back to school

back to school

President Obama’s Third Annual Back-to-School Speech

Barack Obama Offical PortraitThe President may be facing a lot of tough criticism at the moment, but he was received with an enthusiastic welcome at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School this afternoon, where he delivered his third annual Back-to-School speech.

Banneker, located in Washington, DC, is one of the top public high schools in the nation, and has a perfect matriculation rate. Barack Obama‘s message today was focused on what students can do to not only prepare themselves for the workplace, but also contribute to their communities now.

Obama began the speech by stressing that studying hard is a young person’s first responsibility. He encouraged students to be determined in their school work, rather than worry about grades, and to take challenging courses even if they may not earn a perfect grade. He explained that high school is a time to discover new passions and learn new skills, telling the students to “keep on expanding your horizons.”

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Back-to-School Dorm Checklist

Packing for the dorms and not sure where to start? Remember that you don’t need to bring everything from home, but you will need most of it. After all, the dorm will be your “home” for the next four years.

Start out by making a check list of essential items and create sections within that list. Divide your list into: clothing, electronics, bedding, room furnishings, toiletries, cookware and laundry essentials. This way you won’t forget anything, and spend your hard earned money on duplicate housewares. Save that money for partying and food- you’re going to need it.

Read below to find additional tips when packing for the dorms:

Items to leave at home: These items are already furnished in the dorms.

– mirror
-desk and chair
-twin bed
-ironing board

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High School Senior College Checklist

As an upcoming high school senior, you may be thinking ahead to college. There are a lot of different things to do and dates to have on your calendar. For those that plan to continue their education beyond high school, several things must be done so that you are properly prepared for your freshman year of college. Making a list and prioritizing it by deadline is a helpful way to make sure that everything is taken care of in plenty of time so that you can have things lined up and enjoy your last year of high school. A little bit of planning now will ensure that you have nothing to worry about later. Below are a few things to keep in mind so that no deadlines are missed.

FAFSA: The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for the academic year of 2012-2013 is not currently available, but it will be on January 1, 2012. You only need to file once for each academic year and filing early is always best. The deadline for the 2012-2013 academic year will be June 30, 2013. Receiving free money like government grants can truly depend on how early you file, so keep that January 1 date in mind.  Once those government grants are gone, the only options available for federally funding your education would be student loans or work study programs. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your parents’ tax and income information for 2011 and you can choose what schools you want your award information sent to. You can pick several schools to receive this information, which is helpful if you haven’t picked your college when you start filling out your FAFSA.

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Back-to-School Fall Fashion Trends

Wide Leg Pants Make a Comeback

Don’t want to look like a loser on your first day of school? If you got out of the fashion loop this summer, I invite you back in for back to school.

Here are five fall fashion trends that are sure to get you noticed on campus:

60s Chic: Don’t think hippie, think of Jackie Kennedy or one of the leading ladies from Mad Men when trying to pull off this hot trend. Women in the late 50s and early 60s dressed lady-like with pencil skirts, short-boxy jackets and shift dresses. Wear kitten heels and double-stranded pearls to complete the look.

70s Boho: Fill your closet with floaty skirts and embroidered tunics to get this look. Roman sandals and cowboy boots are the perfect footwear. Going bohemian is all about loose-fitted clothing, mis-matched prints and accessories. It sounds like an easy style to pull off, but if you’re not careful, you can look like a bag lady instead of a free-spirited fashionista. So, before you step out of the house, be sure that your outfit makes some sense.

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The Hottest Back to School Gadgets for Your Dorm

clockyIt’s back to school time, and it’s time to bring your dorm into the digital age. Whether it’s a new coffee maker or a new alarm clock, there are several new electronic devices that will make your life easier and your roommate jealous.

Here’s a list of this school year’s hottest gadgets:

Clocky Alarm Clock ($39): No longer will you be able to blame your tardiness on your alarm clock. Clocky has wheels attached to the sides and rolls away out of your reach to keep you from hitting the snooze button excessively.

Pivot Power ($25): This bendy power strip lets you shape it to fit any space. You can twist it, curl it or stretch it. Do whatever you need to do to make all those power cords more organized and less noticeable. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Save Money on School Supplies

Most people underestimate how much they will spend on back-to-school supplies.

Most people underestimate how much they will spend on back-to-school supplies.

School supplies may be costing families more than they think. In a voluntary user poll conducted by USAA, people underestimated how much the average American family spends on back-to-school shopping for children in kindergarten through 12th grade by over $100.00. In fact, families will spend an average of $606.00 this year on back-to-school supplies, shoes, clothing and electronics.

But you don’t need to shell out that much this fall. Here are some ideas to help your family save money on back-to-school products. Not only are these tips good for your bank account, many of them are good for the environment too.

1. Pull out last year’s supplies.

Dig out all those school supplies from last year that are still usable. Test pens and markers to make sure they haven’t dried out. Don’t scorn hand-me-downs and put your clothing budget on a diet.

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Cleaning Supplies and School Supplies: Both Required

clorox-disinfecting-wipes-suppliesAs school budgets shrink, parents are being asked to pick up the slack by stocking the janitorial closets. In addition to the usual supplies, first graders in Moody, Alabama, were asked to pack Clorox wipes, garbage bags, tissues and paper towels for the first day of class. At Pauoa Elementary in Honolulu, each student must bring a four-pack of toilet paper. McClendon Elementary in Nevada, Texas, asked pre-kindergartners to bring in a package of cotton balls, two containers of facial tissues, paper sandwich bags and manila construction paper.

“Some of the things that have been historically provided by schools, we’re not able to provide at this point,” said Barbara A. Chester, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Read the rest of this entry »

Treasures 4 Teachers Fills a Need for Arizona Schools

Teachers 4 Treasures

Teachers 4 Treasures

Every year teachers reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies, arts, crafts and other items that they need to teach their students classroom lessons. Kids can’t learn without the necessary school supplies, like pencils, paper, pens and notebooks. But with recent school layoffs and salary cutbacks, it is getting harder and harder for cash-strapped teachers to dip into their own cash reserves for school supplies.

And in Arizona, the picture is not pretty.

More than half of all K-8 students cannot afford lunch, much less basic educational tools and supplies. On average, the state’s schools budget less than five cents per student daily for supplies.

But Treasures 4 Teachers, a grassroots non-profit organization is determined to change these sobering statistics. Here’s how.

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Best College Movies of All Time

Want to see a movie but lack the funds for a ticket and some rather pricey concession food? Stay home and rent one of these top ten greatest college movies:road trip

Road Trip (2000): Maybe one of Tom Green’s most memorable movies, Road Trip shows the struggles of long-distance relationships. The movie also includes hilarious subplots like Green’s character’s obsession with Mitch, the snake and the complications of high jacking a blind-school

Revenge of the Nerds (1984): This movie brings out the nerd in all of us. In this 80’s iconic film, Revenge of the Nerds, the geeks are the heroes and the jocks/frat boys are the villains. Have a blast counting all of the plastic-framed glasses and pocket protectors in this underdog flick. Read the rest of this entry »

Consumer Reports Rates the Best Backpacks

north face jester backpackFor the college student, finding the right backpack involves a lot more than just figuring which pack is large enough for their organic chemistry book, but also compact enough to not render them with a hunchback come spring. So, rather than risking money and the health of your lower back, Consumer Reports did all of the work for you by testing hundreds of different backpacks and rating them according to five specific criterion: Durability, construction quality, safety and convenience, comfort and resistance to rain.

Here is what the experts at Consumer Reports’ National Testing and Research Center came up for their top backpack picks:

Best Overall: The North Face, Jester. With an overall score of 80 out of 100, the Jester came in as one of the best packs for its all-around durability for those students 5’9″ and taller. The Jester costs approximately $55 and can be found online or at retail stores specializing in outdoor equipment. Read the rest of this entry »


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