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March 21, 2015 – 5 to 7:30 p.m. – Holiday Inn Athens

$10 for adults, $5 for children

Tickets available online now – Buy tickets for Books For Keeps


Watch some of Athens’ brightest elementary school students go head-to-head against your friends and neighbors in a battle of grade-school wits. All proceeds benefit Books for Keeps. Teams of adults will compete against teams of children from the schools we serve as we find out who really is smarter – and crown one winning team. The event will be emceed by UGA alumnus Rance Nix. (Meet Rance by checking out this video profile!)

Click here to download a flyer for the event.

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Meet the adult teams and donate in honor of your favorite!

The adults competing in this event are an important part of the fundraiser’s success. Donate in honor of your favorite team – your donations help us buy books for the children we serve, and they will help your favorite adult team win prizes! In addition to competing for the title of Supreme Smartypants, the adult teams are competing to see who can raise the most money to benefit the schools served by Books for Keeps.

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The Bureaucrats     

Bureaucrats photo Last year’s reigning adult champions!

  • Suki Janssen – Waste Reduction Administrator for Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. Suki is a certified middle grades teacher, having taught seventh and eighth grade science in Cobb County for five years. She is married to Chris Janssen, a middle school math teacher in Oconee County, and lives with three dogs, two gerbils, two chinchillas, and six snakes. Suki loves to read non-fiction, especially about nature, travel, and Native American history.
  • John Mincemoyer – Administrative Secretary for the Athens-Clarke County Landfill. A 1994 graduate of the University of Georgia, a US Navy veteran (Submarines), and a published magazine writer, John—outside of his day-to-day job requirements—provides guided tours of the landfill for schoolchildren and adults of all ages. When not working, John enjoys playing chess, listening to music, reading, running, and volunteering with Books for Keeps.
  • Myla Neal – Recreation Administrator for Athens-Clarke Leisure Services. Myla has lived in Athens for almost nine years.  Some of her time with Leisure Services is spent working at the Neighborhood Community Centers overseeing programs, afterschool, and summer camp. In this role, Myla witnesses firsthand how literacy and reading skills are paramount to the success of the children she serves, and that reading is what opens the doors to life-long learning and discovery. Myla was an avid reader as a child and even wrote to her favorite author and got a letter back!
  • John McKinney – Memorial Park Facility Supervisor for Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department. John was born in Jacksonville and has lived throughout the state of Florida. He moved to Athens 14 years ago from West Palm Beach. John loves reading non-fiction, especially historical biographies and books related travel. Reading about the adventures of others always allowed him to escape his surroundings and learn about different cultures around the world.

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The Bankers of Athens First    

Bankers photo

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  • James Carson – Loan originator, Synovus Mortgage Corp., Athens First Bank & Trust. James has lived in Athens since 1995 and has been employed by AFB&T for 12 years. He lived in Tokyo, Japan until age 18, loves to travel, camp and spend time with his 1- and 4-year-old daughters. James is married to Dr. Stacie T. Carson, who is currently employed at Winterville Elementary School, a Books for Keeps school. By day, he finances homes and throws elbows on the basketball and racquetball courts.  By night, he moonlights as a sushi/hibachi chef and competes in an underground unsanctioned samurai warrior league.
  • Jeff Bishop – By day: Branch Manager, Synovus Mortgage Corp., Athens First Bank & Trust. *By night: Canadian singer/songwriter. (*Books for Keeps neither confirms nor denies the veracity of this biography and of Jeff’s childhood photo!)
  • Jennifer Zwirn – Vice President/Branch Manager, Athens First Bank & Trust. Jennifer is mother to two with her third on the way.  She is also the owner of Little Prodigies Day Care and University Child Care with her husband, Wes Zwirn. Jennifer also has an Etsy store where she sells custom-made hand-knitted voodoo dolls. They are *ouch* pretty awesome.

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Team Sweat      

  • Ellie Adams – Owner and Instructor at Spin Revolution. Ellie moved to Athens when she was 11. After getting away for college at The University of the South: Sewanee and several years spent in NYC, she returned to get a M. Ed.(focusing on English Education) at UGA. She could not be happier to be back in the Classic City. When she is not running Revolution she loves spending time with her pups(Herman, Sewanee, and Cricket), riding her horse, and working on her new business venture in the cattle industry!
  • Lucy Atkinson – Owner of the BLAST fitness studio in Athens.  BLAST delivers a full-body workout that combines cardio and strength training.  Lucy graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2007 and magna cum laude from Washington & Lee University in 2002, with a degree in English.  In college, Lucy competed on the Varsity Women’s Cross Country team. Before opening a fitness studio, Lucy was a attorney at Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial, where her practice focused on civil litigation with an emphasis on catastrophic injury, medical malpractice, product liability, and mass and complex torts.
  • Collyn Cown – Instructor, Pure Barre fitness studio.

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St. Mary’s Emergency Team      

  • Josh Knott – Emergency room physician.
  • Diana Labarbera – Practice Manager, Athens Clarke Emergency Specialists.
  • Mariah Thaxton – Physician Assistant.
  • Fay Long – Nurse Practitioner.
  • Justin Dillard – Radiology Technician.
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Thank you to our event sponsors!

Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens.com * JOMA Construction * National Bank of Georgia * Robins Federal Credit Union * University Childcare Center * Athens First Bank & Trust/Synovus Bank * Parent Supporters of CCSD – Congratulations Dr. Lanoue

Check out the gallery below for photos from our 2014 event.