Listen Up 8

Best advice from 
some of the best 
in our community

As summer tapers to a close, all attention shifts to school fever. New backpacks…supplies…new clothes occupy the minds of both parents and children in the weeks leading up to the monumental first day. In the spirit of the season, we asked students, teachers, head masters, and counselors in our community for their tips to ensure a successful school year. Their words of wisdom ring true whether your precious little one is entering their first day of kindergarten (my advice – wait to cry until you’re out of the building!), or you’re going back to college to pursue your dream career.  Here’s to a truly incredible school year!

Henry Boswell

Age 7 – Rising 2nd Grader

Austin Elementary

“You need to be prepared with a new backpack, water bottle, lunch box, good tennis shoes, the right school uniform or clothes.  You also need supplies like glue, pencils, scissors, crayons and markers.  Also, it’s a good idea to practice your reading, writing and math.”

Campbell Wiseman

Age 8 – Rising 3rd Grader

Cornerstone Christian Acadamy

“My advice is to always work your hardest.  Always pay attention to the teacher and do not bring toys into school unless you need them.  Do not talk while the teacher is talking either.”

Maisie Worley

Age 13 – Rising 8th Grader

Peachtree Middle School

Activities:  Volleyball

“You need to be confident, find a good group of friends, and be yourself.  You always need to study hard and work to be the best.  It’s good to join clubs and/or sports teams to be well rounded and make friends.  The most important thing is to never give up and keep striving to be amazing.”

Caroline Boatwright

Age 15 – Rising Sophomore

Dunwoody High School

Activities:  Volleyball Team

“In the beginning of the school year, get organized and stay that way throughout the year.  Use the planner to write down each class’s assignments and homework.  Also plan your week according to your scheduled activities like sports, clubs, etc. so you can get all of your school work in as well.”

Brian Boatwright

Age 17 – Rising Senior

Dunwoody High School

Activities:  Varsity Baseball Team

“I’d give the advice to use the teacher’s website to understand what will be happening in class that week.  Then use your extra time to read ahead and take notes so you’re prepared and get the most out of class.  Be sure to also take advantage of tutorial times your teacher offers.  It’s a great time to clarify any items you need help with.”

Meghan Ackemann

Age 17 – Rising Senior

Dunwoody High School

Activities:  Dance

“The best advice I could give to incoming students for a successful year would be to try and do well in the beginning of the school year because that will provide a strong base for the entire school year.  I would also recommend finding a friend that you can work well and be productive with so you work on projects and study together!”

Ms. Lisa Fields

3rd Grade Teacher – Gifted Certified

Austin Elementary

“The best advice and description of a successful school year begins with students being able to celebrate all successes, no matter how big or small.  Students also need to feel confident in their abilities to be successful in their future endeavors. Teachers are facilitators in guiding students to academic and social balance by providing students with tools they need to reach their full potential.  So be sure to share what you hope to accomplish in the school year, and your teachers will be there to help.”

Mr. Jason Baum

Georgia Perimeter College English Instructor

Former Marist English Teacher

“If you have a choice, sit closer to the front of the room than the back. If you don’t have a choice, ask the teacher if this may be at all possible. You’ll pay better attention in class, and you’ll make a good impression on your teachers. If you are just starting college, find the library on your first day–it’ll help you get your work done. And, don’t tell your friends where you study in the library!  On the last day of classes, personally thank your teachers. A personal thank you packs a wonderful punch. If needed, apologize for sometimes being a pain. Take it from someone who knows.

Headmaster Colin Creel


Cornerstone Christian Academy

“Get involved. Don’t tip your toe in the water; jump in and try new things. Schools have a bevy of opportunities meant to develop, stretch and refine you. God has a purpose for your life.”

Kate Harmer

Owner – Catalyst College Counseling

“For rising juniors: Focus on maximizing AP classes and getting the best GPA possible, keeping in mind that GPAs for the most selective schools are 4.0+.  Start standardized test prep and talk to a college admissions counselor to maximize your opportunities.  For rising seniors: Maximize AP classes and keep trying on standardized tests. Develop a strategic application strategy and write excellent essays to complete most applications by November of senior year.”