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Elementary student makes a difference with videos
Bi-weekly "JPB Awesome" series brings positive spin to school
W Abby portrait
Abby Smith, a 10-year-old fourth-grade student at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School, is making the school a better place with a series of inspirational and encouraging videos shown bi-weekly - photo by Special

    When Abby Smith talks, her fellow classmates stop and listen.

    The 10-year-old fourth-grade student at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School is making the school a better place with a series of inspirational and encouraging videos shown bi-weekly. Called "JPB Awesome," the series helps Abby's fellow students become better citizens and learn ways to improve, said Abby's mother, Amy Smith.

    Abby was watching popular YouTube star Kid President, who reaches out to young people through motivational videos, and said, "We should do that at our school," Amy Smith said.

    "Then, she said, 'They don't fit our school. We need to make some that fit us.'"

    After some discussion, the Smiths decided Abby would pursue the idea. They met with Principal Julie Blackmar, who gave the idea her stamp of approval.

    While Amy Smith coached Abby on how to make the videos and helped with production, her daughter did most of the work, she said.

    Blackmar said she is amazed at how creative Abby is in producing the videos.

    "She goes all over the community and puts a lot of thought into doing it," Blackmar said.

    The JPB Awesome videos play every other Wednesday, right after the school's "Bear Nation News" program is shown.

    Students stop what they are doing to hear what Abby has to say, Blackmar said.

    "They love it. It is really cool," she said. "It is obvious she loves our school and is trying to make JPB the most awesome school around."

    Some of the videos' themes include "Stop Bullying," "Be Kind," "Making Friends," "How to Be a Good Student" and "What Do Teachers Want?"

    There is also a suggestion box at the school for more ideas from students, Amy Smith said.

    "She just loves doing it," she said.

    The videos are so good, parent liaison Leslie Wiggins helped Abby submit an entry in a statewide video contest sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education's Parent Engagement Program in conjunction with Georgia Parent Engagement Month, which was November, said Hayley Greene, Bulloch County Schools' public relations and marketing specialist.

    "The contest was part of Georgia Department of Education Parent Engagement's 'You Can Play A Role' campaign that encourages parents and families to be active in their child's school and encourage learning at home," Greene said. "Families were encouraged to share ideas with other families on how they are impacting their children's academic success. "

    For the state contest, Abby shared her video about how her grandparents help her study weekly spelling words.

    "They play spelling Frisbee, a fun, easy game to play when she stays with them each afternoon," Greene said. "Abby's mom is a teacher at William James Middle School."

    The GaDOE Parent Engagement Program selected submitted videos to feature on its Twitter and Facebook accounts. The number of "likes" and views each video receives by Friday, Dec. 18, will determine the amount of bonus points given to each submission, Greene said.

    "The winning video will be featured at the upcoming Georgia Parent Engagement Conference in Athens in February," she said.

    Blackmar said she is impressed with how poised and capable Abby is in making the videos. "She could be a news reporter. She is not afraid to think outside the box. "

    Abby's JPB Awesome videos can be seen online at

    The GaDOE video can be viewed online via Twitter @gadoeparents and on Facebook at


            Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.












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