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Hello - and Happy New Year! We've got a lot to catch up on from the last six(!) months, but we can report that all is very, very well in Georgia's World, and we couldn't be happier or more proud of her. We've taken a break from regular blogging, but we couldn't let the year close without marking the two biggest days in the Month of Georgia. So, say hello to the newly-minted 19-year-old in the house:


     College life at Tufts very much agrees with her, and we are loving having her home this month.

And as happens every year since 2009, Georgia's birthday is immediately followed by the anniversary of her diagnosis. Nine years ago today, we headed into 2010 not knowing what the next few hours would look like, let alone the next 28 months of treatment. We are lucky and grateful that Georgia not only survived cancer but has thrived every day since, and we desperately want that for every child diagnosed with cancer.

We have big plans for the next year with the St. Baldrick's Foundation, and we hope you’ll continue to join us in helping to end childhood cancer for good. For today, though, we’ll celebrate with the annual viewing of the Lord of the Rings trilogy like the nerds we are. We wish everyone a Happy, Healthy New Year with much love, joy, and adventure, and we'll get caught up with all the news in 2019!

         All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. ~ Gandalf the Grey

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It might have been two weeks ago, but we're still soaking it all in! Georgia's graduation was special for many reasons, not the least of which is she's been able to share this life-changing experience with a class full of incredible hearts and minds. They have formed bonds that will carry them through wherever life takes them, and we will be forever proud and grateful. We're also grateful for the support from all of you! Georgia's journey, in and out of the classroom, would not have been the same without your constant love and encouragement, and we can't say thank you enough! Happy Summer, friends! 

The bright and beautiful Class of 2018!
Waiting backstage ...
Senior Art Students - so talented!
Our Shining Star!
She's ready ...
Receiving the Honors Award for English - it was a surprise!
Some of the other Honor Award recipients.
The Big Moment!!!
They may be small, but they are MIGHTY!
We owe so many thanks to the amazing Ms. Goka for her leadership and enthusiasm for the Ann Richards School and her genuine love for every Star that walks through those doors. She has earned her retirement, but we miss her daily presence!
Her last trip to school, to pick up her diploma ... sniff.
Finally, not exactly the distinction we wanted her to "win," but Tufts really is the perfect choice for her. Onward to Boston!!!
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 Kindergarten graduation one day - 

 High school graduation the next. 
That's really what it feels like!

 And away she goes ...

Full report and more pictures to come. It was a wonderful day, just still trying to wrap our heads around it ...
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May kicked off with a beautiful and very special event - Reach for the Stars, the annual gala that honors the Senior Class and raises funds for the Ann Richards School Foundation. It was our first time to attend, and we left as inspired and grateful as always. Special guest Holland Taylor gave a wonderful rah-rah speech and was gracious enough to take a picture with Georgia and Ivy. Such a great night!






The next day was the WEST Austin Studio Tour, and Ann Richards was one of the stops, so guess who made this cool poster?


Speaking of art, Georgia has thoroughly enjoyed her tenure with the Contemporary Austin's Teen Council. Both the Contemporary and Laguna Gloria are amazing sites, and she's made some good friends and even caught a glimpse of a possible career path. She likes the idea of bringing art to anyone and everyone, especially people who might not normally have the opportunity to experience or create it, so we'll see ...



The annual Ann Richards Awards Night brought more awards for our Star Student: Trustees' Award, Academic Excellence, and AP Scholar with Distinction. Boom!


She was also able to add her star to the wall of the Media Tech room - including a note about her most infamous moment as a filmmaker ...   


Schoolmates just a bit longer ...

Last day in the plaid skirt.

Not to be outdone, Ivy has been pretty busy this month, too - especially since she's closing out her middle school experience and looking ahead to (gulp) high school! The most special event to celebrate that transition is the Eighth Grade Cotillion. Trevor escorted her, and she afterwards, she danced the night away with her sweet friends.



Friday was "Blue Shirt Day," when 8th graders can wear the high school blue shirt for the day, and they also found out what their high school pathway will be. Looks like we have another Media Technologist in the house!


Friday was also the Senior Breakfast and and a special pep rally where they each announced their chosen school. Some did it with a bit more flair than others. Ahem.


The Quote of the Decade came at the breakfast, courtesy of the Senior Class President, Julie A.. I think it should be painted on the side of the building!

"So next year, when people tell you that you talk to loud or that you answer all the questions, you say, 'Yes I do. Because I went to the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.'"



It's fitting that Georgia's last official act as an ARS student was to share her portrait of Ivy in the Senior Art Show. As she left the art room for the last time, she gave the door a little pat. So many wonderful memories in that space and in that school. It's hard to believe that the past seven years have flown by, let alone the past 18. But here we are.


She graduates tomorrow.
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Whew! We knew that Georgia's Senior Year would be full of special events and milestones, but wow! Add in Ivy's end-of-year celebrations, too, and the calendar was double- and triple-booked quite a bit over the last two months. We have enjoyed every moment - with the biggest one yet to come - and we want to play a little catch-up and share these pictures with our dear Friends of Georgia. So in this post, we proudly present: April!

It's pretty clear how much swimming has meant to Georgia - and us - over the past four years. Each year, she has improved and enjoyed herself more than the one before. But serving as the captain and with the team having grown to 17 swimmers this year, this has been the best one yet. They are a close-knit group, they work hard, and they manage to have a lot of fun, too. In the end, Georgia earned several awards: Academic All-District; All-District, 2nd Team for 4x100 Free Relay and All-District, Honorable Mention for 200 Medley Relay.


Say it with me now, "Just Keep Swimming ..." 

Regional 4x100 Free Relay Team and Senior Alternates 

Coach of the Century

Senior Goofballs

2017-18 Ann Richards Starfish!

Fresh off of our trip to Washington, D.C. and Boston, Georgia scooted back into town just in time for Prom! The dress she chose was actually something I bought at a vintage store in 1990, and she looked beautiful. Last year was silver, this year was gold, and both years were full of fun with her sweet friends.




We closed out the month with the Celebration of the Century, literally - our GG turned 100! We had a great party with family and friends, and the Birthday Girl inspired and entertained us all. On to the next 100 - and we'll be back soon with more from May.


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 Today looked like THIS!


The STAR Act - the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever introduced - passed the House! Thanks to the tireless efforts of so many advocates, allies, and families, we're one step closer to ALL kids diagnosed with cancer surviving and thriving. Next stop - Appropriations! 
 
Georgia and I had an incredible visit to Washington, D.C. last month with the 46 Mommas, and it's so exciting to see the impact we had on today's vote. It's been a long time coming, and we're thrilled to have had the opportunity to get this landmark legislation over the line. And in typical Georgia fashion, she impressed everyone we spoke with on the Hill and did a stellar job on the interview from before and after the event:






 You can still help make a difference for kids fighting cancer 
by donating to the latest and greatest research HERE

Thank you, Friends of Georgia, for your continued support!
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It's APRIL 29TH, Friends of Georgia, so you know what that means! Today we are celebrating Georgia's SIXTH year off treatment! It's always such a big day, but Georgia upped the excitement this year by choosing today to make a big decision - college! After a whirlwind but very informative (and fun) trip to five of her Boston-area choices last week and a final visit to UT on Monday, she thoughtfully considered each one, narrowed it down, and the winner is ...



She'll be enrolled in the five-year combined degree program in the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts. She'll take classes at both the Medford campus and the Museum School near Fenway Park, so she'll get the best of all worlds in a wonderful city among like-minded and creative people. She is very excited, and of course, we are so proud of and excited for her. Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm, too. This is the culmination of so much, and she's ready to start the next chapter. Graduation is one month from today, and move-in is four months from today ... xo
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Georgia began her press junket on Thursday with an interview at school with the local Fox station. She spoke so eloquently about her journey, our plans for the 46 Mommas event in D.C., and the importance of the STAR Act. The piece will air later this week, after we've sent in pictures and video from the event. Which brings me to this late breaking item ...

GEORGIA IS SHAVING HER HEAD!

She decided she could make a bigger impact in her meetings on the Hill by shaving again in solidarity with kids fighting cancer. The fact that she can make the choice to go bald means a lot to her, and that she thought through the decision and announced her plan on her own means a lot to us. SO, she will brave the shave on Monday and be bright and shiny on Tuesday, and she would like to raise some money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation in the process ... of course she would! Click HERE to honor our brave girl and help fund the latest and greatest childhood cancer research. She wants to raise $600 for her SIXTH year off treatment - and she's shaving on Monday, so please consider donating now! 

Thank you, Friends of Georgia, for your continued love and support, and we'll report back from D.C. soon!

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Over the last two months, Georgia has been hard at work on her senior year projects, including delivering the most incredible Senior Speech and sharing valuable advice and encouragement with her school (and biological) sisters. She captured everything that her seven years at Ann Richards has taught her about who she is and what she's capable of, and she was almost as proud of herself as we were. What a day!

Since then, we are happy to report that the college letters have been rolling in, with great news and exciting opportunities. Besides Trinity, Georgia was also accepted at the University of Texas, Northeastern, Wellesley, Smith, Vassar, and Tufts, and she's on the waitlist for Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design. Not one no in the bunch. How about them apples?! She and I will be visiting five of the schools in mid-April on the heels of our trip to Washington D.C. to advocate for passage and funding of the STAR Act for childhood cancer research. More on that later.

We know we've been absent for a bit, but we've been soaking in every moment of this process and enjoying Georgia see her dedication to her schoolwork and her art pay off in spades. She's got a big decision in front of her, and we're looking forward to the next part of her journey. Stay tuned!


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Remember this? 


The day Will met Georgia, he was in town for an event supporting Cancer for College, which provides scholarships for cancer survivors. That day, he told Georgia that when it was time for her to go to college, she could apply for one of their scholarships, and now, amazingly, here we are. She just submitted her application. Regardless of what happens, we will always remember how kind and attentive he was and how hard he works to help kids who've beaten cancer follow their dreams to college. So cool. It's just hard to believe that was 8 years ago!

Georgia is pretty much back to 100% after the rocky start to the year, and her timing couldn't have been better. She has been busy, busy with school (who says Seniors coast in the spring?!), Teen Council at the art museum, and, of course, her beloved swimming. Just this past weekend alone, she participated in both the State Youth and Government Conference AND the District Swim Meet, where, after a few moments of confusion, we found out her 400 Free Relay team qualified for Regionals! It was such a nice surprise (and relief!) to know she has another swim in her, and she is looking forward to traveling to Texas A&M with her team and her amazing coach this weekend. You know our girl - she Just. Keeps. Swimming!

The delegates from Ann Richards making the good Governor very proud.

Senator Moore in the Senate Chambers saving the bees!

 Still smiling, even before she knew the Starfish were going to Regionals,
and her last swim season wasn't *quite* over.

The Dynamic Duo - Georgia's swim coach AND Youth and Government sponsor
and a million other things at ARS, Ms. DiCuffa
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