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Help Alabama


The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a joint research project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health. Its purpose is to determine why some babies are born healthy and others are not in order to aid in the development and assessment of programs designed to identify high-risk pregnancies and reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes. New mothers are randomly chosen from the state birth registry to participate in PRAMS. Surveys may be returned by mail or completed over the phone. Let your voice be heard!

“Happy to be part of this survey.”

“Thank you for checking on us!”

Actual comments from survey responses.

Moms who complete the PRAMS survey receive their choice of a cooler bag, diapers, or manicure set! Responses are kept confidential to the extent of the law. For more information, please call us at 334-206-2923 or go to alabamapublichealth.gov/PRAMS ADPH does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, age, religion, disability, genetic information, and other federal, state, or agency regulations and policies. Inquiries regarding 1 nondiscrimination policies may be directed to Civil Rights Coordinator: ADPH CRC, RSA Tower, 201 Monroe Street, Suite 1010, Montgomery, AL www.facebook.com/auburnopelika.parents 36104, Tel. 334-206-5226, or email crcomplaints@adph.state.al.us.


It’s a

GREAT DAY at STJ! Welcome Wednesdays! PARENTS AND PROSPECTIVE PRE-K3, PRE-K4, AND KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS—COME VISIT STJ! Wednesdays are filled with fun for our prospective pre-school and kindergarten families! Everyone will enjoy a STEAM activity together with our amazing enrichment teachers followed by concurrent parent tours and student arts & crafts with our student ambassadors. Space is limited to accommodate social distancing, so please reserve your spot by the Monday of the week you want to visit. All guests are asked to wear masks while on campus.


Open House JANUARY 24, 2021 RSVP: admissions@stjweb.org

Pre-K3−12th Grade


Saint James School

334-273-3021 or STJweb.org

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR LIFE Call today to learn more about affording a Saint James education for your child. 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.



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Mortgage Company, Guild Mortgage Company is River Guild Region Parents I Montgomery NovemberBranch 20206719 Taylor Circle | Montgomery, AL 36117, Prattville Branch 705 McQueen Smith Road South Prattville, AL 36066.www.riverregionparents.com an Equal Housing Lender; NMLS #3274 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/). Montgomery Branch NMLS #1566723. Prattville Branch NMLS #1570020. Photo by sheri silver on Unsplash.



INTRODUCING ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES As the only mental health center in Central Alabama, Crossbridge Behavioral Health now offers specialized in-patient care for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18. We understand how chaotic life can feel for families when a child is struggling with behavioral health issues. Our staff of expert physicians, licensed therapists, licensed social workers, registered nurses and mental health technicians offer a program of therapies and services that help return the young patient to emotional well-being. We treat adolescent behavioral health illness such as: Anxiety | Bipolar | Depression | Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Schizophrenia | Mood Disorders | Psychosis

Now is the time to begin the healing journey. Please call 334-286-3116 for more information.

The Road to Health and Hope Begins Here




Find Hope. Now more than ever, we need an encounter with God’s presence.

Worship with Frazer virtually

Worship with Frazer in person

• 11:00am Contemporary Worship • 9:30am Traditional Worship • 8:00am Special service with added precautions for those who consider themselves at high risk

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WFRZ-TV: Channel 13 (cable) or Channel 33 (antenna) Frazer Channel for Roku, AppleTV or FireTV Livestreaming at frazer.church/live Facebook Live at facebook.com/frazerchurch

DOW N LOAD OU R AP P | 60 0 0 AT L A N TA HWY | 334 . 2 7 2 . 86 2 2 | WWW. F R A Z ER . C HUR C H | F O L LOW US 4 www.riverregionparents.com

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Volume 25 Number 11

Columns 8 Therapeutic Parenting Sonia Martin, LICSW, PIP

14 Montgomery Education Matters by Dr. Ann Roy Moore, Interim Superintendent

Therapeutic Parenting Why trust moves at the speed of relationship with your kids.

Go a Little Rogue for Thanksgiving

34 Pike Road Education Matters

Ideas to make it more gratifying.



by Superintendent Charles Ledbetter, Ed.D.

42 Elmore Education Matters by Superintendent Richard Dennis

50 Dinner’s Ready by Kimberley Carter Spivey

How to Show Support for Local Businesses Creative ways to “shop” local.

Our guide shares what’s going on around town and nearby to fill the holidays with joy and memories!

60 Parenting, Media & Everything in Between Common Sense Media

Departments On The Cover Emma Hyunah (6), Logan Hyunwoo (4) and Gunner Hyunsoo (2) Cho. Proud parents are Jun and Sunny Cho. Emma is in Kindergarten at Bear Exploration Center. She loves art and won 1st place in school and 3rd place in Alabama in the PALS poster contest. Logan is in pre-K at Pike Road Elementary School. He is funny and loves to make people laugh. Visiting the Montgomery Zoo and fishing are two of his favorite things to do. Gunner attends

12 Teacher of the Month 16 School Bits 65 Movie Reviews 68 Mom to Mom

The Spot Activity Center. He loves superheroes, dinosaurs and gives great hugs!





When I was growing up, Thanksgiving Day looked about the same each year. While we would alternate between my grandmother’s, my aunt’s and our home, the day would consist of similar ingredients. The preparation of our family’s beloved and so delicious corn bread dressing, plus sweet potato casserole (pecans, not marshmallows), butter beans, turkey with giblet gravy, ham and cranberry sauce. Cousins played in the backyard before being called in to eat at the “kids’ table”. After lunch, the kitchen was cleaned followed by talking, watching football and falling into the post-turkey coma on the floor. I remember those holidays fondly and we have repeated the tradition many years during my adult life, only adding a new batch of cousins, a few new foods that our generation introduced to the table, and a growing insistence that the men take part in the after lunch clean up (it’s only fair, right?). Sticking to old traditions is meaningful, but creating new ones can be fun too! After our latest “tradition” of spending the past several Thanksgivings at the beach, we are spicing it up even more this year and heading off on a major road trip. If ever there was a year to do something totally different, it’s good old, unpredictable 2020! If you are also looking to change things up this year, be sure to check out the great ideas in our feature, Go a Little Rogue For a More Gratifying Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday turns our attention from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and many of us begin shopping for those on our list. This year has been a difficult one for all of us, and especially for our small business owners in the River Region. Before you jump online for convenience, think of how much your local purchases could help not only the local businesses themselves, but the economy of our community as a whole. Janeen Lewis has put together some creative ways you can help in her article, How to Show Support for Small Businesses This Holiday Season. Next up is our 2020 Holiday Happenings Guide where you’ll find many events, in-person and virtual, to get you in the holiday spirit. Start making plans today to enjoy all our area has to offer! No matter what difficulties and challenges 2020 has brought our way, let’s do our best to find gratitude in our hearts this Thanksgiving. There is still so much for which we can be thankful! May November be a month of precious memories with family and friends!

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

Founder Marty Watson (1950-2006) Editor DeAnne Watson editor@riverregionparents.com

Associate Editor Alison Rouse Research Editor Wendy McCollum Contributing Writers Katie Blair Richard Dennis Christa Melnyk Hines Dr. Charles Ledbetter Janeen Lewis Sarah Lyons Sonia Martin, LICSW, PIP Dr. Ann Roy Moore Kimberley Carter Spivey

Cover Photography Judy Barranco www.judybarrancophotography.com

Publisher Jason Watson jason@riverregionparents.com

Advertising Accounts Manager Savannah Bowden (334) 213-7940 ext. 704 adservices@keepsharing.com Digital Manager Scott Davis Advertising Opportunities (334) 213-7940 ext. 703 ads@riverregionparents.com


Ad Design Tim Welch



editor@riverregionparents.com River Region Parents magazine is published monthly by KeepSharing LLC, P.O. Box 230367, Montgomery, Alabama, 36123. River Region Parents is copyrighted 2020 by KeepSharing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. opinions expressed in River Region 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.

River Region Parents I November 2020






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one test two lives Get tested for HIV. For you and baby. for more information, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/hiv/hiv-and-pregnancy.html 7


TherapeuticParenting by Sonia Martin, LICSW, PIP

Trust Moves at the Speed of Relationship As a mother of many, I certainly do love it when the words, “Yes, Ma’am” come out of the mouths of my children. When they were young, that first time obedience, and their willingness to signal and show respect to me and to the entirety of the family, was important. And that is certainly still true. However, as they are now grown or nearly grown, I have realized that there are a handful of words that mean even more to me than “Ma’am?” followed by their immediate compliance. I was standing in the kitchen last week, cooking yet another casserole to feed a crowd, when one of them walked in and said, “I was thinking about what you said the other day…” And that was the moment. I put down the stirring spoon, turned around, looked him full in the face and let the impact of those words wash between us. “I was thinking about what you said…” That’s big. That’s powerful. And that’s exactly what we want to strive for as we seek to love, lead, guide, disciple, discipline and teach our children. In between the parental lectures on cleanliness and not driving above the

speed limit, in the midst of the day to day battles of chores and homework, we want the underlying current of our presence to have a lasting impact. Clearly we want our astute wisdom to begin to sink in and start to take root; we want them to “… think about what we said,” but it’s so much bigger than a “Go to your room and think about what I said” moment. It’s more foundational than that. It’s systemic, but above all else, it is relational. And I think that is where we miss the mark sometimes. We argue, we yell and we punish in the name of us being “right”, and often at the cost of the relationship. Should we discipline? Yes. Should we teach and train their hearts? Yes. Should we continually seek to point them in the way they should go? Absolutely, yes. But it is the way we do it that will either destroy the relationship or strengthen it. Because at the end of the day our kids have to trust us enough to understand that we are actually in their corner. It simply must be understood that trust moves at the speed of relationship.

Trust doesn’t move ahead, nor does it lag behind the relationship. They are one. They are concurrent and congruent with one another. Trust in friendship is essential. Trust in marriage is essential. Trust in parenting… yep, you guessed it – also essential. When our kids can get to the point wherein they trust that we are really for them, we can know we also have a healthy relationship, and so much good can come from that. It is through relationship that we get that obedience, it is through relationship that we get compliance, it is through relationship that we can share in the joys and sorrows of life together, both now and when they are 23, and 33 and 47. So hang in there, and remember that in the midst of all of the encouraging and correcting you will do today – they are actually listening. Sonia is a licensed social worker and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work. Her clinical focus is on helping parents and professionals understand the role of the brain in behavior and how to adopt therapeutic parenting techniques to mitigate negative behaviors. She is the Director of Central Alabama for Lifeline Children’s Services and is a mother to 7 sons, 3 of which were internationally adopted and she is a foster parent.

SUNDAY PUZZLES Whether a solo personal challenge or joint family effort, we make it easy for you to start solving—simply play on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Start solving at mmfa.org/ puzzles. Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, born Newfoundland, 1858–1924), Fall Foliage, ca. 1910–1913, watercolor, graphite, and pastel on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast, 1985.12.2

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YMCA Camp Chandler Holds ‘Cornament’

AUM Offers ACT Test Prep Classes

November 16-December 10 Learn ways to decrease test anxiety and increase your skills with the Reading/ Language, Science, and Math sections of the exam. *Students can attend class in-person or online using the Zoom web application. Masks are required for attending in-class sessions.* Classes meet Mondays through Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. Books will be provided at the first class meeting. Students may take the complete review ($309) to learn all subjects, or take a specific subject ($119). Call (334) 244-3804 or visit www.aum.edu/coned. Complete Review: Nov. 16-Dec. 10 ACT Language Review: Nov. 16-19 ACT Math Review: Nov. 30-Dec. 3 ACT Science Review: Dec. 7-10

MPAC Shows Alabama & Auburn Football Games

Saturdays through December 5 With restricted attendance at SEC games this season, Montgomery Performing Arts Centre will show University of Alabama and Auburn University football games on its giant, 30-foot screen.Times vary depending on weekly game schedules. Chefs at the Renaissance Montgomery will cater a public tailgate before each game. No reservations needed, and admission is free. All COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including face masks and social distancing. Visit http:// www.mpaconline.org/events/ for details. River Region Parents I November 2020

November 22 Come out and enjoy the fall weather and participate in a fun lighthearted cornhole tournament at YMCA Camp Chandler! Entry fee is $30 per team. The camp will have food and concessions available for purchase and we will provide locations to watch football in between rounds! Registration is open until November 19. *YMCA Camp Chandler will act in accordance with all Covid-19 ordinances and protocols. All equipment will be sanitized after each use. For more info, visit https://ymcamontgomery.org/ or call (334) 229-0035.


Montgomery Ballet Presents Ballet and the Beasts

Nashville Nights: A Sunday Supper Club Series of Songs and Stories from Music City

Sunday, November 15 * Doors open at 5 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. Montgomery Performing Arts Centre The Nashville Nights series is hosted by Jamie Kent, who toured with artists such as Huey Lewis & The News, The Doobie Brothers and Brothers Osborne. As the first featured artist in the series, Marti Frederiksen is a songwriter, producer, engineer and drummer recognized best as a co-writer for Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood, Buckcherry, and Mötley Crüe. He currently has a #1 on rock radio with Daughtry. Also on the bill for this event is Dan Rodriguez, who has shared the stage with artists and bands such as Matt Nathanson, NeedtoBreathe, Sister Hazel and many more. Limited seating! All tickets are $25 and you can purchase at Ticketmaster. com or by phone at (334) 481-5100. Food and beverage will be available for Purchase from 5pm-8pm. Normal security measures, as well as temperature screenings, and all other COVID guidelines will be in place. Mask required for entry and can be removed once seated.


November 6 * Montgomery Zoo gates open at 6 p.m. Long-standing Montgomery tradition. This year there will be performances by the Montgomery Ballet, Troy University Dance Department and the Montgomery Ballet School. Come join us for an evening dance, fun and animals! Admission is FREE. Picnic blankets, lawn chairs and coolers are welcome. For more info, call (334) 625-4900 or visit www. montgomeryzoo.com/.


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Holiday Bazaar at Russell Crossroads

November 27 * 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Holiday Bazaar, in conjunction with Christmas at Crossroads, will be held on the Town Green. Artisans and patrons from all over gather for this vast annual display of handmade goods. Artisans feature everything from jewelry, soaps, paintings, pottery, woodwork, lotions, furniture and much more! Santa will arrive by carriage around 10 a.m. and be in place until around 2. E-mail tmitchell@russelllands.com for more info or visit https:// www.russelllandsonlakemartin.com/. www.riverregionparents.com

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City of Prattville Christmas Market

December 3-20 * 5-9 p.m. Are you an artist, a baker, or have other handmade or unique homemade gift or holiday items? The Christmas Market will be set up at Heritage Park by the Christmas Tree on Thursdays through Sundays. We currently are accepting vendor applications, and space is limited. For info, call (334) 595-0580.

Red Door Theatre Presents Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas

December 3-6 Dream Field Farms, Fitzpatrick. Based on books by Robert Fulghum, adapted by Ernest Zulia & David Caldwell and directed by Kim Mason. Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas takes a funny, heartwarming and often poignant look at the struggle to find the spirit of the holidays amid the avalanche of commercialism, stress and chaos that crashes down every December. An optional dinner will be catered by Amber Anderson of the FPH Bakery; reservations required. Play tickets are $20 per person; dinner also $20 per person. For tickets or more info, call (334) 738-8687 or visit www.reddoortheatre.org.

Puppy Palooza

Sat. Nov. 7 * 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Shoppes at EastChase This event benefits Montgomery Humane Society and includes live music, a fido marketplace, doggy activities, great food from local food trucks, a K-9 splash zone, and much more! It is free to the public. There is something for the whole family, two-legged and four-legged alike! For more info, find us on Facebook.

Mistletoe at Home

December 6 * 2 p.m. The Alabama Dance Theatre will open its 34th season with a virtual production of Mistletoe. This year’s production will feature “Miss Kitty’s Favorite Dances of Christmas.” For viewing options, visit https://www.alabamadancetheatre.com/ or call (334) 625-2590.


A Downtown Dickens Christmas

December 4 & 5 * 5-8 p.m. Historic downtown Wetumpka Visit Wetumpka for a two-night community event as we celebrate the annual Christmas tree lighting and enjoy a Victorian Christmas! At A Downtown Dickens Christmas, you’ll be transported back to scenes from A Christmas Carol with period costumes, Christmas Carols sung by the Wetumpka High School Chorus, Father Christmas on-site for photos, authentic vendors, The Kelly Holiday Artist Market, a live nativity, and decorated downtown businesses. This is the perfect time to walk around our whimsical historic business district and complete your holiday shopping. For info, visit https://business.wetumpka chamber.org/ or call (334) 567-4811.


Joy Gleason The Montgomery Academy

While she keeps students motivated to do their best, Gleason, who holds her Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, says that who motivates her are her students and her fellow faculty and staff. Montgomery Academy Upper School Director, Tony Jordan, had this to say about Mrs. Gleason:

For teacher Joy Gleason, it’s her students who have taught her that really the smallest things make the biggest difference. Gleason, who teaches at The Montgomery Academy, said that it is her love for others that steered her to her career in education. “I love helping others and I love seeing others succeed. My parents are both educators and I saw how they enjoyed teaching not only in school, but at home, and in the community,” she said. Gleason is now in her sixth year of fulltime education and her second year serving the students of The Montgomery Academy, where she teaches STEM and an Introduction to Computer Science course for 7th and 8th grades, as well as Introduction to Technology, AP Computer Science Principles, and Advanced Computer Science for grades 9-12. Keeping students motivated in her courses isn’t always as easy as it may seem. “Being a technology teacher, I often get told it must be easy because the students love to use technology. That isn’t necessarily true. They like apps, but I teach the skills they need to make apps, as well as the more “boring” programs used for all kinds of work. I am always looking for what interests my students. I am also always on the lookout for professional development opportunities and groups that will give me ideas of what is new in the tech industry.”

River Region Parents I November 2020

“Mrs. Joy Gleason had an immediate impact when she joined the faculty at The Montgomery Academy. She has opened access to the 3-D printers so students can create and learn technology skills through authentic, hands-on activities. She has made technology inviting and accessible for our female students through her ‘Girls Who Code’ club while also running our STEM Lab which invites all students to learn and develop important STEM skills. As a colleague, Mrs. Gleason was instrumental in our successful pivot into remote learning last spring with her patient guidance of the faculty as we quickly had to learn new tools and skills. Mrs. Gleason always has time for a student or colleague, is an enthusiastic and joyful instructor, caring advisor, and an exemplary educator.”

With her love for teaching and seeing others succeed, it is easy to see why Mrs. Gleason is this month’s winner. Joy Gleason is married to Brian Gleason, who teaches math at The Montgomery Academy. They are the parents of daughters Jocelyn and Mirabelle. When she is not teaching, Gleason enjoys sewing, exercising, yard work, DIY projects around the house, and road trips with her family.




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A Year to Be Thankful Like many people, I take some time in November to reflect on the many things I’m thankful for in my life. This year has certainly been memorable, and it no doubt will make its mark in history books. COVID-19 has shifted many of our lives, reminding us that there is plenty for which we should be grateful. This month, I’m taking time to really appreciate all of the amazing things happening in our school system. As superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools (MPS), you will often hear me say I’m extremely thankful for all of the men and women who dedicate their careers to the success of our students. This includes everyone from our custodial staff to our department heads and everyone else who contributes to our students’ success.

River Region Parents I November 2020

For example, our outstanding educators have dedicated their time to participate in additional professional development hours to ensure they’re prepared to teach our students during this pandemic. Our principals have worked tirelessly around the clock to prepare our schools for reopening and to continue to accommodate our virtual students. All of us have worked together to make sure MPS is the best it can possibly be during a time of crisis. I’m extremely grateful for our team putting in the necessary work to help guide us through this tough time. Our parents also give me plenty of reasons to be thankful. Without our parents, we wouldn’t have our wonderful students filling our virtual learning environments or socially distanced in our classrooms. During this pandemic, our parents have stepped up to assist their children with virtual learning. They have discussed COVID-19 with their children to help them understand the importance of practicing safe social distancing and proper hygiene routines.  Another source of gratitude during this COVID-19 crisis is our fantastic community partnerships. We have partners who have


supported us for many years, and we’re especially grateful to them now. For instance, the city of Montgomery has truly been a champion of MPS during this time. From opening community centers, to helping us cut our school lawns, to providing necessary items and supporting our campaign for better funding, Montgomery has been fully vested in our school system. I value our relationships with all our community partners, and I’m looking forward to growing our relationships. This Thanksgiving holiday, have your children share what is most meaningful to them. Have them provide you examples from all aspects of their lives, whether it’s from school, basketball practice, or anything else in their lives, let’s remind our children that even during pandemic there is always something for which we can be grateful. For more than four decades, Dr. Moore has educated the children of Alabama. From her first post as a pre-school teacher, to her administrative work as a principal, central office curriculum specialist, superintendent, and her mentoring the next generation of teachers as an adjunct professor at colleges and universities, teaching is her passion.




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Montgomery County Schools

Montgomery Catholic St. Bede Campus Selects 2020-2021 Student Council

Montgomery Catholic announces the St. Bede Elementary Campus Student Council for the 2020-2021 school year. Campaigning was done, speeches were given, and the 2020 election was held. Shown are the Executive Student Council members Frances Bach, secretary; Maggie Holmes, treasurer; Madelyn Stringer, president; Samantha Berg, chaplain; and Erin McKenny, vice president. They are joined by class representatives Cate Noell, David Proffitt, Brady Cox, Frances Ann Rogers, John Baker, Sophia Collett, Rachel Stringer, MacKayla Natalini and Olivia Harbin. The Student Council will help Principal Laurie Gulley on campus with student life, service projects and safety on campus.

Bear Student Places In Art Competition

Bear Exploration Center fifth-grader Aydan Capilouto recently placed first in his age group in the school’s art competition, which was in connection with Alabama People Against a Littered State (PALS) campaign. He used the Pointillism technique for his piece, which was introduced to the students by Bear’s art teacher, Mary Bonikowski.

ACA Special Guests Teach K4 Students About Fire Safety

Every year Alabama Christian Academy’s elementary classes have a special visitor to talk through Fire Safety. This year, John Bailey, Fire Crew Chief at Maxwell Air Force Base Fire Department, visited the students as he educated them in the most current fire safety facts. Chief Bailey was accompanied by Sparky and the children especially wanted their picture taken with him. Students were taught to call 911 in event of an emergency and they also learned how to stop, drop and roll. Thank you, Crew Chief Bailey and Sparky, for visiting our campus.

Park Crossing Student Donates Supplies

Park Crossing High student Kandice Rudolph showed what real school spirit is about when she showed up to the school with cleaning supplies and other essential items. Rudolph delivered the items to Park Crossing about a week before schools reopened for face-to-face learning. Faculty members were surprised and delighted by her act of kindness. For others who want to help out, donations of cleaning supplies and bottled water are still welcome at all Montgomery Public Schools. River Region Parents I November 2020









Montgomery County Schools

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Montgomery Academy Middle School Volleyball Team Named CCC Champs

The Montgomery Academy Middle School Volleyball team won the CCC Tournament and went 25-1 in their season.

Evangel Celebrates Johnny Appleseed Day

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Evangel Christian Academyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s elementary classes recently celebrated the birthday of Johnny Appleseed, also known as John Chapman. The students discovered that Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees throughout America and was a missionary to Native Americans. The students discussed how apples are grown and harvested. They wore red shirts to celebrate and also enjoyed eating various apple treats.

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Check Us Out!

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maconeast.net Come visit the best deal in town! You are always welcome, so please get in touch with our Admissions Office and schedule a campus tour. We would love to show you around! Dual enrollment and financial aid are available.

15396 Vaughn Road Cecil, Alabama 36013 334.277.6566 Located a few minutes east of Chantilly Parkway, just minutes from Montgomery l

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Catholic Senior Has Bright Future in Golf

Montgomery Catholic golfer Grant Smith has recently made great strides within his sport. These strides include taking multiple victories in Alabama tournaments and committing to play Division 1 golf at Louisiana Tech University. Smith started playing at two years old and hasn’t put the clubs down since. He said his dad got him into the sport and continues to be a big motivator within his golf endeavors. Smith practices six times a week, and his day is not complete without being on the course. Having played on MCPS’s team since 7th grade, Smith has not lost passion for the sport and is a significant asset to the team. The hard work and practice have paid off. Smith has taken first place in four tournaments within this year alone. Continuing a family legacy, Smith beat out 56 other participants in the Dixie Junior Invitational in Selma, with an ending score of fiveunderpar. His brother, Drew Smith (MCPS Class of 2019) won the same tournament just two years ago. Before this, he earned first place in the Prattville Invitational, which had around 120 participants. Grant also beat all of his opponents in this year’s Blue-Gray tournament, which had about 130 participants. He even managed first place in the 2020 Red Devil invitational in Phenix City, which had around 80 participants. Smith recently committed to play golf for Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La. His consistency and improvement these past two years drew the Louisiana Tech coach to him. Smith says that it has been his dream to play golf at a Division 1 school, and other goals for the future include being the Conference USA Freshman of the Year when he attends Louisiana Tech. Smith said he enjoys being able to work on self-improvement within the game continually. He has aspirations to play professional golf and continues to work to improve every day. He is excited to finish out his season at Montgomery Catholic and to play at the collegiate level next fall. 19



Montgomery County Schools

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LAMP Student Named Distinguished Young Woman for Montgomery

For the second straight year, a LAMP High student has been named Distinguished Young Woman of Montgomery County. Ella Beth Kirkland also attended Forest Avenue Academic Magnet and Baldwin Arts & Academics Magnet. She won several distinctions besides the top award. She was the top scholastic winner, the top self-expression winner and the winner of the Spirit of DYW award, an award that is voted on by the participants. Kayla Holley of Booker T. Washington Magnet High was second runner-up in the competition, which included students from public and private schools throughout Montgomery County. Kirkland is shown at left with 2020 Distinguished Young Woman Dominique Verville, who is a LAMP graduate.

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Eastwood Fifth-Graders Study Early America

As a part of their study of early American history, Eastwood Christian Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fifth-grade students built a small replica of Jamestown Fort, the first permanent English settlement in 1607.


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STJ’s Harrison Named Player of the Week

Saint James School’s sophomore running back Cosner Harrison has been named the Montgomery Quarterback Club’s Player of the Week. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, the Quarterback Club is not hosting its usual banquet with invited winners; instead, the trophies are being delivered individually to the players at their campuses. Harrison’s impressive yards during the Bullock County Game on September 11 earned him this distinction. His 30 carries for a total of 249 yards resulted in the team’s five touchdowns, tying a school record for the most touchdowns in a single game. Montgomery Quarterback Club members delivered Cosner Harrison his Player of the Week trophy at Saint James School. From left are Kendall Leverette, Coach Jimmy Perry, Cosner Harrison and Allen Farr.


Evangel Christian Academy




Encouraging each child to achieve their God-given potential

AISA Blue Ribbon School TEA Academy’s First Nine Weeks Student Bridge Builder

Jamari Davis is a ninth-grader who has been a part of the TEA Academy family for six years. He has continued to excel in academics since enrolling. Davis often goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to his assignments, by putting in extra time and turning in extra work; these attributes are rare for most students. Additionally, this young man has never had any discipline issues, and he usually assists other students with their work. He has been on the honor roll throughout his tenure at TEA Academy. Davis is our Education Bridge Builder Student for the first nine weeks of this school year. He and his family will receive dinner, compliments of TEA Academy, Inc.

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

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Saint James School Celebrates Homecoming 2020

Saint James senior Tamya Shanise Bruce, daughter of LaShonda Wilson and Rodney Hartley, was crowned 2020 Homecoming Queen in halftime ceremonies during STJ’s October 8 match-up against Dale County High School. Due to weather concerns, the celebration was moved from its traditional Friday night. Queen Tamya’s court included freshman attendant Reilly Taylor, sophomore attendant Jordan Wesley, junior attendant Rachel Rice and senior attendant Virginia Braswell. Queen’s Attendants were seniors Bailey Anderson and Aubrey Wright. Crown bearers were Saint James kindergarten girls whose parents are Saint James alumni. The 2020 crown bearers were Harper Blair Horsley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nate ‘99 (Jessica George) Horsley; Susan Frances Jehle, daughter of William Jehle ‘02 and the late Caro Louise Savage Jehle ‘02; Sarah Clare Ramsey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bradford (Sarah Dixon ‘02) Ramsey; Jordyn Claire Stewart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley ‘01 (Kristi Brannen) Stewart; and Cecilia Ann York, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher (Sallye Jeffcoat ‘00) York. After a schoolwide homecoming parade, the queen was announced during the morning pep rally; Queen Tamya and her court were presented during halftime ceremonies at the homecoming football game that evening. Saint James Board of Trustees Chair, Lt. Col. Dex McCain, retired, presented Queen Tamya with a silver bowl per school tradition, and Head of School Dr. Larry McLemore crowned the 2020 queen with the assistance of the five crown bearers. The Trojans won the night’s game against the Warriors, 52-26. “A Saint James Trojan exemplifies friendship, integrity and leadership,” said Bruce. “Becoming the first African American queen at Saint James is a part of history, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to break barriers that have yet to be broken until now. As Homecoming Queen, I hope to make an impact on someone’s life and remind them that anything is possible. Saint James, I am honored to be your Homecoming Queen, and I hope to be a light that helps this wonderful school shine even more.” From left, Saint James School Homecoming Court included freshman attendant Reilly Taylor; junior attendant Rachel Rice; Queen’s Attendant Bailey Anderson; 2020 Queen Tamya Bruce; Head of School Dr. Larry McLemore; Queen’s Attendant Aubrey Wright; senior attendant Virginia Braswell; and sophomore attendant Jordan Wesley.

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River Region Parents I November 2020




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TEA Academy’s Commitment to Student Success

As we embark on this new way of teaching, TEA Christian Academy Principal Maggie McElroyWashington has made it possible for her faculty to attend weekly professional development training. The school’s commitment lies deeper than just the classroom; the faculty want to give the students a well-rounded scholastic experience. Since the beginning of the school term, the staff has attended various training webinars presented by Cognia (formerly AdvancED) as well as Abeka. Topics include: Principles of Effective Teaching I and II, Critical Thinking I, II and III, and Teaching Life Skills During a Pandemic. TEA’s faculty is dedicated and has enthusiastically adapted to this new virtual teaching platform. Following these workshops, teachers then collaborate and strategize on ways to utilize these techniques more efficiently. They are committed to attending more workshops to better equip them to perform at the highest level. Learning is not just for the students; it’s for ALL who are committed to teaching students, by assisting them to rise to the occasion of being great students, and continuing to bridge gaps in learning. TEA’s School Motto is “Taking an Extra Step Towards Educational Excellence.”

Appreciation for Keeping Macon East Students Safe

Macon East Academy lower school students, parents and teachers worked together to show their appreciation to the Montgomery Sheriff’s Department and the Pike Road Fire Department for helping to keep our students safe. The Fire Department visits the school each year with their fire truck to teach students about fire safety. The Montgomery Sheriff’s Department monitors the school each day during school hours to keep our campus secure. They collected various snack items and drinks for baskets to place in the break rooms of the fire department and sheriff’s department.

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Montgomery Montgomery County Schools

ECS Chosen for Young Leaders Conference

ACA Holds 2020 Homecoming

Alabama Christian Academy crowned Rose Costanza its 2020 Homecoming Queen. The 2020 ACA homecoming court included: 2019 Homecoming Queen Mary Hall, sixthgrade attendant Marley Kachelman, seventh-grade attendants Campbell Hammet (absent) and Julie Waldo, eighth-grade attendant Maddie Traywick, freshman attendant Annabelle Pugh, sophomore attendant Alyson Thornton, junior attendant Abby Wilson and senior attendants Tia Coker, Rose Costanza and Macy Kate Owen. Crown and flower bearers were Charlotte Cowell and Ella Claire Moore.

Eastwood Christian School is recognizing Lena Boak and Charlie Coon from the sixth-grade class as nominees to represent the school at the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, DC this summer. The Junior National Young Leaders Conference offers highachieving middle school students the opportunity to learn about leadership in a challenging and interactive program designed for the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most promising middle-school students.

Please send Your School News to: editor@riverregionparents.com.

River Region Parents I November 2020




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Montgomery Catholic Senior Named Finalist in Montgomeryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Distinguished Young Women Program

Goodwyn Middle Celebrates Veterans On Constitution Day

Things were a little different this year, but the 17th annual Constitution Day celebration of veterans at Goodwyn Middle School was once again an inspiring event. Hurricane Sally forced the school to reschedule and COVID-19 meant that it was socially distanced, but it was a great celebration nonetheless. Veterans drove up to receive home-cooked meals, T-shirts and gratitude for their service. Goodwyn Principal Douglas Taylor, Lanier High Parent Liaison Cubie Rae Hayes, and a whole host of volunteers helped make sure it was a great event. Shown here, Hayes hands a Certificate of Appreciation to veteran Willie Frank Griffin.

Montgomery Catholic senior Allie Berg recently finished as a Top Ten finalist in Montgomeryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Distinguished Young Women scholarship program. Distinguished Young Women (DYW) is a nationwide non-profit scholarship program for high school senior girls with local/regional competitions. The girls become eligible in the summer preceding their senior year. The program offers scholarship money and provides the girls with the necessary skills for college: public speaking, interviewing and self-confidence. To become a finalist, Berg had to compete in five different categories: talent, fitness, self-expression, interview and scholarship. The fitness category entails a routine in which the girls demonstrate their athletic ability by performing multiple physical components. She described this as being her favorite category because she enjoyed learning the routine with the other girls. For her talent portion, Berg performed a dance routine. Having danced from a young age, she stood out amongst her competitors. Berg explained that she first advanced past the preliminary round, which consisted of two shows in one day in the above categories. This round also included the interview portion in which the judges could hone in on who they thought should advance. After these rounds, the judges selected 10 participants to advance to the final round. For the final round, contestants repeated each category of the competition, and the judges decided the top three participants. Berg credits her place in the final round to skills she has gained from Montgomery Catholic. Public speaking skills learned from the MCPS debate team and Youth in Government events strongly influenced the competitionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s self-expression portion. She also explained that the ethics and morals Montgomery Catholic instilled in her were helpful during her interview portion. Berg is the daughter of Chris and Sarah Berg of Montgomery.



Montgomery Montgomery County Schools

Eastwood Entertains with Shakespeare in the Park

Eastwood Christian School students put on the 5th annual Shakespeare in the Park event on a sunny October Saturday. The Caeruli (12th-, 10th- and 8th-graders) and Candidi (11th-, 9th- and 7th-graders) adapted Shakespeare plays to perform for classmates and parents. Concessions, activities for kids and trivia rounded out the event. The Caeruli (blue) team presented their rendition of The Winter’s Tale, complete with wild bears and magical statues. The Candidi (white) team adapted The Comedy of Errors, a tale of two sets of twins and lots of mistaken identities. Ultimately, the Candidi won the “Gilded Bard” trophy. At the end of the event, students were excited to learn that the Eastwood Players will perform Guys and Dolls in the spring of 2021.

ACA 2nd-Graders Write in Daily Journals

ACA National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student

Alabama Christian Academy’s second-grade students spends time each morning writing in their daily journals. The students have written all about their pets and different responsibilities they have when taking care of their furry friends. This year has looked slightly different but our students are thriving more than we could have imagined. We are so proud of their hard work and intentionality as we navigate through this season. Each day at ACA, we are reminded that we are truly Better Together.

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Alabama Christian Academy senior Sarah Johnson was selected as a National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student. Of the 1.5 million students who took the PSAT in October of 2019, Sarah was one of approximately 34,000 students who earned this distinction and one of 120 in the State of Alabama. She is shown with her parents, Gary and Linda Johnson, and brother, Baillie, who is a junior at ACA.



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Dalraida Teacher Receives STEM Grant

Saint James Recognizes Art and Photography Winners from Alabama National Fair

Saint James art students performed quite well at the 2020 Alabama National Fair’s art and photography competitions. In the High School Art Division, the following students won ribbons in their category. In Opaque Painting, Izabella Janush-Hernandez was awarded 2nd place, and Honorable Mention went to Luke Beasley. Logann Dean was awarded Honorable Mention in Watercolor Painting. In Color Drawing, Janush-Hernandez placed 3rd while Madeleine Shields placed 1st in Black and White Drawing. In the Mixed Media category, Isabelle Goulet won 1st place, and Jordan Wesley was awarded Honorable Mention. Alexander McHorne placed 1st in Printmaking. For the photography competition, Saint James students fared just as well. Chelsea Johnson was chosen Best of Show, along with 1st place in the Animals category. Also in the Animals category, 3rd Place went to Savannah Christian. Kate Rees won 1st place, and Johnson placed 3rd in the Floral category. For the People category, 1st place went to Caroline Williams, 2nd place to Rees, and 3rd place to Johnson for a Saint James sweep of the event. In the Scenic category, Rees placed 1st and Johnson placed 2nd. For the category entitled “Items Not Listed,” Johnson won 1st place, Rees won 2nd place, and Christian won 3rd place. These pieces will be displayed on campus in Saint James’s Furlong Hall. These artists are a part of the classes of Art 2, AP Art and Photography 2 taught by Evelyn Shoults. Wesley is a student in Art 1 taught by Bethany Davis. Front row from left are Savannah Christian, Izabella Janush-Hernandez, Chelsea Johnson and Kate Rees. Back Row are: Logann Dean, Caroline Williams, Madeleine Shields, Jordan Wesley and Luke Beasley. Not pictured are Alexander McHorne and Isabelle Goulet.


Dalraida Elementary gifted specialist Misty Trussell received the Alabama Association for Gifted Children 2020 Conference Educator Grant for $600 to use with her third- through fifth-grade gifted classes. The grant titled, “Inspiring Engineering Excellence in Every Design,” will help gifted students learn all about Engineering and Design.

Children’s Author Visits Montgomery Academy Popular children’s book author Dan Gutman visited The Montgomery Academy Lower School students virtually. He shared his process as a writer, read some of his work and even showed students the binder of rejection letters he’s received in his career. In the world of children’s fiction novels, Gutman is rockstar status, and our second- through fifth-graders thoroughly enjoyed his visit!


STJ Student Starts Business for Athletes

Saint James School seventh-grader Isaac Capilouto has been an athlete since age 4. He plays Streaks soccer, is on the Alabama Soccer Olympic Development Program, and is on the Saint James football team. He wants to give back to his community, and he knows how costly athletic equipment can be. So, Capilouto started his own business—Cleats for Kicks. He will soon have donation stations set up across town for donations of new and gently used athletic clothing and equipment, so that he can clean and sanitize it for the next athlete.


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ECA Students Meet at School Flagpole to Pray

Recently, students from Evangel Christian Academy joined together at the school’s flagpole to pray for their school, county, state and country. The annual “See You at the Pole” event was celebrated by students all across the United States. Several students, teachers and parents gathered to pray. Pastors and members of Evangel Church were also present, including Rev. Michael Rippy, lead pastor of Evangel Church and president of ECA. ECA graduate James Paterson delivered a short sermon. ECA students led the group in several praise and worship songs. River Region Parents I November 2020



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Montgomery Academy Celebrates Forty-Seven AP Scholars

Forty-seven students have earned the designation of AP Scholar by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program (AP) Exams. Students took AP Exams in May 2020 after completing challenging college-level courses in the Upper School. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams. Two students were named National AP Scholars, which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams: Cyprian Dumas ‘20 and Martha Ernest ‘20. Thirteen students were named AP Scholars with Distinction which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams: Isabella Baker ‘20, Will Barganier ‘20, Sofie Behr ‘20, Sarah Honor Campbell ‘20, Cyprian Dumas ‘20, Martha Ernest ‘20, Anne Tyler Fitzpatrick ‘20, Russell Hughes ‘20, Mac Main ‘20, Stewart Miller ‘21, William Robertson ‘20, Alisha Singh ‘21 and Kelly Yoon ‘20. Ten students were named AP Scholars with Honor, which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams: Venus Avezzano ‘21, Abby Baird ‘21, Brystol Habermacher ‘21, Gradyn Holbrook ‘21, Mary Virginia Huffaker ‘21, Sarah Campbell Hughes ‘20, Leighton Robertson ‘21, Coleman Speir ‘20, Easton Strickler ‘21 and Anaya Thomas ‘21. Twenty-two students were named AP Scholars, which is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams: Femi Adediji ‘20, Oliver Bear ‘20, Braxton Bonner ‘20, Emma Grace Broach ‘20, Ann Cobern Chapman ‘21, Armaan Daryanani ‘22, Eric Doh ‘20, Gianna Foti ‘22, Ellie Gilmore ‘20, Virginia Hope ‘21, Hilsman James ‘20, Camp Jernigan ‘21, Ben Jordan ‘21, Jiwon Lee ‘20, Drew McDaniel ‘20, Anna Perry ‘21, Thomas Rizzo ‘20, Sally Shegon ‘20, Maddie Sinco ‘21, Clara Slawson ‘20, Laurie Wakefield ‘20 and AJ Williams ‘20. 29


Montgomery Montgomery County Schools

Montgomery Catholic Homecoming 2020 Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School celebrated Homecoming week October 5-9. The Homecoming game and festivities were pushed up a day due to stormy weather expected Friday from Hurricane Delta. During halftime of the varsity football game vs. Childersburg, Montgomery Catholic Principal Eileen Aaron had the distinct honor of crowning the 2020 Homecoming Queen and King, Alanna Moncheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Aiken and Myles Thomas Butler. The 2020 Montgomery Catholic Homecoming Court, shown from left to right: freshman attendant Lily Kathryn Coulombe escorted by Caleb Shamar McCreary; junior attendant Aniya Lowery escorted by Christopher Benjamin Lathram; senior attendant Allison Carol Berg escorted by Hollis Eugene Johnson V; senior attendant Rachel Ann Rodriguez escorted by Kolbe Joseph Russo; Homecoming Queen and King Alanna Moncheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Aiken & Myles Thomas Butler; senior attendant Alexis Morgan Meshok escorted by William Austin Cleghorn; and sophomore attendant Kay-

River Region Parents I November 2020

leigh Grace Everage escorted by William Michael Belsterling. The week leading up to the Homecoming football game was full of activities and excitement, including themed spirit days and Mass on the Grass on the football field. On Wednesday, the elementary Squire Walk was held at each campus. Students from the St. Bede and Holy Spirit campuses would traditionally be invited to run through the Catholic inflatable helmet to greet the Big Knights varsity football team as they took the field before the Homecoming Game. This year, with limited ticketing for home football games, Montgomery Catholic Varsity Football Coach Aubrey Blackwell and School President Justin Cas-


tanza loaded the helmet up and delivered it to each campus for the little Knights to continue the tradition. The Middle and High School campus ended the day on Thursday with a socially distanced pep rally on the football field to pump up school spirit, and a shut-out victory


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over Childersburg made for a great end to Homecoming 2020.




MA Artists Recognized At Alabama National Fair

Eastwood Students Think Letter M is Marvelous While learning the alphabet, Eastwood Christian School students spotlight the letters they are studying with fun activities. Recently the kindergartners enjoyed muffins while drinking milk from their mugs. It was so MUCH fun!

Send Your School News to: editor@montgomery parents.com.

Montgomery Academy Middle and Upper School Art students placed in the Alabama National Fair Student Exhibition. Above are Addi Vinson ‘25 2nd place in the Opaque section and Morgan Springer ‘27 3rd place Pencil Drawing, and Apollo Avezzano ‘26 3rd place Color Drawing. Below are Ben Thackston ‘21 2nd place Sculpture, Abby Baird ‘21 1st place Drawing, Garrett Scott ‘21 3rd place Mixed Media and Pierson Hartley ‘22 1st place Sculpture.



Montgomery County Schools

Macon East Homecoming Court 2020

Macon East Academy Knights celebrated Homecoming early this year with an exciting football game versus the Lee-Scott Warriors and the announcement of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homecoming court. Miss Georgia Blaze was elected as the 2020 Homecoming queen. Georgia is co-captain of the varsity cheerleading squad, member of the Lady Knights volleyball and softball teams, and a leader in many other school organizations. Other members of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s court were Mollie Ross (7th grade), Mary Taylor May (8th grade), Pressley Graham (9th grade), Madison May and Ryan Russell (10th grade), Anna Dickson Beck, Rachel Major and Maddie Ross (11th grade), Kathryn Barker, Mary Lawson Norton, and Mary Hunter Wright (12th grade). The Knights made Homecoming extra special with a 4123 win over the Lee-Scott Warriors. Offensively, Carlos Carter, Kirkland Pugh, Eric Lawson and Lane Goree were dominant players in the win. Parker Strickland, Luke Noffsinger, Stone Yarnell, Garrett Harden and Jordan Hicks led the defense. Way to go Knights!

River Region Parents I November 2020






So Pla November is the perfect time to deliver thanks. There is much to be grateful for here at Pike Road Schools (PRS.) We have an excellent, caring staff from our custodians, our Paraprofessionals, our office staff, our school nurses, our school counselors, our bus drivers, our administrators, to all of our teachers. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with all of them, and I know your children are in good hands with them. We have supportive parents and community members, with a giving and engaged PTSA at the forefront, to which we all say thank you for all that you do to make PRS a great place to be. We have incredible students who are thinkers, innovators, and creators and challenge us to become better people. October was principal appreciation month, and Pike Road Schools is blessed to

River Region Parents I November 2020

have principals that live up to the challenge. Principal appreciation month provides us an opportunity to publicly recognize the work, commitment, and importance of principals, and assistant principals, throughout our district. Thank you to the PRS principals and assistant principals, for all you do and for your work and leadership! As we enter the second nine weeks of this school year, PRS is off to a great start. Excellent teaching and learning are taking place in our classrooms and through our virtual platform. We are continuing to learn and make adjustments to improve virtual instruction. For educators, the COVID-19 pandemic is a quintessential adaptive and transformative challenge, one for which there is no preconfigured playbook that can guide the appropriate response. Despite the difficult circumstances brought on by COVID-19, our teachers and administrators continue to design responses to meet our learnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs swiftly. We are incredibly proud of their innovative thinking and dedication to serving the families of Pike Road Schools!


Outside of the classroom, our student athletes are performing well too. Our Varsity Volleyball team and Varsity Football team both clinched the 5A Region Championship. Our high school cross country team achieved incredible results in the Trinity Coed Championship, setting many new records. During this season of giving thanks, I hope that we all take the time to notice what we are thankful for. The sometimes hectic pace of daily life can get in the way, yet if we stop and see how much our lives are impacted for the better by those with whom we interact each day, maybe the noise and distractions can fade away for a moment, and we can share our gratitude for the blessings we have. Happy Thanksgiving to all. May your holiday be filled with family, friends, and merriment. Chuck Ledbetter has been an educator for 30 years. He 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. 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 11th year as a superintendent. He is married to Kim and has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren.


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PRS Teacher Named Teacher of the Year

Pike Road Schools gifted and robotics lead learner Catherine Kenny was selected by the Air Force Association (ASA) as the Montgomery Chapter Teacher of the Year. Presenting Kenny her award were President Bruce Barton and AEVP Susan Mallett. AFA is part of the nationwide initiative to improve STEM learning, including aerospace education, to better prepare students for the competitive global economy and increase their chances of becoming future leaders.

Pike Road Schools Decorate Hay Bales

It’s fall and in the Town of Pike Road that means it’s time for the annual hay bale decorating contest, “Hay Look at Us!” The Town of Pike Road supplies participants with a plain hay bale. The goal is to transform the ordinary hay bale into a creative work of art. Entries must follow one of the following themes: Thanksgiving, Halloween, Fall/Harvest, Support of Pike Road Schools or the Patriots. In addition to curb appeal and construction, the hay bales are judged on the theme as outlined above, and creativity, including originality and use of materials. Last year Pike Road Elementary placed first in the business/organization category of the contest. This year Pike Road High School was selected as the first-place winner in the business/organization category for its creative hay bay design “ Rootin’ for the Patriots.” “Hay Look at Us!” is a great way for PRS students and staff to connect and work on a fun project. Follow Pike Road Schools on social media at https://www.facebook.com/pikeroadschools to view the final creations.

PRES Recognized Among Best Schools!

PRHS Hires ACT Prep Teacher

Laela Bunn has been hired by Pike Road High School (PRHS) to help students prepare for the ACT. Bunn comes to PRHS from Alabama Virtual Academy. Her professional experience includes instructional coach, English teacher and yearbook and newspaper sponsor. The addition of Bunn is not just about instilling students with content knowledge and strategies, but also about making the learning relevant to students’ plans for the future. River Region Parents I November 2020

Pike Road Elementary School (PRES) has been recognized as a 2021 Best School by Niche. This year, PRES ranked #2 in Best Public Elementary Schools in Montgomery County. This ranking was earned by scoring highly in many different factors that aim to capture what it is really like to attend PRES. You can view Pike Road Elementary School’s profile and see the full list of 2021 rankings, methodologies and data sources at https://www.niche.com/. Special thanks to the community of Pike Road for working hard every day to make Pike Road Schools worthy of national attention. 36

Intermediate Student Adopts Her Classroom

Fifth-grade student Macie Duncan participated in the challenge to clean up and recycle signs posted throughout the Pike Road community. For every sign brought to Pike Road Signs and Graphics, challenge organizers donated a dollar each to Pike Road Schools. Duncan collected enough signs to get Ms. May’s fifth-grade math class adopted. A special thank you to Mona Hurston, Chris Myers and Neal Pate for sponsoring the community sign clean up and recycle challenge. The challenge resulted in three classroom adoptions. To learn more about the Adopt a Class program, visit https:// www.pikeroadschools.org.


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Pike Road High School Homecoming 2020 This year, Pike Road High School’s Homecoming was unlike anything we’ve seen before. While there may not have been a dance, which was very disappointing to many, we were still able to celebrate our football team. On Friday, October 2, the Patriots showed no mercy on Charles Henderson High School’s Trojans, and won the game with the score 50-0. We were also still able to present our Homecoming Court, with Victoria Stephens crowned as queen and Macahi Cooley as our first- ever Homecoming king. Other members of the court were: seniors Syana Smith, Jenna Locklier,and Alysia Cadena, juniors Chyna Brown and Emily Klinger and sophomores Chandler Paymon and Emma Jane Stricklin. Typically, each year for Homecoming every grade would decorate its own hallway according to the theme. Instead, this year we decided to decorate the doors of each of our mentor teachers’ classrooms. That way, not so many people were crowded together decorating an entire hallway. During the week of September 28, learners spent nearly thirty minutes a day each day decorating teachers’ doors based on the various themes. At the end of the week, we even had a contest to see

who did the best job. Pike Road High School also did not have a traditional Homecoming parade this year. Instead, planners broadcast a virtual pep rally and organizers hired Kona Ice to come to the school t. It may not have been the Homecoming we are all used to, but it was still a very fun and eventful week. Dress-up days were another fun aspect of this year’s Homecoming. With the theme, “Lettuce Celebrate!,” Monday was Thousand Island Day, so everyone wore Hawaiian/ beach clothes. Caesar hailed the day on Tuesday as students and faculty donned toga and Roman fare. Balsamic Vinaigrette on Wednesday encouraged everyone to

dress up in preppy attire. On Thursday, Ranch roped everyone into sporting country/cowboy outfits. Lastly, Friday’s House Dressing challenged everyone to show Patriot spirit in red, white and blue. Overall, this year’s Homecoming was definitely different, but different doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Though we had restrictions due to Covid-19, we still did our best to have fun with what we had. This article contributed by PRHS journalism student Allie Haynes.

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Autauga County Schools

PJHS Continues Homecoming Tradition

Prattville Junior High School celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and the school was happy to honor some of its former Homecoming queens. The first PJHS HOCO queen was crowned in 1995 and is currently the head basketball coach for the Lady Lions at PHS. What a fun time celebrating our community!


Billingsley Brothers Win Fishing Tournaments Billingsley senior Cole Godwin and his brother Noah, who is a 2018 Billingsley graduate, made history in February when they became the youngest team to ever win an Alabama Bass Trail Fishing Tournament. They followed that impressive win with yet another Alabama Bass Trail win in September, and their winnings of more than $20,000 qualified them to compete in the Alabama Bass Trail Championship Tournament October 23-24 for a grand prize of more than $50,000. They were featured in newspaper articles, podcasts and television shows leading up to the tournament.

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Prattville Primary Celebrates Spirit

Prattville Primary School celebrated spirit day by dressing like twins. We learned that we are better together.

Pine Level Creates Safety Video

Pine Level Elementary students collaborated to create a video to welcome students back to school. The video allowed students to share and demonstrate safety procedures necessary for this school year. Procedures were demonstrated for areas such as P.E., lunchroom, hallways and entering the building. A huge thankyou to the teachers who organized and created the video. River Region Parents I November 2020


PJHS Icon Passes On

Mr. Jack Tracy, former Prattville High School English teacher, soccer coach and assistant principal, recently earned his wings. Scores of students and teachers have been blessed to know him and learn from him as he has inspired so many to be better educators, better students and better people.They say you can count the seeds in an apple, but you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t count the apples in a seed. Mr. Tracy definitely was a world changer. 38

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(Still) Serving Children Safely PES Participates in Parade of Pumpkins

Prattville Elementary School participated in the 2nd Annual Parade of Pumpkins in downtown Prattville October 23-November 1.


It has always been our priority to ensure the safety and well-being of each child in our care — and that remains our commitment as we continue our mission during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prattville Primary Studies Habit 2

Prattville Primary School students studied Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind. They each set a goal and made a plan to reach that goal. They worked hard and stayed focused to meet their goal.

Here’s how we have redesigned our operations to keep our patients and their families as safe as possible: q q q q q q

All visitors are screened immediately for signs of illness and fever. We follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting our facilities. Our staff practices safe hand hygiene. We are wearing masks for your safety. Thank you for wearing your face covering. All visitors to campus are required to wear masks. Waiting rooms have been reconfigured to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

Pine Level Third-Graders Study Plant Science Third-grade students at Pine Level Elementary are learning about life science. They have been doing hands-on experiments learning the parts of the plant and observing lima bean seeds to see how much water they need to grow. Students have been observing and collecting data. Eventually the plants will be moved to the school’s outdoor garden.



Autauga County Schools

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Prattville Primary Participates in Parade of Pumpkins Prattville Primary School participated in Prattville’s Parade of Pumpkins. Each class synergized and worked together to create a pumpkin for the city’s display. Students had the opportunity to vote on their favorite pumpkin while discussing the voting process.

Pine Level Teaches Leadership

PJHS Cats Give Back

Pine Level Elementary is in the second year of being a Leader in Me school. Quotes on leadership were hung in the hallways over the summer to remind students to be leaders. As the school year unfolds, our students will be learning the language and meaning of the 7 Habits. Learning the language of Leader in Me is important for not only at school but also at home. When parents and schools support one another, the sky is the limit!

Each year, the Prattville Jr. High BetaCats sponsor students across the world through Operation Christmas Child. Even during a pandemic, our students are dedicated to this project and are collecting school supplies and other items to make a difference. Dr. Janie Jones, Beta Club sponsor, partners with a local AUM professional to ship the boxes. It’s amazing to have a hands-on collaborative service project.


WATCH Experience the PCA difference with school-wide and grade-level specific virtual tours.

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River Region Parents I November 2020



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PCA Homecoming Food Drive Collects One Ton of Food for Local Community Every morning, Prattville Christian Academy students are challenged to “have a great day and glorify God in everything [they] do.” For some, it’s as simple as helping new students around the school or picking up books a friend dropped. However, PCA students recently went the second mile, collecting 2,295 pounds of food for the Autauga Interfaith Care Center (AICC) and the Montgomery Area Food Bank (MAFB) during the school’s Homecoming Food Drive. PCA’s Student Government Association Chaplain Eli Staggs partnered with the Chapel Practicum class, led by Scott Schumpert, to host the food drive, count the donations and deliver the food to the two charities. Staggs, a ninth-grader, described the food drive as very stressful but emphasized that “no matter what is going on in the world, God will still show his love and his compassion through me and other students.” Schumpert, PCA’s new campus minister and upper school Bible teacher, aided Staggs by encouraging students to donate and helped plan the class challenge to raise the most food. While PCA has hosted a food drive for Homecoming in years past, he was encouraged to see the tradition continue. On Monday and Tuesday, PCA students and families raised 1,056 pounds of food for AICC. More than 20 boxes of food were

delivered to the Prattville-based charity, which were then unloaded, counted and organized on shelves to provide assistance to those who are in need. AICC serves residents in Autauga County by providing free boxes of food and organizing clothing drives. “Each night when I sit down at a meal, it is great to know someone else will be provided a meal on their table,” Schumpert said. On Wednesday and Thursday, PCA students and families went above and beyond for the MAFB, raising a total of 1,239 pounds of food. The MAFB serves Montgomery County and surrounding areas, providing service for 35 out of 67 counties in Alabama. Teressa Millwood, the fund and food drive coordinator and administration assistant at the MAFB, described each pound of food being equivalent to one meal for a family in need. “Donations of funds and food mean the world to MAFB; we could not do what we do without the caring support of

our community and their donations of funds and food to us,” Millwood said. With COVID-19 still impacting local communities, both AICC’s and the MAFB’s resources have been stretched thin, but with the generosity of PCA’s families, both organizations will have more supplies to spread through the surrounding areas. “I definitely [gained] plenty of new perspectives with run-

ning the food drive... the biggest one was that God shows his love through everyone, not just through me,” Staggs said.. “It gives me great joy to know that PCA’s family has an ‘others first’ attitude,” Schumpert said. This article contributed by PCA journalism student Jenna Stilling.

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Equipping students to be college and career ready and developing critical thinking skills are top priorities in Elmore County. To achieve these priorities, we provide our students opportunities in and out of the classroom to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – collectively known as STEM – and apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems. Elmore County enjoys an ongoing relationship with the STARBASE program at Maxwell Air Force Base. STARBASE is a unique and innovative Department of Defense (DoD) STEM awareness and outreach program that creates a bridge between DoD and civilian communities while providing our students access to the DoD’s wealth of expertise in STEM career fields. All 5th grade students will participate in this program where they will engage in STEM activities, collaboration, and project-based learning.

Girls Who Code, affiliated with STARBASE, is an after-school program for girls in grades 5-8 designed to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. Military personnel at Maxwell coach our students in e-sports and in Cyber Patriot competitions They also work with students in grades 8-12, teaching them to build, update, and maintain 48 desktop computers. Our STEM focus is also evident through our relationship with Civil Air Patrol. CAP provides free fun and engaging aerospace/ STEM lessons and materials to teachers in grades K-12. We are currently pursuing National STEM certification for all schools. The first site projected to complete the requirements for this achievement is the Elmore County Technical Center. Mr. Tracy Wright, STEM Director for the district, coordinates STEM programs and activities for grades K-12. Mr. Wright coordinates with STEM teams on each school campus, facilitates our vertically articulated STEM program county-wide, and provides STEM resources to teachers. He works with

teachers to build STEM lessons directly applicable to their school and community. A recent example is the modified motorized car presented to a 2-year-old with limited mobility that she could learn to use on her own. In consultation with Go Baby Go, a nonprofit organization that modifies toy cars for children with mobility disabilities, several Wetumpka High School robotics students worked on the car for several months and presented it to the child and her family in late September. This real-life project not only met an immediate need for this family, it provided an opportunity for students to apply their learning to a real-life situation and make a difference in someone’s life in their own community. STEM is helping us achieve our purpose: Every Student Empowered – Every Student Succeeds. Richard Dennis is the Superintendent of Education for Elmore County Schools. He is a 1983 graduate of Holtville High School. 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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Elmore County Schools

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ECTC Medical Sciences Students Rock!

Elmore County Technical Center’s HOSA chapter (medical sciences students) completed their first community service project for the school year by decorating and hiding rocks for Wetumpka Elementary students to search out across their campus. The students are seeking to promote the medical sciences program as well as encourage younger students during such a unique school year.


ECTC Awards October Student of the Month

Elmore County Technical Center honored Savannah as October’s student of the month. She is a Holtville High School student in our Public Safety & Law program.

Wetumpka Student Honors Local First Responders

Wetumpka High School junior Abigail Wright wanted to show appreciation for local first responders on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. She approached her school’s art teacher and asked if the class could make two large cards with artwork on the front. After the cards were made, Wright, a first sergeant in Wetumpka’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, asked her JROTC classmates to sign the cards. On the anniversary of 9/11, she visited the Wetumpka police and fire departments to present the signed cards to them. “Even though I wasn’t born when 9/11 happened, over the years my parents, teachers and now my JROTC instructors, have made sure that I’m educated about what happened,” she said. “But I never truly understood the sacrifices that were made and the dangers faced that day until I watched video footage of 9/11. First responders risk their lives every day and I just wanted to do something to show my appreciation.” Wright, who is also the junior class president and the 2019 Teen Miss Christmas on the Coosa, said she hopes to serve her community in ways that make a difference and inspires other teens to go out and do kind things for others. Information for this article came from the Wetumpka Herald.

Local Grocer Donates Check to Wetumpka High A big thank you to Winn-Dixie Store Manager Mickey Hodge and the Wetumpka Winn-Dixie for their generous donation to Wetumpka High School!

Holtville Recognizes Top AR Quizzers

The students at Holtville Elementary School love to read and earn AR points. These students were recognized as the top quizzers for their grade level. River Region Parents I November 2020




Special Guests Visit ARIS For Apple Crunch Day

Airport Road Intermediate School hosted an Apple Crunch Day for state and local officials in October. Students were afforded the opportunity to participate in STEM activities which centered around apples. Activities included an Apple Annihilator STEM challenge, Apples Aloft Challenge, Apple Rollercoasters, and Ten Apples Up on Top just to name a few. Local Elmore County school board members, supervisors, county commissioners and State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey were all in attendance for this Applelicious event! Pictured with Dr. Mackey are ARIS Student Council officers, Elmore County Schools Superintendent Richard Dennis, Mr. Saxon, Mrs. Stephens and Mrs. Earl.

ECHS Volleyball Area Champs For 11th Straight Year

Despite a later preseason start and having to quarantine for two weeks after two players tested positive for Covid-19, Elmore County High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volleyball team was still able to host the 5A area tournament this year. In the past, the team has hosted the 4A area tournament, but this year the girls moved up to 5A. After winning the area championship for the 11th year in a row, the next step was to play against Elberta October 22 at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery. The winner would move on and become a part of the Elite Eight. This article was contributed by ECHS student Lauren Ogburn.






Elmore County Schools


Teachers Can Do Virtually Anything Virtual teachers at Coosada Elementary School shared how they feel about their new roles during a unique school year. “While we know nothing can quite compare to learning in the classroom —especially for this age group—we are doing everything in our power to make this experience as engaging and ‘normal’ as possible for our kids,” said kindergarten virtual teacher Monica Kelley. “Regardless of the medium, building community and meaningful relationships is still at the heart of what we do every day.” Kindergarten virtual teacher Megan Moore added, “The best part is when families get involved. Without them, virtual learning would be impossible. I look forward to being back in the classroom with students, but for now I am thankful for the connections we have made and will continue to give my best to them.” First-grade virtual teacher Jenny Jones said her year has gotten off to a great start. “Elmore County has done a great job providing me with the tools I

need to be prepared for this new adventure.” Nikki Dunsieth, first-grade virtual teacher, agreed. “The support from our school and county has been wonderful! They have trusted us as professionals to do what we feel is best for our students. Being a virtual teacher has allowed me the unique opportunity to work and collaborate closely with students and families.” Second-grade virtual teacher Madison Easley said, “I have learned new skills and activities that I can implement in my face-to-face classroom in the future. I was heartbroken at the beginning of the year thinking there was no way I could develop relationships over the computer. My kiddos have made the adjustment so much easier!”

Lakyn Northcutt, second-grade virtual teacher, said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed virtual so far this year. The students are continuing to grow in their learning through instructional zooms. I am also continuing to grow by learning new skills and ways to teach students other than in person. It is challenging, but will only make me a better, more prepared teacher.”







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Elmore County High School Names Hall Teacher of the Year

Mary Lawren Hall, Elmore County High School’s Teacher of the Year, has been teaching math for ten years. Hall, who teaches eleventh-grade students, said that what motivates her is that she gets to be a small part of every student’s life. “I love that it is different every day,” she said. “I love seeing my students grow each year into the people that they will become!” During class assignments, she makes sure that everyone understands the material and she is open to answer questions. Over the years, she said she has learned many lessons from teaching. “You have to be flexible,” she said. “No matter how prepared you think you are, things can easily change.” Furthermore, she is very passionate about her students and the effort that they put into their work. “My students always deserve one hundred percent,” said Hall. “The work in her class is spread out in the class period which makes me understand it a lot better,” said junior Savannah Bentley. “I am very grateful,” Hall said about being nominated for Teacher of the Year. “So many teachers deserve this and I feel a lot of pride to be chosen.” This article was contributed by ECHS student Madison Bipes.

Wetumpka Volleyball Area Champs

Wetumpka varsity volleyball team was named area champs after sweeping Stanhope Elmore.

Send Your School News by the 12th of each month to: editor@riverregionparents.com. River Region Parents I November 2020










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When we think of Thanksgiving, our thoughts naturally drift to traditional roast turkey, pumpkin pie, and family gatherings. But if the holiday feels more like a tired list of ho-hum obligations rather than an energizing way to revel in your blessings...

Maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to revolutionize your Thanksgiving this year. River Region Parents I November 2020




Eat this, not that. “Thanksgiving is

absolutely one of our favorite holidays, especially in terms of food,” says Caroline King, a mom of six children, ranging in age between four and 16. But, no one in the family really liked turkey all that much. “We spent years making the traditional feast, but always had a second or third ‘main side’ for the kids and that was just silly,” she says. King says her husband Rich does most of the cooking and decided one year to punt the turkey and try a roast pork tenderloin with chipotle wine sauce instead. “Everyone loved it—the adults and the kids. Now, it’s our go-to for Thanksgiving,” she says.

Choose your own adventure.

Jocelyn Chilvers says she and her husband Jim enjoy being spontaneous and creative with the holiday. “It also helps that we like all kinds of food and find no appeal in eating the same dishes year after year,” Chilvers says. With families more far-flung than ever, not everyone is able to get together with extended family for the holiday. That’s one reason the Chilvers’ family chooses to surround themselves with friends instead. For more than ten years, they’ve invited friends and neighbors over for a “Turkey Fry Open House” in their backyard from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. “We set up a turkey fryer on our lawn or driveway, away from any structures, and use a piece of drywall—pro tip!— as a base to catch any spills,” Chilvers says. The couple sends out invitations about two to three weeks in advance and friends can select a time when they’d like

to fry their turkey—or, in some cases, their chicken, game hen or duck. Many guests just show up to socialize and enjoy beverages and light appetizers— often bringing their own foods to share. “This varies from cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit in the morning to stuffed jalapeños and bruschetta in the afternoon,” Chilvers says. “It’s a very fluid event with folks coming and going throughout the day.”

No bluffing, baby. Some friendly

competition in the form of board games and card games can bring generations of family members together. Anita Smith, a mom of two, says that she and her family like to play Texas Hold ‘Em each year after the big meal. Among the roughly 30 guests who attend the family’s annual Thanksgiving, around 10 like to circle around the card table to play a few hours of low stakes poker. “The big pot might be $3, but we act like it’s $500,” laughs Smith. The conversation and camaraderie makes the game extra special. “It’s fun because it crosses all generations,” she says. “We have the 80-year-olds, those of us in our 40s, and the kids playing.” Smith’s sons Evan, 15 and Colin, 12, are the youngest players at the table. She says that the game offers a natural segue into conversations between the older family members and her children. “My kids get to know them, their personalities and stories from way back.”

Fire up holiday spirit. Stacey Moorehead, a mom of six girls, says she and a group of families started the tradition of “Friendsgiving” five years ago on the day before Thanksgiving. The event is a fun


way for the families to kick off the entire holiday season. The group gathers together with fall soups and foods, and the kids take part in a candy cane hunt. “Our many, many children all have a great time playing and running in our friends’ large backyard until the real show begins,” Moorehead says. The much anticipated “real show” is a fireworks event at a local lake. After that, the caravan drives through a holiday lights display set to festive music at a nearby campground.

You rebel, you. Families change and grow. Often what once worked well, no longer makes sense for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re sick of making candied yams every year that no one eats. Or you daydream of skipping the cooking and cleaning for a relaxing family vacation on the beach instead. “It seems that a lot of people live under unrealistic expectations, especially when it comes to holidays,” King says. “The focus needs to be on family celebrating what they are thankful for, not to be stressed out that the green beans aren’t up to snuff. Make food that makes you happy, make your own traditions. At the end of the day, you will remember the laughs and time spent together.” Rather than running yourself into the ground chasing society’s prescribed picture-perfect holiday, create a meaningful Thanksgiving tailored just for your special crowd. You’ll be grateful you did. rrp Christa Melnyk Hines loves spending Thanksgiving at home with her family. One year, she tried quitting the cranberry sauce that slides out looking like the can, but her husband rebelled. Holiday rogues must choose their battles wisely.


by Kimberley Carter Spivey

The leaves are turning brown and fall decorations, pumpkins, and neighborhood hay bales have popped up everywhere. November calls for hearty and flavorful meals to warm up on colder days and nights. We’re excited to kick off this month with an appetizing and savory dish from a local mom in the community. We sat down with Montgomery resident Joi Austin, educator, artist, and facilitator of her own STEM program, Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead. A wife and mom, she’s married to DeAndre Austin, an educator who teaches 10th grade physical science, along with coaching high school football. Joi is the proud mother of sevenyear-old, Jayla, and an expecting momto-be for the second time in March 2021. When Joi isn’t busy being a wife, mom, and helping her students connect what they are learning in the world around them, she thoroughly enjoys cooking. “I love food! Cooking is relaxing and enjoyable for me. Creating dishes and making delicious meals that my family and friends love inspires me to cook every opportunity I get. My passion for cooking emerged when everyone told me how great I was at it. Before that, I only cooked for my family.” She cherishes the precious moments of cooking with her daughter, which is a family tradition passed down from her grandmother. Joi gives credit to her grandmother for her talents in the kitchen, and she encouraged Jayla, at the tender age of seven, to help out. “My grandmother is the pioneer of our family and has been a great cook since she was a River Region Parents I November 2020

young girl. She’s a culinary arts graduate and has a catering business, Catering for You.” Preparing Sunday dinner with her daughter is one of Joi’s favorite things to do. “When I was young, we would all pitch in to help with Sunday dinner, whether it was snapping beans, shucking corn, or picking greens. It’s a time when our family gets together to enjoy a nice home cooked meal to start our week off right and ensure it’s a blessed one.” Chicken Katsu is an Austin family favorite. Joi shares, “It’s a Hawaiian BBQ dish that was inspired by L&L, a restaurant that I frequently dined in during my time in the Navy while stationed in San Antonio, Texas. It’s flavorful, quick, and easy to make. I believe that introducing a variety of foods from different places and ethnicities is important. I’ve made it a mission to teach my daughter to be open to trying new things, so we can have the best experiences possible when we travel.” 50

Chicken Katsu Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1/2 pound of jumbo shrimp 1 cup of all-purpose flour 5-6 eggs beaten for egg wash 1-2 bags of Virgo Coconut Panko Bread Crumbs 1-2 cups of oil for frying Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika Serve with jasmine rice and cabbage


Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Place the flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Use separate dishes for the chicken and shrimp. Coat the chicken breasts in flour, and be sure to shake off any excess. Dip them into the egg, and press into the panko bread crumbs until well coated on both sides. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in hot oil and cook for about four minutes per side or until golden brown. Follow the exact steps for the shrimp. Drizzle your chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce or make your own Tonkatsu sauce and enjoy! Kimberley Carter Spivey is a freelance writer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. When she’s not working as an Instructional Systems Designer and copy-editor on Maxwell AFB, she’s busy freelancing, blogging, or toiling away at her next book. Her debut book Bloom: How to Get from Good Enough to a Life You Love can be purchased on Amazon and girlyouwrite.com.




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Telehealth brings the doctor to you.


See a primary care physician or specialist on your tablet, laptop or smartphone.

With our Telehealth service, The Jackson Clinic makes it simple and convenient to see a physician from the comfort of your home – or wherever you go. It’s available to the whole community, from Greenville to Prattville. And new and current patients are welcome. Just visit us online and schedule your appointment to talk with a doctor on your video device. Primary care physicians as well as a full range of specialists are available. Whether you prefer to visit us virtually or in person, we’re here to help you and your family stay healthy. To learn more about Telehealth, visit JacksonClinic.org.


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giving customers individualized attention and unique

According to the Small Business Administration,


there are over 30 million small businesses in America,

With the challenging year most small businesses have

and about half of all American workers either work for a

had, sales from this holiday season are more important

small business or own one. More important than these

than ever. Delivery, curbside pick-up, FaceTime orders

numbers, however, are the people behind them. Local small businesses are often at the heart of communities, River Region Parents I November 2020


and virtual classes are a few creative www.riverregionparents.com ways small busi-


Check out merchandise using social media and electronic formats.

nesses have connected with customers since social distancing began in March. Here are some ways you can support the small businesses you love while doing your holiday shopping.

If a store is using social media and Face Time to give you a virtual tour, take advantage of that service. Call in or email your order to the store and then use curbside pick-up or delivery.

Buy from the Moms and Pops.

If you need something, think twice before you start clicking away at big box store websites. They will weather financial storms better than smaller shops. If you are staying home this holiday season, give business to small stores that you would visit during more normal times.

Reach out and request.

Want to do even more to support local small businesses? Call to find out ways you can give them your business during this unusual holiday season. Small business owners are getting creative, and they will probably be happy to share ways you can support them during this challenging time.

Show up big for Small Business Saturday.

Since 2010, the small business counterpart to Black Friday has been Small Business Saturday. It falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and gives customers a way to support small businesses in their neighborhoods while getting great deals on merchandise and services. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 28, but if you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t dedicate your time to that day, discuss it with your family and make your own date to holiday shop from local, small businesses. Check in with your favorite businesses and see what deals they are extending past Small Business Saturday. Order merchandise online if the local store gets the sale. If you are limiting face-to-face shopping this year, buy online from your favorite small business. However, if the local store is part of a bigger chain, make sure the local proprietor gets the sale. If not, find another way to purchase items, such as curbside pick-up.

Take a virtual class.

Does your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite music instructor or sports coach offer virtual classes? Sign up for one now. Are there any virtual subscription services you can order that will support a small business? Try them out! Some business owners offer a discount if you buy several lessons in advance.

Leave a positive review.

If you purchase a product from a local small business and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing, leave a glowing review. If you get friendly, efficient customer service, talk it up on social media. People often make purchases because a trusted friend has recommended a business. Be that friend to small businesses this holiday season.

Contribute to Go Fund Me.

Some small businesses have started Go Fund Me pages to help pay employees and stay afloat. Consider donating to one of these to keep your favorite small business operating through this challenging season.

Take advantage of delivery.

Some local stores are taking orders and payment over the phone, and then delivering to your doorstep. This not only stops face-to-face contact, but gives you a break from physically shopping during a season that is normally hectic.

In the spring, many small business owners were blindsided by the challenges social distancing created for their businesses. In the spirit of the season, support them during the holidays so they can remain a vibrant part of your local neighborhood. rrp

Purchase gift cards for future use.

Purchasing gift cards is an easy way to support a small business. If there is a business that you frequent throughout the year, why not purchase more than you normally would for this season? It will give the business a boost, and save time for you later. Also, some businesses are able to send a gift card virtually to your email so there is no contact.

Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist, teacher, and mom to Andrew and Gracie. She is a nationally published writer.

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Montgomery Alabama Dance Theater Virtual “Mistletoe” ad on page 67

December 6 @ The Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts 251 Montgomery Street Montgomery, AL 36104 The Alabama Dance Theatre will open its 34th season with a virtual production of Mistletoe. This year’s production will feature Miss Kitty’s Favorite Dances of Christmas. (334) 625.2800 alabamadancetheatre.com

Frazer Memorial UMC “Candlelight Worship” ad on page 4

December 23 and December 24 6000 Atlanta Hwy. Montgomery, AL 36117 Wednesday, December 23 at 5:30 or Thursday, December 24 at 3:30, 5:30 and 7 p.m. (334) 272.8622 frazerumc.org

Southern Homes & Gardens Christmas Open House

November 2-8 8820 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36117 Join us for our annual Christmas Open House November 2-8! This year, in an effort to maintain a safe shopping experience for everyone, we are extending Christmas Open House. Enjoy an ENTIRE WEEK of storewide specials and shop new and exciting decor, trees, ornaments and more at our favorite event of the year! (334)387.0440


His Vessel Ministries Christmas Open House

November 5 300 Water Street Montgomery, AL 36104 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Vessel Room Christmas Open House with special sales on select items 25-50% off! Refreshments served! Free gift wrapping! Christ-centered gifts. (334) 356.4478 Visit us on Facebook / His Vessel Ministries

River Region Parents I November 2020

The Shoppes SugarPlum Performances

Eastdale Mall - Photos with Santa

(334) 279.6046 suzanna@crawfordsq.com theshoppesateastchase.com

(334) 277.7380 richard@shopeastdale.com eastdale-mall.com

Planetarium presents: “Tis the Season!”

Annual Holiday Light Festival The Montgomery Zoo

November 30-December 25 7274 Eastchase Pkwy Montgomery, AL 36117 12-6 p.m. This holiday season, join The Shoppes at EastChase in welcoming performances by the local community every weekend from Black Friday until Christmas!

December 1-18 @ Planetarium 1010 Forrest Avenue Montgomery, AL 36106 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 light-hearted 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 montgomery.troy.edu/planetarium

Planetarium presents: Season of Light and The Alien Who Stole Christmas December 1-18 @ Planetarium 1010 Forrest Avenue Montgomery, AL 36106 The Alien Who Stole Christmas--Ride along with Santa as he is abducted by a flying saucer on Christmas Eve. The UFO takes Santa on a tour of the solar system and shows him some unearthly children who were left off his list. Season of Light--This traditional Christmas offering is narrated by NPR’s Noah Adams. This show covers the various celebrations around the world which occur on or around the Winter Solstice. Extensive time devoted to the traditional Christmas story. (334) 241.4799 m01planet@troy.edu montgomery.troy.edu/planetarium


December 3-24 @ Eastdale Mall 1000 Eastdale Mall Montgomery, AL Monday-Sunday, 11a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Come have your photo made with Santa on the big green sleigh! Packages and Digital Files are available to purchase!

December 3-25 @ Montgomery Zoo 2301 Coliseum Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36110 5:30- 9:30 p.m. each night. See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland displaying thousands of sparkling and twinkling lights and festive decorations at Christmas Lights Festival. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride, or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Adventure Ride. Visit Santa, enjoy the live nightly entertainment at the Overlook Cafe, and no winter’s night would be complete without some warming hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies. Visit our new Christmas Tree Village at the Mann Museum. Your Santa visit will be a fun and safe experience following all of the Federal and State COVID-19 compliance guidelines. (334) 240.4900


2020 Capital City Governors Tree Lighting

December 4 @ Capital 1142 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 36104 TBA. Come enjoy the National Guard Band 30 minutes prior to tree lighting. - Governor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Capitol. (334) 834.3022 ext. 2 montgomeryal.gov

Aldersgate UMC Christmas Carol Service: Symbols of Christmas

December 6 6610 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36116 Will be presented on Facebook Live and Live streamed on Aldersgateumc.org at 6 p.m. The Christmas Song Musical by the Aldersgate Chancel Choir, Orchestra and Drama Team. (334) 272.6152 office@aldersgateumc.org aldersgateumc.org


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Governor’s Mansion Candlelight Tour Open House

December 7, 14,21 1142 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 36104 4:30 -7:30 P.M. The 1907 Governor’s Mansion will be aglow with lights and filled with the spirit of the season. (334) 834.3022, ext. 4


22nd Annual Lights of Love, Virtual

December 10 @ Jackson Hospital 1725 Pine St Montgomery, AL 36106 Virtual Event. Tree will be lit on December 10th and will shine brightly through the month of December. 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. (334) 293.6940 jackson.org

First Baptist presents The Living Christmas Tree

December 10-13 @ First Baptist Church 305 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 36104 December 10-11 at 7 p.m. and December 12-13 at 4 p.m. Come joins us for the “Living Christmas Tree”. Performers will delight you atop the 40 ft. set resembling a Christmas tree on stage. (334) 241.5156 montgomeryfbc.org

Holiday Pops Concert

December 18 @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center 201 Tallapoosa Street Montgomery, AL 4 p.m. and 8p.m. at the Montgomery Perform-

ing Arts Center. Join the MSO for an evening of everyone’s seasonal favorites. (334) 240.4004

Dalraida UMC Christmas

December 20 & 24 3817 Atlanta Hwy. Montgomery, AL 36109 Christmas Cantata, December 20, 10 a.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight, Thursday, December 24 at 5:45 in Rear Parking lot. (334) 272.2190 dalraidaumc.com

Aldersgate UMC: Christmas Musical and Christmas Eve Services December 24 6610 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36116 Thursday, December 24, at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. (334) 272.6152 office@aldersgateumc.org aldersgateumc.org

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Mask-erade Ball

December 31 919 Felder Avenue Montgomery, AL 36106 Come celebrate Scott’s birthday with a Masked Ball on the lawn of the Fitzgerald Home. (334) 264.4222 thefitzgeraldmuseum.org

15th Annual Light the World: Virtual Interfaith Christmas Nativity Exhibit

@ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 3460 Carter Hill Road Montgomery, AL 36111 Date and time to be announced on our website. 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. Open to all. FREE Admission. MontgomeryNativity.com

Christ Church presents Candlelit Service of Lessons and Carols

@ Christchurch 8800 Vaughn Rd. Montgomery, AL 36116 Dates and details to be announced. 6:30 p.m. Candlelit Service of Lessons and Carols featuring Madrigal Voices of Montgomery, Montgomery Brassworks, and conductor Thomas Hinds. (334) 387.0566 info@christchurchmgm.net christchurchxp.net

Millbrook Christmas Music and Tree Lighting

December 3 @ Millbrook Village Green Stage Millbrook, AL 36054 6:00 p.m. on the Village Green. There will be caroling, a live Nativity, refreshments for sale, the Tree Lighting and the Christmas Lights and Music show. (334) 285.6428 cityofmillbrook.org

Millbrook Spirit of Christmas Parade, “A Musical Millbrook Christmas”

December 5 @ Sports Complex behind Smokehouse Bar-B-Q and will end at the intersection at City Hall Millbrook, AL 36054 Parade is at 2 p.m. Millbrook’s Annual Christmas Parade will begin at the Sports Complex behind Smokehouse Bar-B-Q and will end at the intersection at City Hall. Vendors will be set up at

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Village Green Park from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; there will be arts, crafts, and food. This is one of the great things about living in a small community - family fun, not too crowded and loads of excitement for everyone. No admission fee. (334) 285.7232 cityofmillbrook.org

Pike Road Pike Road Dance Academy:

Performance at The Shoppes at Eastchase December 12 @ The Shoppes at Eastchase Montgomery, AL 36117 2 p.m. Performances in HipHop, Jazz, Gymnastics and Ballet. Shoppes at Eastchase Sugar Plum Event. (334) 782.9200 pikeroaddance.com

Prattville Autauga Academy’s Jingle Bell Market

November 14 497 Golson Road Prattville, AL 36067 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Come shop at Jingle Market and have pictures made with Santa! There will also be raffle prizes every hour! (334) 365.4343 autaugaacademy.com

City of Prattville Artist’s Market

November 21 @ Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery 342 South Chestnut Street Prattville, AL 36067 10 am – 2 pm. Local artists will gather to sell their artwork in the beautiful art garden by the Creek Walk at the Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery. Shop for one-of-a-kind pieces for

River Region Parents I November 2020

your collection or for those on your gift list! (334) 595.0854


Prattauga Art Guild Holiday Open House

November 22 @ Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery 342 South Chestnut Street Prattville, AL 36067 1-4 p.m. The Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery will be decorated for the holiday season and open for shopping. Stop by for light refreshments and find unique items for those special people on your Christmas shopping list! (334) 595.0854


City of Prattville Christmas

December 15 @ Downtown Prattville 5 – 7:30 pm. Enjoy the lights and decorations, visit with Santa, and have fun while you shop Downtown Prattville for gifts for all the special people on your Christmas list. There will be caroling, children’s projects, hot chocolate, and more. Participate in the Chamber of Commerce Cash Mob for prizes when you shop downtown. Bring your family and friends and stroll through the lights of downtown and enjoy the dancing lights on the spillway and the 30’ Christmas Tree. (334) 595.0854


City of Prattville Holiday Art Workshops

@ Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery 342 South Chestnut Street Prattville, AL 36067 Dates to be announced. 10 am – 1:30 pm The Prattville Creative Arts Center will host a free holiday art workshop for children to create handmade Christmas cards with a printmaking


technique. Children can drop in between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and create holiday cards. The workshop is free and all supplies are furnished. (334) 595.0854


Tallassee Holiday Market: Jingle at the Gin

November 7 @ The Sports Gin 1851 Indian Trail Tallassee, AL 36078 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Will have plenty of vendors, food items for all your Holiday shopping needs. $3 at the door or a non-perishable food item to help benefit the Elmore County Food Bank during the holidays. Our committee will be taking all safety precautions and sanitation for COVID-19. As the event gets closer, we will inform everyone about mask. aholidaymarketevent@gmail.com

Wetumpka City of Wetumpka Christmas on the Coosa ad on page 55

December 12 Wetumpka, AL 36092 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Christmas extravaganza with Breakfast with Santa, arts & crafts, car show, parade, food, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River culminating with a spectacular fireworks exhibition at dusk. (334) 567.4811 wetumpkachamber.com


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Charis Crafters Annual Christmas Show “Home for the Holidays” and Tasting Fair

November 12-14 @ Wetumpka Civic Center 410 South Main Street Wetumpka, AL 36092 November 12th from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Friday, November 13th from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and November 14th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Annual show features baked goods, canned goods and crafts from more than 20 artisans. Door prizes every hour. Tickets available at the door. Come taste foods prepared by members from our recipe cookbooks which will also be on sale. Sheila Green (334) 567.3594 or Patricia McCullers (334) 567.5785 Facebook/ Charis Crafters

Downtown Dickens Christmas and Tree Lighting

December 4-5 @ Downtown Wetumpka 5-8 p.m. Join the Wetumpka Chamber, Main Street Wetumpka, and the City of Wetumpka for a two-night community event as we celebrate the annual Christmas tree lighting and enjoy a Victorian Christmas in historic downtown Wetumpka! A Downtown Dickens Christmas will be held on December 4th and 5th from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, where you’ll be transported back to scenes from “A Christmas Carol” with period costumes, Christmas Carols sung by the Wetumpka High School Chorus, Father Christmas on-site for photos, authentic vendors, The Kelly Holiday Artist Market, live nativity, and decorated downtown businesses. This is the perfect time to walk around our whimsical historic business district and complete your holiday shopping. (In an effort to ensure the

safety of our community, we will be practicing social distancing with Father Christmas. We will also keep aware of ever-changing trends and will adjust our event as needed. We appreciate your understanding).

Alexander City Holiday Market

(334) 567.5147 wetumpkachamber.com

(256) 329.9227 mainstreetalexandercity.org


November 21 @ Main Street Alexander City, AL 35010 Enjoy a Special Farmer’s Market geared towards the Holidays.

Christmas at Crossroads

Christmas Begins With Christ: An Eclectic Christmas

November 29-December 6 1733 Claud Road Eclectic, AL 36024 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 donations are accepted and appreciated to help with expenses. (334) 578.4846 reservations@anelecticministry.org www.aneclecticministry.org

Lake Martin/Alex City Alexander City Holiday Open House

November 15 @ Main Street Alexander City, AL 35010 1-4 P.M. Mark your calendars now and make plans to visit many of Alexander City’s local retailers during our Annual Holiday Open House. This local tradition is the perfect opportunity to get a jump on your holiday shopping! Complete list of participants coming soon! (256) 329.9227 mainstreetalexandercity.org


November 27 @ Russell Crossroads 19 Russell Farms Road Lake Martin, AL 35010 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Jolly Elf will make his way from the North Pole to the Green Stage at Russell Crossroads on Saturday, November 29th!! Santa will arrive by carriage around 10am and will be in place until around 2. On the Town Green, in addition to the Holiday Bazaar, there will be tons of arts and crafts for the children to make and games for them to play! Come spend Black Friday at Russell Crossroads with Santa and a whole lot more! (256) 397.1019 russelllandsonlakemartin.com

Holiday Bazaar

November 27 @ Russell Crossroads 19 Russell Farms Road Lake Martin, AL 35010 9 a.m until 3 p.m. Artisans and patrons from all over gather for this vast annual display of handmade goods. Artisans feature everything from jewelry, soaps, paintings, pottery, woodwork, lotions, furniture, and much more! (256) 397.1019 tmitchell@russelllands.com russelllandsonlakemartin.com

Alexander City “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” Christmas Parade December 7 @ Downtown Alexander City Alexander City, AL 35010 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)234.3461 alexcitychamber.com

Birmingham Christmas Craft Show

November 13-14 @ Gardendale Civic Center 857 Main St. Gardendale, AL 35071 Gardendale Civic Center hosts the Christmas Craft Show with over 60 booths. Only handmade, hand crafted items. Pictures with Santa too! (205) 683.0354 northartscouncil.webs.com

McWane Science Center Magic of Model Trains

November 21-January 3 @ McWane Science Center 200 19th Street N Birmingham, AL 35203 Magic of Model Trains will return to spread some holiday cheer and amaze guests. Discover trains of every shape and size 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 (205) 714.8300


McWane Science Center Makers Market

December 5 @ McWane Science Center 200 19th Street N Birmingham, AL 35203 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Located in the lobby café. Local makers setting up tables to sell, but also educate on the science of their skill. Admission is required. (205) 714.8300 mcwane.org

McWane Science The Grinch in IMAX December 5-6 @ McWane Science Center 200 19th Street N Birmingham, AL 35203 Newly renovated IMAX. Benedict Cumberbatch

Grinch movie. Showings at 1:30pm & 4:00pm both days. (205) 714.8300


McWane Science Center Polar Express in IMAX

December 12-13 @ McWane Science Center 200 19th Street N Birmingham, AL 35203 Newly renovated IMAX Showings at 1:30pm & 4:00pm both days (205) 714.8300 mcwane.org

Alabama Ballet presents George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”

December 17-20 and 22-23 @ BJCC Concert Hall 1 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N Birmingham, AL 35203 Alabama Ballet is proud to present George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® as one of only eight companies in the world licensed by The Balanchine Trust to perform this holiday masterpiece. Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport the young and young at heart to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. (205) 322.4300 alabamaballet.org

Eufaula Eufaula Christmas Tour of Homes

December 5 Eufaula, AL 36027 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. (334) 687.3793 eufaulapilgrimage.com

Victorian Christmas

December 13 @ Landmark Park 430 Landmark Drive Dothan, AL 36303 1:00-4:00p.m., Sample turn-of-the-century desserts, sip hot chocolate or mulled cider and try your hand at making traditional Christmas decorations. Free. (334) 794.3452 landmarkparkdothan.com

Just for Kids YMCA Goodtimes Holiday Childcare December-January 2325 Mill Ridge Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 Program will run everyday except Thanksgiving Day or the day after. 7:00 a.m. thru 6 p.m. Please call for more information. (334) 279.8666

Georgia Lanier Islands Snow Island

November 6-December 31 @ Lake Lanier 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy. Buford, GA 30518 Take the crew snow tubing, get your skates on and practice your figure eights at the ice rink, hop on the carnival rides, make snow angels, warm up with s’ mores and hot cocoa, and shop in Santa’s Workshop. Don’t forget to stop in and let the little ones tell Jolly Ole St. Nick what they hope to find under the tree. (470) 323.3440 lakelanierislands.com

Stone Mountain Christmas

November 14 - January 3 @ Stone Mountain Park 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. Stone Mountain, GA 30083 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! (800) 401.2407 stonemountainpark.com


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Annual Fantasy In Lights

November 20- January 4 @ Callaway Gardens 17800 US Hwy 27 Pine Mountain, GA 31822 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 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-than-life 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 10, 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! (844) 512.3826 callawaygardens.com

Magical Nights of Lights

November 21 – December 31 @ Lake Lanier 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy. Buford, GA 30518 Nightly 5:00-8:00pm. 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. (470) 323.3440 lakelanierislands.com

“Winter Wonderettes”

December 10-22 @ Springer Theatre 103 Tenth Street Columbus, GA 31901 The Wonderettes are back! This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls use their talent and creative ingenuity to save the 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! This energetic and glittering holiday production is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages. (706) 327.3688 springeroperahouse.org

Because of ever-changing circumstances due to Covid-19 and Hurricane Sally, please check with each venue prior to attending the event to verify the information provided is still accurate and up to date.



Online Playdates, Game Nights, and Other Ways to Socialize at a Distance

Scavenger hunts: For younger kids, parents can guide the hunt by choosing something to find. For example, “Find something blue!” Or, “Find five of the same object!” Or, “Find three things that start with the letter B!” Older kids might want to jointly come up with a list of items and then race to find them first.

Whether you’re trying to keep your preschooler busy while you take a work call, give your tween someone else to discuss Minecraft with, or host a neighborly game night, these ideas -crowdsourced from just about every parent we know -- will come in handy.

Show-and-tell: This can work with a small group of kids so long as an adult can facilitate. Each kid takes a turn showing something from their home and talking about why it’s special. For an ongoing activity, the group can choose themes (something given as a gift, something that makes you laugh, etc.) to focus on each day.

Little kids/Big kids video-chat activities

Story time: Parents, teachers, or reading-age kids can read aloud to a group. Picture books work well for younger kids, but older kids can choose to read chapter books -- try one chapter a day.

Board games (Battleship, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry): Works best with two to four players who all have the same physical game at their home. For most games, each player will need to move the other players’ pieces simultaneously.

Tweens/Teens video-chat activities Board games (Balderdash, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit): Works best with two to four players. Older kids can play more sophisticated games, and not all require every kid to have their own gameboard.

Charades: Either use the traditional rules, or just act goofy and ask friends to guess what you’re doing.

DIY crafts: Whatever your kid’s into -- knitting, decoupage, Legos -- they probably have a friend with a similar interest. They can do it together, or one can teach the other.

Legos/Beyblades/other toys: Any toy that occupies your kid for a while can be played with alongside a friend or family member on the screen.

Play Heads Up! Like charades, but even more fun, this free app can be downloaded by both parties. Then players hold their phone up to their forehead, and the others give clues to help them guess from categories like “Pop Culture” or “Animals.”

Marshmallow/toothpick structures: Look for building challenges using household materials online. If you don’t have marshmallows, try pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, construction paper, or cotton swabs. A few kids can print out the same challenge and then work on it simultaneously. They can cheer each other on, offer tips, or even race to see who finishes first.

Social games and apps: These console and online games include social elements that can be fun for kids to play together or with family members, either in the same home or not. Some include text or voice chat. Dig into the reviews to figure out what makes sense for your family. (Draw Something, Fortnite, Jackbox Party Packs, Mario Maker 2, Minecraft, Roblox, Words with Friends)

Parallel play: Little kids may just enjoy playing side by side with an occasional glance to see that a friend is still there. You and the other parent can set up webcams for your kids and see how it goes.

Write plays: For those who want to skip the shooting and editing involved in filmmaking, a playwriting session can be a great creative outlet. One person can write the script on paper while video-chatting with friends about ideas, or multiple people can collaborate on a shared document.

Playdough or clay: Take out all the clay and any cutting or shaping tools and get started. Works well as parallel play or with specific goals (“Let’s all make animals,” or “Let’s each make something and then guess what the other friends made”). River Region Parents I November 2020





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River Region Parents I November 2020




Taking care of the kids and the daily responsibilities of running a house can strain your connection with your spouse. The busier you get, the easier it is to drift apart. One way to show your spouse that you love them and maintain a great relationship is to show them genuine appreciation for all they do in their role to keep the family running smoothly.

Here are some simple ways to show your appreciation that go a long way in keeping your relationship strong: Say it

letter and leaving it where it will surprise them. It is sure to build them up and make them feel appreciated and loved.

The simplest way to show your spouse you appreciate them is to say “thank you”. It may seem obvious but as we get busy in our daily routines, it is easy to take for granted what your spouse does to contribute to the household. Thank them for working hard to provide financially, for cooking and cleaning, for mowing the lawn, for packing the kids lunches or giving them baths, or for running errands. A simple word of thanks goes a long way to show your spouse that you notice them and all that they do.

Give them a break

I feel very appreciated when my husband comes home from work, notices that I am feeling overwhelmed, and tells me to take a break and go somewhere alone for awhile. He also encouraged me to join a monthly book club so I have a scheduled night out at least once a month. Pay attention to when your spouse needs a break and send them off to the spa, out with friends, or even alone on an errand so that when they come back they feel rested and recharged.

Write a note

In this day and age of email and text, who doesn’t love to receive a handwritten note with a thoughtful thank you included? Consider writing your spouse a thank you card or love

Tell others how great they are

“I tell him, especially in front of the children how much I



appreciate him,” says mom Darcy King. “I explain to the kids why I am thankful for him.” Your spouse will feel appreciated if you tell others how much you appreciate them. “One of the ways I show my husband I appreciate him is how I speak about him to others,” says mom Holly Searls. “I brag on him and tell others how amazing he is; because he is! I am proud to be married to him and it shows in the stories I tell others.”

fed and to various activities, the budget balanced, the yard maintained, and still manage to raise healthy happy kids, it is easy to get caught up in who is doing which task and who did not. Try to avoid keeping score or comparing duties with your spouse. Instead try to keep an attitude of everyone working as a team and consider taking on a little extra once in awhile if it lightens your partner’s load. Mom Jane Hammond says, “When I start to get frustrated with him and his annoying habits, I try to flip it around and look at my annoying habits, and how patient he is with me.”

Show it

You can show your spouse how much you appreciate them by acting grateful. Try to reduce criticism and speak words that build up your spouse. Encourage them, thank them, and acknowledge all they do. When your children hear how much you appreciate your spouse, it will help build family bonds. Sometimes, the kids also need reminders from you to express their appreciation for your spouse.

Do their “job”

If your house is anything like mine, we typically have specific jobs we each take care of on a regular basis. To show your appreciation for your spouse, consider doing one of their “jobs” for the week. Throw in a load of laundry, do the kitchen cleanup after dinner, or offer to put the kids to bed while your spouse relaxes. All of these things show them that you notice how hard they work and you appreciate them. If you are looking to reconnect with your spouse and show them you appreciate them there are plenty of ways to do it. Write a note, have their favorite snacks on hand, schedule a date night or a quiet night in, tell others why they are great, encourage the kids to tell them, give them a hug, be excited to greet them when they come home from work, cook things they love to eat, give them a break, or simply tell them why you love and appreciate all they do. It may feel awkward at first, but once you see how much it encourages them, you will most likely want to do it more often. rrp

Give a gift

Giving your spouse a gift, big or small, shows them how much you appreciate them and that you think of them when you are away. Have flowers or cookies delivered to work or pick up a treat for them while you are out and about. Mom Kristin Haugsness says, “I pick up occasional treats for my husband such as his favorite candy or drink.” When they see that they are in your thoughts, they are renewed to keep working hard for your family.

Don’t keep score

When it seems like there is a never-ending list of things that need done to keep the house clean and organized, the kids

Sarah Lyons is a contributing writer.

Wonderful Time of the year

Contact Jason Watson Today at jason@riverregionparents.com Call/Text (334) 328-5189 River Region Parents I November 2020




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Grading Family Movies: New to Streaming, Digital Rentals, and DVDs Over the Moon












Photo ©Netflix















Maxim de Winter is handsome, wealthy, and widowed. When he meets and marries a naïve young woman, everyone is astonished. After all, Rebecca, his first wife, was so very sophisticated. No one believes that his new wife can possibly take her place. And when the new Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, Maxim’s family estate, she wonders if she will ever be free of Rebecca’s legacy. This romantic thriller comes with a twist and big questions for older teens and adults.





Grieving her mother’s death, Fei Fei is unhappy when her father brings home a new girlfriend. Feeling betrayed, Fei Fei remembers the stories of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess. Desperate to prove to her father that love is eternal, Fei Fei builds a rocket to the moon...but once she gets there she’s in for a big surprise. This beautifully animated film is highly recommended for children and will likely become a new family favorite.




Photo ©Netflix

The Witches














Now that his parents have died, a young boy is sent to Alabama to live with his grandmother, whose love and good sense help him settle in. That is, until he comes across a coven of witches who have the power to turn children into animals. This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel may well be too scary for the children who will want to watch it but older fans of Dahl’s novel will appreciate the quality of this glossy production. Photo ©HBOMax


Disney +













Zach Sobiech is an optimist who doesn’t believe in quitting. But now he’s been told that his cancer is terminal and he probably won’t live long enough to graduate. Zach decides that he wants to leave an uplifting legacy and focuses on his music, writing songs of love and hope. Much to his surprise, his song, “Clouds” becomes a hit, and a record deal follows. This is a mostly teen-friendly film with strong messages about courage, friendship, family, and love. Photo ©Disney+ Grades range from: A= absence of content concerns to D= excess of content concerns Detailed reviews available 65 at www.parentpreviews.com www.facebook.com/RiverRegionParents


FamilyCalendar Friday, November 6

Montgomery Ballet Presents Ballet and The Beasts 6 p.m. Montgomery Zoo. Long-standing Montgomery tradition. This year there will be performances by the Montgomery Ballet, Troy University Dance Department and the Montgomery Ballet School. Come join us for an evening dance, fun and animals! Admission is FREE. Picnic blankets, lawn chairs and coolers are welcome. For more info, call (334) 6254900 or visit www.montgomeryzoo.com/. First Friday Street Dining on Dexter -Also December 4 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Come out to downtown Montgomery and enjoy great tastes from local restaurants on Dexter Avenue. There will be additional outdoor seating by the Historic Court Square Fountain, live music, art vendors and a cruise-in. Join a coworker for lunch or bring your family and enjoy a lovely afternoon in Montgomery’s Historic Downtown. For more info, visit facebook.com/dbamgm

Saturday, November 7

Puppy Palooza 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Shoppes at EastChase This event benefits Montgomery Humane Society and includes live music, a fido marketplace, doggy activities, great food from local food trucks, a K-9 splash zone, and much more! It is free to the public. There is something for the whole family, two-legged and fourlegged alike! For more info, find us on Facebook.

Sunday, November 8

Veterans’ Appreciation Week at the Montgomery Zoo-- Through Nov. 14 During Veteran’s Appreciation Week, all veterans, active duty military personnel and their dependent family members receive a 50% DISCOUNT on REGULAR DAYTIME admission to the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum. For more info, call (334) 625-4900 or visit www. montgomeryzoo.com/.

Saturday, November 14

MPAC Shows Alabama and Auburn Football Games This Season -- Saturdays through Dec. 5 Times vary depending on game schedules. With restricted attendance at SEC games, Montgomery Performing Arts Centre wants to help fans celebrate the Tide and Tigers this season. University of Alabama and Auburn University football games will be shown on the giant, 30-foot screen. Chefs at the Renaissance Montgomery will cater a public tailgate before each game. No reservations are needed, and admission is free. All COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including face masks and social distancing. Tickets are available at the MPAC Box Office either in person or by phone (334) 481-5100. Visit http:// www.mpaconline.org/events/ for the schedule. Dino Dig Education Program 10 a.m.-noon. Montgomery Zoo. Dino Dig is an educational program with hands-on experience and fun geared for boys and girls aged 4-10 years old. It includes a classroom lesson plan, real dig time (getting dirty), live animal presentations, and a takehome, keepsake goody bag. Advanced reservations required. All participants must be registered no later than November 13 @ noon. For more info, call (334) 625-4900 or visit www.montgomeryzoo.com/. 7th Annual Jingle Bell Market 8 a.m. Autauga Academy. Hosted by Autauga Academy PTA and Stephanie Wainwright Lightsey, and open to the public. Come shop at Jingle Market and have pictures made with Santa! There will also be raffle prizes every hour!

River Region Parents I November 2020

Sunday, November 15

MPAC Presents Nashville Nights: A Sunday Supper Club Series of Songs and Stories from Music City Doors open at 5 p.m.; music begins at 7 p.m. Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. Hosted by Jamie Kent and featuring Marti Frederiksen and Dan Rodriguez. Limited seating, which will be safe and socially distanced. All tickets are $25 and purchase at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (334) 481-5100. Food and beverage will be available for purchase from 5-8 p.m. Normal security measures, as well as temperature screenings, and all other COVID guidelines, will be in place. Mask required for entry and can be removed once seated.

Monday, November 16

ACT Test Prep Classes at AUM -Through December 10 Prepare for the ACT exam and improve your test scores! Learn ways to decrease test anxiety and increase your skills with the Reading/Language, Science, and Math sections of the exam. * Students can choose to attend class in-person or online using the Zoom web application. Masks are required for attending in-class sessions. * Classes will meet Mondays through Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. Books will be provided at the first class meeting. Students may take the complete review ($309) to learn all subjects, or take a specific subject ($119). We will skip the week of November 23-26. Call (334) 2443804 or visit www.aum.edu/coned.

Thursday, November 19

Friends and Newcomers Club of Prattville/ Millbrook 9:30 a.m. at the Bon Appetit Catering Hall, 5090 Main Street, Millbrook. General meeting every third Thursday. This month’s will include a Pampered Chef Party. All ladies welcome; you do not have to be new to the area. We will social distance and wear masks. For more info, contact Nancy at (334) 414-8185 or nschrull@knology.net.

Saturday, November 21

2020 Capitol 10-Miler & 5K Rolling start between 7 and 8 a.m. 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery. We are PLANNING for the event to take place PHYSICALLY on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, as “normal.” However, if governmental directives and/or best practices related to the health and safety of our participants require, we will STILL hold the event but in a VIRTUAL fashion between Friday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 29. For more info, visit http://www.capitol10.com/.

Sunday, November 22

YMCA Camp Chandler “Cornament” Come out and enjoy the fall weather and participate in a fun lighthearted cornhole tournament at YMCA Camp Chandler! The entry fee is $30 per team. The camp will have food and concessions available for purchase and we will provide locations to watch football in-between rounds! Registration is open until November 19. *YMCA Camp Chandler will act in accordance with all Covid-19 ordinances and protocols. All equipment will be sanitized after each use. For more info, visit https://ymcamontgomery.org/ or call (334) 229-0035.

Friday, November 27

Holiday Bazaar at Russell Crossroads 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Russell Crossroads, 19 Russell Farms Road. The Holiday Bazaar, in conjunction with Christmas at Crossroads, will be held on the Town Green. Artisans and patrons from all over gather


for this vast annual display of handmade goods. Artisans feature everything from jewelry, soaps, paintings, pottery, woodwork, lotions, furniture and much more! Contact Tyler at tmitchell@ russelllands.com for more info or visit https://www. russelllandsonlakemartin.com/.

Thursday, December 3

Red Door Theatre in Union Springs Presents Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas -- Through December 6 Dream Field Farms, 6376 US Hwy. 82, Fitzpatrick. Based on the books by Robert Fulghum, adapted by Ernest Zulia & David Caldwell and directed by Kim Mason. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the location of Dream Field Farms allows us to more safely accommodate our patrons, volunteers, cast and crew. Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas takes a funny, heartwarming and often poignant look at the struggle to find the spirit of the holidays amid the avalanche of commercialism, stress and chaos that crashes down every December. An optional dinner will be catered by Amber Anderson of the FPH Bakery; reservations are required. Play tickets are $20 per person; dinner is also $20 per person. For tickets or more info, call (334) 738-8687 or visit www.reddoortheatre.org. Millbrook Community Theater Presents Tuna Christmas -- Through December 13 Show contains adult language and is not recommended for ages 12 and under. CDC Guidelines will be followed by all plays. For more info, visit https://www.millbrooktheater.com/ or call (334) 782-7317. City of Prattville Christmas Market -Through December 20 5-9 p.m. Are you an artist, a baker, or have other handmade or unique homemade gift or holiday items? The Christmas Market will be set up at Heritage Park by the Christmas Tree on Thursdays through Sundays. We currently are accepting vendor applications, and space is limited. For more info, call (334) 595-0580. Montgomery Zoo Christmas Lights Festival -Through December 25 5:30-9:30 p.m. See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland displaying thousands of sparkling and twinkling lights and festive decorations at Christmas Lights Festival. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride, or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Adventure Ride. For more info, call (334) 625-4900 or visit www. montgomeryzoo.com/.

Friday, December 4

A Downtown Dickens Christmas -Also December 5 5-8 p.m. Join the Wetumpka Chamber, Main Street Wetumpka, and the City of Wetumpka for a twonight community event celebrating the annual Christmas tree lighting and enjoying a Victorian Christmas in historic downtown Wetumpka! Get transported back to scenes from A Christmas Carol with period costumes, Christmas carols sung by the Wetumpka High School Chorus, Father Christmas onsite for photos, authentic vendors, The Kelly Holiday Artist Market, live nativity, and decorated downtown businesses. (In an effort to ensure safety, we will practice social distancing with Father Christmas. We will also adjust our event as needed. We appreciate your understanding). For more info, visit https:// business.wetumpkachamber.org/ or call (334) 5674811. 2020 Wetumpka Christmas Tree Lighting 6 p.m. Downtown Wetumpka


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FamilyCalendar The 50th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show -- Through December 6 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri & Sat.; 9 am.-4 p.m. Sun. Garrett Coliseum. Adults $2 or $3 weekend pass; 18 and under free with student ID and paid adult. Free parking and door prizes. For more info, visit http:// montgomerygemandmineralsociety.com

Sunday, December 6

Alabama Dance Theatre Presents Mistletoe at Home Virtually 2 p.m. The Alabama Dance Theatre will open its 34th season with a virtual production of Mistletoe, which will feature “Miss Kitty’s Favorite Dances of Christmas.” For viewing options, visit https://www. alabamadancetheatre.com/ or call (334) 625-2590.

Support Groups Parent Support

Century Church Strong Moms 9:30-11 a.m. Wednesdays. Different host homes in Pike Road’s The Waters community. The focus of this group is to build relationships between moms through Bible study, play dates, prayer and encouragement. Childcare provided for ages 2-5 years old and babies are welcome! For more info, visit https://centurychurch.churchcenter.com/groups/general-ministries/ strong-moms. 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. 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. AL@gmail.com or visit http://www.llli.org/groups/@ llli*group*montgomery or “like” us on Facebook. Mom2Mom is a Bible study community for moms of preschoolers. It is a Frazer United Methodist Churchsupported ministry to reach moms of the community through encouragment and prayer during these early years of raising our kids. Join us for weekly Bible

studies focusing on parenting, marriage, women’s studies and more. Childcare provided for newbornK5. For more info, e-mail Mom2mom@frazerumc.org. 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 https:// sites.google.com/site/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 www.montgomeryfbc.org/ MOPS or contact Tiffany Alewine at 241-5165.

Pregnancy Loss/Infertility

First Choice Women’s Medical Center conducts a HOPE GROUP for women who have experienced the emotional aftermath of an abortion. Groups meet for one weeknight over eight consecutive weeks and are facilitated by women who have experienced abortion. Confidientiality is assured. Please contact Kathy at (334) 260-8010 or kkay@firstchoicewmc.com for more details and information about upcoming groups. 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 annpemberton@charter.net.

Special Needs Support

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 www.easysite.com/caast or e-mail casst50@yahoo.com for more info.

D.A.T.S. M.O.M. (Disability as an Ability Toward Success: Moms on the Move), a non-profit parent empowerment organization for parents of children on the autism spectrum (or with related special needs challenges) that focuses on inspiring, equipping and motivating parents to move their child’s disability to an ability. Follow DATS MOM on Facebook, Twitter and Periscope for live sessions and discussion. E-mail datsmom@yahoo.com for more information. 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 montgomeryareadownsyndrome@gmail.com 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, For more info, contact HearingInfo@earthlink.net. 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_ montgomery_auburn@yahoo.com. Visit www.ahif.org.

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. Because of ever-changing circumstances due to Covid-19, please check with each venue prior to attending the event to verify the information provided is still accurate and up to date.



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RRP: Who has had the greatest influence on your parenting style? BeLinda: I must say that there isn’t one particular person who has influenced my parenting style. I give credit and thanks to my dad and mom, my three sisters and my church first lady. They all shared so many options and so much input. RRP: What is one lesson you are glad your children have learned from you?

BeLinda Carnegie

BeLinda: I want them to be faithful in what they do and always be prayerful about everything; not allowing others to make decisions for them. RRP: What is your favorite go to dinner menu when everyone is home?

This month we sit down with BeLinda Carnegie, who shares how she manages all that is on her plate while maintaining quality family time and prioritizing what is truly important in her life as a wife and mom.

BeLinda: English peas, rice and fried pork chops, the family favorite. RRP: What’s one trait you hope your son and daughter will carry with them into adulthood? BeLinda: The one trait I hope they pick up is to always stay focused on the task at hand and trust God as they move through the task. RRP: Does your family have a special tradition that is carried out over the Thanksgiving holidays?

RRP: Thank you so much for taking the time to share with our readers about your experiences as a mom. You are a mom to two children, one in college and one in high school. What advice do you have for moms who are entering the “empty nest” phase of life?

BeLinda: We challenge each other to find something small to be thankful for from January to November and share it on a Thankful Tree my older sister created. RRP: Do you have a tip you can share with new moms who are just beginning their motherhood journey?

BeLinda: Enjoy the time you have left with them. Encourage and love them, but be willing to let them go and pursue their own lives as young adults.

BeLinda: Always make time for your child. Always tell them you love them and show that love daily. Support your child throughout their life from young to old.

RRP: What would you go back and tell yourself as a new mother if you could?

RRP: What is your greatest hope for your children? BeLinda: My greatest hope is that my daughter and son stay faithful to God and themselves; remembering who and whose they are. Also, that they will always put God first in everything they do, knowing that God is faithful and will supply what they need accordingly.

BeLinda: Don’t over spoil them with everything. Let them work a “little” hard for some things to allow them to be a little more independent. RRP: You are a wife, a mother, a pastor, and an employee. How do you balance all that is on your plate and still maintain quality time with family?

BeLinda Carnegie serves as the Conference Benefits Coordinator / Human Resources for the United Methodist Church Alabama West Florida Conference in Montgomery. She and her husband, Reverend Dr. Henry M. Carnegie serve as pastors at Mt. Gilliard Missionary Baptist Church and are parents to a daughter, Candace, and a son, Jeremiah. The family makes their home in

BeLinda: I believe you must learn how to separate the different areas and be intentional about spending time toward that area, whether being the mom, the wife, pastor, or employee. I feel balance requires not allowing one thing to totally control your life.

River Region Parents I November 2020




River Region




the skin you’re in. Dr. Porcia Love

Brittany Boylan, CRNP Jo Shuford-Guice, MSN, FNP-BC


River Region Dermatology & Laser 2060 Berryhill Road · Montgomery, AL 36117 1 (334) 676-3366 · RRDermatologyLaser.com www.facebook.com/auburnopelika.parents









You don’t have to wait for a special day to learn about our

Kindergarten experience. MA’s K-View allows you to schedule a

personal tour on a day and time that’s convenient for you. Come

visit our campus, meet our teachers and students—and see us in action!

W H AT PA RENTS A RE SAYING “The staff and teachers are so warm, friendly and approachable.” “When I was trying to decide between MA and another school, K-View is what I kept referring back to.” “The students were enthusiastic, confident and obviously immersed in the activities.” “Loved it! Immersive, informative, well done, and comfortable.”

Call Rachael Gallagher, Director of Admissions at 334.272.8210 or visit MontgomeryAcademy.org/K-View to schedule your personal K-View experience.

Th e M o n t g o m e r y A c a d e m y 1


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River Region Parents November 20  

The Thanksgiving season is upon us which means special family traditions and fun local events. Look inside to get the most from the holiday...

River Region Parents November 20  

The Thanksgiving season is upon us which means special family traditions and fun local events. Look inside to get the most from the holiday...