Photo by Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

Academics and athletics abound
By Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

To misquote Dr. Suess ABOUT Dr. Suess “Oh the Graduations you’ve been”. However, after many years of nearly universal citing in graduation speeches, this year, the brilliant Dr. Seuss was replaced in Gwinnett County High School Graduation Speeches by..... “The Selfie”.

A large percentage of speeches had that—let’s be honest—adorable moment—when the brilliant and self actualized Valedictorian or Class President, or Salutation pulled out a cell phone and captured the moment starring his/her face. Shown doing this with great style is Elion Bufi, valedictorian of Brookwood High School.

I have had children and now Grandchildren in Gwinnett County Public Schools since 1984 so I take note of all the national academic and athletic honors and accomplishments that increasingly come our way under the leadership of CEO (since 1996) Alvin Wilbanks. Mr. Wilbanks was up very, very early on a recent Saturday morning to serve as keynote speaker for the 2014 Peachtree High School Graduation. His speech gave 3 tips for success: 1) Be there (2) Be there on time (3) Be dressed to play. Shown after the Graduation on stage at the Gwinnett Civic Center are Lee Augmon, PRHS Assistant Principal; Dr. Kevin Tashlein, former PRHS Principal, now Associate Super-intendent for School Improvements and Operations; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, School Board member since 1997; Alvin Wilbanks and Dr. Jeff Mathews, current PRHS Principal and former Principal of the internationally lauded Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology.


As Mr. Wilbanks may agree as corollary to Tip # 3, you can never be too young to come dressed to play. The Grayson Blue Pee Wee Allstars Team demonstrates this and comes to the playing field with some fierce expressions. They are Coached by Jay Boland, city councilman for the City of Loganville. Everything Jay accomplishes is even better because of his wife Wendy. She is his season record keeper, has an eye for talent and has inspired more than one GAA team with her amazing banners.

The Grayson Softball All Stars are Coached by Andy Burton who I will forever refer to as the Man who Saved The Day—or at least lots of expensive equipment, A few years ago, a sudden lightning storm stopped GAA Spring Picture Day cold, and while many good citizens fled, it was Coach Burton who stayed to haul gear to safety. He reminds me of this whenever I see him.

The 5th Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame, honoring those Gwinnett Sport Standouts was held in a ballroom at Gwinnett Arena. The event has shown huge growth and snowballing support in only 5 years. When Jon Stinchcomb, Parkview football star with a strong NFL career, was selected, he was part of the first sibling set of honorees (Matt Stinchcomb 1995 Parkview football athlete). Matt was selected the very first year and he was back in 2014 to support his brother and reminisce about his own 2010 Hall of Fame event—held in a suite at Gwinnett Braves Stadium and seared in all our memories because it was the first year and because the air condition broke on a 90 degree Georgia afternoon.

Loganville Christian Academy Varsity Baseball, Coached by Greg Earle, had another great season. 2014 Baseball Seniors show their signature “sitting on top of the world—or dugout” pose.

Prom season is barely over but Mill Creek High School‘s Las Vegas theme was a chance for Prom King Stephen Day and Prom Queen Sabat Adous remind us that with good future plans—he to study Music at Belmont College and The Queen to study at Georgia State University—the odds for a great future looks pretty good to me.Day cold, and while many good citizens fled, it was Coach Burton who stayed to haul gear to safety. He reminds me of this whenever I see him.

The 5th Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame, honoring those Gwinnett Sport Standouts was held in a ballroom at Gwinnett Arena. The event has shown huge growth and snowballing support in only 5 years. When Jon Stinchcomb, Parkview football star with a strong NFL career, was selected, he was part of the first sibling set of honorees (Matt Stinchcomb 1995 Parkview football athlete). Matt was selected the very first year and he was back in 2014 to support his brother and reminisce about his own 2010 Hall of Fame event—held in a suite at Gwinnett Braves Stadium and seared in all our memories because it was the first year and because the air condition broke on a 90 degree Georgia afternoon.

Loganville Christian Academy Varsity Baseball, Coached by Greg Earle, had another great season. 2014 Baseball Seniors show their signature “sitting on top of the world—or dugout” pose.

Prom season is barely over but Mill Creek High School‘s Las Vegas theme was a chance for Prom King Stephen Day and Prom Queen Sabat Adous remind us that with good future plans—he to study Music at Belmont College and The Queen to study at Georgia State University—the odds for a great future looks pretty good to me.

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