Aurora Academy offers classes for all
ages starting Sept. 16
Special to GwinnettForum
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Sept. 12, 2008 -- After a successful summer
of camp programs for children of all ages, Aurora Academy, the educational
wing of Aurora
Theatre, continues with fall class offerings for all ages. Aurora
Academy had in the inaugural class offering 135 students attending
the camps this summer. With this comprehensive base to draw upon,
Aurora Academy was able to conclude that the next step was to expand
and offer classes to all ages.
Aurora Academy is working closely with Gwinnett County Public Library
for a class devoted to early elementary age students. This production
class will focus on bringing the classic children's book, Miss
Nelson is Missing, to life on stage. With this literary theme
it is only fitting that the students will perform at the Gwinnett
Reading Festival at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds as the culmination
of this class.
In fact, all of Aurora class offerings end in a unique performance
opportunity. At Aurora Academy students have a chance to study with
working professionals, while being offered performance opportunities
that only a major regional arts organization can offer. Middle school
students can learn improvisational comedy and will perform prior
to one of our Funny Fridays comedy performances. Home school families
will be able to have high school level training during the school
day with The Acting Edge: Homeschool Edition. Adults with years
of experience or first timers can hone their skills in our Audition
Techniques class which features a private showcase audition for
Aurora Theatre Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez. For
persons from 7 or 77, there is something for everyone this fall
The offerings this season:
- MISS NELSON IS MISSING (ages 7-10). In this production
class, young students will bring this popular tale to life. This
class culminates in a performance at the Gwinnett Reading Festival.
Sept. 24 - Oct. 18: Wednesdays 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays at
9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- SO YOU WANT TO IMPROV? (ages 11-14) The success of the
summer programs led Aurora to offer more improvisation. Students
learn how to process information, listen and express themselves
creatively from working comedians. This class will culminate in
an onstage performance preceding the Monster Mash Comedy Bash
at Aurora Theatre on Oct.7 - 31 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- HOMESCHOOL ACTING EDGE (ages 12-17). Those participating
can receive tips from working professionals and delve deep into
the craft of acting while polishing the actor tools of mind, body
and imagination. Sept. 16 - Nov. 4, on Tuesdays 1 p.m. - 2:30
- ADULT AUDITION TECHNIQUES (adults 20+). Learn to succeed
in business and show business by working on audition skills like
cold readings and monologue delivery. Whether a beginner or working
professional, Aurora will help get the role and the job. September
22 - Oct. 20, Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Cost for all programs is $175. A $25 application fee will be assessed
to non-returning students. For registration and more information,
contact Susan Reid, director of education, at 678-226-6226 or via
email at email@example.com.
What a bargain those attending UGA are getting!
Editor and Publisher
SEPT. 12, 2008 -- Paying college tuition isn't easy. However, those
with students at the University of Georgia and other state assisted
colleges may not realize the bargain they are getting when their
offspring enroll at the University of Georgia.
The cost of being an undergraduate at the University of Georgia
in 2007 was approximately $12,000. That's $4,856 for tuition, and
the balance for room, board and books. That's a big bargain. But
it doesn't tell the whole story.
Speaking in Gwinnett recently at the Buford-North Gwinnett Rotary
Club, UGA President Michael Adams reported that only about 38 per
cent of his school's budget comes from state-appropriated funds.
About 25 percent comes from tuition and fees, another 22 percent
from gifts and grants, and about 12 percent from auxiliary enterprises,
such as food service, housing, parking, etc., which pay for themselves.
The school's endowment recently raised $653 million over seven
years. But with specific gifts and pledges, only a small portion
goes into operations. For 2007, that was 2.9 percent, $38.7 million.
So while we think of the University of Georgia, as a "state-supported"
public institution of higher learning, actually state appropriations
are paying less than ever for the school's operations. When President
Adams came to the University 12 years ago, state appropriations
were 43 percent of the total budget. While the biggest portion of
the budget comes from the state, it still funds far more than half
from private means. It's more of a "state-assisted" funding.
It requires that University officials must find other means of
raising monies. Some must come from students. But any way you cut
it, the state-assisted colleges are a bargain for the students in
More states are funding universities at a lower rate. At the University
of Virginia, for instance, the state assistance is less than seven
percent of its budget, making that college virtually privatized.
Around the nation, no major flagship university is supported entirely
by state funds any more.
The University of Georgia is a bargain compared to private schools.
At Emory University, for instance, the total cost for a student
for a year is $47,848, which includes $35,800 in tuition alone.
At Mercer University, its cost is $37,500, with $28,500 of that
Consider also: the ranking of the University of Georgia in recent
years has steadily been rising. It was recently named among the
top 20 among public universities in the nation. Yet it ranks 15th
of 16 flagship Southern schools in cost per undergraduate student.
Granted, it's more difficult for students to gain admission to
the University of Georgia than ever. There were 17,000 students
applying for the 4,000 slots in the freshman class.
So, if your child is lucky enough to get into the University of
Georgia, be proud, but at the same time realize what a big bargain
you are getting.
* * * * *
President Adams also spoke at the opening of a 60,000 square foot
new facility for the University of Georgia graduate program near
I-85 at Old Peachtree Road last week. It is the largest of the University's
off campus sites, enrolling around 700 graduate students. The two
other off-campus centers are at Griffin, with 150 students, and
Tifton, where there are 75 students.
Altogether, Gwinnett continues to provide the University of Georgia
with more students than any other county in the state. In the fall
of 2007, there were 2,887 undergraduates from Gwinnett, and 713
graduate students, or a total of 3,600 UGA students enrolled from
Gwinnett UGA. The second largest enrollment comes from Cobb County,
with 2,753 students.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com
to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Wheeler/Kolb
Management Co. The company evolved from the name change of Hudgens
Management Company in November, 1991. Tom Wheeler and Tom Kolb have
been principal owners since 1985. Wheeler/Kolb has offices in Duluth
and has 28 employees. More: http://www.wheelerkolb.com.
naysayer upset with fast-track park and decisions
Editor, the Forum:
Concerning your comments about the minor league baseball park,
Sept. 9), here are my thoughts.
This "naysayer-concerned taxpayer/citizen" is not pleased
or surprised that the stadium is costing nearly 50 percent more.
This project is a real estate deal, benefiting a few under the guise
of an economic stimulus which illustrates that this county is still
run by special interest groups as it has been for decades. If this
was such a great package, why are your county commissioners in denial
about talking about it in public? They voted for it, why aren't
they proud of their decisions?
This is now a $59 million project with unsubstantiated benefits.
How is building a stadium with taxpayer's money and given to a for-profit
corporation to equate to untold benefits? The benefits will be realized
by those who owned the property and will own the retail properties
that will surround the park. Those going to the game will pay a
premium price for a ticket as well as paying for parking. With prices
that high, why not go to Atlanta and get you a 2-for-1 ticket?
A project of this size should never have been agreed to under the
time frame. How many projects of this magnitude are built under
these conditions? Who will say that the project will not need additional
amounts to complete the project?
Did we build the Arena and turn it over to the Gladiators?
The chairman of the GCVB is a non-elected official who is serving
on the board of directors of Brand Banking, whose owner sold the
property to the county. I find this to be a conflict of interest.
With proper planning these additions would have been included in
the original plans and with the same principals running the Arena
and the stadium, did they just discover the silting problem within
the last few months?
This whole project represents how this County has been run for
years, no matter who is in office, yet everyone is too busy with
their day to day lives to change the ways things get done. And those
with clout find it easier to promote what you are doing by not making
waves. As great as this county is, we are seeing it headed down
a road that will find many good people leaving rather than trying
to fight the establishment. At one time they were the Silent Majority,
but now they may be the Silent Minority.
-- Lee Baker, Lilburn
Dear Lee: Thanks for your insights into thinking
about this subject. We wanted you to have plenty of room to expound.
Shall we agree that we disagree on the long-term benefits for
the community? --eeb
organizers attacks nation's methods
Editor, the Forum:
Watching Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Sarah Palin get laughter from the
Republican convention audience last week referring to Sen. Barack
Obama's community organizing experiences made me wonder, just what
is laughable here?
Community organizing is self governance in action, and where our
leaders come from. It is the backbone and core of what America is.
America was founded on the idea of self governance. Community organizing
is how we take back our government and our communities from corruption,
crime and mismanagement.
We see it daily in Gwinnett with Community Improvement Districts
(CIDs). These are used by local business owners for community organizing.
CIDs are created by voting consent of two-thirds majority of local
property owners in a specified district. CIDs are funded by real
estate holders taxing themselves for improvement.
The CIDs formed by local business leaders here in Gwinnett have
brought much good to our community. The new renovation of U.S. Highway
78 from Stone Mountain to Snellville is a product of the Evermore
CID. It takes time, effort, patience and skill to get others to
work together for a common good. Ten years of planning went into
the Highway 78 improvement project. CID members coordinated efforts
with local phone and power companies, organizing the financing and
scheduling of work from different trades, vendors.
Gwinnett Place CID organized the funding and planning to revitalize
Gwinnett Place Mall. Local business leaders organized to rebuild
the infrastructure of roads, sidewalks, traffic signals and new
buildings needed for economic growth. And it works: Gwinnett Village
CID has significantly reduced the amount of crime in that area.
Gwinnett residents have started organizing new broader umbrella
groups for homeowner's associations. United Peachtree Corners Civic
Association, Lockridge Forest Civic Association, and Citizens for
Healthy Growth in Lilburn are just a few of these community organizations.
These groups formed around local residential opposition to rezoning
requests all of which were denied.
Attacking community organizing attacks all Americans. It attacks
self governance in action, the foundation of our nation. The leaders
today in Gwinnett County and all across the United States learned
to become leaders through their experiences in community organizing
-- Roger Hagen, Lilburn
guy's view of a government bailout
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
Library offers Let's Talk! free English program
Gwinnett County Public Library will host the program Let's
Talk!, a free English conversational program for non-native
speakers, starting on September 15.
Registration is not required. Let's Talk! is a 10-week session
designed to improve the English conversation skills of non-native
speakers. The Gwinnett County Public Library has created a quality
program complete with participant resource materials. Other benefits
include meeting people from other countries and sharing global perspectives
on opportunities and challenges in the US, world events and culture
The main purpose of Let's Talk! is to increase fluency in
speaking English, to turn "passive knowledge" of the English
language to "active knowledge." This means that if you
are able to read and listen in English, then the program will help
you use and build upon these skills to hold comfortable conversations
Census estimates report that 30 percent of Gwinnett County residents
speak a language other than English at home. Of those, approximately
half report that they do not speak English well.
Groups will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:
- Mondays at the Lawrenceville branch, 1001 Lawrenceville Highway,
- Mondays at the Centerville branch, 3025 Bethany Church Road,
- Tuesdays at the Lilburn branch, 788 Hillcrest Road NW, Lilburn.
- Wednesdays at the Norcross branch, 6025 Buford Highway, Norcross.
- Thursdays at the Suwanee branch, 361 Main Street, Suwanee.
Sessions are designed for non-native speakers at the advanced beginner/early
intermediate levels. Each week a topic will be explored, focusing
on listening and speaking skills. Completion certificates will be
granted to those who attend eight or more sessions.
For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org
or call 770.978.5154.
The Gwinnett County Public Library is a 14-branch library system
in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The library's mission is to support
the community's informational, educational, and recreational interests
with convenient, creative, customer-friendly access to materials
Sixth annual Walton
EMC Motorcycle Ride is Sept. 20
Motorcyclists from across Georgia will roar into Walton EMC's headquarters
in Monroe on Saturday, September 20, for the co-op's sixth annual
charity ride to benefit special kids who attend Camp Twin Lakes.
Registration for the ride begins at 9:30 a.m. The two-hour scenic
ride through the Georgia Piedmont leaves at 10:30 a.m. After, participants
are treated to a barbeque lunch and door prizes. All bikers are
welcome for a donation of $20 solo and $30 for two-up. Participants
receive a complimentary ride T-shirt.
Walton EMC is located four miles east of Monroe on U.S. Highway
78. Riders can call 770/267-5551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Walton EMC's Jennifer Broun says: "Camp Twin Lakes helps children
facing serious illnesses and other challenges experience the simple
joy of being a kid. The state-of-the-art facility helps campers
grow in confidence and abilities, letting their spirits soar."
The children do all the usual things at camp-swim, canoe, ride
horses and sleep under the stars-without compromising their medical
care. Volunteers from the medical community attend camp to provide
customized programs and medical care for each group of campers.
Without this special care, these children might otherwise be unable
to attend camp. Not-for-profit Camp Twin Lakes is located on 500
acres near Rutledge, Ga.
Hopewell Baptist offers
5-10 K Walk-Run on Sept. 27
Hopewell Baptist Church of Norcross is planning its first 5 and
10 K Walk and Run for healthy living for Saturday, September 27,
at 7:30 a.m. The start and finish will be at Faith Hall, 182 Hunter
Street, in Norcross.
Those interested are asked to contact Paisha Girtmon, at 770 369
4407, or email her at email@example.com.
The church's senior pastor, Bishop William L. Sheals, invites people
to "Come with your family and friends to run or walk for healthy
living! This is a great opportunity to start a run/walk routine
to better your health. This event is free to all who have a desire
to live better. Together we can make a difference!"
Tech becomes part of Microsoft IT Academy
Gwinnett Tech is now a Microsoft IT Academy, a designation that
offers a host of benefits to students enrolled in the college's
Computer Science programs.
The Microsoft IT Academy provides technology students access to
the latest Microsoft products and resources, including free software,
e-learning materials, the company's E-Reference Library and Microsoft's
As a member of the Microsoft Developer Academic Alliance, Gwinnett
Tech can provide students with free licenses for the latest Microsoft
software. Students will also have access to Microsoft's Designer
Academic Alliance. This allows students in design-related courses
to use the latest Microsoft Express tools.
GTC faculty members will benefit, too, with full access to the
E-Reference Library, including 500 full-text technical titles from
- An invitation: What
Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your
best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have
read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus
what book you plan to read next. --eeb
question Oglethorpe and Georgia Trustees
Among those to voice displeasure with the policies of General James
Oglethorpe and the Georgia Trustees during the early years of Georgia's
settlement, the Malcontents
issued the most vociferous complaints. The leaders of the group,
composed primarily of Scottish settlers near Savannah, included
Patrick Tailfer and Thomas Stephens. The Malcontents first made
their objections heard in 1735 shortly after their arrival in the
Whereas many of Georgia's original settlers came with monetary
aid from the Trustees, most of the Malcontents arrived without assistance
and thus did not have the same loyalty to the colony's founders.
In particular, the Malcontents objected to the Trustees' limits
on land ownership and prohibitions on slavery and rum. Since the
Malcontents could afford to purchase slaves and vast tracts of land,
they felt the policies of the Trustees prevented them from realizing
their economic potential.
In 1740 William Stephens, the father of Thomas Stephens and secretary
to the Trustees, wrote a memorial entitled A State of the Province
of Georgia. The document claimed the Trustees and their policies
enjoyed wide support throughout Georgia and-owing to the unique
laws governing the colony-economic success seemed assured. For many
residents Stephens's description did not reflect reality. Speaking
for the Malcontents, Tailfer refuted Stephens's claims in a tract
entitled A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony of Georgia.
Writing from Charleston, S.C., Tailfer reiterated his belief that
Georgia's survival required significant changes. Tailfer wanted
members of Parliament and others who provided funding for Georgia
to understand that many of its residents were prevented from succeeding
financially because of the Trustees' policies.
Tailfer's arguments were heard but did not result in immediate
change. Officials in London ordered additional surveys of popular
sentiment following the publication of Tailfer's pamphlet, but the
Trustees and their increasingly controversial statutes remained.
In 1742 Thomas Stephens, representing the Malcontents and other
disaffected settlers from London, published a pamphlet entitled
The Hard Case of the Distressed People of Georgia. The Trustees
maintained their power, but Stephens's arguments were increasingly
heard in Georgia and England. When the Trustees passed a law in
1750 allowing slavery, many credited the change to the actions and
writings of the Malcontents; when slavery and unlimited land ownership
were allowed, they could claim victory.
Wisdom from the mind
of Benjamin Franklin, about working
"Work as if you were to live 100 years. Pray as if you were
to die tomorrow."
-- Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack, 1757),
via Roy McCreary, Dacula.
Send your thoughts, 55-word short stories, pet peeves
or comments on any issue to Gwinnett
Forum for future publication.
MORE: Contact Gwinnett Forum at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2008, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum
is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible
social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett
County, Ga. USA.