Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year


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Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year

May this season bring you joy and hope as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.


6 Tips for Rocking Your AP Classes!

You’ve heard the horror stories: Making the decision to take AP classes means you’ve thrown away any hope of having a social life and replaced it with endless nights of homework and cramming for an impossible-sounding exam. In reality, however, AP classes aren’t the monstrous beasts survivors of said classes make them out to be. In fact, they can be a great option for collegiettes looking for a way to boost their college applications, earn credit before stepping foot inside a university and push themselves to learn a lot in the process. Check out HC’s pointers to learn how to transform your AP-filled schedule from a nightmarish semester to a killer opportunity for you to excel. 

1. Make sure you understood any summer work that was assigned.

As torturous or inhumane as it may have seemed, any work you were assigned to complete over the summer was given to you for a reason. The goal of summer homework is usually to help you get a sense of how much homework is assigned during the year as well as the level of difficulty of the class. Oftentimes this work is also meant to re-teach or reinforce past concepts of which you’re expected to start the year with a solid grasp. Obviously some of what you’re reading might also be new (e.g. a new fiction novel you had to read), but it’s also a great chance to review concepts like how to analyze a book to an English teacher’s satisfaction, or how to think critically about reading.

“Advanced Placement courses are very dense in terms of the content, and they are often cumulative, meaning the content builds upon itself over time,” says Jason Szporn, an AP Economics teacher at Edina High School in Minnesota. “What may begin as a small hole in content knowledge can quickly grow larger if a student doesn’t keep on top of the material.”

Ask your teacher questions if anything you learned over the summer was unclear or confusing. Make sure to ask for feedback about work completed over the summer and ask for advice about how to do better on future assignments to make sure you’re performing at the level expected of an AP student. Now is the perfect time to ask questions and clarify anything you didn’t understand; don’t wait until November or December to finally grasp what you were supposed to cover in August or September!

“If you get really stuck on something, definitely go ask for help right away. Don’t wait till the last minute before a test to ask someone about it,” says Chloe Lee, an AP student at Hong Kong International School who offers tutoring for several AP classes.

2. Don’t procrastinate!

The reality of many AP courses is that they’re intentionally difficult. After all, these are classes taught at a college level that will hopefully earn you credit once you actually make it to the hallowed halls of a particular college or university. “Don’t underestimate the difficulty and the amount of work that will be needed,” Chloe says.

Alexis Zimmer, an AP student at Viera High School in Florida, agrees. “If studying and practice is done consistently, then the end-of-year cramming should be nonexistent,” she says. “In fact, I really believe that small revisions at home every day after lectures in class is the best way to go, especially if students are balancing more than a few AP classes.” 

With the higher degree of difficulty associated with AP classes, it’s important to have a good grasp on how to manage your time. “Once enrolled in the course, I believe the key is to stay on top of the material and never to let oneself get too far behind,” advises Szporn.

Play with your schedule and figure out which times allow you to be most productive when working on assignments. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to complete your work initially to make sure you’re allowing yourself enough wiggle room to fully understand and finish everything that’s assigned or recommended by your teacher. 

3. Try different study methods.

Don’t be afraid to try out new methods of studying or prepping for assignments, quizzes and exams, especially if you’ve never been in a college-level class before. After all, it’s a different kind of class, so you may need different study methods than you’re used to!

“I’d say successful AP students are also flexible, trying multiple strategies for note- or test-taking in order to find the one that works for them,” says Elyssa McIntyre, an AP US History Teacher at Wayzata High School in Minnesota. “There is no one magic formula for success, and students have to be actively advocating for themselves with teachers and trying different approaches on their own until they find the one that works for them.”

Used to studying alone? Try getting together with your classmates to review before your next exam. Never used flashcards before? Break open a pack of index cards and give it a try for your next AP French quiz. Always taken Cornell notes? Try being a little more free-form and breaking up your notes into a loose outline in your AP Statistics class. Don’t be afraid to play around and see if a different method might be a better fit if you’re having trouble understanding your notes or aren’t totally grasping the material. If you find something that works, definitely stick with it!

4. Take time outside of class to teach yourself the material.

Amazing teachers can make a world of difference in a classroom. That being said, “Don’t expect that you will learn everything in class, even if you have an amazing teacher, because AP classes require a lot of self-learning,” says Chloe. “It’ll be extremely helpful if you go home and just review.”

When it comes down to it, you’re the one taking the test at the end of the year, not your teacher. How much you get out of an AP class depends on how much you put into it, especially when it comes to completing work on your own time. “As many of my AP teachers have said, ‘Only you can get yourself to a 5 [on the AP exam]’ …especially since a lot of AP classes don’t have enough time in school to cover all of the material thoroughly,” says Alexis.

Chloe suggests “finding videos online, or other resources that will help you.” Sites like the College Board can be great resources to supplement the instruction you receive in the classroom. “Motivation and self-advocacy can go pretty far, assuming your school supports you in developing the raw reading and writing skills that are necessary for a college prep course,” says McIntyre.

5. Learn what to expect from the AP exam itself.

Just like when you take a big test like the SAT or ACT, part of doing well in an AP class or on an AP exam at the end of the year revolves around knowing how the class and exam are structured. A big part of your classroom experience should focus on preparing you for the AP exam at the end of the year and give you plenty of chances to practice taking the test. Use this from the very beginning as an opportunity to get used to working within a time constraint, handwriting answers to an essay prompt, integrating primary sources into your answers like you’re required to do for DBQs (that’s document-based questions for all you AP newbies) and learning the terms, phrases and structure required to score highly on an AP exam.

“It’ll be helpful to look over past work, which includes tests, quizzes, worksheets and more. If you are taking an AP science course [for example], look over past labs and understand them,” says Chloe.

Practicing early and often allows you to start working on your own or with a teacher to improve in areas where you have difficulty. “When [studying] for AP exams, it’s also important to look at the test breakdown when deciding where to place your efforts,” says Alexis. “If you’re uncomfortable with a heavily tested topic, it’s important to dedicate more time studying than a less-tested topic.”

If your class doesn’t offer chances to practice taking an AP exam or you’re prepping for an AP test on your own, it’s never too early to take a look at past exam questions and scoring rubrics to get an idea of what you should integrate into your own responses. The earlier you start looking at what exam takers are expected to do, the sooner you can start working on your own strategies to remember and include necessary information come exam time in May. Examples of past questions and scoring guides are super easy to access on the College Board’s website

“Become best friends with the College Board’s website. The previously released FRQs [free-response questions] are a godsend, and they’re a great way to practice for the exam, as they give insight to what the exam actually asks and have student responses of varying scores,” says Alexis. Develop good AP habits early by knowing all you can about the exam itself! 

6. Enlist classmates and help one another out throughout the year.

Get to know your classmates; these people can be great resources when it comes to reviewing concepts, forming study groups and going through the AP experience together. 

Karen Terhark, an AP English Language and Composition teacher at Eagan High School in Minnesota, says she has students work together on essay prompts throughout the year to help strengthen writing skills that are super important for the exam in May. “I have students assess one another’s free responses using the rubrics the College Board has developed for assessing the essays,” she says. “This seems to be a great way for students to gain more than one perspective on the AP exam—the exam taker and the scorer.”

Make Terhark’s strategy work for you, regardless of the subject. Work with friends to discuss homework questions or prompts you find confusing, and use the benefit of a group to bounce ideas off of one another to see if you can arrive at a consensus about the correct answer. Working in a group is also a great way to gain exposure to lots of different opinions and viewpoints, as well as different strategies you can use to tackle tough exam questions. 

 AP classes don’t need to be the doomsday experience many students make them out to be. The classes themselves can even be fun because you get to engage with more advanced topics and hopefully feel a little bit closer to college. Be smart about what you take on, pay attention to how you approach the material, use your resources wisely and you’ll become an AP pro in no time! 

Apprentice Summit Series 3 of 3


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Product Development-7 Strategies for Success

Traci Peraza Williams, having a strong Latino and American Indian heritage as well as a mother who was raised in the rural south, came to know homeopathic remedies, naturopathic concoctions and folk medicine as a normal aspect of her upbringing.  Traci had an interest in chemistry and natural sciences which drew her attention to the ingredients of every product used in her home. This produced a concern within young Traci about the ineffectiveness of some of the harmful and harsh ingredients in these products.  By the time Traci was in high school she began making her own skin and hair care products using her close friends as her test market. Traci shares with us these seven basic steps that helped lead to her success:

A. Idea Conception– a.k.a Idea Screening and IDEATION ( the active creative and thorough thinking through of bringing an idea to fruition.:The Lemonade Stand and the the Bake Sale Ex.)  There are 13 key questions you want to ask during this stage:

1. How do I want the consumer to use, enjoy or experience about my product?
2. What should my consumers expect from my product, what will be my product guarantees? ( ask for input)
3. What problem will my product help the consumer resolve?
4.What might be a competitive price point for this product? ( This key question helps you determine your ingredient list- your product quality, the quantity or amount of the product you can afford to offer and yet make a profit etc)
5, How will I communicate the value of my product to my consumer?
6. What other products in the marketplace might my consumer consider?
7. What do they value about the competing products on the market?
8. Are the current products on the market lacking in any way?
9. What can I do so that my products stands out from the rest and addresses some of the current market deficiencies?
10.  What might help them decide to purchase my product?
11. What would make make the consumer consider using my product, if they are already committed to a competitor’s product?
12. What benefits and features will encourage consumers to choose my product? ( EXPLAIN BENEFITS AND FEATURES)…It has this so you can do that.
13. How can I reach consumers who are in the market for a product like this?

B. Concept Development– Once you have asked the aforementioned 13 questions, you will take those answers into consideration and develop your product. You will narrow down your benefits, your features and have an idea of what it will take to produce and/or manufacture your product

C. Testing Market Analysis-  You will test your product on a small segment of your target market, perhaps family and friends. Their feedback will help you tweak the product and identify what features and benefits have the most impact on your bottomline.
( Make sure to offer questionnaires, have test parties etc, use social media to gather as much data about your product as possible.)

D. Business Analysis– Once you have review the results from your testing, have made the recommended adjustments, if any to your product. You will need to calculate the cost that is required to manufacture your product and take into consideration future costs that will be later determined like marketing, etc. and than determine what your profit needs to be.

E. Prototype– You will manufacture your actual product

F. Actual Testing- You actually test a sample of your target market based on the findings of your previous test analysis to make sure that your product meets your target market expectations.

G. Production/Release–  Aka Commercialization-You will produce your product for release to your market.

What idea have you allowed to draw cobwebs on the shelf of your mind?  What is stopping you from stepping out on in Faith to produce, bring to pass and accomplish what has been burning on the inside of you to be released?  Don’t let fear or the presence of competition keep your gift hidden.  The world is waiting for it!  Just do it!

The Apprentice Summit Series 2 of 3


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“How to Plan the Launch and Release Event”

Now that you have taken your idea from a mental concept then on to a blueprint, you are now ready to introduce your finished product to the world.  How do you get started?  What are the questions you need to ask?  Who should you connect and network with to get the job done? Thanks to Kenna Williams who is the Event Manager for Susan G. Komen and the Global Race for the Cure, we found out that our first priority is knowing our objective for our event or our “why?”

Once we can answer that all important question the rest will fall into place.  Ms. Williams suggest some steps for a successful event launch and that will result in a high ROI (Return on Investment):

  • Create a timeline – to be able to chart your progress from start to conclusion and all points in between.
  • Do a site visit – survey the layout of the venue you choose to hold your event.  Is it enough or too much space? Does it logistically meet the needs of your guests and participants?
  • Create the needed tempo – This is important to know if you are meeting your goals or if you are off track.  Set the pace for consistency and continuous forward movement.

Ms. Williams offered her expertise and passion for the “details” and how they make all the difference to everyone involved.   Details such as research, design, planning, coordination and evaluation are all critical and should, in the final analysis, bring you back to your objective of “why” you are doing what you do.  Planning involves flexibility, organization and time management but “the most important ingredient”, says Keena Williams, “is passion.”  Passion is the glue that holds it all together and can give your event the long-lasting impact you desire.

Kenna Williams

The Apprentice Summit Series 1 of 3


Your Why? (Your passion)

Your Who? (Your ideal client)

Your What? (Your Product line/Service)

These are all great questions to ponder about branding and they will have as many answers as there are stars in the heavens.  This is due largely to the fact that the persons searching for the answer is also unique and special.  Jenn Sprinkle brought her passion for design and creativity to the Teens of Journey as she fervently shared her transition from working for corporate retailers to “becoming a serial entrepreneur”.  In considering your WHY…think about what burdens you? For your WHO...Jenn challenges the teens to create a client profile which will include what they like to do by creating an A-Z list; what’s their personality? For your WHAT…what materials will you need and what makes your product stand out from the rest.  Some take away tools Jenn suggests in creating your logo can be found on sites such as;; and  For more information about branding your product, creating your ideal design and “living it out”…visit Jenn at!



When you think of market and research does S.W.A.T. come to mind? Perhaps when you see or hear S.W.A.T., advertising and marketing are not filling your imagination.  Thanks to Cheryl Roseborough, CEO/Strategic Business Partner for Blyss Agency, the Journey Teens learned a new way of seeing S.W.O.T ~ Strengths.Weaknesses.Opportunity.Threats.  In assessing the needs of your target audience/clients, looking for ways to solve a problem and making a difference in the world in which we live we need to identity our clients S.W.O.T.

To help the teens visualize and understand how to do this, Cheryl shared her personal strategy:

~Expose your client to your brand.

~Engage your client with your brand.

~Educate your client about your brand.

When you do this successfully, you will demonstrate for your client that your brand:

~Meets a need!

~Solves a problem!

~Makes a difference!

…and ultimately, what you leave your client feeling is pure Blyss (bliss)!  Thanks Cheryl!


2013 Helping Young Women Succeed Gobally Summit


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“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example to believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

The expert panel of speakers for this years summit evoked the teens of Journey to exemplify and personify the Journey foundational Scripture on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

To those who attended, the next few posts will serve to remind you of some key points  delivered by the panel.  If you missed the summit, it is our hope that you will be inspired and motivated to pursue  and fulfill your dreams.  The Journey board, teens and parents extend a hearty “thank you” to long time supporter and contributor, Ocielia Gibson for a job well done mediating the event.  Additionally, Ocielia impressed upon the attendees, the A, B, C’s of Image: Appearance ~ includes grooming, personal style and being polished; Behavior ~ includes etiquette and posture; and Communication ~ includes “how you say” what you say, confidence, grammar, projection and nonverbal.

Over the next three days, there will be a new highlight of the six panel experts to culminate this special blog series on the summit.

Former Miss Black USA, Ocielia Gibson


“My Black is Beautiful!”

“My Black is Beautiful!”

Please open the above attached link to read Kelcie Willis’s review of a documentary produced by Duke Media, Urban Winter Entertainment called “Dark Girls.”

Here is an excerpt: “In the 1940s, psychologists published studies in which black children were given a white doll and a black doll. They were asked which one was pretty and good. Each time they picked the white doll. When asked which one was ugly and bad, they picked the black doll. CNN conducted a similar study decades later, and the results were very much the same…”

Let’s start a conversation about this documentary by posting your comments to this blog.  Please share the post with your family and friends to join the conversation!


Greetings Journey Teens!

I hope that you are enjoying your summer break and are also planning and preparing for the 2013-2014 school year as it is fast approaching.  Some of you may already be engaged in training and practice for your favorite sport.  Many of you are experiencing new levels of education entering high school and college for the first time.  This can be nerve-racking and full of anxiety.

But fret not!

Your Journey experience and foundation has prepared you for this next developmental phase of life and we are confident you will transition with poise, confidence and grace.

In under 10 minutes you can get some really great tips to help get organized for the new school year by clicking on the YouTube video link below.  It is from 2012 but I highly recommend the content as it still applicable for now.

There are some great things in store for Journey Teens this year so please share the wealth…tell all of your friends about the benefits and advantages of being a part of the Journey of a Young Lady experience.  Now is the time to get in new applications.

Enjoy the remainder of your summer break and…

Video Link:

A New Journal for your Journey

Journey’s own CEO, Tamera Nalls has created yet another inspirational resource for teen girls.  Make this new journal a part of life for the teen in your life, classroom or community.

The journal makes an excellent gift that will inspire that special teen in your life day after day which the author hopes will become a lifelong journey of discovery and realization.

Knowing one’s identity in Jesus Christ is critical to fulfilling their God-given purpose and destiny and this journal is an effective tool to use as a companion to their time in the Holy Scriptures.  Get your copy today!!

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