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For more information, visit



Educating the Whole Child

Pre-K3, Pre-K4, and Kindergarten Sunday, January 21 at 1:30pm Register Online

From Pre-K3 through 12th grade, STJ students, faculty, and administration work together to foster the potential of each child at Saint James School. Visit our state-of-the-art campus January 21st and experience first-hand the impact of engaged and experiential learning. Please join us! Our Open House program begins at 1:30pm on January 21st and is full of fun events that will help you and your child experience the complete education offered at Saint James School.


Leading the Way Since 1955 S T J w e b . o r g Ask us about our Financial Assistance Program. Academic support for English Language Learners available. Saint James School admits students of any religion, race, gender, creed, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.


SJ01-39776 Parent's Ad November 2017.indd 1

10/17/17 10:54 AM


Montgomery Parents I December 2017








Trinity is Montgomery’s foremost educational institution, binding academic excellence with Christian values. Providing a challenging college-preparatory education, Trinity offers a rigorous academic program, committed educators, outstanding athletics, and a nurturing family environment. Our extraordinary educators at Trinity strike the perfect balance as they encourage students to strive for excellence, while emphasizing Christ-like character above all else. “The Trinity Experience” produces leaders who possess mental, physical and spiritual strength. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Director of Admission, Jenny McClinton, at 334.213.2213 or Tuition assistance is available. Discount offered to our military families. Trinity admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origins to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Trinity does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origins in any of the educational policies, scholarship programs and athletics, and other school-administered programs.








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There Is Hope Ahead. Montgomery Parents I December 2017



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December2017 60

Volume 22 Number 12



8 Living With Children John Rosemond

12 Kids Health Watch sponsored by Professional Pediatrics

Pint-Sized Pursuits

Learn the best enrichment opportunities for the preschool crowd.

Mindful Holiday Magic

Be truly “present” this Christmas by spending one on one time with your kids.

14 Montgomery Education Matters by Superintendent Reginald Eggleston, Ed.D.

42 Pike Road Education Matters by Superintendent Charles Ledbetter, Ed.D.

46 Autauga Education Matters by Superintendent Spence Agee



50 Elmore Education Matters by Superintendent Richard Dennis

57 The College Years by Lee Gonet

58 Growing Up Online Carolyn Jabs

Holiday Happenings Guide

Parades, lights, musicals and brighten your season.

Show Yourself Some Love

How to mindfully bust out of a hyperactive lifestyle.

62 Parenting Today’s Teens Mark Gregston

67 Get This! Gerry Paige Smith

75 A Page in a Book

On The Cover Jordyn Leah Searight (age 2) attends Heritage Baptist Church Child Development Center. Her parents are Jerry and Cassondra Searight and she has an older sister, Jada (15). Jordyn enjoys watching Moana and Bubble Guppies, singing, and dancing. Thank you to April Coon of Decor Bella for this month’s set design.


Gerry Paige Smith

Departments 10 Bits and Pieces 16 School Bits 84 Calendar/Support Groups 92 Mom to Mom

Editor’sNote For the last several years our family has made it a tradition to enjoy Thanksgiving and kick off the holiday season on the Emerald Coast. The area we visit really gets into the holiday spirit, holding a 10K race on Thanksgiving morning followed by Santa riding in on horse and buggy with Mrs. Claus to light the town Christmas tree the following evening! Wonderful memories are made every year and this year was no exception. The only sad part for this mama was not having my older kids with me the whole time. They have both reached an age where other obligations keep them from spending a full week with us. By the night of the Christmas tree lighting, it was just us and Grace, but I’m not complaining. While I missed my other kids, it sure was nice to have a little one there to soak up all the wonder and magic the Christmas season brings. There’s nothing quite like experiencing the holidays through the eyes of a child. And it was nice for Jason and me to have one on one time with Grace. In this month’s article, Mindful Holiday Magic, Laura Lyles Reagan challenges us to slow down and be truly “present” with our children this year. That’s what we got to enjoy with Grace. Besides the tree lighting event, she and I spent some time playing frisbee together on the lawn and took several walks. On Thanksgiving, before Anna had to drive back home to work Black Friday, she and I took a long bike ride together to talk, take pictures and explore the area. Getting outdoors is just one of the many ideas the author suggests to make this Christmas season a memorable one with each of your children.

The River Region’s Foremost Parenting Source Montgomery Parents Magazine is founded on the principle that parenting is an exciting, diverse, challenging, and significant role in our community. Montgomery Parents Magazine is a community advocate for families and the parenting process.

Founder Marty Watson (1950-2006) Editor DeAnne Watson

Associate Editor Alison Rouse Research Editor Wendy McCollum Contributing Writers Spence Agee Richard Dennis David Drennan, M.D. Reginald Eggleston, Ed.D. Lee Gonet Mark Gregston Christa Melnyk Hines Carolyn Jabs Dr. Charles Ledbetter Sarah Lyons Laura Lyles Reagan John Rosemond Gerry Paige Smith

Cover Photography Maria Wiggins

Getting out and about the town is certainly on the agenda for most families in December, and our 2017 Holiday Happenings Guide tells you exactly what’s going on throughout the River Region. You’ll find tree lightings, parades, theater productions, photos with Santa and much more. Also, check out our Growing Up Online column this month for 8 Ways Tech Can Bring Your Family Closer This Christmas through apps specifically designed for party planning, sending season’s greeting, and collecting photos, just to name a few. If you feel like the holiday season crept up on you, and you weren’t quite prepared, this month’s issue should get you into the Christmas spirit! Kids grow up so fast, so let’s look for and treasure all the special moments we can find this December. And let’s be thankful to the One who is the reason for the season...the One who gives us every good gift.

Publisher Jason Watson

Associate Publisher Gena Hill Digital Manager Scott Davis Advertising Opportunities Stephanie Parsons, VP of Client Services (334) 213-7940 ext. 703

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Ad Design Tim Welch Distribution Manager Chris Mitchell



Montgomery Parents I December 2017


Montgomery Parents magazine is published monthly by KeepSharing LLC, P.O. Box 230367, Montgomery, Alabama, 36123. Montgomery Parents is copyrighted 2017 by KeepSharing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. opinions expressed in Montgomery Parents magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.



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Living Christmas Tree December 8 • 7 pm December 9 • 4 & 7 pm December 10 • 4 & 7 pm

For tickets, call 334.241.5156 or online at

No offering will be taken during the presentation. $5 per ticket suggested.

Celebrating the Joy of Christmas 305 South Perry Street | Montgomery, AL 36104 | 334.834.6310 |

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship You are invited to this very special experience for the entire family.

3:30 & 5:00 pm | Main Sanctuary 7

LivingWithChildren by John Rosemond

Zero Tolerance for a “Sassy Mouth” Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked this up from a new neighborhood friend who speaks to her mother in a very disrespectful tone, like she’s the girl’s servant. There are no other girls this age in the neighborhood, so I hesitate to put a stop to the relationship but at the same time I want to nip this new skill in the bud before it becomes habit. Do you have any suggestions?


First, there are reasons to forbid a child a certain association, but this is not one of them. Assuming you make it perfectly clear that you will not tolerate similar behavior from her, there is great potential benefit to allowing your

daughter to witness this other child disrespecting and disobeying her mother. Second, understand that while part of this is explained as “monkey see, monkey do,” your daughter is conducting an experiment. She has seen the mother’s passive reaction to her daughter’s back-talk and wants to find out what your reaction is going to be. In effect, she’s asking, “Do all adults just ‘take it’ when children disrespect them?” When my daughter Amy was around your daughter’s age, she developed a friendship with a girl who talked to her mother, a single parent, like she was an underling. Thinking that her daughter was angry about the divorce or some such nonsense (following a divorce, it is not uncommon for parents to unwittingly extend some form of behavioral entitlement to children), the mother did nothing but occasionally complain. One day, Amy returned from playing with this friend and began acting like she was possessed by the child’s demons. Determined to nip her sass in the bud, I took her to her room and told her she was staying there for at least an hour, during which time she was to “find the real Amy inside of you and let her come

back out because so-and-so is not allowed to live here.” The next few times she came home from playing with this friend, either her mother or I asked, “Are you Amy or sassy so-and-so?” She would say, “I’m Amy,” upon which we would say, “Then you may come in.” It was a somewhat playful but completely serious way of sending her the intended message: to wit, you can play all you want with the sass-bucket who lives down the street, but you will not carry home any sass from the bucket. That rather libertarian approach allowed Amy the freedom to see her friend’s relationship with her mother with new eyes. She even began reporting to us, incredulously, incidents she had witnessed while at so-and-so’s house. That simply confirmed that we had acted rightly by not prohibiting the relationship (thus increasing the likelihood of some form of rebellion). Eventually, Amy realized that she and this other child had little in common and she moved on. Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at



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Montgomery Parents I December 2017





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Eastwood Christian School

Anchored in the Word of God.

Open House K4-12th Grade

Following His direction.

Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Eastwood Presbyterian Church Sanctuary New Student Registration: January 22-February 2, 2018



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Education always takes a student somewhere; the real question is "where?" What is truth? What is good? What is beautiful? What does it mean to be human? What is the purpose of life? These are questions addressed at Eastwood Christian School and the answers given are drawn from historical Christianity. The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. Eastwood students are equipped with academic skills and critical-thinking ability which are joined by biblical character. This is why an Eastwood graduate is able to navigate through the tumultuous waters of modern society.

Explore Eastwood and discover the difference. + 1701 E. Trinity Blvd. + Montomgery, AL 36116 + 334.272.8195 + Our Headmaster invites you to 9set an appointment with him.

Christmas at the Capri

It’s a Wonderful Life Friday, December 8 * 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the annual Christmas classic even more by helping the homeless. The MidAlabama Coalition for the Homeless is partnering with the Capri Theatre for the 2nd Annual Sockball Fight! Please bring a pair of clean, unused socks and join in a sockball fight before the show. All socks will be collected by MACH and given to the homeless in the Montgomery area.

Sensory Santa

December 13 & 14 * 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The Shoppes at EastChase is making sure that every child has time with Santa by providing a Sensory Santa Experience for those families with special needs children. Santa’s Whimsical Wonderland will not be open for regular business hours on these days. These sessions start at $20 for 20 minutes. For more info, call (334) 279-6046 or visit

Home Alone Saturday, December 9 * 7:30 p.m. Kevin McAllister has been left home alone—and the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, are on the prowl in his neighborhood. Looking to rob houses while the families are out of town, Harry and Marv are about to discover the error of their ways. The film that made Macauly Culkin famous, and his character a living icon. For more info, visit or call (334) 262-4858.

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Old Alabama Town Living Block Enter at Lucas Tavern, 310 N. Hull December 12 * 4-6 p.m. We would like to show our appreciation to the Montgomery community by opening our doors once again for Old Alabama Town’s annual Holiday Open House! Come enjoy the holidays Old-Alabama style! It will be a true 19th century experience with a variety of live music, children’s pioneer-style crafts, candlelight house tours, and cookies & cider! Admission: Non-perishable food item. For more info, visit or call (334) 240-4500.

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Winter in the Art Studio (for ages 6-13)

Grand Opening of Renovated Mount Vernon Theatre

January 19-21, 2018 Originally built in 1935 by Mount Vernon Mills and closed in 1968, the Mount Vernon Theatre at 321 Barnette Boulevard in Tallassee now includes a beautiful courtyard with large oak trees, a pergola, benches, tables and a display of water trickling down a wall of tiles in memory of loved ones. To commemorate the Grand Opening, Mount Vernon Theatre joins with the Talisi Historical Preservation Society’s Friends of Tuckabatchee in presenting an original play, Dear Mama: Letters and Music From World War II, written by Adrian Lee Borden, and based on true events of World War II. For more infor and tickets, call (334) 991-2079, e-mail or visit Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Montgomery Chorale’s Messiah Sing-a-long

December 12 * 7 p.m. at Church of the Ascension, 315 Clanton Ave, Montgomery. Join the Montgomery Chorale in this community sing-a-long of Handel’s Messiah. Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. This is a free community event. For more info, call (334) 265-3737 or visit 10

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December 28-29 *10:30-11:30 a.m. Sign your children up for a fun winterthemed studio class while they are out of school during the holiday break. Each day will have a different seasonal art project they can bring home. All supplies and materials are provided. Sign up for one or both days. Instructor: Kaci Norman Cost: $5 members/ $8 non-members. For more info or to register, visit or call (334) 240-4333.

New Year’s Eve Street Celebration

Commerce Street Entertainment District Downtown Montgomery * 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Live entertainment, fireworks display and confetti, food vendors and adult beverages available for purchase. Admission is FREE! Call (334) 625-2100 or visit www. for more info.

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An Eclectic Christmas

December 1-9 Come join us in December to experience the true story of the first Christmas. In the atmosphere of an outdoor walking trail, you and your guests will be part of live drama that is set during the Roman Empire. As you make your way to Bethlehem, you will visit the field where shepherds received the angel’s message and news of the Messiah. Then visit the wise men as they journey in search of the Newborn King. This event will take place at the Falk Farm located at 1733 Claude Road just south of Eclectic on AL Highway 63. The 6 and 8 p.m. time slots on each production night are handicap accessible. Please notify us when registering if you require assistance. Reservations are suggested and may be made by: calling (334) 578-4846; e-mailing: or by visiting Time slots are scheduled in 15-minute increments. Admission is free, and donations are accepted and appreciated to help with expenses.

Christmas on the Coosa December 9 * 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Full day of fun in historic downtown Wetumpka. Arts and crafts open at 10 a.m. along with a car show and children’s activities. The street parade kicks off at 2 p.m. and the wakeboard show begins at 4 p.m. Stick around until 6 p.m. and see Santa wakeboard in and the fabulous fireworks show! Great day of family fun! For more info, visit

Montgomery Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

December 7-10 Troy University’s Davis Theatre. LEAP performances Dec. 7 & 8 @ 10 a.m. Public performances Dec. 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 9 & 10 at 2 p.m. For more info, visit

10th Annual Christmas at Lanark

Dec. 9 * 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with activities from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook. Enjoy Christmas crafts, decorating cookies, a movie special and much more. Learn how to create your own nature ornament, get pictures with Santa and make sure to go on the hay ride. We will have hot chocolate for sale and plenty of activities to keep you warm. General admission applies. Can’t make it on December 9? Come on December 23, so you and your family can make a unique, nature-based ornament at Lanark from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. A special movie will also be played on this day. For more info, call (800) 822-9453 or visit



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Sponsored by Professional Pediatrics

Pediatric Concussion John is a school football player who has been tackled and is at the bottom of the pile. As the players stand and regroup, they notice he is sitting and appears to be dazed and confused. He is brought to the sidelines where he is evaluated and found to have a concussion. According to CDC statistics, pediatric concussions account for 500,000 ER visits yearly, 35,000 hospitalizations, and 2,000 deaths. The exact number of sports related concussions is not accurately known because many victims do not come to the ER for evaluation. Some experts speculate that the true incidence of sports related concussions may be close to three million yearly. The clinical definition of Concussion is as follows: any injuries resulting from a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal brain function. The disruption may be temporary or permanent. Concussions occur in collision sports such as football, ice hockey, or other contact sports such as basketball or soccer. Non-sports related concussions occur in motor vehicle accidents, bike and skate board accidents and collisions with the ground or other objects. The symptoms of a concussion include the following: confusion, disorientation, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or balance prob-

lems, double and blurry vision, sensitivity to light or noise, feeling dazed, mentally foggy, short term memory loss, post-traumatic amnesia, trouble concentrating, change in mood, irritation, overly emotional, nervousness, sleeping more than usual, fatigue, and trouble falling asleep. Whatever severity, all concussions are serious and all athletes with suspected concussions should not return to play until they see a doctor. The physician should confirm the diagnosis of concussion and, if necessary, order tests such as Cat scans or MRI scans of the head to rule out other complicating issues. He may decide to also order neuropsychological testing and other cognitive screens to help decide if and when it will be okay for the athlete to return to play. Premature return to play after a concussion can lead to another concussion and even death in some instances. An athlete with a history of concussion may be more susceptible to other athletic injuries than players without a history of concussion. Since no one knows how many concussions are too many before permanent damage occurs, repeated concussions are worrisome, especially if each new one takes longer to resolve or requires less of a blow to cause. The treatment for a concussion is complete rest from all physical and mental activity. Screen devices such as TV, IPAD, cellphone, and loud

music should be stopped or limited, especially if they worsen symptoms. School with all activities including test taking, homework assignments, PE, recess, and other extra-curricular activities should be suspended until symptoms are resolved. Duration of suspension is variable depending on the individual, the severity of the concussion, and history of previous concussions. Any worsening of concussion symptoms, change in neurologic status, including memory loss, disorientation, or behavioral changes should be reported to your doctor. All sports activity should be suspended until symptoms have completely resolved at rest. At that time a stepwise return to activity can begin. This plan must be individualized with close monitoring by the school nurse, athletic trainer, and coach. Close observation of symptoms returning with exertion such as increasing headache, nausea, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or any other recorded previous symptoms may indicate that the concussion is not healed. Having a physician involved to monitor progress is highly recommended. Dr. Drennen earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1975 and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He began his private practice of pediatric medicine in Loveland, Colorado. He then practiced in Ozark, Alabama before coming to Professional Pediatrics in 1998. He and his wife Rebecca have two sons. The entire family enjoys downhill skiing and beach activities.












Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Come find out if ASMS is right for you by visiting

Current Alabama 9th or 10th graders can apply

ASMS Day. Prospective families get a chance to

I have to be a ‘genius’ to be accepted to ASMS?”

our campus Saturday, Nov.12 or Dec. 3 for

see student-run classroom demonstrations and

learn about a school that could change your life

forever. Register for ASMS Day at ASMS is our state’s only fully public, residential

high school for sophomores, juniors, and seniors

seeking advanced studies in math, science, and the humanities. Applying to ASMS is FREE – and so are tuition, room, and board if you are admitted!

online at Many people ask, “Do Answer: Absolutely NOT! ASMS is made up of students who are intelligent and work hard for

academic success. In 2017, the 82 ASMS grads

earned $13 million in merit-based scholarships with an ACT composite class average of 29.5.

Questions? Email or call 251.441.3250.

Alabama School of Mathematics and Science 1255 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL 36604 251.441.2100 - 13

Sharing Holiday Traditions Christmas is a special time of year. For most of us, there are presents and food and friends and family. There are traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation – ranging from playing touch football in the yard with cousins to second helpings of Grandma’s green bean casserole. And we pause … if but for a moment … to celebrate all things great and small. However, that is not the case for all in Montgomery County. According to the website Data USA, nearly 24.1 percent of the people in Montgomery County live below the poverty line. That number is especially notable since just

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

14 percent of the population is below the poverty level nationwide. Practically speaking, one in four of us don’t make a living wage. For students in our schools that number is much higher – at last check, over 70 percent of the children attending Montgomery Public Schools come from households that are financially disadvantaged. Holiday traditions should include helping children understand how showing your gratitude for what you have means helping those who aren’t as fortunate. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money. It can be as simple as donating a few extra dollars to one of the dozens of organizations that work to help people in need. It could mean working a few hours at a local mission or church that feeds the homeless on Christmas Day. Or simply inviting a neighbor who is alone on a holiday, which should be about togetherness, to share your home and your table for dinner. Being thankful for what we have should include a willingness to use it not


only to take care of our own families but to share with others. My grandmother told me often, “To whom much is given, much is required - and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask more.” Whatever your tradition of helping, please involve your children. Have your son or daughter deliver the invitation to your neighbor for dinner. Talk to your child about the check you are writing to help an organization for the less fortunate. Have him or her give it to the organization’s representative or place it in the mailbox. Look for ways to pass on the tradition of holiday giving to the next generation. And Happy Holidays to you and those you love. Dr. Reginald Eggleston was recently named the new Superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools. He served as an assistant superintendent in Mobile for the last 10 years, and is happy to be back in Montgomery to serve its schools.


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C H R I S T M A S AT You are invited to be our guest as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season. You’ll find amazing music, exciting children’s programs, and an inspiring message every Sunday. W W W. F R A Z E R . C H U R C H / C H R I S T M A S


Montgomery County Schools

Churchill Students Perform for Parents

Eastwood Kindergarten Presents Three Piggy Opera

Kindergarten students at Eastwood Christian School recently treated parents, students and faculty with a performance of The Three Piggy Opera. These young thespians delivered lines, sang songs, and recited verses. The theme of the story spotlighted the principle of working hard unto the Lord as taught in Colossians 3:23.

Churchill Academy has monthly CAPA parent networking and education meetings to foster community and share information with students, teachers and parents. On September 21, the Churchill Academy Parent Association (CAPA) hosted a meeting featuring musical entertainment by Classrooms A-E under the direction of Nelda Williams. Representatives from Faulkner University also spoke to high school students and parents on finances and preparing for college. Lower School students and parents learned more about sports opportunities through Craig McKissick of Upward Sports and Cindy Ragan of Montgomery Miracle League.

Macon East Volleyball State Champions

The Macon East Academy Lady Knights made a triumphal return to the AISA AA state tournament this year after a fall in last year’s championship game ending their five-year streak on top. Under the leadership of head coach Codi Moon, the team’s motto “Grit” kept the girls fighting all season to get the trophy back. With a 32-3 season record, the team’s losses came early in the year and inspired them to press on. With trophies from the Glenwood and Edgewood tournaments and an impressive season record, the girls went on to be crowned area champs, region champs and finally the AA state champions. With four new starters on the court and Coach Moon as a first-year head coach of the squad, the girls proved the Knights’ pre-season predictions wrong and earned their spot back at the state tournament. In Final Four play at Faulkner University, Macon East faced off with Lee-Scott Academy winning the match in three close sets. This set the stage for a state championship duel with the Glenwood Gators. Once again, the Lady Knights got it done in just three sets (25-16, 25-12, 25-9), taking back the AA title that had been taken from them in 2016 by Coosa Valley. AA State MVP Madisyn Kennedy has led the team all year with 389 kills, 12 blocks, and 88 aces on the year. She reached a milestone of 500 career kills this season as a junior. Newcomer Ariel Brown had 289 kills, 37 blocks, and 60 aces in her first season at MEA and was also named to the AA state all-tournament team. Sophomore Emily Brooks has 502 assists this season alone, along with 267 kills and 163 aces. Brooks was the youngest player named to the state all-tournament team. Anne Turner Cobb, also new to the team this year, had an impressive season with 422 assists, 173 kills, 77 aces, and 3 blocks. The Lady Knights will lose just two seniors, Madison McKee and Bailey Dees, next season and have an impressive group on the bench ready to continue at the state tournament.

Carver Band Receives Straight 1s in Contest

The Carver High Marching Wolverine Band had its best showing in years at the Central Alabama Marching Band Contest in Selma. The band received Straight 1s in the contest. The majorettes, color guard, percussion and drum majors also received 1s. This is the first time in more than 10 years that the Carver High Marching Band has received straight 1s in a contest. The band is successfully building on its past successes, which includes receiving Best Band Award in the National Peanut Festival Parade last year in Dothan. Montgomery Parents I December 2017






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Montgomery County Schools

Success Unlimited Student Wins at Fair

Creativity was the theme at the Alabama National Fair which included a Division 2 Models competition sponsored by John Lee Paint. The competition highlighted work from students ages 12-17. Each model was constructed from commercial kits, molded plastic building blocks and K’nex. The winning entry was submitted by Drue Midkiff, a 7th-grader at Success Unlimited Academy. Midkiff designed and constructed a motorized fully functional roller coaster out of K’nex and Lego blocks. He was awarded the grand prize of $25 for his creation.

Academy Students Meet NASA’s Gene Kranz

Several Montgomery Academy Upper School STEM students recently attended a luncheon with Gene Kranz, hosted by the Air University Foundation of Maxwell Air Force Base. Kranz is an aerospace engineer, retired fighter pilot and NASA Mission Control icon. He worked on Gemini and Mercury programs as well as the Apollo and Skycap programs. Kranz discussed his decision to become an aerospace engineer and his experiences with NASA. His “Failure is Not an Option” lecture included the creation of the American space program and how making dreams come true may include many obstacles, but failure was not part of the plan. During the luncheon, the MA students were recognized and were encouraged to reach for their dreams.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017



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Catholic Students Named MMFA Student Volunteers of 2017

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts honored a Montgomery Catholic senior and a 2017 graduate with the teen leadership award at its “Volunteers Cultivate the Best” luncheon. Montgomery Catholic senior Maria Barragan and alumni Carson Scott ‘17 were given the Teen Leadership award in recognition of their contributions on October 16, 2017. MMFA Curator of Education Alice Novak said of Barragan and Scott, “These two young women from the MUSES teen council displayed outstanding leadership last year, including co-hosting a premier arts events for teens in Montgomery. Carson worked many special events, and Maria helped teach art camp. Both have decided to major in art history, and we are so proud and know they will add so much to the field.” Novak teaches art history and both young women were her students. Scott was missed at the event because she is away at college. Barragan and her mother attended, where Maria was surprised to be honored. “Maria was an art history student at the Museum last year and demonstrated a gift for making art relevant and accessible,” Novak said. “She was a leader in class discussions (always making everyone laugh) and invited all of us to see art and the world in new ways. She is an incredibly talented as a teacher too, which we discovered at Art Camp this summer. We are glad she has one more year to serve the Museum on the MUSES teen council! We hope students in Montgomery will ask Maria about the fun things offered for teens at the Museum.” Barragan plans to pursue an art degree in college. She is the daughter of Deonicio and Claudia Barragan of Montgomery. From left, Novak is shown above presenting the MMFA Teen Leadership Award to Catholic senior Maria Barragan. 19

Montgomery County Schools

Holy Cross Celebrates Fall Festival

Grandparents’ Day at Forest Avenue

On November 16, Forest Avenue Academic Magnet School hosted its first Grandparents’ Day! Nearly 400 grandparents joined their grandchildren during lunch for a special Thanksgiving meal prepared by Lunchroom Manager Sonya Williams and her staff. The special event, which will continue on an annual basis, acknowledges the special role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives, including academic achievement. Grandparents also play an active role at the school by volunteering and contributing to fundraising events.

Holy Cross Episcopal School’s campus was the setting for the one of the year’s most popular events - the annual Fall Festival. Students and their families, faculty and staff enjoyed the wide variety of games, craft making, inflatables, cake walk with lively music, hay ride and festive photo booth. Creative pumpkins designed by each grade level were on display and available to win. As the sun began to set and the shadows lengthened, families continued to enjoy the hayride that took them on a twilight ride across the fields. When it was time for a break from all the fun and excitement, everyone helped themselves to hot dogs, nachos, juices, bottled water and other seasonal treats such as Halloween candy and delicious baked goods.


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ACA Hosts Annual Athletic Golf Tournament

The annual ACA Athletic Golf Tournament was held at Lagoon Park Golf Course in late October. Local businesses including Jimmy Day Plumbing, Crosby Electric, MAX Credit Union and Viva Health graciously sponsored the event to help ensure the success for nearly 50 golfers. Current members of the Faulkner University Golf Team helped each competing team by hitting a ball on a novelty hole. The team of Kenneth Hill, Jerry Stevenson, Sandra Stenger and Hannah Sager had a combined team score of 59 and were named the winners of the golf tournament. ACA Athletic Ambassadors greeted players at the course and helped put clubs on golf carts. It was a great day for members of the ACA community to interact with current ACA athletes!


OPEN HOUSE JANUARY 18TH 5:30PM-7:00 PM Evangel Christian Academy Evangel Christian Academy exists to partner with Christian parents to provide their child with a Christ-centered education. Our desire is to help each child achieve their God-given potential through providing activities designed to foster spiritual, academic and social growth.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord... Jeremiah 29:11

Accredited: ACTS, AISA, SACS, Advanced ED, NCPSA 3975 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36106 334-272-3882

For a FREE Educational Success Consultation please contact the school office

Eastwood Third-Graders Give Thanks

Eastwood Christian School third-grade students celebrated the holiday by presenting an adaptation of “This is the Feast,” a poem written by Diane Z. Shore. They wore Pilgrim and Native American costumes and recited selections from the poem. Students then enjoyed delicious treats, such as pies in the shape of pumpkins. The feast concluded with students singing spiritual songs using the names of God, and a benediction, “Lord Bless You,” written by Michael Card and taken from Numbers 6:24-36. 21

Montgomery County Schools

Catholic Best in Class at Beauregard Invitational

Under the leadership of Band Director Alex Johnson and Drum Major Henry Petters (12th grade, shown) the Montgomery Catholic Marching Knights recently competed at the Beauregard Invitational marching competition. The Knights received Superiors in every caption including music, marching, general effect, drum major, percussion and color guard. This included overall Best-in-Class for class 1A, the first time in school history! The two biggest highlights included earning a very high music score (3rd in the entire competition) and having Best-in-Class & Best-in-Division Drum Major. Photo by Total Image

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

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Forest Avenue Names 2017-18 Student Council

Forest Avenue Academic Magnet School recently inducted 34 Student Council representatives, including five officers, for the 2017-18 school year. The election followed a weeklong campaign in which candidates encouraged their peers to vote through speeches, posters and other paraphernalia. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange served as guest speaker for the event. During his address, Strange spoke about leadership and offered words of encouragement to inductees. The 2017-18 Student Council officers include Evan Richardson (president), Luke Littlejohn (vice president), Daren de Jesus (secretary), David Park (treasurer), and Kayla Hora (historian).


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MEA Sends Two Juniors to HOBY

Montgomery Academy Students at Youth Judicial

Montgomery Academy’s Youth in Government students and their sponsor Stephanie Hill had another successful year at the YMCA Youth Judicial! Youth Judicial is a three-day, statewide Mock Trial Competition for High School Students in grades 9-12. Will Hamlett and Roma Pirnie served as judges. Montgomery Academy Defense Team 583 won First Place Defense Team in Premier League. Attorneys: Ellie Gilmore (who also won Best Attorney in the Premier League), Eric Doh, Easton Strickler. Witnesses: Mary Virginia Huffaker, Brabee Pirnie, Laurie Wakefield. This team received one of four invitations for the state of Alabama to attend the YMCA National Judicial Conference in Chicago next summer. This will be MA’s fifth consecutive year to attend this conference. In the Major League competition: Carter Chandler, Prosecution Team 503, was the Best Prosecution Witness. Prosecution Team 503 won Third Place Prosecution Team. Attorneys: Caroline Deale, Fred Tippett, James Torbert. Witnesses: Carter Chandler, Hannah Hale, Francie Hill, John Wakefield. Defense Team 553 placed in the Top Ten. Attorneys: Sofie Behr, William Robertson, Anne Carlson Sylvest. Witnesses: Martha Ernest, Grace Jackson, Mac Main, Carson Roth. MA also had a fourth team, Prosecution Team 506, in the major league. Attorneys: Jones Corley, James Snead, Alisha Singh. Witnesses: Margaret Chandler, Cyprian Dumas, Mary Frances Harper, Maggie Kinney.


Macon East juniors Dawn Johnson and Madisyn Kennedy attended the annual Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership conference at Troy University. Founded in 1958, HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. HOBY programs provide students selected by their schools an opportunity to participate in unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences. Johnson said she enjoyed the service project her team did during the weekend, making blankets for area homeless. Kennedy said the overall experience really challenged her to step out of her comfort zone and grow as a leader. As America’s foremost youth leadership organization, HOBY has a long and impressive history of successfully motivating youth and volunteers to outstanding leadership.

Montgomery County Schools

BTW Magnet Students Win Big at District Trumbauer Competition

MEA Students Attend Lions Leadership Forum

Students in the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School theatre program were triumphant at the district Trumbauer competition at Opelika High School November 4. Approximately 50 students showcased their theatrical talents in front of judges and their peers in 30 events. Students competed individually, in pairs, or as a group in areas such as solo (male or female) or duet dramatic, comedic, or musical acting, group acting, sound, lighting, and scene design. Judges scored performers on criteria that included vocal expression and interpretation, characterization, and command of performance. More than half of the BTW students who competed received a superior rating of 40 or higher out of 50 to advance to the State competition December 1-2 at the University of North Alabama. The Walter Trumbauer Festival has provided quality training and performance opportunities for Alabama theatre students at the secondary level since 1940. The educational impact of this event is substantial. High school seniors can compete for six $1,000 Alabama Conference of Theatre Scholarships.

Three Macon East Academy students attended the Alabama Lions High School Leadership Forum this summer at Troy University. The theme of this year’s forum was “A Century of Service,” and the delegates heard from various speakers about becoming future leaders. Jake Gracey, Dawn Johnson and Alexa McGough represented Macon East at the June 16-18 forum. The delegates from across Alabama are all leaders at their high schools and enjoyed a weekend of group activities, team building challenges at Camp Butter & Egg, as well as performing skits. The ALHSLF goals are to give high school students of Alabama an opportunity to strengthen their leadership, organization and service skills, to build relationships, and to network with other leaders, both youth and adult, from across the state.

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Churchill Fall Festival Success

Eastwood Class Trip Highlights Leadership

The sixth-grade class at Eastwood Christian School recently enjoyed its annual class trip to Camp Chandler. Students spent the day at the camp, where they engaged in team building activities designed to help strengthen the students as a class, develop comradery, and prepare them to be leaders as they transition from the lower school to the upper school. The day of fun and games and obstacle challenges concluded with students, teachers and parents gathering for a campfire where they built s’mores and shared a Bible study. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Churchill Academy’s Annual Fall Festival was a big hit! The October 27 event was held on the school campus and featured games, prizes, a Puerto Rico Relief Bake Sale, and a Boston Butt Fundraiser. Churchill Academy Parent Association (CAPA) put the festival together with help from volunteers and the Churchill staff. The Bake Sale raised almost $700, with proceeds going directly to the extended family of Churchill Academy instructor Yahnira Backus. Backus has family in Puerto Rico who were deeply impacted by the tragedy there and are rebuilding day by day. Churchill students and families are honored to be a small part of that rebuilding process. The Boston Butt Fundraiser is something that Churchill families look forward to on an annual basis. The funds raised go directly toward upgrading technology for the school and ensuring that Churchill students are prepared for the world of advancing technology around them. 24

Montgomery Academy Announces K-View



Holy Cross Students Recognized for Duke TIP

Each year, Duke University seeks to identify academically talented students while they are still in elementary school who have achieved a 95% or better score on a grade level standardized test. The Duke University Talent Identification Program or (TIP) provides students early access to challenging educational programs, valuable resources, publications to support their academic talents, online activities and the opportunity to take the PSAT when they are in the eighth and ninth grade. These are the Holy Cross Episcopal School students are who new candidates for the Duke/ TIP program for this year. Seated are: Emilee Alexander, Meg Stough, Zoe Stough, Charlie Evans and Ethan Scott; standing: Steadman Meadows, Will Alexander, Hunter Dailey, Aidan Blum, Michael Ann Williams, Turner Clements, Camille Campbell, Izzy Priori and Olivia Smith.

The Montgomery Academy Admissions Office has made some exciting changes to its kindergarten admissions process this year! As more and more young families are juggling busy schedules, we want to allow families to visit our school on their own time. In addition, our goal is for families to view a typical kindergarten day at our Lower School, where they may observe first-hand what makes our school special. Therefore, instead of a traditional open house, we have created a new kindergarten admissions program called “K-View.� During the admissions season, prospective families will schedule small group or individual tours. They will also be able to meet with students from the Lower and Upper Schools, speak with current parents, and view a video highlighting the best of our school. We believe this will provide a more personal and authentic look at what the Academy offers. For more info, call (334) 272-8210 or email

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Montgomery County Schools

ACA Students Advance to District Theatre Festival

Alabama Christian Academy students Savannah Brannen, Caitlyn Garnett and Valorie Roberts performed in the Walter Trumbauer District Theatre Festival this November. “The Walter Trumbauer Festival has provided quality training and performance opportunities for Alabama theatre students at the secondary level since 1940. The festival consists of 30 individual events, a one act play festival, a studio theatre one act play festival—all for 9th through 12th grades, as well as scholarship auditions and college screening for high school seniors and junior college students. Students qualify for the state competition by earning a rating of “superior” at one of seven district festivals. At all levels of competition, students receive critiques from qualified teachers, professionals and theatre practitioners, allowing them to improve their theatrical skills” ( All four girls received superior ratings and advanced to the State Festival in December. The State Festival will be held at The University of North Alabama. Congratulations!

Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Macon East Artists Honored

Three Macon East Academy upper school art students were selected for this quarter’s Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts ARTWORKS Corridor, themed “Inspired by Stella.” Based on the abstract “Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective,” the corridor called for lines, volume, color and shape using gestural brushwork. Madison Folkes’ cross-stitch Burning Buffalo, Sarah Bishop’s string art Void, and Haley Wren’s piece This is Not the X You’re Looking For was a repetition of X’s in alternating warm colors. The exhibit ran through November 12 at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

Holy Cross Students Honor Veterans at VA Hospital

Kathy Black’s third-graders and Nancy Stankard’s fourth-graders visited the Central Alabama Veterans Hospital to present a beautiful patriotic musical program in the main lobby for hospitalized veterans on November 9 entitled “Honoring All Who Served.” The students also visited on another floor of the hospital and, as they walked the corridors, they paid homage to the five divisions of the military and sang the official service songs from each branch: “Anchors Aweigh” for the U.S. Navy, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” for the U.S. Army, “The Wild Blue Yonder” for the U.S. Air Force, “The Marines’ Hymn” for the U.S. Marine Corps and “Semper Paratus” for the U.S. Coast Guard. Each of these armed service songs has a rich history and special meaning to those who have served and their families. Congratulations to the Holy Cross third- and fourth-grade performers and to music teacher Beverly Fain, who produced such a wonderful and heartwarming tribute for our students to perform to honor our nation’s veterans.

Throughout their time in the Upper School, Eastwood Christian School students are divided into two teams, the Caerulei (blue) and Candidi (white). Each year these teams compete in seven major events which reflect the school’s classical Christian curriculum. These events span the areas of arts, athletics and academics. Most recently, the students competed in the triennial Discathlon event. This Ultimate Frisbee tournament helped to build morale through encouragement and team-building. The Candidi won the 2017 competition and were awarded the trophy, a vintage copy of Virgil’s Aeneid (in Latin), which the Candidi team will display on its side of the trophy case until next year’s Medieval Games competition.


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Eastwood Warriors Battle in Discathlon

2600 Bell Road Montgomery, Alabama 334.277.6690

460 McQueen Smith Road Prattville, Alabama 334.358.6411

Dr. John H. Payne IV • Dr. David Stanley • Dr. Davis Denney • Dr. Rob Owen 27

Montgomery Academy Speech & Debate Team Named Leading Chapter

The National Speech & Debate Association congratulates The Montgomery Academy as a 2017 Leading Chapter Award winner. This is the highest recognition a speech and debate chapter can achieve in the National Speech & Debate Honor Society and Montgomery Academy is the only school in Alabama to earn this honor. This is the fifth time The Montgomery Academy Chapter has received the award, also earning it in 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 and now 2017. MA is one of only two schools in the nation that has been awarded the Leading Chapter Award five times in the last 25 years. The other school is Cherry Creek High School in Colorado. Only one school in each speech and debate district earns this prestigious award every year. From more than 3,600 schools across the country, only around 3% of schools are recognized as Leading Chapter Award winners. Schools with this distinction not only lead other schools within their district; they serve as flagship programs for novice speech and debate teams around the United States. To receive this award, a school earns a point for every new member and each degree that existing members earn. This is a cumulative award and a minimum of five years must transpire before a school can win the award or five years must transpire before a school can receive the award from when it last received it. “This award, which is based on participation, represents a tremendous dedication to speech and debate education,” said Executive Director J. Scott Wunn. “Our leading chapter schools understand the importance of speech and debate, and the life changing benefits of the activity. We are proud to recognize these hard-working schools with this coveted honor. “Speech and debate advances communication skills, improves reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking, develops interpersonal skills, and prepares students for college, career, and beyond,” said Wunn. “Nowhere is this more evident than our Leading Chapter Schools.”

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Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Trinity Boys’ Cross Country Team Wins State Championship!

For the second time in three years, the Trinity Presbyterian School Boys’ Cross Country Team has won the State Championship, cementing its place as the premier 4A Cross Country Team in the State. Led by veteran runner Charlie Lott, who placed third overall, the team of Dawson Oliver, who placed 8th overall, Carter Clark, Wells Rutland, Tim Hornsby, Mat Mathison, Gray Rutland, Josh Smith, Daniel Sellers and Henry Britton claimed the AHSAA State title at the historic Jesse Owens State Park. Eight of the top ten had to run “season-bests” or even “all-time best” to complete this impressive feat! The Girls’ Cross Country Team finished with an astoudning fourth-place finish—the highest finish in school history! Leading the way for the girls’ team was Mary Elizabeth Hill, Ann Presley Stewart, Mary Renner, Healey Mathison, Katherine Warren, Ann Caden Oliver, Annabelle Brown, Ensley Craven, Sara Clay Norris and Rebecca Herndon. The girls’ team was projected to finish in seventh place, and averaged over a minute for each personal record to bring home fourth place! Trinity cross country teams are under the leadership of Head Coach Monica Lott and assistant coaches Josh Jenkins and Jeff McIntyre.







Firefighters Visit Macon East

Macon East Academy’s lower school students enjoyed their annual visit from the Pike Road Fire Department. The students learned about fire safety and enjoyed getting to see the fire truck. They proudly presented baskets of goodies to the firefighters for their fire stations. 29


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Montgomery County Schools

Retired ECA Teacher Inducted Into AISA Hall of Fame

Carol Lowe, Evangel Christian Academy’s former English teacher who retired in 2016, was recently inducted into the Alabama Independent School Association’s Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Prattville October 23. A banquet was given honoring the new members. While teaching, Lowe was named AISA’s Class 2A Secondary Teacher of the Year for the 2011-12 school year. During graduation ceremonies, many ECA graduates have honored Lowe for her influence in their lives. Over the years, many former students have returned to ECA to thank her for preparing them for college. Lowe received her B.S. degree in secondary education from Troy State University. She received a master’s degree from Troy State University at Montgomery and a specialist’s degree from Auburn University at Montgomery in administration and supervision. Her majors in college included both English and social studies; she also minored in Bible. In addition to working at ECA, Lowe worked in public education as a teacher for 11 years and in administration for 16 years. Altogether, she worked in education for more than 45 years. Lowe was the first teacher in the history of ECA to be named an AISA teacher of the year and inducted into the AISA Hall of fame.

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Montgomery Parents I December 2017

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Montgomery Catholic Students Honor Veterans

Each year, Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School campuses pray for our veterans and find appropriate ways to honor them for Veterans’ Day. This year the sixth-graders at the St. Bede campus gathered together as teacher Mary Pears read America’s White Table by Margot Ravenand. Then her class set a “White Table” of their own which remained in the cafeteria for the day to remind students of the sacrifice our veterans have given in service to our country. Shown are: Kaitlyn Ankersen, Taylor Biggs, Hayden Binder, Roderick Bristow, Bernard Byrd, Ella Castanza, Lily Coulombe, Kamron Dean, Dalton DeRamus, Jehle Dickson, Sarah Ellis, Karson Franklin, Ariyn Gilbert, Joshua Gonzalez, Ayden Hodge, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Montelara, Abby O’Donnell, Kathryn Reardon, Joseph Reeves and Sarah Souriya. Meanwhile, Montgomery Catholic junior Ricky Treloar has volunteered to play Taps for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Central Alabama Chapter 607, programs on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day at Greenwood Cemetery since he was in the seventh grade. This year, the Chapter presented Treloar with a scholarship for his future college education in appreciation of his support of these events.

JD Fields First Youth Judicial team, Wins Pair of Mock Trials

The Jeff Davis High School Youth in Government Club is showing a knack for legal argument after taking part in its first statewide mock trial competition. The school’s prosecution and defense teams each won one out of three trials at the 2017 YMCA Youth Judicial Program at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Youth Judicial is a three-day competition for students in grades nine through 12. Jeff Davis joined Loveless Academic Magnet Program as the two Montgomery Public Schools to take part in the competition, which featured 600 participants and 82 public and private school teams from all around the state. 30

Montgomery Academy Girls Attend SKDay at AUM

Montgomery Academy’s Middle School girls celebrated women in STEM fields at Auburn University at Montgomery’s #SKday recently. Sonia Kovalevsky was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1874 and universities around the country host this day to encourage girls to pursue STEM-related careers. The students attended multiple workshops on topics ranging from “Graph Theory” to “Making Math Accessible with Inclusive Design” and were challenged to solve varying degrees of math problems and puzzles throughout the day.

Record Year of Dual Enrollment at ACA

Alabama Christian Academy’s Dual Enrollment program with Faulkner University offers qualified students the opportunity to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. With the recent addition of new course selections this program has hit record enrollment. Eighty-one students are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to excel academically and graduate high school a step ahead by receiving college credit. The Dual Enrollment courses offered are Composition I/ II, Literature I/II, Calculus and Finite. In addition to Dual Enrollment, ACA offers AP classes in World History, Psychology, Calculus, Biology, English Language, English Literature, European History and U.S. History. ACA currently has 40% of high school students enrolled in AP and Dual Enrollment courses.


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Montgomery County Schools

Brew Tech Robotics Team Wins Five Awards, Including Tops In Tournament Brewbaker Technology Magnet High’s robotics students made their presence known during the state’s first VEX Robotics tournament of the year. The Brew Tech robotics team won five awards, including the Excellence Award for the top overall team, during the In the Zone Tournament at White Plains High in Anniston. In addition to the Excellence Award, the 20 Brew Tech students competing with eight robots won two of the three Tournament Champion Awards, the Skills Award and the Sportsmanship Award. Three of Brew Tech’s robots have now qualified for the state championship in March. Winning both the Excellence Award and the Skills Award was the team of William Sumlin, Trevor Taylor and Will Percival. The team of Lee Hall, Garrett Gardner, Lee Turner and Seth Deloney won one of the Tournament Champion Awards. The team of Josie Billups, Brett Tolerson, Austin Thomas and Chris Johnson won the other

Tournament Champion Award. The team of Collin Lawlor, Jordan Robinson and Ryan Jones won the Sportsmanship Award.

There were 40 robots competing in the tournament, including five from Georgia.


Holy Cross Celebrates Annual Grandparents’ Day

October 20 was one of the most beloved days in the entire school year for Holy Cross Episcopal School’s students and staff– Grandparents’ Day! So many wonderful grandparents traveled from all over the Southeast just to be here for their special day. Grandchildren were so proud to have them here to introduce all around and show them their school! Many wonderful things were planned for their special day to share with their grandchildren. First, there was special music prepared by teacher Beverly Fain to honor all the grandparents who were present. Pre-K and kindergarten classes sang, “Happy, Happy Grandparents’ Day,” first and second grades sang, “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa,” third and fourth grades sang, “Thank You Grandma/Grandpa,” and finally, fifth and sixth grades sang, “You Raise Me Up.” All of the students as a finale sang “We Appreciate You.” Grandparents were then taken on a tour of their grandchildren’s classrooms to meet their teachers, invited to take a professional family photo, attended the Book Fair in the library, and enjoyed refreshments and fellowship as they celebrated the end of a very special day.

Montgomery Academy Kindergarten Visits Maxwell Fire Station

Kindergartners visited the fire station on Maxwell Air Force Base recently. This particular station is unique because it is equipped to fight both structural fires and airplane fires. Students had a blast learning all about fire stations and fire safety. Thanks to all the firefighters for spending time with our students! “We learned if you are in a burning building to stop, drop, and roll.” - Wells Pierce “I got to spray the cone and sit in the fire truck and see Sparky (the fire dog).” - Fiona Pollard “I saw the firefighter shoot some water out of the hose, and then it made a rainbow. That was my favorite part.” - Lucy McKee “My favorite part was when they showed us how to put a fire out on an airplane, and they made a rainbow.” - Margaret Flowers Montgomery Parents I December 2017




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Holy Cross Episcopal School is accredited by AdvancED (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools We are a proud member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools


Montgomery County Schools

Holy Cross Third and Fourth Grades Present Veterans’ Program Holy Cross Episcopal School’s thirdand fourth-grade classes performed the musical production entitled “Honoring All Who Served” in celebration of Veterans’ Day. The program began with flag bearer Aidan Blum bringing in the colors and displaying the flag. The audience was led in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was immediately followed by the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Preamble to the Constitution was recited in unison by the students, followed by one of the most beloved patriotic songs of all time, “God Bless America” and “The Alabama State Song.” The highlight of the performance was a slide show presentation of Holy Cross family members who served in the military with a photo and description of the role they played in each of the five branches of military service. The stirring finale of the program was the “Armed Forces Medley,” which featured the song “We Celebrate America” complete with a blast of confetti and flag-waving patriotic excitement.

A very poignant part of the program was the reenactment and explanation of “The Missing Man Table” and why it is used in military dining halls all over the world. The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a place of honor,

set up in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of concern for those missing in action and POWs.


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Montgomery Parents I December 2017


Macon East Senior Takes Washington Youth Tour

In June, four area students had the opportunity to represent Dixie Electric Cooperative in Washington, D.C. Macon East senior Tyler Watson was among the more than 1,500 students selected from across the United States to attend the week-long tour hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Participants toured many historic sites in D.C. and learned more about the importance of political involvement in their local areas. They learned leadership skills and heard from various speakers about the cooperative world. The all-expense paid trip is a great outreach program giving students a new outlook on their local cooperative and broadening their education. Watson said he enjoyed meeting students from all over the country on the tour and will never forget this experience.




Success Unlimited Presents Thanksgiving Program

Success Unlimited Academy’s kindergarten-5th grade recently presented a program entitled “Thanksgiving Blessings” at the November SUPA (Success Unlimited Academy’s Parents Association) meeting at the Vaughn Road Campus in Hawkins Auditorium. Adorned in pilgrim and Indian costumes, the students sang favorites such as “Father We Thank Thee”, “Rise and Shine” and “He’s Got the Whole Word in His Hands.” The fourth- and fifth-grade students presented several choral readings and Thanksgiving poems. The group even recited their weekly Bible verses that have been taught this semester in weekly chapel. The finale for the evening was the song “Every Praise.” The audience even joined in singing! The program was directed by children’s worship leader Vickie Parrish, Lower Campus K-5 Assistant Principal Bonnie Nail and teachers.


Montgomery County Schools

Catholic Schools Hold Homecoming Events

Montgomery Academy Upper School Art Students Earn Ribbons In DOOT Competition

Montgomery Academy Upper School students recently participated in DOOT Day 2017. DOOT (”Doing Our Own Thing”) is a regional high school student art competition, along with a day of workshops. Works from classes taught by Connie Deal, Andy Roth, and Lauren Thompson were submitted to the exhibition. Students had the opportunity to view the show on Thursday and eight students attended the day of workshops and sidewalk chalk competition on Friday. There were 265 student works entered from nine schools across the region. Montgomery Academy students received seven of the 45 awards. Ribbon winners included: Best of Show – Francie Hill; Black & White Drawing, Second Place – Abby Baird; Design, Third Place – Aubrey McGlaun; Design, Honorable Mention – Alex Budny; Photography, First Place – Shelby Slawson; Photography, Second Place – Arden Lieux; Printmaking, Third Place – Keefe White; Sidewalk Chalk Team, First Place – Lucy Chapman, Will Hamlett, Francie Hill and Maya Pegues.

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Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School crowned its 2017 Homecoming Queen and King during the half-time ceremonies of the varsity football game as the Knights hosted Bullock County High School, October 20. The 2017 Montgomery Catholic Homecoming Court included freshman attendant Chloe Walden escorted by Grant Smith; junior attendant Annamary Gilbert escorted by Mitch Aaron; senior attendant Carrie Belsterling escorted by Parker Dennis; Homecoming Queen Briana Hollinger & King Luke Craig; senior attendant Aleigha Walden with BJ Barker; senior attendant Paige Rentfro with Tyler Price and sophomore attendant Lorren Pharrams escorted by CJ Owens. The school was honored to welcome back to their Alma Mater the 2016 Homecoming Queen and King, Tori Barranco and Brian Anderson to crown the 2017 Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School Homecoming King and Queen. Hollinger and Craig were announced as the 2017 Montgomery Catholic Homecoming Queen and King at mid-field. Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School welcomed all alumni home with an alumni party under the tent at the Homecoming game from kick-off to half-time. Alumni, including the class of 1977 celebrating their 40th reunion, the class of 1982 celebrating their 35th reunion, the class of 1987 celebrating their 30th reunion, and the class of 2007 celebrating their 10th reunion, were able to enjoy a delicious meal from JimN-Nicks Bar-B-Q, while catching up with old classmates. Before the game, Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School President Anne Ceasar, along with Principal Justin Castanza and Athletic Director Daniel Veres, honored the 2017 Girls’ Outdoor Track and Field State Championship team, where each team member and coach were presented with their State Championship rings. Montgomery Catholic students celebrated Homecoming Week at all campuses with a host of daily activities including the Homecoming Bonfire and mini-parade held on Thursday evening at the Middle/High School Campus for K4-12 families. Alumni Pat McGinn ‘85 had the honor of lighting the fire, and the St. Bede Campus took home first place for their float. Friday, the Middle and High School ended the day with a pep rally. A Friday night victory over Bullock County (31-6) led to a fun night as the Middle School campus held their fall dance after the game. The High School campus ended the week with their Homecoming Dance on October 21 held at the St. Bede Catholic Church Family Life Center. The theme was High School Musical. Shown from left are 2017 Homecoming Queen Briana Hollinger, 2017 King Luke Craig, 2016 Homecoming King Brian Anderson and 2016 Homecoming Queen Tori Barranco.

Eastwood Students Team Up for Olympic Field Day

One of the highlights of the year at Eastwood Christian School is Olympic Field day. The first- through sixth-grade classes are divided into teams, with two sixth-grade captains each. In the days leading up to the competition, students create and practice their team cheer, make banners identifying their team, and do “conditioning” for the event. This year, heavy rain threatened to dampen the event, so the “field” was moved indoors. This special day was filled with laughter and excitement as the students demonstrated their leadership, creativity and team spirit. The Trojans won the poster competition, the Assyrians were awarded the Most Christ-like trophy, and the Spartans scored highest in the Olympic games. 36

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Saint James School Builds the B.E.S.T. The Saint James School Robotics Team competed at the War Eagle B.E.S.T. (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) Robotics competition October 27-28, against 22 other teams from east central Alabama and west Georgia. The Saint James team earned high commendations in four different categories during the competition. The dedicated group of students brought home several awards from B.E.S.T.: The Founder’s Award for Creative Robot Design, first place; Exhibit and Interview Award, third place; Team Exhibit Design & Construction Award, third place; and BEST Award, third place. Additionally, the Saint James Team received awards of 4th place in Engineering Notebook, 4th place for Marketing Presentation, and 5th place for Spirit and Sportsmanship. In six short weeks, the Saint James robotics team studied simulation software and programmed their robot. They designed a website, wrote a 50-page engineering notebook, designed an exhibit to showcase their robot, and promoted their “engineering company” through a formal marketing presentation they prepared complete with digital components. In preparation for the competition, the STJ robotics students exhibited their robot and shared information on B.E.S.T. at various school events including a volleyball game, a football game, and the school’s Fall Festi-

val. Additionally, the team invited the Saint James Middle School Robotics Team to the high school lab and taught them about the B.E.S.T. program and this year’s Saint James robot. The Saint James Robotics Team includes Janice Cho, Greyson Cruse, Hayden Cruse, Jake Hastings, Trinity

Hunter, Nayoon Kang, Edward Kim, Jin Kim, Luke Kim, Minji Kim, Sam Lee, Mitch Mathews, Will Moore, Andrew Nam, Alex Orellana, Gayeon Paek, Jonghyun Park. Vicky Eichelberg is the robotics teacher and sponsor. She, as well as robotics coaches Dr. Ousley and Mr. Hawk, are pictured with the 2017 STJ Robotics Team.


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Montgomery County Schools

Elementary Literacy Night at ACA

Macon East Celebrates Grandparents Day

Each year Macon East Academy’s lower school students invite their grandparents to enjoy a special lunch and take a look into their classroom and what’s going on in their grade. On October 5, the PTO transformed the gymnasium into a luncheon for more than 100 special guests. The students had prepared for weeks with special treats, songs and classroom presentations to show off what they had been learning this year.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a SUPER READER! On October 24, ACA Elementary was overrun with miniature superheroes excited about reading! Students, their families and guests were invited to a night of reading fun and literacy skill development. Students sprang, zoomed and flew through age-appropriate language arts activities set up in the classrooms.  Parents were able to use their “x-ray vision” as they watched their child interact and learn, taking home valuable insight into enriching reading practice at home.  Throughout the evening families could “zoom” through the Book Fair and “zap” up new books to take home.


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Catholic’s Tyynismaa Brings Home 4th State Cross Country Title, Girls’ & Boys’ Teams 4A State Runner-Up The Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School Cross Country team competed at the AHSAA State Championship at the Oakville Indian Mounds XC Course. Both the Catholic Girls and Boys teams walked away as the state’s 4A runner-up! The Catholic girls were led by junior Amaris Tyynismaa. Finishing first, at 17:14.37, Tyynismaa found herself almost a minute and a half ahead of the second-place finisher, securing her fourth consecutive individual State Championship. Junior Isabelle Cochran finished strong at 19:58.58, securing sixth place overall. Teammates Grace Leslie, Hanna Kate McGee, Katie Galvin, Annabel Starrett, Katelyn Stark, Above, Catholic’s Amaris Tyynismaa and Isabelle Cochran, along with Katie Galvin, started strong at the AHSAA State Chloe Smith, Meet on November 11. Virginia Speirs and Sarah Beth Littrell all finished the race, helping earn the Montgomery Catholic girls their second consecutive State Runner-up trophy. For the Catholic boys, junior Manny Caceres finished first with a time of 16:57:52 (11th place overall), with freshman Hollis Johnson finishing in 17:00:54 and teammates Grant Walker, Zachary Kroeger, Joseph Schmidt and Austin Cleghorn all finishing under 17:50:00. The boys’ secured the Above, Grant Walker, Zachary Kroeger and Hollis Runner-up position with the help of Cole Pierce, Sam Leslie, Chris Valencia Johnson stuck together at the State Meet, earning the and Ryan Janson, all who finished in the top 86. team State Runner-up title. Coaches are Ed Wright, Hollis Johnson and Coy Hunter.



334.277.6566 15396 Vaughn Road Cecil, AL 36013

THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ENDLESS Macon East Academy provides students the opportunity to reach the full potential of their gifts and talents through the following benefits: • SMALL CLASS SIZES











Montgomery County Schools

Lee High Cheerleaders Earn Series of Awards

Robert E. Lee High cheerleaders have been racking up accomplishments since the summer. Five cheerleaders—Sha’Maya Crosskey, Gakireya Warren, Shyre Pecks, Dymond Larrimore and Areona Mitchell—competed in the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s Cheer Camp in Auburn. In the Varsity Small Division, they came away with first place overall, including first place in Extreme Routine, second place in Sideline, and first place in Cheer. They also received gold ribbons each night for evaluations. In addition, Warren, Pecks, Larrimore and Mitchell made the All-American Cheerleading Team, meaning they are eligible to cheer in the New Year’s Day Parade in London. At the Alabama State University Cheerleading Camp, the Junior Varsity Squad won Chant Champion and Cheer Champion in Division III, the high school division. The Varsity Squad also won Chant Champion and Cheer Champion in Division III. In the female competition, Brittany McCall was the overall winner, and in the male competition, Auntieon Agee took top prize. The Lee teams also received the Spirit Stick for having the most school spirit. Crosskey, Warrren, Pecks, Larrimore and Mitchell are shown at the Universal Cheerleaders Association contest posing with Auburn University’s mascot, Aubie.


ACA Coaches Reach Milestone Wins

one come back and coach with me, too! Coach Nate Sanford is in his 14th year as a Head Coach, compiling a 102 - 52 record along the way. He reached his 100th win on September 8th of this year in a 38-12 win at Bullock County.  Coach Sanford has multiple “Coach of the Year” honors, most recently as the 2014 Houston (TX) area Coach of the Year following a 12-1 season.  He has led 5 teams to the State Semifinals (2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2014) and has one trip to the State Championship Game (2005).  Coach Nate says “I have to pinch myself that I do this for a living.  My greatest joy is seeing young men develop into Kingdom-worthy warriors.  Football is just the tool that we get to use to help them get there.”

Two Alabama Christian Academy coaches reached milestones in their career. Head Volleyball Coach, Manuel Guice, celebrated his 200th win and Head Football Coach, Nate Sanford, celebrated is 100th win. Coach Guice took over as Volleyball Head Coach in 2009. He has an overall career record of 200-145 (as of 9/28). His 200th win was secured with a victory over Carver High School. Over his tenure, Coach Guice has been named the 2013 AHSAA south all star coach, 2016 Montgomery Advertiser All-Metro Coach of the Year. He lead his team to area Championships in 2009 (4a), 2011 (4a), 2012 (4a), 2014 (5a), 2015 (5a), Regional/Super Regional Championships in 2009 (4a), 2011(4a), 2012 (4a), Super Regional runner-up 2016 (4a) and State championship Elite 8 tournament: 2009,(4a) 2010 (4a), 2011 (4a), 2012 (4a), 2014 (5a), 2016 (4a). Coach Guice said, “My favorite memories are the bonds and the relationships I have created with the players. I’m at the point in my career where I am getting to attend weddings of former players and some of them are starting to have there own children.  That is really awesome for me to be able to see them in those stages of life and be able to be apart of it.  I have been very blessed to be able to coach the type of girls that have come through our program, and have

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Send Your School News by the 12th of each month to: editor@ Montgomery Parents I December 2017

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Retired STJ Head of School Named to Hall of Fame

Melba B. Richardson was inducted into the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Hall of Fame October 23, 2017, in honor of her esteemed career in education in Alabama and for her 32 years of service to Saint James School. “It was such an honor for Saint James School to nominate Mrs. Richardson for this prestigious recognition,” said Dr. Larry McLemore, Saint James Head of School. “Mrs. Richardson began her career in education as an English teacher and her heart for students served as a cornerstone throughout her career. As teacher, principal, academic dean, and head of school, Mrs. Richardson always encouraged students to work hard to reach their individual potential and to pursue their goals with determination and commitment. There are scores of graduates who remain in contact with Mrs. Richardson because of the indelible mark she made in their lives.” In remarks after the ceremony, Richardson reflected on the evening and what the designation meant to her personally, “To be among this group of inductees is a humbling experience. No award is ever won by a single person alone. The journey of success of any kind is a failure without a great team around you. For 32 years at STJ, I was surrounded by a great team including our board of trustees, co-workers, parents, and students. I am so grateful to the individuals I worked with – and for what we all achieved together.” The Hall of Fame started in 2000, and the eleven 2017 inductees will join 106 other individuals in the AISA Hall of Fame. AISA designed and developed the Hall of Fame for the sole purpose of honoring and recognizing those individuals who have made significant contributions to their schools and/or the association. Current STJ Head of School Dr. Larry McLemore is shown with Melba Richardson, retired Head of Saint James School and recent inductee in the AISA Hall of Fame.


It seems like school only started a week or so ago, but the holidays are nearly upon us! Pike Road educators continue to challenge our students and the results are tremendous growth in many different areas. Vanella Tadjuidje, a sophomore, just represented Pike Road Schools at the iNACOL Symposium 2017. She served on a panel of five students who discussed learner centered education at the conference. We are very proud of the way Vanella represented Pike Road! We are pleased to announce our new band director, Mr. Ralph Ford, who was the long time director of bands for

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Troy University. We look forward to his leadership in developing an exceptional band program at Pike Road. We also are pleased to announce our new baseball coach, Mr. Skipper Jones, the former long time head coach of the Pell City High School baseball team. We look forward to great days ahead in both of these programs! Winter sports are underway, and in Pike Road that means boys basketball, girls basketball, and wrestling. This will be our inaugural wrestling season and we look forward to growing that program as we go forward to match the successful basketball programs we already have. The first semester is coming to a close and while holiday excitement can be a distraction, Pike Road Schools are pressing on to finish the academic tasks at hand before the close of the semester and the calendar year. So while your


children are making those wish lists, editing them, and checking them twice, be sure that they stay focused on finishing those academics first! Lastly, as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, shorter days, and cooler temperatures are upon us, and we would like to slow down and thank you, the parents of Pike Road, for allowing us to partner with you to raise your children. We take that responsibility very seriously and appreciate your trust. We continue to be committed to do right for your children. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays to all! Chuck Ledbetter has been an educator for 28 years. He has earned a B.A. in history from Auburn University; a Masters of Education in history from AUM; and a doctorate in educational leadership from Auburn University. Chuck Ledbetter was a history teacher for 11 years, an assistant principal, a middle school principal, a high school principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum and for finance, and is in his ninth year as a superintendent. He is married to Kim and has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.

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Holy Spirit Elementary Campus, K4-6 grade 8580 Vaughn Rd., Montgomery, AL 36117 334-649-4404 St. Bede Elementary Campus, K4-6 grade 3850 Atlanta Hwy., Montgomery, AL 36109 334-272-3033 Middle School Campus, 7-8 grade 5350 Vaughn Rd., Montgomery, AL 36116 334-272-2465 High School Campus, 9-12 grade 5350 Vaughn Rd., Montgomery, AL 36116 334-272-7220


Join us for Open House and experience how we prepare students to become persons of faith, virtue, and wisdom. For more information contact or call 334-272-7221 ext. 32.

Community Comes Together

On October 25, prior to the Historic Pike Road School dedication, community members joined the Pike Road P.R.A.Y.E.R. Team at the Historic Pike Road School to share prayers and words of encouragement for the school and community. Thank you to Patrick Quinn of Century Church and Steve Walters of The Church at Pike Road who led the Circle, as well as to everyone who participated.

Patriots Football Hosts Christmas 5K & Fun Run

Runners, joggers and walkers of all ages: Mark your calendars for the Pike Road Patriots Football 5K and Fun Run, scheduled for 9 a.m. on December 9 at The Waters. All proceeds benefit the Patriots Football Team, who will play their inaugural varsity season in the Fall of 2018. Visit to learn more or to register.

Alumni and Community Gather for Dedication

The Town of Pike Road community, including a large number of Pike Road School alumni, gathered for the dedication of the Historic Pike Road School. Alumni shared their memories, and community members enjoyed browsing Pike Road School memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s. The Honorable Judge Greg Griffin gave an opening prayer, Historic Pike Road School SGA President Caden Lockett led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Wiley Cutts, former principal at the Pike Road School, presented a commendation from Governor Kay Ivey. Thank you to our distinguished guests and everyone who contributed memories and memorabilia to this special event. Thank you to Pike Road Golf Carts for providing shuttles, the Pike Road Historic School PTSA for volunteering, and to all Pike Road Schools staff.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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December rushes in with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season: A time for beautiful traditions and thoughtful customs, a time for gathering family and friends close, a time for celebrating the joys and wonders of our lives. December also brings the first semester of school to a close. When you are as blessed as we are in Autauga County, the school year truly seems to fly by. Academic excellence is a big part of the goal of Autauga County Schools, but success is measured by other means as well. We are helping to raise young women and men of distinction and honor. This is not always measured through mere academics. Some of our shining stars are improving Autauga County outside the classrooms! Daniel Pratt Elementary School was selected as the 2nd place

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

winner for the Alabama PALS Clean Campus Award. Their team, led by 4th grade teacher Tracy Junco, received a plaque and $750. Prattville Intermediate School was also recognized for their participation in Clean Campus. People Against a Littered State (PALS) is a non-profit organization that works with communities to promote a cleaner and healthier environment. The organization is active throughout Autauga County Schools and plays an important role in educating our students on how to protect and conserve our environment. Great job, DPES and PIS, in showing pride and concern for your school! No football season would be complete without outstanding bands to pump up the team and the fans! There is certainly no shortage of musical talent in Autauga County! The Prattville High School Marching Band, The Pride of Prattville, has been extremely busy under the leadership of Director Chris King, Associate Director Michael Skeen, Assistant Directors Kenny Hall, Ashley Williams, and Devan Stewart, Percussion Instructor Russell Mann, and Kim King, Shelby Mixson, Kayla Dake, Julie Gunn, and Jeremy Jackson. The Pride of Prattville competed in the Phenix Invitational Marching Festival bringing home “All


Superiors” and 2nd overall out of 21 in Band, “Best in Class” in Drum Majors, and “Best in Class” in Majorettes. The Band also grabbed “All Superiors” and 4th overall at the Opelika Marching Band Competition while the Drum Majors received “Excellent” and Color Guard received “Best in Class”. The Pride of Prattville also hosted the 34th Annual Heart of Dixie Marching Competition on the second Saturday of October. Marbury High School Northstars Marching Band, led by Director David Simpson and Auxiliary Sponsor Kim Hicks, had a phenomenal year! The Band earned “Superior Ratings” at the Southeastern United States Marching Band Festival and the Heart of Dixie Marching Band Competition. As always, our school year has been busy, busy, busy! Please remember to take the time to embrace all the moments we love during the holidays. I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Spence Agee is the Superintendent of Education for Autauga County Schools. He is a third generation educator with an ED.S. in Educational Leadership. He has 20 years of experience in the education field as well as 29 years of military experience. Agee is an active member at First Baptist Church in Prattville. He and his wife, Cesily, who is also an educator, have two daughters, Abby and Addison.


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Autauga County Schools

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Eighth-grade students at Prattville Junior High School celebrated Halloween by trick-or-treating. Parent volunteers were stationed at various locations with flashcards to prepare students for an upcoming exam. “This is a great way to teach students study skills, prepare students for success on the upcoming test, and allow parents to be involved,” Mrs. Brown said.





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Prattville Students Make Cards for Service Members

PJHS Principals for the Day

Two students at Prattville Junior High School caught wind that Principal Janice Stockman ran as a hobby, so they challenged her to a race one afternoon. After Stockman lost, the wager had been set that these two students would be able to be “principal for the day.” Leon and Miya took their responsibilities very seriously as they dressed and acted the part all day long. They made announcements, supervised during break, and helped make classroom visits during the day. They learned a lot about what the job truly entails and why it is important to speak well to others and be consistent in your message.

Students in the Military Appreciation Catalyst class at Prattville Junior High School made Christmas and Thanksgiving cards to send to deployed service men and women in the American Armed Forces. The club is made up of many military students that understand the sacrifice of these heroes. Cards will be sent in time to reach troops by the holidays.


Autauga County Schools

Prattville Jr. High Serves Community

Marbury Commitment To Graduate Ceremony

On September 21, 2017, Marbury High School held its 3rd Annual Commit to Graduate Ceremony. During the ceremony, the freshman class commits to stick through the good and bad times of high school and graduate with a diploma. Studies find that many students drop out after the 9th grade. We see so much potential in all of our students, so we want them to stay the course and finish strong. WSFA even came to feature the ceremony.

Serving our community is part of the curriculum at Prattville Junior High School. 7th-grade civics teacher Kyle Sandlin launched a program called “Contributing to the Common Good.” Students in his classes recently participated in service hours for a local non-profit organization. Students also interviewed someone in the organization and then presented their findings and pictures of their service to the class. The Prattville Millbrook Rotary Club partnered with PJHS to support this effort. Ultimately two projects were chosen to represent the Cats at a recent Rotary Sunrise meeting. Students were presented with a gift card as an appreciation of their service. In addition, Rotary made a donation to the winning non-profits. From left are Julie Cooley (Rotary), Milania Meek and Helen Sun (Autauga Interfaith Christian Council), Nicholas Germann (Common Ground Montgomery), and teacher Kyle Sandlin.

Prattville Christian Academy Senior Named Wendy’s Heisman School Winner

PJHS Holds Veterans’ Assembly

The entire Prattville Junior High School student body and faculty assembled together to honor a group of veterans and their families from our community. From Boy Scout troop members providing a flag processional to our majorettes escorting military families to the band playing The National Anthem to the choral musicians singing “Our Unsung Heroes” to the Student Council members speaking words of wisdom to a speech by our 8th grade Assistant Principal (USAF Retired) to a presentation in memory of a wounded solder who was the father of one of our teachers, the day was truly special. Being this close to Maxwell AFB means we have a large contingency of students whose parents are in the military. The day was an opportunity to reflect on their contributions and sacrifices for the freedoms we too often take for granted. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Prattville Christian Academy senior Melanie Drey has been named a 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman school winner for her excellence in academics and athletics. “Being a part of the sports program at PCA has been a great opportunity for me,” Drey said. “The coaches have a huge impact in aspects of my life beyond sports. They not only coach me and my teammates, but support and help guide our everyday lives, and I thank them for that. Thank you for this award; it is an honor to represent Prattville Christian Academy.” Since 1994, Wendy’s and the Heisman Trophy Trust have been running the same play to perfection: honoring more than 600,000 of the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors. This year, Wendy’s will celebrate the accomplishments of Drey among thousands of other high school seniors who share Wendy’s values of giving back to their communities, treating people with respect, continuing education and excelling on the athletic field. “Melanie is a true example of the type of athlete any coach would want in their program,” said PCA Athletic Director Tara Osborne. “She leads by example in everything she does and always has a smile on her face. Melanie encourages others through her Godly example.” As a school winner, Drey received a certificate and a Wendy’s High School Heisman Patch. From left, Coach Tara Osborne presents Melanie Drey with her Wendy’s Heisman certificate. 48

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Marbury Chooses Mr. and Miss

Mr. and Miss Marbury High School are chosen solely by the faculty and staff of Marbury High School each year. It is quite an honor to be selected. Mr. and Miss MHS serve as ambassadors for the ideals of Marbury High School. The one senior boy and one senior girl chosen exemplify motivation and hard work and have been successful in all facets of their high school career. Congratulations to this year’s Mr. and Miss MHS, Michael Wurtz and Savannah Corbin! Corbin is the daughter of Gene and Kelly Bass. She is currently the president of SGA and National Honor Society. She is the vice president of Art Club. Corbin also is an active member of Beta Club, FFA and Spanish Club. She has been on mission trips to Alaska and Belize with Heritage Baptist Church’s Youth group. She plans to attend college and major in graphic design. Wurtzl is the son of Joey and Carla Wurtz. He is a member of the varsity baseball team. He is a member of Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Club, and National Honor Society. After he graduates high school, he plans to attend Central Alabama Community College where he has been offered a scholarship to play baseball. Wurtz wants to further his education and become a veterinarian.

Send Your school news to: editor@ 49

The season of giving is upon us and the generosity of the Elmore County family is overwhelming! The needs are especially great this time of year, and many of our student organizations have projects planned to help meet those needs. Canned food drives, clothing drives, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and monetary donations are just some of the activities they have organized to help those less fortunate in our area. Our United Way campaign has just ended, and what a great way to have a positive impact on many organizations in the River Region. We had excellent participation from staff and students alike which is a testament to their compassion for others. Several of our Central Office staff recently participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association “lock up” campaign and raised “bail money” to be released from jail! An exciting partnership has just been launched at Wetumpka Elementary School with

the Montgomery Area Food Bank. Feeding Our Remarkable Kids (FORK) is a school pantry program designed to provide food assistance for our most severely food-insecure and chronically hungry children and their families. The Montgomery Area Food Bank joined with five partner agencies and five local elementary schools to continue the program into its second year. School pantries are located on the grounds of the school to offer a more readily available source of food assistance. In many communities, the school is the hub of activities and a resource center for families. Because of the close relationship between students and faculty, families are better served with the FORK program. We look forward to growing this program and increasing our capacity to serve our families. Our fall sports are nearing an end and I would like to congratulate the Stanhope Elmore High School varsity football team for advancing to the regional playoffs for the first time in three years. The Wetumpka High varsity football team has also had a great season and has advanced to the second round of regional playoffs. Elmore County High School’s girls’ volleyball team made it to the state playoffs, and Wetumpka High

School’s volleyball team advanced to regional playoffs. I would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL our coaches for the time they put in with our student athletes, not only during the season, but throughout the year. Across the county, sports are an integral part of student life. Numerous sports including volleyball, cross country, football, cheerleading, dance, soccer, golf, tennis, baseball, softball, and wrestling are staffed by caring coaches who invest many hours not only to develop the athletic skills of their athletes, but to help them grow into mature, responsible young adults. Thank you, coaches, for your dedication to our students. Remember, students’ final day of first semester is Wednesday, December 20, 2017, and they will return on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season!

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Richard Dennis is the Superintendent of Education for Elmore County Schools. He is a 1983 graduate of Holtville High School. He completed his undergraduate degree in English and History Education at The University of Alabama, his Master’s degree in English at Troy University and his Administrative Certification at AUM. He served 21 years as a high school principal at Holtville High, Wetumpka High and most recently, Prattville High. He and wife, Leslie (also an educator) have three sons and a daughter.

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Stanhope JROTC Commander Receives Honor

Stanhope Elmore JROTC Cadet Battalion Commander Johnny Montgomery received The Order of the Daedalians Cadet Flight Incentive Scholarship Program Award (jacket) for completing his first solo flight. He received this from Brigade General Jeremy Sloane, the Commander of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Base.






Tallassee Presents Music Man

Starring in the Tallassee High School production of The Music Man on November 12 and 13 were: Hadden Langley as Professor Harold Hill; Jean Leah Atkins as Marian Paroo; and other cast members including Laura Fields, Harlie Yankey, Velen Espinoza and Ethan Halstead.

Holtville Student Council Helps VFD

Shown below are Holtville Elementary School’s Student Council with the Holtville Volunteer Fire Department. The Student Council held a fill the boot drive for the firefighters.


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Elmore County Schools

Firefighter Challenge

In November, Public Safety & Law students from the Elmore County Technical Center visited Station 5 of the Montgomery Fire Department to tackle the firefighter challenge training course.

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Elmore County Homeschoolers Put on a Show

WES Teacher Gets Golden Apple

Congratulations to Wetumpka Elementary’s WAKA Golden Apple recipient, kindergarten teacher Tanya Hibbard!

Local homeschoolers are learning the ins and outs of show business in the theatre class at Academy Days Co-op in Millbrook. The students, who range from grades 7 through 12, will work on every aspect of theatre production, from costumes and sets to programs and promotions. Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss will be performed this semester, and another play will be chosen for spring semester. The Academy Days Co-op, held weekly during the school year at Coosada Baptist Church, is designed for preschool through high school students to learn subjects difficult to teach at home or best taught in group settings, like drama. Visit for more information.

Hospitality & Tourism

Students in Hospitality & Tourism at the Elmore County Technical Center worked on knife skills during October by making a caramel apple nacho dish. Below, instructor Perry Caton demonstrates how to cut the apples into slices using proper knife techniques.

Eclectic Elementary October Students of the Month

Kindergarten: G.W. Simpson, Dillan Quinn, Alice Buckley, Jaiden Smith, Channing Mann, Jacob Cousins 1st Grade: Jamie Lovelady, Asher Fulmer, Graysen Fulmer, Eason Clark, Silver Milstead 2nd Grade: Shiyanne Grier, Emma Nummy, Briley Boston, Emmalyn Whisman, Carley Walls 3rd Grade: Laura Jones, Libby Powell, Michael Kelley, Keauna Walker, Kate Harrell, Haleigh Sanford 4th Grade: Drew Collier, Peyton Edwards, Seth McGhee, Houston Sides Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Author Visits Elementary Students

Retired schoolteacher Beth Hudson-Stewart has written a children’s book of historical fiction about the Creek Indians called My Sister Sehoy. She visited third- and fourth-grade classes at Redland and Wetumpka Elementary Schools as well as the Wetumpka Public Library. Signed copies of her book were donated to the libraries by Johanna and Jerry Bise. It was a wonderful opportunity for local students to meet an actual author and learn more about the history of our great state and the people who came before. Stewart is shown below with some of the students of Redland Elementary School.

ARIS Thankful for Donations

Airport Road Intermediate School is so thankful for donations from its gracious stakeholders in the community. School administrators are grateful for businesses willing to donate to the school for its many programs that support the students... evverything from the ARIS harvest festival to honor roll awards. A few of the recent donors include: Poarch Creek Indians ($1,000), First Community Bank, T.J. Maxx, Alabama Power, Horace Mann, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Cici’s Pizza, Front Porch Grill, St.Michael’s Church, and 40&8 LeFemmes Millbrook American Legion Post. And as always, thanks to the parents who also show support by giving.

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Elmore County Schools

Red Ribbon Week/Drug Free Week at ARIS

Airport Road Intermediate had a great week highlighting the importance of making good decisions in our lives today and in the future! Red Ribbon Week is an annual tradition that helps highlight drug awareness and making positive life choices. The week was full of full of fun dress-up days, such as “Be a Hero, Not a Zero, Stay Drug Free!” Students helped decorate the cafeteria with handmade posters about staying drug-free. Counseling classes were also held with each homeroom class about the dangers of peer pressure.

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Stanhope Elmore High School’s Junior Civitan members led the annual schoolwide Thanksgiving Food Drive. Students, staff and community members pitched in to collect 2,461 food items for Millbrook’s WELCOME Center to benefit the less fortunate in our area!

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Victory Baptist School Visits Montgomery Zoo

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Mr. Nolin’s third-grade class from Victory Baptist School had a chance to observe animals up close at the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Museum recently. Students viewed animals from five continents: North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Zoofari Skylift gave the students the opportunity to view the animals from above. Students also got a chance to feed parakeets in Parakeet Cove, an open-air aviary housing more than 500 parakeets. For some students, it was their first time to visit the Mann Museum which houses a collection of preserved North American wildlife, aquatic life, artifacts, and fossils. By the end of the day, the students had collected a variety of new data for their science notebooks.

Harvest Festival at ARIS

Airport Road Intermediate held its annual Fall Festival Fundraiser on Oct. 26. It is a night that students and parents look forward to all year. The night was full of games, contests, a silent auction, hayrides and a haunted house. There were also many yummy treats available to eat. This night, while being full of family fun, helps benefit classroom teachers in many ways. All money earned through games and activities goes directly back to the teachers’ classroom fund. We would like to thank the community and parents who attended this annual event. Montgomery Parents I December 2017



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Donor’s Choose Project Funded at WMS

Three cheers for The Horace Mann Companies from Springfield, Ill., for supporting Amanda Killough’s 7th-grade geography and civic students at Wetumpka Middle School! Killough wrote a request for her 35 subscriptions to Junior Scholastic Magazine to help her studetns improve literacy, geography and current events skills. These magazines will help students engage in relevant, age-appropriate reading materials. Killough’s students love to learn and love new resources that are relevant to them. Many do not have access to subscriptions to periodicals or reading material not found in the school library. Killough’s classes will use Jr. Scholastic Magazines to annotate informational text, practice geography skills, and spur debates about current events. Killough plans to use the magazines in station teaching and have students work on them in small increments along with other stations. These magazines will also help expose students to age-appropriate periodicals they may not otherwise have.

Tech Center Tour to CACC Junior and senior students from multiple programs at the Elmore County Technical Center toured Central Alabama Community College on November 7 learning about certificate and degree programs that can lead to their future careers.




Elmore County Schools

Airport Road Intermediate School Inducts New Student Council

Airport Road Intermediate School inducted the new 2017-18 Student Council members on November 2. Council members stood before parents, teachers and administrators and pledged to be leaders in their school and community, setting a great example for others to follow.

WES Students Learn About Owls

Wetumpka Elementary second-graders enjoyed dissecting owl pellets during an exciting STEM lesson.

Please send Your School News and photos to: by the 15th of month. It’s FREE!

Elmore County Tech Center Visit to Hyundai Power

Electrical Technology students from the Elmore County Technical Center visited Thurlow Dam in Tallassee and Hyundai Power Transformers in Montgomery to learn about each industry as well as potential future careers.

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Wetumpka High School Trumbauer Participants

Many Wetumpka High School Theatre Guild students competed successfully at the district level in the Trumbauer theatre contest and have been passed on to state competition at the University of North Alabama. Wetumpka had FIVE category winners in the district contest. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

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TheCollegeYears Preparing Teens for Life Outside the Nest

by Lee Gonet

How to Find and Earn Privately-Sponsored Scholarships? The average price of a state-run college is now $24,610 per year (, and since most students take over five years to graduate that’s a whopping $123,050 per diploma! Thankfully, tens of thousands of scholarships are available each year and many go unclaimed because students are unaware of their existence. However, the keys to success are being proactive in the search, careful in the application, and effective in the essay.

The Search

Talk to guidance counselors, financial aid officers, department heads, clubs, organizations, large corporations, civil service groups, government offices, military branches, banks, businesses, and online sources. In other words, ask everyone you know or meet if they provide college scholarships. When researching private awards, begin with family associations such as places of employment and business connections (include grandparents). Next use the free search engines on these websites:,,, and

The Application

To be more successful, students should apply for scholarships that require them to prove their merit. As I said in October’s issue of Montgomery Parents, follow directions explicitly, fill out all areas completely, proofread carefully, choose your recommender wisely, and meet the deadlines. I cannot stress these points enough. Focus on applying for small, local scholarships; they add up and being successful is more likely. Ask the person who writes your letter of recommendation to address it to “whom it may concern” and

provide several signed copies. In addition, students should create a separate email address so their mailbox isn’t flooded. Finally, continue applying for different scholarships throughout college since many of them are annual and the money can be used for books, travel, room and board, etc.

The Essay The most important component of a scholarship application is the essay. Students must respond fully to the prompt within the word limit. The majority of scholarships will require applicants to answer a personal question, solve a problem, explain why they are financially deserving, or clarify their choice of study in a particular field. Both private and institutional sponsors will ask questions such as: • Why do you want to be a _______? • Explain the importance of your major or interest. • What sets you apart from others? • Who has been your biggest influence? • How have you contributed to your community? • Why do you consider yourself to be a leader? Before looking for scholarships, students should create a few stock essays they can adapt when applying. Consistent practice writing about the activities they love, why they love them, and how they improve their lives and the lives of others will not only advance their composition skills but also solidify in students’ minds goals they would like to achieve for themselves. 57

The Interview

Many scholarship committees require interviews with the applicants, and students who present themselves well are the ones who earn the awards. First impressions are most important, so students should dress professionally, initiate handshakes, maintain good posture, sustain direct eye contact, and turn off their phones during interviews. Consequently, students should practice their speaking skills publically. Parents can help by discussing with them possible opportunities to volunteer, teaching them how to approach potential groups, listening to practiced speeches, and simulating interviews. Part of the interview process is demonstrating interest in the school or sponsoring organization, so students need to do some research beforehand. They should come prepared to not only answer questions, but also to ask them! However, avoid inquiring about information already addressed in the scholarship material.

The Scam

Many organizations are seeking your personal information, which they can then sell to marketers. Never provide details to groups that you have not contacted! Do not pay to apply for scholarships either— reputable providers will not charge for applications, and no one can guarantee you an award. Also, avoid paying fees for someone else to search for you—no one knows your gifts and skills as well as you. Applying for scholarships can be an overwhelming task, but the rewards are more than financial. The process can also develop a personal sense of responsibility and clarity of purpose in your children. Next month, I’ll focus on need-based aid and discuss the importance of the FAFSA. Lee Gonet is an avid learner, speaker, educator, and world traveler. She loves challenging teenagers to excel beyond what society considers possible by teaching young people to think deeply, learn intensely, and act purposefully outside the classroom box. For example, her daughter worked abroad by 16 and her son earned his Engineering Master’s by 20. Dreams do come true.

8 Ways Tech Can Bring Your Family Closer This Holiday Soon holiday music will fill the air—punctuated by the rings and dings of smartphones. Regardless of their traditions, lots of families will be making rules about when NOT to use cellphones—during midnight mass, at the Kwanzaa dinner table, while lighting Hannakuh candles, and so on. Most parents can agree that it’s a good idea to set aside part of the holidays to focus entirely on the people who have been able to gather in the same room. At the same time, it’s also helpful to remember all the ways technology can bring families closer, especially at this time of year. Young people, in particular, filter much of their experience through their phones, so turning off the phone for extended periods of time may actually make them feel less connected. Integrating the capabilities of technology into the holiday has several benefits. First, it allows richer contact with distant family and friends. Second, it can simplify holiday chores from party planning to greeting cards. And, finally, it gives tech-savvy kids a meaningful role in making the holidays special whether by documenting every dish at the holiday feast or playing DJ during a family party. Here are just a few of the ways technology can enhance your holidays. Whenever possible, use the simplest apps so as many people as possible can participate.

Plan Parties. Does your neighborhood do an annual caroling party? Would you like to get friends together for a cookie exchange? Do you want family members to take charge of a dish for the family feast? Using an app like Party Planner will help you manage the details from inviting guests and tracking responses to delegating tasks and keeping a grip on the budget. Entering necessary information the first year may take a little time, but it lays the groundwork for effortless traditions in years ahead. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Send Greetings. Even though fewer families have time for handwritten cards or newsletters, the tradition of sharing holiday greetings is worth preserving. Use your phone to take a photo or make a short video that captures what’s unique about your family this year. Do something goofy, sing a few lines of a song together, have each family member write or speak about something memorable. Distribute through social media, email or even in an envelope. Do this every year and you’ll create a very special timeline that shows your kids growing up before your eyes. Start a Family Media Channel. Establish a blog or a social media group, and limit access to extended family and special friends. Invite kids, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents to participate, providing whatever support they need to get connected. Encourage everyone to post inside jokes, recipes, holiday memories, bits of family lore. To make people more comfortable about sharing things that are heartfelt or silly, establish a simple rule: What appears on the site can’t be shared anywhere else without permission. Tune Up. Build a festive family playlist for the holidays and other occasions. Ask everyone old enough to talk to make suggestions. Of course, there are holiday playlists available on sites like Pandora but it’s a lot more meaningful—and fun—to juxtapose grandma’s favorites from the 40’s with something your nephew learned in preschool. Chat Long Distance. Coming home for the holidays may be everyone’s dream but it’s not always feasible. Schedule a time for a video chat with distant loved ones. Group 58

chats can sometimes be awkward so encourage family members to take turns. Do a little coaching so kids are prepared to thank relatives for gifts and maybe even model clothes or demonstrate what they can do with a new toy. Light candles or sing together. Ask questions that prompt elders to share memories and stories.

Group Text. If video chatting makes everyone (especially teens) self conscious, try using GroupMe, a free app that allows everyone in the family to see the same text messages. GroupMe works with SMS and every Smartphone platform. Give it a try in your immediate family, and then expand the group to include cousins and other relatives. Play Games. Ask pre-teens for the best family friendly games or find apps that simulate classics like Scrabble and Checkers. Help grandparents sign up so they can play across the room or across the country. If someone in the family is lucky enough to get a video game system, be sure at least one game is easy enough and light-hearted enough to be played by all ages. Consider creating customized games for your family. For example, try making up a scavenger hunt that involves taking photos connected with family traditions—a beloved family ornament, a sleeping relative, Grandpa’s favorite cookie, the dog wearing a holiday hat. Collect Photos. On special occasions, everyone takes photos and videos on their own phones. Even if someone says, “Send me that picture,” people forget and fragments of the holiday disappear into the undifferentiated photos on various devices. This year, set up a password protected site on Flckr, Instagram or even Google. Send the link to everyone in the family. Ask them to upload their favorite photos and videos to a create a collective album. Embracing these possibilities with an open heart makes it more likely that everyone will respond well at the times when someone says, “Let’s put away our phones and drink in the joy of being together right here, right now!” Carolyn Jabs, M.A., has been writing the Growing Up Online column for ten year. She is also the author of Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart. Available at Amazon and Cooperative @ Copyright, 2017, Carolyn Jabs. All rights reserved.


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Team sports

Providing extracurricular activities for

Team sports help kids with their social development, as well as problem solving skills. Being part of a team also gives kids a sense of confidence as they have the opportunity to cheer each other on and contribute to the common goal. “Soccer seems to be a good place to start. It gets them used to the idea of team sports.� says Kara Thomas, mom and preschool teacher. Another preschoolfriendly team sport is T-ball. Team sports are a good fit for your child if they love physical activity and socializing with other kids.

your preschooler can encourage their natural curiosity and love of learning. It can also help them develop important skills like self-awareness, social development, language, and motor skills. There are countless classes and programs


available for your child that are both

An art class provides the opportunity for kids to create, make messes, and try crafts that their parents may not want to try at home such as painting, sculpture, and paper mache. Art helps develop hand eye coordination,

fun and educational, but which activity is right for your child? Montgomery Parents I December 2017



fine motor skills, and encourages kids to explore different colors and textures, while encouraging their creativity. Kids who are introverted, creative, and can sit still for longer periods of time would enjoy an art class.

Music and dance

Preschool kids love to listen to music and dance. There are many programs available that offer enrichment in music where kids are encouraged to sing, make their own music, and use their bodies to express themselves through dance. Many dance studios offer beginner classes for the preschool crowd. The study of music and dance helps kids develop their gross motor skills, language, and even improve their math and reading skills down the line.

Preschool and playgroups

Traditional preschool exposes children to many different types of enrichment such as art, music, games, cooperative play, drama and pretend play, as well as developing their social and language skills. While preschool may provide a well rounded enrichment experience, it may not be a good fit for some families due to schedules or finances. Play groups are another great way to expose your child to many types of enrichment experiences

while giving them the social aspect that many preschools provide.

Preschool Enrichment at Home You do not have to spend a fortune on classes to give your kids great enrichment experiences. Here are some ideas to incorporate at home or explore in your community.

Individual sports

“I think dance Gross motor - visit a park, play in the backyard, or tumbling is a create an obstacle course using household objects, really good first organized activor have a family dance party ity for kids.” says Fine motor - create a sensory bin, play with puzzles or Angela Leever, blocks, allow your kids to draw and practice with scissors mom of three and Language - sing, read, and use cooperative play preschool special Social development - host playdates, explore the city, education teacher. go on a scavenger hunt “You want to make Self awareness - dress up, cook, have them help sure you get them with chores and gardening into an activity where the instructors are used to museums and even visiting the local liworking with young children and their brary. Mother of two, Stephanie Pratt, says expectations are age appropriate.” Gym“Everything you do is a learning activity nastics, swimming, and martial arts are for preschoolers. My kids love to cook with great sports activities for little ones to try me.” Get creative, make learning fun, and because they work on their core strength allow your child to explore and try new and confidence. Kids who love to be acthings both in organized programs and at tive and are maybe even a little daring do home. mp great in these individual sports. Kids also learn by helping with chores around the house, exploring parks and


Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer and has been published in more than 100 parenting publications.


ParentingToday’sTeens by Mark Gregston

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Teen As parents, we often put a lot of blame on ourselves for what we cannot offer our kids. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, we feel guilty when we can’t afford the latest and greatest iPads, video games, designer shoes, or state-of-the-art cell phones. Mom and Dad, let me encourage you today. The bottom line is, there’s only one thing that your teen needs from you. It doesn’t involve money. It’s got nothing to do with exciting opportunities. It’s not even about offering protection from the outside world! To be the parent God has called you to be, all you have to do is offer your child a relationship. A relationship with your son or daughter is, hands-down, the most important thing you can give your child. Why is it so critical?

Your Child is Disconnected

Teens today are disconnected from life. A recent study showed that the average child spends about ten hours a day staring at a screen. While a constant stream of interfacing has led to a boom in adolescent communication, it has also led to a breakdown in meaningful connection. We assume that teens are building relationships because they are on Facebook or Skype, or are texting, blogging, or using any number of social media outlets. But that’s simply not the case. Learning how to build meaningful connections starts with mom and dad. Your relationship with your teenager is the model for how they connect with other people. When you take time to sit down and have a conversation eyeball-to-eyeball with your child, you’re giving them what Facebook and Twitter cannot; a personal relationship. Parents, you shape the ideals for the husbands and wives your children will one day marry. You’re also the main example of character, conviction, and values for your teens. From you, they will understand the importance of compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

You are so important in the life of disconnected teens. The personal relationship you offer your teen can never be replaced. Trust me on this; if your son or daughter is not finding a relationship with mom and dad at home, they will look for it elsewhere. They will seek to fill their relational voids through dating, friends, academics, sports, or destructive habits like drugs and alcohol in order to find a sense of value and love.

Your Child is Pulling Away

Though you desire a better connection, maybe your teen has made it clear that he doesn’t want a relationship with you. You’ve tried to mend the fences and build some bridges, only to have those fences and bridges burned. If you truly want a better relationship with your child...don’t give up! Any relationship worth having takes time. It won’t happen overnight. And even in spite of past hurts and disappointments we can always move forward and strive for a clean slate. But it will take work. If something has come between you and your teen, sit down with them face-toface and start asking those tough questions to get to the root of the issue. Start by saying, “You are very important to me, and I’m sorry if our relationship hasn’t been what it should. But I want to change that. So what could I do to make our relationship better?” Be prepared to patiently listen to the response, even if it’s painful. Criticism is never easy to hear, but this is a chance for your teen to share her heart, and for you to hear how you can improve. It will require humility and self-evaluation. But think of it as in an investment towards a greater, future reward. Of course, I know that some kids may say, “There’s nothing you can do to fix our relationship. I don’t want anything to do with you.” And while that is a devastating blow to any parent, keep moving forward. Tell your son or daughter, “I am really sorry to hear that. But I don’t want to miss out on having a relationship with you, so even though you 62

may not like me now, I’m still going to pursue you.” Don’t be belligerent in your attempts to improve your connection with your teen, but don’t walk away from him either. A relationship with your child is too important to let it slip by.

Rules of Engagement

If you want to improve your relationship with your teen, let me offer nine suggestions, or “rules of engagement”: • Make many of your conversations about your teen. What are his opinions, feelings, or thoughts on a subject? • Share something personal about yourself. Let your child know about a mistake in your past, a particular emotion, or surprising thought. Show her that you are human and imperfect. • Share your heart in short bits. No long diatribes or hour-long monologues. • You don’t always have to be right. • You don’t always have to have the answer. • Your final sentence doesn’t always have to end in a period. Let your teen have the final say once-and-a-while. • Never use one-on-one time with your teenager as an opportunity to criticize. • Acknowledging your mistakes provides the opportunity for your teen to share his. • Don’t judge a teen’s comments. Maybe they’re foolish, or dumb, or incorrect. But if you blast them, chances are your teen won’t share his thoughts with you again. I hope that this call for relationships is encouraging. To be the best parent you can be, all you need to do is strive to have a loving and personal relationship with your teen. Everything else is secondary.

Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder of a residential counseling center for struggling teens located in Longview, Texas. Mark’s passion for helping teens can be seen in his 40 years of involvement with families as a youth pastor, Young Life area director, and now, as the Executive Director of Heartlight, where he has lived with and helped over 2,700 teens. To find out more about Mark and his ministry to parents and teens, you can visit or


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Mindful Holiday Magic Be Truly "Present" With Your Child This Christmas

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The holidays are here! You’ve planned and prepared. But too often the holidays can be a hectic, chaotic swirl of shopping, entertaining, and traveling. Kids may be looking forward to doing absolutely nothing during the holidays. They may be a little burned out from the structure and regiment of school, tutoring sessions and sports activities. If we aren’t careful, we can overbook the holidays too.

By Laura Lyles Reagan Montgomery Parents I December 2017



2. Play outside

In an attempt to create the “perfect holiday,” we busy ourselves to the point of forgetting to enjoy the simple moments of the season and we teach our children how to stress over the holidays rather than how to enjoy relationships. Zig Zigler may have communicated it best. Love = time to a child. Why don’t we create magical holiday moments by slowing down and making a concerted effort to spend some simple one on one time with each one of our children individually?

Even play in the rain or cold with your child. Enjoy your child’s smiles and giggles with no agenda or time limit.

3. Memory making

Organize old family photos into a holiday album or start a scrapbook of a beloved family holiday. Talking about the memories can help kids re-live the experience and draw you closer.

One on one time with each child can fuel

4. Homemade seasons greetings

strong lifelong bonds and create holiday

Buy a new box of crayons and construction paper. If you are really adventurous buy glitter or glitter glue. Make New Year’s cards. You may get really wild and make homemade ornaments. Put on some Christmas music if that’s your tradition and sing along while you create. Music is proven to enhance memory. If you sing off key and giggle, that’s even better.

memories for years to come. It may seem counter intuitive to keep a list of possible “spontaneous” holiday activities to cultivate. But the truth is, many of us aren’t good at

5. Volunteer together

letting go and truly being “present” with our

Let your child pick the activity that means the most to him. You may choose to walk or bathe a dog at your local shelter, giving him a holiday treat. You may choose to volunteer to pack family food boxes at your local food bank or organize clothing racks at your local homeless shelter. Your child may want to gather gently loved books to take to the children’s wing of your local hospital. Or you both may enjoy staying close to home and raking leaves in the neighbor’s yard. Encourage your child to think of their own volunteer activity.

children and simply having fun. Here are some ideas for spending one on one time with each child that doesn’t require a big budget and may be shared regardless of age or gender.

1. Holiday baking

6. Movie Day!

Let your child lead the way. Find a recipe with simple ingredients they can follow without a lot of fuss. Or buy a tube of cookie dough from the grocery store and keep it simple. Talk and listen to each other while you are decorating cookies. Give some to the neighbors to introduce community building and talk about holiday values.

Ask your child to pick his favorite holiday flick, Home Alone, Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph or other. Make popcorn and binge watch, snuggled up on the couch together – just you and your child. You may even string popcorn while you watch.

• • • • •


7. Holiday book binge

Go to your local library and check out holiday books. Make hot chocolate and sit and binge read together one right after the other. Be sure to ask your child which is her favorite and why. Talk about the stories. Take turns reading out loud and use funny voices to animate the characters.

8. Holiday storytelling

Tell stories to each other with the listener providing the first lines. Here are some story ideas: Rudolph the Untold Story, Frosty’s Vacation, the Zoo Holiday or Little Drummer Boy and the Flute Girl.


9. Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Put on your favorite Christmas music and rock out together! Get your groove on and give your child a spontaneous dance lesson. They may find out how cool you are.

10. Holiday lights tour

Take an evening drive before bedtime in your pajamas. Pipe in holiday tunes and drive around town looking at Christmas lights. Ooh and ah over what you see. (This one has become a tradition for my daughter and me.)

Make your own

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holiday magic, mindfully. Add simple one on one kid time to your holiday to do list. Cut this list out of the magazine or print it up and put it on the refrigerator as a reminder to seize the holiday moments and simply enjoy each other.


Laura Lyles Reagan, MS is a parent coach, family sociologist and author of How to Raise Respectful Parents. She can be reached for parenting resources through her website at

Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Goofy Games That Get in Your Head


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Recommending the Best Toys and Products for Kids

Outside the regular rotation of traditional board games, there is a subset of brilliant games that thrive on the absurd. Tossing aside all decorum and dignity, these head-themed entertainments blaze their own trail into the realm of the ridiculous. Employing the tools of slapstick and physical comedy, players face hilarious challenges with no shame and all the exuberance of youth. Ideal for breaking the ice, party gaming or injecting family game night with fresh hilarity, the following games go to the head of the class for comic competition.

by Gerry Paige Smith

Speak Out: Kids vs Parents

Moustache Smash (Spin Master)


Selecting and memorizing your false moustache is just the beginning of this fast-paced match game, as players seek to smash their ‘stache onto the turning cards that duplicate the style or color of their own. If you’re first (and correct) on the smash, you keep the card. But when the Moustache Pass card turns, all players pass their moustache style to the left and that’s when things really get hairy. Despite having the answer right under your nose, keeping up with the changing style and color of your own moustache adds a farcical challenge to this fast-paced smackdown. The player with the most cards when the pile is gone, wins the smash. Keeping in mind that sudden and silly facial hair makes everything better,the mounting tension of this game make it an easy pick for fast fun from the gaming shelf!

Egged On: The Game of Egg Roulette

Pie Face Showdown

Dignity is the first thing to go in this popular game that challenges our most basic speech abilities. Wearing clear plastic mouthpieces players draw a phrase card and try to speak coherently enough to be understood by their teammates. Racing against a timer, the challenge to form words without the use of your lips takes on a desperation that is both maddening and hilarious. Designed for joint play between parents and kids, this version employs to delightful effect 200 doublesided phrase cards that echo the speech of parents (“This place is a pig sty”) and kids (What a bummer, brother”). There’s a fair amount of drool that comes along with the struggle to make yourself understood during game play. But the sheer physical comedy of this celebration of miscommunication is worth every single spoken word.


It takes a bit of bravery to offer up your own face as a target for pie. But the two-player Pie Face Showdown makes it a bit easier as the risk and reward is shared between two players. With two bright cut-outs for players’ faces, the ‘pie’ (watered sponge) is loaded on the throwing arm. Then each player, face exposed, begins frantic button mashing that will unpredictably launch the pie into one player’s face. The throwing arm is also adjustable so that young children can enjoy a more balanced game against faster, more advanced players. The game includes the pie sponge that can be moistened, but whipped cream (not included) is a sweet option, too. There’s no strategy, no long game, no sedate pacing here. Just the excitement and suspense of knowing a pie is incoming, and the destination face is a mystery...until it hits.


Ten eggs in a plastic carton and you must pick one. Some eggs are safe, but some are full of water. With a spinner to direct the choosing, the game play is simple. Players take turns picking plastic refillable eggs from the carton and smashing them on their head. Once you acknowledge that the players are enjoying a juvenile pleasure of smashing eggs on heads, the fun is free to flow. Best played with the under-ten set, this slapstick entertainment maximizes childlike glee as eggs are gently smashed, cracked and tapped on heads to reveal their secret. The amount of water is really small, so the mess is minimal. Ideal for the energetic kids who need an ‘active’ game to keep them engaged, this egg roulette offers up a cracking good time!

Gerry Paige Smith is a syndicated columnist recommending the best products for kids and their families. Discover more at


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Old Alabama Town Holiday Open House

301 Columbus Street Montgomery, AL Join Old Alabama Town in December to celebrate the holiday season. Our house museums will be authentically decorated for the holidays. Early December. (334)240.4500

Pet Photos with Santa

Montgomery, AL Saturdays + Sundays in December | Don’t forget your four-legged friends! Pets love Santa, too! Pet photos are available on Saturdays and Sundays in December and $5 for every pet photo will be donated to the Montgomery Humane Society.

Photos with Santa

Through December 24th @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday’s, 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. Come have your photo made with Santa on the big green sleigh! Packages and Digital Files are available to purchase!

Stone Mountain Christmas

Through January 3 @ Stone Mountain Park 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. Stone Mountain, GA There is nothing like the Christmas season that magically transforms Stone Mountain Park into a land of enchantment. Within the glow of more than two million twinkling lights, you can watch live entertainment, engage in fun attractions and reconnect with friends and family during this special time of year. Make a Stone Mountain Christmas a part of your holiday tradition. Events include Wonderland Walkway, Snow Angel Castle, Holly Jolly Cabaret, The Polar Express 4D Experience, Snow Angel Fireworks and Snowfall Celebration, Sleigh Ride, Simply Christmas, Christmas Parade, Visit with Santa Claus, storytelling and live shows, great food and holiday shopping!

Magical Nights of Lights

“A Christmas Carol” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival ad on page 29

Through December 24 1 Festival Drive Montgomery, AL A heartwarming must-see that will get you into the swing of the holiday season with Scrooge’s search for redemption and a spectacular, magical evening of ghosts, spirits, festivity, and goodwill. Under new direction this season, there are sure to be a few extra surprises in store for all who love Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition. “God bless us, every one!”

Holiday Gift Wrapping

Now through Christmas Eve Save time and have our friends at the Montgomery Humane Society wrap your gifts this holiday season. Prices vary based on the packages size and all proceeds benefit the Montgomery Humane Society. For a list of times, visit Located next to Pet Smart in EastChase Plaza.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Through January 3 @ Lake Lanier 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy. Buford, GA Nightly 5:00-10:00pm. Rekindle an old tradition or create a new one at Lake Lanier Islands Resort’s Magical Nights of Lights holiday celebration. A seven-mile drive through tour of animated, festive, holiday light displays. At the end of your tour, the Holiday Village awaits you with carnival rides and games, pony rides and numerous holiday treats. Warm up with a hot cup of cocoa or step inside Santa’s Workshop for some holiday shopping and a visit with Santa. And nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like a visit to Legacy Lodge & Conference Center for a delectable Magical Nights of Lights dinner buffet, or stay the night so the kids can enjoy the time honored tradition of having Breakfast with Santa.

lights celebrating the holiday season. This spectacular show has attracted almost two million visitors since it opened in 1992. With more than a dozen larger-thanlife lighted scenes, Fantasy In Lights remains unique in that its scenes are custom-designed especially for Callaway Gardens–to celebrate not only the joy of the season but the wonder of nature in this idyllic setting. Drive your car or ride the Jolly Trolley to experience scenes like March of the Toy Soldiers and Snowflake Valley. At Robin Lake Beach, enjoy ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and ‘The Nativity’, light and sound shows enticing passers-by to stop, reflect and enjoy. Sunday, November 11, the annual March of Dimes Walk – one night each year is reserved for walkers only to hike the winter wonderland of Fantasy In Lights. No vehicles allowed!

North Pole Express Train Rides

December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-16 @ Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Calera, AL Fridays, Nov. 17, 24, December 1, 8 and 15 Saturdays, Nov. 18, 25, December 2, 9, and 16 Sundays, Nov. 19, 26, and Dec. 3 and 10 Please visit our website for times. “All Aboard” says the conductor, and your journey begins. Through the dark night, the magical train speeds to the top of the world! Upon arrival at the brilliantly decorated North Pole, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves board the train to visit with everyone, so be sure to bring your camera! You’ll enjoy chocolate milk and cookies and sing Christmas carols along with the live musician, Mr. Jim. Listen to a special Christmas story and receive a Christmas gift. 1(800)943.4490


Through Christmas Eve Montgomery, AL Visit Santa in his brand-new Whimsical Wonderland located in front of Blackfinn Ameripub and get a professional photo. For a list of package prices and to make an appointment, visit

Annual Fantasy In Lights

Through January 6 @ Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain, GA The most spectacular holiday light and sound show in the south begins November 17- Jan. 6! Nestled amidst wooded landscape of Callaway Gardens, Fantasy In Lights is the Southeast’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show with more than eight million twinkling


McWane Science Center Magic of Model Trains

Through January 7 Birmingham AL Back for its 10th year in a row, the Magic of Model Trains will return to spread some holiday cheer and amaze guests. Discover trains of every shape and size

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inside this popular exhibit of train displays. Every set in the exhibit is designed to scale with the size of the trains. The meticulous detail of the scenery includes covered bridges, downtown storefronts and, of course, several train stations that will keep your family entertained for hours. Sponsored by Royal Cup.

Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain

Through February 25 @ Stone Mountain Park 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. Stone Mountain, GA Snow Mountain is Atlanta’s first snow park! The 2017/2018 season opens November 18– February 25. Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park transforms into a winter wonderland with Snow Mountain. Bundle your family up and get ready for snow tubing, snowballs, snowmen and snow angels. Snow Mountain’s stateof-the-art snow-making magic guarantees you tons of fresh snow daily. And with two Mountain SnoLifts to get you up the tubing hill, you’ll want to go again and again!

Wetumpka Depot presents: “A Christmas Story”

November 27 – December 2 300 S Main Street Wetumpka, AL The Wetumpka Depot players will present “A Christmas Story,” November 27 – December 2. Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas on the Depot stage. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself, at Higbee’s Department Store. The consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the

family’s temperamental exploding furnace; Scut Farkas, the school bully; the boys’ experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; Ralphie’s father winning a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg in a net stocking; Ralphie’s fantasy scenarios and more. A Christmas Story is destined to become a theatrical holiday perennial. (334) 868.1440

12th Annual Interfaith Christmas Nativity Exhibit

November 29-December 3 3460 Carter Hill Road Montgomery, AL 1:00-8:00 p.m. Help your family keep the true meaning of Christmas in your heart from the start by attending this Community Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. This spectacular event features nativities from around the world and special music by local performers. This magnificent display is sure to warm the hearts of young and old alike. 3460 Carter Hill Road, Montgomery. Open to all. FREE Admission.

Christmas Music and Tree Lighting

November 30 @ Millbrook Village Green Stage Millbrook, AL There will be caroling, a live Nativity, refreshments for sale, the Tree Lighting and the Christmas Lights and Music show.

Little Women

November 30 – December 10 @ Cloverdale Playhouse 960 Cloverdale Road Montgomery, AL Based on Louisa May Alcott’s early life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March, detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood and their experience grow-

ing up in Civil War America. In a new “trunk show” adaptation, this production brings a fresh take to a familiar and heart-warming story just in time for the holidays. (334) 262-1530

20th Annual Lights of Love

December 7 @ Jackson Hospital Montgomery, AL 6 p.m. For a contribution of $15 or more to the Jackson Hospital Foundation, a light will be placed on the Lights of Love tree inside of Jackson Hospital in front lobby in honor, or in memory, of someone special to you. For contributions of $100 or more Moravian stars will be placed on the tree. For contributions of $500 or more a decorative angel will be placed on the tree. Christian music will be presented. An invitation to the ceremony will be sent to those honored or to the family of those memorialized. 293.6940

YMCA Camp Chandler Holiday Camps

December 20-22 1240 Jordan Dam Road Wetumpka, AL Arriving on Dec 20th at 4-5 p.m. and departing Dec. 22nd at 4-5 p.m. This adventure is for old and new campers (ages 5-14), old and new staff, friends and relatives. Fee: $110 (members) and $125 (non-members), which includes t-shirt and camp store. 229.0031

2017 Capital City Governors Tree Lighting December 1 @ Capital Montgomery, AL 5:30 p.m. Come enjoy the National Guard Band 30 minutes prior to tree lighting. - Governor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Capitol. (334) 242.7150

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MPAC Holiday Show: Chris Tomlin

December 1 @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center Montgomery, AL 7 p.m.,Christmas Songs of Worship

City of Prattville’s Annual Christmas Parade

December 1 @ Autauga County Courthouse Prattville, AL The parade will start at 7pm at the Autauga County Courthouse at 4th and Court Streets. It will follow Main Street, turn right on Northington, then left on Doster Road to Stanley Jensen Stadium. 334-595-0854

Holiday Market

December 1 @ Veterans Park Tallassee, AL 8 p.m.

“Tis the Season!” and the “Alien Who Stole Christmas

December 1-17 @ Planetarium 1010 Forrest Avenue Montgomery, AL This great traces the development of many of the world’s endearing holiday customs, and how they involve lighting up the winter season, from the burning Yule log and sparkling Christmas tree lights, to the lighting of the Menorah and luminaries. It also recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice. Not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Pagan, Nordic, Roman, Egyptian and Hopi. It also takes a look at some of our more lighthearted seasonal traditions: from gift-giving and kissing under the mistletoe to songs about lords a-leaping, and ladies dancing. And the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles. St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and Santa Claus all drop by as well. (334)241.4799

tions are accepted and appreciated to help with expenses. 578.4846

Breakfast with Santa

December 2 @ Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Santa always starts his day off with a good breakfast, and this year Eastdale Mall invites you to join him! Reservations required.

ad on page 23

December 1-3, 7-10, 14-31 @ Montgomery Zoo 2301 Coliseum Blvd. Montgomery, AL 5:30- 9:30 p.m. each night. Thousands of Holiday Lights illuminate The Montgomery Zoo in shapes of animals and Christmas themes. See the Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of festive lights and decorations. Stroll the many pathways or enjoy a brisk ride on the Santaland Express train ride. Visit with Santa nightly; enjoy live entertainment, food, gifts and more. (334) 240-4900

Christmas Begins With Christ: An Eclectic Christmas

December 1-9 1455 Claud Road Eclectic, AL Come join us in December to experience the true story of the first Christmas. Time slots are scheduled in 15 minute increments. If registering through the website, your reservation will be confirmed as soon as possible. Admission is free, and donaMontgomery Parents I December 2017

December 3 6610 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 4:30 p.m. Christmas Cookie contest, Mission projects and concert. (334) 272.6152

Eufaula Christmas Tour of Homes

December 2 Eufaula, AL Stroll through history and witness the magnificence of Eufaula’s finest homes all aglow in holiday splendor. Enjoy a seated luncheon or an elegant dinner at the grand historical Shorter Mansion.

Holiday Parade

December 2 Tallassee, AL 10 a.m. Begins at Tallassee Church of Christ and goes thru Central Blvd down to Barnette Blvd. and end at Tallassee High School.


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Frazer Memorial UMC presents Youth Worship Arts ad on page 15

December 3 @ Wesley Hall, 6 pm 6000 Atlanta Hwy. Montgomery, AL (334) 272.8622

(334) 283.5151

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Holiday Open House @ Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts ad on page 19

Annual Holiday Light Festival at The Montgomery Zoo

Aldersgate UMC: The Great Christmas Cookie Caper

December 2 1 Museum Drive Montgomery, AL 1 to 4 p.m.; The festivities for the event include musical performances by local school choirs and performance groups, holiday art projects, cookies and lemonade, and horse and carriage rides in the park. Holiday Open House is free and open to the public, so invite your friends and family and spend the afternoon at MMFA celebrating the season.

Millbrook Spirit of Christmas Parade, “A Peaceful Christmas”

December 2 @ Sports Complex behind Smokehouse Bar-B-Q and will end at the intersection at City Hall. Parade is at 2 p.m. Activities will be from 1:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. (334) 285.7232

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

December 2 Montgomery, AL 5k Run or Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation Also 1 mile fun run (chasing an Elf) for under 8’s and 1-mile walk to support the Arthritis Foundation.

Santa Claus Special Train Ride

December 2, 9 and 16 @ The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Calera, AL Santa rides the train with you! Tell him what you would like for Christmas as he poses for photos. 1(800)943.4490


Hanging of the Greens at First United Methodist Church ad on page 42

December 3 Montgomery, AL 4 p.m. Come with unwrapped toys or monetary gifts for families in need as we dress our Sanctuary for the season of Advent. (334) 834.8990

Hometown Christmas Parade

December 4 @ Downtown Alexander City 6 p.m., One of East Alabama’s largest parades featuring elaborate floats, dancing groups, marching bands, horse-riding clubs and Santa Claus highlight. (256) 329.9227

Governor’s Mansion Candlelight Tour Open House

December 4, 11, & 18 1142 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 5-7 pm. The 1907 Governor’s Mansion will be aglow with lights and filled with the spirit of the season. 834.3022

Holiday Festival

December 4-16 @ Performing Arts Center 1000 Selma Ave. Selma, AL A community celebration of the holiday season. A two week longcraft show and bake sale with Santa in attendance some afternoons. 9:30 am. -5:30pm.

City of Wetumpka Tree Lighting

December 5 @ Gold Star Park 6 p.m. Photos with Santa at 5 p.m. and hot cocoa.


Pet Photos with Santa

December 5 and December 22 @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-9 p.m. in December, furry friends are invited to have their photo taken with Santa!

“The Nutcracker”

December 7-10 Montgomery, AL For over 42 years presented by The Montgomery Ballet. The world’s most famous Christmas ballet. A Montgomery tradition since 1976, this year’s production promises to delight all ages with brilliant dancing, beautiful scenery, and colorful costumes. All reserved seats. Tickets are $20 to $30 for adults. We offer military, senior and student discounts. Prices are dependent on convenience and/or handling fees. (334) 409.0522

Wonderettes,” December 7-19. Directed by Mathew Oliver. The Wonderettes are back on the Depot stage ! This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. Featuring great ’60s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Winter Wonderland,” the result is, of course, marvelous! 868.1440

City of Wetumpka Christmas Decoration Contest

December 7 6:00 p.m. Businesses and residential. There will be judging to those who have submitted applications. Prizes will be awarded.

Wetumpka Depot presents: “Winter Wonderettes”

December 7-19 300 S Main Street Wetumpka, AL The Wetumpka Depot players will present “Winter

Annual Christmas Concert by Prattville Community Chorus and Prattville Pops December 8 @ Doster Community Center 424 South Northington Street Prattville, AL Concert will begin at 7pm at Doster Community Center. This Annual Christmas Concert will feature both the Prattville Community Chorus and Prattville Pops and a special appearance by dancers from the Center for the Performing Arts. 334-595-0854

Wetumpka Nativity and Luminary Open House

City of Wetumpka’s Christmas on the Coosa

December 7-17 Prattville, AL 7:30 pm, Way Off Broadway Theatre presents both A Charlie Brown Christmas. Based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson. Stage adaptation by Eric Schaeffer by special arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

December 8 @ Downtown Wetumpka 6 p.m.

Way Off Broadway Theatre’s Christmas Plays


ers will delight you atop the 40 ft. set resembling a Christmas tree on stage.

December 9 Character Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Arts & Crafts, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Car Show, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Street Parade, 2 p.m. Wakeboarding Santa Show, 4 p.m. Fireworks/Wakeboarding Santa, 6 p.m

First Baptist Church presents The Living Christmas Tree ad on page 7

December 8-10 @ First Baptist Church 305 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL Come joins us for the “Living Christmas Tree”. Perform-

(334)567.1313 or (334)567.4811

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Christmas Open House December 9 919 Felder Avenue Montgomery, AL



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McWane Science Polar Express P.J. Party

December 9 & 10 Birmingham AL Time: 2 PM - 4 PM IMAX @ 1 PM or 3 PM Pricing: $20, Members receive $5 off Join us for a journey beyond your imagination aboard the Polar Express! Slip on your PJs and visit with Santa over a cup of hot cocoa and cookies. Then it’s time to “believe” as you experience Polar Express on the IMAX Dome. A special keepsake will be given to all children 12 and under who wear their pajamas.

McWane Science Center Jingle Bell Breakfast

December 9 & 16 Birmingham AL Time: Breakfast 8:30 AM-9:30 AM, IMAX @ 9:30 AM Pricing: $30 Adults (13+), $25 Child (2-12) Members Receive $5 Off. Bring your little elves for a Merry Morning at McWane! Head to the North Pole where you will enjoy a hot holiday breakfast, make festive crafts, and have a very special visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! When breakfast is over, take a ride down the slide and head to the IMAX Dome for a private showing of Santa vs. the Snowman. Ticket includes same day admission.

and Kristin Allen. When she is not dancing she enjoys spending time with her twin sister, reading mystery novels, drawing portraits, and playing the piano. (334) 467-8603

Brunch with Santa

Saturdays, December 9 + 16 Montgomery, AL 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Parents and their children can enjoy a full brunch and a visit with Santa at Blackfinn Ameripub with proceeds benefiting Child Protect, A Children’s Advocacy Center. Tickets are $20 per parent, $10 per child and include a full brunch, activities and more!

Aldersgate UMC: “Almost There”

Sunday, December 10 6610 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 10:30 a.m. Lessons and Carols Service A heart stirring presentation featuring the Chancel Choir, Drama Team and Orchestra. Narrator: Rev. Macon Armistead (334) 272.6152


River Center for Performing Arts Presents: The Nutcracker


Service of Lessons and Carols at First United Methodist Church ad on page 42

December 10 2416 West Cloverdale Park Montgomery, AL 8:30 am and 11 am; Celebrating the story of the birth of the Christ-child through the reading of scripture and the singing of traditional carols. The music will be led by our cathedral choir, adult ensemble, and orchestra.


Sensory Santa Experience

Wednesday + Thursday, December 13 and 14 Montgomery, AL 7 p.m. | The Shoppes at EastChase is making sure every child has time with Santa by providing a Sensory Santa experience for those families with special needs children. Visit to make an appointment.

MPAC: Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker”

Wednesday, December 13 @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center Montgomery, AL 7 p.m., Bring the whole family for the sweetest Christmas celebration of the season! Experience the exquisite artistry of world class Russian dancers, playful puppets and the unmatched splendor of hand crafted sets and costumes. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is the Holiday tradition that brings the Christmas spirit to life! New York Times raves, “Real beauty!” and Los Angeles Times, “Bravura expertise!” Get your seats now for Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece at Tickets: $23 to $68. Tickets can be purchased online or at the MPAC Box Office.

Holiday Soiree

December 14 @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Grab your girlfriends and head over to Eastdale Mall for a night of shopping, fun and giveaways! Belk Giveaway in front of Belk inside entrance.

Saturday, December 9 @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. Come join Santa and his elves to create a cute Christmas craft! Enjoy cookies. This event requires reservations and space is limited.

A Tuna Christmas

The Prattville Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

December 13th @ Davis Theatre 251 Montgomery Street Montgomery, AL Annual Glenn Miller Holiday Concert. This year’s performance is free to the public. Will be accepting canned food donations for the Montgomery Area Food Bank. This performance will be held at the Davis Theatre. Featuring The United States Air force Band, Airmen of Note, premier jazz ensemble, will perform holiday and Glenn Miller favorites. The Airmen of Note ensemble was created in 1950 to carry on the style and tradition of the Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Dance Band.

(334) 834.8990

Cookies and Crafts with Santa

Saturday, December 9th @ Jeff State Performing Arts Theatre Prattville, AL 2:00 p.m. “Land of the Sweets” and 7:00 p.m. evening performance $15.00 General admission. The Nutcracker is based on the story about a young German girl, Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a battle against the Mouse King. Through her adventures with the Nutcracker Prince, Clara visits the Land of Snow and The Land of Sweets, where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and are rewarded with a series of dances. Portraying the role of Clara in the Nutcracker is an aspiration of many young ballerinas. Madison Faith Allen, a 14 year old Freshman at Sovereign Grace Academy landed the role in this year’s Prattville Nutcracker Ballet. It is a role she has aspired to ever since she put on her first pair of ballet slippers, training at C.J.’s Dance Factory in Prattville. She is the daughter of Craig

Glenn Miller Holiday Concert featuring Airmen of Note

December 9-10 @ River Center for Performing Arts 900 Broadway Columbus, GA December 9th at 7:30 p.m. and December 10th at 2:30 p.m. The Columbus Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker promises to instill a love of the arts in young and old alike. This family-oriented production, which features a cast of over 100 performers, with live orchestra and acclaimed guest artists, captures the magical wonder and innocence of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet as seen through a child’s eyes. Spectacular sets, sumptuous costumes, special effects and live music come together to create a stunning grand-scale event that is sure to become a firm family tradition.

(334) 265.3737

Frazer Memorial UMC presents Musical: The Christmas Storybook ad on page 15

December 10 @ Wesley Hall 6000 Atlanta Hwy. Montgomery, AL 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Frazer presents this community wide production, Christmas Theatre. Fun for the entire family! (334) 272.8622

The Montgomery Chorale Holiday Performances December 12 @ Church of the Ascension Montgomery, AL 7 p.m., Messiah Sing Along


December 14-16, 19-22 @ Studio II Series McClure Theatre Columbus, GA December 14-16, 19-22 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 2:30 at Studio II Series McClure Theatre, Columbus, Ga. Putting the fun in DisFUNction, a brilliant new cast of master comedians continues the legacy of Columbus’ legendary Holiday cult favorite. Springer favorites Jim Pharr and Ben Redding will play all 24 citizens of Tuna, the tiny Texas town that erupts in holiday mayhem every year with a disastrous production of “A Christmas Carol,” yard displays vandalized by the Christmas Phantom and a Humane Society overrun with iguanas, coyotes, sheep and myna birds. 60,000 patrons have made this a genuine Christmas tradition in Columbus.

2017 Capital City Christmas Parade December 15 Montgomery, AL

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6 p.m. The City of Montgomery would like to invite you to the Christmas Parade. Depart from Cramton Bowl and Parade downtown from Capitol Steps to the Court Street Fountain.

Vince Guaraldi score. Join, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they mount a play, save a tree, and uncover the true meaning of Christmas.

(334) 625.2118

River Center for Performing Arts Presents: A Cantus Christmas

Eastdale Mall - WLWI Giveaway

December 19 @ River Center for Performing Arts 900 Broadway Columbus, GA 7:30 p.m. In its eighteenth annual holiday concert, the professional chorus CantusColumbus, directed by William J. Bullock, recounts the Christmas story with classical masterpieces and audience carols. The chorus is assisted this year by the renowned Vega String Quartet and the Legacy Hall concert organ and piano. This beautiful holiday tradition is the perfect way to prepare to receive the true message of the season.

Saturday, December 16 @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. WLWI and Eastdale Mall are giving you the chance to win a $2,500 Shopping Spree! Listen to 92.3 for a chance to win. 277.7359

River Center for Performing Arts Presents: A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 18 - 19 @ River Center for Performing Arts 900 Broadway Columbus, GA Saturday, December 18 at 6:30 p.m., December 19 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Emmy® and Peabody award-winning story by Charles M. Schulz, has warmed the hearts of millions of fans since it first aired on television over fifty years ago. Now the classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic

Holiday Pops Concert

December 19th @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center 201 Tallapoosa Street Montgomery, AL 7:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center. Join the MSO for an evening of everyone’s seasonal favorites. (334) 240.4004

American Girl Tea Party with Santa at The Shoppes of Eastchase Thursday, December 21 @ Eastchase Montgomery, AL 2 PM. Enjoy a tea party with Santa and your

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favorite American Girl Doll on Thursday, December 21 at The Shoppes at EastChase!

Aldersgate UMC: Christmas Eve Service Sunday, December 24 6610 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Communion, Carols and Candlelight.

2500 Legends Circle Prattville, AL Regular morning services at 9:30 a.m and 11 a.m. Candlelight services at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. December 24 @ White Water Camp 2276 US Highway 82 Prattville, AL Regular morning service at 10:00 a.m.

6000 Atlanta Hwy Montgomery, AL Times TBA.

(334) 272.6152

(334) 272-8622

Atlanta New Year’s Eve Peach Drop

December 31 @ Peachtree Street Atlanta , GA This Block Party for Thousands offers live Musical Performances by local artists and musicians, as well as a midnight Fireworks Spectacular. Tickets are available at a variety of local sources. Stay downtown and enjoy the festivities at Underground Atlanta ... enjoy the ‘official’ Peach Drop at midnight - followed by a really awesome New Year’s fireworks display, with live performances.

Centerpoint Fellowship Church Christmas Eve Services

First United Methodist Church Christmas Eve Services

ad on page 20

December 24 2416 West Cloverdale Park Montgomery, AL Communion Service at noon, Family Service at 3:15 pm, and Candlelight service at 5 and 7 pm.

December 31 @ Behind the City Administrative Bldg Wetumpka, AL 9 p.m. until midnight. Fireworks, DJ and fun!

(334) 834.8990

Rockin’ NOON Year’s Eve Celebration

December 24 @ Bienville Square Shopping Center 4876 US Highway 231 Wetumpka, AL Regular morning service at 9:35 a.m. Candlelight service at 4:30 p.m. December 24 @ Wilson YMCA 1445 Wilson Park Drive Pike Road, AL Regular morning service at 9:30 a.m. Candlelight service at 5:00 p.m. December 24 @ Marriott Conference Center

ad on page 42

Frazer Memorial UMC “Candlelight Worship” ad on page 15

December 24

New Year’s Eve Party

December 31st @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL Eastdale Mall is excited to host it’s 3rd annual Rockin’ NOON Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31st from 11 am to 1 pm. mp


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Montgomery Parents I December 2017


A Page in a Book Books to Save a Bad Day Families with kids often have a front row seat to the unwelcome surprises that can come out of nowhere to disrupt an otherwise normal day. When plans go awry and things spiral out of control, sometimes a lighthearted response is the best approach as we work to reassemble our expectations. The following titles recast catastrophe as comedy, taking readers through the mayhem toward hopeful and humorous outcomes on the other side of unexpected chaos!







Georgie’s Best Bad Day

by Ruth Chan (Roaring Brook / Macmillan) After getting up on the wrong side of the bed and slipping on a banana peel, George seeks out his friends to help turn his bad day around. Unfortunately, his friends are all having their own difficult mornings. They agree that doing their favorite things is guaranteed to turn the bad day around. But as they explore each friend’s choice hobby, gardening gets clipped, knitting knots up, and cooking becomes chaos. When the friends are about give up on the bad day, one final insult to their efforts lets them laugh at the chaos and make the most of what’s left. Delightfully illustrated slapstick moments in George’s Best Bad Day offer kids a bit of humorous perspective for the day that challenges them at every turn.

And The Robot Went...

by Michelle Robinson, Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion / Houghton Mifflin) The discovery of a box launches an odyssey of catastrophic reactions as a versatile cast of characters try to restore the disassembled robot inside it. With so many hands on the repairs the result teeters between cascade failure or robot readiness, until one hand with a key turns the chaos around. Filled with fantastic sound effects, readers enjoy a mounting tension as switches flick, screws twist, and levers pull in the effort to put the robot back in action. This title also benefits from the repeating patterns of cumulative storytelling which support predictive thought, memorization, and speech therapy. Guaranteed to be a read-aloud favorite, And The Robot Went goes to the top of the bookshelf!


by Andrea Tsurumi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) When Lola ruins a chair with a massive juice spill, running away to the library (because books and bathrooms) seems like the best plan. In her dash away from the accident, Lola runs right into other friends’ messes. A broken swing and chopped water hose spur her frightened friends to join Lola’s escape. As the running entourage of unlucky friends swells, their frantic flight is surrounded by edge-to-edge illustrations of mistakes, mayhem, calamity, and errors throughout their community. Chaos follows the fleeing friends into the library and while they don’t escape the day’s catastrophe, they do find a single word in the library that can help them revisit their troubles and set them right. Filled with hilarious background imagery of everything that can go wrong, Accident is a cheerful reminder that not every misfortune happens on purpose.

Find more reading recommendations at


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As the chief director of your family’s universe, you’re the pulse-point of the home. But if that means you’re struggling under the mantle of an unforgiving schedule, now is the time to re-evaluate. Your health depends on it. Just ask Nefertari Williams. When nine-months pregnant with her fifth child, Williams suffered a life-threatening heart attack that forced her to reassess her chaotic lifestyle. Like many moms, 34-year-old Williams’s daily routine included getting her children ready for school before heading to her full-time job working with cognitively and physically disabled preschoolers. Montgomery Parents I December 2017



After slogging through a 45-minute commute home from work, she quickly made dinner, helped her children with homework and then taxied them to dance, karate, swimming and singing practices. “I made sure my children were not only involved in many activities-they had to be the best,” says Williams, who was also a stage mom to her oldest daughter, a talented singer. In addition, she sold cosmetics and her handmade jewelry. Squeezed into her schedule were visits to the nursing home to see her mother, who had suffered a massive stroke. Her husband, who worked nights, managed the family’s laundry. Williams blames her exhausting schedule for contributing to her heart attack, which was caused by a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). According to the American Heart Association, SCAD typically affects young women who are otherwise healthy. Thirty percent of the time, the condition, which is a spontaneous tearing in the coronary artery wall, occurs among women who have recently had a child. SCAD does not

Simple ways to de-stress

Color in an adult coloring book Get lost in a page-turner novel Meditate for one to five minutes Go for a walk Do yoga Watch a funny sitcom or movie Listen to your favorite music Paint Take a bubble bath have any warning signs, making it hard to diagnose prior to a heart attack. Although doctors aren’t sure why SCAD occurs, Williams says, “after reaching out to other SCAD survivors, we had one thing in common--hyperactive lifestyles.”

Overcommitment health risks “Wanting to please, wanting to be everything to everybody, women just keep


extending themselves, until their minds and bodies cannot cope,” says Rosalie Moscoe, RHN, RNCP, and author of Frazzled Hurried Woman! Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving. Besides heart disease, chronic stress can lengthen the recovery time from illness and fuel other long-term health problems, like obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, depression and even infertility. A hectic lifestyle could also make conception more difficult, says Elle Griffin, a natural fertility expert and feminine vitality coach.

Moderate exercise Exercise in moderation can help relieve stress, but Griffin warns that overtaxing an already stressed body with too much strenuous exercise can increase the stress hormone cortisol. “High levels of circulating stress hormones can impair adrenal function, resulting in brain fog, lethargy and the dreaded ‘pregnant belly’ even if you are not with child,” she says. “Some women even start losing their hair.”


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How can you better manage your busy lifestyle? Prioritize. Make a list of everything you do. Decide which items can be eliminated, pared down or delegated to others. Can you organize a carpool with another parent? Can you limit your kids’ activities to one per season? Are there volunteer activities that you no longer find meaningful? Can your kids fold and put away laundry? “Dissect one of your most stressful commitments,” Moscoe says. “Your own thoughts and feelings about what is expected of you will determine how much stress you will feel. If you have elder care, get your teenage kids or other family members to visit your folks and do errands. It doesn’t have to be you all of the time.” Williams, who is in congestive heart failure, says she now mostly manages her home and family from her bed. “After nearly losing my life, I have learned what’s important which is my love of my higher power and my family,” she says. “My family is happy because I am here with them. They don’t miss the hyperactive lifestyle at all.” Pursue pleasure. Integrate activities into your day that bring you personal joy. “That doesn’t mean you have to go to yoga or pilates,” Griffin says. “Whether it’s eating cake for dinner or having drinks with girlfriends, doing things just for yourself can have a huge effect on your endocrine health and fertility.” Try out a new recipe, engage in a favorite craft, read a book or take a nap. Or plan to do nothing at all. Schedule “me time” in your calendar if necessary.

Practice saying no. Avoid adding any new commitments to your schedule. If an opening appears on the calendar, try not to fill the space by obliging someone else. Think you can afford to wait to rein in your hyperactive lifestyle? “Sit down and look into your loved ones eyes. Then, picture them looking at you while laying in the critical care unit of a hospital,” Williams says. “Because you love them, take care of you, so you can be here to watch them grow up.” mp Christa Melnyk Hines is a freelance journalist and author of Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life, a resource for moms seeking a more balanced social life that supports their emotional health.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017



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Justice League


MPAA Rating: PG-13 Overall: B Violence: CSexual Content: B+ Profanity: BAlcohol / Drug Use: C The MPAA has rated The Justice League PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action. Since the credits rolled on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Caped Crusader has softened, even if he still isn’t sure of his deceased colleague’s motives. However, the time for mourning quickly concludes when yet another antagonist shows up on the blue planet. Following the comic genre template, an extended backstory sequence explains Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). He is this episode’s villain, and one who initiated a huge battle on Earth many years ago. Fortunately he was sent packing, but neglected to take his baggage with him: three glowing “Mother Boxes” that, if placed together, will destroy the world... maybe even the universe. He discovers one of the boxes is stashed on the island of Themyscira, also the home of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). His violent visit, joined by a swarm of CGI flying somethings, motivates WW aka Diana Prince to team up with Batman to send the prehistoric predator on his way once more. The pair also recruit to their cause Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. Teen audiences wanting to see these DC Comic conquerors duke it out will enjoy the many battle sequences of these titans, though there is little blood or gore. Perhaps the most disappointing issue with this film is a subtle decision in the wardrobe department. Wonder Woman is already the singular member of the Justice League to be stuck going to work in awkward swimwear. Parents may want to take this opportunity to illustrate the entrainment industry’s incessant need to continually define women as “eye candy”.

MPAA Rating: PG Overall: B+ Violence: BSexual Content: AProfanity: AAlcohol / Drug Use: B The MPAA has rated Coco PG for thematic elements. Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) comes from a cursed family. It all began when his great-great-grandfather decided to pursue a career as a songwriter and abandoned his wife Imelda and their young daughter Coco. She banned her descendants from having anything to do with music. Even though that was four generations ago, Miguel is still suffering the effects of her edict. Then comes Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead. While his parents, Abuelita (grandmother) and great grandmother Coco are preparing for the celebration that honors deceased ancestors, the twelve-year-old attempts to sneak out with the hope of entering a talent contest being held in the town square. But everyone’s plans are disrupted when the stringed instrument is destroyed. The unfortunate incident does have one fortunate result – it provides a clue to Miguel’s heritage. Armed with this information, the boy breaks into the mausoleum of Ernesto De La Cruz to steal his famous guitar that is on display there. Although his intentions are just to show his closed-minded relatives that they should let him play music, the theft has unexpected and supernatural results. Much of the story takes place in Land of the Dead which may be frightening for young viewers, especially when much of the comedy comes from literal portrayals of characters losing their heads, dropping their jaws, or having their eyes pop out. Along with these somewhat ghoulish images, the plot features a dark villain with murderous intentions. Despite this, Coco offers a heartwarming tale best shared with older children rather than the little tikes.

The Star


MPAA Rating: PG Overall: B Violence: B+ Sexual Content: AProfanity: A Alcohol / Drug Use: A The MPAA has rated The Star PG for some thematic elements. The Star portrays the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ through colorful animation with a good dose of artistic flexibility... meaning the tale starts with a talking rodent. Abby (voice of Kristin Chenoweth) is our “mouse on the wall” that allows us to meet young Mary (voice of Gina Rodriguez) when she is visited by an angel. When the young woman is told she will give birth to the Son of God, Mary is more than willing to accept the assignment. Fortunately, within the context of this movie, everyone demonstrates great faith in Mary’s announcement, including her chosen man. His biggest concern is capacity live up to the responsibilities of being the father of Jesus. That’s when the next heavenly communication takes place, giving Joseph the assurance he’s up to the task. Definitely created to keep the attention of children, The Star’s main attraction is Bo the donkey (voice of Steven Yeun). Desperate to escape his servitude for a miller’, which means walking in circles to grind grain, Bo’s greatest desire is to provide transportation to a king. Although the biblical story’s sequence of events is somewhat shuffled and the Good Book’s narrative didn’t include three “wise” cracking camels (voices of Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey) or other supportive farm animals, the spirit of the occasion still shines through. And that may make this movie a worthwhile reminder of the “reason for the season”.

MPAA Rating: PG Overall: A Violence: B+ Sexual Content: AProfanity: AAlcohol / Drug Use: BThe MPAA has rated Wonder PG for thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that Auggie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay) is no ordinary ten-year-old. Born with a genetic defect (that is never clearly identified in the film), the boy has undergone 27 surgeries in his short life and still has a face only a mother could love. Consequently, the youngster has been sheltered from the outside world and home schooled – until now. Auggie’s mother (Julia Roberts) has decided that he should attend a real institution as he begins the first year of middle school. She logics that most of the other students will be new too, so it should ease the transition. Despite all the pep talks, and the support of his father (Owen Wilson) and sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), the whole family is secretly quite concerned about how Auggie’s facial deformities will be seen by his peers. Much of this movie follows the quiet child as he tries to establish himself in a new environment that is less hospitable than the walls of his of own home. Watching Aggie navigate the challenges of his situation would provide enough material for a good plot, yet this thoughtful script (which is based on a novel by R.J. Palacio) takes the story into unexpected territory by examining the feelings of jealousy, neglect and isolation as the perspectives of his sister and other friends are shared. In a subtle way, it exposes the fact that we all carry scars – even if they aren’t as visible as the nose on Auggie’s face. And it demonstrates the power that’s unleashed when ordinary people doing kind things. 79

Meet the 2017

Families of the Year


Randy and Kym have also modeled devotion to family by helping care for Kym’s ill brother and Randy’s mother, who lived with Alzheimer’s for years before her death. Kym’s parents also suffered a disaster when their home in Bay Minette was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire, and Randy and Kym were very involved in helping with cleanup and settling her parents in a new place to live.

Edited by Alison K. Rouse For 29 years, the Family Guidance Center of Alabama has sponsored Families of the Year Awards, recognizing outstanding families nominated for exceptional family teamwork, individual growth and family involvement. This year five families from Alabama’s River Region were honored at a special ceremony at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts on November 12. In addition to the Family Guidance Center and Montgomery Parents magazine, sponsors of the program include: WSFA-TV, Aronov, Sterling Bank, Cumulus Broadcasting, the J.K. Lowder Family Foundation, O’Donahue Design and Minuteman Press. For more information about the awards selection or the Family Guidance Center, please call (334) 270-4100 or visit

The Andy & Tametria Dantzler Family

Nominated by Garreayau Tucker, this Montgomery family exhibits a strong teamwork spirit, resilience, adaptation and perseverance through their daily autism journey with their 4-year-old son Conner. Following his diagnosis three years ago, Tametria resigned from her job and began to educate herself about autism to become Conner’s strongest advocate, while her husband helped to make the home environment more accommodating to a child with sensory and texture issues. As the family’s parent educator, Tucker has seen firsthand the many early intervention and engaging programs that the Dantzlers have exposed Conner to, along with a daily schedule and goals. “During one of our home visits,” explains Tucker, “it was suggested that Mr. and Mrs. Dantzler incorporate more outside play into their daily routine. By our next visit, they had transformed their back yard into a sensory-friendly oasis for Conner.” Tametria first shared her family’s story while serving as a guest speaker during the 2015 Alabama First Home Teacher Conference in Montgomery. Approximately 300 parent educators from around the state attended and were moved by her story of perseverance and inspiration. She has fought for full access for disabled children within the local Head Start, writing letters to state leaders and speaking with parents about their rights. The Dantzler family has been featured in an online blog that provided another opportunity to share Conner’s journey and the family’s efforts to make Conner’s disability an ability. Tametria will also serve as a presenter for the 2017 Parents as Teachers International Conference, where she will continue to inspire parents with her experience.

The Randy & Kym Blake Family

The trait most-admired in Montgomery residents Randy and Kym Blake, along with their children Chip, Bailey and Matthew, is, in the words of nominator Jeremy Pridgeon, their “follow through.” As Pridgeon, senior minister of First United Methodist Church says, “In a day where commitments seem to waver and where someone’s word doesn’t carry as much weight as it once did, Randy and Kym model something desperately needed today, in that, when they say they will do something you can count on them.” The entire family is active in multiple areas of their church, including Confirmation classes, summer retreats to Camp Lee, Vacation Bible School, youth choir and overseas mission trips. Oldest son Chip, 18, attended a youth mission trip to Ecuador recently, and as a current Auburn University student, he continues to put church first in his list of activities. Daughter Bailey, 16, helps with Children’s Church and babysits for church events. She is currently a junior at Trinity Presbyterian School, where she participates on the school’s dance team. Younger son Matthew, 11, is also a Trinity student and was a strong leader in the ELMO elementary ministry group at church before joining the youth group. He will become a confirmed member of the church next year. Montgomery Parents I December 2017

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Ted and sons Teddy, 21, and Andrew, 15, filled in the gaps and the family never seemed to miss a beat. Others were especially impressed when Catherine posted on Facebook that Ted was putting her hair up for her! Oldest son Nathan, 26, was supported and encouraged by the family when he chose to complete his master’s degree in education. He had previously earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, but felt passionate about investing in the lives of students as a teacher. He now lives and works in Tuscaloosa, where he has a profound educational and spiritual impact on his students. Middle son Teddy is almost finished with coursework to achieve a technical degree in welding, while youngest son Andrew is a sophomore at Pike Road Historic School. Catherine is a Makerspace teacher at Pike Road Elementary School, and both Ted and Andrew often help out not only in her classroom but also help care for her classroom pets and chickens. In addition to longtime support of the Montgomery baseball program, family members are very active at the Church at Pike Road, where they have participated in mission work both locally and in Florida. Catherine has also become the coordinator for a new weekly Kids’ Club ministry at Pike Road Village in hopes of making a lifelong impact for the kingdom of God in this community.

The Dantzler family volunteers with studies at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta once a week for parent training, mealtime educational/behavioral strategies and other expert advice on understanding autism and how to cope with its challenges. Both parents keep their son actively involved in engaging activities. He belongs to the Montgomery Therapeutic Recreation Center and participates in the children’s ministry at church. *Dantzler Family Photo Credit: Felecia Causey Photography

The Shelton & Diane Hamilton Family

Montgomery residents Shelton Hamilton, Sr., his wife Diane, and their sons Shelton, Jr. (also known as DJ), 25; and Shaun, 22, were nominated by Anthony Davis, who has witnessed the family’s involvement in the community through Sickle Cell fundraisers, ringing the Salvation Army Christmas bell, working with the Montgomery Food Bank, and participating in the LaDarius Hunter Football Camp. Eventually the Hamiltons plan to create their own camp that will provide football knowledge, as well as back to school supplies, to the youth of our community. Both sons received full scholarships to college following graduation with honors from Jefferson Davis High (DJ) and Carver High (Shaun). DJ has since graduated with honors from Morehouse College with a degree in financial planning. Shaun was a member of the University of Alabama football team and graduated in three years, maintaining Deans List status each year. Both boys, as well as their father, are members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and their mother belongs to Delta Sigma Theta sorority. The family is also active at Shallow Missionary Church, where Shelton, Sr. is a member of the usher board, and mother and sons assist with various back to school events.

The Dalvin & Erica Worthington Family

The Worthingtons currently live in Pike Road but have moved around the country and overseas several times since their daughters Ashleigh, 23, and Cydney, 19, were born. Teamwork was especially critical when the family lived in Seoul, South Korea, for three years because Erica was ill during part of this time and Dalvin was able to utilize nurturing friendships to help them get through. Both parents have taught their daughters that they can be successful in life if they put God first in all that they do. Ashleigh is now a sous chef at a popular restaurant in Georgia following work experience at the Capital City Club in Montgomery. Cydney is still in college but is gaining experience working part time with animals, a passion she began to develop as a young child. Dalvin and Erica are grateful to work for companies that support family values and allowed their girls to occasionally spend the day with them at work when they were younger. Nominator Mary Baker says the family not only reaches out to their community in Alabama, but they have reached out to other communities throughout the world, serving as Sunday School teachers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Girl Scouts in Seoul, South Korea; working in soup kitchens in San Diego, California; and leading a weekly Bible study in their home in Pike Road. Cydney also helps families adopt dogs and cats, while Ashleigh provides discount meals as a part of her catering business in Atlanta.

The Ted & Catherine Kenny Family

The Kenny family, nominated by Tiffany Walters, exhibits family teamwork through not assigning particular family jobs or responsibilities; there are simply just family tasks that everyone completes from time to time to ensure that the home is maintained, meals are cooked and various other household chores are completed. For example, when Catherine broke her wrist and was unable to use her arm for several weeks,

our Congratulations goes out to each of these inspirational families! 81

ACE Raises the Bar for Cheer and Cancer Too

Again this year, ACE of the River Region—a cheerleading company—along with their students and parents, donated scarves, cozy socks and chapsticks to Mrs. Lynetta Bolden. Bolden delivers goody bags every year in October and February to patients at the Montgomery and Prattville Cancer Centers. The children’s faces were priceless to know that they were helping to spread cheer not only at ACE but the cancer centers.

T S T S t f D f t t

Wetumpka Boy Scouts Earn Eagle Rank

Boy Scout Troop 50, chartered by Wetumpka First United Methodist Church, announces that cousins Kendall Buelman, son of Jeff and Donna Buelman of Wetumpka, and Chris Riddle, son of Danny and Starla Riddle of Titus, have earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Buelman, top right, is a sophomore at Wetumpka High School, where he is a member of the JROTC program. He joined Troop 50 in 2013 after earning the Arrow of Light with Cub Scout Pack 429. Buelman has held many leadership positions in Troop 50, including assistant senior patrol leader (ASPL), librarian and den chief for Pack 429’s Webelos 1 and 2 dens. A highlight of Buelman’s Scouting adventures was attending the 2016 National Youth Leadership training at Camp Tukabatchee. His Eagle Scout project consisted of refurbishing the John Kelly Fitzpatrick Rest area for the City of Wetumpka. He led a team of adults and youth to complete the project over the course of three months. They demolished two 8x8 pavilions and built two 10x10 pavilions on concrete slabs with two concrete picnic tables donated by Fort Toulouse. After graduation from high school, he would like to attend college so he can achieve his ultimate goal of joining the U.S. Coast Guard as a commissioned officer. Now a senior at Elmore County High School, Riddle, bottom right, first joined Cub Scout Pack 54 in Eclectic when he was in second grade, then transferred to Pack 2 in Titus and completed his Arrow of Light. While a member of Troop 50, he was elected into Order of the Arrow Alibamu Lodge 179 (National Honor Society of Scouting) by his peers and enjoyed participating in National Order of the Arrow Conference and Conclave/Heartland gatherings. He has also completed National Youth Leadership training. Riddle’s Eagle Scout project of rebuilding the safety fence at Ft. Toulouse/Jackson has helped him to realize what he would like to do after graduation from high school in 2018. He plans to earn a degree in drafting and design technology. Riddle has also been an active member of Titus Baptist Church his whole life. He works on a farm with his grandfather and helps out in the Eclectic and Titus communities when he isn’t working at Coosa River Adventures. Montgomery Parents I December 2017


Prattville’s Nutcracker Angels

In addition to being great family holiday entertainment, The Nutcracker is a ballet about children facing down (and conquering) grown-up fears. This is particularly true in C.J. Martin’s version of The Prattville Ballet, in which the children are played by actual children and lead roles are talented students from her school and surrounding communities. The tiny angels opening the second act are drawn from some of the youngest classes at CJDF’s Prattville School. The Nutcracker Ballet takes us into a child’s equally huge sense of wonder. And as the ballet continues, this innocence only grows. Bring the family for a wonderful treat Saturday, December 9, for a 2 p.m. matinee or a 7 p.m. evening performance. General admission is $15 at the Jeff State Theatre for the Performing Arts in Clanton. Angels shown above are Taylor Sedgwick and Amzie Owens.

Christmas Clearinghouse Reaches Out






Tonya Speed Dancer Earns Scholarship

Taylor Miles, who dances at Tonya Speed’s Dance Connection, received a Top First award for her solo “Sound of Silence” at the 2017 KAR Dance Competition in Atlanta in May and was chosen for a scholarship to attend the 2017 KAR Dance Convention in Atlanta, which offers dancers a one-day workshop in jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, and musical theater taught by a group of master teachers.

The Christmas Clearinghouse, a program of HandsOn River Region, is a partnership of churches, organizations and service providers who join to assist those in need during the holiday season and avoid duplication of giving. The success of the Clearinghouse depends on the efforts of thousands of volunteers. We encourage clubs, organizations, individuals, churches and agencies to “adopt” families who have registered for help. Adoption means providing gifts and much-needed items for each member of the family. Another important way the community can help is by donating to the Christmas Clearinghouse to provide gift certificates for families who have not been adopted so that they too can experience the joy of the season. The Christmas Clearinghouse keeps a central file of needy families who have registered with local churches and service providers in the community. All registration forms come to HandsOn River Region where the information is entered into a database. Some agencies are able to help those families who register with them. Families who are not helped by agencies or organizations where they registered are also entered into the system. The Christmas Clearinghouse tries to assist these families through community adoptions or gift certificates made possible through fundraisers and donations. With the combined efforts of our community, more than 10,000 individuals are cleared and helped annually during the holiday season. The Christmas Clearinghouse creates a bonding experience for the citizens of our community. The program makes a difference. Want to help? Visit www.handsonriverregion. org to adopt a family, make a donation or volunteer with the program! Last year, Saint James School students donated care baskets for needy families.

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FamilyCalendar Friday, December 1

Montgomery Perfoming Arts Centre Presents Chris Tomlin 7 p.m. Affirming his lifetime calling to “write songs that help people worship God,” Tomlin continues to evolve in his musical leadership role for the nation with the recent inauguration of Worship Night in America events – unifying the church through an evening of worship through music and prayer. Tickets begin at $38. For more info, visit or call (334) 481-5100.


Exclusive Holiday Pop-up Shoppe at The Shoppes At Eastchase -- Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 24 Calling all Alabama makers, artisans, artists and boutiques! The Pop-Up Shoppe will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m., through Christmas Eve, and will feature locally made products, six rotating vendors, weekly workshops, a complimentary hot cocoa station and giftwrapping with donations benefiting the Montgomery Humane Society. For more info, visit or call (334) 279-6046.

13th Annual Daddy Daughter Diamond Princess Ball 6-8 p.m. Ware-Farley-Hood House, 450 North Hull Street, Montgomery. Hosted by Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery. Dads, granddads and uncles come dance the night away with your special princesses. No moms allowed! Open to girls in 6th grade and below, black tie optional, hors d’oeuvres will be served. $120 per couple, and $60 per additional princess. For more info, visit Girls in 7th grade and above are invited to join us as Teen Reception Committee members! The Reception Committee members serve as the hostesses for the ball, and help the princesses pick out their tiaras! Please call (334) 240-4500 for more info.

Saturday, December 2

Arthritis Foundation’s 2017 Jingle Bell Run Activities begin at 7:30 a.m.; race begins at 8:30 a.m. Huntingdon College. The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get out, get moving and raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability. Wear a holiday-themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Show off your ugly Christmas sweater. Complete a 5-kilometer run or walk with your team members, spreading smiles, good cheer and a winning spirit. For more info, contact Lendria Glass at or call (334) 219-8707.

AUM Offers Free Mandarin Classes -- Every Saturday Auburn Montgomery’s Confucius Institute continues to offer free Mandarin classes to the community. To register, send the student’s name, age and contact information to Civil Rights Walking Tours -- Every Saturday and Sunday 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. start times. Tours start from The Village Gallery. Come explore Montgomery’s history walking from different historical sties and engage in profound moments from slavery, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. This tour highlights pioneers and unsung heroes who contributed to a new era. Cost: Adults - $10; 12 & under - $5; 4 & under FREE. Book your tour by calling (334) 595-9243.

Sunday, December 3

Home Depot Kids’ Workshop 9 a.m.-noon. Ages 5-12. Free workshop teaches children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety. Today’s project is build a wooden gingerbread house. Once the project is built, your child can decorate it with stickers and paint. In addition to the newly constructed project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron and an achievement pin. For more info, visit http://workshops.

Montgomery Performing Arts Centre Presents Travis Tritt 7:30 p.m. Two-time Grammy Award winner Travis Tritt released his first album in 1989, which was followed by several platinum albums and chart-topping singles throughout the 1990s. The musician continued to persevere with ongoing success, with hits like “Can I Trust You With My Heart” and “Here’s a Quarter.” Tickets begin at $25. Visit or call (334) 481-5100.

Michael’s Kids Club -- Also December 9 & 16 10 a.m.-noon. $2 per project. Supplies included. Ages 3 and up. Each session is 30 minutes. Parent or guardian must remain on premises. Dec. 2 is Customize Slime; Dec. 9 is North Pole Photo Props; Dec. 16 is Candy Cane Decorations. For more info, visit www.michaels. com/.

Fall Food Truck Takeover @ Hampstead Noon-3 p.m. Hampstead Town Center. Visit a rotating group of Montgomery food trucks on the first Sundays each month of fall. Local food trucks may include: NYC Gyro, Southern Smokeshack, On A Roll, El Campesino’s Taqueria, Fire Meats Wood, Frios Pops and more. Plenty of outdoor park seating and live music

Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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First Sundays at One -- Also January 7 1-2 p.m. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Learn more about the traveling exhibitions as well as the Museum’s Permanent Collection in these FREE docent-led tours the FIRST Sunday of each month. For more info, call (334) 240-4333 or visit

For many more events, please check out our Holiday Happenings Guide on page 68!

47th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show -- Through December 3 Garrett Coliseum. Friday hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sun.: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission for adults $2 or a weekend pass for $3. Kids 18 and under are free with a student ID and paid adult. For more info, visit http://montgomerygemandmineralsociety. com. Cloverdale Playhouse Theatre Presents Little Women -- Through December 10 7:30 p.m. performances Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s early life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March, detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood and their experiences growing up in Civil War America. In a new “trunk show” adaptation by director Sarah Thornton, this production brings a fresh take to a familiar and heart-warming story. For more info, visit or call (334) 262-1530.

to keep the party going. This is a free event open to the public. Parking is available on Long Acre Street, Mercer Street, and in the two large Hampstead parking lots. For more info, call (334) 270-6730 or find us on Facebook.

Monday, December 4

Genealogy Workshop at the Ala. Dept. of Archives and History 9 a.m.-noon. This workshop will include the history of land records in America, where to find them, and how to use them to enhance your genealogical research. The second half of the workshop will focus on the various types of military records, where to find them, and what information can be found in them. Registration fee for each workshop is $30 for the general public. Friends of the Alabama Archives members can register at a discounted rate of $20. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register online, visit or contact Sarah McQueen at (334) 242-4364 or sarah.

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Wednesday, December 6

Capital City Master Gardener Association Lunch and Learn Series Open to the Public The first Wednesday of each month, noon to 1 p.m. Sessions are held at the Armory Learning Arts Center, 1018 Madison Avenue, Montgomery, next to the Curb Market. Related handouts from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service are provided each session at no cost. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunches to each event. Iced tea and water will be provided.

Friday, December 8

Montgomery Perfoming Arts Centre Presents Joe Bonamassa 8 p.m. Astonishing track record of hits, which now includes 17 #1 Billboard Blues Albums (more than any other artist in history) and in 2014, the guitarist received his second Grammy nomination (for Best Traditional Blues Album) for his latest live album Live

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FamilyCalendar At The Greek Theatre, his tribute to the Three Kings of the blues. Tickets begin at $88. For more info, visit or call (334) 481-5100. Kress on Dexter Holiday Pop-up Market -Also December 9 39 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery. The Kress Building is opening its doors for the inaugural Holiday Pop-up Market! This is a free event that will showcase regional makers and artisans. Things will kick off Friday 6-8 p.m. with shopping and cocktails on the first floor of Kress. On Saturday morning, there will be a biscuit bar and mimosas. Santa Claus will arrive Saturday afternoon for pictures on Dexter Avenue. This event is free and kid-friendly! Find us on Facebook. United Gymstars & Cheer Parents’ Night Out 6:30-10:30 p.m. $20 for the first child/ $15 for each additional sibling. Pizza and drinks provided. Fun games, trampolines, rope swing, tumble tracks, foam pits and more! Call (334) 284-2244 to reserve your spot. Walk-ins welcome (until maximum capacity is reached). All participants must have waiver signed by parent. Visit for more info. Elmore County Homeschool Organization Meets Elmore County Homeschool Organization is a non-profit support group for homeschooling families. We provide a positive socialization environment for homeschooled children & support and encourage their parents in the homeschooling process. We typically meet the second and fourth Friday of every month year-round from 10 a.m. to noon at Harvest Fields Community Church, 4280 Deatsville Hwy, Deatsville. (However, there will be NO meeting Dec. 22.) Membership is free and is open to all homeschoolers in the tri-county area. For details, visit

Saturday, December 9

Capri Theatre Presents Home Alone 7:30 p.m. Kevin McAllister has been left home alone ­and the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, are on the prowl in his neighborhood. Looking to rob all the houses while the families are out of town, Harry and Marv are about to discover the error of their ways. The film that mad Macauly Culkin famous, and his character a living icon. For more info, visit or call (334) 262-4858. Whole Foods Second Saturday Kids Club 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Whole Foods, 1450 Taylor Rd., Montgomery. Looking for something fun to do with the kids? Each second Saturday, Whole Foods will host fun, hands-on craft activities to teach kids about healthy eating. It’s totally free, and every participant gets a piece of fruit and whatever

they make in the workshop! For more info, call (334) 523-2940 or visit Dads and Daughters Saturday (D.A.D.S) Calling ALL Fathers and Daughters for storytimes, fun and laughs, 11 a.m.-noon every 2nd Saturday at the Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library. There will be singing, dancing and arts & crafts. So come visit us and have an enjoyable time! For more info, visit www.

Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for Women Montgomery Country Club, Azalea Room, 3800 Narrow Lane Road. 9 a.m.-noon. 3-hour workshop that is offered monthly, designed to help participants explore the legal, financial, and emotional issues of divorce and gain a greater understanding of the process. Cost to attend is $20 per person and pre-registration required. For more info, please call or e-mail Sommer Morris at (334) 612-1086 or sommer.morris@morganstanley. com. You may also visit AMC Theaters Offers Sensory-Friendly Movietimes -- Also December 23 For guests and families living with autism or other special needs, AMC partners with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! This program is available on second and fourth Saturdays (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

Wednesday, December 13

Central Alabama Master Gardener (CAMGA) Lunch & Learn Program Noon-1 p.m. Held at the Elmore County Extension (ACES) facility on Queen Ann Road in Wetumpka, these free events for the public are held on the second Wednesday of each month. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch and learn. Beverages are provided by CAMGA. For more info, call 567-6301 or visit www.

Thursday, December 14

Book Talk at the Ala. Dept. of Archives & History Noon. 624 Washington Ave. Today’s topic is These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War, presented by John S. Sledge. For more info, call (334) 353-4689 or visit Newcomers Club of Montgomery Monthly Luncheon The Newcomers Club of Montgomery invites all women of the River Region to attend our monthly luncheon from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Arrowhead Country Club. Cost is $18 and reservations must be made by noon Monday, December 13, to Suzanne Lowry at (334) 396-5368 or zanzuzan@ No guest speaker in December; just karaoke and a visit from Santa! Visit www.

Saturday, December 16

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Gates open at 5 p.m.; kickoff at 7 p.m. Named for Alabama’s state flower, this college football bowl game annually features a matchup between top teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the MidAmerican Conference at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. The game is televised live on the ESPN family of networks. For more info, visit www. Third Saturday @ Art Museum 1-2 p.m. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Learn more about the works of art on view at the Museum in these FREE docent-led tours offered the third Saturday of each month. For more info, call (334) 240-4333 or visit

Tuesday, December 19

Joe Thomas, Jr. 3rd Tuesday Guitar Pull 7-9 p.m. Three or four regional songwriters perform original music on the Cloverdale Playhouse’s intimate stage. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 262-1530 or visit


FamilyCalendar Wednesday, December 20

Christmas Camp at YMCA Camp Chandler -Through December 22 Dropoff is 4 p.m. Dec. 20; pickup is 4 p.m. Dec. 22. Christmas Camp is a chance for kids ages 5-14 to get out of the house and have some holiday fun while Mom and Dad get ready for the holidays. Activities will include archery, riflery, fishing, canoes, pedal boats, climbing tower and field games. Christmas Camp will include a campfire with s’mores, holiday crafts, Christmas goodies and a party. Cost: $110/ members; $125/non-members. For more info, call (334) 229-0035 or e-mail Anna Beth Harris at aharris@

Thursday, December 21

Food For Thought Noon-1 p.m. The Alabama Dept. of Archives & History, 624 Washington Ave. Bring lunch and and join us every third Thursday for these FREE lectures sponsored by Friends of the Alabama Archives. Drinks are complimentary. Today’s topic is “Where Alabama Began: Archaeology at Old St. Stephens,” presented by George Shorter. Call (334) 353-4726 or visit www.archives. Montgomery Performing Arts Centre Presents Home Free 7:30 p.m. Home Free is bringing new music, new production, more country and holiday favorites as they come to town in “A Country Christmas Tour!” The fiveman band has become known for its show-stopping performances that mix signature no-instrument, allvocal music with quick-witted humor. Tickets begin at $17. Visit or call (334) 481-5100.

Thursday, December 28

Winter in the Studio at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (for ages 6-13) -- Also December 29 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sign your children up for a fun winter-themed studio class while they are out of school during the winter break. Each day will have a different seasonal art project they can bring home. All supplies and materials are provided. Sign up for one or both days. Instructor: Kaci Norman. Cost: $5 members/ $8 non-members for each class. For more info, visit mmfa. org or call (334) 240-4333.

Monday, January 1

Anniversary of Hank Williams’s Death The native of Montgomery was the first country music superstar and one of the most important songwriters of the 20th century. Each year, his grave hosts a ceremony to commemorate his fascinating life on the anniversary of his death. This year will mark the 65th anniversary of the musician’s passing. For more info, visit event/64th-memorial-anniversary-of-hank-williamsdeath.

Saturday, January 6

Alabama Shakespeare Festival Presents Snow Queen -Through February 3 The fairy tale that inspired Disney’s Frozen and the White Witch character in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes to magical life on ASF’s Octagon Stage. Children will be spellbound as Gerda struggles to free her friend Kai from the clutches of an evil queen with a frozen heart. With the help of her faith and loyalty, Gerda proves that love can always triumph over evil. Recommended ages 5+. For tickets or more info, visit or call (334) 271-5353.

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

Classes Breastfeeding Class Designed to prepare the expectant mother for breastfeeding her newborn. Also includes troubleshooting common problems to establish a successful breastfeeding experience. Jackson Hospital, Classroom 1. Cost is $15. Class schedule is subject to change, so please call 293-8497 or e-mail to register or for more info. Breastfeeding Class This one-time class at Baptist Health provides expectant mothers with information about breastfeeding including various factors influencing lactation, advantages of breastfeeding, basic anatomy and physiology of milk production, specific techniques to promote a successful breastfeeding experience and breastfeeding equipment and supplies. Classes are taught by IBLCE instructors. Partners are encouraged to participate. Class fee: $20. Registration is required. E-mail A 10 percent class discount is available to Baptist Health employees and members of the military. Caring For Your Newborn Taught by Baptist Health Newborn Nursery nurses, this one-time class helps new families become familiar with the basics of caring for your infant in the first six weeks after birth. This interactive class covers routine hospital newborn procedures along with bathing, diapering, swaddling and soothing, normal infant behavior, appearance and sleep patterns. Class fee: $20. Registration is required. Please e-mail for more info. A 10 percent class discount is available to Baptist Health employees and members of the military. Childbirth Basics Class Provides childbirth information for those who choose to have pain relief during labor and delivery. Sessions are taught throughout the year at Jackson Hospital, Classroom 1. Cost is $25. Call 293-8497 by your 4th month of pregnancy to register. Childbirth Preparation (Four Sessions on Monday Nights) This four-session class is taught by Registered Labor and Delivery Nurses on the campus of Baptist South. This class for new mothers covers topics ranging from how your body changes during pregnancy to signs of labor to the benefits of breastfeeding and what to expect during your birth experience. This class is complimentary. To register, call (334) 286-3466. Childbirth Preparation Boot Camp (One Day Saturday Class) This fast-paced one day class taught by Baptist Health’s experienced Labor and Delivery Registered Nurses prepares families to welcome their new addition. All aspects of Labor and Delivery from our hospital admission process through postpartum care are covered during class. Additional topics include Cesarean sections, medication and anesthesia options along with coping and comfort measures. Breathing and relaxation techniques are also introduced. Maternity Area Tour is included as a part of this class. Class offered select Saturdays of each month. Fee: $60 per couple and includes lunch. Please e-mail for more info. A 10 percent class discount is available to Baptist Health employees and members of the military. ID required. Chinese Language Classes Auburn Montgomery’s Office of Far Eastern Initiatives offers Saturday classes for children and adults. The


one-hour weekly courses are provided free-of-charge as a service to the community. For more info or to register, contact April Ma at 244-3018 or CPR & First Aid The American Red Cross offers classes in adult and infant/child CPR as well as first aid and babysitting classes monthly. Call 260-3980. Diabetes Education --Prattville Baptist Outpatient Nutrition and Diabetes Education services available Wednesdays by appointment at Prattville Medical Park. Call 747-7700 Option # for more information. Diabetes Education --Baptist Outpatient Nutrition and Diabetes Education services available weekdays by appointment. Call 747-7700 Option # for more info. Family Nutrition Classes Fun, hands-on 3 or 6-week in-person or online course developed by well-known pediatrician Dr William Sears. Classes focused towards parents of children age 3-12. The goal is to learn simple ways to improve the health of your child through lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition. Fee includes materials, activities and a snack. A 2-hour preview class is available. For more info, contact or visit Foster Parent Training Classes Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries sponsors foster care training classes in the Tri-County Area. For more information on foster care or to register for the classes, please contact Bobbi Olson, Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, at 334430-7569 or e-mail Infant Safety/CPR This one-time class sponsored by Baptist Health will teach parents and grandparents the American Heart Association’s Family and Friends CPR for infants and children including care of the choking infant, infant rescue and breathing with hands on practice using ACTAR CPR dolls for class participants. This class will also help parents with creating a safe environment for their child. Classes are taught by certified CPR Instructors. This class is not a certification class. Fee: $10 per person. Registration is required. Please e-mail A 10 percent class discount is available to Baptist Health employees and members of the military. Maternity Area Tour Only Baptist Medical Center East maternity area tour for expectant mothers and families not attending Childbirth Preparation Class or Boot Camp. This tour is complimentary and is offered on select Saturdays of each month. Space is limited. Registration is required. Please e-mail for more info. Maternity Area Tour Baptist Health’s Maternity Area Tour is for parents not attending Childbirth Preparation Boot Camp. Tour is offered on select Saturdays of each month and is complimentary. Tour is for adults only. Space is limited. Registration is required. Please e-mail smallwonders@ for more info. Pre- and Post-natal Fitness Classes Includes water aerobics, step-floor aerobics and strength training. SportsFirst. Call 277-7130.

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Pregnancy Nutrition Classes Interactive 3-week series of classes developed by wellknown pediatrician Dr. William Sears. Classes focus on lifestyle choices, attitude, and exercise at any stage of pregnancy; optimal nutrition before, during and after pregnancy; transition from pregnancy to motherhood. Courses can be taken separately or as a series. Jump in any time! Materials and snack provided with fee. For more info, contact or visit Prepared Childbirth Class (Understanding Birth) Jackson Hospital. Preregistration required. Topics include: pregnancy, labor, birth, options for pain management, medical procedures, cesarean birth. Note: This class is a basic overview of the labor and delivery process and does not prepare someone for “natural” or unmedicated childbirth. Cost: $25 (covers mother and support person). Class size is limited. Please try to register by the 5th month of pregnancy for the best selection of available class dates. Call (334) 293-8497 or e-mail: Sibling Preparation Class One-hour class is designed for expectant “big brothers and sisters” ages 3 to 8. They will learn about the arrival of their new baby through an introduction to the hospital experience and the early days at home. Parents should plan to attend with their child. Baptist Medical Center East. Registration is required. Call 2734445 or e-mail Slow Flow Yoga Classes are held at Old Alabama Town on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30-12:15, and 12:30-1:15. Beginners welcome! No registration needed; just come to Molton South Building. Enter through the Rose House, located on Columbus St. between N. Hull and Decatur. Parking is available along Decatur and N. Hull. Drop in fee: $12; 5-class pass: $50 (exp. 60 days). Monthly unlimited: $65. Mat rental: $1. For more info, call (334) 240-4500 or (334) 207-0909 or e-mail juliet. Tales for Tots Join us for this FREE introduction to art in storybooks and in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts galleries for young children and their families. Each time a different work of art and special story will be presented. Next classes are December 20 from 10:30-11 a.m., and 11-11:30 a.m. Call 240-4365 or visit for more info.

Support Groups Adoption Support

Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections (APAC) This group provides education and social interaction for adoptive families. Montgomery Group meets 3rd Tuesdays, 6-7:30 p.m., Room 8114 at Frazer Memorial UMC. For more info, call Jill Sexton at 409-9477. Birth Parent and Adult Adoptee Support Group Children’s Aid Society hosts a free support group for adult adoptees and birth parents. This group provides emotional support for people at all stages of the lifelong adoption process. Meetings held at Children’s Aid Society, 2141 14th Avenue South in Birmingham. For class dates and times, call Kathy King at (205) 9435331 or e-mail Panda Pals is a support group for families who have adopted or in the process of adopting children from China. We have playdates, family nights and gettogethers to talk about raising our children from China. If you would like to join our group, just e-mail or call Tracie Singleton at 395-8215.


SupportGroups Cancer Support

American Cancer Society, including Montgomery, Elmore & Autauga Counties: **To access or sign up for these programs, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345. Look Good…Feel Better is an American Cancer Society program in which trained volunteer cosmetologists help female cancer patients deal with the side effects of treatment. Patients are taught beauty techniques to enhance their appearance and self image during or after treatments, including ways to disguise hair loss and skin changes. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 for more info. OTHER PROGRAMS/SERVICES OFFERED BY THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Reach to Recovery matches newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with survivors on a one on one basis. Free wigs and other supplies for cancer patients Free rides to treatment through our Road To Recovery program (where volunteer drivers use their cars and time to take in need cancer patients to treatment) Free lodging through the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham (if patients are sent to Birmingham for treatment) On-line cancer information classes and support group through Information anytime and trained specialists at 1-800-ACS-2345. Cancer Patient and Caregiver Support Group 1-2 p.m., Tuesdays, Montgomery Cancer Center, 4145 Carmichael Road. The group is facilitated by professionally trained health care providers and other members of the support care team. It’s free and open to all cancer patients and their caregivers. Call (334) 273-7000.


Divorce Care for Kids meets Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. January 9-April 3, 2018 at Frazer Memorial UMC. Children of divorce or separation find hope, help and healing. Call 495-6350 or e-mail jan@ for more info. DivorceCare meets at Vaughn Forest Church on Wednesday nights from 6-8 p.m. It fosters a weekly supportive and caring environment to heal the hurt of separation and divorce. The DivorceCare experience involves a dynamic video presentation, group share time, and personal workbook exercises. Facilitators for DivorceCare are Todd Smith, Wendy Timbie and Becki Harrison. To register or for more info, call 279-5433. DivorceCare and DivorceCare 4 Kids First Baptist Church Montgomery, Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $15 (scholarships available). Contact Kathy Cooper at kcooper@montgomeryfbc. org or 241-5125. Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for Women Montgomery Country Club, Azalea Room, 3800 Narrow Lane Road. 9 a.m.-noon. This is a 3-hour workshop that is offered monthly, designed to help participants explore the legal, financial, and emotional issues of divorce and gain a greater understanding of the process. The cost to attend is $20 per person and pre-registration is required. For more info, please call or e-mail Sommer Morris at (334) 612-1086 or sommer.morris@morganstanley. com. You may also visit

Gambling Support

Gamblers Anonymous meetings in the River Region Area: Saturdays @ 7 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 5375 U.S. Hwy. 231 (Directly across from the Winn-Dixie

address those affected by a recent loss (0-12 months after death). Through meeting with others who are walking a similar journey, you will be encouraged to work through the complications of your loss, understand your pain, and adjust to your new reality. For more info, call 279-6677.

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Compassionate Friends, Eastmont Baptist Church, 4505 Atlanta Hwy, first Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Compassionate Friends is a national self-help support organization for families grieving the death of a child. For more information about the group, call (334) 284-2721.


Grief Recovery Support, Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy., Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. in Rm. 3105. Call 495-6350 for more info. GriefShare meets weekly at Vaughn Forest Church on Wednesday nights from 6-8 p.m. This program is non-denominational and features biblical concepts for healing your grief. Three key parts make up your GriefShare experience: video seminar; support group time; and workbook study. GriefShare will be led by Howard and Carol Payne and Jim Williams. To register or for more info, call 279-5433. Grieving With Hope, St. Mark UMC, meeting weekly on Tuesdays from 1-2 p.m. The group offers a place to share, care and heal from the losses of life. Facilitated by Dr. Lennie Howard and Marie Parma. Contact the church at 272-0009. Honoring Angels Like Owen, Inc. (HALO) offers family-oriented, Christian-based grief support groups that meet monthly. These groups are for families who have lost a child from 20 weeks gestation up to the age of 2 years old. Our parents’ group is for mothers

Find a listing of Public Library Storytimes and Events at!

General Cancer Support Group held at Christ Church, 8800 Vaughn Road, Tuesday afternoons at 1 p.m. This is an open group. For more information, please call Christy Holding at 531-1390 or Debbie Diemayer at 467-4578. Women of Hope Breast Cancer Support, Frazer Memorial UMC, 2nd Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. in Room 8114. Provides education, awareness and mentoring for breast cancer patients/survivors, family or friends. For more info, call 220-4599 or e-mail

Divorce Support

DivorceCare meets Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. at Frazer Memorial UMC. Come to the Library area. This group will provide support & guidance to assist you in working through the issues, pain & pressures surrounding divorce. For more info, call 495-6350 or e-mail

Montgomery Parents I December 2017

shopping center), Wetumpka. Call (334) 567-7534. Sundays @ 5 p.m., Mental Health Association, 1116 South Hull Street, Montgomery. Mondays @ 6 p.m., St Paul’s Lutheran Church, 4475 Atlanta Hwy., Montgomery. Gamblers Anonymous Hotline: 334-541-5420

Grief Support

Bereaved Spouses Support Group A new ministry of Cornerstone Christian Church, USA (Unavoidably Single Again) Ministries is designed to offer ongoing support, social events and fellowship to those who have lost their spouses to death. The group is open to ALL widowed individuals, regardless of age, religious beliefs, or length of marriage or widowhood. Meets 2nd and 4th Thursdays at the church’s building, 301 Dalraida Road. Please e-mail farauthor@ for more info. Bereavement Group, Hospice of Montgomery office, 1111 Holloway Park. This group is intended to


and fathers. Our siblings’ group is for children ages 6-15. Both groups meet at the same time and place. HALO also offers free professional photography for families facing the loss of a child up to the age of 2 years old and needs-based financial assistance for burial. Visit or call (334) 328-1202. Mourning to Morning is a Christian growth group for mothers who have lost a child, from before birth through adulthood. We normally meet the last Thursday night of each month at Grace Baptist Church in Wetumpka, 304 Old Montgomery Highway. For more info, contact Alice Scarborough at (334) 462-4775 or Gwen Ellis at (334) 567-8754 or e-mail us at Join us on Facebook--Mourning to Morning Group. River Region Survivors of Suicide Loss meets on second and fourth Thursdays (excluding holidays)

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SupportGroups at Cornerstone Christian Church, 301 Dalraida Road in Montgomery from 6:30-8 p.m. This is an open group for those who have lost a loved one to suicide and welcomes anyone regardless of religious beliefs. Contact Cheryl Vinson at with questions or for more information.

with or supporting individuals with mental illness. To register, call Mary Jo at 271-2280 or e-mail NAMI Connection (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a support group for individuals with men-

Homeschool Support

ECHO (Elmore County Homeschool Organization), Harvest Fields Community Church, 4280 Deatsville Hwy, Deatsville. 2nd and 4th Fridays year-round from 10 a.m. to noon. This is a support group for homeschooling families in the tri-county area. Membership is free. For more info, please visit

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Support Group meets 1st Thursdays from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in room 3103 at Frazer Memorial UMC. For more info, call 495-6350.

Christians Against Substance Abuse (CASA) is a 12-step spiritual recovery program for overcoming addictions. Using the steps and the Bible, we help build self-esteem, responsible behavior, learning to make amends for destructive behavior, then fill the void in our hearts by developing a loving relationship with God. Class begins each Wednesday evening @ 6:30 p.m. Please contact the Prattville Church of Christ office, 344 East Main St. in Prattville (334-3654201), for additional information. Diabetes Support Group Noon-1 p.m. and 4-5 p.m., fourth Thursdays, Jackson Hospital Park Place Building Suite 302. Are you interested in learning how to better manage your Type 2 diabetes? Would you like support from others as you work to control your diabetes? Sponsored by inpatient diabetes educator Michelle Carothers, this group offers clinical information, advice and tips to make living with diabetes easier for you and your family. Register today! Call (334) 293-8574 or e-mail Montgomery Area Mended Hearts, First floor of Montgomery Cardiovascular Institute on the campus of Baptist Medical Center South. For anyone who has experienced cardiac illness. Third Mondays, alternates between 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Call 286-3410 for more info. NAMI Montgomery (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides understanding, education and information to family members and friends of those who suffer mental illness. The NAMI Montgomery Family Member Support Group meets second Mondays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in room 7205 at Frazer Memorial UMC. Call Mary Jo Logan (271-2280) for details. NAMI also presents a 12-week series of free classes on mental illness. These classes are for family members living

Mom2Mom is a playgroup to connect mothers of children ages birth-5 years at Frazer United Methodist Church to share fun and inspiration in our journey together, with our children, and with Christ. Email Mom2mom@frazerumc. org for more information. Moms’ LIFE (Living In Faith Everyday) First Baptist Church, Prattville. Meets twice monthly from 8:30-11:45 a.m. in the chapel at First Baptist Church in Prattville August through May. For moms of all stages and ages of life. We offer a time of fellowship, Bible study, musical guests, special guest speakers and a lot of fun! Cost is $5 per meeting. Childcare provided by reservation. For more info and to reserve your spot, call Kelley Manning at 361-7919.

Illness Support

Cardiolife, a FREE educational series for congestive heart failure patients and their caregivers, meets 4th Thursdays of each month, 10-11 a.m. Diabetes Center classroom, Jackson Hospital. For more info, call 279-6677. Topics include: Lifestyle Changes, A Heart Healthy Diet, Proper Fluid Intake, Importance of Daily Weights and Exercise Tolerance.

Join us with your babies. Children of all ages are welcome. We currently have morning and evening meetings. For more info, e-mail LLL.Montgomery. or visit llli*group*montgomery or “like” us on Facebook.

tal illness. It meets every Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. in room 3103 at Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy. Call Mary Jo Logan at 271-2280 for more info. OCD Support Group (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) Long showers, multiple hand-washing, rituals, checking the stove, hoarding and symmetry. This support group is open to anyone who has struggled with OCD. You’re not alone anymore. Meetings are held at 5500 Ash Grove Circle, Montgomery. Call Donald at 220-7555 for more info. Ostomy Support, Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Highway. Meets every other month on 2nd Sundays at 1:30 p.m. in Room 3101. Next 2017 meeting is in December. 2018 meetings are in February, April, June, August, October and December. Call 495-6350 for more info. Overeaters Anonymous, Unity of Montgomery, 1922 Walnut St., Saturdays from 3-4 p.m. Contact Misty at 324-9568 or Carol at 467-5742. Parkinson’s Support, Frazer UMC Activity Bldg. Room 8114, on 4th Thursdays at 6 p.m. Group is for Parkinson’s patients and their family members. For more info, call 495-6350.

Parent Support

D.A.D.S. (Dad and Daughter Saturdays) Second Saturdays at the Juliette Hampton Morgan Library in downtown Montgomery at 11 a.m. D.A.D.S. gives fathers and daughters an opportunity to read together to create fun, educational memories. This free event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Montgomery CityCounty Public Library and Dreamland Barbeque. For more info, call Ron Simmons at (334) 777-8596. La Leche League of Montgomery Area has served local mothers since 1984. Women who are pregnant, interested in breastfeeding and nursing mothers are invited to attend our free mother-to-mother support meetings or e-mail with breastfeeding questions.


The Montgomery Multiples Club is a non-profit organization offering support to the mothers and families of twins, triplets, and more in the Central Alabama region. They have a mom’s night out with dinner once a month. They also have a yard sale twice a year, in the spring and again in the fall. For more info, visit montgomerymultiples/home. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry St., Montgomery. 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., September through May. Moms, need a little break? We have educational speakers, great conversation, and fun activities. Free childcare is provided. Visit MOPS or contact Tiffany Alewine at 241-5165. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Vaughn Forest Baptist Church, 8660 Vaughn Road, Montgomery. 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Are you in need of a time-out? MOPS joins mothers together by a common bond, to be better wives, moms and friends along this journey in the trenches of motherhood. Childcare is provided. For more info, e-mail or visit

Pregnancy Loss/Infertility

Hannah’s Prayer, Prattville First United Methodist Church, 2nd Thursdays and 3rd Sundays. Support group for women dealing with pregnancy loss/infertility issues. Call (334) 365-5977. Post-abortion Support Group, Saint James United Methodist Church. Do you have a secret you have promised yourself “you are taking to the grave?” Come and listen to stories of others who were scared to surrender their secret. Come and find healing and peace that you never even knew you needed. Come and learn about the One who came to set you free. Join us in a study of “Surrendering the Secret” by Pat Layton and know that you are not alone! (Learner guide and digital download sessions.) For more info, e-mail Sav-A-Life conducts a HOPE GROUP for women who have experienced the emotional aftermath of an

SupportGroups abortion. Groups meet eight consecutive Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. and are facilitated by women who have experienced abortion. The “Forgiven and Set Free” Bible study is used. Confidientiality is assured. Please call Kathy at 260-8010 for information.

ented events throughout the year. We meet the last Wednesday or Thursday of each month. For more info, e-mail Join us on Facebook for daily restaurant specials, area kid-friendly events, and tips/ideas for families on a budget.

“Take Heart,” Room 116 at Eastmont Baptist Church, first Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. Support group for women dealing with infertility and/or miscarriage. Contact Melissa at (205) 913-2667 for more information.

Special Needs Support

Single Parents Support

God Will Make a Way, Frazer UMC, Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. Learn to follow God’s principles to thrive relationally, emotionally, and spiritually in 12 key areas of life and use God’s wisdom to cope with your most difficult problems. Call 495-6368 or e-mail for more info. Single Moms Support Group, Landmark Church of Christ, Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. in Classroom 118. For more information call 277-5800. Single Moms’ Care and Support Group, Perry Hill United Methodist Church, 910 Perry Hill Road (corner of Perry Hill and Harrison Roads). Meets 2nd and 4th Thursdays from 6:15-8 p.m. Free snack supper provided to moms and children. Child care for infants-16 years. Call 272-3174 for more info. SWAK (Single with Amazing Kids), Maxwell / Maxwell Gunter AFB. This network is connecting and empowering single parents and their families through information, encouragement, and many family-ori-

Alabama Angels Pageant, a nonprofit pageant for males and females of any age with special needs. Participation is free. 2016 pageant date TBA. Visit and look for us on Facebook! Central Alabama Autism Support Team (C.A.A.S.T.), St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Hwy. 31 in Prattville from 6-8 p.m. 3rd Thursdays quarterly (Feb., May, Aug., Nov.). Visit or e-mail for more info. Montgomery Area Down Syndrome Outreach, Vaughn Park Church of Christ, 2nd Fridays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. We have activities, speakers and special events throughout the year for the parents, siblings and children with Down Syndrome. Childcare provided. Visit www.montgomeryareadownsyndrome. com or visit our Facebook page (MADSOG) for more information. Contact MADSOG at for more info. Montgomery Area Hearing Loss Support Group meets monthly at the Wesley Building of the First Methodist Church in Montgomery on 2nd Thursdays at 4 p.m. It is affiliated with the nationally recognized non-profit advocacy group, Hearing Loss Association of America. The purpose is to bring together

all adults and parents of children who would like to know more about hearing losses, its causes and its possible corrections. Refreshments at each meeting. For more info, contact A Parent’s Perspective A therapeutic and educational group for parents of children with physical/emotional needs that provides direct support through shared experiences and coordinated by a trained facilitator. For more info and a free consultation, contact Julie Cox, LMSW at (334) 310-1649 or You can also “like” A Parent’s Perspective on Facebook. Traumatic Brain Injury Support, cafeteria at HealthSouth on Narrow Lane in Montgomery. 2nd Thursdays at 6 p.m. Sponsored by Alabama Head Injury Foundation for anyone with a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or related disability. For more info, contact Holli at (334) 290-0646 or e-mail: ahif_ Visit

Teens/Families Support

Call Family Guidance Center of Alabama at 2704100 for information about current classes. Support Group for Teens with difficulties communicating with parents and friends. Contact Felicia Pressley at Pressley Counseling by leaving a message at (334) 625-0159.

Please send calendar info to

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Ea Montgomery Parents I December 2017



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We know that readers consider our advertisers as valuable a resource as the editorial content in Montgomery Parents. We hope this directory saves you time as you refer to the magazine throughout the month. Page numbers follow the advertiser’s name.

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ia age


ACE of the River Region, 41 Adventure Sports II, 14 Alabama Christian Academy, 22 AL Dept. of Public Health, Inside Front Alabama School of Math & Science, 13 Alabama Shakespeare Festival, 29 Alabama World Travel, 65 Armory Athletics, 71 ASKIN/Synergy House, 90 AUM Early Childhood Center, 11 Autauga/Western Elmore Arc, 21 Baptist Health, 59 Beth’s Heirloom Sewing, 85 Bradford Health Services, 4 Burn Boot Camp Montgomery, 18 Centerpoint Fellowship, 20 Chapman Orthodontics, 49 Children’s Hospital of Alabama, 78

Edgewood Academy, 53

Montgomery Zoo, 23

Edward Jones-Lane Easterling, 71

My Kids Attic, The Shoppes of, Inside Back

Evangel Christian Academy, 21

New Hope Academy, 31

Family Guidance Center, 69

New Park, 63

First Baptist Church, 7

OB/GYN Montgomery, Dr. Desautels, 55

First UMC Montgomery, 42

O’Connor Tennis Lessons, 31

Franchise Connection, 90

Pet Palace Hotels, 38

Frazer Memorial UMC, 15

Prattville YMCA, 51 Professional Pediatrics, 12

Guild Mortgage, 45 Health Services, Inc., 2 Herron Dermatology & Laser, 46 Holy Cross Episcopal School, 33 Hooper Academy, 55 K Lynn Ice Skating School, 41 Kingry Orthodontics, 37 Learning Tree Child Care, 83 Lola Photography & Portrait Studio, 66 Macon East Academy, 39 MEOW Academy, 8

Pump It Up Party, 49 River Region Straw, 85 River Region TV, 47 Riverview Camp for Girls, 73 Rockin’ Jump, 87 Saint James School, 1 Saint James UMC, 34 Shane’s Rib Shack, 50 Spacewalker, The, 66 Spotless Cleaning Services, 44 Success Unlimited Academy, 35

Memorial Presbyterian Childcare, 61

Swim Prep, 41

Churchill Academy, 25

Montessori @ Mulberry, 17

Cupcake Castles Travel, 77

Montgomery Catholic Schools, 43

Taylor Road Baptist Church, 74

Dentistry for Children, 61

Montgomery Dermatology, 34

The Montgomery Academy, Back Cover

Dr. Kendall Dunn-Orthodontist, 18

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 19

Trinity Presbyterian School, 3

Dynamite Magic & Balloons, 14

Montg. Pediatric Dentistry/Ortho, 27

Tru-Cut Lawn Care, 77

E & S Hobbies, 90

Montgomery Uniforms Plus, 28

United Gymstars & Cheer, 19

Eastwood Christian School, 9

Montgomery YMCA, 26

Vaughn Park Mom’s Day Out, 26


Sylvan Learning Center, 51

Lynda: Life would not be possible without Andy at my side. We share every responsibility together...caring for our home, caring for our children, driving them to activities and practices at Montgomery Catholic, being active in St. Bede Parish, attending school meetings and functions, and working together during our large consignment sale events. As well as working full time, Andy also spends many “after hours” working on the business at The Shoppes of My Kids Attic, long after most have settled in for the night. We’ve always said, “We make good business together!” And I can honestly say that he does much more laundry than me. We have the most amazing and loyal staff at The Shoppes of My Kids Attic. I could not do all I do to be a part of my childrens’ lives and be a business owner if not for the girls working alongside me. It is not always easy, in retail, to have employee retention and I am so grateful for each and every one of my staff, especially Kati and Stephanie who have been with us for more than eight years.

Lynda Jackson-Taylor

MP: Heading into the Christmas holidays, are there any special traditions your family shares?

MP: You have experienced loss in your life. How have your losses affected you and your journey as a parent?

Lynda: Andy is one of eight children and most all of his family lives here in Montgomery. As you can imagine with a family that large, our holiday festivities are huge. We share a very special Christmas Day at our home, hosting around 50, including his father, siblings and their spouses, nieces, nephews and cousins. Our family also shares a very special Christmas tradition, “The Taylor Progressive Dinner”, held the Sunday before Christmas. We travel to three or four different homes, having a different course at each home, and finishing with the main course at our house. It is a special time and allows family to see each other’s decorations, plus the younger kids love riding with their cousins in different cars to each home. We end the evening with “A Christmas Pageant”, started years ago by Andy’s mother, Bebe, who passed away in 2013. Each grandchild has a part that they read from the Bible’s Christmas story. The younger grandchildren carry pieces of the nativity and then the fourth advent candle is lit. It is a very sweet tradition that has been carried on thanks to the help of Andy’s sister, Terri. I know Bebe is as proud as she was when she was with us. Papa, Andy’s father, enjoys the tradition as well.

Lynda: After an 18 month battle, I lost my husband Scott Jackson to Leukemia in 1998, when he was 33 years old. Scott and I were married almost nine years and our children, Nolan and Alicia Ruth (Sissy), were ages six and four when he passed away. It was one of the most difficult times of my life and I will be forever grateful for the strength and encouragement from my family, Scott’s family, friends and my church family, who all helped Nolan, Sissy and me through a very devastating time. Loss does make you stronger. After Scott passed away, I found myself raising two small children alone, both of whom were dependent on me for strength and guidance. My Catholic faith was strong and never wavered. Scott had made the decision to become Catholic before he passed away, and if I didn’t know it before, I knew then that God was always leading our lives and was in charge of everything. Even the difficult times. I never questioned why...I just wanted to give Nolan and Sissy a strong, faith-filled home where they could continue to thrive. I always wanted Nolan and Sissy to know how much they were loved, and especially that their daddy loved them with all his heart. This terrible event that happened in their life, although devastating, would not define them. We did not make excuses, we didn’t expect special treatment in life, and the loss of their daddy would not open doors or give us “an exception or a pass”. They would grow up to be their own people and be successful adults. They are. I know Scott is proud. God is always good and He brought Andy and Andrew into our lives. Andy is a wonderful husband and father to Nolan and Alicia Ruth, and I am a mom to his son, Andrew. In 2002, the loss of our son when I was five months pregnant was crippling. Our strong faith, family and friends again saw us through those dark times. Matthew, Melody and Sophia completed our family of eight, and while life isn’t always easy, it is a gift. It is a lot of work balancing six children, a busy family and two businesses, but Andy and I stand strong together to make it happen and he makes it look flawless.

MP: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started your parenting journey, what would that be? Lynda: Looking back to when I first became a mom, I wish I had not worried so much about all the small details. Although there is nothing wrong with “attention to detail”, slow down and enjoy the moments, even the small ones, and everything else will eventually take care of itself. And if it happens to be tomorrow when it does, that’s okay. MP: What advice would you give to a new mom just starting her parenting journey? Lynda: Take them to church, snuggle, watch The Wiggles and Barney, attend the school parties, go on field trips and join them at school for lunch. It means so much. More than you know. MP: Thank you, Lynda, for sharing your story with our readers. Please share any final thoughts. Lynda: I don’t know why our journey ends up being what it is. All I know is that through it all, I am right where the Lord intended me to be at this very moment. I thank God daily for his gift of this wonderful life I live, and I do my best to be a good wife, mother, friend and business owner. Lynda Jackson-Taylor is the owner of The Shoppes of My Kids Attic, 401 Coliseum Boulevard, in Montgomery. She is married to Andy and they have six children (Andrew, 27; Nolan, 26; Alicia Ruth, 24; Matthew, 17; Melody, 16 and Sophia, 12).

MP: How do you balance being a business owner and an actively involved mother?

Montgomery Parents I December 2017


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Montgomery Parents December 2017  
Montgomery Parents December 2017  

The new article, Mom to Mom, begins in this issue! Plus area holiday happenings, toy reviews, and MUCH MORE!!