Archive for: August 2015

An Interview With Author Vince Vawter

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“A lot of this book was memoir,” Vince Vawter told us over lunch at Panera. My son, Wyatt, and I wanted to talk to him about his intriguing book Paperboy. Wyatt, a rising 7th grader at Sacred Heart, had been assigned the book for his summer reading. Vince has stuttered since he was five. He told us that he had taken over his friend’s paper route one summer in Memphis. He did have, at one point, a housekeeper who took him to bars on Beale Street and let him drink milk while she drank and danced. He did know a junk man like Ara T., although the real Ara T. met a different fate than that in his book. Finally, he was 55 years old when he learned that his father was not his biological father. Read more →

Reading Knoxville: Paperboy

Book By Vince Vawter, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“Im typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can’t talk. Without stuttering.”

The first sentence of the absorbing book Paperboy by Vince Vawter introduces Little Man, an eleven-year-old boy with a stutter, and foreshadows the dangerous plot that will unfold. The book is set in 1959 Memphis. Little Man has agreed to take over his best friend Rat’s paper route for the month of July while Rat is away. Rat’s real first name is Art, but Little Man can’t push the “A” sound out of his mouth. Consequently, he says, “my stuttering makes me the best nicknamer in Memphis.” Read more →

Which Way Out Knoxville … Could You Escape?

By Which Way Out Knoxville

Untitled-6Imagine being in a room with several others and only 60 minutes to figure “Which Way Out”! You’re told the solution is in the room, but you must solve puzzles, find hidden clues, decipher codes, and understand riddles, all while the clock is ticking, until you get the final answer that leads to the way out. Read more →

Getting The Most Out Of Practice: Part III

By Jeff Comas



Reading music is an activity in three and sometimes four dimensions;

1. Pitch (highness or lowness of the sound),

2. Rhythm (when notes are played & how long they last),

3. Dynamics (the volume of the music played),

4. Timbre (sound quality- this is often dictated by instrument indicated but some instruments can vary their own tone).  Read more →

What Children Can Learn From Adopting A Shelter Pet

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center



Pets are great for kids and pet adoption from a shelter or rescue group teaches children important lessons that will last throughout their lives.  As a pet owner, a child learns discipline and responsibility.  Through pet adoption, a child gains insight into social responsibility, community service, compassionate care of animals and so much more.

Read more →

My Meditation Journey

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


Each February for the past nine years, I have attended an annual 3-day meditation retreat with a group of Knoxville friends held at St. Mary’s Sewanee Center. Most of the retreat, including meals, is held in silence, and twice daily we meditate as a group. Many of my retreat friends have a regular meditation practice and have spoken compellingly of the benefits of daily meditation. Each time I returned from the retreat I would think about starting to meditate on a regular basis but never did. I simply could not figure out how to fit it in to my busy schedule. Read more →

Homework: Theirs…Not Ours!

By Tracey Matthews Wynter, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department

This month’s theme is “Empowering Parents”, and empowering parents is directly related and connected to empowering children. Check out the following opportunities that will not only provide us as parents more time to be “parents” but also simultaneously increase the “power” and capacity of our children to think and work smarter and more independently when it comes to homework and at-home learning.  Read more →

Dear Knox County Schools’ Families

By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools

Welcome back to school!  I am thrilled that our schools are bustling again with effective teaching and high-level learning.  As I visit the schools, I’m impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism demonstrated by our teachers and principals and the bright optimism shared by students and parents. Read more →