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Shorter's 'The Miracle Worker' opens Sept. 25

Shorter's 'The Miracle Worker' opens Sept. 25

ROME, Ga. -- Shorter University will stage a production of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker next week.

The 1959 play tells the story of deafblind Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, who helped her find ways to explore the world around her.

"It's not just Helen's story -- it's also the story of a family coping with challenges most of us could never understand," said Shorter assistant professor of theatre Chad Daniel, who directed the production. "They are also dealing with societal pressures, because it is Alabama in the 1880s and society is still healing from the Civil War."

Shelby Folks of LaFayette, Ga., will play Helen Keller, while Annie Sullivan will be played by Kaitlin Kennedy of Missouri City, Texas.

The Miracle Worker will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-27, and 2 p.m. on Sept. 27-28. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Berry chief of staff named to state board

Berry chief of staff named to state board

ROME, Ga. -- Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Berry College Chief of Staff Alexander Whitaker to the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

"Whit," as he is known, will be sworn in Oct. 1 and will serve a three-year term on the board.

He already serves on several boards, including Berry's Board of Trustees, SunTrust Bank of Northwest Georgia, William S. Davies Homeless Shelter, Mercy Care Rome and Pennsylvania's Trinity School for Ministry.

Whitaker is a retired U.S. Navy captain and judge advocate. He is a Rome native and graduated from the Darlington School in 1977. Whitaker has a bachelor's degree from Berry, a law degree from the University of Virginia, a master's degree in international and comparative law from Georgetown University and a master's degree in religion from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.

2015 Best Colleges: Berry College

2015 Best Colleges: Berry College

ROME, Ga. -- U.S. News & World Report has released its 2015 list of America's best colleges and universities.

Three Georgia schools earned national rankings: Emory University (21), Georgia Tech (35) and the University of Georgia (62).

Berry College was featured on some U.S. News lists as well. It is No. 129 on National Liberal Arts College Rankings and No. 100 on High School Counselor Rankings, a list compiled by a nationwide sampling of guidance counselors. The counselors rated the schools on a scale of 1 to 5; Berry earned 3.5.

See the complete list of top schools at usnews.com.

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

Free digital textbooks available to Ga. students

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has made free interactive digital textbooks available on its website.

Students, parents and educators are welcome to use the books, which feature games, discussion questions, quizzes and other study elements.

They are available for middle and high school courses in such subjects as language arts, math, science, social studies, electives and several world languages -- Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said students who have used the digital textbook have had much classroom success with them.

Visit gavirtuallearning.org to access the textbook materials.

Construction to begin this fall on Berry stadium

Construction to begin this fall on Berry stadium

ROME, Ga. -- Construction for Valhalla, the new stadium at Berry College, will begin this fall and is expected to be completed by next summer.

The stadium will be located south of Maple Drive, adjacent to the college's main entrance. It will feature a synthetic track and synthetic turf field, and will be home to Berry's football, lacrosse, and track and field teams. Its grandstands will seat about 1,800 people.

Real estate firm Carter will oversee design and construction of Valhalla. Its name comes from the hall where, in Norse mythology, Viking warriors spend eternity; Berry's mascot is the Viking.

Berry College VP for Finance Brian Erb said the stadium will begin hosting home games in 2015.

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

(WXIA) -- Thousands of Georgia students return to the classroom this week, and many of them meet the requirements for free and reduced-price meals during the school day.

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"It is important to provide our students with healthy, nutritious meals to help improve their chances of success and increase their learning opportunities," Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Director Nancy Rice said in a statement. "Research indicates that eating habits affect learning. We want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn."

Families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunch will get applications from their children's schools.

Students can receive the meals if:

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.