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Gwinnett’s present and future

Gwinnett’s present and future
By Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor late uniforms nor overly ambitious parents stays these couriers from the swift completion of their athletic schedule.” This Is an iconic statement referring to the Gwinnett County Athletic Directors. 

Photo by Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

They had a scheduled meeting and there was a surprise retirement tribute to Gwinnett County Athletic Director-in-Chief Mike Emery.  The concern over a change in a very successful system was softened when his replacement was named: current  Peachtree Ridge High School Athletic Director Jon Weyher.

At the Gwinnett School of Math Science and Technology (again rated a top school in the nation) the annual Prom was celebrated. Best friends Marcia Saetang (a Magic Moment staffer) and Vidhi Bhanderi were both up for Prom Queen. When Marcia won, in  true testament to the GSMST spirit and character, she took off her crown and gave it to Vidhi, so that she could be the Queen for a first dance with King, Mitesh, Bhalani,. her boyfriend of two years. Later, Marcia’s date Jabari Thomas got in on the fun, wearing Bhalani’s crown for a less than formal portrait.  All four graduated from GSMST this past weekend and are set to make some waves at Wesleyan University(Marcia), Vanderbilt University(Mitesh), UGA(Vidhi) and Mercer University (Jabari).
When I need to relax and hear how perfect I am, I hang around with my dogs. All very large animals, their amazing behavior can be somewhat attributed to my Dog Trainer of Choice, Charles Baranowski. Charles is the Lawrenceville Kennel Club Instructor for Puppy and Beginner OBED. He is seen here surrounded by some of the members of Puppy Class of May 2015. Charles, whose breed of choice is the Dalmatian, also is the MainTrainer at the Gwinnett Jail “Second Chance Jail Program” which works to teach inmates to train and bond with rescue dogs. Charles is one of the kindest, most patient people I’ve ever met unless he catches someone being harsh with one of the pets.  

Looking out my backyard in the spring and summer evenings, I can see David Greene, well honored area athlete, with young sons Jordan and Barrett throwing a ball around.  Jordan is in the beginning of his second season of All-stars, playing catcher for Grayson blue All-stars while David serves as team pitcher. Jordan uses David’s catcher glove from when Dad was a young boy since both Father and Son are left-handed. Barrett who begins his ball career this fall is right handed.  Both Jordan and Barrett both like to have #14 like their Dad.  

The 6th annual Gwinnett County Hall of Fame was elegant and emotional. Honorees, who had gone on from their high school careers to success in College, Professional level sports, and the Olympics, were Amanda Weir, Stephen Harris, Coach Tally Johnson, David Pollack, Dustin Kawa, Christi Thomas and William “Bull” Cooper (represented by his son). However, the star quality of Main Speaker Vince Dooley (seated next to GCPS CEO Alvin Wilbanks) held a ballroom full of people in awe. Vince Dooley who coached University of Georgia football for 25 years has been feted throughout the country but he gets his most enthusiastic responses when he refers to wife Barbara. 

Out of the numerous delightful people, our photography business meets each year, a few stand out. When I first photographed Brian and Chris Tromp, identical twin freshman at Lanier High School in fall 2011, they were athletic, adorable and very young looking; they played the same sports.  As the years passed (quickly for me) the brothers took their successes in different areas. Chris, winner of the prestigious AJC cup is heading for Georgia Tech, while Brian will attend University of Georgia.  Brian, now with the amazing long hair, dedicated himself to football.  Chris continued to run cross country and track.  They are still athletic and handsome but have grown 2 or 3 feet since I met them.

Yash Shirsath is the beloved Salutatorian at Grayson High School.  He has won so many accolades over the years that it would take more than a column to list them.   His most recent and notable accomplishments though, are the fact that he was one of the 141 students nationwide to be name a 2015 Presidential Scholar and entrance to the University of Pennsylvania.   His students and teachers might say that his biggest accomplishment lately was being the winner of the McDonald’s Scholarship – which also netted Yash a gift card.  Meredith Chastain, his longtime neighbor speculated that Yash will treat the President to a Big Mac when he meets him in June.

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