Young & Mature Men: Double-breasted suits make a fashion statement

Most times when we think of fashion, we first think of young ladies, young women, mature women…you get the idea.  And with spring around the corner (we’re still hoping in the Mid-Atlantic region), even the men are getting excited.  That’s a good thing, because we all know from Psych 101 that the first minutes of observation includes a serious visual evaluation of how you pull yourself together. 

Yes, many people “cry foul,” implying that not everyone is gifted with the creative talent to make oneself “drop-dead gorgeous.”  I am not so sure that’s a realistic ambition, nor is it significant in the process.  The goal should be to display a positive image that showcases your self-respect, confidence, and professionalism.   

Many times as a school counselor, my male students would seek my fashion advice if they had a job or college interview.  They even considered me a reliable source for their “hot dates,” even though the fashion statement differed from interviews.  

So do men care about their appearance and the impression they make?  I think so, they just prefer to keep it somewhat modest. 

A great article came out today, “Double-breasted suits are in for spring. Here’s why men should use a tailor when buying them.”  The author is Judah Estreicher, who is the founder of JBD Clothiers in Baltimore. Mr. Estreicher writes about men’s fashion for the Baltimore Business Journal. 

If you are trying to decide on a suit for an important interview, power play, or Easter Sunday, read Mr. Estreicher’s article.  He’s got good advice to share.


Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

A Glimmer of Hope: Colleges still accepting applications


If you have had disappointment(s) in the college application process, or have not yet applied, there are a few colleges still accepting applications for 2014.  Probably one of the most challenging phases of the college admission process is the reality of a rejection.  It’s a real fear that confronts many high school seniors.  


Some students develop their college list based solely on schools they feel will offer admission.  However, with four-year colleges, that’s not a guarantee, since they are not considered to be “open enrollment” institutions, unlike community colleges. 


During my thirty-year career as a school counselor, I always included a discussion of coping with admission decisions during our fall senior group meetings.  Perhaps it was due to my mental health background, but I felt my students needed to know, in advance, that help would be available, if desired, to cope with their emotional stress.  They were welcomed to vent all they wanted in my office, as long as they didn’t break anything.  A few got relief by cleaning my office; no complaints from me. 


Sometimes stress can occur before a decision is received.  Just listening to classmates talk about their acceptances can be stressful; especially, if you have not received a notification.  Of course, I used to inform seniors that not all the chatter they heard was truthful; many times I overheard such conversations knowing the students had not been admitted.  Many colleges will notify high schools of their decisions; therefore, I had reviewed information that was contradictory to what was being bragged about in the hallways.   


To control the release of inaccurate information, many high schools require a copy of the acceptance letter before an announcement is shared among the school community.  The same process is usually applied to scholarship awards. 


Seniors who are rejected go through the grieving process differently, which is not a profound statement.  Do we expect all family members to grieve a loss exactly the same?  And yes, many students might experience the same phases that Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined in her five stages of grief.  For some seniors, the experience will be a developmental milestone.  It will enable them to understand the necessity of coping skills, transition, embracing challenges, and persevering.  


So back to the original intent of this article; all is not lost.  You can visit the sites of College Board’s Big Future, Universal Common Application, and Common Application for options.  Application deadlines after March 25th include 21 for UCA and 224 for Common Application.  Do not procrastinate if a college has rolling admission because those spaces could be filled quickly.  Also, do not hesitate to ask a college if applications can be submitted.  Developing self-advocacy skills can be an asset at this stage of the process. 


Thanks to Nancy Griesemer of College Explorations for sharing this list.  Colleges continuing to accept applications in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area:  St. John’s of Maryland, Stevenson University, Bridgewater College, Morgan State University, Notre Dame of Maryland, Virginia Union University, Coppin State University, Randolph College, Hood College, Bowie State University, Washington College, Gallaudet University, Corcoran College of Art and Design, Trinity Washington University, Christendom College, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory and Henry College, Hollins University, Shenandoah University, Marymount University, Mary Baldwin College, Lynchburg College, Longwood University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.


Start Early:  College & Career Planning Service


Are you a young chef? If so, The White House wants you…..

Young chefs, ages 8-12, have an opportunity to participate in a White House activity; parents can help. This could be your opportunity to showcase your culinary skills and become the next Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Carla Hall, or Mario Batali.  The deadline to submit your recipe is April 5th.  

Your mission is to develop a healthy meal that will use all of the food groups and guidelines from USDA’s My Plate.  The winners will be invited to Washington, DC this summer and attend a special dinner hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House.

Get moving and participate in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  Read the announcement below for details.


Saturday, March 22, 2014
  Calling all young chefs!

First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture to host the third-annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest.

Kids ages 8-12, with the help of their parents, can take part in the challenge by sending in original lunch recipes that are healthy, affordable, and tasty!

Participating young chefs can use USDA’s MyPlate as a resource to make sure that their recipes meet healthy standards. Each lunch recipe should represent all of the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up about half of the plate or recipe.

The creators of the best recipes will be invited to D.C. this summer, where they will have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner,” hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House, where a selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served.

Just last week, the First Lady announced that cooking will be a new focus for Let’s Move!, so start honing those skills and enter the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

The deadline to submit recipes is April 5 — only two weeks away — so if you’re looking for something to do with your kids this weekend, get cooking!

Learn more about the challenge here, or visit



So Many Snow Days: What about your education?


Today is the first day of spring, but does that mean there will be no more snow days for students in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions of the U.S.?  Meteorologists are not 100% sure.  This has indeed been an unusual winter for these areas, but is everyone disappointed, particularly students?



Many school districts are perplexed as they try to meet attendance state requirements that have been jeopardized second semester, due to inclement weather.  Most have snow days accommodated in the school calendar; however, those were exceeded by February.  Some districts cancelled the President’s Day holiday; altered spring break vacation; plan to extend the school year and/or school hours; and maybe the Memorial Day holiday could be hijacked.  Even some superintendents hope a desperate plea to their State Department of Education will offer relief as “circumstances beyond their control.”

I remember a similar experience during my school counseling years and the resolution was to extend the school hours.  Boy, did this cause havoc; especially for the younger children and their teachers.  Even in high school, teachers commented that their classes (both students and teachers) stared at the clock while the extra minutes ticked till the bell rang. Their bodies weren’t programmed for the attentive rhythm. 



A legitimate concern:  how significantly will this disruption effect a student’s education?  Many teachers are concerned; it relates to the expected accomplishments of their students by the end of the school year.  And if yearly assessments are required, the impact could be relevant to scores; and in some cases, future employment for the teacher.      


When I was an Advanced Placement coordinator, the Mid-Atlantic region was handicapped by an ice storm one year that closed schools for at least a week.  Since it occurred in mid-January, obviously the first semester exams were an issue; but also, the AP teachers were concerned about the students’ performance on the May exams.  I know there appears to be a lot of “catch-up” opportunity between the dates, but there are many teachers who feel they need every minute of instruction before the exam.  The College Board did not adjust the test schedule, since it is a national exam, and fortunately, I did not hear a lot of complaints once scores were released.

So what does this mean for second semester 2014?  First of all, this is a real life issue; circumstances have occurred beyond our control.  We all know the cliché, “You pick up the pieces and keep moving.” Students have had an unexpected vacation, but will need to “step up to the plate” for the second semester assessments; particularly, high school students.  School districts may decide to “edit” the semester exams, and they may not, since objectives must be met in order to successfully transition to the next course (as in next year). 

Concerned parents should determine, at the end of the year, if their child could benefit from summer support.  There are practical and cost efficient opportunities; check with your child’s school and community organizations.  If there are obvious gaps of learning in math, do not hesitate to get your child on track for the next school year.  Also, summer is a great time to encourage more reading, which is a necessity in all educational concepts.



Start Early: College & Career Planning Service


Marist College: Summer Fashion Programs for High School Students


Read the email below from Marist College (NY) regarding its FREE online self-paced course and a residential summer program for high school students.  Marist is located in Poughkeepsie, NY  and is near Vassar, West Point Military Academy, and the Culinary Institute of America.  It is approximately 75 miles from New York City. 


They have a program in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising.  This would be a great way to start a portfolio, which is required of fashion design applicants.  Marist is a private liberal arts college with approximately 4266 students.


Start Early: College & Career Planning Service





Do you have students interested in studying Fashion?  Marist offers two
exciting opportunities for your students. 

The Future of Fashion is a FREE on-line course offered for students
thinking about a career in the fashion industry.

Who – Any high school student (freshman through senior) interested in fashion 

What – This course will guide participants through the theories of trend
movement, the history of street fashion, how to spot and contextualize
important trends and finally, creating a digital “portfolio” of
street-style observations
Where – Courses are 100% on-line 
When – Open now through June 4th, self-paced
Cost – FREE!
Learn more at

Marist Summer Pre-College is a 3-credit, summer academic program for high
school students. 
Who – Rising Juniors and Seniors in high school 
What – 3-credit college course in:
Fashion Design – New York campus
Fashion Merchandising – New York campus
Intro to Fashion – Italy campus

Where – A residential program with two exceptional campus locations to
choose from, Poughkeepsie, New York or Florence, Italy 

When – Two week Pre-College program, July 12-26th 
Cost – $3,200 (NY) or $3,950 (Italy), all inclusive (except for travel) 
Why – Experience what students have called “The Best Summer of My Life!”


Apply Today!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kent Rinehart
Dean of Admission
Marist College
Phone:  845-575-3905
Fax:  845-575-3166
Follow me on Twitter: @Marist

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!


It’s March 17thHappy St. Patrick’s Day!!  And yes, the photo you are viewing was taken from our deck this morning at 11:45AM and it was 28 degrees.  If you are not from the Washington, DC metro area, this may be a surprise.  


Today was our sixth snow storm this winter; 85% of the storms have occurred within the last six weeks.

Hopefully you are enjoying much better weather.  We are looking forward to spring, even though we cheated last week and went to the Bahamas (professional meeting).


Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

Summer Program: Middle School Girls at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – July 2014

NASA is sponsoring a summer program for middle school girls, July 14-18, 2014, at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).  SISTER (Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research) will introduce the students to non-traditional career roles for women and increase their awareness of the educational preparation and job opportunities.  The objectives will be met by exposing them to “hands-on” activities, bonding and interaction with current students and professionals in these roles, and fostering a learning environment with scientific and mathematic enrichment.
Visit the website for more information and contact resources.
Additional program information includes:
The SISTER program is designed to increase  awareness of and provide an opportunity for female middle school  students to be exposed to and explore nontraditional career fields with  GSFC women engineers, mathematicians, scientists, technicians and  researchers.  The objectives of the program include introducing young  women to a technical working environment; acquainting students with GSFC missions; providing an awareness of educational programs and  internships available during high school, undergraduate and graduate  study; providing observations and experiences with real hands-on  projects researched and developed by women at GSFC.  The SISTER program  components include such activities as women scientist, engineers,  technicians, researchers, and mathematicians as mentors; women speakers  in various fields at GSFC; women entrepreneur role models; multicultural experiences; a tour of facilities; building and launching rockets;  hands-on science experiments; and written communication experiences; and interpersonal and human relations skills building.
The program takes place for one week, July 14-18, 2014, Monday – Friday from 8:30AM - 4:00PM at GSFC. It is sponsored by the  Equal Opportunity Programs Office and The Education Programs Office.

Interested in Veterinary Medicine?? Attend the Career/College Fair on March 16th

Are you interested in becoming a veterinarian?  I definitely was during my younger years, but my emotional sensitivity to animals, particularly dogs, was a challenge for me.  So I pursued other career options; but I still wonder, what if??
Well, if you are curious about the educational preparation and career pathway for a veterinarian, attend the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Veterinary Medical Career Fair on Sunday, March 16th at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, from 2:30-5:00PM.  The sessions are appropriate for middle/high school students and college undergraduates.
High school students can benefit from information on summer enrichment programs and facts on accelerated DVM programs.  You may even win a prize!
This annual event is a big attraction so be sure to register at
This year’s AAVMC event will offer four information sessions in addition to the college fair:
3 PM – The Undergraduate’s Guide to Applying to Vet School
3 PM – One Health Veterinary Careers
4 PM — What High School and Middle School Students Should Know to Apply in the Future
4 PM — Public Practice Careers

AAVMC’s Annual Veterinary Medical Career Fair & Information Sessions

Sunday March 16, 2014
2:30 PM—5:00 PM

Westin Alexandria
400 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314

Share this with a friend and attend the AAVMC Veterinary Career and College Fair on Sunday.

A Small Task: Just Say “Hello”

For almost a month, we’ve heard about Oprah Winfrey’s “Just Say Hello” campaign.  Even though her focus may be to help lonely people experience a boost of encouragement, I think taking the time to say, “hello,” is just as significant as saying, “thank you.”  Its impact is not limited to lonely people; everyone appreciates a moment of recognition. 

And yes, I am one of those thank you freaks you hear about.  I attribute it to my upbringing (thank you Mom and Dad!).  As soon as gifts were received or polite gestures were extended, I was expected to sooner, not later, return the thank you.  In case you are wondering, they were always genuine.  Now several decades from childhood, I am still disciplined to communicate a polite “thank you.”  

Even though I’ve always been very comfortable saying “thank you” to a stranger, I find forming my lips to say “hello” requires a little more effort.  However, observing one of my dearest friends, Tamara, articulate it so naturally, and with style, several years ago, gave me an incentive to try.  The initial task was to step out of my comfort zone; and truthfully, some days are better than others.  Another fault, too much multi-tasking; I can walk past a person and never notice my error. 

Tamara is a gem at this and transitions so easily from professional settings (board meetings, fundraisers) to casual gigs (“girlfriend” functions, sporting events, dinner, jazz).  There’s definitely a high learning curve when I’m with her.  Most importantly, though, is the effort I’ve made over the years to emulate Tamara by acknowledging others with an encouraging “hello.”  Not only do I feel good about it, but I’ve noticed a sparkle from the recipient. 

So I find it rather ironic that Oprah’s campaign coincides with one of my personal goals.  Just as I’ve had to accept the fact that many people are not primed to say “thank you,” there may be times when a “hello” will not be returned.  Perhaps they were in a deep thought, but more than likely, it gave them a boost of encouragement and moment of recognition. 

Photo:  Tamara (left); Ann/author (right) 

Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

Athletes & Concussions: Are the lawsuits out of control?


What happened to the days when kids romped, tumbled, jumped, played kick and dodge ball energetically; yet, no one complained of delayed medical complications, possibly sustained by injuries from earlier physical activity?  However, within the last several years, across all spectrums of athletic sports and levels of play, it appears that an abundance of dysfunctional medical anomalies are being traced to physical injuries.  And, concussions are considered to be the highest culprit for physical and mental impairment.

No sport, gender, or age is exempt from vulnerability.  We tend to think of only physical sports; such as, football and ice hockey as the top group.  However, just last week, reported a story regarding a female cross country runner from Stanford filing the first D-1 lawsuit as an active athlete.  The student states that she sustained a head injury because the NCAA failed to educate coaches and athletes about concussions, as well as implement proper procedures for detecting and managing injuries.

Recently, several criminal activities associated with professional players have been traced to abnormal behavior, due to brain injury.  The families are accusing professional sport organizations of mishandling their medical injuries; eluding the athlete was not responsible for the harm that was caused, and should not be held liable.  Lawsuits are frequently the recourse; if not always.  Some observers say it’s just the family’s way of rationalizing inappropriate behavior and making some money, since the steady flow of income has been terminated.

As stated earlier, it appears almost every athlete is vulnerable to dangerous consequences.  Should we prevent young children from participating in sports?  Many parents say their kids need time to exercise. An “old school” theory was that little boys needed daily activity in order to behave appropriately.  My sons are 40 and 36; they participated in sports during K-12 years.  My grandsons, seven and five, also enjoy basketball, soccer, and tennis.  Some intellects have hinted the increase of ADHD/ADD may relate to irregularity in brain activity.  Could it correlate to a sport’s injury?

Several school districts have initiated a mandatory policy that requires high school athletes, in all sports, to have a concussion screening in order to participate.  This is a start, as well as protection from future lawsuits.

Some medical professionals have issued the following suggestions:

  • Everyone, athletes and parents, should sign an agreement acknowledging that playing a sport could result in a concussion or lead to permanent damage.
  • The athletes include all levels; Little League, ES/MS/HS, NCAA, professional.
  • Pre-concussion evaluations must address pre-existing conditions that could influence the development of further damage.

Adults who normally volunteer as coaches, especially for younger children, are expressing their hesitance to continue, due to a possible lawsuit.  Hopefully this concern can be resolved before it gets out of control, because many positive relationships are formed between a young child and his/her coach.

Start Early: College & Career Planning Service