WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – June 2023

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JUNE 2023 Plus Scholarship Winners On The Way To The University Of Florida Learn About The Area’s Wide Array Of Educational Options Earn Your Nursing Degree Locally At The NRI Institute Financial Advisor Lou LoFranco Enjoys Helping Others Enjoy Authentic, Savory Mexican Cuisine At Casa Tequila
Anita Kane High School Director Judy Blake Lower School Director
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CLASSICALLY MODERN LIVING. There’s a place in the heart of Palm Beach County where new Minto homes open the door to friendly neighborhood traditions. It’s a place where the conveniences of tomorrow meet life’s timeless simple pleasures. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, looking to move up, or downsizing, it’s a place where you can enjoy life at your own pace. From the bustling Westlake Adventure Park to the quiet of your own backyard, experience the best of both worlds in Westlake.

CLASSICALLY MODERN LIVING. There’s a place in the heart of Palm Beach County where new Minto homes open the door to friendly neighborhood traditions. It’s a place where the conveniences of tomorrow meet life’s timeless simple pleasures. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, looking to move up, or downsizing, it’s a place where you can enjoy life at your own pace. From the bustling Westlake Adventure Park to the quiet of your own backyard, experience the best of both worlds in Westlake. NEW TOWNHOMES, SINGLE-FAMILY AND ESTATE HOMES FROM THE $400 s

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visit
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• Breach of Contract • Shareholder Disputes • Real Estate Litigation • Partnership Disputes • Trademark Litigation • Copyright Litigation • Equine Law The attorneys at the law offices of Pike & Lustig, LLP represent accident victims, and their families, throughout the State of Florida. • Auto Accidents • Motorcycle Accidents • Bicycle Accidents • Trucking Accidents • Michael J. Pike, Esquire • Daniel Lustig, Esquire • Talina Bidwell, Esquire • Robert C. Johnson, Esquire • Andrew J. Boloy Esquire • Stuart L. Hartstone, Esquire • Jesse Fulton, Esquire • Meagan McCarthy, Esquire Turn to Us For Your Legal Needs 561-855-7585 www.pikelustig.com Además, le podemos ayudar en Español Offices in Palm Beach County (WPB) and Dade County (Miami) MAIN OFFICE: 1209 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | 561-291-8298 | Fax: 561-855-7710 WELLINGTON: 12008 South Shore Blvd., Suite 200, Wellington, FL 33414 MIAMI: 777 Brickell Avenue, Suite 500, Miami, FL 33131 | 305-697-9799 | Fax: 305-809-8009 The attorneys at the law offices of Pike & Lustig, LLP, a full-service law firm, understand our clients’ business litigation needs, in both State and Federal Courts. Business & Equine Litigation: Personal Injury Litigation: NEED HELP? We are here for you. TRIAL ATTORNEYS BUSINESS AND EQUINE LITIGATION PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION

WELLINGTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HONORS SUPPORTERS AND SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS AT ANNUAL THANK YOU SOIRÉE

The Wellington Community Foundation hosted its annual Thank You Soirée on Thursday, May 18 at the Boynton Financial Group offices in Wellington. The event celebrated this year’s Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship recipients, embodying the foundation’s commitment to supporting educational endeavors within the community. The soirée, which featured a vibrant tropical theme, was made possible by the generous hosting of Ben and Joanna Boynton and the dedicated team at the Boynton Financial Group.

BY SHANNON ANASTASIO

In addition to its six public elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools, Wellington is also home to a number of charter schools and private schools. A small cluster of these private schools can be found in one building — the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd. These include #1 Education Place, the Wellington Collegiate Academy and the Children’s House of Wellington.

BY MIKE MAY

As the world continues to advance technologically, American Heritage Schools keeps pace with the global shift by integrating a culture of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into its comprehensive and rigorous curriculum. Founded in 1965, American Heritage Schools (AHS) is a nationally ranked college preparatory school with two 40-acre campuses in South Florida serving grades PreK3 through 12. The 4,800 students represent more than 60 different countries, more than 70 percent of the faculty holds a postgraduate degree and the student-to-faculty ratio is 5-to-1.

BY MELANIE HOFFMAN

on the cover

Residents of Palm Beach County, specifically those living in the western communities who want to work as a nurse, have a locally owned and operated school where they can acquire the necessary qualifications to get a job in the nursing profession. They can get their nursing degree from the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, based in Royal Palm Beach. The NRI Institute is a fully licensed and accredited private degree-granting and post-secondary school that is qualified to prepare students for a career in registered and practical nursing, as a nursing assistant, a medical assistant, and in the field of diagnostic medical sonography.

BY MIKE MAY

The world of finance and investing is constantly changing. Opportunities arise, and trends emerge and disappear without much warning. It can all be overwhelming. This is why finding the right financial advisor is worth the time and effort. Lou LoFranco, who works with the financial firm Edward Jones, enjoys investing his expertise as a financial advisor to help people in the Wellington area.

47 50

35 39 43 28 54

WELLINGTON SOCIAL SCENE

Wellington Community Foundation Hosts Thank You Soirée

Chamber Women Celebrate At Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco

Wellington High School Honors Graduates At Fairgrounds

Palm Beach Central High School Celebrates Class Of 2023

WELLINGTON TODAY

Wellington Village Manager Jim Barnes this month explains how the Village of Wellington is preparing for the Atlantic hurricane season that is now underway, along with what residents can do to help. BY

JIM BARNES

Looking for authentic Mexican cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds? Be sure to visit Casa Tequila Mexican Cuisine in Wellington, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. This cozy restaurant has been serving up delicious Mexican fare since 2013.

BY SHANNON ANASTASIO

Wellington Real Estate this month visits a magnificent Mediterranean marvel sitting on more than 10 acres in the exclusive Palm Beach Point community, presented by Jennifer Drahan and Betsy Keiser of Keller Williams.

contents June 2023 Features wellington the magazine | june 2023 9
Departments 16 18 20 21
22
BY CALLIE SHARKEY
22 35 39 47 50
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

from the publisher

CHOOSING

A SCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILD PLAYS A PIVOTAL ROLE IN SHAPING THEIR FUTURE

In today’s rapidly changing world, the importance of selecting the right school for your child cannot be overstated. Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of today’s students and preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead. We take a look at several local educational options in this month’s issue.

In addition to its six public elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools, Wellington is also home to a number of charter schools and private schools. A small cluster of these schools can be found in the original Wellington Mall — #1 Education Place, the Wellington Collegiate Academy and the Children’s House of Wellington, all of which we profile in this issue. Next, we look at the prestigious American Heritage School, which is ranked among the top private schools in Florida in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), recently winning a number of impressive awards. If you are looking toward a healthcare career, we also visit the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, which is preparing students for careers in registered and practical nursing, as a nursing assistant, a medical assistant, and in the field of diagnostic medical sonography.

On our cover this month are the three winners of the Wellington Community Foundation’s annual Arle and Ken Adams Scholarships. Winners Marlena Hutchinson, Victoria Loredan and Abigail Lofstead are three outstanding new high school graduates who are sure to go on and make all of us here in Wellington proud of their future accomplishments. This year’s winners were announced at the foundation’s annual Thank You Soirée in May at the Boynton Financial Group offices in Wellington. This special evening also recognized and honored the foundation’s supporters, donors and volunteers, who play a pivotal role in empowering the foundation’s work in building a stronger community.

Also in this issue, we profile financial advisor Lou LoFranco, who works with the financial firm Edward Jones. He enjoys investing his expertise to help people throughout the Wellington area.

In this month’s Wellington Today feature, Village Manager Jim Barnes discusses the 2023 hurricane season, explaining how the village has prepared for a storm and offers advice on how residents can do their part. Wellington Table samples the delicious Mexican cuisine at Casa Tequila, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary in Wellington. This cozy restaurant has become a local favorite for its flavorful dishes, friendly staff and lively atmosphere. Finally, Wellington Real Estate visits a magnificent Mediterranean marvel that sits on more than 10 acres in the exclusive Palm Beach Point community, presented by Jennifer Drahan and Betsy Keiser of Keller Williams Wellington.

Now that school has let out for the year, we salute the amazing young men and women in the Class of 2023. We are sure that you will do great things in the future!

executive editor

Joshua I. Manning publisher

Dawn Rivera

senior graphic designer

Stephanie Rodriguez

graphic designers

Nancy Pobiak

Yolanda Cernicky

account managers

Betty Buglio

Evie Edwards

Joetta Palumbo

bookkeeping

Jill Kaskel

Carol Lieberman

photography

Abner Pedraza

contributors

Shannon Anastasio

Jim Barnes

Meredith Burow

Erin Davisson

Denise Fleischman

Melanie Hoffman

Frank Koester

Melanie Kopacz

Mike May

Callie Sharkey

Deborah Welky

10 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
Dawn Rivera
WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004
volume 20, number 6 JUNE 2023
Wellington The Magazine is published monthly in Wellington, Florida. Copyright 2023, all rights reserved by Wellington The Magazine, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing. 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.wellingtonthemagazine.com published by Wellington The Magazine, LLC chairman/ceo Barry S. Manning

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Learn More Broward Campus 954.472.0022 ext. 1 Visit Us At www.ahschool.com Palm Beach Campus 561.495.7272 ext. 1
Gabriela Goncalves Vieira Cornell Andrea Carbonell WashU-St. Louis Srijan Deoraj UNC-Chapel Hill Dev Jayram Stanford, Brown, Columbia, USC Grace Odom-Montbrun Vanderbilt, Emory, Michigan, USC Aaden Albury Johns Hopkins, Tufts Natalie Block Harvard Ella Charland Dartmouth Victor King US Air Force Academy Alan Wu UCLA Alejandra Abramson Michigan Maximiliano Gonzalez Cornell, Bowdoin Erin Zhou Emory, NYU, UNC-Chapel Hill Yash Singam Duke Aanya Doshi Carnegie Mellon Srihith Nooka WashU-St. Louis Anagh Sangavarapu Carnegie Mellon Mariana Hincapie Vargas NYU Samara Rashid Vanderbilt Nolan Wen UPenn Jack Edelstein WashU-St. Louis Matthew Hinds Georgetown, UVA Denise Michalopoulos UChicago Ryan Patterson Notre Dame Mariella Narvilas NYU Sebastian Biricik Wake Forest Ana Sanchez Emory
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Jin Yang Li Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Brown, Vanderbilt, Rice, Carnegie Mellon
Congratulations to the Members of
Class of 2023

A merican Heritage Schools

#1 School in Florida for the Highest Number of National Merit Scholars and Presidential Scholars

Nadia Haffizulla Emory Rebeca Lopez-Anzures Columbia Vasaki Mahesan Berkeley Dylan McClish Princeton, Yale, UPenn, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Michigan, U.S. Naval Academy Joshua Ramos Northwestern Michel Kaiser Emory Ruby Levenston Northwestern Andrei Codreanu Cornell, Wake Forest Morgan Bromer Emory, Wake Forest Pavan Kumar Dartmouth, WashU-St. Louis, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, USC Natalia Blanco Krumhansl USC Nikolas Simpfendorfer Cornell Gabriele Barrocas Vanderbilt Lia Lapidot Berkeley UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan Aarav Bejjinki UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill Carina Wang Cornell, Berkeley, USC Madeline Shullman Michigan Nyela Calnek Vanderbilt Trace Binder NYU Deeksha Kumaresh MIT, Johns Hopkins, UNC-Chapel Hill Lauren Wald Emory Andrew Klis Dartmouth Max Kaplan Carnegie Mellon, NYU Anita Thereza Lerner Duke Sarah Liu Oxford, Amherst Emma Leonard Wake Forest Mateo Mina NYU Mary Abi-Karam UNC-Chapel Hill
Learn More Broward Campus 954.472.0022 ext. 1 Visit Us At www.ahschool.com Palm Beach Campus 561.495.7272 ext. 1 Congratulations to the Members of the Class of 2023
Jocelyn Chen Berkeley, UCLA, Tufts Robert Gioia Michigan Daniel Bednar NYU Julia Azevedo-Karrer Emory, Michigan Juan Otero Carnegie Mellon, MIT Shyamal Vasireddy NYU Kiran Spencer Dartmouth, Rice, Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, UVA Aurora Lai UVA Wenshi Chen Rice, Pomona, Wellesley Yasmeen Patel Emory Jasmine Nguyen NYU Jacob Itzkowitz U.S. Military Academy at West Point Sean Collins Northwestern Jennifer Chiou Brown, UCLA Savanah Lares UChicago Fabiana Szauer Northwestern, Emory Olivia Askowitz Cornell, Rice, Carnegie Mellon Daniela Guarino NYU Ziwen Pan Berkeley, Emory Kenneth Lin UCLA Maya Neeranjun Carnegie Mellon, Michigan Noelle Crichton Emory, WashU-St. Louis Sharvaa Selvan MIT, UPenn, Northwestern, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon Sarah Dufays MIT, Brown, Columbia, Duke, Vanderbilt, Rice, USC Rosa Wu Harvard, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan Sebastian Salaues UPenn, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, NYU, Michigan, USC, UVA, UNC-Chapel Hill Amy Liu Emory, Michigan Carly Aikens Emory

WELLINGTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HOSTS THANK YOU SOIRÉE

The Wellington Community Foundation hosted its annual Thank You Soirée on Thursday, May 18 to celebrate the foundation’s sponsors, donors and volunteers. The soirée was conceived as an opportunity for the Wellington Community Foundation to express gratitude to the individuals whose crucial support enables the nonprofit’s efforts. These sponsors, donors and volunteers play a pivotal role in empowering the foundation’s work. With a vibrant tropical theme, the event was made possible by the generous hosting of the Boynton Financial Group and featured catering by Nosh Catering and wine selections from Star Wine & Spirits. Also at the May 18 event, the foundation announced the 2023 recipients of the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarships. Marlena Hutchinson, Abigail Lofstead and Victoria Loredan were honored for their remarkable achievements and dedication.

16 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
wellington | social scene PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN
(Left to right) Randy Pfeiffer and Mickey Smith; Jeremy Ring and Pam Tahan; Barry Manning with Wellington Village Attorney Laurie Cohen; and Jim and Paula Sackett, Bob Salerno and Hope Barron. Wellington Community Foundation board members with the winners of this year’s Arle and Ken Adams Scholarships. (Front row) Scholarship winners Abigail Lofstead, Marlena Hutchinson and Victoria Loredan with Regis Wenham; and (back row) WCF Chair Barry Manning, Pam Tahan, Dr. Gordon Johnson, James Seder, Jim Sackett, Joanna Boynton, Don Gross, Maggie Zeller and Hope Barron. (Left) Maureen Gross, Dwayne Johnson, Don Gross, George and Sandy Kinoshita, Kezee Cezanos, and Joan and Walter Imperatore. (Right) Maureen Gross, Allyson Samiljan, Hope Barron, Maggie Zeller and Julie Tannehill. (Left to right) Dr. Gordon Johnson, Marlena Hutchinson, Raymour Hutchinson, Mouray Hutchinson, Jennifer Hutchinson and Dr. Linda Johnson; Scott Armand, Phyllis Gauger and Mair Armand; Michael O’Dell, Regis Wenham, Wellington Councilman John McGovern, and Joanna and Ben Boynton; and Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff and Carolyn Hmara with Regis Wenham.
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wellington | social scene PHOTOS BY FRANK KOESTER

CHAMBER WOMEN CELEBRATE AT POOCHES, PEARLS & PROSECCO

Women of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce (WOW) hosted the annual Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco event at Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Thursday, April 27. It was the finale of WOW’s “Clear the Shelter” campaign. This year, 10 dogs from Barky Pines Animal Rescue and Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control attended in the hopes of finding their forever home. The evening included a fashion show featuring the adorable pups and a dance show featuring the Fred Astaire dancers, along with an evening of networking while enjoying drinks and appetizers.

18 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
(Left to right) Members of the WOW Leadership Committee during the Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco event; Jennifer Hernandez welcomes everyone; Animal Care & Control Community Program Manager Yleana Arias; Stephanie Edison and Sonali Mendiratta; and Shanell Foster takes part in the fashion show. (Left to right) Janet Algeciras with shelter dog Simba; Bruno makes his way around to greet guests; the models who took part in the Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco fashion show; and the Fred Astaire dancers entertain guests.
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wellington | social scene PHOTOS

WELLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL HONORS GRADUATES AT FAIRGROUNDS

More than 575 Wellington High School seniors marched across the stage at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center on Monday, May 15 when the school held its commencement exercises to celebrate the Class of 2023. Aside from awarding the hard-earned diplomas, the ceremony included addresses from Superintendent Michael Burke, Principal Cara Hayden, Valedictorian Michelle Wong, Salutatorian Victoria Loredan, SGA President Hailey Guzik and Class President McKenna Wickers, along with performances by the school’s band and chorus.

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PALM BEACH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL CELEBRATES CLASS OF 2023

On Wednesday, May 17, a graduation ceremony was held for the Palm Beach Central High School Class of 2023. Approximately 575 graduates turned their tassels during the ceremony, as their life as high school students came to a close. The celebration began with opening remarks by Principal Darren Edgecomb and Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Michael Burke. Student speakers included Valedictorian Ryan Fingeret, Salutatorian Amanda Schinina and Senior Class President Jovany Joseph, who led the Ceremony of the Tassel.

(Left to right) Valedictorian Ryan Fingeret speaks from the podium; Salutatorian Amanda Schinina addresses her fellow students; Senior Class President Jovany Joseph leads the Ceremony of the Tassel as Principal Darren Edgecomb looks on; Julia Orell and Emma Bereicua proudly show off their diplomas; and senior members of the football team with their diplomas.
PHOTOS
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(Left to right) PBCHS graduates Tarah Smith, Charlize Marinez and Holly Honerlaw; graduate Dehlila Batista with Darien Batista, Yulissa Vrena and Danny Batista; graduate Jaylynn Perrault holds a picture of her late grandmother Terry Kimmick; Adison Williams and Joel Gonzalez celebrate their graduation; and Makayla Campbell is off to celebrate her graduation.
BY FRANK KOESTER

ADAMS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS, FOUNDATION SUPPORTERS, DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS HONORED AT WCF’S ANNUAL THANK YOU SOIRÉE

The Wellington Community Foundation hosted its annual Thank You Soirée on Thursday, May 18 at the Boynton Financial Group offices in Wellington. The event celebrated this year’s Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship recipients, embodying the foundation’s commitment to supporting educational endeavors within the community.

The soirée, which featured a vibrant tropical theme, was made possible by the generous hosting of Ben and Joanna Boynton and the dedicated team at the Boynton Financial Group. With catering by Nosh Catering and an array of wine selections provided by Star Wine & Spirits, the evening was a resounding success.

Recognizing and honoring the foundation’s supporters, donors and volunteers was the top priority at the event. The annual Thank You Soirée was conceived as an opportunity for the Wellington Community Foundation to express gratitude to the individuals whose crucial support enables the nonprofit’s efforts. These sponsors, donors and volunteers play a pivotal role in empowering the foundation’s work. In his opening remarks, Wellington Community Foundation Chair Barry Manning emphasized their invaluable contributions and the importance of their continued support.

Also honored were the winners of the

2023 Arle and Ken Adams Scholarships. Scholarship Committee chairs James Seder, Joanna Boynton and Don Gross recommended the winners to the WCF Board of Directors at the May meeting. After meticulous review of numerous applications, the committee unanimously chose three outstanding candidates — Marlena Hutchinson, Abigail Lofstead and Victoria Loredan, whose achievements and dedication shine brightly.

The Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship recipients impressed the committee, the board and attendees as their accomplishments were read aloud.

Marlena Hutchinson, a student at Wellington High School, finished with a

22 june 2023 | wellington the magazine

weighted GPA of 5.09 and has amassed 281 hours of community service. Her involvement as a leader in the Florida Future Educators of America club and her dedication to volunteering with the Best Buddies program highlight her commitment to education and inclusivity. Hutchinson aspires to be a pediatric occupational therapist, and she will be attending the University of Florida to pursue her dreams.

Abigail Lofstead, a student at Palm Beach Central High School, has demonstrated exceptional academic prowess with a weighted GPA of 5.27, ranking fifth in her class. With 253 hours of community service, she has exemplified

a strong sense of civic duty. Lofstead’s passion for empowering women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math led her to found the Women in STEM club at Palm Beach Central. She will attend the University of Florida, aspiring to become a pediatrician. When not studying, Lofstead also enjoys snorkeling.

Victoria Loredan, a student at Wellington High School, stands out as an exceptional leader with a weighted GPA of 5.38, ranking second in her class. Alongside her 192 hours of community service, Loredan’s involvement in various organizations like the Black Leadership Achievement Student Team (BLAST)

showcases her dedication to empowering her peers. Her goal is to become a pediatric psychiatrist. Loredan, like the other winners, is headed to the University of Florida to continue her education.

The legacy of late Wellington philanthropists Arle and Ken Adams live on through their many efforts throughout the village, and the foundation continues to honor their tremendous contributions to the community through its first scholarship program. These remarkable individuals, longtime residents of Wellington, dedicated their lives to serving the community.

Ken Adams, a former Palm Beach County commissioner and supporter

Wellington Community Foundation board members with the winners of this year’s Arle and Ken Adams Scholarships. (Front row) Scholarship winners Abigail Lofstead, Marlena Hutchinson and Victoria Loredan with Regis Wenham; and (back row) WCF Chair Barry Manning, Pam Tahan, Dr. Gordon Johnson, James Seder, Jim Sackett, Joanna Boynton, Don Gross, Maggie Zeller and Hope Barron.
wellington the magazine | june 2023 23
PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

of the village’s incorporation, believed that Wellington’s accomplishments were made possible by great people and leaders who care about future generations. He enthusiastically joined the foundation’s inaugural board of directors when it became an independent nonprofit organization, and the scholarship created in honor of both him and his late wife Arle brought him great pride, which he expressed prior his passing in 2020.

The Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship is just one of the many ways that the Wellington Community Foundation demonstrates its commitment to supporting Wellington students in their pursuit of educational success. The scholarship program serves as a beacon of hope for those in need of a helping hand to become tomorrow’s leaders.

In addition to the scholarship program, the Wellington Community Foundation remains dedicated to providing ongoing support to local students. This year, the foundation will be distributing 600 new school uniforms and 600 backpacks filled with essential school supplies. These foundation initiatives aim to alleviate the financial burden on families and ensure that every child has the necessary tools to thrive academically.

The Thank You Soirée provided a joyous occasion to celebrate the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship recipients and express gratitude to the foundation’s dedicated supporters. The evening was filled with appreciation, camaraderie and the shared vision of creating a brighter future for Wellington’s stu-

dents. Through scholarships, uniform donations and school supply provisions, the foundation continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of young individuals, ensuring that they have the resources they need to succeed. Through these efforts, the Wellington Community Foundation helps foster a thriving educational environment that empowers students and builds a stronger, more vibrant community.

To learn more about the Wellington Community Foundation, or if you would like to contribute to the nonprofit’s many ongoing initiatives, visit online at www. wellingtoncommunityfoundation.org. By getting involved, you can play an active role in building a stronger community and empowering future generations to achieve their educational goals.

24 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
Abigail Lofstead Palm Beach Central High School Marlena Hutchinson Wellington High School Victoria Loredan Wellington High School
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EDUCATION

Choosing A School For Your Child Plays A Pivotal Role In Shaping Their Future

In today’s rapidly changing world, the importance of selecting the right school for your child cannot be overstated. In navigating the choices, it is essential to recognize that education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of today’s students and preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead.

The right school fosters an environment that nurtures your child’s unique abilities, interests and passions. It provides them with the necessary tools to develop intellectually, emotionally and socially. In an ever-changing landscape, where technological advancements and global challenges are reshaping industries and economies, the right education can equip children with the skills they need to thrive.

One of the key considerations in selecting a school is the curriculum. In 2023, the emphasis is shifting toward cultivating critical thinking, problem-solving and adaptability. Look for schools that offer innovative programs integrating technology, project-based learning and interdisciplinary approaches. These elements empower students to become creative thinkers and lifelong learners.

Furthermore, the school’s culture should align with the needs of your family. A nurturing and inclusive environment promotes collaboration, empathy and respect among students, enabling them to develop strong interpersonal skills and cultural competence.

Equally important is the availability of extracurricular activities. A well-rounded education includes opportunities for sports, arts, music and community service. These activities foster teamwork, leadership and a sense of belonging, while allowing children to explore beyond the classroom.

Additionally, consider the school’s resources, facilities and teaching staff. Adequate resources and modern facilities support effective learning experiences, while well-qualified educators create a positive and engaging educational atmosphere.

The choice of a school for your child has long-term implications. It is an investment in their future success and happiness. By selecting a school that values their individuality, cultivates their skills and prepares them for the evolving world, you are setting them on a path toward a fulfilling and prosperous life.

wellington | education
wellington the magazine | june 2023 27
28 june 2023 | wellington the magazine

AN ARRAY OF EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS

The Original Wellington Mall Is Home To Three Unique Private Schools

In addition to its six public elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools, Wellington is also home to a number of charter schools and private schools. A small cluster of these private schools can be found in one building — the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd. These include #1 Education Place, the Wellington Collegiate Academy and the Children’s House of Wellington.

The heart and soul of #1 Education Place is its founders Judy Blake and Anita Kane. They started the private school more than 20 years ago. They got their start in education by working together as tutors.

Early on, most of their students were affiliated with Wellington’s equestrian industry. Now, while there are still many equestrians, the students come from a wide array of backgrounds, ranging from first grade to 12th grade. Student numbers vary, from as many as 100 students during the equestrian season, to a low in the 50s at other times of the year.

According to Blake, the teaching model at #1 Education Place produces great results. “We are a Montessori school,” Blake said. “And we are open 12 months a year.”

Teachers at #1 Education Place emphasize independence and executive function. According to Blake, when students learn executive function, they learn organizational skills, personal responsibility, how to organize their day and how to master life as an adult. They also learn all the core subjects taught at conventional schools.

Blake explained that students who

attend #1 Education Place spend time learning about core communications.

“We have a big emphasis on writing, especially in high school,” Kane said. “We also focus on cursive writing, penmanship, grammar, spelling and English comprehension.”

In most schools, teachers set the course and direction for the school day. At #1 Education Place, the students are given more freedom to pursue their own areas of interest.

“We have a calmer environment than many other schools,” Kane said. “Also,

we make a point of addressing the needs of each student as an individual. Nobody gets left behind.”

The teaching environment is peaceful and filled with purpose.

“We have all open spaces, no closed doors and there’s freedom of movement for everybody,” Blake said. “Here, students are interested in doing, learning and accomplishing. There are no rewards or punishments, but plenty of positive reinforcement. In many cases, we provide a few minutes of instruction, and then let the students do the work.”

wellington the magazine | june 2023 29

#1 Education Place also supports flexibility when it comes to arriving at school and leaving school later in the day.

Blake explained that flexible schedules are important for students who have serious interests in other endeavors such as tennis, golf and equestrian sports, which require unique travel and practice time.

For elementary and middle school students, physical activity breaks are an important part of the school day, which includes 30 minutes of recess daily. From time to time, students get to go on field trips.

Upon graduation, most of the students continue on to higher education. According to Kane, several of this year’s high school graduates will be attending

Hofstra University (and playing tennis), the University of Kentucky (and playing polo), Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“A high percentage of our students get accepted into their first-choice universities and colleges,” Kane said.

To learn more about #1 Education Place, call (561) 753-6563 or visit www.1educationplace.com.

The Wellington Collegiate Academy (WCA) educates children from kindergarten to eighth grade, enrolling 70 to 75 students. As of mid-May, it’s under new ownership, led by the husbandand-wife team of Horatio and Yaa McFarlane.

“We are looking forward to creating our own vision of education,” Yaa said. “Here, children will love to learn and feel amazing about themselves. I want to develop independent thinkers.”

“We’re excited to be adding to the lives of our students and supporting them in their education,” Horatio added.

While not teaching, Yaa will have a strong presence at the school.

“I will have a presence in the office, in the classroom and on the playground,” she said.

Yaa was born, raised and educated in England at a grammar school. She intends to bring a few English educational traditions to WCA.

“Our students will learn about William Shakespeare, and I want them to know who Charles Dickens was,” Yaa said.

While there will be some changes to the curriculum, many WCA traditions will remain the same.

“The main subjects such as English, mathematics, world geography, science and a language, such as Spanish, will continue,” Yaa said. “We are thinking about adding another language, as well.”

In addition to traditional subjects, there will be a strong emphasis on physical education, home economics, music and the arts.

“Physical education will include dance, team sports and running,” Yaa said. “We need to get our children running and incorporate P.E. into the daily curriculum.”

The students will also be introduced to gardening. “Children need to learn where foods come from,” Yaa noted.

Right now, the school has 10 teachers on the staff, and there are plans to add more for the upcoming school year.

The school’s commitment to music — which was a focal point of attention of the previous owners Juan Carlos and Jessica Valdez — will remain the same. In fact, Jessica Valdez, previously the choral director, has pledged her assis-

tance to find an equally talented successor. “Music is so important as it helps the brain develop, improves a child’s ability to learn, be more creative and sleep better,” Yaa said.

Another aspect that will not change is the student-teacher ratio. In recent years, it has been eight to 12 students per teacher. That will remain the same.

Yaa is not a newcomer to the school, as she served as a teacher from 2016 to 2019, when the school’s founder Anna Oaks operated the school.

“Anna was looking for a ‘right-hand’ person, so I was asked to join her, which I did,” Yaa said. “I am still aligned with her vision of a small, faith-based school.”

Over the summer, the McFarlanes will be busy marketing and promoting the school to parents of current and prospective students.

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“We are building a new web site, and we plan to offer a one-week summer camp program to current and new students,” Yaa said. “We will teach math,

science, arts and crafts. We will possibly work with robotics and computers. There will also be lots of time for recess and sports.”

To learn more about the Wellington Collegiate Academy, call (561) 701-3462 or (561) 784-1776, or visit www.gowca. org.

The Children’s House of Wellington, co-owned by Catherine Williams and her daughter Jeri Williams, is a Montessori preschool now finishing its 20th year.

“I was at a Montessori preschool in Palm Beach Gardens,” Catherine recalled. “After it was sold to a new owner, they started to stray from core principles of the Montessori Method. I decided that if I wanted to continue doing what I love, I needed to open my own school.”

While the Children’s House of Wellington is licensed to teach as many as 44 students, they prefer to have fewer, capping out at about 40. Students range from age two-and-a-half to age six.

The big difference between a conventional school and a Montessori school is the overall approach to education.

“One of the hallmarks of Montessori education is that children of mixed ages work together. Groupings are based on the Planes of Development as identified by Dr. Maria Montessori,” Jeri explained. “Multi-age groupings enable younger children to learn from older children and experience new challenges through observation. Older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered, develop leadership skills and serve as role models. Because each child’s work is individual, children progress at their own pace. There is cooperation rather than competition. This arrangement mirrors the real world, in which individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.”

When it comes to the flow of the school day, there’s a great deal of thought given to what is done at any given time.

“The teacher prepares the environment of the Montessori classroom with

carefully selected, aesthetically arranged materials that are presented sequentially to meet the developmental needs of the children using the space,” Jeri said. “Well-prepared Montessori environments contain appropriately sized furniture, a full complement of Montessori materials, and enough space to allow children to work in peace, alone, or in small or large groups.”

Montessori classrooms are designed to encourage children to move about freely and choose their own work, within reasonable limits. Those limits are the classroom ground rules and enable children to exercise their own free will while ensuring that their chosen activities are respectful of others.

“Within the prepared environment of the Montessori classroom, children are taught to complete a work cycle, which includes choosing an activity, completing the activity, and, perhaps, repeating the full sequence of the activity multiple times, cleaning up and returning the materials to the proper place, and experiencing a sense of satisfaction to have fully completed the task,” Catherine said.

A common trait of a Montessori

school is a focus on social skills.

“In Montessori schools, children are formally instructed in social skills that they will use throughout their lives. For example, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ interrupting conversations politely, requesting rather than demanding assistance and greeting guests warmly,” Jeri said.

Students also learn about Mother Nature. “We are fortunate to have a garden at our school,” Jeri said. “The children plant seeds, bulbs and bedding plants. We harvest and enjoy the beauty of what grows. A respect for all living things is important to learn early.”

At the Children’s House of Wellington, students are given a regular dose of physical activity on the school’s playground.

“Playing outside is important,” Catherine said. “Learning to play with friends without hurting them and still having fun are skills that can only be learned by doing.”

To learn more about the Children’s House of Wellington, call (561) 790-3748 or visit www.childrenshousewellington. com.

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AMERICAN HERITAGE LEADS U.S. IN STEM

Local Students Win Prestigious Science, Math And Engineering Awards

As the world continues to advance technologically, American Heritage Schools keeps pace with the global shift by integrating a culture of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into its comprehensive and rigorous curriculum.

Founded in 1965, American Heritage Schools (AHS) is a nationally ranked college preparatory school with two 40acre campuses in South Florida serving grades Pre-K3 through 12. The 4,800 students represent more than 60 different countries, more than 70 percent of the faculty holds a postgraduate degree and the student-to-faculty ratio is 5-to-1.

AHS alumni are notable leaders in their fields who are generating positive differences in the world. Dylan Cahill graduated from the AHS Palm Beach campus in 2014, from Dartmouth College in 2018 and is attending Harvard Medical School.

“American Heritage prepared me for college academics,” Cahill said. “Though I didn’t realize it at the time, the study strategies I developed in challenging classes at AHS helped make my transition into the demands of college life much smoother.”

Ranked among the top private schools in the State of Florida in STEM

according to Niche, the leader in digital searches for the best K-12 schools and colleges, the students at AHS recently earned high honors in STEM, including No. 1 in Florida at the state science fair, No. 1 and No. 2 private school in Florida in math competition, and No. 1 in Florida in robotics competition.

The American Heritage Science Research Institute for select students in grades six through 12 enables students to conduct research on real-world problems, and in turn, they have earned international recognition for their findings.

wellington the magazine | june 2023 35
Science programs at American Heritage Schools’ Palm Beach campus let students work with the most advanced equipment available.
wellington | education

The range of equipment in the science lab is unlike any other high school — fluorescent and inverted microscopes, UV/Vis plate reader (a spectrophotometer), a carbon dioxide incubator, a minus 86-degree freezer, a liquid nitrogen cryogenic tank and a scanning electron microscope, just to name a few.

“When our students graduate, they are equipped with a level of research knowledge they would not normally have without the opportunities presented in our program,” said Dr. Iris Thompson, director of science research at the AHS Palm Beach campus. “This sets them apart from their peers when applying to college or graduate school.”

Nolan Wen, a senior at the Palm Beach campus, published his science research as first author, which is an unusual feat for a high school student. His research was titled, “Development and characterization of laponite-enhanced tannic acid-based hydrogels,” in the Materials Letters journal. Wen will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall and was accepted to the school’s highly competitive seven-year bio-dental program.

“The rigorous course offerings and

programs at American Heritage not only helped me get into Penn but have also prepared me well for life at Penn,” Wen said. “The BSL-2 level labs and incredible summer research program at American Heritage have provided me the platform to conduct graduate-level research and become an accomplished young researcher (published three times, Regeneron International Science and Engineering Finalist and Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist). As vice president of Model UN, president of the TASSEL Cambodia Heritage branch, and a member of Education Rocks and various national honor societies, I have been able to both embrace the school community and make a positive difference on a global scale. I’ve had an incredible four years at American Heritage and cannot wait to continue my education at UPenn.”

The mathematics departments at both AHS campuses are equally strong. Starting in the Lower School, honors courses and honors math competition classes are offered for accelerated math students in fourth through sixth grades. This early learning enables the students to learn higher-level critical thinking and problem solving. The school earned

the ranking of No. 1 elementary school in Florida and No. 2 private elementary school in the U.S. in math competition, and many of those students advance to the high school level with great success. Both the Broward and Palm Beach math teams at American Heritage ranked No. 1 and No. 2 private school at the Florida Association of Mu Alpha Theta (FAMAT) statewide math competition.

“The American Heritage Schools competitive math program has been an amazing place to foster my love for mathematics and meet other kids who enjoy the STEM fields as much as I do,” said Sharvaa Selvan, a senior at the AHS Broward campus and vice president for the state and national Mu Alpha Theta student delegates. “Our victory at the February statewide was a testament to the countless hours spent by both the students and our amazing coaches over the past few months.”

Selvan has been accepted to the prestigious universities MIT and Georgia Tech.

“Our win at the NSU statewide competition demonstrates the enormous collection of mathematical giftedness of the members of our math competition

36 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
wellington | education
American Heritage Schools’ math team recently won first place overall at the state competition.

team,” said Dr. Radleigh Santos, competitive mathematics head coach and an MIT graduate. “I’m proud of all their hard work, and I’m looking forward to their future success.”

In the field of robotics and engineering, the AHS Wyld Stallyns team at the Palm Beach campus qualified for the World Robotics Championship in Houston. The team also won the Creativity Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation.

Senior Dylan McClish is a top student in the AHS pre-engineering program at the Palm Beach campus and was accepted to Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Michigan and the U.S. Naval Academy.

“I’ve been at American Heritage for seven years, and I am forever thankful for how much it has prepared me for college,” McClish said. “It has allowed me to take a vast array of college-level courses that other high schools don’t offer, such as multivariate calculus/differential equations, learning math that many don’t see until they are a few years into college. I have been part of the preengineering and science research programs, and it has been fantastic to pursue my interests in AI and robotics with the full support of the school’s amazing faculty and resources. It has been a lot of

hard work, but I know that I will be well prepared for college, and I am grateful that American Heritage has given me the tools to succeed at the collegiate level.”

American Heritage Schools is ranked No. 1 in National Merit Scholars out of all schools in Florida and the No. 2 private school in the nation. The students from both campuses comprise 10 percent of all National Merit Scholarship semifinalists throughout the 2,227 public and private schools in Florida.

American Heritage Schools is open all year at both campuses. It also provides an extensive summer program from June to August for children and teens ages 3 to 17 from all over the world. The offerings include traditional day camps, specialty and sports camps, the Summer Institute, available in-person and online with more than 100 courses designed for every student’s interest, and 1-on-1 tutoring. The comprehensive summer enrichment ensures that students are prepared or ahead for the next school year and gives them a competitive advantage to succeed.

American Heritage Schools will continue to set high standards for growth and learning and prepare the next generation of global thinkers and problem solvers to succeed.

To learn more about American Heritage Schools, visit www.ahschool.com.

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GET YOUR NURSING DEGREE LOCALLY

NRI Institute Of Health Sciences Working To Reduce Nation’s Nursing Shortage

Residents of Palm Beach County, specifically those living in the western communities who want to work as a nurse, have a locally owned and operated school where they can acquire the necessary qualifications to get a job in the nursing profession. They can get their nursing degree from the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, based in Royal Palm Beach.

The NRI Institute is a fully licensed and accredited private degree-granting and post-secondary school that is qualified to prepare students for a career in

registered and practical nursing, as a nursing assistant, a medical assistant, and in the field of diagnostic medical sonography. Starting next year, students will be able to get a four-year bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from the NRI Institute.

Located at 503 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza at the corner of Royal Palm Beach and Southern Boulevards, the NRI Institute currently has a 12,500-square-foot facility it calls home. When it opened in 2012, it had

just 1,000 square feet of space and eight students. Now, it has 125 students with room for as many as 150 students. Since 2012, more than 400 students have graduated from the NRI Institute of Health Sciences.

The owners of the NRI Institute are the husband-and-wife team of Dan Splain and Elizabeth Stolkowski. Splain is the chief administrative officer, and Stolkowski is in charge of operating the school as the president and director of the nursing programs.

wellington the magazine | june 2023 39
wellington | education

Both Splain and Stolkowski are well qualified to operate the school due to their extensive experience in the healthcare field. This includes working in hospital administration, managed care, nursing education and the international recruitment of healthcare professionals. For a number of years, the two of them operated a managed care facility in the Midwest, where they recruited nurses from overseas.

Stolkowski, a native of The Philippines, has three master’s degrees and a law degree.

“She is well qualified to oversee the academic side of the NRI Institute of Health Sciences,” Splain said.

What’s really important about Stolkowski’s role at the NRI Institute is her ability to get the students to cross the “finish line,” so to speak.

“Elizabeth has a talent for coaching students and getting them to pass the Nursing Council Licensure Examination,” Splain said. “After passing the exam, our graduates can then start working as nurses, where their starting salaries can range between $75,000 and $100,000 a year.”

Splain noted that there’s a great need for more nurses across the United States. That’s especially the case in Florida because of the large number of residents who are over the age of 65. Here in Palm Beach County, the number of residents

over 65 expands greatly during the winter months.

This need for more nurses seems more acute now, but it is not a recent issue.

“Even before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage in the U.S. of more than one million nurses,” Splain said. “We still have a nursing shortage in this country.”

Many of the graduates of the NRI Institute of Health Sciences find employment in the western communities at facilities such as Wellington Regional Medical Center and Palms West Hospital, as well as many smaller medical offices and facilities. A number of graduates also land jobs in other Florida cities. And, of course, many of the nursing graduates get hired in other parts of the U.S.

“A large number of our graduates get jobs at Wellington Regional Medical Center because that’s where they do their clinical rotations,” Splain said. “They do such a great job during their clinical rotations at Wellington Regional that some are offered jobs before they even graduate.”

According to Splain, some graduates actually return to the classroom as instructors.

“We even have some graduates teaching in fine institutions all over the U.S.,” Splain said. “The nursing shortage in the

U.S. can also be attributed to a shortage of nursing instructors.”

Time wise, getting a degree from the NRI Institute will usually take two years. The clinical rotations are interspersed with the classroom work. There are 12 faculty members, and the classroom sizes are usually eight to 10 students per instructor.

“We like to keep it small and teach them well,” Splain said.

According to Stolkowski, many of the students at the NRI Institute are not what you normally expect.

“We have many non-traditional students enrolled,” Stolkowski said. “We have students in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Many have families, as well as being enrolled full-time in school. Roughly 85 percent of our students are female.”

In addition to a wide age-range of nursing candidates, they also come from all parts of Palm Beach County, as well as Broward, Martin and St. Lucie counties. “A handful of students travel here from as far away as Vero Beach,” she said.

One aspect of being a student at the NRI Institute is the in-person educational experience.

“We don’t have any online classes,” Splain said. “You really need to have the hands-on academic experience in our classrooms to learn how to be a nurse.”

The NRI Institute of Health Sciences will hold its 10th commencement exercises on Thursday, June 8 at 5 p.m. at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. Thirty nursing and diagnostic medical sonography graduates will receive their degrees. The guest speaker will be Dante Mitchell Tolbert, founder and CEO of Florence Technologies, which is an innovative edtech company that aims to combat the nursing shortage through solutions driven by artificial intelligence.

To learn more about the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, call (561) 688-5112 or visit www.nriinstitute.edu.

40 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
wellington | education
Some of the NRI Institute’s new graduates at a commencement ceremony held last August.

PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FUTURE

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Lou LoFranco Enjoys Helping Local Residents With Investments And More

The world of finance and investing is constantly changing. Opportunities arise, and trends emerge and disappear without much warning. It can all be overwhelming. This is why finding the right financial advisor is worth the time and effort. Lou LoFranco, who works with the financial firm Edward Jones, enjoys investing his expertise as a financial advisor to help people in the Wellington area.

“The best thing about our office is we answer the phone,” LoFranco said. “We are a private company. We don’t sell a specific product or fiduciary, and it’s not about what we can make off our clients.”

LoFranco has worked in different sectors of the finance industry since the 1980s. He began working on the budget management side with UPS and shifted to a consultant role for GE, managing logistics for wind energy. Then he found FPL and took a position, also in wind industry management. After commuting from Fort Myers to Philadelphia, he realized that his family wasn’t happy, and they soon moved to South Florida permanently.

With six children being homeschooled by his wife Maria, LoFranco knew that there had to be a better way to take care of his family.

“I called my financial advisor, and

he said that it’s time to come on board. I’ve been in Wellington since 2015, and what started as temporary work, well, it’s now nine years later,” LoFranco said. “It has been a great experi ence and a blessing to be work ing with the community and helping a lot of the elderly — that I really enjoy.”

He has a deep concern for senior care and quality of life, especially after being a caretaker for his own moth er for more than four years. LoFranco worries when he learns of people taking advan tage of the elderly.

“I just want to make sure they never run out of mon ey and can live the life, have the lifestyle that they need, and they’ve worked all their life for,” he said. “I like to teach clients that it is more than just looking at the financial picture. We look at health insurance, life insur ance or umbrella insurance. If we don’t have the whole picture, we can’t give a good plan for success. We try to do the deep dive; it’s building that relationship,

wellington the magazine | june 2023 43

personally getting to know their families, their kids, their grandkids. It’s a long-life process of legacy planning.”

Whether clients are looking for retirement and estate planning, or just trying to figure out where to begin, LoFranco and Edward Jones are there with research and data backing their plans. The company does not deal with any investments that are not federally approved, such as cryptocurrencies.

“I’m a faith-based advisor. We do everything ethically and morally,” he said. “I think we have a good client base that trusts us.”

LoFranco has clients who get more than just financial advice. He has helped them set up bill pay and is even helping a client get a new roof.

“It’s not about making money, it’s about comfort. We go car shopping with clients, too. ‘Can you help me find a boat?’ they’ll ask. We helped a client find a house,” LoFranco said. “So, that’s

what I love about it — it’s more than the investments. Being a financial advisor has been a blessing because it gives you work-life balance. You can make all the money in the world, but if you don’t have time for family, it doesn’t matter. Now I’m living the dream of helping people.”

When asked his top advice on where to begin, LoFranco made it clear that it is important to tackle and manage debt. Clients may walk in with crippling credit card and student loan debt, but he has a strategy to help.

“I lay out a plan. If they have four or five credit cards, depending on the balance, we can help them pay it off within 24 to 36 months. If they don’t have debt, we look at their goals. What is important to you? We do a three-minute ‘priority’ quiz,” he said. “We’ve found that for clients, family is the most important, then travel and then retirement.”

LoFranco and his team of Yara Gon-

salves and Tito Lopez have an office in Wellington that is open to walk-ins from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Gonsalves is also available to assist clients who speak Spanish. They are happy to work with clients and potential clients. Not only that, but the consultations are free.

“Appointments are an hour, and it usually takes two or three appointments because they might not be ready,” LoFranco explained. “There is no cost for the consultations, we don’t believe in that. We believe in finding out what’s important for them. It’s all about the long-term relationships because you become family. The trust factor is the most critical thing.”

Lou LoFranco’s Edward Jones office is located at 12020 South Shore Blvd., Suite 100, in Wellington. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, call (561) 7984106 or e-mail lou.lofranco@edwardjones. com.

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STAYING AHEAD OF THE STORM

Village Of Wellington Aims To Be Prepared As Hurricane Season Begins

Living in Wellington means enjoying the beautiful weather here in our vibrant community. However, our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean also exposes us to the risks of hurricane season. Officially starting on June 1, and lasting until Nov. 30, hurricane season for us means hoping for the best and planning for the worst.

Be Prepared For The Season

It’s not just a motto; “be prepared” is good advice. Florida residents can attest that they didn’t expect Hurricane Nicole to be as devastating as it was when it slammed into their neighborhoods last year, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. In cases of severe disasters, the modern conveniences that we often take for granted — such as cell phones, ATMs and the ability to pump gasoline — become obsolete. That is why it’s important to make advance plans to take care of yourself and your family and make sure you have supplies on hand in case of an emergency.

Simple things such as developing a safety plan, stocking up on extra pet supplies and refilling prescriptions a few

days early are some of the measures you can take to be prepared. As emergency managers point out, in times of disaster, resources are limited, so it’s important to take personal responsibility to lessen the impact on yourself and your family. This month, as we continue to prepare here at the village, I want to share some essential tips and guidelines for Wellington residents to proactively prepare for hurricane season.

Develop An Emergency Plan

Preparing a detailed emergency plan is crucial to efficiently navigate through a hurricane. Designate a meeting point for your family members in case of separation and establish a communication plan. Create a checklist of essential items, such as non-perishable food,

water, medications, batteries, flashlights and a first aid kit. Stock up on necessary supplies well in advance, as stores may run out quickly during emergencies.

Stay Informed

This applies both before and after the storm. Keeping up to date with the latest weather information is paramount during hurricane season. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be able to find information on the village’s web site at www.wellingtonfl.gov. Monitor local news channels, radio broadcasts and official web sites for updates from the National Hurricane Center. Sign up to receive emergency alerts through Alert Wellington at www.wellingtonfl.gov/ alerts. While you’re at it, download the GoWellington app from your phone’s

wellington the magazine | june 2023 47 wellington | today

app store for quick access to resources and information. Stay connected through Wellington’s social media platforms to receive real-time updates and helpful resources during an emergency.

Protect Your Property

Safeguarding your home against potential hurricane damage is crucial. Remember, all yard work and tree-trimming projects should be completed at this time to avoid overwhelming our waste collection system when a storm is approaching. Planning on cleaning out unwanted items in your garage or storage areas around your house? Do not wait! Do this now, so you have the space to store items during a storm. Consider investing in impact-resistant windows and doors for enhanced protection. Inspect your roof for loose or damaged shingles and repair them promptly. Review your property insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage for potential hurricane-related damages.

Evacuation & Sheltering

When authorities issue evacuation orders, it’s crucial to follow their instructions promptly. Prepare an evacua-

tion route and share it with your family members. Identify local evacuation shelters and understand their policies, including accommodation for pets. Palm Beach County operates the Special Needs Shelter Program during emergencies for individuals with certain medical conditions. This special shelter is staffed with doctors and nurses, has backup power, and is in a wind-resistant building. To register for the special needs shelter, visit the county’s web site or call (561) 712-6400.

It’s also important at these times to look out for one another and check on friends and neighbors who may need assistance. Being prepared for hurricane season in Wellington is a responsibility shared by all residents. In the best of times and the worst of times, it’s good to be neighbors helping neighbors. It’s what brings us together as a community.

History teaches that a lack of awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. Wellington has been fortunate through the years to avoid the landfall of a major hurricane in our area. However, we should not be lulled into a false sense of security.

Preparedness is our best defense, and I encourage you to use this guide to assist you in keeping yourself and your family safe.

48 june 2023 | wellington the magazine wellington | today Subscribe
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50 june 2023 | wellington the magazine

ENJOY AUTHENTIC MEXICAN CUISINE

Casa Tequila Is Celebrating 10 Years Of Serving

Taste-Tempting Mexican Favorites In Wellington

Looking for authentic Mexican cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds? Be sure to visit Casa Tequila Mexican Cuisine in Wellington, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. This cozy restaurant has been serving up delicious Mexican fare since 2013 and has become a local favorite for its flavorful dishes, friendly staff and lively atmosphere.

Manager Mario Rodriguez takes great pride in the food and drinks served at Casa Tequila. “We offer exquisite Mexican cuisine that is truly one-of-a-kind,” he explained. “Our dishes are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and are full of flavor. We also offer a wide variety of margaritas, tequilas, beers and mojitos that perfectly complement our food.”

And the food at Casa Tequila cer-

tainly lives up to his high standards. The menu features classic Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos and fajitas, as well as unique creations that you will not find anywhere else. One standout dish is the Sizzling Fajitas, which come with your choice of chicken, steak, shrimp or a combination of all three. The fajitas are served on a hot skillet with sautéed onions and pepper. These tasty fajitas come with all the fixings you need to create your own perfect taco or burrito.

But it is not just the fajitas that keep customers coming back to Casa Tequila. The homemade salsa is made fresh daily and has just the right amount of kick, while the guacamole is made with fresh avocados and a blend of spices that give it a unique and delicious flavor.

The Ensalada de la Casa is another popular dish, with mixed greens, tomatoes, onions and avocado, topped with your choice of grilled chicken or steak. The Caldo de Pollo is a delicious, traditional Mexican soup made with tender shredded chicken, homemade Mexican rice, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes and sliced avocado.

Other dishes to try are the Chicken Enchilada, served with refried beans, Mexican rice and fresh salad, and the Carne Asada, featuring thinly sliced skirt steak grilled to perfection, served with homemade Mexican rice, refried beans and garnished with fresh lettuce and pico de gallo.

What trip to a Mexican restaurant would be complete without a margarita?

wellington the magazine | june 2023 51
wellington | table
(Left) The Chicken Enchilada is served with refried beans, Mexican rice and fresh salad. (Top, left to right) Fajitas are served sizzling hot, over sautéed onions and bell peppers, with homemade Mexican rice, refried beans, fresh lettuce, traditional pico de gallo, sour cream, fresh guacamole, and flour or corn tortillas; enjoy a perfectly made Strawberry Margarita with your meal; the Cheesecake Chimichanga is a lightly fried cheesecake-stuffed chimichanga drizzled with honey and chocolate syrup, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; the Caldo de Pollo is a delicious, traditional Mexican soup made with tender shredded chicken, homemade Mexican rice, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes and sliced avocado; the Carne Asada features thinly sliced skirt steak grilled to perfection, served with homemade Mexican rice, refried beans and garnished with fresh lettuce and pico de gallo; enjoy the delicious Churros, a lightly fried, thin dough pastry, drizzled with honey, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate syrup and caramel; and the Pork Tacos are served with refried beans and Mexican rice.

Casa Tequila has a wide selection of margaritas to choose from, including classic, fruit-infused and frozen options. All drinks are made with fresh ingredients and top-shelf tequila, making them the perfect accompaniment to your meal.

End your meal with a great Mexican dessert, such as the Cheesecake Chi-

michanga, a lightly fried, cheesecakestuffed chimichanga drizzled with honey and chocolate syrup, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Another sweet treat is the delicious Churros, a lightly fried, thin dough pastry, drizzled with honey, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate syrup and caramel.

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Beyond the food and drinks, the warm and welcoming atmosphere is another standout feature that makes Casa Tequila a must-visit restaurant. The restaurant is decorated with colorful paintings, bright red walls and traditional Mexican décor, creating an ambiance that makes patrons feel like they have stepped into a lively cantina south of the border.

Meanwhile, the staff is friendly and attentive, making sure you feel right at home from the moment you walk in.

“We want our customers to feel like they’re part of the family when they come to Casa Tequila,” Rodriguez said. “We take great care in providing excellent service, and we want everyone who visits us to have a great time.”

And that is exactly what you’ll have at Casa Tequila. The restaurant often hosts live music on weekends, and the bar area is a great spot to grab a drink and catch

52 june 2023 | wellington the magazine wellington | table
The spacious outdoor patio provides plenty of seating and a great place to spend time with friends. PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN
3319 S. State Road 7, Suite 314 Wellington, Florida 33449 (561) 795-9500 www.froehlichcpa.com
Se Habla Español John F. Froehlich Betty De La Rua

a game on one of the many TVs. The spacious outdoor patio is also a popular spot, with plenty of seating and a relaxed vibe that is perfect for enjoying a meal with friends or family.

Also popular at Casa Tequila is Taco Tuesday. “It’s a chance for our customers to enjoy the flavorful adventure of authentic, home-cooked tacos at a great price,” Rodriguez said. “We want everyone to be able to try our delicious food and have a good time doing it.”

Casa Tequila is a must-visit restaurant for anyone in the Wellington area who loves Mexican food. With a warm and welcoming atmosphere, delicious food and excellent service, it is no wonder that this restaurant has become a local favorite over the past 10 years. The next time you are in the mood for authentic Mexican cuisine, head over to Casa Tequila and get ready to indulge your taste buds.

The restaurant features lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and don’t miss happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Casa Tequila is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Delivery is available through DoorDash

and Uber Eats, or you can call in an order and pick it up.

Casa Tequila is located at 12795 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in the Wellington Plaza. To view the complete menu, visit www. greatmexicancuisine.com, or call (561) 557-1378 to make a reservation or place an order.

WEEKLY EVENTS

wellington the magazine | june 2023 53
10410 Forrest Hill Blvd, Wellington | 561.798.5334 Monday – Friday: 12pm - 7pm | Saturday: 12pm - 6pm | Sunday Closed • Full Service Music Store • Music School with Experienced, Degreed Teaching Staff • Live Music Cafe with Artisan Menu and Extensive Wine & Beer Selections MONDAYS 6:30 PM Trivia Night with Freshly Baked Pizza! 1ST THURSDAY 7 PM Open Mic 2ND THURSDAY 7 PM Jazz Night 3RD THURSDAY 7 PM Cugini Wine Pairing Dinner FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS 8 PM LIVE MUSIC with some of the best performers from Florida and across the country, here on the Village Music Stage!
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PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN
54 june 2023 | wellington the magazine
The property offers the rare opportunity to build out your dream equestrian estate with a covered arena. The kitchen features custom cabinets, granite counters and GE Monogram appliances, as well as a professional-grade gas range. The custom cathedral vaulted ceilings and marble floors give eye-catching impact to the spacious grand entrance. The spacious living area boasts cathedral ceilings and is perfect for entertaining.

MEDITERRANEAN MARVEL

Close To All Equestrian Venues, This Custom-Built Home Is Situated On One Of The Highest Lots In Palm Beach Point

This magnificent Mediterranean marvel sits on more than 10 acres in the exclusive Palm Beach Point community. The property features a nine-stall barn with an easy conversion for more, a tack room, a feed room, a laundry, a one-bedroom apartment, a large ring and 11 paddocks. The house and barn include a 45 KW generator, a reverse osmosis water system, and complete impact glass and doors. The adjoining five-plus acres is perfect to add an additional barn or housing, a covered arena, a grass field, paddocks and more. The main home is perfect for the family and entertaining. The home boasts cathedral ceilings, marble floors, Jerusalem stone and teakwood floors. The kitchen has custom wood cabinets with self-closing drawers, granite counters, a vegetable sink, GE Monogram appliances and a professional-grade gas range. The master suite offers beautiful onyx countertops, a Kohler spa tub, a walk-in shower, and a gas, quick-recovery water heater. Additional features include a gym and steam room with surround sound throughout. Two additional, large bedrooms each include a private bath. The family room features a built-in entertainment center, surround sound, a 55-inch television and a gas fireplace. The large, heated pool and spa includes a waterfall and is equipped with remote controls. The poolside summer kitchen has a GE barbecue and granite counters. There is also an exterior full cabana bath. The attached four-car garage provides ample room for vehicles. Meanwhile, the landscaping is impeccable, with a special touch of gorgeous purple and white orchids gracing the trees along the driveway, as well as in the pool and entertainment area.

wellington the magazine | june 2023 55
wellington | real estate
Left: This magnificent Mediterranean-style home sits on more than 10 acres in the gated Palm Beach Point community. Above: The resort-style backyard features a heated, saltwater pool and spa with beach entry, a pergola and a waterfall. Left: Equestrian amenities with this property include boarding, bridle path/trails, center aisle, feed room, fly system, grass field, groom’s quarters, paddocks, ring, tack room, wash racks and water/electric.

Office:

Meet Jennifer Drahan and Betsy Keiser

Jennifer Drahan and Betsy Keiser, along with the rest of their team, make up the DrahanKeiser Team at Keller Williams Wellington. The team closed more than $25 million in 2021, and more than $40 million in 2022. This includes 68 seasonal leases, handling a minimum of 60 per year, farms and homes.

Drahan grew up in the Lone Star State and graduated from Texas A&M in 1995. Her love of horses and show jumping originally brought her to Wellington in 2002. She earned her real estate license in 2010 and has been working full time in the industry since 2012. Drahan specializes in equestrian, luxury and investment properties.

Keiser moved to Wellington with her family in 1984 as a high school student, coming from the Pittsburgh area. She has held a real estate license since 1996. She came to a career in real estate initially through family connections. Her family was involved in new home construction in Pennsylvania and Florida. After a career in property management, she has worked full time in the real estate industry since 2013.

Drahan-Keiser’s core values are simple: honesty and integrity in all things, unparalleled service regardless of price point, and creating a win-win environment for clients and staff.

56 june 2023 | wellington the magazine wellington | real estate
Learn more about the Drahan-Keiser Team at www.drahankeiser.com Keller Williams Property Presented by Jennifer Drahan and Betsy Keiser
Corporate Center Way
FL 33414
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