2020 South’s Greatest Kids
2020 South’s Greatest Kids have had plenty of time to spend with their parents at home—which inevitably leaves us with better tales to tell. While spending the day at Savannah Children’s Museum, the kids told us about their silliest stories, favorite foods and hidden talents.
Photography by Angela Hopper / Location: Savannah Children’s Museum: chsgeorgia.org/SCM
1 Kimber Rae Wilkey
Age: 17 months
Parents: Brooke and Logan Wilkey
As a 17-month-old, I have a pretty demanding social life. I’m a regular at the Metro Diner in Pooler where my mom waitresses. All of her coworkers are like my extended family – family that always serves delicious food and desserts! I also frequent the Children’s Museum of Pooler Tot Spot, which everyone knows is the best place to get all the hottest toddler gossip. When I need to recharge my social battery, I hang out at home and binge watch Bubble Guppies on TV with a gummy snack.
2JJ (John James IV) Jawback
Age: 20 months
Parents: Sara & John James Jawback III
While everyone has been using their down time differently these days, I personally have been using it to perfect my dance moves. I tend to get my inspiration from daycare. Whenever I hear a beat – it could be as simple as a ringtone – I just can’t resist. I start with my go-to – that’s my signature squat-and-bounce. Recently I’ve been experimenting with more complex footwork and have impressed my parents with my shuffling. I’m thinking about experimenting with some breakdancing soon! Constantly performing gets tiring, so to unwind I like to chill at the beach on my splash pad.
“Every kid is different. What they like one day might not be the same as the next, so go with the flow!” Sara Jawback
Visit: Children’s Museum of Pooler: The Children’s Museum is South’s Greatest Kids’ parents-approved activity. With extensive sanitation measures and safety precautions in place, children can enjoy the fun of the many interactive exhibits, such as Gone Fishin’, Lil Sprouts Market, Under Construction, Young at Art and Tot Spot. Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays), anyone can find time to fit the museum into a busy schedule! 200 Tanger Outlets Blvd., Suite 589, Pooler, GA / 912.307.9503 ⇒ childrensmuseumofpooler.com.
Lake Mayer: Everyone is spending more time outdoors these days. While Savannah offers a plethora of squares and parks, it’s nice to ditch the hustle and bustle of downtown and head out to Lake Mayer. From a stocked freshwater lake and boat ramp, basketball and tennis courts, to a dog park and baseball field (and more), the options for fun are endless! 1850 E Montgomery Crossroads Savannah, GA 31406 ⇒ parks.chathamcounty.org
Parent: Jessica Rentz (mom) & his Gigi!
Some might call me a non-conformist, but I would say I’m really just a free thinker. Not paying attention to what’s “cool” is what makes me so cool. My mom is pretty rad, too – she’s a gamer mom, so it runs in the family. I’ve been staying fit during the pandemic in the coolest way possible, naturally. I’ve been mastering the art of taekwondo, which is probably why I’m so chill. Seriously, other parents wonder how I’m so laid back. It’s simple: through discipline and a few roundhouse-kicks, anything is possible. It’s a great way to clear my mind while I work on my blueprints for my LEGO creations.
Parenting Tip: Chores for WiFi
Many internet providers allow parental controls to change the Wi-Fi access code at-will. One great way to reward a job well done is to set up chores to reveal Wi-Fi password characters upon completion; children finish the chores to reveal the Wi-Fi password for gaming or screen-time treat!
Parents: Melissa Quibodaeux Nguyen & Doug Nguyen
My brother and I are the modern Lewis and Clark, exploring the wild frontier of the Lowcountry waterways. When I’m not overseeing the establishment of our sandcastle settlement on North Beach, I’m surveying the nearby islands for potential expansion. That’s the key to making it as a famous explorer: always thinking a few steps ahead. With mom, dad and brother as my crew, I’ve spent a lot of time at the helm exploring Wassaw Island and Bloody Point on Daufuskie Island on our boat. I’m totally cool with going with the flow, just as long as I’m running the ship.
“Let things happen organically!” says Melissa Nguyen. “I have two strong-willed children, so sometimes I find it works best when you let them think something is their idea. After all, they’re little people! For example, I’ll ask if they want to play before they eat or after. That way, they still play and eat but they have an opportunity to make a decision for themselves.”
5+6Kara Mae & Addi Jae Khan
Ages: 7 & 3
Parents: Krissy & Andrew Khan
This year’s Greatest Kids contest voted for double Khan cuteness! My name is Kara Mae, and my younger sister is Addi Jae. We may be sisters, but we’re at completely different stages of our lives. Seven is just so much different than three years old – I mean, I’m practically ten! However, we’ve really taken these past few months to work on our emotional wellbeing, together. Our parents took us on our first camping trip to Falls Lake in North Carolina. It was out there in the wilderness that we really found ourselves, creating a much needed “kumbaya” moment. We highly recommend camping for anyone in need of a recharge during these crazy times!
Parenting Hack: Make it a competition!
Few things are more motivational than good, old-fashioned friendly rivalry. Need to finish those veggies? See who can be the first to finish! Is it clean-up time? See who can pick up the most toys!
Parents: Valerie & Daniel Langenburg
Thank you to South’s Greatest Kids contest voters for giving me the best first birthday present I could have asked for! Not many one-year-olds get a photo-shoot and magazine spread for their birthday – I guess that’s the perk of being adorable! I’ll be sure not to overdo it at my birthday party before the shoot. As a homebody, I’d hate to get the reputation as a party animal in a big magazine. Really, I spend all my time hanging out with my siblings in our backyard, so please don’t get the wrong idea!
Parenting Tip: Make time for yourself, too!
In order to put your best foot forward, “me-time” is a must. For parents Valerie and Daniel Langenburg, that also means “us-time” with an occasional date night. The Langenbergs love Six Pence Pub for a dinner getaway in Downtown Savannah. Sixpencepub.com – 912.233.3151.
Parents: Allison & Christopher Saunders
Remember this name: Harrison Saunders. Not to brag, but I’ve been showing promising potential as an aspiring YouTube star. I was born to be in front of the camera. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of DM’s asking what I’ve been up to, so here it goes. I’ve spent a lot of time at my grandmom’s pool and biking around the neighborhood. I also spend a lot of time out at my grandparents’ land in Portal, Georgia hunting and fishing with my cousins. Don’t worry; I’ll post a Vlog of this outdoorsy content for my followers ASAP, just as soon as I edit my Marco’s Pizza review.
Do: Adopt a fur-sibling!
There’s a conversation many parents dread: the pet talk. The day your child begs you for a furry friend can be daunting, and weighing the responsibility of owning a pet can be overwhelming. With parents and children spending more time at home, it’s the perfect time to consider adopting or fostering a pet! Local organizations such as One Love, Tabby Tales, Coastal Pet Rescue and the Humane Society for Greater Savannah are great places to start! oneloveanimalrescue.com – tabbytalesrescue.org – coastalpetrescue.org – humanesocietysav.org.
Age: 19 months
Parents: Anne & Joseph Davis
I’m not going to lie; this pandemic has turned me into a full-blown cat lady. No, I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve been passionate about cats my whole 19 months of life! After all, my first word was “cat” and I’ve practiced my “meows” enough that I’m practically fluent in feline. I am my mom’s first baby but I’m not an only child. I have four furry siblings! Well, five when you count our foster kitten from Tabby Tales. I really hope we keep her and I think I’ve been able to convince my parents. After all, I am one of South’s cutest kids!
Parenting Tip: Get connected!
There is a lot to be learned by sharing tricks of the trade, but connecting with other parents can be a struggle in these uncertain times. South’s Greatest Kids parents Valerie and Anne met on Facebook, as they both are raising girls about the same age. Parents are able to share laughs and struggles, offering advice and a listening ear for support.
Age: 5 months
Parents: Brooke & Brandon Collins
Brother: Easton Collins
You may know my brother, Easton, from South’s Greatest Kids 2019, but now it’s my time to shine. Easton, step aside! I’m only five months old, but I’m already an Instagram influencer. While it helps that I’m positively adorable, my mom is also a professional photographer and knows how to capture my good side. I’m a model for Miss Monogram and Southern Bows and Beaus (I’m wearing them for this shoot; aren’t these designs exquisite?). I’ll take on a spokesperson role for these brands just as soon as I say my first word. My dream is to land a fashion cover for a magazine. Ahem, hint, hint.