Photo by Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

Gwinnett’s brain power
By Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

Having just been to the movies to see the latest “why did I go to the movies” movie called Lucy, I have been speculating on what happens when people use more than the standard 10% of their brain. The following 3 subjects were obviously using at least 12% of their cerebral capacity.

Exhibit A are sousaphone section of GHS band. The whole section is comprised of Cal McNamara, Alex Carley and Christopher Layson, none of whom have played more than 2 years. When I asked for some creativity in their pose, they removed the “bell”" and did this moving pose. I asked the obvious question and they replied that while they can make music with the bells off, it is much better to leave the sousaphone intact.

Adora Okosi, another 12%er has been an active member of Mountain View High School Theatre for all of her high school years. A self described “impulsive” person, this senior plans to attend a college with a theater program and aims to go to New York City for college. She was concerned that banana dress is discouraged for Senior portrait sittings but unbeknownst to her, Magic Moment Photography feels that we have a shortage of people expressing themselves as fruit or vegetables.

Our final 12% Club candidate, Tamera Adams, a Senior at Archer High School, has been practicing Tae Kwon Do for 12 years and has her black belt. She is undefeated in every single tournament she has ever entered, and that includes a gold medal at the Junior Olympics and a Gold Medal at the 2012 Nationals. As if her amazing martial arts skills are not enough, she is also the President of the Writing Club at Archer High School, loves to read, and is headed to Belize next week for a mission trip with her church.


Gwinnett Online Campus, led by Principal Dr. Christopher Ray and Assistant Principal Ginger O’ Neal is one of the elite winners of the 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Innovation, awards that draw from schools in the US as well as Canada. This award recognizes out-of-the-box thinking in technology and education. The commendation to Dr. Christopher Ray, Dr. Ginger O'Neal, Randi Hill, Laura Herring, Gary Torkington, Julie Richardson, Kathy Poulton, and all GOC administrators and teachers stated “Countless hours of brainstorming a solution have led to the development of one of the most innovative, interactive, virtual, Learning Labs in the United States.”

For those longtime Gwinnett citizens, it is impressive to note the impact Central Gwinnett High School graduates have had in our community. Currently the Varsity Football Cheer team has ten seniors. It's an extra special year for head coach Kristen Yocca as her oldest daughter, Erin, is a Senior on the team. Making Friday nights even more of a family affair is the fact that Yocca's husband Mike is the Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach for the Black Knights.

This year, when Meghan Schroder photographed the family of Head Football Coach Mickey Conn at Grayson High School Football Media Day, all her attention went to his beautiful wife Haley. Haley Conn will be a second grade teacher at Grayson Elementary where she will be teaching our eldest granddaughter Hayden Barnett. Mickey and Haley’s involvement in the community extends past their professional life to church involvement and also through the many sports activities of sons Brody and Spencer.

Having raised twins, I am always on alert for other sets of twins so meeting the Taylor family of Grayson was an opportunity. Will and John, sons of Pam and John, are — according to their completely doting Mom, good natured and talented young men. We suspect they are in our 12% club as both young men 4.0 averages while active in football and musical pursuits.

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