Gwinnett's got talent
By Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography
One of my greatest dreams besides World Peace and a Huge Dog that does not shed is discovering a talent in a family member that I did not suspect. This was the case for parents Jennifer and Bob Ryan when their low key son Jimmy decided to enter the hotly contested Mr. Brookwood pageant.
I have known Jennifer for many years as her 4 athletic children--Jackie, Brookwood High School Class of 2004, Robby, Class of 2007, Katie, Class of 2011 and youngest Jimmy, a current BHS Senior—have been active in Soccer and other school activities with Mom Jennifer always willing to take on the Team Parent role. When Jimmy and Mom discussed the choice for the much heralded talent segment of the pageant, Jennifer voted for a “serious” talent but Jimmy, who had practiced dancing with oldest sister Jackie since he was little, left an auditorium full of spectators agog as he performed a pas de deux ballet—his pink tutu accented by a bold yellow volleyball. Even now I am stopped cold by the memory.
Photographer Les Beard captured a lovely moment with Grayson Softball Coach Bill Batchelor and his daughters at GHS Homecoming. In a rare happenstance, both daughters, Carley (11th grade) and Conner (9th grade) were elected to Homecoming Court. Coach Batchelor was a successful Head softball at Brookwood High School for many years but with both daughters at Grayson, he made a switch to act as Head Softball Coach at GHS and says, “it has been a blessing to spend time with my daughters every day at practice and games. My wife, Corley and I get to go to the games together instead of going different places.” Coach Batchelor escorted Carley down the field at the Homecoming Game halftime while Grandfather Bob Ray did the honors for Conner.
Molly Spencer and husband Rob Spencer met at University of Georgia where they both were Cheerleaders. After your basic base of love at first sight, they married and are known throughout Gwinnett for their numerous successes coaching Competition Cheerleading. Molly is shown with the Dacula High School Squad, which she began coaching in April. Up and coming athletes are their nine and 1⁄2 year old twins Lexie and Austin as well as their 3 month old baby Kaden.
When the adults chaperoning a dance decide to take a creative picture, I often end up seeing the classic “Charlie’s Angels” pose so it was with the thrill of the new and unexpected, that Bethletem Christian Academy staff (l to r) Julie Cavoretto (APP Student Support), Karen Carlyle, (Marketing Director), Sarah Steffes (new Science teacher) and Christy Pence (Director of Guidance and Student Life), with Jaclyn Sloan (Art Teacher) (on the ground) invented this pose I call “Frozen—In the Woods” Sarah Steffes, Julie Cavoretto and Christy Pence all grew up in Dacula and were on that higher plane of relationship called “family friends”. Julie and Christy – whose Parents and Grandparents also grew up together --went to school together at Dacula Elementary, Middle, and High School as well as North Georgia College. They taught together at Dacula High School and are now part of the dedicated staff of BCA.
The Grayson Athletic Association fourth grade cheerleading squad, coached by Shannon Sheffield, Kathryn Kendrick and Kim Tisdale, was Gwinnett County Cheer Off Champion this year. The girls’ dedication to competing is shown by their unusually heavy duty football garb and “take no prisoners” expressions.
The counterpart to the Cheerleaders is the Fourth grade Boys led by Head Coach Andy Chafin. They are still in Play offs but also having an outstanding season.
Paige and Josh Gmerek are a delightful Grayson family. Paige Gmerek is a fourth grade teacher at Cooper Elementary School and Josh owns Green Werks, a local landscaping company. However, like many top Grayson families, their spare time is spent at Bay Creek Park where Josh coaches several GAA Teams - baseball and basketball. Sons Hayden, Cayson and baby Layken thrive on all the activity and know that having three kids is enough to turn your world upside down.
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