Ursinus College Graduate Wins Fellowship For 12-Month Global Travel

POTTSTOWN, PA — Codey Young has been awarded a fellowship award that comes with a 12-month trip around the world.

Young, 22, graduated this spring from Ursinus College, and was recently accepted into the master’s program at Harvard Divinity School.

Young is now a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, one of only 43 students from selected colleges across the country.

Sponsored by the Watson Foundation, those students chosen are given $28,000 to travel the world for 12 months in pursuit of their thesis.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20140725/ursinus-college-graduate-wins-fellowship-for-12-month-global-travel

Moon Schools Eager To Talk Merger With Cornell

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Moon Area School board voted recently to reach out to its much smaller neighbor, the Cornell School District, to discuss a possible merger, it resurrected an issue that had been explored at least twice before.

In 1992 and 1998, the districts studied the idea of a merger or of Cornell students attending Moon on a tuition basis. It died both times because of opposition in the communities and the lack of state financial incentives, but the voluntary merger of the Center Area and Monaca districts, to form Central Valley School District, in recent years has some Moon board members taking a new look at the prospect of sharing resources.

The Central Valley merger, initiated with board votes in 2007 and finalized in 2010, was the first since the court-ordered formation of the Woodland Hills School District in 1981 and the only district in Pennsylvania to be formed through a voluntary merger.

“I just think it’s something we should take a look at,” said Moon school director Laura Schisler, who raised the idea at a May 25 board meeting to vote on the closing of an elementary school.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/07/07/Moon-schools-eager-to-talk-merger-with-Cornell/stories/201407070045#ixzz36o7qTuSO

Tax Increase Set For State College Area School District Residents

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — Taxpayers in the State College Area School District will see a 1.95 percent tax increase after the district school board adopted its final general fund budget Monday.

Board members unanimously approved, with no discussion, a real estate tax increase from 38.75 mills to 39.5056 mills, with each mill representing $3.95 per $100 of assessed value.

Under the budget of $126,791,664 for the fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2015, the median district homeowner will pay an additional $54, according to the district.

The district projects that the tax increase will add $1.56 million in revenue, while assessed value growth will provide another $1.2 million.

45 Graduates Complete MCCC’s Accelerated GED Program

Pottstown, Pa.— Forty-five students earned their General Education Diplomas (GED) during Montgomery County Community College’s annual graduation ceremony on June 5 at the West Campus in Pottstown.

The graduates were part of MCCC’s rigorous five-week program that is among the most accelerated in the state. According to GED Program Coordinator/Instructor Raymond Ricketts, 860 students have completed the program since its inception in 2006–an 84 percent graduation rate.

The Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) funds the program, which is free to Montgomery County residents. The fee for out-of-county students is $100 and includes the course and GED exam.

John Vestri, vice president of operations and finance for Video Ray in Pottstown, provided the keynote address. He commended graduates for taking ownership of their education, and encouraged them to take advantage of all future educational opportunities that arise.

“Every single you chance you have to improve yourself through education, please take advantage of it. It will pay off in some way in the long run,” said Vestri. He added that there is “no such thing as a traditional education,” sharing “we all pursue what works for us; everyone is on some non-traditional path.”

Providing the student address, graduate Jamie Gehman, Lower Pottsgrove, said the program “allowed me to focus on my problem area—math—and pass the GED with flying colors.”

Gehman described how it became more and more difficult to return to school as time passed. However, as her youngest of four children started kindergarten this year, she realized it was time to continue her own education as well.

“It’s never too late to give yourself or your loved ones a brighter future through education,” she shared.

Gehman recently completed her first semester at the College, during which she earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA). She ultimately hopes to work with children who have learning challenges and brain trauma.

Marisol Lezcano, executive director of the Montgomery County WIB and deputy director of commerce, presented the graduates with their diplomas, and Peggy Schmidt, chair, WIB Youth Council, provided closing remarks.

“I’m sure, as you have gone through this journey, people told you that you couldn’t do it. But your hard work paid off,”  she said, just before asking attendees to join her in reciting the lyrics to “High Hopes.”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

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Students Graduate High School Through MCCC ‘Gateway To College’ Program

Gateway Grads Sp 2014 (1)Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Eight students from Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Gateway to College Program earned their high school diplomas this spring after completing the requirements necessary to graduate from their respective school districts.

Gateway to College is a national network designed for young adults ages 16-21 who are at risk for not completing high school. One of only 43 Gateway to College programs in the country, MCCC partners locally with 16 area school districts and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to help increase high school—and ultimately college—graduation rates.

Spring 2014 graduates include Meghan Benson, Wissahickon; Ne’Cole Casalena, Phoenixville; James Hanible, Pottsgrove; Erika Knappenberger, Souderton; Justin Leamy, Pottsgrove; Jose Ortiz Rivera, Hatboro-Horsham; Carlas Rich, Phoenixville; and Rachel Voltz, Upper Merion. All of the graduates plan to pursue post-secondary education, and at least six will attend MCCC in the fall.

One of those graduates, Ne’Cole Casalena, Phoenixville High School, described her journey in rhyming lyrics, speaking as class valedictorian.

“And I want to thank everyone but me, cause without you, I don’t know where I would be. Where I am, as a person, they are life lessons, not a burden…If I could, I wouldn’t change a thing, cause out of 18 years, this was the best spring,” she recited.

In only its first year at MCCC, the Gateway to College program has grown from 21 students in the fall to 52 this spring. At full capacity, the program will serve up to 150 students annually.

“My Gateway students are some of the most resilient and capable young people I have had the pleasure of supporting on their academic journey,” shared Keima Sheriff, who is MCCC’s Gateway to College program director. “Many are faced with incredibly difficult life circumstances, yet they consistently attend school, participate in a rigorous learning environment and meet the expectations of the program. My students prove that if given the opportunity to excel, they can and will rise to the occasion.”

Fifteen of MCCC’s students were recognized as Gateway Achievers by the Gateway to College National Network. Students include: Jose Ortiz Rivera from Hatboro-Horsham; Gustavo Ascencion from Norristown; Ne’Cole Casalena and Laura Krueger from Phoenixville; Brianna Gagliardi, Marcus Gordon and Anthony Romano from Pottsgrove; James Hanible from Upper Merion; Christopher Anderson, Shane Bowman, Jelani Crosby and William Dobnak from Upper Moreland; Shaquilla Anderson from WIB; and Meghan Benson and Emahnie Holmes from Wissahickon.

MCCC also recognized spring Gateway students for their achievements.

William Dobnak, Upper Moreland, and Laura Krueger, Phoenixville, were recognized as Foundation (first term) Students of the Semester. They also earned the highest GPA among MCCC Gateway students along with Jelani Crosby, Upper Moreland.

Marcus Gordon, Pottsgrove, and Rachel Voltz, Upper Merion, were recognized as Transitioned (second term through completion) Students of the Semester.

Perfect Attendance went to Shane Bowman, Upper Moreland; Anthony Romano, Pottsgrove; and Thomas Rosa, of Plymouth Meeting. Rosa was also recognized as Most Courageous, along with Paige Trump, Pottsgrove. Romano was recognized for Change of Heart, along with Jose Ortiz Rivera, Hatboro-Horsham.

Brianna Gagliardi, Pottsgrove, and Julian Richardson, WIB, earned Most Improved, while Amber Keyes, Norristown, and Faith Owens, Pottsgrove, earned Rising Star awards.

Additional awards included Perseverance, given to Nicole Snyder, Upper Moreland, and Dejah McMillan, Pottsgrove; and Most Determined, given to Gustavo Ascencion, Norristown, and Keara Hyden, Phoenixville.

Students begin the Gateway to College program with a Foundation semester, during which they take classes in reading, writing, math, and college skills as part of small learning communities. After successfully completing the Foundation term, participants transition into one of MCCC’s academic programs, earning college credits while completing high school requirements. Throughout the program, students are advised and mentored by Gateway resource specialists Lori Davidson and Esau Collins. They also actively engage in college and community service.

Partnering school districts include Boyertown, Cheltenham, Daniel Boone, Hatboro-Horsham, Norristown, Perkiomen Valley, Phoenixville, Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Souderton, Spring Ford, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland, Upper Perkiomen, Wissahickon and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board.

To learn more about the Gateway to College Network, visit gatewaytocollege.org.

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Job Prospects For Luzerne County Grads? Cashier Tops The List

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Graduating and looking for a job in Luzerne County?

Your best bet: Cashier. Second best bet: Retail salesperson. Keep going down the list; with few exceptions, the fastest growing occupations around here are in low-paying, low-skill jobs.

Or you can scan the state’s “High Priority Occupations” list for the county, an attempt “to align workforce training and education investments with occupations that are in demand by employers, have higher skill needs and are most likely to provide family sustaining wages,” according to the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Of 2,202 projected annual openings in 111 high priority occupations ranging from accountants to welders, 1,419 of them — 64.4 percent — generally require no more than a high school degree, valuing on-the-job training more.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1408957/Grads-face-rough-job-market

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MCCC Graduates Transfer To Bucknell; Students Become Summer Scholars

Blue Bell, Pa. — Eleven Montgomery County Community College students soon will be attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., through the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.

Six of the students—Margaret Crush, North Wales; Summer Grenyion-Smith, Ambler; Jeremy Lowery, Gilbertsville; Yinquing (Lindsay) Pan, Blue Bell; Brian Richmond, Gilbertsville; and Mary Colleen Watson, Phoenixville, will participate in Bucknell’s Summer 2014 Residency Program.

During the summer program, selected students enroll in two courses and work with student and faculty mentors for six weeks. The program is free for the students and includes tuition, room and board and books. Participating students then have the opportunity to apply to Bucknell in 2014, and if accepted, they will transfer to the university with junior status on full-tuition scholarships.

Five of the students who participated in last year’s summer program— Lydia Crush, North Wales; Brian Hipwell, Cheltenham; Mallory Murphy, West Lawn; David Reedel, Roslyn; and Ken Stephon, Doylestown—were selected to transfer to the university in the fall as juniors with full-tuition scholarships from Bucknell.

Initially funded for four years by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program enables high-achieving, low-income community college students to complete their undergraduate education at the university. According to Mark Davies, Bucknell’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and the liaison for the Community College Scholars Program, the university is committed to continuing the program, which it has funded for the past four years.

During an annual scholarship reception on May 14, MCCC and Bucknell alumnus Oscar Beteta spoke about how the program enabled him to reach his goals. After earning his associate’s degree at Montgomery County Community College, he transferred to Bucknell on full-tuition scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.  He now works as an engineer at Air Products and Chemicals. Inc. Beteta was part of the first summer cohort to participate Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.

Montgomery County Community College has participated in Bucknell’s Community College Scholars Program since 2006. Including this year’s scholars, a total of 54 students attended the summer residency program, and, including this year’s graduates, a total of 36 students transferred to Bucknell on full-tuition scholarships.

Bucknell’s program extends to five community colleges:  Montgomery County Community College, Garrett College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Community College of Philadelphia and Harrisburg Area Community College.

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2014 Commencement Creates ‘Digital Moment’ For MCCC Grads

Blue Bell, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s class of 2014 made history on May 15, as graduates, faculty and guests participated in what may very well be the largest group of “selfie” photos taken simultaneously.

Dr. Celeste Schwartz, alumna and Vice President for Information Technology and College Services, initiated the selfie during her Commencement keynote address, encouraging close to 5,000 graduates, faculty and guests to take and share selfies to commemorate the evening.

Shared with the hashtag #ThinkBigGrad to a variety of social media platforms, many of these photos are archived on the College’s Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com or Pinterest at pinterest.com/mc3mustangs.

With a combined 90 years of service to MCCC, Dr. Schwartz along with Professor of Economics Dr. Lee Bender were selected as 2014 Commencement keynote speakers as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Together, they painted a picture of 1960s and imparted wisdom from lessons learned to graduates from the Class of 2014.

One of those graduates, Michelle Sikora, Lansdale, had the opportunity to share her story as the selected student commencement speaker. During her remarks, Sikora a single parent to a child with significant medical needs, shared the challenges of balancing coursework with doctor appointments and hospital visits.

“Some trials are just a part of life. They are life’s pop quizzes; they are opportunities for growth and improvement, and they have rewards,” she shared. “We can benefit even from life’s toughest challenges by asking, ‘what can I learn from this experience? How can I approach this in a new way, and what can I change? And, most importantly, how can I use this experience to help others?’”

Graduating with a degree in Liberal Studies, Sikora will return to the College in the fall to pursue a degree in Nursing.

Sikora was one of 1,491 graduates from the class of 2014, who collectively earned 1,525 degrees and certificates. Included among these are a record 52 military veterans, who, for the first time, wore navy blue stoles embroidered with the words “Valor & Respect;” a record 340 students who completed their coursework at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown; 275 members of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society; 75 students with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 or higher; 35 international students from 17 different countries; a record 21 graduates from the College’s Honors Program; and 21 Mustangs student athletes.

Class of 2014 graduates range in aged from 17 to 81. Of note, 99 graduates began their college careers as dual enrollment students from 34 regional and cyber high schools.

Graduates were not the only ones lauded for their accomplishments during the ceremony. Assistant Professor of Economics Jill Beccaris-Pescatore, Glenside, received the 2014 Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence. The award, given on alternating years with the Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence, is named in honor of founding Trustee Gladys Pearlstine and is presented to a faculty member who embodies the principles on which the College was founded and who is nominated his/her peers and students.

During the presentation, Beccaris-Pescatore, who has taught at MCCC since 2003, was recognized for using new media and current events to teach complex economic principles, as well as her energy and enthusiasm in the classroom and her participation in college activities. She is also an avid runner and has completed the Boston Marathon in each of the last two years.

Several dignitaries celebrated with the graduates, including Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty, Montgomery County Commissions Josh Shapiro and Bruce Castor, and members of the College’s Board of Trustees. In addition to these, 19 alumni who graduated between 1968-1972 attended the ceremony to commemorate the College’s 50th anniversary.

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MCCC Student Ryan Bergman Earns National Honor As 2014 Newman Civic Fellow

GetAttachmentBlue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College student and community leader Ryan Bergman, Collegeville, is among an elite group of students in the country to earn the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow Award from Campus Compact.

The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors college student leaders nationwide who inspire others and have worked to find solutions for challenges facing the community. According to the organization’s website, through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

A Social Sciences major concentrating in Psychology, Bergman dedicates his service efforts to eradicating poverty and homelessness both on local and national levels. Selected as a Scholar for Community Service at MCCC for the 2013-14 academic year, Bergman used the opportunity to strengthen the College’s relationship with the Montgomery County chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore.

“Ryan’s commitment and dedication to issues of homelessness and poverty have assisted in raising student awareness about Habitat for Humanity and ways to individually support the work being done within the County,” shared MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout in her letter of recommendation to Campus Compact.

Bergman chartered and serves as president of MCCC’s Habitat Club, whose members support ongoing volunteer dates at Habitat build-sites throughout the year. He also served as co-leader at the Habitat ReStore site in January during a college-wide day of service and again in March during spring break.

“Our goal for this new club is to show the importance of improving our community and lending a helping hand whenever needed,” explained Bergman.

In addition to his work locally, Bergman is a two-time participant in MCCC’s Alternative Spring Break program. In 2013, he traveled with students to West Virginia to build houses with Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, and in 2014, they volunteered at The Samaritan Woman in Baltimore, Md., a transitional residence program for victims of human trafficking.

An electrician by trade, it was Bergman’s job that first brought him to MCCC when his company was contracted to do electrical work on the College’s new Children’s Center.  While working on the Center, Bergman began to fall out of love with his career choice, especially as he noticed students around his age walking to and from class.

“They all seemed full of life and motivated,” he shared.

When the company for which he was working closed two years later, Bergman enrolled in College’s Engineering Technology program, but soon switched to Social Sciences. He also got heavily involved in service work through the College’s Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, where he is a work-study student.

“I juggle my busy life by optimizing every moment of time; time management is crucial to excel at the college level,” he shared, adding that the work-study position enables him to “know the current happenings around campus” and participate as much as possible.

Adding to his full schedule, Bergman is also president of MCCC’s Psychology Club, performs contracting and electrical work off campus, and still finds time for basketball and weight training, as well as for saltwater fishing, longboarding and hiking.

After he graduates from MCCC, Bergman plans to continue his education in Clinical Psychology, knowing that the College prepared him for the next chapter in his life.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I have truly found a home here at Montgomery County Community College, and I hope that I can one day return to inspire other people to follow their dreams.”

Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. Newman Civic Fellows awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.

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Greater Pottstown Foundation To Award $10,000 Arts Scholarship

GPF Logo Final BWPOTTSTOWN, PA – On Saturday, May 31, one talented young artist will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Greater Pottstown Foundation. ArtFusion 19464 is proud to partner for the fourth year in a row with the Foundation to present this scholarship. The Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship for the Arts is designed to financially assist a local high school senior in obtaining a degree from accredited academic institutions of higher learning for study in the arts.

The scholarship is awarded based on two criteria:  artistic performance as displayed at the Greater Pottstown Foundation Scholarship Art Exhibit at ArtFusion 19464, and an essay on why the applicant wants to continue their education in the arts.  This year the scholarship has been expanded so that the applicant’s intended field of study can include a major or a minor in an arts-related field.

The 2014 applicants are: Abigail Boyce, Sabrina Brittain, Kayla Brown, Aundrea Ludy, Jaid Mark, Megan Nazaryk, Rachel Patten, Ashlyn Sassaman, Rachl Sovia, De’Von Stanton, and Allison Wessner. Each student will create three pieces for the show at ArtFusion. Also on display will be work from other students at the participating schools.

The show will run from May 31 through June 14 and can be seen any time during normal gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm. ArtFusion is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The award ceremony will take place at 1pm on May 31. The event is free and open to the public.

ArtFusion-color600ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

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MCCC Students Named To Who’s Who Among American Junior Colleges

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa. – Eighty students from Montgomery County Community College’s Class of 2014 were named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. To qualify for Who’s Who, students must be graduating during the 2013-2014 academic year with a grade point average of at least 2.75 and must be nominated by a member of MCCC’s faculty or staff.

The 2014 Who’s Who students are listed below by area of residence:

Ambler: Abigail Drakely, Devin Spillane, Ruschell Turner

Audubon: Kristine Kuhna

Bala Cynwyd: Helia Akbari, Robert Brothers

Bernville: Katie Williams

Blue Bell: Harris Risell

Cheltenham: Brian Hipwell

Coatesville: Heather Anderson

Conshohocken: Tina Ambs, Ali Mohammed

Eagleville: Dominique Lorena Owens-Pinkney

East Greenville: Ianna Rementer

East Norriton: Philene Moore, Melanie Schappell

Elkins Park: Octavia Beyah

Gilbertsville: Serena Dunlap, Donald Craig McHenry

Glenside: Victoria Clark, Jennifer Garvin, Otto Kuehrmann

Harleysville: Becca Bilofsky, Diane Doman, Katie Greiner, Syeda Hussain, Jordan Zdon

Hatboro: Emily Watkins, Fred Zajac

Hatfield: Md Sabir Islam, Cristy Stevens

Horsham: Danielle Cole, Nicole Hobbs, Cassandra West

Huntingdon Valley: Lisa Malone

Jenkintown: Min Choi

Lansdale: Magdalena Bartnikowska, Jeffrey Berest, Melissa Clark, Marisa Dormer, Sarah Fequiere, Jennifer Lundy

Levittown: Kaley Bradshaw

Norristown: Erin Cooper, Brianne Early, Carlos Gordon, Kenneth Hayse, Robert Hunt, Lisa Kalinovski

North Wales: Grace Kim, Catherine Quinn, Nicole Revitsky

Perkiomenville: Merissa DiMino

Philadelphia: Lauren Cimini, Jenna Clay, Christine Koller

Phoenixville: Amanda Force, Paul Gretzer, Yolanda Rosas

Pipersville: Emily Litwin

Plymouth Meeting: Diane Arnone, Amy Ecklund, Briana Granese, Kayla Hodges, Raya Jones, Tyler Tucker

Pottstown: Leyna Gilleland, Amber Quinter, Joshua Smith, Cynthia Steed

Roslyn: Alena Poli

Schwenksville: Devon Carrow, Jonathan Kivlin

Trappe: Amanda Beyer

Trooper: Heather Brown

Wayne: Kristen Born

West Chester: Manuela Whalen

Wyncote: Nikita Clayton

Wyndmooor: Paige Brower

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Washington Post Ranks McCaskey Among State’s “Most Challenging” Schools

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Student test scores are often used to evaluate schools, but The Washington Post thinks test participation is also worth measuring.

The national newspaper last month published its list, “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” which scores schools based on the number of students who attempt college-level exams.

McCaskey High School in the School District of Lancaster ranked 20th on the listing of the most rigorous high schools in Pennsylvania.

No other Lancaster County schools made the list. The nearest school that did was Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/washington-post-ranks-mccaskey-among-state-s-most-challenging-schools/article_098fc76a-d949-11e3-9a57-0017a43b2370.html

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Hundreds Of Perkiomen Valley High School Students Protest Teacher Layoffs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLLEGEVILLE, PA — Hundreds of students streamed out of the front doors of the school in a quiet wave around 8:30 a.m. More than 550 Perkiomen Valley High School students participated in a walk out to protest proposed budget cuts which could mean several teachers would lose their jobs.

Alexa Monteleone spent the morning of her last day of high school on the baseball field taking a stand to try and save her mother’s job.

“It impacted me a lot. (My mom) has been here for so long and she has been so helpful to the school for the past 13 years,” she said about how she felt when she heard her mother could lose her job.

Monteleone’s mother, Maureen, is a para-professional and wears many hats, according to her daughter.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140509/hundreds-of-perkiomen-valley-high-school-students-protest-teacher-layoffs

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MCCC Computer Science Students Showcase Work At Spring Tech Day

CIS Tech 1

CIS Tech 1: CIS 111b students Dan Marcoux, Wellington Rodriguez and Julian Greenberg showcased their mobile app at MCCC’s Technology Transfer Day on April 24.

Blue Bell, Pa.— Students enrolled in Associate Professor Kendall Martin’s Computer Science II—Object Oriented Programing (CIS 111b) course at Montgomery County Community College showcased their projects on April 24 at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.

“We want students enrolled in CIS 111 [Computer Science I – Programming/Concept] to see the kinds of projects they can work on if they enroll in the next course,” explained Martin, who organizes these Technology Transfer Days at the end of each semester. “In the intro class, students really learn the basics, but in the CIS 111b course, they get to apply that knowledge and work on collaborative projects like the ones showcased here.”

Among those projects was an MCCC mobile app, developed by students Julian Greenberg, Roberto Zuccarini, Dan Marcoux and Wellington Rodriguez.

“Info about the College is spread everywhere, so we designed a centralized mobile site with information that students care about, such as food service hours, Org Sync [student club portal] and Blackboard,” explained Greenberg, who will be transferring into Penn State Abington’s Information Systems Technology program.

Greenberg is president of the Tech Connect Support Squad, a new student club that provides peer “help desk” support to students at the Central Campus, which enabled him to get real student feedback on his project.

Another team, comprised of Robert Vogel, Jonathan Drozd and Kevin Loughlin, developed a real-time text translator to enhance communication for international students. The Android-based app uses a smart phone’s built in camera, Microsoft Translate and Google to provide real-time text translation for a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Hindi, among others.

CIS Tech 2: Student Zac Chelbi demonstrates a level on The Big Robot Game, which his team developed as part of MCCC’s Electronic Game and Simulation Design program.

CIS Tech 2: Student Zac Chelbi demonstrates a level on The Big Robot Game, which his team developed as part of MCCC’s Electronic Game and Simulation Design program.

Former CIS 111b student Zac Chelbi returned to this semester’s Technology Transfer Day to showcase The Big Robot Game, which he and his team are developing as part of MCCC’s Electronic Game and Simulation Design program.

“Players can customize their tanks and environment. We’re still working on adding functionality and on simplifying the process to launch,” said Chelbi, who is transferring to the Art Institute in the fall.

Other students from the class, like Paul Lizeaus, partnered with MCCC’s Engineering program to write code and develop a website for the program’s Quad Forge project.

“The program is open source, so we actually made a change that was later incorporated into the program by the original designer,” shared Lizeaus, who is transferring to West Chester University in the fall.

CIS 111 and 111b are required courses for many of MCCC’s STEM programs, including Computer Science, Computer Networking, Electronic Game and Simulation Design, Information Technology, Software Engineering and Web Design and Development, among others. To learn more, visit mc3.edu and click on Academics.

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MCCC Hospitality Students Serve The Hungry At MANNA On Main Street

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lansdale, PA— Sixteen Hotel and Restaurant Management students from Montgomery County Community College recently prepared and served dinner at Manna on Main Street (MANNA) to the homeless as part of a class service learning project.  The project was also part of MCCC’s 50 Acts of Kindness, in celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary.

Located in Lansdale, MANNA is a community outreach organization whose mission is to end hunger in the North Penn region by providing soup kitchens, food pantries, and education programs to its residents.

All 16 students in Instructor James Lynch’s “Fundamentals of Special Event Management” course were involved in the project; half of the class prepared the food, while the other half served it at MANNA the following day. In the course, Lynch teaches students the set-up protocol for special events in the hospitality industry, as well as the necessary tasks that need to be fulfilled at corporations and conventions.

Upon arriving at MANNA, Operations Manager Scott Lukens prepped the students for service. The students were then assigned to different stations: serving food to the families, working in the kitchen to deliver food, or cleaning the dishes.  Listed on the menu for dinner was turkey breast, steamed broccoli, roasted herbed potatoes, artisan rolls, and garden salads. Chocolate mousse was served for dessert, and residents drank fruit punch, ice-tea, milk, and ice water, with milk being the most popular choice.

As a student service learning project, the purpose of serving dinner at MANNA was to connect what students learned in the classroom to a real-world experience.

“Projects such as this not only increase a student’s knowledge, but also reinforce our College’s commitment to service and the power of volunteerism,” said Lynch.  “These are the key building blocks in creating and growing a supportive and productive community.  The Hospitality Industry is uniquely positioned to do projects like this.  Success in our business is based upon the fundamentals of superior, consistent service—whether in a restaurant, hotel, or in the community.”

One student, Tom Heller, 21, was no stranger to being a server at the event.  The second-year student had previously been a server at Olive Garden and Rendazzo’s Pizzeria.  Heller enjoyed the event and shared his learning experience at MANNA.

 “I’ve pretty much just learned that there’s a lot of people in the community and around us that are homeless,” he said. “We learned how [homelessness] was occurring. It’s a rough experience just seeing that and also going back to your house and talking to your family about [it], and also how they’ll react to it,” he said, describing the experience as “heartfelt.”

“It all got to us because once Scott [Lukens] announced that we were students from MCCC, and were making all this dinner and stuff, everyone was clapping and really appreciated the meal that we made for them,” Heller continued.

Lynch stressed the importance of preparing students to be good citizens, as well as successful professionals.

“By having our students actively involved in local hunger-relief activities, we hope that hands-on experiences, like MANNA, gives our students the opportunity to witness first-hand how powerful a gesture of kindness can be in the lives of those less fortunate. We strive to make our students not only successful professionals, but good citizens of their community as well.”

The students’ project at MANNA on Main Street is one of “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration.  Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more about the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit http://www.mc3.edu/50.

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A Look At The Pennsylvania Governor Candidates’ Different Plans For The Minimum Wage, Drilling And Marijuana Laws

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http:...

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-pa.html#gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All four Democrats running for governor want to get more revenue from natural gas drilling. But they have different plans for how to tax the extraction and what to do with the money.

All four want to raise the minimum wage, but they don’t all agree by how much.

When it comes to marijuana laws, they aren’t in lockstep either.

The May 20 primary will decide whether state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty, state Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz or York County businessman Tom Wolf will get the Democratic nomination for governor.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_25638608/look-at-pa-governor-candidates-different-plans-minimum

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Center City Philadelphia Showing Signs Of Weakness

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Ph...

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Center City, Philadelphia’s engine for growth for the last decade or more, is showing signs of distress, according to statistics compiled by the Center City District for its annual “State of Center City” report.

From office rental rates to visits to tourist attractions and the number of major conventions on the horizon, a variety of measures of the health of the city’s core suggest it might not be quite as vibrant as hoped.

For instance, while Center City’s population inches higher, office rental rates run stubbornly below national averages, an indication of a city’s weakness in attracting new employers.

Employment in health care and education – the city’s biggest job creators – has been flattening and, in the first time in a decade, declined in 2013.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140423_Some_concerns_as_it_regards_Center_City_s_growth.html#wfR2CIQSqRKdLfKs.99

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Muhlenberg College’s Camp Imagine Performing Arts Camp For Middle Schoolers Nurtures A Passion For The Arts

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA — This summer, Muhlenberg College’s Camp Imagine program celebrates its 16th year of educating and enriching the lives of the Lehigh Valley’s middle school students. Founded in 1999 the program provides young people in grades 6-8 with a month-long performing arts experience, which is free for students of the Allentown School District.

The program runs June 30 through July 25, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Camp Imagine provides invaluable opportunities to nurture a passion for the performing arts,” says the program’s education manager, Lindsay Quinn. “It also builds real-life interpersonal and expressive skills, which help students in all areas of their lives.”

Participants in 2013 said that the program helped them “to take risks and ask questions,” “to be confident and be loud,” and “to not be afraid to show my art.”

Camp Imagine will culminate in a free showcase performance for family and friends at the conclusion of the four weeks, on Saturday, July 26. Participants will be guided through creative arts experiences in the performing arts by talented teams of Muhlenberg College students and alumni. These teaching artists are experienced, professionally trained and supervised.

Camp Imagine students will explore their talents in acting, music, and dance in a safe and open environment, rotating through classes in drama, movement, and vocal expression. They will also get to work with Muhlenberg alumni and students to create a dynamic ensemble environment with their peers.

Camp Imagine meets 9:30 to 12:30 a.m, Monday through Friday, June 30 through July 25. There is no session on Friday, July 4. A lunch is provided for free to all participants, and free bus transportation is provided from all four Allentown School District middle schools. The camp is free for all students who attended Allentown School District middle schools in the 2013-2014 school year. For non-ASD students, tuition is $395; however, partial and full need-based scholarships are available.

Students must register to participate. Applications are available online at www.muhlenberg.edu/camp, and by request at camp@muhlenberg.edu or 484-664-3693. Students should enroll by June 1 to ensure availability.

The programs are made possible by underwriting support from Embassy Bank, Enterprise Car Rentals, Highmark Blue Cross, Lehigh Valley Educators Credit Union, The Foundation for Allentown City Schools, and individual donors.

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