In our yearly roundup of perfect places to call home, we give high marks to these communities for their affordable housing, good neighbors, green space, and A+ schools.
By Seema Nayyar
Median Income: $71,760
Median Home Price: $136,500
Households with Children: 37%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 16:1
Great Schools Rating: 9
Robert and Sandra Gibbs are often reminded that they did the right thing leaving New York City 14 years ago to raise their children in this sunny, serene Augusta suburb. A couple of those moments came last spring, when their 18-year-old son, Raymond, was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy, and their daughter, Regina, 17, announced she wanted to study pre-med and become an oncologist.
Sandra, 46, a special education instructor, and Robert, 53, a trucking contractor, are grateful for the grade-A opportunities the local schools have provided. "Since kindergarten they've never wanted to miss a day because there were so many activities they were crazy about," says Sandra. "Plus, their teachers made them and all the other students feel they had an important role in the classroom."
The Gibbses love everything about Evans the small-town warmth, low crime rate, community churches, and state-of-the-art gyms with kickboxing, gymnastics, and dance classes. "Living here makes it easy to instill family values and a sense of responsibility, and my kids are more well-rounded because of it," says Robert, who does admit to one regret: "I only wish we'd moved here earlier you can never get too much of a good thing."
Gold Star: High schools offer hands-on accreditation programs that give students a leg up on future careers. Regina enrolled in a course that includes taking mammograms and blood pressure readings at hospitals, and she has already become a certified nursing assistant.