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Tag Archives: Christine Hall

No one said motherhood would be easy.

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DSC_5625a At a bend in the serene Skidaway River, the Jaakkola family has created a most idyllic Isle of Hope sanctuary—especially for daughters Ava and Sophie, who make a splash in their own watery playground. Take a turn and step inside a true Southern charmer.

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Listen in as Andrea Goto dishes on a host of topics with Savannah's "sons."  

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  DSC_3192 What does it take to groom a new generation of model citizens?  As we approach Mother’s and Father’s days, supermom Hannah Black makes a play date with local parents. Photography by Kelli Boyd and Christine Hall Working and studying full-time is a challenge.  Between my job, my professors and my internship at this magazine, sometimes I feel like I have six bosses.  And please, don’t get me started on the woes of single life.  But add a 7-year-old boy with the energy of a college football team to the mix and I’m surprised I haven’t checked into Georgia Regional. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the horizon, we Savannah magazine mamas got to thinking about parenting.  How do we and other local parents raise happy, healthy Savannahians?  Does it really matter that our children only eat Cheerios and Cheez-Its?  (I mean, as long as they’re eating, right?)  And what does the phrase “family values” really mean? We asked local photographers Kelli Boyd and Christine Hall to share their favorite moments from years of portraiture.  Then we got the behind-the-scenes stories from the parents themselves.  Along the way, I learned a thing or two about what the city has to offer its children—and made a few new friends in the process.   [caption id="attachment_15158" align="aligncenter" width="576"]roberts family After a muddy marsh adventure, Slaton Roberts, 4, and his brother Lawton, 3, sit with their new-found treasures.[/caption]   “An afternoon boat ride is a family favorite,” Jessica Roberts observes. “And we try to spend as much time as possible with our children, instilling core values with regard to God, family and the community.” This family closeness is contagious, it seems. “While looking at our wedding photo, Slaton was upset that he wasn’t there with us to celebrate our wedding,” Jessica recalls.  “He has asked us to get married again so he could come.” [caption id="attachment_15159" align="aligncenter" width="576"]McCallister family Grace and Steven McAllister cuddle Leila Emily, 7 months, in Pulaski Square.[/caption] “Family values are a combination of religion, love and togetherness,” Grace observes. “Sunday night dinners with the entire family are a tradition that we hope our child will carry on.  With a large family, it can be crazy at times, but it’s always a wonderful way to start the week!” Though little Leila is still young, she knows how to be heard above the fray. “Leila isn’t ‘talking’ at seven months,” Grace laughs.  “She has, however, mastered a fake cough if she feels like we should be paying closer attention to her.” So what does it take to raise a good Savannahian? “A love of God, a love of the water and a unique Southern style.” [caption id="attachment_15160" align="aligncenter" width="576"]cook family Will, 11, and Carson Cook, 9, learn how to be true Savannahians.[/caption]   “My mom used to tell me that there isn’t a manual on how to raise children,” recalls Paige Cook, mother of Will and Carson.  “As a child, I would always roll my eyes at her.  Now I know exactly what she meant.  We just do the best we can and instill in them the moral values we believe are important.” Paige discourages lip-smacking and negative talk at the dinner table.  She and her husband, Chris, have taken classes on the appropriate uses and safety measures for technology.  And she makes sure to lie down with the kids each evening to talk through the day. “To raise a good Savannahian, you must teach them to be personable, well-mannered and a true lover of the water,” she observes.  “My husband has done such a great job of teaching the boys the proper ways to hunt and fish—and, most important, to drive a boat.” [caption id="attachment_15161" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Tonson Marquis Toson and Jillian Schlake-Toson take their first family portrait with Atticus, 9 months.[/caption] “The most important thing we have to teach our child is to be confident and have a strong sense of self,” says Jillian.  “We want to teach him to respect others as well as himself.” That respect extends to the Savannah community at large. “He’s discovering new things every day and our city is a great place to explore,” observes Jillian, who cites “Forsyth Park and the fabulous squares” as her favorite places to hang out as a family. “We want our son to grow up with a balance of respect and pride for the city’s long-standing traditions and culture—embracing its evolution without losing the character of Savannah itself.” For the Tosons, evolution is an important part of appreciation. “We’ll explain that social issues exist here but we, as individuals and as a family, have the ability to change things with simple actions and thoughts.” Books are another part of that plan. “Reading aloud is a family tradition that promotes togetherness and allows us to slow down and interact.” [caption id="attachment_15162" align="aligncenter" width="576"]DSC_8703 Viviana Georgescu dances in the sand with Isabella, 6.[/caption] “I express the beauty and strength in being ethnically and racially different,” says Viviana, the mother of Michael, 14, Kevin, 11, and Isabella, 6. It’s a lesson she continues at the dinner table. “I emphasize that food is a part of being culturally educated and insist on everyone trying what is being served. I hope to teach my kids empathy, and that they will carry on Latin traditions.” [caption id="attachment_15163" align="aligncenter" width="576"]peters Walker Peters, 6, skips rocks into the river.[/caption] When it comes to parenting, Kristin Peters likes to keep things casual. “However, we do not allow potty talk at the dinner table or for the television to be on.  Our children must stay seated until they are finished eating, and they must try at least one bite of everything.” Rules aside, for Kristin, husband Chris, and children Walker and Kate, family values are about “honesty, kindness and quality family time.  Our favorite way to unwind is to spend the day on the boat together, and we love to take the kids out to Wassaw Island.” [caption id="attachment_15164" align="aligncenter" width="576"]_CHP5721 Kevin Iocovozzi, Emma, 25, Judy, 23, wife Kim and son Seve, 20, surround Oliver, the four-legged family member.[/caption]   Two years ago, Kim Iocovozzi’s family gave her a Christine Hall photo shoot as a Christmas gift. “It’s almost impossible to get us all together at the same time, so this was very special to me,” recalls Kim, who has put plenty of thought into raising good Savannahians. “Instead of explaining social issues to my children, I think it’s more important to actually engage them,” she observes.  “To help my children understand diversity and social issues in Savannah, I sent them to public school.  There, they befriended children of many social and economic backgrounds, and this made them well-rounded adults.” [caption id="attachment_15165" align="aligncenter" width="576"]lino1 Jackson Lino, 2, takes flight at Tybee with the help of his father, Brandon.[/caption]   Who says you have to compromise?  When it comes to parenting a finicky child, Adrienne Lino puts her foot down. “We’ve never been the parents to make special meals for each person eating,” she explains.  “We make dinner and that’s what you have or you don’t eat.” This approach comes in handy at the extended family’s monthly group birthday parties, a tradition Adrienne hopes Jackson will pass on to his children. She also stresses kindness. “I want to teach him to treat people equally no matter the circumstance,” she muses, “to always treat a lady with the same respect he would give his mother.  And he’ll have to learn that people make mistakes and you should always grant forgiveness.” [caption id="attachment_15166" align="aligncenter" width="576"]_CHP6320 Tyler Rominger lounges on the deck with her daughter, Evangeline, 6.[/caption] “It’s so important to teach your children to like and respect themselves, to accept disappointment and move on, and to cook,” observes Tyler Rominger, mother of Porter and Evangeline.  “I think kids need to learn to be self-sufficient.” For her daughters, Tyler has one simple rule: “Never, ever chase a boy.  Ever.” Married to a native Savannahian, Tyler leaves some of the instruction up to her husband, McLeod. “He remembers running around Tomochichi’s rock when he was little, so he loves taking the girls there,” Tyler replies. “Apparently you run around this rock chanting something?*  Then he is supposed to answer?  They think it’s great.” “I’m not from here,” she shrugs, “I don’t really get it.” *According to a local legend, if you run around the Yamacraw chief’s monument and ask, “Tomochichi, Tomochichi, where are you?” you will hear the rock reply, “Nowhere,” because his bones have been scattered and lost. [caption id="attachment_15167" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Dyer Family Mac, 5, and Mary Walton Dyer, 4, bond with their new siblings, twins Ruby and Brooks, 3 months.[/caption]   Meredith and Andy Dyer have their hands full with four children under the age of 6, so the occasional electronic distraction is a yes, not a no-no. “At this point in our lives, especially since the birth of our twins, pretty much anything goes if it will make the older children sit at the table and eat their dinner!” Meredith laughs.  “I’m a fairly liberal parent when it comes to technology.” All the same, she draws the line at gaming systems. “I don’t want them getting ‘hooked.’  They need to go outside and run and play.” When they do, Meredith sets a few basic limits on her children’s attire. “I don’t like little boys—or men for that matter—in tank tops or jorts,” she chuckles.  “And for Mary Walton, where do I start?  Short shorts, anything with writing across the bottom and anything with too much glitter.  A little glitter goes a long way, in my opinion.” Compassion is the virtue Meredith most wants to encourage in her children, but her Mother’s Day wish is simple. “I’d love to get away with Andy,” she confesses.  “Life has been crazy since the twins were born and we haven’t had many date nights.” [caption id="attachment_15168" align="aligncenter" width="576"]IMG_9703a Whit Watson, now 9 but pictured at age 4, plays on the dock with his dad, Justin.[/caption]   “I mostly find myself saying, ‘Use your napkin, not your shirt,’” jokes Winslett Watson, but her real lessons go far deeper than that.  “We will try to raise our boys to be men of character: the sort of men we respect when we meet them in our daily life.  We want them to enjoy long meaningful friendships, to live with purpose and passion.” When it comes to raising a good Savannahian, Winslett, the mother of Whit, 9, and Haddon, 10, says it’s all about balance. “We want to instill in our boys an appreciation for our Southern roots and traditions and, at the same time, raise them to be advocates of progress.” For Mother’s Day, she’s looking forward to “breakfast in bed, followed by snuggles and a boat trip to a barrier island.” [caption id="attachment_15169" align="aligncenter" width="576"]woo family Kent and Danielle Woo entertain Kameron, 9 months.[/caption] “We are always playing—trying to make Kam smile,” laughs Danielle. This new mother is still inventing family traditions, but she already has her sights set on raising a Savannah gentleman.  To make that happen, she has a few simple rules in mind. “No television or toys at the dinner table,” she lists.  “No hats indoors.  Being a gentleman is about good manners and treating others with respect.” For now, though, most of her family time is spent in outdoor activities, exposing Kam to the wonders of life in the Garden. “Forsyth Park is our favorite spot to play, and the Burnside River holds so many fabulous memories for our family.  We love long walks together and plan to take advantage of all of the water-related activities Savannah has to offer.” [caption id="attachment_15170" align="aligncenter" width="384"]Greco family Lindsay and Blake Greco steal a kiss during a family portrait with Sloan, 3, and Burke, 6 months.[/caption] Outings are an important part of the Greco household. “Sloan is a big animal lover, so we often go to Oatland Island, her favorite place,” says Lindsay.  “And it doesn’t get much better than going the Crab Shack to feed some alligators.” Other than an appreciation for the natural world, Lindsay believes “impeccable manners, a quick wit and compassion for others” are what it takes to raise a good Savannahian. “‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are paramount in our home,” she declares. And young Sloan’s sense of humor is blooming early. “When we gave her a watch, I asked her for the time.  Without hesitation, she looked at her wrist and said, ‘Time for you to give me some candy.’” Of course, compassion is the most important virtue in this history-haunted city. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of discrimination in our home,” Lindsay emphasizes.  “We stress the importance of compassion and acceptance regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender or sexual orientation.  We hope that our children will speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” [caption id="attachment_15171" align="aligncenter" width="576"]helen kids Helen Williams Johnson relaxes on the dock with Dudley, 11, and Warner, 9.[/caption]   “I could go on and on,” laughs Helen as she begins to list the family traditions she hopes her children will carry on.  “Chili and carols on the 23rd of December with the Threlkeld side of the family.  Easter egg hunts at Wild Acres with the Williams side of the family. Fourth of July and fireworks at Tybee with their grandparents.” And then there are the traditions of hard work, civic duty and kindness, which Helen counts as family values. “I just hope that I can give my children an inkling of what my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have taught me.” Watching our children make mistakes can be hard, but Helen knows that sometimes it’s the only way. “You have to give your kids the skills to deal with life lessons, no matter how hard it is to take a back seat as a parent.  They may not make the right decisions at first, but they will learn.” [caption id="attachment_15172" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Thompson1 Lena Thompson, 5, and Peter, 8, kiss sibling rivalry goodbye.[/caption]   “The parks downtown are a definite favorite,” laughs Lindsay Thompson, as her two children play in a Savannah square. “Selfishly, I hope they carry on the tradition of living in Savannah.  And no blue and orange!  Georgia fans will understand.”  Of course, the kids are developing their own sartorial opinions. “Just the other day, they told me they’re glad I don’t wear mom jeans.” [caption id="attachment_15173" align="aligncenter" width="576"]DSC_3134 Darius, 7, and I take a moment out of our busy schedules.[/caption] As for me, I want my son to know that, contrary to popular opinion, chivalry is not dead.  I want him to know that opening doors for ladies and pulling out their seats for them are the actions of a real man. In my house, I don’t allow electronics at the table.  I tell Darius that the great super heroes ate all the things he doesn’t like in order to grow big and strong.  It only works 50 percent of the time, but at least it gets him eating his vegetables. Above all, I want to teach him that life may throw every obstacle in his way, but—no matter what—he can’t give up.  Regardless of skin color or social status, everyone puts their pants on the same way. That’s advice any Savannahian worth his sea salt can live by.

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Our annual Health Supplement is the key to feeling your best.

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For parents, the phrase "back to school" has its pros (a predictable schedule) and cons (outrageous shopping sprees), but what does it mean for Savannah’s youngest citizens?  We teamed up with Leopold’s Ice Cream and Barnett Educational Supplies to ask kids for the straight story on education.  Their thoughtful answers tickled, taught and inspired us.  »  Photography by Christine Hall

Page Barksdale
rising first grader Esther F. Garrison School for Visual and Performing Arts I’ve learned that … a glass frog is an actual animal.  It has skin that is clear and you can see all its guts. My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Lee.  She is so great because when she reads poems she speaks loud and clear. I love my school because … I get to go to dance class.  Our teacher teaches us lots of different moves. This year, I’m looking forward to … getting to do the fun projects I see hanging in the hall.  It will be different because I will know all about how school works.  My brother told me it would only be a little harder.
Jamel Fogle-Washington
rising freshman I learned that … light can travel in 3.2 seconds around the earth completely. My favorite teacher is …. Dr. Wanda Dixon (at Garrison School for the Visual and Performing Arts).  She takes the time to nourish us and teach what we need to know.  She inspires me because she shows her students the right pathway to success based upon the way she carries herself. This year, I’m looking forward to … meeting new people and venturing out into the new and bigger world.  I know it will be different because I am moving up to a higher level of academics. If I could change one thing about school, I would … do more outreach projects to actually extend a hand in the community. 
Valerio Magliulo
rising fourth grader St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School I’ve learned that … playing bocce uses all three of Newton’s laws.  We played bocce at school to learn how all actions have an equal and opposite reaction.  Objects at rest stay at rest and in motion stay in motion, and that force equals mass times acceleration.  Plus, it was fun! My favorite teacher is … Ms. Martell.  She has a lot of fun when she teaches us and that makes it fun for us, too.  Plus, if we make an “A” on our spelling test on Friday, she lets us take off our shoes for an hour!  Some feet stink really bad, like mine! I love my school because … we have prayer partners that we get to have activities, lunch and Mass with each week.  My school is small so we get to be really good friends with our classmates.  It is like having extra brothers and sisters, but you don’t want to hit them as much.  
Sadie Christensen
rising sixth grader Georgetown K-8 School I’ve learned that … each country has a different view on how wars end. My favorite teacher is … Mr. Sanders.  He always makes sure the children will enjoy the way he teaches and want to keep learning.  Whenever I am feeling uncomfortable he notices and talks to me and the people who bother me.  He is the best kind of teacher. The kind of teacher who is a friend. I’m looking forward to … meeting new friends.  I think I will enjoy switching classes.  My parents say middle school will be fun but hard. If I could change one thing about school … instead of just having a middle school sports program (I would) have a combined sports program.  There are some really good athletes in elementary school.  
Chesley Strain
rising third grader Charles Ellis Montessori Academy  I’ve learned that … people used to eat in the field where they are trying to build a highway.  We found artifacts of clay bowls and other things people used for eating. My favorite teacher is … Ms. Stephanie Sasena because she helps us when we ask, even when we are annoying.  She inspires me to be a better person because she corrects us in a nice way. If I could change one thing about school, I would … make field day every day. 
Rebecca Brown
rising eighth grader Hesse K-8 School I’ve learned that … diarrhea can kill you because of how much water (you lose). My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Ashman, my social studies teacher.  She gives us extra facts about the economy and politics.  How she talks about it makes it interesting.  She inspires me to get more into my community and to make a change into the future, which could become other children’s history. I love my school because … sports and music are my passion. I am looking forward to … more clubs and some more fun field trips!  (My) parents are kind of worried for me and are telling me to get ready for more challenging work and some drama.   
Alexander Adams
rising fourth grader Marshpoint Elementary If I could change one thing about school … I would make it have hot tubs in every room.    
Jameel Elijah Heyward
rising sixth grader Georgetown K-8 school I learned that … after school, teachers have a social life.  
Jayla Fisher
rising sixth grader If I could change one thing about school, I would … change how we interact with the special needs kids.      
Dawson Cooper
rising second grader Marshpoint Elementary If I could change one thing about school … I would have days where the kids decided what they wanted to do.  And everyone could be cats.    
Emerson Wright
rising first grader Savannah Country Day School This year, I’m looking forward to … getting my own desk.  It will be different because I will make new friends.  My parents say first grade is ’the big time.’  
Isaac Beene
rising first grader Esther F. Garrison School for the Visual and Performing Arts My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Schubert.  She teaches us cool things like the ways that crabs harden their shells.  I don’t like practicing sight words, but she made it into a game of Go Fish!

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A couple of “old salts” take a shine to a storied watchtower and fight for its survival. Beth Concepción sheds some light on the situation.  »  Photography by Christine Hall

Like most people, I’ve driven by the Cockspur Island Lighthouse hundreds of times on my way to Tybee Island.  Quaint and pale in the vast blue expanse of water and sky, the small tower usually merits a cursory glance but not a close-up look.  I’m not much of a kayaker and I don’t have my own boat, and those are the only ways to get to the beacon’s South Channel perch.  Plus, I’m usually beach-bound. But today, Captain C. Harvey Ferrelle III is introducing me to the lighthouse in a proper way: via the “Sweet Lowland,” the boat that he uses for his eco tours.  Trim and tan, with a laid-back demeanor typical of Tybee islanders, Ferrelle introduces dozens of tourists each week to historic coastal gems like the lighthouse and Fort Pulaski. As we wind along Lazaretto Creek, I’m struck by the beauty of the landscape.  Marsh grasses bend to the will of the wind.  Snowy egrets dip their beaks in to snag fish for lunch.  Along the way, Ferrelle tells me about the name of the creek.  In the mid-1700s, Tybee was home to a “lazaretto” or quarantine station for newcomers—a Southern version of Ellis Island. Ferrelle finishes his story and points behind me. “Well, there she is.” There she is indeed, surrounded by a carpet of jagged oyster shells. The whitewashed brick structre has been a beacon for seafarers for 165 years.  The 1862 Battle of Fort Pulaski raged over its head for 30 hours.  Four years later, Florence Martus, the famous “Waving Girl,” was born on Cockspur Island.  Her brother was the lighthouse’s keeper from 1881 to 1886.
A Silent Cry for Help
Tybee native Ferrelle knows these stories and more.  He retired from the pharmaceutical industry and began conducting eco tours in 2004.  He started paying attention to the Cockspur Island Lighthouse during this “second career” as a tour operator. After a few months, Ferrelle began to notice that high tide swallowed the base of the lighthouse.  Low tide pulled on the foundation.   When the base was exposed, it was clear that shipworms had enjoyed snacking on the ancient wood.  Ferrelle says he called his longtime friend John Wylly and asked, “What are we going to do about it?” “It was the other way around,” Wylly snorts when we meet him later at AJ’s Dockside, where Ferrelle docks his boat.  A local real estate agent and former Tybee Island city councilman, Wylly looks at me with his piercing blue eyes and maintains that he has always paid attention to the lighthouse, which marks his favorite fishing spot. “It’s a good place if you have someone who knows what they’re doing, and sometimes I do.”  Wylly winks and offers a sly grin. First, he says, he witnessed the marsh grass disappearing—the South Channel had shifted and washed it out.  Then he noticed a wake around the lighthouse itself, damaging the exterior and pulling the foundation right out from under the structure. “It had never been like that before,” he says.  “I started getting concerned.”
Marshaling the Troops
No matter which version of the story you believe, this much is true: In 2006, Wylly and Ferrelle teamed up to save the lighthouse—which was built in 1855 by architect John Norris, known for his work on the U.S. Customs House, the Green-Meldrim House and the Mercer-Wilder House. Ferrelle and Wylly approached Cullen Chambers, executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society, in May 2006.  Chambers recommended they ask the U.S. Park Service for help. “We were lucky because the Fort Pulaski superintendent (at the time), Charles Fenwick, was a historian,” Ferrelle says. It wouldn’t be the first time the Park Service was called on to save the lighthouse, which had sat unlit since 1909, when ships started using the North Channel.  Since the tower no longer served navigational purposes, the U.S. Coast Guard eventually abandoned it, only to nab two salvage operators trying to tear it down in 1955.  According to a Park Service report, “Ironically, the brothers claimed that the Coast Guard had given them the light, whose old Savannah Gray brick they planned to reuse.”  Seeing that something must be done to preserve the building, the Coast Guard officially transferred the historic landmark to the Park Service in August 1958. Though the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the Park Service’s preservation efforts were limited to repainting and cleaning.  Ferrelle and Wylly saw the need for structural repairs and protective measures. “We thought we’d knock and tell (the Park Service) that (the lighthouse) needs help,” Ferrelle recalls.  “It didn’t work out that way.  They said, ‘Why don’t you help us?’  So we did.”
Stemming the Tide
The duo unofficially established Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse in 2006, and went on to achieve nonprofit status in 2008.  They roped in dozens of family and friends, and started calling and writing government representatives such as U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to help earmark some money for stabilization and restoration.  First, they managed to fill the gaps in the foundation with concrete and rock to stop the shipworm attack.  Next, they worked with the Park Service to relight the lighthouse with a solar-powered beacon in March 2007. “Then it took six more years to secure the funding to do the stabilization work necessary,” says Chambers. In March, the Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a five-month, approximately $1.5 million project to haul and place granite boulders around the lighthouse, forming a 6.5-foot barrier against the encroaching tide. “It’s been such a good relationship with the Park Service,” Ferrelle says.  He is also complimentary of the Corps of Engineers.  As president of the Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse group, he is ever the diplomat. Wylly, his vice president—and the bad cop to his good cop—growls, “I hate ‘em!”  When Ferrelle gives him a warning look, he adds, “Well, when we start talking about the Corps, it brings out my frustration.” At issue is that barrier height of 6.5 feet.  Wylly says he and Ferrelle would have preferred 9 feet for more protection, especially with the larger post-Panamax ships on the horizon for the Savannah River. “We don’t know how much damage they will cause,” Ferrelle says. Park Service administrative officer Tammy Herrell counters that she would have preferred a taller wall, but there are rules and regulations to follow. “It is a historic structure,” she says.  “It has to be historically correct.  We can’t go above what was there originally.” Ferrelle glances at Wylly and notes politely, “If it were ours, we would have done it differently.” Wylly looks at Ferrelle and grouses back, “When it falls in, they’ll sell it (to us) then.”
Staying the Course
It’s only because they love the lighthouse so much that these friends are so outspoken about its protection. “I don’t know that anyone else is as passionate as John and I are,” Ferrelle says. “We live and breathe it because we pass it every day.” The next steps in the ongoing preservation project include repainting the structure, repairing the top railing, windows and doors, and replacing the mortar between the Savannah Gray bricks.  Those projects could begin as early as this summer, but are likely to move slower because of funding issues. Ferrelle says he’d also like to see a walkway from Fort Pulaski to the lighthouse, connecting the lighthouse back to the rest of Cockspur Island as it used to be.  Due to rising sea levels, it is now only accessible via boat. Herrell likes the sound of that, but she tells me it’s not on the docket yet. “We want to protect and preserve for future generations,” she says.  “That’s our mission.  As of right now, I can’t tell you what will or will not happen.” It all comes down to money, of course, and raising funds requires raising the awareness of locals who are invested in preservation.  As the Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse grows, so does the hope that the little light of Lazaretto Creek will welcome the ships of the future for generations to come.

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[caption id="attachment_7215" align="aligncenter" width="383" caption="Greta Schroeder of Charles Ellis Montessori Academy and Sophia Carnahan of Savannah Country Day School get on the bus. >> Photography by Christine Hall"][/caption]

In the January/February 2013 issue on stands now, Nicole Jantze goes where other parents fear to tread—smack dab in the middle of the public versus private school debate.  During her personal quest, she discovered the real priorities behind our perceptions and developed this expert guide to go from undecided to unshakable in time for school-choice deadlines.

  1. Make a list.  Write down your priorities: values, goals, your own “best” and “worst” school memories and the experiences you want your child to have.
  2. Look forward.  Consider your long-term education goals, not just the immediate needs.  What kind of person do you want your child to become?  What college prospects do you want him/her to have?
  3. Get selective.  Choose schools with a proven track record in the priorities you’ve listed.  Talk to parents.  Visit the schools’ websites.  Be sure to ask about class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios.
  4. Go visiting.  Spend time at each school.  Talk to teachers.  Sit in during a class.  Talk to parents and students.  And by all means, take your child with you.
  5. Dig the digits.  Obtain the school’s test scores and other stats online at Privateschoolreview.com, Greatschools.org, Schooldigger.com and the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools System website.
  6. Certify it.  Ask what accreditations, awards and recognitions the school has received from outside agencies.  Validate the outside agencies.
  7. Set the standards.  Find out what type of curriculum and assessment model the school uses.  How were they chosen?
  8. Check the tech.  Ask what the school is doing to integrate technology into the learning environment.
  9. Grade the teachers.  How many years have they taught?  How many have advanced degrees?  What certifications do they have?
  10. Review your peers.  Find out how involved parents are in the school—and get honest with yourself about how much you can contribute.
For the whole story, pick up a copy of Savannah magazine on newsstands today or subscribe now.
                 

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