Photo by Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

Reinventing the wheel
By Loralee Beard, Magic Moment Photography

Every now and then you have to reinvent the wheel. That is why when Les and my 7th grandchild in as many years arrived recently, I decided it was time to buy a rocking chair. New arrival MacKenzie Leslie is the third daughter of my daughter/photographer/photoshop artist Taryn Barnett and husband Madison. MacKenzie is also cared for by sisters Hayden, age 6 and Taylor, age 4 who with no promoting, single-mindedly trained MacKenzie in the use of a pacifier.

Babies are never far from our mind these days so we were thrilled when Bennett Esslinger, son of Ashley and Josh Esslinger, and grandson of Grayson City Council member, Laurie Anderson, stopped by the studio to commemorate his first birthday. Since Meghan Schroder was the photographer at the 2009 wedding of the Esslinger’s, it was a proud moment for everyone, but Dad and Bennett bonded over the great feeling of being slathered in green icing.

Grayson Days led by 2nd generation Mayor Allison Wilkerson was outstanding. The commitment by Mayor Wilkerson to supporting Georgia Make a Wish was reflected in the outstanding Mermaid Float by Grayson Orthodontics. And yes Dr. Caesar Cardenas was an exemplary Eric.

When Ken Johnson became Principal of Archer High School, he not only inherited a Tiger legacy but he enhanced it with his Annual spring Jazz Festivals. When the 2nd Annual Archer Jazz Festival was held, a highlight was a performance of his eponymous (I looked the word up for this occasion) “Large Principal Sextet”. Shown is Chris Hall on the Guitar, Dave D’Angelo on the Saxophone and Ken Johnson himself smiling in the corner on his drums.

Spring is when I get to spend time with Nancy Ward, the Executive Director of Gwinnett County Student Leadership Team since its 1995 inception. The program accepts 60 or so out standing Juniors from all 22 Gwinnett County high schools and guides them through 2 years of leadership training. This whirlwind of talent , energy and ambition from the hundreds of Gwinnett County students who have benefitted from this program seem to rest on Nancy. Whether she is changing her agenda at the very last minute to include an impromptu visit from Newt Gingerich or taking a student aside to see if their college choice will be Yale or MIT, her reassuring aura is barely ruffled.

I spent a pleasant afternoon at Shiloh Farms photographing the Loganville Christian Academy Rodeo Team. Owner John Thistle has guided more than a few young riders to World and National titles. Shown on her horse Bama is young rider Sydney Banazek, daughter of Loganville residents Eric and Pam Banazek,. Sydney, age 9, has shown successfully both locally and at the Pinto Horse Association World Show. Sister Reese, age 7, with almost 3 years of riding behind her is beginning her own show career.

And finally, where would we be in the year 2014 if we did not have dedicated fans like Ethan Goodwin and Arslan Ali who always wear the same outstanding colorful garb to serve as Brookwood High School Varsity Ball Boys. Soccer ball kids are traditionally younger soccer athletes with energy and willingness to spend a couple hours chasing balls to move the game along. However while Bronco Varsity athletes in their own right in basketball, track and cross country, Ethan and Arslan, handsome even in pink shirts and powder blue flannel track pants, believe they have taken their role as ballboys “to a professional level.”

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