By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Cheryl Copeland

Cheryl's Adventure - Paying it forward
By Cheryl Copeland

Writing articles over the last few years has been more than a blessing!  Not only did I fulfill a lifelong dream to be a published writer, but it also gave me a chance to “pay it forward.”  Each article was written with the ultimate goal of bringing smiles and hope to those that may be facing their own personal challenges.   

Little did I know that writing for the paper would eventually change my teaching career as well!

For the last 17 years I taught mostly math classes.  Last year my principal approached me with the idea of teaching a Journalism class! 

The owner/publisher of the paper, along with my principal, thought it’d be great to find young voices to be featured each month.  We came up with the idea of having teens write articles to help “Bridge the Gap” between teenagers and parents. My students were informed that I was giving up my column in the paper to offer them an opportunity to be published.  This was my way to help them get excited about writing – my way of “paying it forward.” 

I am excited  to share with you the first of our featured young writers!  

Cheryl Copeland is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about life’s lessons and her personal adventure with breast cancer. 
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Bridging the Gap
Parental permission
Cameron Hunter_Journalism Writer
By Cameron Hunter 

Your best friend’s birthday is in three days.  Like all amazing friends you have spent the day daydreaming away with your best friend about her upcoming party. You’ve finally figured everything out from where it’s going to be, to who’s going, and then…it’s time to ask your parents!  

That’s right! No more prancing around and being happy because now the challenge has risen. But don’t worry!   I am here to offer you a few helpful hints to better your chances of getting what you want! 

CHORES – yes those dreaded deeds you have to do around the house. These are one of the main factors in getting in good with your parents. All of those chores that you’ve been ignoring for the past few days hoping that your parents wouldn’t notice – well – I promise you that they noticed!   So when you get home from school immediately start cleaning, but don’t clean in the order YOU want.  Clean in the order THEY want! 

For example, if the first thing your parents see when they walk in the house is the kitchen, then clean that first. Then, vacuum the floor (or sweep) because this is most likely the second thing they will notice. Once you finish that, it is time to dust all the furniture that requires dusting.

Finally, make sure your room is clean! REMEMBER, you have to keep this up at least until two days AFTER the party!  Otherwise, you won’t hear the end of it!

ACTING – Practice Your Acting! That’s right!  You need to act your best; don’t act weird!  All those pointless fights with your siblings and talking back to your mother must come to an end!  It’s time to act like the grown up lady (or man) that your parents have raised you to be. How you act with your family and out in public is a direct reflection of how your parents THINK you will act without them. So remember to test out your acting skills and act the way they want you to act.  

Your behavior choices can seriously determine the events your parents will give you permission to attend.  Choosing to be rude and disrespectful the week before a party almost guarantees your parents to say “No!”   Choosing to act mature and respectful, however, will not only give you better chances of having the party, but it will make for a much happier home! 

So the next time you are getting excited for your friend’s birthday party, or any other fun activity that you want to participate in, remember my few easy steps.   This will render your parents powerless – and ultimately get you what you were hoping for all along! 

Cameron Hunter is a Journalism student at Couch Middle School. ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a Couch Middle School column written by teens to help ‘Bridge the Gap’ between teenagers and parents. Couch Middle School, located in Grayson, is a part of the Grayson Cluster. The Principal is Devon Williams.