Category: Education

Should My Child Major In Music: Part II

By Jeff Comas



Last month we talked about your child pursuing music education in college and/or pursuing a career in music. I mentioned that there are basically three types of formal music education programs: the traditional university, the avocational school, and the modernized university. I also promised to discuss which style of advanced music program, if any, is right for your child? Read more →

Experience Disney Magic The Right Way

By Vincent Amico, Owner of Mickey’s Travel


The amount of research necessary to plan all the details of a Disney vacation can be extremely time consuming and even intimidating.  Vacations are costly and naturally, you want to get the best value for your money.  Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by all the options. If this is so, you should consider working with a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations Read more →

Cracking The Algebra Nut

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville



My students think I work for peanuts.  Literally.  Lately I’ve begun the habit of having peanuts for a snack in the afternoon, and I guess I’m the type to become somewhat predictable because at around 3:50 or so some of them will start saying, “it’s almost time for your four o’clock peanuts!” Read more →

Gauss Who’s Coming To Dinner

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville



Don’t you love it when you learn something new?  I was reading a book about math… “Wait.  Stop there,” you say.  “Are you really that nerdy?”  The answer is a resounding NO.  My son gave it to me because I own a Mathnasium math learning center and thought I would get a kick out of it.  As it turns out, he was right.  “Wait.  Stop again,” you say.  “You’re really getting a kick out of a book about math.  You really are that nerdy!”  Okay, you win. Read more →

Should My Child Major In Music: Part I

By Jeff Comas



question I often hear from parents this time of year is- “Should my child major in music, in college?” When I hear this question, it usually means that their child is 17 or 18, college is looming just ahead, and it’s time to consider a major. Their child may not know what they really want out of college, but they know that they love to play music. Being a music major sounds like it would be lot more fun, and much easier than majoring in math, or science. So they tell you “mom…dad, I want to major in music.” Read more →

Finding The Right Resort For Your Family

By Vincent Amico, Owner of Mickey’s Travel


Currently there are 28 resorts on Disney’s property and just examining all of the choices can be a time consuming task. Remember, there are thousands of people each day staying at every Disney resort. There are no wrong choices, however some will meet your needs better than others Read more →

Reading Knoxville: A Lesson Before Dying

Book by Ernest J. Gaines, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“I don’t want them to kill a hog,” she said. “I want a man to go that chair, on his own two feet.” Miss Emma’s godson, Jefferson, has been sentenced to die in the electric chair for his unwitting involvement in a liquor store robbery that left three people dead, including the white storeowner. By arguing for life imprisonment instead of the electric chair, the defense attorney tried to convince the jury that Jefferson, a young black man, wasn’t even a man: “Do you see a man sitting here?…Do you see a modicum of intelligence? Do you see anyone here who could plan a murder, a robbery?…What justice would there be to take this life?…Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair?” Ernest Gaines’ powerful novel A Lesson Before Dying (purchase the book on Amazon here), set in the 1948 South, portrays the struggle to help Jefferson die like a man. Read more →

The Big Read In Knoxville

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



Ernest Gaines’ novel A Lesson Before Dying (see book review in this issue) has been chosen to celebrate The Big Read in Knoxville, February 5 through March 13, 2016. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, “The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Coordinated by the Knox County Public Library and many community partners, “The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.” A Reader’s and Teacher’s Guide to the novel is available at the NEA website: Read more →

Getting The Most Out Of Practice: Chapter 4: (Self-Talk & Self-Image)

By Jeff Comas



Our own self-talk influences the shape of our own self-image. Our self-image determines our beliefs about ourselves and what we can or cannot do, and even how we see the world. Our brains automatically tend to try to make true, that which we believe. If we say and/or think something frequently and/or consistently we will start to believe it. Let me give you some examples: If you believe “my job is boring” then you will find the reasons why your job is boring and it will be true. If you believe “I love riding my bike” then you will you will find the reasons why riding your bike is great and you will love riding your bike. Read more →

Conversing With Vejas Liulevicius

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“My grandfather was an historian,” Vejas Liulevicius tells me over coffee at Panera. “He was also a refugee from Lithuania after World War II to the United States.” Vejas has been a professor in the Department of History at UTK for the past twenty years. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a largely Lithuanian American neighborhood. However, he attended school in both Denmark and Germany for many years. These experiences, along with his grandfather’s enthusiasm, led him to earn a Ph.D. in modern German history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. Read more →