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Holiday Fun with a Joyful Pop

With countless ways to enjoy the holiday season from decorating and hosting parties to wintertime activities, it’s a perfect time to bring family and friends together for some festive fun.

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(Family Features) With countless ways to enjoy the holiday season from decorating and hosting parties to wintertime activities, it’s a perfect time to bring family and friends together for some festive fun. One simple ingredient can be your go-to for just about any tradition: popcorn, which is an inexpensive, versatile, whole grain that makes holiday occasions better.

Consider these simple seasonal ways you can let popcorn fuel your holiday adventures.

Decorate

Strings of popcorn and cranberries add a nostalgic touch to the family tree while making popcorn trees adds whimsy to the table. Before stringing popcorn, let it sit out for a day or two as freshly popped popcorn may be too fragile to thread without breaking. Push a threaded needle through the center of each kernel then pull the kernel to the end of the knotted thread, adding an occasional cranberry, if desired. Festive trees can be made using popcorn mixed with melted marshmallows then shaped and finished with sprinkles.

Give It as a Gift

If it’s your turn to host this year’s holiday party, popcorn makes for a perfect party favor. Pop up a delicious treat like these Cranberry Popcorn Balls, place them in pretty jars or neatly wrap them then finish each with a bow. For an added touch, include the recipe instructions and popcorn kernels in a separate container so your guests can make it at home.

Enjoy It as a Snack

Freshly popped popcorn is a simple and delicious snack to share after a day of shopping, caroling, sledding or decorating. You can take the holiday season up a notch with creative recipes like Gingersnap Popcorn Snack Mix, White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark and Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn. These treats are perfect for popping up in the morning so the snacks are ready once guests arrive.

Visit Popcorn.org to find more sweet, salty and savory holiday recipe ideas.

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Gingersnap Popcorn Snack Mix

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Spread popcorn on baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In small bowl, combine sugar substitute, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and freshly ground pepper; sprinkle evenly over popcorn.
  4. Spray again with nonstick cooking spray and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Bake 7 minutes and serve warm.

Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn

Yield: 8 cups

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • candy sprinkles
  1. On serving platter, spread popcorn in thin layer.
  2. Over double boiler or in microwave, melt milk chocolate chips. Drizzle over popcorn.
  3. Over double boiler or in microwave, melt white chocolate chips. Drizzle over popcorn.
  4. Sprinkle candy sprinkles over warm, chocolate-coated popcorn. Allow drizzles to set until firm.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark

Yield: 1 pound

  • 5 cups popped popcorn
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips, chopped white chocolate or white candy coating
  • 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints
  1. Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside.
  2. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  3. In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, or melt according to package directions.
  4. Stir in crushed peppermints after chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Spread onto prepared pan; cool completely.
  5. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving.
  6. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Cranberry Popcorn Balls

Yield: 18 balls

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cranberry sauce, orange peel, cranberry juice, corn syrup, vinegar and salt. Bring to boil; lower heat and cook to 250 F on candy thermometer.
  2. Mixture will bubble in pan; watch to keep from boiling over.
  3. Pour slowly onto hot popcorn and mix until well-coated.
  4. Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture can easily be formed into balls.
  5. Butter hands and form into 3-inch balls.


SOURCE:
Popcorn Board

Rebecca Jo is a mother of four and is a creative soul from Phoenix, Arizona, who also enjoys new adventures. Rebecca Jo has a passion for the outdoors and indulges in activities like camping, fishing, hunting and riding roller coasters.

child education

Indianapolis Community Celebration to Discuss Impact of School Choice in Black and Brown Communities

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INDIANAPOLIS /PRNewswire/ — Hoosier families and national education reform leaders will learn from the past and look to the future as they mark School Choice Week 2023 with an in-depth discussion of school choice’s impact in Black and Brown communities on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

“There are many issues our society needs to address with regards to race, equality, and education, and we should look to school choice programs as one solution to actually make things better for people,” said EdChoice President Robert Enlow. “As part of National School Choice Week, we are honored to join education leaders to celebrate how far we’ve come not only in Indiana, but nationwide, and look ahead to the progress yet to come.”

Hosted by EdChoice in collaboration with the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, the event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with drinks, appetizers, and the opportunity for community members to network and discuss the power of choice in K-12 education. It’s part of the annual National School Choice Week 2023, celebrated with events nationwide. As part of the local festivities, the AES Indiana building in Indianapolis will light up red and yellow. 

At 6:15 p.m., EdChoice President Robert Enlow will introduce a panel of esteemed education leaders, including civil rights activist and education reform icon Dr. Howard Fuller, Capital Preparatory Schools Founder Dr. Steve Perry, and Education Leaders of Color Chief Policy Officer Angelica Solis-Montero. Dr. Charles Cole, founder of Energy Converters, an initiative to help students activate their leadership through agency in education, will moderate.

More than 200 parents, educators, and legislators are expected to attend and hear the panelists’ perspectives on recent successes and challenges in expanding education outcomes for Black and Brown students, and how school choice can position students for a successful future. The panel discussion will wrap up with a Q&A.

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“Studies show us that not only are school choice programs integrating schools in better ways than ever before, but they are giving all students – including minority students – greater hope for the future,” Enlow continued. “As we work to restore the learning lost during the Covid-19 pandemic – which was felt most strongly among Black and Brown students – we must give families more choices and agency in their children’s future.”

This event is organized by EdChoice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers every family to choose the schooling environment that fits their children’s needs best.

Join the discussion on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, located at 110 W. Washington St. The event is open to the press and the public, but registration is required at bit.ly/3WXLsCm.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and home schooling. Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities. The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

SOURCE National School Choice Week

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/

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Creative, Talented and Inspiring High School Students Chosen for This Year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort

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Exclusive Walt Disney World Resort mentoring event fosters dreams of Black students and teens from underrepresented communities; 100 outstanding students from New York to California to be part of the multi-day event in March

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. /PRNewswire/ — A budding artist, an aspiring neurosurgeon and a creative storyteller are among the 100 talented high school students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy, an educational mentoring program hosted at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The 100 students from across the country will descend on Walt Disney World Resort March 23-26 for the 16th annual event, aimed at broadening career awareness and creating exclusive opportunities for Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across America.

Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell pose with Newark Tech (N.J.) high school student Mosope Aina moments after she was surprised on national TV on January 13, 2023 with the news that she is one of 100 students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in March. Also, the names of all 100 Dreamers were displayed on a Times Square billboard. Disney Dreamers Academy is a mentoring program hosted annually at Walt Dis
Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell pose with Newark Tech (N.J.) high school student Mosope Aina moments after she was surprised on national TV on January 13, 2023 with the news that she is one of 100 students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in March. Also, the names of all 100 Dreamers were displayed on a Times Square billboard. Disney Dreamers Academy is a mentoring program hosted annually at Walt Dis
Flanked by her mother amid a sea of confetti, Mosope Aina, an aspiring neurosurgeon, was surprised by Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell on national TV on January 13, 2023 at her school in Newark, N.J. with the news of her selection to Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney Dreamers Academy in late March is a mentoring program hosted annually by Walt Disney World Resort that fosters the dreams of Black students and teens from
Flanked by her mother amid a sea of confetti, Mosope Aina, an aspiring neurosurgeon, was surprised by Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell on national TV on January 13, 2023 at her school in Newark, N.J. with the news of her selection to Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney Dreamers Academy in late March is a mentoring program hosted annually by Walt Disney World Resort that fosters the dreams of Black students and teens from

The full list of students is available at www.DisneyDreamersAcademy.com.

To kick off the announcement of the 2023 class, Mickey Mouse, Disney executives, and international recording star Kelly Rowland surprised one of the students with the news of her selection live on national TV from her school in Newark, N. J. Afterwards, the names of the entire Class of 2023 were displayed on a Times Square billboard.

Rowland, the four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and television executive producer, served last year as the program’s ambassador and as an advocate for the students. She shared personal insights, drawing from her own unique experience as a pre-teen performer, then as a teenager in one of the best-selling female groups of all time, Destiny’s Child.

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The Disney Dreamers program is an important part of Disney’s commitment to support diverse communities. By encouraging the next generation to think big, Disney hopes the students will carry what they learn back home and continue pursuing their dreams.

“We’re ready to welcome another outstanding group of teens from across the country for our 16th year!” said Tracey Powell, Disney Signature Experiences vice president and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “They are going to have the experience of a lifetime, setting them on a journey to go out and achieve their dreams, just like the classes who came before them.”

Since 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired more than 1,500 students from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for their futures. In the years following, graduates have become storytellers, artists, engineers, innovators, journalists and more, and have transitioned into mentors to the Disney Dreamers who follow them.

Each year, the Disney Dreamers are selected from thousands of applicants who answer essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. The students and a parent or guardian enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for the four-day event.

The Disney Dreamers embark on a journey throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks and behind the scenes of the 40-square-mile vacation destination. It is a vibrant classroom where students discover new career opportunities, pursue their dreams and interact with Disney executives, educators, business leaders, celebrities and motivational speakers.

Students participate in immersive, career-oriented workshops that explore a wide range of career disciplines while also learning essential skills, such as effective communication techniques, leadership and networking strategies.

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Past celebrity participants have included stars from the big screen and television, noted sports figures and popular musicians, as well as personalities and cast members from across the Disney family, including “Good Morning America,” ESPN, Disney Channel and the ABC TV series “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish.”

For more information, visit DisneyDreamersAcademy.com. Regular updates about Disney Dreamers Academy are also available on social media at Facebook.com/DisneyDreamersAcademyTwitter.com/DreamersAcademy and Instagram.com/disneydreamersacademy. 

The 100 students selected for the 2023 Disney Dreamers Academy are (listed by state):

First NameLast NameCityState
ChelseaWilliamsHooverAL
RadhikaPantHooverAL
TylerChiuNorthridgeCA
EllaMilsteinLa JollaCA
RashadTylerHighlandCA
RyanNelsonConcordCA
TinaMaiNewport CoastCA
OctaviaCareyInglewoodCA
IsabellaCabelloTulareCA
MadisonHendersonLos AngelesCA
BrookeSibalaChula VistaCA
SanviPrakashSan RamonCA
CiscoHernandezNational CityCA
MelanieChoAlhambraCA
AprilOrtizAnaheimCA
CaseyFolauMaywoodCA
XavierForbesSan DiegoCA
AllisonJensenThorntonCO
JonathanDe CaroMoodusCT
YasmeenGalalProspectCT
Mary AmmaBlanksonMadisonCT
MiguelCoppedgeWashingtonDC
SophiaJurovieskyBoca RatonFL
DorseyMillerParklandFL
ZaraLwinOrlandoFL
SophiaDupeyronCape CoralFL
KaitlynJadevaiaSarasotaFL
MeganFajardoDestinFL
KimoraReedSaint PetersburgFL
CynthiaMedinaBradentonFL
CameronWestJacksonvilleFL
SaraKaufmanHollywoodFL
NoahSpinelliOrlandoFL
PamelaMusunguAcworthGA
ZachariahHickeyBonaireGA
AvaFlaniganMorrowGA
AvaAdamsAtlantaGA
JordanAdeyemiDuluthGA
PippaKeySummervilleGA
JadenJenkinsAugustaGA
KirastenPerkinsSavannahGA
ErinShenStatesboroGA
DylanJonesSmyrnaGA
Bradley RossJacksonNormalIL
TamayaMcnealJolietIL
NoraSunChicagoIL
NylaBishopFlossmoorIL
AramiaGutierrezWhitingIN
JaylynnPoweBaton RougeLA
CharlesSteeleSlidellLA
AudreyBrustZacharyLA
TasneemGhadialiLexingtonMA
Xin YueLuLutherville TimoniumMD
AriaSmithUpper MarlboroMD
LindseySandsColumbiaMD
MakaylaJoaquinFort WashingtonMD
SaniyahIkardBowieMD
NatalynTaylorEllicott CityMD
JulianMorrisSaginawMI
KeenanBurnsRedfordMI
PrestonZabinkoAnn ArborMI
AddisonRichmondJacksonMI
KennedyJonesBerkeleyMO
ZaniaStinsonCharlotteNC
JadaStewartWilsonNC
RyanRazonMorrisvilleNC
MosopeAinaNewarkNJ
EliseTaoUpper Saddle RiverNJ
MariaMaioneEgg Harbor CityNJ
ClaudiaMerchanHackensackNJ
AmechiChukwujiorah-StrangeFlushingNY
AutumnTylerChesterNY
MorganLinBrooklynNY
EmilyMelendezRego ParkNY
LoganWilliamsClevelandOH
SophiaBarbeeMainevilleOH
MckinleyMeekerHudsonOH
KyleZhouSolonOH
AzizaMccarterJenksOK
NeighujahHarmonOklahoma CityOK
AmeliaGodardSherwoodOR
ElizaWatkinsPortlandOR
AnjanaPramodWest ChesterPA
PrernaChakkingalMc DonaldPA
JoslynDiffenbaughKutztownPA
TavisSandersPhiladelphiaPA
SydneySimmonsTivertonRI
BenjaminBrownColumbiaSC
HannahHollingsBrentwoodTN
ToluwakitanAkinsolaAntiochTN
SydneyRobertsPlanoTX
YaddeniHailuLewisvilleTX
ShaneMushambiMissouri CityTX
MedhaPulluruCedar ParkTX
AlvaroAlvarezElginTX
ElleChavisDallasTX
NiaCurryTrophy ClubTX
TierraBrownPearlandTX
Eliora MargaretKwakyeOlympiaWA
JuliusZakariaOak CreekWI

About Disney Dreamers Academy:

Established by Walt Disney World in 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy’s mission is to inspire young leaders to dream beyond imagination by providing life-long access to personalized support for the Disney Dreamer, their caregivers and community through insightful content and uplifting experts, mentors, and sponsors. Each year, 100 high school students are awarded a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to experience the immersive and transformational program.

SOURCE Walt Disney World

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Prince George County Families Meet Independent Schools at School Choice Fair

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Private school fair to feature STEM carnival, workshops for families

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Md. /PRNewswire/ — Families are invited to explore more than 40 independent school options at Prince George County’s first School Choice Week fair on Saturday, Jan. 21. The inaugural event will be jam-packed with resources and fun, from workshops for parents on admissions and financial aid to face painting and a STEM Carnival for children.

Hosted by the Black Student Fund and Prince George Parents Alliance for Educational Options, the free fair takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bishop McNamara High School. Families will have an opportunity to speak with school representatives, network, and learn about K-12 education options in a positive, supportive environment. While parents “shop” for schools, children can enjoy family-friendly activities and entertainment.

Award-winning influencer Jenny the Voice will be in attendance, covering the event for her 1.2 million followers on TikTok.

The fair is planned to coincide with the celebration of National School Choice Week (Jan. 22-28, 2023), which will feature tens of thousands of school choice celebrations across all 50 states.

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“This in person and virtual event will provide Maryland families with information that makes school choice a reality,” said Leroy Nesbitt of the Black Student Fund.

This event is planned by the Black Student Fund, which serves as an advocate for children and strives to assure that all students and their families have equal access to superior educational opportunities, and Prince George Parents Alliance for Educational Options, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to maximizing independent school options and opportunities for all families in Prince George’s County Maryland.

Bishop McNamara High School is located at 6800 Marlboro Pike in Forestville. Register for the free event at eventbrite.com/e/pg-school-choice-fair-2023-tickets-428637435107. A list of participating schools can be found at pgpaeo.org/participating-schools.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and home schooling. Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities. The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

SOURCE National School Choice Week

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/

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