorian Era was known for its high necklines, long sleeves and floor-dragging hems. Legend has it that table skirts first came into vogue during that time period because people didn’t even want their furniture showing any leg. We’ve seen in our own country how leaders can set the tone for public mores and popular fashion. A decade of liberalism in Washington during the 1960s ushered in the extreme fads of the “mod” era. Ten years later, Ronald Reagan’s genial conservatism returned us to button-downs, pressed slacks, and neat haircuts. Today we have a president whose most remarkable quality is an awe-inspiring narcissism. This is the guy who used the personal pronouns “I” and “me” 64 times during a 64-minute speech — the 2014 State of the Union, delivered just last month. The same guy assured us, during the 2008 campaign, that “we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.” His most significant contribution to pop culture remains an idealized, modern-art poster featuring … drum-roll, please … himself. (“But se-
Rob Jenkins riously, folks, it’s not about me ….”) He also made headlines a few months ago (with some help from Denmark’s charming Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt) when he notoriously posed for a “selfie” during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Thousands rushed to “favorite” the resulting Tweets. Is it any wonder that, under Obama, America has become the land of the “me” and the home of the “fave?” This sad state of affairs is certainly apparent anytime we turn on the television, now more rife than ever with that most unrealistic of genres, the “reality show.” Such programs, which typically have little entertainment value (except, perhaps, for voyeurs), function primarily to enable people with tragically low self-esteem to pursue the personal attention they crave. Then again, maybe those shows are realistic. Maybe we’re a society now equally divided between the
attention-hounds and the voyeurs — with many of us, perhaps, some combination of both. We can observe this growing societal narcissism, too, on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. I have Facebook “friends” (some of them family members) who seemingly post a selfie a day. Often they’re bizarre shots, taken at odd angles and in unusual situations — and, not uncommonly, in modes of dress that would once have been considered inappropriate. Someone please tell me: Is such behavior not, at its most basic level, a pathetic cry for attention? Several decades ago, developmental psychologist Jean Piaget theorized that children at around two years of age pass through a stage he labeled “egocentrism,” in which they view themselves as the center of the universe. They typically outgrow that stage by age four, he believed. Obviously, Piaget never watched reality TV or had a Facebook account — or anticipated an Obama presidency. Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of “Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility,” available at Books for Less and on Amazon. Email Rob at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ FamilyManRob.
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SCHOOL LUNCH MENUS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Monday Crispy chicken sandwich, hot diggity dog, veggie chicken nuggets, pinwheels, baked beans, steamed broccoli, seasonal fruits and vegetables Tuesday Big Daddy’s Pizza, BBQ pork sandwich, black bean pizza, deli fresh subs, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, spinach side salad, mellow yellow corn Wednesday Cheesy boat; oven roasted
chicken; vegetarian burger; signature salads; fresh mini carrot; local green beans; seasonal fruits and vegetables Thursday Seasoned baked wings; old world lasagna; lasagna marinara; deli fresh subs; peanut butter sandwich; garden salad; honey roasted veggies Friday Pancakes and sausage; catch of the day; yogurt basket; pinwheels; hashbrown sticks; kid’s cole slaw;
seasonal fruits and veggies MIDDLE SCHOOL Monday Big Daddy’s pizza, fiesta burrito, vegetarian pizza, deli fresh subs, signature salads, steamed broccoli, garden salad Tuesday Crispy chicken sammie, mamma mia calzone, vegetarian burger, wrap ’n’ roll deli wraps, signature salads, local green beans, fresh cut fruit Wednesday Oven breaded chicken; mini
corn dogs; old school mac and cheese; classic Italian subs; signature salads; bold baked beans; fruit salad Thursday Tex Mex nachos; cheese filled breadsticks; black bean pizza; wrap ’n’ roll deli wraps; signature salads; roasted zucchini; mellow yellow corn Friday Big Daddy’s pizza; chicken and waffles; yogurt basket; deli fresh subs; signature salads; hashbrown sticks; baby carrots and dips
HIGH SCHOOL Monday Old school mac & cheese, Big Daddy’s pizza, Gwinnett’s best burger, veggie burger, wrap ’n’ roll wraps, signature salad, boneless Asian wings
sandwich; veggie burger; turkey avocado sub; signature salad; Thai rice bowl Thursday Specialty flatbreads; Big Daddy’s pizza; ultimate hot dog bar; golden grilled cheese; wrap ’n’ roll deli wraps; signature salad; fiesta burrito
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