Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dallas Celebrities Share Their Favorite Back-To-School Memories (Part 1)

Cynthia Smoot, 7th grade tennis team
Depending on what part of DFW you live in, your kids have either just started school or their days are numbered. My son will entering a new phase this year when he starts High School as a freshman. All I can keep thinking, is "How did this happen?! I am not old enough to have a child in high school!" The transition from Middle School to High School is going to be a huge change for the whole family and it has had me reflecting back on my own school days: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I was inspired to reach out to some of my notable connections and ask for their favorite school memories and ask if they had any advice to offer today's students. I had so many great responses, that I had to break them up into two posts. Here is the first installment and I will publish Part Two tomorrow. I hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as I did.

XO, Cynthia

Lauren Przybyl, first day of Pre-K
"I loved my first lunch box from Pre-K. It was Big Bird!!! Not so sure about socks with sandals though - EEK!!!! In elementary school my mom wrote on my lunch napkin every day. Her sweet notes or drawings were always so fun! It wasn't until I had my own daughter that I realized how time consuming and special those napkins were."

Lauren Przybyl
Fox 4 Good Day anchor

"10th grade was pretty awesome! It was the year I recieved my car and started working. I felt so independant and I loved every moment of it." Looking back on school-day fashions Derry recalls, "K-Swiss (shoes) - I used to love them, ha ha. You would keep them so fresh and so clean. All white or black and your were ready. I must admit I wasnt a girly girl!!" When asked for her best piece of back-to-school advice, Derry says, "I tell my son all the time you need to get good grades and concentrate on what your in school for. If you get caught up in extra stuff and hanging with those folks you think are cool and not doing their work you will be in the same place 10 yrs from now."

Tiffany Derry
Chef and television personality
Catch her in "Hungry Investors" on Spike
Top Chef alumnae

Units was created by Dallas designer Sandra Garrat
"Do you remember Units? They were so great. My best friend and I would go to the Units store and get our outfits in opposite colors and then trade a sock so that we could each wear one of each color. My favorite Units outfit was pale pink overalls. I remember them sooooo well. I wore a uniform so getting to select my weekend clothes was a big deal!"

Kimberly Whitman
Editor-at-Large, Southern Living Author
Lifestyle Expert

"I don't remember having a bad year, but second grade was great. I had a crush on my teacher Mrs. Maruna, and it was the last year that my brother, sister and I were in the same school together. I had an awesome Dukes of Hazzard lunch box with matching Thermos. I still wish I had that thing." My best piece of advice for the new school year? "Remember your real friends. They'll be there for you every year, all the way to graduation."

Daniel Vaughan 
Texas Monthly, BBQ Editor
Author, The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue

Alexa Conomos in Kindergarten
"Well, I'm not sure if you can call it a trend? But I truly detested the pixie haircut my mother insisted on because I was often mistaken for a boy! Ouch!"

Alexa Conomos
Co-Host of Daybreak on WFAA

"I loved my freshman year in high school. It was my first year at Elgin Academy in Elgin, Illinois. I was young, cute, weighed almost nothing, and loved the place. I was quite the actress! The biggest trend that I wish would return is after-school play in the backyard until the fireflies come out. Fewer programmed activities -- just let kids be and use their imaginations! I used to let our kids swim after school (before homework) to stretch out the summer. When it gets dark earlier, keep the house as cheery as possible with lots of lights, maybe a fire in the fireplace. And limit activities -- after a relaxing summer, all those nightly meetings, events and activities can get to you AND your young ones!

Candace Evans
Real Estate Expert
Blogger, Candy’s Dirt and Second Shelters

Dawn Neufeld in High School
"7th grade was my favorite year. I was fortunate enough to attend the prestigious Westlake School for Girls in Bel Air. I went to school with people like Tori Spelling and Paula Patton. I was a little girl from the 'hood presented with the opportunity to receive the best education available on one of the most beautiful campuses in L.A. I immediately joined the swim team and made a ton of great friends. The experience taught me to dream big." The one fashion trend Dawn hopes never returns? "Bike shorts. I can't believe we went out of the house with spandex shorts on."

Dawn Neufeld
Co-Host of KTXD's The Broadcast
Co-starred in "Football Wives" on VH1

"My senior year at Lakehill Prep was my favorite year because we were SENIORS... the cool kids. Looking back on that, I realize how flawed that thinking was. I was a Aqua-Net addict with the big hair to prove it. Those photos scare me. I still have a tendency to get "closer to God" with my hair, if you know what I mean." Gina's best piece of advice is to "Enjoy school. It truly is one of the most special times of your life. While it might be hard to envision that while you're actually going to class, doing homework and fighting through after-school practice, it's such a fun time in which you bond with friends over collective experiences. You'll look back over these times fondly. Make the most of it, it's the only time in your life you will have this much fun."

Gina Miller 
Blogger, That Sports Girl
Sports reporter and television personality

Come back tomorrow for Part Two of this series for even more hilarious childhood flashbacks.