AllPencilsDown's classroom and online curriculums are the product of more than 10 years of ACT- and SAT-preparation experience. Founders Laura McDanal and George Mizzell, both graduates of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, created the program after spending years tutoring students in college-exam level writing, grammar, reading, vocabulary, math, and science. Laura, a state-certified teacher with experience working with 11th and 12th graders, knows first hand the difficulties students face when preparing for important tests, and constructs the program's English curriculum to help ease their concerns. George, meanwhile, draws upon his experience as an electrical engineer and teacher to construct science and math courses that bolster students' confidence when approaching complex formulas or plotting the optimal trajectory for a thrown graduation cap.
The Economist's globe-spanning scope, comprehensive analysis, and crushing, unflinching grasp on world economics make it required reading for people, people persons, and people-shaped cacti looking to stay up-to-date on world news, politics, and business. In addition to the weekly publications—including the magazine's 20+ Special Reports and its Technology Quarterly—subscribers to The Economist also receive special benefits, such as The World in 2012, a special annual volume that predicts trends for the coming year. Subscribers also get unrestricted access to the online site, with a fully searchable archive dating back to the Neolithic Internet era (1997), as well as free access to The Economist in audio, which includes the option to listen to digital recordings of all print articles or to download them as a weekly podcast. For updates on the go or “on the sitting down on a park bench enjoying the scenery,” access The Economist on an iPhone or iPad—every photo, article, and chart is delivered to subscribers' devices by Thursday at 4 p.m. EST.
Spanning 4,000 square feet, the climbing surfaces at First Avenue Rocks mimic the natural textures of the abundant local sandstone boulder terrain. One hundred varied climbing routes up to 17 feet high greet climbers who choose to ascend by bouldering without ropes on angled walls and roofs dotted with challenging foot-and handholds or on the facility?s ropes courses. For safety, the facility positions its vertical terrain above the floor?s 10-inch-deep Asana pads for soft landings in the event of missed holds or misguided urges to fly. Instructors are available to prep students of all ages and ability levels to tackle the gym's terrain, teaching three stages of introductory climbing courses and two advanced lead-climbing courses.
Dance—the marriage of melody, mirth, and floorboard massaging—is majestically personified by Alabama Ballet’s dexterous cabal of dancers. Watch them harness heels and tame toes during a gripping rendition of a classic Halloween tale on two available dates. The production features pulchritudinous pirouettes and immaculately produced choreography by Roger Van Fleteren and Wes Chapman and the haunting live organ music of Thomas Helms. Dracula showcases a flurry of deft rollicking and memorable movements that helped put the Alabama Ballet on the footmap—and become one of only six ballet companies in the world to be permitted by the Balanchine Trust to perform Balanchine’s Nutcracker. Marvel at the graceful ballerinas and ballerinos before tossing a flurry of tutus on stage after a beautifully executed grand jeté, soutenu en tormant, or electric slide with today’s spookily refined Groupon.
Birmingham Flight Center’s skilled instructors equip pupils with aeronautical know-how through classroom, flight-simulator, and in-the-air training. Students blast off into the pixeled yonder in Redbird FMX simulators—equipped with 200-degree wraparound views, full-motion capabilities, and digital parachutes in case of lost dogfights—or pilot the center’s top-notch, genuine fleet. Offering levels of instruction from Learn to Fly private pilot-certification courses to FAR Part 141 expedited commercial training, the flight center prepares the pilots of tomorrow while maintaining its founders’ legacy of aeronautical excellence, which stretches back more than 70 years.
Huntsville's Sylvan Learning center adds its voice to the more than 900 local learning centers across the country while staying true to its Alabama roots. Led by Cathy Parrill, the tutors work one-on-one with students of all ages and skill levels on homework and test prep. They offer a variety of programs that are customized to suit each individual student's learning needs and skills.