Page 1


The

Press

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” –Nelson Mandela

PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com MANAGING EDITOR Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Courtney Potts courtney@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazarenaluzzi.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Michael Lynch mlynch@thewcpress.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Amy Tucker amytuckerphotography.com

COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd bboyd@thewcpress.com Jamie Jones jjones@thewcpress.com Andrea Mason amason@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Rotary Club of West Chester rotary@thewcpress.com Moore Maguire Group realtalk@thewcpress.com Published By... Mathers Productions 24 W Market St, Ste 4 West Chester, PA 19382 mathersproductions.com 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit thewcpress.com. For more information about specific distribution locations, visit thewcpress.com/distribution.

Worth

Noting

Our no-nonsense table of contents

7

#THWCPRESS Our favorite social media posts from fans are getting printed

11

LEARNING BY HEART Exploring WCU’s Grandparents University program

23 BARTENDER OF THE MONTH

A quick chat with Samantha Amato from Side Bar & Restaurant

27

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE VEP bridges the cultural and communications gap for immigrants

37 STUDENT OF THE MONTH

Meet 13-year-old honor student and dedicated dancer Janis Bady

41

CHESTER COUNTY NIGHT SCHOOL Checking in with the best place to explore your curiosities

53 CAN’T-MISS MAY EVENTS

Our guide to what’s going on this month

55 PHOTO HUNT

Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

3


4

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

This year, in response to the innumerable threats against good American journalism, I decided it was time that I do my patriotic duty and subscribe to a newspaper. I debated supporting something local (I’d read a report showing a clear correlation between the closure of local newspapers and an increase in local government corruption), but then I hit my three-article limit four months in a row at washingtonpost.com and was prompted to “try 1 month for $1,” so I did. Then the news podcast I listen to each morning, The Daily, began suggesting that I subscribe to the New York Times, since they produce the show and make all the reporting possible. Between that and my girlfriend Morgan’s desire for greater access to NYT Cooking, I opted to sign up for a subscription there too... and dropped the extra $5 a week to get the Sunday mailed to my house. An unexpected boon of that second subscription has been unfettered access to the New York Times crosswords... all of ‘em. I get the alert each day when a new puzzle is available, and if I torch through that before finishing my morning coffee I’ll dive into the archives. Whenever I’ve got a spare eight minutes, I cue up a Monday puzzle and try to beat my best time. I Initially struggled with what to write about for the education issue. I’m 10 years out of college and the closest I’ve come to a classroom in the last decade is the language-learning app, Duolingo, which I used to practice Russian while I was on the toilet. But then Morgan said, “Why don’t you write about the NYT crosswords” and proceeded to convince me that I was learning and that the puzzles were educational. “Maybe you can even say something about how these questions finally let you use that liberal arts degree,” she chided. Bad joke aside, she really hit on something: as much as I’ve always been an unruly student, I definitely love learning. That realization goes a long way toward explaining how I settled on the feature stories we’re telling this month. We’ve gone in-depth examining educational outlets that people engage with, not because they have to, but because they want to. From Grandparents University at WCU, to Chester County Night School and the Volunteer English Program, all the organizations we explore this month are about helping people better themselves by engaging with ongoing education. Even the realization that I’m learning hasn’t completely ruined the fun of crosswords for me. Just a few months ago I wouldn’t look at a puzzle published after Wednesday, but last week I polished off Friday in 45:14. I’ve mastered all the basics — the weird words that make recurring appearances, like epee, and tsar and hockey legend Bobby Orr — and have learned that an ankh is an Egyptian symbol for life, that Eroica was Beethoven’s third symphony, and that some dude named Meese was Reagan’s attorney general. While I’m not sure I’m quite ready to step back into a classroom or a dorm, I’m content to continue my education one square at a time. —dan@thewcpress.com

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

5


6

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


@thewcpress #thewcpress Like and follow us on social media, then tag us in your posts for a chance get your work published here. Our favorite image each month (ď‚Ť) will earn its photographer a gift card to @barnabyswc.

@beermillwc

@brickstonewc

@rightbalance_nutrition

ď‚Ť

@roots_cafe

@hutchins_photo

@ryancorneliusphoto

@couturegrounds

@freckled_footage


8

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

As most of my friends know all too well, I follow a vegan diet. It was only a few short years ago that, for folks like me on a vegan diet, cuisine choices were slim to none, with flimsy salads and rubbery Portobello’s slapped on a bun my only option, but West Chester has really stepped up its game. Now the borough has something for every meal — bagels at Country Bagel, everything from Love Again Local and Liquid Eatery, pizza at Couch Tomato, gelato from Gemelli’s, the list goes on. Recently, on a dinner date with my mom, a West Chester staple stood out as one of the best vegan dinners I’ve had in an omnivorous restaurant, and I am here to share the secret. The Original Spence Café, and chef Andrew Patten, were well known in the West Chester food scene years ago. After a brief hiatus, Patten made his return and took over the former home of The Three Little Pigs. Before heading in, I called ahead to see if there would be something for me to eat, as the menu is not vegan friendly. I was assured that I would not go home hungry. On arrival, the chef came out and asked a few questions. I gave him creative freedom to throw together whatever he wanted and was not disappointed. I started with a cashew cheese board, followed by zoodles and lentil meatballs, ending with a date dessert. Every course was delightful. It’s refreshing to know that I can go out to dinner and not be limited to a few sparse courses that leave me unsatisfied and annoyed that I didn’t just make myself dinner. Last month my husband and I went on our annual river cruise trip, this time aboard the Crystal Mozart on the Danube. From past experience, I was prepared to go hungry for a week. Historically, vegan offerings during travel are not as easy to come by. As much as I love travel, I find myself longing for my own kitchen where I can let the creative juices flow. On a ship with 150 plus guests, my diet is usually an afterthought to the chef. Planning ahead, I made reservations at the Michelin restaurant Tian in Vienna prior to boarding the ship in hopes of having at least one amazing meal while I was away, and Tian blew us away. Three omnis joined me, and no one longed for a burger after our eight-course lunch. The flavors were a party in our mouths and the chef proved that vegan/vegetarian food can be just as good (or in my opinion, better) than a hunk of flesh. As much as we loved that dinner, it wasn’t even necessary: Crystal exceeded my every expectation. As soon as I entered the dining room, the pastry chef approached to review ingredient substitutes. Blue Bar & Grill had a house-made vegan burger and vegan pizza available 24 hours a day through room service. Every dinner was thoughtful and delicious. Food nourishes our bodies, facilitates sharing and comradery between friends, and helps us open our minds to new cultures. Whether you take your taste buds on a journey locally at The Original Spence Café, experience true food art at Tian in Vienna, or are cruising the European rivers with Crystal, make sure to eat well; it’s all part of the journey! —jjones@thewcpress.com

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

9


10

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Learning by Heart

West Chester University’s Grandparents University program puts family learning in the spotlight by Kelly Murray MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

11


12

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


n the world of cinema, stories of adults going back to college have graced the silver screen for decades. Just last year, Melissa McCarthy brought her signature slapstick to the box office with Life of the Party, a female-driven farce that follows dejected and newly-dumped housewife Deanna as she enrolls in college to finish her degree alongside her daughter. Then there’s the little known 1960 Bing Crosby film High Time where the Old Hollywood crooner plays 51-year old Harvey Howard, a self-made businessman who decides to enroll in college to earn the bachelor’s degree he never acquired. Crosby’s Howard gets the full college experience—along with the musical numbers typically found in classic sixties cinema.

I

Perhaps the most iconic back-to-school film is Rodney Dangerfield’s raucous comedy aptly titled, well… Back to School. In the eighties classic, self-made millionaire Thornton Mellon enrolls in the fictional Grand Lakes University with the intention of helping his son Jason who’s been struggling to find his stride in school. This movie is all eighties chutzpah; full of lightning-quick one-liners from Dangerfield, a scene-stealing Sam Kinison, and a clever cameo from author Kurt Vonnegut. While they all have a distinct style and tone, and despite the decade’s difference in release

dates, the common thread of each movie is their portrayal of the redemptive parent-returning-to-college archetype told through the lens of comedy. Sure, college can be a weird and wild place, and returning as a middle-aged or older student is apt to bring some comic awkwardness. However, at Grandparents University, the annual summer program hosted by West Chester University, the idea of older adults returning to college is hardly a laughing matter. Instead, the annual three-day curriculum, designed for grandparents to attend classes on campus with their grandchildren, conjures up scenes of heartwarming memories rather than overthe-top on-campus hijinks. (Well, there may be some hijinks, of course, but likely not the usual college campus kind.) Established in 2011, Grandparents University has been providing a unique way for grandparents and their grandchildren to learn together for nearly a decade. It is open to University faculty, staff, and the public, and participants are given the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the collegiate campus experience. Held at WCU’s main campus, the program lasts for three days and two nights. During this time, participants can live in one of the University’s residence halls, enjoy meals

...the annual three-day curriculum, designed for grandparents to attend classes on campus with their grandchildren, conjures up scenes of heartwarming memories... at an on-campus dining hall, attend class, and even take part in entertainment and activities in the evening. For families who wish to sleep in the comfort of their own home, there is also a non-residence hall registration option. At the end of the program, participants are invited to attend a graduation ceremony to receive diplomas marking the completion of their courses. Families are welcome to attend the graduation ceremony and join in the celebration. Grandparents University has proven to be both an innovative and impactful program, as both a course curriculum that creates space for family members of different generations to learn and collaborate together, and an outreach effort serving as a way for the University to connect with the local community. It benefits those on

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

13


14

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


both sides of the classroom: prospective students — from both the younger and older generations — can get an idea of what attending the University will be like, and the course instructors get to teach a class that’s a bit of a departure from their regular academic routine. Created by Mary Braz, a former faculty member at the Department of Communication and Media at WCU, the program drew inspiration from Michigan State University’s (MSU) inter-generational learning program of the same name. Braz discovered MSU’s Grandparent’s University program while earning her PhD there and was inspired to start a similar program at West Chester. Although Braz has since moved on from her position at WCU, the program she founded continues to operate as an annual staple at the University. In its early days, Grandparents University consisted of many courses based in media and communications with Braz having reached out to her department colleagues to cultivate and teach a majority of the classes. Faculty who offered a class one year were invited to offer a class the following year as well, and as the program grew in participation and popularity, it has evolved from there. Since the program is always looking for interesting courses that will appeal to both grandparents and their grandchildren alike, and stays attuned to the interest and availability of faculty, its course offerings shift and change from year to year. Now approaching its ninth year, the 2019 Grandparents University program offers sixteen courses from which participants can choose. This year’s program is scheduled take place from June 24th to June 27th and has been developed with a focus on the visual and performing arts. Many of the courses cover a range of artistic mediums including fine art, media, and theater. In the interest of fully diverse offerings, the sciences are represented as well, with classes that explore topics in engineering, geography and anthropology. Fitness and activity classes are also available where participants can partake in adventure-based “team challenge” classes and even take part in workshops that explore the practices of yoga and mindfulness. The program’s flagship course, Create Your Own Newscast, has been offered since the early beginnings of Grandpar-

ents University. A subject appropriately rooted in media and communications, it offers insights into television production and invites participants to “see how the pros do it.” The grandparents and kids ge t to work together to write, produce, and direct their own television news production. Taught by Dr. Michael Boyle, PhD., a professor in the Department of Communication and Media, the course offers participants the opportunity to work both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Students can look through a professional-grade camera, read from a teleprompter, and even serve as the director

The program’s flagship course, Create Your Own Newscast, has been offered since the early beginnings of Grandparents University. of the production. Boyle has been teaching the course since the program first started and finds that the experience is not only personally enriching but enhances the overall classroom experience. “The grandchildren are typically quite energetic and excited to play with the equipment and get in front of the camera.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

15


16

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


The grandparents tend to be a bit more relaxed but are nonetheless really into it because in most cases they haven't been behind the scenes in a television studio,” Dr. Boyle explains. “It’s easy for people to relate to the course because everyone has at least seen a movie or television show. This gives them a chance to see how those things get made.” In addition to the hands-on interactivity of the courses, the program also creates the chance for unconventional experiences. “One year the grandkids interviewed their grandparents and it was really cool to see them interacting in that way,” shared Dr. Boyle. Seeing this type of interaction certainly speaks to the greater impact the courses have on the family members attending the program; that sense of familial connection rings through in other classes as well. A relatively new course, Ancestry DNA, A Family Affair, taught by Dr. Anita Foeman, Professor of Communication and Media, explores the geographical path the human race took across the globe and how physical and cultural characteristics are carried from generation to generation. As part of the session, grandparents and

kids will create a heritage box that includes a human migration map that they can fill in with their own family information. It’s activities like these that transform the program from a purely academic endeavor to an enriching and rewarding one. For Dr. Boyle, introducing the participants to the unique methodologies of television production isn’t the only rewarding aspect of teaching at Grandparents University. It gives him the opportunity to cultivate learning in different generations. And while the age gap in the classroom is certainly a refreshing aspect of the program, it’s not the main focus. “Whether you are teaching college students, grandchildren, or grandparents, it's about making the course content relatable, fun and interesting,” says Boyle, “You approach this a bit differently with college students than you do with eight- to 12-year-olds, but the core premise is still the same: try to make learning fun.” That fun isn’t limited to the classroom. Beyond the course curriculum, the program also offers a variety of interactive activities and evening entertainment. Budding adventurers can pair up with

...participants can partake in adventure-based “team challenge” classes and even take part in workshops that explore the practices of yoga and mindfulness. seasoned explorers and learn about the University through exploring Main Campus during an interactive scavenger hunt. Knowledge junkies can compete in a Disney trivia Jeopardy tournament. West Chester University’s mascot Rammy even makes an annual visit to the program for a meet-and-greet and photo op. And for the creatively competitive, a Who Has Talent? talent show is a great way to get on stage and flex their performance skills. With its diverse course curriculum, activities, and committed course instructors, it’s no surprise that Grandparents University has grown over the years and welcomes many repeat registrants. For Eryn Travis, an instructor in the Department of

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

17


18

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


...shining the spotlight on newly discovered onscreen stars — grandparents and grandchildren alike — right here in the heart of West Chester. Communication and Media, the program became somewhat of an annual tradition for her family. “My children Andrew and Caroline attended for many years. The first year we didn’t attend was last year,” shared Travis, who also taught a public speaking course for GPU. “We had the kids write speeches about their grandparents. It was really neat to see them outside of their comfort zone.” “Sometimes kids can learn best when their parents aren’t around; there’s a level of patience and perspective that grandparents have that makes a difference,” explained Travis, “My dad actually taught a class on Smartphone Photography.” For my granddaughter, it was just cool to see her pop-pop as a teacher. Caroline, who attended with her grandfather, loved the feeling of autonomy while on campus. “It made you feel like you were a college kid and made you feel like you had a lot of independence,” said Caroline, “I liked walking around going to the classes and the dining hall; it surprised me how big the campus was actually.” In addition to exploring campus, Caroline’s favorite course was the Flight Class where she learned how airplanes take off and land. When asked how she would rate Grandparents University overall on a scale from one to 10, she exuberantly answered “11.” If an 11/10 student rating is any indication of the program’s success, a teacher’s perspective will surely back it up. In reflecting on his work with Grandparents University, Dr. Boyle shared, “I've greatly enjoyed teaching the Create Your Own Newscast course since the inception of the program. I see it as pretty cool that part of my job is to help people learn about television production and to get them excited about what

goes on behind the scenes of a live television show. A bonus on top is that what we help families grow by giving grandparents and grandchildren an opportunity to learn and have fun together. To be part of that — and see them laugh and get excited about what we do — is a really special thing.” So, while we’ll leave the wisecracks and slapstick scenarios about the college experience to the cinematic legacies of our treasured comedic actors, it’s safe to say that the experience at Grandparents University is not without a belly laugh or two. From the grandparents, to the children, to the instructors, no matter the age or occu-

pation, Grandparents University proves to be a fun, fulfilling summer camp program that bridges the gap between generations through new ways of learning, shared wisdom, and hands-on experience, maybe even shining the spotlight on newly discovered onscreen stars — grandparents and grandchildren alike — right here in the heart of West Chester. Grandparents University is currently open for registration until June 7, 2019. Those interested in enrolling can visit the program webpage at wcupa.edu/gpu or call (610-436-2813) for more information.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

19


20

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Home

Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at homebeccanomics.com

Beccanomics

As a former high school cooking teacher, culinary education’s been a long-standing passion. Cooking with kids (though often exasperating) involves an unparalleled level of excitement. Chocolate mousse is my son’s most frequent request and involves a bit of “science.” Toss that in a hamper witht his chicken, and you’ve got a delicious picnic. bboyd@thewcpress.com Light Lemony Chicken Salad - serves 6 3 large chicken breasts 1 c. finely diced celery 4 c. chicken broth 1/2 red onion, finely diced zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp. chopped parsley 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp. chopped basil 1 tbsp. wine vinegar 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1/4 c. Greek lowfat, plain yogurt 1/2 tsp. salt (and more to taste) 1/4 c. light mayonnaise 1/2 c. slivered, toasted almonds

1. Put chicken in large sauce pan and cover with chicken broth. If chicken is not covered completely by broth, add water until chicken is submerged. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Add to large bowl. 2. Meanwhile, whisk zest, juice, olive oil and vinegar together until smooth. Add yogurt and mayo and whisk until smooth. Set aside. 3. Add veggies to chicken in bowl. Add dressing on top and mix. 4. Add herbs and salt and pepper. Taste. Add salt as needed. Stir in almonds. 5. Serve on a sandwich or a bed of greens. Dark Chocolate Mousse - serves 8 1 c. whole milk Big pinch salt 4 large egg yolks Whipped Cream 1/2 c. sugar, divided 2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips 1 c. heavy whipping cream 2 tbsp. sugar 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. vanilla 8 large egg whites

1. Whisk milk, egg yolks and 1/4 c. sugar (half of the total amount) in a small saucepan until blended. 2. Stir mixture with wooden spoon over low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon, but do not let the mixture bubble or boil. This should take between 7 and 10 minutes. 3. Turn off heat and add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. 4. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). 5. Beat egg whites and salt with whisk attachment of electric mixer until frothy. 6. Gradually add remaining 1/4 c. sugar to egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. 7. Fold whites into cooled chocolate mixture in three additions. 8. Pour mousse into serving cups (small mason jars, demitasse cups or custard cups will all work), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours (or up to 1 day ahead). 9. To whip cream for serving, put 1 c. cold heavy cream and 2 tbsp. sugar into a medium bowl and beat with whisk attachment of electric mixer until mixture becomes thick. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and continue until mixture forms soft peaks. – MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

21


22

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Bartender

of the Month PHOTO Amy Tucker INTERVIEW Courtney Potts

Samantha Amato from Side Bar & Restaurant shares the secrets of bartending success What’s your favorite part about working at Sidebar? I’ve been here for such a long time now, and I would definitely say it’s the people I work with and the regulars who come in. I feel like they are part of my family at this point. I see the same people, and I know everything about them. I know what they like to drink, what their pets’ names are, how many kids they have — it makes it a lot easier coming into work knowing that I’ll see people I like. Who would you say is your “rideor-die” coworker that you couldn’t see working without? Definitely Brandon. He hired me almost four years ago, as a

server. We’ve developed a pretty special bond. He’s actually leaving in two weeks, which breaks my heart. What makes working here different? I learned very quickly about beer; I didn’t know much. Being at a craft beer bar, I had to know before I could sell. My coworkers and bosses taught me very well. What do you think makes you successful as a bartender? I am very sociable and love to talk to people. Most of the time I can’t stop talking. I think that communicating is a huge part of bartending. Of course we serve them drinks, but we also get to know them. We listen to their days, and listen to their problems — I tell them my problems, and I basically spend the whole day joking around and connecting with people. It’s a good time. I feel like you make it easy for people to open up to you. Yes, and getting people out of their comfort zone, opening their minds to try new beers that they wouldn’t have tried before. One of the best things about this bar is being able to give them samples of beer that I think they’d like. You can’t really do that with food.

Do you have any good memories you’d like to share? Every year we have a golf outing to raise money for cancer patients in Chester County, followed by an after party. A few years back, during the after party, I put one of my coworkers on my back and squatted her. When it’s really warm out, would you rather be serving outside on the patio or tending bar? That’s such a tough question. I love being behind the bar — I feel like my personality comes out most here. But during patio season, I love putting treats in my apron for the dogs outside. The customers love it, and the dogs love it, too. I would definitely take a serving shift outside in the summer time any day! Understandable. What’s your favorite shift? My Tuesday’s are fantastic. We have quizzo at 9pm. We get a lot of the same families every week, bartenders from other bars, and regular friend groups. Jim Dewey has been coming in for years now; he’s pretty much the reigning champion of quizzo. It’s just a blast; I’ve met some of my closest friends on Tuesday nights, and I probably wouldn’t have ever met them otherwise.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

23


24

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Making a Difference

Each month the Rotary Club of West Chester contributes a column exploring the organizations that are making a difference in our community. You have heard about all of the great things that Rotary does around the world — clean water and sanitation projects, literacy programs, and all but eradicating polio (we are this close). You know about the great work done by Rotarians at home — raising thousands of dollars for local non-profits, funding scholarships for local youths and providing leadership for organizations throughout the county. You may also have heard about the great fellowship among the local clubs — there are four different Rotary Clubs in West Chester, including the largest and most active one in the tri-state area. You have thought about becoming a Rotarian, but for whatever reason, you are unable to commit… at least right now. Nevertheless, you still want like to make a difference. How about entering a chili team in the 17th Annual West Chester Chili Cook-Off? This year’s event will be held in downtown West Chester on Sunday October 13. Not sure where to start? First you need to figure out what type of team you want to be; there are four categories: Restaurants, Businesses, Non-Profit, and Hometown Cooks (teams composed of family, friends, neighbors or just like-minded chili connoisseurs). Next you need a recipe. Why not hold an internal cook-off among team members? Use the winning recipe and annoint that cook Head Chili Poobah. Don’t forget to pick a theme. Prizes are awarded for best decorated booth. It might be hard to top perennial teams like Hammacher and Schlemmer, who show up each year decked out in lederhosen or the Parrot Trooper men who proudly sport grass skirts and coconut bras, but you can try. Now for the meat of the event: cooking. With 8,000 folks wandering the streets, you are going to want to make a lot. Rotary asks that you make at least 10 gallons. Restaurants or bigger teams make up to 40 gallons! The more people who try your chili, the better chance you have at the coveted People’s Choice Award. The volunteers who manage the event work closely with the Chester County Board of Health to ensure that nobody gets ill and everyone has a great time. There are two ways to prepare your chili. You can bring all the raw ingredients to the cook-off and prepare it right there on the street, kind of like tailgating, or you can use a licensed commercial kitchen to make your chili ahead of time. For restaurants, that is easy. Commercial kitchens can also be found in many churches, firehouses, and non-profit facilities. The event staff has a list of approved kitchens willing to let you cook. Another great idea is to partner with another organization; perhaps your business and your favorite non-profit can co-host a team. It’s a great way to promote your business, support your cause, and team build in both of your organizations. While being a chili team is not for the faint of heart — it is hard work and there is some expense in the cost of the ingredients and decorations (the entry fee is nominal and refundable if you register early enough) — it can be ultra-rewarding and incredibly fun. It is a tremendous way to be part of the West Chester community and help Rotary Make a Difference. –rotary@thewcpress.com You can register your team at westchesterchilicookoff.com

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

25


26

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


VEP bridges the cultural and communications gap for immigrants

BY MICHAEL LYNCH


28

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


©Rachael Lassoff

Y

ears ago, as an undergraduate studying at West Chester University, I was enrolled in a political science course which focused on Latin American politics. To satisfy a portion of the final grade for the class, our professor offered us a unique option to participate in the Chester County Volunteer English Program, which involved providing one-onone instruction to people in the community learning English as a second language. I thought it sounded like an interesting opportunity to volunteer, as well as to gain some valuable teaching experience, so I jumped at the chance to do something new. At the time, my abilities in speaking Spanish sounded more like Spanglish, but I was reassured that I did not necessarily need to be fluent in another language in order to become an instructor. I completed the training process and was then paired with a young man from Guatemala to meet with once a week. My student was already speaking English at an advanced level, so our tutoring sessions mainly focused on the more abstract concepts in the English language, such as idioms—expressions whose meaning is

not predictable from the usual VEP tutors Norman and Marla meanings of its individual words. Although my student Fienman (center) with student and I were able to communi- Pablo Rodriguez and Commissioners cate with each other effort- Kichline and Farrell. lessly, I quickly discovered how challenging it can be to explain the English language learners to provide onemeanings behind expressions like “time on-one tutoring and cultural enrichment flies,” “actions speak louder than words,” that empowers immigrants to be successor “raining cats and dogs” to a non-native ful. English-speaking person. Nonetheless, my The story of the Chester County Volunstudent and I were able to successfully teer English Program begins in 1986, when complete our various workbooks together fourteen members of the Calvary Lutheran (and we may have shared a couple cer- Church in West Chester uncovered a vezas in the process). The whole experi- growing need for the teaching of English as ence was a pleasant surprise, and I never a second language to adult immigrants in knew that taking a college class would Chester County. This small band of volunleave such a lasting impression. teers, led by Mrs. June Hamilton, a ChesToday, as a college professor myself, my professional world places a high value on service to the community, on empowering those in need with the necessary tools to become fully-functioning participants in society. The Chester County Volunteer English Program is an organization that perfectly captures this spirit of service to others, as it connects those who want to give back to their communities with adult

ter County resident and educator, became known as the Volunteer English Program (VEP). Thirty-three years later, VEP continues to be the only non-profit organization in Chester County that is exclusively committed to the mission of providing private English language, cultural immersion, and citizenship tutoring for immigrants and refugees who live in or work in the Chester County area.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

29


30

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


©Tessa Marie Images

The highest concentration of active students live in West Chester (26%), followed by Coatesville (18%), and Phoenixville (15%). Students ages range from 18 to 80+ years, all with an eagerness to acquire or improve their English language skills and their understanding of U.S. culture so that they may achieve their personal goals such as sustainable employment, financial stability, and civic engagement. VEP students represent 50 countries from 11 regions of the world and speak 37 different languages. Presently, 78% of VEP students are women and 22% are men, with a median age of 43. More than half reported full or part-time employment, with many students holding multiple jobs in order to sustain a living, while 49% reported low-income levels based on Federal Poverty Guidelines. An increasing number of students live along Route 202, Route 3, and Route 30 corridors, from Exton to the Main Line, from West Chester to Phoenixville and points south. VEP is 100% philanthropically supported; services are delivered without any state or federal funding. Tutors, volunteers

and in-kind contributions add close to $300,000 to fund its operational budget. The organization relies on its volunteers, local and regional foundations, local rotaries, congregations, and service groups for support in order to offer all program services. VEP is governed by a 14-member volunteer board of Directors, as well as a nine-person Advisory Council who represent the Chester County community and share their expert knowledge in the fields of English as an International Language, higher education, information technology, finance, banking law, in addition to private and nonprofit business management. Terri Potrako is VEP’s current Executive Director, and her primary responsibilities include organizational leadership, community partner outreach, strategic program and resource development. Terri began her involvement with the organization as a tutor and became VEP’s fourth executive director in 2013. “A colleague of mine was serving on the VEP Board when the search opened for the new director as my predecessor was retiring. My background in non-profit health care administration, development, and community relations

VEP Executive Director Terri Potrako were the skills that the organization needed to advance their strategic vision,” she explained. Terri shared some insights regarding the volume of students the organization works with annually, as well as numerous student and instructor success stories. “We average 200 or more served every year. Some students remain involved for several years as they work through their personal and professional goals. Over 33 years, we’ve tutored thousands of students,” she said. During the last two years, Terri and the staff at VEP have experienced a surge in inquiries and student requests, as individuals continue to respond to the shift in the broader U.S. political climate. At a point when national attention on issues concerning immigration has generated great uncertainty, the sense of urgency among Chester County residents has driven the wait list for an instructor to more than 150 students – many of whom are currently waiting nearly 10 months to

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

31


32

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


©Laura Mikowychok get matched with a tutor. This past Gina Hernandez is a long-time VEP student, a recently naturalized year, VEP matched and mentored 123 new students, resulting in more citizen and a great VEP amabassador. Her tutor, Connie Partridge than 600 individuals for over 10,000 is a former VEP board member has tutored for 16 years. hours of language instruction. At VEP, their practice of weekly, goal-oriNorman and Marla both agree that their Norman’s student has been living in ented tutoring leads to students’ improved the U.S. for 17 years and resides in Ches- connections with the students go well employment-readiness skills, greater edu- ter County with his wife and four children. beyond the student-instructor dynamic. cational attainment, the ability to navigate Their oldest daughter, a DACA recipi- Although the Fienmans are from different institutional settings for their children, and ent, is currently majoring in chemistry at generations and cultures than their stuenhanced personal safety for themselves West Chester University. Norman also dents, they have become more than just and their families. mentioned that he was recently matched their tutors—they are now great friends. Dr. Norman and Mrs. Marla Fienman with a second student, who moved here Norman discussed how becoming an are prime examples of the dedicated vol- three years ago and is seeking to improve instructor has been an eye-opening expeunteers that make VEP possible. Both his conversational English while working rience for him. “Tutoring has opened a retired, they decided to set about on a new as an Uber driver. Norman disclosed that whole new world for me,” he said. “Yes, we adventure of teaching non-native English his student arrived in the U.S. because of teach our students English literature, writthe economic and political instability in his language students. ing and grammar, but we as tutors learn so Marla had learned about the program home country. “He’s from Venezuela, and much from our students. We learn how through a friend and was able to con- he came to this country because of what’s much more complex their lives are comvince her husband to enroll in the training happening there,” he said. pared to our own. They have to blend Marla’s student came to the U.S. nearly workshop with her in the fall of 2016. The native and American culture while keeping Fienmans were each paired with a student 30 years ago, a few years after her mother their heritage alive for their children.” from Mexico and continue to meet with arrived, and recently became a citizen. She Cases such as the Fienmans are not them twice a week at a tutoring space lives in West Chester with her husband generously donated by organizations such and three children, all of whom speak uncommon, and VEP is in no short supply as Fulton Bank and the Chester County Spanish at home. Their oldest daughter is of student success stories. Former student Edilson commented on how the program a DACA recipient and a college student. Library System.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

33


Enroll your child in Chester County Family Academy Charter School today... ...and reward your family with all of the following benefits and offerings:

• Full-day kindergarten through 2nd grade • FREE tuition • Student transportation to and from school provided by your home district

• An extended school year, as well as an

extended school day (8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.)

• A curriculum directly aligned with the

common core standards that also includes special activities, such as violin lessons, karate, swimming, yoga, etc.

• A special summer enrichment program sponsored by the Believe & Achieve Foundation

For more information or to enroll, please contact: Chester County Family Academy Charter School 530 East Union Street • West Chester, PA 19382 (610) 696-5910 • ccfacademy@comcast.net www.ccfaschool.org

34

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


©Laura Mikowychok has had a far-reaching effect on his and his family’s life. “Before VEP, I had difficulty with words that made it hard for other people to understand me. It has helped my wife and me a lot, in our jobs and in our general lives. My tutor has changed our lives a lot,” he said. Another student, Mariana, commented on her sense of self-empowerment that came with learning English through the program. “Any person who chooses to live and work in a country must learn to speak the language of that country,” she said. “I think that is most important for everyone, because you need to communicate so you can attend a school, you can get a good job, you can have friends. The fact that I know how to write, read and speak in English is proof that VEP had a huge contribution to my life and my family.” Other students who have worked through VEP reported that the program has not only been central to their learning of the English language, but it has also helped them achieve bigger life goals. For many immigrants, learning English is often only one of many steps toward accomplishing greater, long-term objectives.

Roberta, a 38-year Alex Ihnatisiuk (facing camera), was a old from Mexico, has lived in the U.S. for recent VEP gust speaker who spoke to more 16 years. She and her than 160 guests at the Desmond Hotel. tutor have been working together for the past two years and the very vision of the Volunteer English Roberta recently passed the U.S. Citizen- Program. The organization remains comship test, meeting her lifelong ambition. mitted to providing affordable and accesDaniel, a 25-year-old from Costa Rica, sible services by welcoming immigrants worked as a handyman and took classes wherever they are on the path of literacy before he was matched with a VEP tutor. and English proficiency—regardless of He is now employed by a furniture maker/ income or residency status. Not only does contractor and studying to become a VEP’s model provide essential support to commercial airline pilot. Janice, 52 years all of their students, but especially to the old, was a former kindergarten teacher in 55% who self-report incomes at or below China and has been working to improve established poverty levels. her English-speaking skills through a VEP Undoubtedly, our community has been tutor and by joining the local Toastmasenriched in countless ways by the generters Club. Janice was recently hired by a ous efforts made by the tutors who selflocal school district. Premisa, a 24-yearlessly donate their time through the Volold from Albania, came to the U.S. with a unteer English Program, motivated by the degree in Social Work and currently works idea that they can change the world, one at a local grocery store. Wishing to get a person at a time — and starting right here better job, she is now enrolled at Delaware in Chester County. County Community College and volunteering in her local community. The testimonies of these current and former students clearly underscore the spirit of generosity and openness that is

For more information on how to support or get involved with the Chester County Volunteer English Program, visit volunteerenglish.org.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

35


36

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Student

of the Month PHOTO C.C. Wolfe Photography INTERVIEW Courtney Potts

13-year-old honor student Janis Bady shares her experience at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School and beyond. How is PALCS different from other public schools? It’s an online, cyber school. I can pull up their website and log in under my username to take all my lessons online. My dashboard shows me my courses, any announcements, and my calendar. My calendar shows me all the lessons, along with what we will learn next. In addition to the online component, you can apply to join the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. CPFA is an onsight school where students can take theater, music, and art. I am in the CPFA program. Can you focus on just one of the genres? Students can take up to three classes of the same genre, but the fourth class has to be different, to expand our knowledge within the arts. My main focus is dance. Middle school has integrated arts, that focuses on a different topic each year. This year, we are learning about how African Americans contributed and influenced music, art, theater and dance. What happens if you don’t understand a lesson? How would you seek help? PALCS has certified teachers that work there. They have office hours, homework help, and tutoring available through their online classrooms. How are you doing in school? Pretty Good. I’ve been on the honor roll since my first year here. I started in first grade, and I’m in seventh grade now. What do you like most about PALCS? My favorite part is the flexibility of it. I don’t have to set time aside, where I have to be doing school. I also like that we have the option to go back and retake any of the lessons. In public school, you take a quiz, and it’s one and done. With PALCS, you have two attempts where you can go back through the textbook to get a better understanding, and then retake the quiz for a better score. You have the chance to master the material.

Do you dance outside of the CPFA? For six years, I’ve been dancing at Balance Dance Center in Exton. I’ve been there since they first opened up. Miss Michelle Leininger was one of my first teachers. She is also the owner and director of the studio. How many hours do you spend at Balance Dance Center? I’m there for about 12-14 hours a week. I take ballet, lyrical and hip hop classes, but I’m also in two different groups called the BDC Junior Company and 1 Luv Hip Hop Crew. Between taking all the classes and regular rehearsal, it can

add up. Dance teaches you more than just how to move your body; it teaches you real life lessons, and discipline as well. What is your biggest accomplishment? I had the opportunity to audition for the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive in New York. I am honored to be one of about 200 accepted into this program out of the 600 dancers around the country who auditioned. I remember feeling so overwhelmed the whole time, worrying if I was good enough to even audition. Getting accepted was a dream come true.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

37


38

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Real (Estate) Talk Realtors Brad Moore and Alison Maguire of Keller Williams Real Estate’s Moore Maguire Group take a look at the borough’s booming market

The biggest misconception we encounter is from folks who think they need to save 20% before they can buy, but the reality is that there are many options that will allow you to purchase a property with much less. Buyers who put down less than 20% are often faced with an insurance payment to secure their loan. Known as private mortgage insurance (PMI), many institutions charge a fee of around 1% . So, say you only save up about $10,000 to buy a $250,000 home. You could purchase it with as little as 3.5% down, and your mortgage would have an added PMI fee of around $200 tacked on each month. There are also options that enable a buyer to avoid those fees. Rather than charging a PMI, these lender-specific loans charge a slightly higher interest rate — usually between a 0.025-0.0125% increase. This almost always amounts to less than you’d pay in PMI, and it comes with added tax benefits: you can deduct up to $10,000/year in mortgage interest from your primary residence. The first such program, the Community Reinvestment Act, is developed to help banks meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods as a way to facilitate positive growth in those areas. Each property needs to be analyzed based on census data, but if the home qualifies, we can help you purchase with as little as 3.5% down and no PMI. We’ve also helped owners secure conventional loans with 5% down. While not confined to specific areas, there are still qualifiers, primarily related to finances. If you only put down 5%, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 and a maximum debt-toincome ratio of 43% to avoid PMI. So a person earning $50,000/ year would need to be making payments — including mortgage, auto, student loans, etc. — totaling less than $1,800/month. For folks interested in bigger investments, we’ve worked to secure jumbo loans — any where the amount borrowed exceeds $484,350 — with as little as 10% down (and no PMI). Typically, loans of this size require 20%, but if you have a credit score above 680, you have options that allow you to put down less. Another situation we often encounter is with someone looking to move, but most of their capital is tied up in their home. These buyers worry about first selling before buying their next place. However, we often suggest they look into a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which lets you borrow against your home, often up to 85% of its value, and use it as a down payment to secure a new property before selling your old one. Qualifiers and fees are involved, but often these costs amount to less than that of storage, temporary housing and moving twice. Consider the added convenience, and a HELOC quickly becomes an attractive option. Of course, the decision of how much to put down relies on a large number of factors, so we always suggest that you examine all your options. Just because you can put 3.5% down and buy a property doesn’t always mean it’s the best option for you. Still, when it comes to the question of, “Do I need to put 20% down?,” the answer is clearly, “No.” –realtalk@thewcpress.com

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

39


40

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Life Lessons Chester County Night School sparks students of both traditional and nontraditional learning. by Kate Chadwick


42

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


If

the old adage is true, you’re supposed to learn something new every day. And if you’re paying attention at all in this life, you really do. But can you learn something new every night? The answer to that is, “Yes, you absolutely can.” Whether it’s academic, professional, or just for fun, Chester County Night School is here to help you do it, and they have been doing so since 1955.

world in which we now find ourselves, there’s also an interest in slowing down and getting back to the basics (backyard chicken and egg production, anyone?). Chester County Night School strives to meet these twin needs for area students of various ages, walks of life and degrees of education, because the path to learning — both traditional and non — is a lifelong one. And for many local learners, that path leads to CCNS.

Once upon a time, school was just for kids and education took a fairly straight line, consisting of a rote schedule of reading/writing/’rithmatic, kindergarten-through-8, followed by high school, then college or trade school, and possibly postgraduate education. Or, for those not inclined to book learning, foregoing higher education altogether to plunge right into the workforce. But in today’s Information Age, learning opportunities are all around us, from online college course offerings to learning languages on your phone, to YouTube instructionals on how to properly brine a Thanksgiving turkey. At the same time, because of this high-tech, fast-paced

Like a lot of great ideas, the concept for the night school was hatched at a kitchen table. Bill Mitman, Sr. and his wife Doris were interested local citizens. Together with some brainstorming friends, they started and operated the night school out of a garage, drafting and typing (on a typewriter!) the first catalog. It boasted 15 practical course offerings such as shorthand, typing, bookkeeping, and — why not? — lampshade making. “They thought it was a shame that the schools sat empty at night — back then they didn't have as many student after-school activities,” according to CCNS co-director Jill Johnson. “They felt that Chester County

residents should have the opportunity to learn and experience the schools the same way that the kids did.” The Mitmans were concerned, not only as Chester County residents, but also as taxpayers. “They felt that the schools would benefit from opening their doors to the taxpayers so that they were being fully utilized.” Apparently, the Mitmans’ interest in the Chester County Night School was passed down, as their son Bill, a local attorney, continued their mission by serving on the CCNS Board for over two decades. Now, 64 years later, the CCNS sends out 175,000 catalogs twice per year to Chester County residents, and they serve nearly 6,000 students annually. The courses have ranged over the years from the practical (Photoshop), to the esoteric (blacksmithing), to the mystical (dream interpretation), to the whimsical (A Capella Singing Camp for kids), to a variety of fitness classes — the current Rowing the Schuylkill River offering is full as of press time, sadly. Although night schools have always traditionally been aimed at adults, a peek at the

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

43


44

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


CCNS website shows an ever-changing list of options, with classes for both adults and kids, as their tagline “Providing lifelong learning for ages 9-91” attests. Even your canine bestie can get in on the night school action with Puppy Kindergarten or Agility Training for Dogs. [Editor’s note: I identified four courses I’d take in the first three minutes of researching and writing this article— including a Whipcracking class.] The popularity of the various class offerings ebbs and flows, according to Jill. Indeed, it is also a fascinating reflection of (and commentary on) societal norms and issues of the day. “Class popularity is many times linked to current events,” she said. “For example, after 9/11, our language classes diminished, since people weren't traveling as much, and our crafts and cooking classes soared, as people preferred to find their entertainment at home.” As the internet has evolved, she noted, the school’s social media classes became a hot ticket. Television has also had an impact on the school’s offerings. “When the TV show Dancing with the Stars

first started, we had to turn people away from our dance classes, as well as our singing classes with the popularity of American Idol.”

We try to offer at least 30% new classes each semester to keep our catalog interesting and lively. Some classes, though, have stood the test of time, and become perennial student favorites. Among those, according to Jill, are gardening, Spanish, ballroom dance, tennis, Reiki, watercolor, drawing, and even basketball. “We’re so proud of the depth and breadth of our offerings,” Jill told us. With an operation of that size, gone are the days of brainstorming in a garage, as the CCNS team works with their board of directors and the community to develop new course offer-

ings and the instructors to teach them. “There are several ways that we solicit new courses and instructors,” Jill told us. “In our catalog and on our website, we ask for new class ideas and/or teacher recommendations. Many times, new course suggestions will come from our students. Other times, teachers will reach out to us with a course suggestion. We have a curriculum committee who reviews each course proposal to determine if the subject is unique to our program and one that might generate interest. The majority of our classes are found by our staff and board, and they do it by watching current trends and determining subjects that are unique and inspiring.” They take their cues from both within and outside the Chester County area. “We also look at community education programs all across the country; we’re a member of a national organization called LERN (Lifelong Education Resource Network), which offers class suggestions and trends. We try to offer at least 30% new classes each semester to keep our catalog interesting and lively.”

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

45


46

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


CCNS students receive certifications for courses such as CPR and Reiki, and for other classes, they can request a Certificate of Attendance, something an employer might require in the case of an employee taking a computer class for their job. In other instances over the years entrepreneurial career moves were sparked by the courses, as was the case with a dance studio owner, a flower shop owner, and a party entertainment business owner, the latter having taken an intriguing sounding CCNS course called Clowning Around. The school also provides an opportunity for professional teachers to keep their skills sharp outside the regular academic year, and there are several for whom it has become a regular gig. “We have many teachers who have been with us for over 25 years,” Jill said. That “frequent flyer” inclination extends beyond the instructors to the students as well, many of whom regularly sign up for classes. Bette Ferris is one such student, having first taken a dance class with her husband back in

the eighties. She is now taking a threelevel American Sign Language class via CCNS. “ASL is just something I’ve always wanted to learn, and I’ve tried to learn it on my own and failed,” Bette told us. “A class setting like this is really the best way to learn a language, and Bobbi Caley is a fantastic teacher.” Bette was able to later use some of what she learned in that dance course back in the eighties to teach a high school social dance class at her own job some 30 years later... and her dad even taught several landscape design courses at CCNS some years back. For those interested in a bit of a less-structured learning opportunity, the school provides learning via local (and sometimes international) excursions. Present offerings at press time include Second Friday Walking Tours of West Chester, and an Appalachian Trail Day Hike, starting at Warwick Park in Pottstown. “Our local trips are extremely popular,” Jill said. “For example, this semester our Come Away Broadway show sold out within a few weeks of the catalog distribution, and Philly Pops is close to a sellout.”

By the way, if you’re looking for something truly unique for that tough-to-buy for person in your life, you might want to consider purchasing a gift certificate to the night school. They’re available in various denominations, they are definitely classier than cash, and besides, learning a new skill is a gift that’s always the right size, and it basically lasts forever.

I believe Chester County Night School is one of the unrecognized gems that we have available to us in Chester County... I was absolutely delighted when they were recognized by the local chamber recently and given an award for their hard work. MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

47


48

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


The CCNS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 operation, run solely on student registration fees, and it receives no outside funding except for donations. It is co-directed by Johnson, who has been with CCNS for 18 years, and Leslie Heisman, who became co-director two years ago after serving on the board for several years. They are part of a “small but mighty” staff, as board president Jolene Borgese referred to them in a speech this past February, when the CCNS was given a community service award by the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce. “Throughout the years, we’ve been proud to touch the lives of bird watchers, aqua pole dancers, woodworkers, dancers, budding chefs, computer wizards, and even juggling clowns,” she

continued in her speech. “We’ve taught our citizens how to paint, golf, cook, write, give speeches, crochet, make an Excel spreadsheet, horseback ride and Cha Cha. We’ve developed entrepreneurs and new businesses.”

Bette Ferris. “I believe Chester County Night School is one of the unrecognized gems that we have available to us in Chester County,” she told us. “I was absolutely delighted when they were recognized by the local chamber recently and given an award for their hard work. Over the past 35 to 40 years I’ve seen them grow and change, expanding their course selection to the amazing catalog of offerings they have now. There’s so much great variety, offered at convenient locations all over the county — there truly is something for everyone.” In fact, once Better retires, she plans to take many more CCNS classes. “I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of all CCNS has to offer.”

And that recognition by the chamber was a well-deserved nod, according to

After all, formal education is finite, but learning is for life.

We’ve taught our citizens how to paint, golf, cook, write, give speeches, crochet, make an Excel spreadsheet, horseback ride and Cha Cha

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

49


50

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

Where do interior designers look for inspiration? There are so many venues where we can stay current with trends and keep our minds working to learn more about the industry. The list below includes my favorite resources, as well as local design-savvy experts that dish out their expertise in the field. Depending on your learning style preference, there’s have a little something for everyone. Digital Destinations At my initial meeting with the client I ask to share any design inspiration that they have. More often times then not I am given a link to an online source with photos, like... HOUZZ and PINTEREST are the two most popular and efficient ways that a client can convey what they like and don’t like. They both have features where you can create folders dedicated to each room, and you can make notes on each photo so you remember exactly what inspired you. These websites are continuously updated by artists and people in the design world. What’s even better is they are free, quick and easy. INSTAGRAM is another popular spot for inspiration. Follow top designers, furniture makers, manufacturers, and artisans on their quest to find what’s hot and what influences their beautiful designs. My favorite local Instagram accounts are... OLD SOUL DECOR (@oldsouldecor) THRIFTY VINTAGE (@thrifty_vintage) CIRA JAMES (@cirajsraab) PAINTED SPRUCE (@paintedspruce). BLOGS are terrific sites to keep tabs on if you are looking to learn more about design. A local designer and blogger is Debbie Correale with Redesign Right, LLC. She is a certified staging and redesign instructor that shares informative articles on a wide range of things pertaining to the field. (redesignright.com) MAGAZINES will never go out of style, and they’re a great solution if you prefer your inspiration to be tangible. My favorite go to magazines for the latest in interior design trends and styles are Domino and House Beautiful. They do a fantastic job at giving the reader a range of interior styling from traditional to modern. PODCASTS are excellent ways to learn something new. The best thing about them is they can be listened to on the go or on a lunch break. Pictures can say a thousand words, but a great storyteller or teacher can share a wealth of knowledge. My favorite design podcasts are Design Matters with Debbie Millman and Clever. Both podcasts interview designers and artists to reveal what makes their creative minds tick. We are so lucky to live in a town with talented artisans — the best place to look for inspiration is right outside your door. Check out my blog for more advice (masonspace.com) and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@masonspace)

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

51


2019 Mazda3 Sedan

2018 Mazda6 Sedan

2019 Mazda CX-5

Piazza Mazda

(610) 399-5330

of West Chester

PiazzaMazdaWestChester.com

1340 WILMINGTON PIKE (RT 202) WEST CHESTER, PA 52

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


In the alternate universe where this stock photo was shot, all little girls where fuschia. Still, if you can spot the five differences in this photo. then email your answers to contests@thewcpress.com, you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to our April Winner Mike Muller from Buddy’s Burgers, Breasts and Fries.

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

53


54

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


May 3

Can’t-Miss May Events

Spring Gallery Walk

Take a stroll through town and enjoy a night full of art, shopping and dining. The event runs 5-9pm, rain or shine. National and international artists will be featuring their masterpieces. Exhibits include many different styles: acrylic, oil painting, sculptures, jewelry, photography, ceramics, textiles and more. Sunset Hill Jewelers 23 North High St | 610-692-0374 sunsethilljewelers.com

Opening Reception for View

As a preview of Chester County Studio Tour, nearly 100 artists will be represented at this exhibit. It's the perfect one-stop to find artists you love and plan your Chester County Studio Tour weekend, and it all takes place during Gallery Walk. The Art Trust 16 Market St | 484-301-2784 thearttrust.org

Paint and Pinot - Star Wars

Calling all Jedi’s. Celebrate “May the 4th” with a night full of painting and fun, at the Chester County Art Association. One of the CCAA art instructors will guide you through creating a beautiful acrylic painting, with an inspiration from Star Wars. Tickets for this event can be found on their website and will include all the materials. This is also a BYOB workshop, for those over 21. The class runs from 6:30–8:30pm. Chester County Art Association 100 N Bradford Ave | 610-696-5600 chestercountyarts.org

May 4

Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl

Pull out your sombrero and celebrate Cinco de Mayo, hosted by One Up Events, partnering with The Trauma Survivors Foundation. Five bars will be participating in West Chester. Tickets include free covers, Cinco decor, food and drink specials, entertainment and more. You can purchase tickets online through Eventbrite. Check in will be at Saloon 151, starting at 12pm and the crawl goes until 8pm. Saloon 151 151 W Gay St | 610-701-8489 saloon151.com

Live Art Auction

The Chester County Art Association is hosting an art auction. The bidding will start Saturday evening at 4pm. This auction is in honor of an advocate of the arts, Craig Tucker. Chester County Art Association 100 N Bradford Ave | 610-696-5600 chestercountyarts.org

Divas, three top Jazz vocalists: Rhenda Fearrington, Sharon Sable and host Sara Michaels who will be presenting inspirational songs about women and mothers. Tickets are available on Uptown!’s website, and the event lasts three hours, starting at 11am. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610-356-2787 uptownwestchester.org

May 5

May 17 & 18

May Day Celebration

Come out for a daylong celebration held at Everhart Park. Approximately 45 to 60 artists set up booths throughout the park to sell their arts and crafts. The festival includes entertainment, artisan demonstrations, an outdoor art show and delicious food. The event runs 11am–4pm. Everhart Park W. Union & S. Brandywine Avenue west-chester.com

May 10

7th Annual Running For Kling

This 5k was created in honor of West Chester University grad Tracy Kling LaManna who was diagnosed with stagefour lung cancer while pregnant with her second child and passed away at 33. All proceeds go to the University of Penn Lung Cancer Research Center, as well as benefiting the Tracy Kling LaManna West Chester University Women's Basketball Scholarship. The race will begin in downtown West Chester at 7pm. Following the race, there’s an all-inclusive Beef and Beer at Barnaby’s starting at 8pm. There will be raffle prizes and a 50/50 drawing. Registration for the race and Beef and Beer can be purchased online, and walkups will be accepted from 5:30–6:30pm the day of. Barnaby’s (Registration) 15 S High St. -- 610-696-1400 runsignup.com/Race/PA/ WestChester/RunningForKling

May 12

Mother’s Day Brunch

Stuck on what to get your mom for Mother’s Day? Take her to a special Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch at Uptown! Listen to jazz pianist Terry Klinefelter and her trio, then enjoy The Uptown!

I’m all Shook Up

The WC Studio comes to the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center for their Middle and High School Spring show. The show is inspired by the book by Joe Dipietro and features songs by Elvis Presley. Setting the scene in the 1950’s, we’ll meet a young man who plays guitar in a little town. He brings you on his adventure, where he changes everything and everyone he meets in this musical fantasy. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610-356-2787 uptownwestchester.org

May 17–19

Cinderella

Brandywine Ballet presents the fulllength fairytale story of Cinderella. Choreographed by Nancy Page, this ballet presents new costumes, sets, music selections and more. Bring the entire family to enjoy this classic fairytale. Tickets can be found online, through Brandywine Ballet’s website. Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall 700 S. High St brandywineballet.org

May 24 & 25

Make it Funky

Chosen Dance Company will perform a unique collection of theatrical works through the art of dance. The performance is inspired by the life and times of Clyde Evans Jr. A variety of styles will be coupled with an excerpt from Evans’ original play. Both shows start at 7:30pm and tickets can be found on Uptown!’s website. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610-356-2787 uptownwestchester.org

MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

55


Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Education Issue - May 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Education Issue - May 2019  

Voice of the Borough