Florida Memorial University Awarded Scholarship by Kevin Hart’s “Help From The Hart Charity,” a New $600,000 Scholarship Program

UNCF, KIPP team up with charity to help 18 students attend HBCUs

Following up on his generous $100,000 scholarship gift made through UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) to four deserving college students back in 2015, actor and comedian Kevin Hart has joined forces with UNCF and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) to help 18 more KIPP students earn a college degree including Laibela Faraba, a freshman at Florida Memorial University.

Through a new UNCF scholarship program launched in partnership with Kevin Hart’s “Help From The Hart Charity” and KIPP Public Schools, the $600,000 scholarship will provide funding to support KIPP students from eight different cities, attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Hart and the UNCF for helping advance Florida Memorial University’s agenda along with the other HBCUs,” said Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, Interim President, Florida Memorial University.

“Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”

UNCF is the largest provider of college scholarships for students of color in the U.S., awarding more than $100 million in college scholarships annually to deserving students. The 18 “Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship” recipients have been selected based on their academic and personal accomplishments and may receive substantive renewable awards based on need.

“The ‘Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship’ will not only support students, but will also demonstrate support for HBCUs,” said UNCF CEO and President Michael L. Lomax. “Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need. Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support, and we want to congratulate these 18 students for keeping their eyes on their goal of a college education.”

Hart’s gift to fund this new scholarship program puts him in line with many other renowned celebrities who have supported UNCF over the years. “Giving back to build better futures is the name of the game, and we hope that others like Kevin will understand why educational investments are so important, especially now, and step up to help more deserving students,” said Lomax.

“Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the hard work of these 18 KIPP students recognized by Kevin Hart and UNCF through this generous scholarship program,” said John Fisher, chair of the KIPP Foundation Board of Directors. “Michael Lomax has been a longtime KIPP supporter and friend and a tireless champion for young people. We are incredibly grateful to both UNCF and Kevin Hart for their partnership and support to help our students thrive in college and achieve their dreams.”

Lomax added, “Over the last decade, UNCF has been building a relationship with the KIPP public school network, and we are so excited that KIPP’s board of directors and their Chairman John Fisher are behind this outstanding new venture. There are more than 1,300 KIPPsters currently enrolled at HBCUs, and together, we are bringing resources and shining a spotlight on these students who are doing all they can to get a college education. This unique partnership will help UNCF continue to bridge the gap from high school success to college achievement and enables UNCF to help more students get to and through college.” 

About UNCF: UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About KIPP Public Schools: KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to enroll 96,000.

Crime Museum Offers Visitors Rare Look Inside Surveillance Van, Joins Other Overlooked Gems at Alcatraz East

Former undercover surveillance van joins museum displays

Alcatraz East Building

There’s a new artifact on display at Alcatraz East, but since its focus is on undercover work it might be hard to spot. The crime museum in Pigeon Forge is giving visitors a look inside the workings of law enforcement surveillance, with a van formerly used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a Georgia police department. Visitors can see how agents on a stakeout spend time in the cramped quarters of a van which is not nearly as glamorous as made out to be on television.

“It’s not often that something like this comes along, that was actually used by federal and local law enforcement on criminal cases,” says Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits. “And it has not been stripped of its equipment, giving visitors a real insider look at how it all works.”

Surprising to most people is the close quarters for the agents to work. In fact, the van doesn’t even allow the undercover officers enough room to stand up straight. It also offers little privacy using the toilet inside. Officers could monitor suspects from four different camera angles and would often spend hours in the tight space during a stakeout.

According to Lilburn, Georgia Police Chief Bruce Hedley, the van was used for several years in active criminal investigations, including drug crimes and burglary stake outs, such as in a neighborhood where there was a rash of car break-ins. From the Getaway Cars Gallery in the museum, guests will be able to see the camera perspective of a detective on a stakeout inside the van, viewing in real time as visitors come and go from the museum.

“I am very proud that the public can look at a very important piece of law enforcement equipment that we used to keep our community safe,” says Chief Hedley.

The surveillance van is not the only artifact in the museum that hides interesting details unseen from the public. The car belonging to the bank robber John Dillinger was involved in a shootout, and although the car was restored by a later owner, they kept one of the bullets visible, but only from inside of the car.

In the over twenty galleries in Alcatraz East, it can be easy to miss some of the most fascinating details of the hundreds of artifacts on view. For instance, the initial “ZT” carved in the brass railgun in the Pirates Gallery or the handwritten notes on the side of the Unabomber’s scale about its calibration. In the Mob Gallery hidden behind Mickey Cohen’s custom suit is his shirt, embroidered with his name. On the end of the sniper rifle used by the University of Texas Sniper are small numbers on a piece of tape, settings for the scope. There are other examples of objects that were designed to be hidden, like the dye pack inside a stack of $20 bills to ward against bank robberies.

Also going on display this week are the winners of Alcatraz East’s Graffiti Art Contest on June 2nd. First, second, and third place winners can now be seen on display, that is, if you’re paying attention. “The exhibit is a bit off the normal museum tour,” says Penman, “a reflection of where you often are when you see graffiti in real life, in alleys, abandon lots, by train tracks and other neglected spaces. We thought it was fitting to maximize our limited space and beautify our own “alleys.”

The museum is always adding to their collection and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

5 Maneras de Combatir el Estrés del Regreso a Clases

Contenido patrocinado

Volver a clases es emocionante para los niños y sus padres, pero con toda la emoción y la anticipación, también puede haber un poco de estrés. Como padre, usted puede acercarse al inminente año escolar con una actitud positiva y estos consejos pueden ayudar a minimizar el estrés y darles a sus hijos una mayor confianza al entrar al salón de clase.

Jeannette Kaplun, una experta en estilo de vida latino y madre de dos hijos, recomienda lo siguiente:

Comienza a ajustar la hora de dormir antes de que empiezan las clases. Es común que en el verano los horarios de dormir no se siguen. Sin embargo, una transición abrupta al despertarse temprano en la mañana puede provocar estrés e irritabilidad. La Fundación Nacional del Sueño recomienda implementar los nuevos horarios de acostarse más temprano dos semanas antes de que comiencen las clases y programar la alarma un poco más temprano cada mañana para una transición suave al primer día de clases.

Frenar el retroceso. El tiempo de pantalla no es sólo para pasar el tiempo; aproveche de la tecnología para mantener las destrezas de lectura que tus hijos aprendieron en el salón de clase todo el verano. Un dispositivo como Fire Kids Edition Tablet de Amazon está diseñado para niños, con garantía por dos años, un estuche y una suscripción de un año para Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, dandole a los niños el acceso a videos, aplicaciones educativas, juegos y a 15,000 libros apto para niños en inglés y en español. El minorista ofrece una amplia selección de libros en español que les facilita a los niños la tarea de leer clásicos como El Principitoo Cien años de soledad y practicar las habilidades lingüísticas mientras se divierten.

“Siendo una mamá latina, es importante que mis hijos sean bilingües, y que hablen, leen y estudien tanto en inglés como en español,” dijo Kaplun. “Hay tantas formas únicas de incorporar el español a la vida cotidiana y una de mis maneras favoritas es a través de los libros, ya que permiten a los niños explorar sus intereses”.

Vestirse para el éxito. Hay una razón por la que los adultos tienden a vestirse con elegancia para eventos especiales – cuando te ves bien, te sientes bien. Ayuda a sus hijos en elegir prendas especiales para el primer día de clases con las que se sientan cómodos y seguros. La compra de ropa es una oportunidad para que sus hijos expresen su individualidad, así que diviértase con ellos. Para evitar estrés adicional, prepare el conjunto completo la noche anterior y deja que su hijo se lo pruebe y se sienta cómodo. Si la rutina funciona, trate de hacer de esto parte de su hábito nocturno para que las mañanas estén libres de estrés durante el año escolar.

Simplificar la experiencia de compra. Cada temporada de regreso a clases viene con listas de útiles para el salón de clase y las nuevas necesidades de vestimenta. Un centro único minorista como Amazon le permite completar sus compras en su propio tiempo, y su tienda de back-to-school tiene ofertas y una amplia selección, por lo que es fácil encontrar artículos imprescindibles como carpetas, mochilas y zapatos hasta cosas divertidas como pegamento con brillantina, gomas de borrar en forma de dona y pegatinas de emojis. Ahora, usted también tiene la opción de navegar y comprar en Amazon en español; solo haga clic en el icono de globo en la parte superior derecha de la pantalla de inicio y selecciona español para hacer compras en su idioma preferido.

Compartir la emoción. Es perfectamente normal que los padres y los hijos se sientan ansiosos por el nuevo año escolar. En lugar de revelarle su propia aprehensión, comparta con sus hijos tus recuerdos favoritos de cuando estabas en el grado de ellos. Pregúnteles a sus hijos qué es lo que más les emociona y qué los pone un poco nerviosos y busquen soluciones juntos.

Comience pronto a realizar la transición para el regreso a la escuela libre de estrés con más consejos y recursos en amazon.com/backtoschool. (Family Features)



Texas Teen Book Festival Announces 2018 Keynote Authors

Texas Teen Book Festival Welcomes Best-selling, Award-winning Authors for 10th Anniversary.

The Texas Teen Book Festival, now celebrating its 10th anniversary year, announced today the keynote speakers for the 2018 Festival, which takes place Saturday, October 6 at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Bestselling authors Nic Stone and Neal Shusterman, with his son and co-author Jarrod, will keynote this annual, highly anticipated event, which draws thousands of teens to Austin for a day of panels, book signings, workshops and more, all free and open to the public.

 “We are so excited to let everyone know about the amazing authors we have lined up for our keynotes for 2018,” says TTBF Director Shawn Mauser. “Nic Stone and Neal and Jarrod Shusterman masterfully bring complex, timely stories to the page with intense honesty and heart, and we cannot wait to welcome them to our Tenth Anniversary TTBF!”

Nic Stone

Nic Stone

Nic Stone's Odd One Out

Nic Stone’s Odd One Out

Nic Stone is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Dear Martin, which was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. At TTBF, Stone will present her sophomore novel, Odd One Out, a book told from three perspectives that explores the complicated, sometimes confusing dynamics of friendship, love, and identity.

Neal and Jarrod Schusterman.  Photography courtesy of Brendan Shusterman.

Neal and Jarrod Schusterman. Photography courtesy of Brendan Shusterman.

Neal Shusterman's Dry

Neal Shusterman’s Dry

Neal Shusterman is the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults including The Unwind Dystology, Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award, and Scythe, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book. Joining him in presenting their co-written book, Dry, is Neal’s son, Jarrod, who has also written for television shows such as “Goosebumps.” Dry is set in a dystopian future where the California drought, “the Tap Out,” has spread throughout the country.

Stone and the Shustermans join a long list of memorable keynote speakers over the Festival’s ten year history, including past keynotes Jason Reynolds, Marie Lu, Mindy Kaling, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Sonia Manzano, and many others. The Texas Teen Book Festival, which began as a grassroots labor of love among librarians and booksellers in 2008, is now one of the most highly regarded teen book festivals in the country.

The Texas Teen Book Festival is presented in collaboration with Texas Book Festival, BookPeople, a dedicated team of librarians, and venue sponsor St. Edward’s University. The program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

TTBF remains free and open to the public thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and dozens of committed volunteers. For more information, please visit the Texas Teen Book Festival website and keep up with announcements on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tips To Help Ensure A Successful Transition From College To The Work World

Contributed By Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer of the BeenVerified.com

Graduating from college this year? This can definitely be a daunting time for many, but there are so many ways to prepare for success in the industry you’ve worked so hard to be a part of. From building your personal brand (which is essential in the work world) to knowing how to effectively network, below are must-know tips to help you succeed once you get your diploma and enter the “real world”.

Build Your Personal Brand

We all have a personal brand whether we are aware of it or not. Your personal brand is how the world views you, so it’s important that your personal brand be a strong, capable one that best reflects your true self—especially when it comes to the business world. It is important for you to establish your own brand and cultivate it rather than let it be defined on your behalf. Your personal brand is made up of your beliefs and your strengths. Think of it as your personal core values.

If you do a good job of branding and marketing yourself, people will begin to identify you with a certain area of expertise, subject matter, and the general qualities you want linked to your name. Once you determine the way in which you want your brand to be received, you can start to be more strategic about your personal brand.

Here are some of the areas that are important in building a personal brand and a few tips to help you build yours:

Be true to yourself and your word. Your brand should reflect who you really are—your authentic self. Skip the falsehoods or who you want people to think you are, especially in the digital age. You don’t want there to be a big discrepancy between who you are online and who you are in real life. Today, people want to connect and they want to connect with other genuine people. And remember that actions speak louder than words to the people in your circle of influence, so keep your word and follow through with promises you make.

Know how to introduce yourself. Prepare a 30-second speech to introduce yourself to others. Think through the key things you want people to know about you and practice it so it comes easily. When networking, hit the high points of your story with a concise presentation. You want their take away to be the most important highlights about you and how you want them to remember you.

Have an online presence. Set up a personal website that you can direct people to, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, it can be a simple site with your resume, links to your social platforms, a bio with photo, and some of your college achievements. Having your own site gives you a platform to build your brand from. It will also help rank your name on the search engines. You can always expand the information on the website with time.

Google yourself and setup alerts for your name on a regular basis. Know what is being said about you online. It’s not a bad idea to run a background check on yourself too to make sure your record is exactly what you think it is. Be purposeful and thoughtful on anything you share with others.

Use social media as your platform. Social media is ideal for giving people a platform to share their personal brand, as long as it’s done consciously and consistently. Always reread and proof before you post, use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling, and use discretion when sharing photos. It’s best to steer clear of controversy or emotional topics in general and certainly if it could discredit you personally. This includes reacting to other people’s posts as well as the ones you share. Have your brand identity statement in front of you when posting and ask yourself if the post you are about to publish contributes to that identity. If handled well, social media is a great way to sell yourself!

Once you’ve established your own personal brand, it’s time to share it with the world. Let the world know who you are, what your talents and core values are, and what you have to offer. The road to unfulfilled career dreams and disappointment is littered with lists, dreams, and goals never shared with anyone. So it’s time to get your personal brand out there.

Start Networking & Connecting With Professionals In Your Field Early

It is never too early to start networking and connecting with people who may be able to help or influence your career. So set up professional profiles such as LinkedIn and any other site that is geared toward work and business. Reach out to professionals you know or want to. Also, remember that other sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like will be viewable by potential employers so keep that in mind with everything you post. What might be funny or appropriate for college you may regret once you move on. It is never too early to be thinking about your career.

Practice Makes Perfect—Find Opportunities to Refine Your Communicative Skills 

College is the perfect place to hone skills and work on things that scare you. Maybe your public speaking skills are shaky. Maybe you don’t know how to put together a presentation. Heck, maybe you have never been on an interview. College is a great place to learn these things. Join a public speaking group and utilize the services of your career services office. Reach out to your community for services and clubs that can help train you. Trust this–it is much easier to acquire and perfect these skills while in the relative comfort of college than to be under the gun in a real work environment.

Look for seminars and career development lectures. Take all of them because most of them will allow students to attend for free or for a reduced fee. These are great opportunities because they not only teach something but they give valuable opportunities to network with people that are in the work world and contacts are very important indeed.

Learn how to small talk and work a room. Chances are that you will need to attend many lunch and evening functions for companies that you wish to work for or for available internships. The more comfortable you are talking to people and introducing yourself the more success you may have with landing the job of your dreams. If you are a shy person, this can be a particularly daunting task but it will serve you well if you pick up a few tips from books or particularly social friends.

Seek Out & Apply for Internships and Jobs Early

Don’t delay. Things move quickly and there are always people that seem to be ahead of the game. These people are your competition, so don’t wait. Find out about internships early. Apply when the job or internship opens. Make sure that you have all of your documents ready and polished so you can send them when needed and if something just pops up. The documents you should have ready at a minimum are a resume, cover letter, transcripts, and references. You may need a writing sample or other more specific document but at a minimum have these four polished, up to date, and ready to go.

Justin Lavelle
Justin Lavelle is Chief Communications Officer at BeenVerified (the leading source of online background checks and contact information), where he often writes about topics like credit card use and scams, financial fraud, and other personal finance advice. BeenVerified allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses, property records and criminal records in a way that’s fast, easy and affordable. https://www.beenverified.com/.

Florida Memorial University Hosts its First Home Fundraiser Thanks to Aaron and Burnadette Weeks

University fundraisers have never been as enjoyable until now. Florida Memorial University captures the spirit of giving through an exuberant home fundraising initiative.

Burnadette Weeks, Esq.; Dr. Castell V. Bryant, Florida Memorial University (FMU) Interim President; JoLinda Herring  Esq., FMU Trustee Chair

Burnadette Weeks, Esq.; Dr. Castell V. Bryant, Florida Memorial University (FMU) Interim President; JoLinda Herring Esq., FMU Trustee Chair

The gracious home of Aaron and Bernadette Weeks. Esq. was the setting for Florida Memorial University’s (FMU) first of a series of home fundraisers on April 22nd. The North Broward Chapter of the Links rallied to socialize and be entertained by the melodic saxophone of Randy Corinthian while doing a great service to South Florida’s only Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

JoAnn Fletcher, President of The North Broward Chapter of the Links’ opening remarks welcomed the group of over 40 guests, “The National Links initiative this year is to adopt a Historically Black College and University and nurture it.” FMU is was delighted to be adopted by the prestigious group.

FMU celebrates 50 years in Miami this Fall and 139 years since its beginnings as an institution for higher- learning in Live Oaks, Florida. FMUs Interim President, Dr. Castell Bryant words resonated with the

North Broward Chapter of the Links, many who attended HBCUs, “Let us work together to help the next generation of HBCU students become successful!”

FMU Trustee JoLinda Herring added, “The students at FMU inspire me. FMU has a wonderful school of aviation, and our alumni are now doctors, lawyers, and professionals in all walks of life.”

The FMU fundraising program ended on a high note, as The North Broward County Chapter of The Links reached its fundraising goal.

Host Aaron Weeks closed the event by reciting the prolific Renaissance poetry of John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Each piece is a continent, a part of the main. If clod be washed away by sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thine own or of thine friends were. Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am

involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know or whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

Mr. Weeks reminding us of a time when attending HBCUs were the only choice for Blacks. But the tradition and legacy live on with our support. For more information on becoming an FMU Home Fundraising host, contact Vice President Cory Witherspoon at 305 623 1443.

The Austin Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. is Hosting the 24th Biennial Beautillion Ball

The Austin Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. is hosting the 24th Biennial Beautillion Ball. Please add the following information to your Events on your website and radio stations.


The 24th Biennial Beautillion Ball culminates an intensive, seven-month program that provides mentoring, education, and social enrichment for college bound African-American males from the Greater Austin area.The purpose of the Beautillion Ball is to showcase the achievements of these young men and to reward them with scholarships and a technology package. These distinguished “Beaux” pay tribute to the community and to their mothers with a breathtaking waltz. The night is made even more enchanting by the lovely “Belle” who escorts each “Beaux”.

The entire Greater Austin community is invited to support these young men and their families! Proceeds from the Beautillion Ball support local and national 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in the Greater Austin community.

The Austin Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. was chartered in June 1953. Throughout its fifty plus years, the Austin Chapter has worked to fulfill its service mission to the community through group activities as well as chapter projects. The Beautillion Ball, begun in 1972 and presented biennially, has become our signature event in the Austin community. It is also our main fundraiser that has, over the past 35 years, raised funds for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the George Washington Carver Library & Museum, the Austin Children’s Museum, and the Jack & Jill Foundation.

You can support the Beautillion by purchasing tickets to the event and/or by purchasing advertising in the program book.

Ball tickets cost $85.00 each. Ball tickets cost $85.00 each. Tickets can be purchased from this page ($6.79 processing fee will be added) or may be purchased by check or money order, payable to “Austin Chapter, Jack and Jill of America, Inc.” and mailed to P. O. Box 6059, Austin, TX 78762-6059. Tickets purchased by check do not include a processing fee. All ball tickets must be purchased by May 31, 2018.

To learn more about the Beautillion or to become a corporate sponsor go to our website at https://jackandjillofaustin.org/.​​

Saturday, June 16, 2018
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM CDT

​​Austin Hilton, Governor’s Ballroom, Fourth Floor

500 E 4th Street

Austin, TX 78701​​


Eventbrite Link:


4 Ways Parents, Teachers and Students Can Reduce Standardized-Test Stress

 Written and Contributed By Dr. Raj Gupta

Dr. Raj Gupta

Dr. Raj Gupta

Standardized testing has drawn its share of criticism from teachers, students and parents. One of the most common complaints is the stress that all three groups feel – from preparation through performance.

From a young age, students take these timed tests that measure academic competency and, ultimately, whether they’re college material. Countless articles on standardized testing in the U.S. point out the pressure on students to score well; that teachers are often evaluated by how their students fare on the tests; and that parents get anxiety hoping their children score high.

Amid all this stress comes the basic but difficult-to-answer question: How to deal with it?

“There is a tremendous amount of controversy about standardized testing, and no matter which side of the argument you are on, teachers have no choice,” says Dr. Raj Gupta (www.drrajgupta.com), founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center and author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives.

“So teachers, students and parents must deal with it the best way they can. And finding consistently healthy habits to counter these stress inducers is so important. In fact, taking the stress out of the test process can carry over to every aspect of their life. The scores aren’t as important as the quality of life they give themselves in what is a results-oriented world, often to a fault.”

Gupta offers four tips that teachers, students and parents can use to better deal with test-related stress:

•    Diet. Poor eating habits contribute to stress. “I see this every day with my three girls,” Gupta says. “Grandma will feed them tons of sugar, and then I come home to find the girls either bouncing off the walls or miserably cranky after crashing from their sugar high. Good wholesome foods that are not processed or refined and are free from trans fats prevent our energy levels from peaking and crashing throughout the day.”

•    Rest. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. “Most of your healing and repair takes place when you are sleeping,” Dr. Gupta says. “This is when the body recharges the battery. If you continue to deprive your body of sleep, your immune system breaks down and you get sick.”

•    Exercise. A study conducted by California State University found that a 10-minute walk is enough to increase energy, alter mood, and provide a positive outlook for up to two hours. Exercise also assists in quality sleep. “Exercise is the greatest stress buster,” Gupta says. “Regular exercise can change your life.”

•    Mental attitude. “Stress is like a snowball: If you let it roll, it will gain speed, momentum and weight, and you are over-reacting, making even small difficulties seem like major crises,” Gupta says. He suggests countering a stressful situation with a calming action. Example: when rush-hour traffic is irritating, listen to a self-improvement audio. “Some things we can’t control, but we can control our response to them,” Gupta says.

“Stress can cause all sorts of health problems,” Gupta says. “It affects all ages, as seen with the implementation of standardized testing. But it can be dealt with on a daily basis, and by doing so consistently, it can help us pass any and all stress tests in the future..”

About Dr. Raj Gupta

Dr. Raj Gupta (www.drrajgupta.com), who has more than 20 years experience as a chiropractor, is the founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center. He also is author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives. He has been featured in US News and World Report Health, Woman’s World Magazine and New York Daily News. He has a doctorate in chiropractic from Life University.

St. Gabriel’s Catholic School Hosts Annual Fundraising Gala

Parents and Austin community leaders gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, for St. Gabriel’s Catholic School’s 19th annual fundraising gala. The gala celebrates the school’s continuing advancement of educational and spiritual programs.

Beth and Frank Stabile (St. Gabriel's Catholic School Board Vice Chair, retired from Dell)

Beth and Frank Stabile (St. Gabriel’s Catholic School Board Vice Chair, retired from Dell)

Danette and Steve Koebele (founder of TexCounsel)

Danette and Steve Koebele (Founder of TexCounsel)

“We are extremely thankful for the support and generosity of our St. Gabriel’s families, as well as our exceptional staff and educators,” Dan McKenna, head of school at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School, said. “In addition to allowing us to recognize the school’s achievements, this gala enables us to continue to provide the most advanced curriculum for our students.”

Jannell and Scott Brown (President and Chief Creative Officer at Texas Monthly)

Jannell and Scott Brown (President and Chief Creative Officer at Texas Monthly)

Kathy and Dan Roy (St. Gabriel's Catholic School Board Chair)

Kathy and Dan Roy (St. Gabriel’s Catholic School Board Chair)

The “Roaring Twenties” themed gala included a sit-down dinner, as well as a silent and live auction. Entertainment was provided by DJ Dave Garza, and the after-party included a “Speakeasy” and a “Casino.” Auction prizes included an African safari, tickets to Super Bowl LII, and passes to a backstage meet-and-greet with country music star Kenny Chesney in Chicago.

Laura and Tim Keyes (Past Chair of St. Gabriel's Board)

Laura and Tim Keyes (Past Chair of St. Gabriel’s Board)

Maureen Staloch (of RedBird) and Ted Staloch (Co-Founder of Aspyr Media)

Maureen Staloch (of RedBird) and Ted Staloch (Co-Founder of Aspyr Media)

Proceeds raised from the gala will go toward furthering the school’s efforts to employ the best practices in teaching and learning, empowering students to reach their full potential.

Melissa Cason (Sales Exec. at Texas National Title) and Brandon Cason (Founder, Waterloo Sparkling water)

Melissa Cason (Sales Exec. at Texas National Title) and Brandon Cason (Founder, Waterloo Sparkling water)

St. Gabriel’s Catholic School

St. Gabriel’s Catholic School is a private Catholic PreK-8 institution in Austin that emphasizes excellence in leadership, service and community among its students and families. The school is committed to providing a faith-based education through its innovative curriculum that includes STEAM programs, small classes, and a faculty focused on inspiring young hearts and minds of all faiths. St. Gabriel’s has been recognized as the Favorite Private School by the Austin Family Magazine Reader’s Poll in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. For more information, please visit sgs-austin.org.


More Students are Going to Grad School: How are They Paying for It?

Graduate School

Photography courtesy of (c) nd3000/stock.Adobe.com.

Career aspirations are driving more students to graduate school these days, and nearly two thirds believe an advanced degree is the new minimum standard level of education for any professional occupation.

According to “How America Pays for Graduate School,” the new national study from Sallie Mae and Ipsos, an independent global market research company, nearly all grad students (95 percent) said an advanced degree is necessary to enter, advance, accelerate or remain competitive in their chosen career.

Cost is less of a factor in the enrollment decision than it is at the undergraduate level, as more than eight in 10 surveyed based their enrollment decision on a school’s academic offerings, prestige, location, campus culture, or other personal consideration. However, eight in 10 grad students said they took more responsibility for paying-for-school decisions than they had for their undergraduate studies.

“It is human nature to plan for what you value, and that includes graduate school. Today’s students see graduate school as their ticket to a successful and prosperous career, and most have a plan to pay for their advanced degree before they enroll,” says Raymond J. Quinlan, chairman and CEO, Sallie Mae. “That planning pays off: the overwhelming majority are confident in the financial decisions they’ve made about how to pay for their graduate education.”

How much did they pay? Students spent an average of $24,812 on grad school in academic year 2016-17, and more than three-fourths of them (77 percent) paid for it, at least in part, by borrowing. Funds borrowed by students covered more than half of the cost (53 percent), while money students earned, including income and savings, paid for 24 percent. Grants, fellowships, scholarships, and tuition waivers accounted for 15 percent, while eight percent of grad school costs came from funds borrowed or contributed by parents or others.

The study also reveals that scholarships and grants are less available for grad students than for undergrads, accounting for just 15 percent of grad school costs. In response, Sallie Mae announced a new Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students that will award four $20,000 scholarships in 2018. Students may apply by Feb. 14 by visiting SallieMae.com/BridgingtheDreamGrad.

To view the complete report, visit SallieMae.com/HowAmericaPaysGrad and join the conversation using #HowGradsPay.

As a graduate degree continues to become the educational norm, students will continue to plan and find creative ways to meet the cost. (StatePoint)