New York City's Rockefeller Center and its famous gold statue formed the perfect background for a Valentine's Day picture of Gene and Pam Tolbert who spent some vacation time in the City.  The ice skating rink in the middle had many skaters who braved the chilly weather to enjoy this winter activity which was fun to watch. 

Valentine's Day evening was spent at a Billy Joel concert in Madison Square Garden which is a longtime New York landmark where many exciting events have been held through the years.  The concert was fabulous and they had such a good time.

The couple attended a Broadway play at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.  The play, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical", is Gene's favorite. Pam said he has seen it twice and after seeing it, she could understand why!  It was fantastic.  They had a great time touring the City and enjoying the sights and food.  Such a fun trip!

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Ireland has always been such a magical place to me.  It seems as though the rainbows all end there and the pot of gold lies hidden in the beautiful landscape that covers this island country.  Our two travelers, Genie Hall and Maudean Sanders, boarded a flight to visit Ireland during the third week in January.  They booked a tour and were ready to explore the legendary beauty of this country.  They had a stop in Paris where they happened to meet Victoria Vivians, the Lady Bulldog women's basketball star in the airport who now plays in the WNBA!  Genie and Maudean were so excited to visit with one of their favorite Bulldog so far away from Mississippi.  

Ireland lived up to its legendary reputation.  Part of the tour included traveling the Ring of Kerry which is a 125 mile scenic route that begins in Kilarny and is picturesque Ireland at its peak.  Along the way they saw a treasure trove of dreamlike landscapes and such landmarks as the Gap of Dunloe, Ladies' View which is named for Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting who liked to stop here and breathe the fresh Kerry air while the queen was visiting so long ago, tiny villages, castles, and historic churches.  They spent the night so they could finish the Ring the next day.  Their lodging for the night was in Knocktophor Abbey where the entire tour group had dinner together followed by Irish entertainment.

One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to Waterford where the magnificent Waterford crystal is created.  They went into the studio and admired examples of the crystal artists' work such as stemware, chandeliers, vases, and one outstanding piece which was Cinderella's crystal coach complete with horses. This gem was modestly priced at $24,000.00!  The exquisite crystal displays showcased the talent and delicacy for which Waterford is famous. Of course, Genie and Maudean did some shopping!  However, Cinderella's coach did not make it into their shopping bags.

They spent some time in Dublin where they enjoyed resting up from their travels before setting out to tour this old city.  They ate several meals in quaint restaurants and saw more historic buildings, churches, and landmarks before preparing to leave for home on Saturday.  It was another fantastic trip for the two friends.  They certainly have a lot of wonderful memories from their travels.

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Students at Philadelphia Elementary School had a "Glowing Good Time" at the Glow Party given by the PTO and elementary school staff.  The party was held in the gym which had been decorated for a glowing good time with glow lights, jewelry, and other exciting decorations.  The party is part of a concentrated effort to increase the students' levels of positive self esteem and belief in themselves.  This involves not only the students, but also the parents, teachers, and staff.  The theme for this school year is, "We Believe."  Research indicates that those students with higher levels of self esteem perform better academically which reflects on test results.

There were 464 students who met the requirements for attendance.  Grades K5-3rd were to show 15 points higher in reading or math on their January test scores than the previous I-Ready diagnostic test.  Students in grades 4-6 must have increased their math or reading scores by 10 points to attend.  Those who achieved higher scores in both reading and math were served special refreshments.  The staff worked hard to make it fun for all of those attending.  The party not only honored those who reached the goals, but served as possible motivation for those who did not quite reach the required goals to try harder.  The 464 students were encouraged to continue their momentum and reach even higher. 

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As a fundraiser, the Philadelphia Elementary School PTO sold hearts during the days prior to Valentine's Day.  The children could purchase as many hearts as they wished and choose which teacher they wanted to receive the hearts.  The teacher with the most hearts won a prize.  Mr. Clint Knight was the winner!  All of the money raised will be used to fund projects for the children at PES.  The Philadelphia Parent Teacher Organization is very active in its support of the school and its staff.  Members want to help improve the quality of education the children receive in any way possible, whether it is by volunteering or raising funds to purchase supplies to enhance instruction.