Junior volleyball players “dig” the beach

Posted on 18 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports081816By Gary Curreri

In the past five years, there has been an explosion of collegiate opportunities for playing beach volleyball.

Two sisters from Deerfield Beach – Alanna and Audrey Hodge – recently placed third in the AVPFirst Girls 14-Under volleyball championship on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Alanna, age 14, is a freshman at Monarch High School and has played beach volleyball for five years.

I like beach volleyball more than indoor because you get more touches on the ball and it is fun to play with new partners to see how you do with other people,” she said.

Audrey, age 12, a seventh-grader at Boca Christian, also played beach volleyball for five years.

There is a lot of pressure because I am playing in a higher division than I normally would,” Audrey said. “I like it because it is mostly all on you. You are responsible for half of the court.”

Shawn Taylor, of the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) and the coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, said with more juniors playing the game, more and more schools are offering scholarships.

For years it was just the pro beach tour and there was no avenue to get there, and with colleges coming in as a player, it gave juniors something to shoot for,” Taylor said. “Now with more juniors playing the game, it has provided us with an avenue to create a pipeline and a clear path for them to go from playing junior recreational to, hopefully, playing at the collegiate level and then carrying on past that to the professional level.”

Taylor said there are schools adding the sport “everyday” and estimated there were about 65 schools offering beach volleyball.

They anticipate being at 100 (schools) in a year or two,” Taylor said. “They were at zero (schools) five years ago. It was a pipe dream and a myth. It was like crazy talk going around.”

Florida Beach Volleyball Tour tournament director Gino Ferraro is in his 27th year and hosted eight events this year – including stops in Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Siesta Key, Hollywood, and plans to hold one in Delray Beach next year.

The season starts at the beginning of May and runs through the second week of August,” Ferraro said. “Because of the size of the field, it is hard to find beaches that will hold us anymore.”

Jeudy commits to Alabama

Deerfield Beach High School senior wideout Jerry Jeudy is taking his talents to the University of Alabama next season.

Ranked the fourth-best receiver in the nation by ESPN, Jeudy earned a spot on the all-offense team in July at Nike’s The Opening, one of the top camps in the country in Beaverton, OR It helped parlay him into a good spot to choose his next destination.

I’m excited,” said Jeudy, who chose the Crimson Tide over Florida, Miami, Florida State University and Tennessee. The four-star recruit had offers from more than 20 different schools. “It was the best fit for me. It’s a great program with great coaches, great players and that’s a winning team. I feel like I can go there and do what I have to do and step on the field and make plays.”

It was a very hard decision for me,” added Jeudy, who caught 41 passes for 496 yards and 10 scores last season for the Bucks. “I prayed a lot and felt that Alabama was more of a home.”

Deerfield teammate Daewood Davis, who transferred from Stranahan in the spring, previously announced he was committing to the University of South Florida.

Comments Off on Junior volleyball players “dig” the beach

Tornadoes hope for successful season

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports080416By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School’s Jalal Jean-Charles exchanged his sneakers for football cleats.

I used to play basketball and this is more physical,” said Charles, 15, who will be a junior at Pompano this fall. This is his first year playing football. “The biggest adjustment I had was getting into a big team. In basketball, there are only 15 players and in football there could be anywhere from 30 to 50 players playing with you and it is more of a brotherhood.”

The Tornadoes were among 50 teams from the tri-county area (Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade) that played in the 9th annual Dolphins Academy Youth and High School 7-on-7 tournament at Plantation Central Park.

I like playing with pads,” he said. “I like to be physical. We had a lot of good competition, but we were hoping to win. Tournaments like this helps us get better as a team. We run routes and it lets the quarterback adjust to our play style and we adjust to the quarterback’s play style.”

The high school football tournament consisted of round robin play and then moved into a single elimination format. The high school teams competed in the championship round with Carol City defending its title with a 35-31 victory over Miami Northwestern. Pompano lost both of its games in the tournament (Miami Northwestern, 35-17, and Spanish River, 24-10, but it was good competition for coach Rick Nagy, who was missing several of his top players, including John Padgett Jr. who was on vacation.

Pompano Beach capped the 2015 season with a 28-12 victory over St. Andrew’s School in the Southeastern Football Conference and will move to the Gold Coast Football Conference this upcoming season.

It’s a grind,” said Nagy, who is in his fourth year as coach. “We coach from February through November so there is not much down time. This is an important part of football because it gives those young kids an opportunity to show their skills. We are a small school and we don’t have those tremendous athletes. We are missing like three or four starters today. It’s the summer and they are out and away on vacation.”

Pompano plays in five 7-on-7s this summer. They finished fourth out of 20 teams in a BCAA event, and said the Dolphins event helps them with their skill positions and he liked what he saw.

I think we will be okay this year,” Nagy said. “The top four teams make the playoffs and I think we will make the playoffs. I am not much into predicting. I am a coach who doesn’t even go week by week. I like to go play by play. I don’t try to think too far ahead. I think we will be okay in the new conference.”

Pompano Beach senior quarterback Logan Good said his team benefitted from the competition. The 17-year-old said it helped him work on his timing with his receivers.

You learn that not every play matters,” Good said. “It’s pretty cool to have the Dolphins do something like this. We are running the same offense as last year so we came into this hoping to get better. I am kind of trying to find the open man and get it to him.”

Tornadoes’ 6-foot, 4-inch junior receiver Andre Francis also enjoyed the experience.

This was pretty fun and it is good competition,” Francis said. “We learned a lot about each other in this. This is the most organized 7-on-7 I have been a part of.”

Our mission is to be the stewards of the game of football in South Florida and we were excited to host athletes and coaches at our symposium and tournament,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs Twan Russell said. “We were able to engage students not only on the field, but had the opportunity to develop their character beyond sports, which is equally important.”

Comments Off on Tornadoes hope for successful season

Pompano forms water polo program

Posted on 28 July 2016 by LeslieM

sports072816By Gary Curreri

In a little more than six months, Pompano Beach’s Samantha Finazzo has found a sport she loves.

Finazzo, 15, who will enter her sophomore year at Pompano Beach High School next month, joined the newly-formed Pompano Beach Piranhas water polo program and it has been an enjoyable experience.

This was a lot of fun,” said Finazzo, who plays goalie for the Girls 18-Under team. “It was a good experience to meet new people and get a variety of players and teams we were playing against.

I expected it to be a lot harder, but I improved my skills over the past couple of months and it came a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she said. “I just wanted to become a better overall athlete. It wasn’t anything that I expected. It was really fun and I loved it.”

The Pompano Beach Piranhas made their club water polo debut in the Sunshine State Games recently at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Both teams played in the 18-Under Division. The boys went 1-3, while the girls were winless in four games.

Teammate Christine Bergamini, 17, of Lighthouse Point, is normally a swimmer, but has found water polo to be more enjoyable.

I like water polo because it is a team sport,” said Bergamini, who will be a senior at Cardinal Gibbons. “The difference is you have to think more about how you are going to swim or who you are going to pass to. It’s been a lot of fun. Even though we lost, I learned a lot. I think we definitely improved each game.”

Pompano Beach coach Scott Moore used to coach in the 1990s and early 2000s, but took some time off. He returned to the pool deck when his son started playing water polo in high school and was looking for a team to play on.

They have been playing a month together and we had a great time,” Moore said. “We have a set of twins, Victoria and Alicja Zielinski, and triplets — Megan, Brooke and Kelly Gest — on the girls team, so that makes it interesting. The Zielinski’s attend Northeast High School, while the Guess girls attend Cardinal Gibbons.

This is new to me,” said Victoria Zielinski, 16, of Oakland Park. “I have never played club before. I have only played high school, so it is good to experience other high school people on a team together. Hopefully, we can do great things together. I knew some of the other water polo players, so I knew that if we all worked together that we would click. It was good getting new water polo players too.”

Zielinski, who will be a junior at Northeast next month, said water polo is a lot different than swimming. She’s played the sport for two years.

It is totally different than an individual sport like swimming,” she said. “There is a lot of adrenaline getting into you. It is a lot of fun. There are girls trying to attack you and you are trying to get away and shoot.”

Zielinski said playing in the Sunshine State Games was a lot of pressure.

I have never played two games in one day or four games in a weekend,” Zielinski said. “We only play once or twice a week in high school. I have only played with this team for two weeks, so there was a lot of pressure going in from not playing water polo in a month or so (since high school season ended).”

Her sister, Alicja, agreed: “The girls here are more intense than high school. I pretty much know most of the girls from high school. They are pretty friendly and it is a good team environment.”

Alicja is more of the swimmer and Victoria is the water polo player. Alicja competed in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state meet and finished 24th.

It is fun to play with her,” Alicja said. “We just have to find each other and yell, ‘twin.’ I would like to play water polo in high school and then maybe college.”

Comments Off on Pompano forms water polo program

FLICKS: Ghostbusters & The Secret Life of Pets

Posted on 21 July 2016 by LeslieM

flicks072116

Dave and Ernie Hudson

By “Cinema” Dave

www.cinemadave.livejournal.com

It has been a 27 year wait, but Ghostbusters finally appeared on the big screen full of big screen special effects. Despite the endorsement of the original cast-mates (Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson) and mass marketing, the rebooted film failed to secure first place in its opening weekend, losing out to The Secret Life of Pets.

The reviews have been split evenly and decisively, with 50 percent (mostly female) feeling inspired by the film, while the other 50 percent (mostly male) feeling their childhood has been betrayed. It is true that the Ghostbusters reboot lacks the freshness of Aykroyd’s, and the late Harold Ramis’ vision; however, director and co-writer Paul Feig has created new characters that are both quirky and charming. 

Professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is about to achieve tenure at Columbia University when an academic skeleton comes out of her past. Erin wrote a book about the paranormal with her old friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), who now works at a low budget institute with techno-nerd Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). After a series of mishaps involving vomiting ghosts, the three ladies form a unique business partnership.   

As the paranormal activities increase, this new enterprise hires a beefcake secretary who can’t type (Chris Hemsworth) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a streetwise cabbie whose uncle (Ernie Hudson) owns a Hearst business. Together, these five individuals confront the cause of all evil in New York City.
The five main characters are the heart and the humor of the film. Kate McKinnon is the most committed to her role and often steals scenes by doing absolutely nothing. Chris Hemsworth is the most broad character. His dancing during the closing credits will keep Chippendale fans in the theater for the final frames.   

Like Ghostbusters, The Secret Life of Pets is set in Manhattan. Told from the perspective of domesticated dogs and cats, the audience learns the untold adventures these animated creatures face during the daytime. This film has been the box office champion two weeks in a row. Combined with the much superior Finding Dory, animated talking animals have been the box office monarch for the Summer of 2016.

Comments Off on FLICKS: Ghostbusters & The Secret Life of Pets

HCA camp a success

Posted on 21 July 2016 by LeslieM

sports072116By Gary Curreri

For more than three decades, the Highlands Christian Academy basketball camp has brought smiles to its participants and this year was no different.

Former athletic director and head boys basketball coach Reg Cook began the camp in 1986 with 19 players and this year there were more than 100 participants in the 31st annual camp.

It is the most popular athletic camp we offer here at Highlands,” said Jim Good, who succeeded Cook in both capacities at the school. They also offer gymnastics, softball, indoor soccer, track, volleyball, and golf during the summer.

The camp was split into two weeks – one for 2nd through 6th graders and the other for 7th through 12th graders. The first week attracted 45 campers; while the second week had 60 campers.

We had an amazing group of coaches work the camp this summer,” said Good, who has been involved in the program for the past 20 years. He was assisted by Luke Still (Boys Junior Varsity), Josh Good (Boys Junior High), John Wilson (Girls Varsity) and two Highlands Christian School alumni – Jeff Sullivan and Caris Everette. Also in attendance was North Broward Prep School head coach and Ball by Design Director Casey Wohlleb.

Our philosophy has always been to create a safe and competitive environment, to have fun by working hard, and to teach basketball as well as life skills,” Good said. “Each morning, our coaches had the opportunity to share a devotion and personal testimony emphasizing that God needs to be at the top of our priority list.”

The morning session included warm-up runs, stretching, ball handling, dribbling and agility/speed stations. Each day, there was a trophy contest that included 1-on-1, 2-on-2, foul shooting and hot shots.

We would go off campus every day for lunch eating at Chick-Fil-A and CiCi’s Pizza,” Good said. “Coach Casey came in every afternoon with our 7th-12th grade camp and did a tremendous job on breaking down footwork and proper mechanics on shooting. He provided several quality drills each afternoon.”

The group then ended the day by playing 5-on-5 full court games.

Good believes the biggest reason the camp has been able to thrive as long as it has because of the quality of the coaching staff.

Our coaches are extremely committed in focusing their attention on the campers and really giving 100 percent to help each player improve,” Good said. “We have done a pretty good job with being consistent but also relevant. Our camp is very organized with a specific agenda each day.

We focus a lot on encouragement and motivation; there’s always a great “vibe” and interaction with the campers and coaching staff,” he added. “Also, I really feel we have gained the trust of so many of the parents that they feel their kids are involved in a safe environment where learning the game of basketball is happening but also learning the game of life.”

Comments Off on HCA camp a success

Service for James W. Stills, 74, of Deerfield Beach

Posted on 19 July 2016 by LeslieM

stills071416James W. Stills, 74, of Deerfield Beach, FL, died Sunday, July 17, 2016, at Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, following surgery for an aneurism.

Born in 1941in Mt. Pleasant, TN, he moved to Deerfield Beach 1952 where he attended Deerfield Beach

Elementary and later graduated from Pompano Beach High School. As a youngster growing up in old Deerfield, he played on the local baseball team and worked a paper route for pocket change. After a brief stint in the National Guard, he worked as a certified general contractor in the South Florida area until his retirement. He then worked for a Boca based structural engineer doing building inspections in the Miami and Boca areas. He spent his second retirement working in the yard, fishing at the lake and visiting with his neighbors.

Jim was preceded in death by both parents and six siblings. He leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Janice, and two grown sons, James Timothy of Orlando and Christopher David of Boca Raton, a sister Barbara Jones of Deerfield Beach and various nieces and nephews.

Visitation: Thursday, July 21, 11 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. Service to follow, 12:30 p.m. Kraeer Funeral Home, 217 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Comments Off on Service for James W. Stills, 74, of Deerfield Beach

Mag Chop

Posted on 15 July 2016 by LeslieM

Artist Kenneth Ruiz’s collages piece together parts of life

magchop071416By Rachel Galvin

Once a graffiti artist and gang member, Kenneth Ruiz has turned his life around to become an amazing artist.

He began his journey in life in Chicago’s Humboldt Park area before moving to South Florida and attending Deerfield Beach High School. This 1995 graduate took art classes and was voted “Most Artistic” in his senior year. Little did he know at the time that art would be so powerful in his future.

The challenges he faced in his early life were nothing compared to what would happen later.

He explained, “I have lived through some things most people only read about. None of those experiences prepared me for losing my mother. I was devastated. It completely altered my life. It changed me in a way that I wish she was here to see. It made me appreciate life and the people in it.”

He added, “Losing my mom also had a strange effect. I lost the ability to draw. I used to draw freehand very well; but when she passed away, I was no longer able to do it. It was as if something turned off.”

Luckily, his wife encouraged him to turn back to an artistic style he had tried years before making collages, which came about after speaking with a friend involved with fine art back in 2008. Ruiz asked him about art and he said that art should tell a story, what the artist is about, which inspired Ruiz to create something for his wall at home.

For 4-1/2 months, everyday, when I came home, I worked on a collage that represented things about me and my life,” he said, adding, “My second piece was not until five years later when my mother passed away.”

His collages are made the old-fashioned way, by cutting and pasting. After that, it becomes a bit more complicated.

It is quite tedious. Once the piece is done, it goes to a fine art photographer who specializes in collage art and it is shot at very high resolution. The original accompanies the image to color correction, where the only adjustments made is to the colors to make sure they match the original. The final piece is a fine art giclee on canvas or museum paper. The image is sprayed on at 300 dpi making it extremely clear. None of my pieces are created digitally, nor are they touched up. They are cut with scissors and on some of the new pieces I have used razor blades,” said Ruiz.

He added, “The first piece I sold was inspirational because they were not for sale at the time. We were having dinner with a well-known person in the art world and he spotted one my pieces hanging on the wall. When he found out I made it and saw, surprisingly, that I had more, he said to me, ‘I have traveled around the world and seen collage art and I have never seen it done like this.’ He said if I decided to make it a business, he would buy the first one, and he did. I was thrilled!”

That was in 2013. He registered his business as MagChop in 2014. He has been creating a diverse collection of pieces ever since, including custom-made ones. He sells them to individuals he knows and also at events.

When people see his pieces, he gets an excited response.

He said, “A lot of my art takes them back to an era of good memories and they are thrilled about that. Some people relate right away and say, ‘This is so me!’ I have had clients call me and say, ‘I look at this everyday and I see something new!’”

When asked how he gets inspired to do his pieces, he replied, “It depends on the piece. To create, I have to relate. I have to know the inner aspects; for instance, I created “The Champions Line,” the first official fine art memorabilia for champion race car driver Ernie Francis Jr. I was never a fan of racing and didn’t know much about it, but I am an auto [and Lowrider] enthusiast so this was an exciting project. I attended the races, spoke to fans, went to the paddock with the team, stood at the pit and even helped work on a car at a race. I learned little details about racing that I otherwise would have gotten wrong. They loved it! It took about four months to complete and actually had a revision that made it remarkable.

One piece called “Ladies Touch” took seven months to complete. The influence came from different women in my life whom I have loved in different ways.”

His favorite piece is called “First Impression.”

It is my favorite piece. It is the first piece I made and it really is symbolic of aspects of my life. It is also the only piece my mother had seen,” he said.

He added, “There are “Easter Eggs” in all my pieces … little hidden things that relate to me … even in custom pieces.”

My art has opened a door for me to speak to youth through art workshops at the Boys & Girls Club in Ft. Pierce and I have spoken at youth conferences for “E.N.D. IT” at a church in Port St. Lucie. I believe in giving back to our communities,” he said.

Asked where he hopes to be in five years, he responded, “To have one of the many upcoming MagChop products in every home! It sounds wild, but think about the jobs I can give people with MagChop growing to that level. We have created movie posters and book covers and hired the assistance of local artists. The dream is more about the opportunities for my children, my community and our country.”

To find out more about this artist and his work, visit www.MagChop.com or find him on social media.

Comments Off on Mag Chop

Lace Up Football Camp

Posted on 15 July 2016 by LeslieM

sports071416Denard “Shoelace” Robinson gives back to his community

By Rachel Galvin

Two hundred and thirty kids from age 5 to 18 came out on the field at Deerfield Beach High School (DBHS) last Saturday, July 9, to be a part of the Lace Up Football Camp, put together by the Shoelace Foundation.

The kids all ran drills, did ladders and other circuit training in their T-shirts provided by the organization. They split up into age categories and ran races to see who was the fastest. They battled the hot sun, but they were all smiles.

This was the second year for the event created by Jacksonville Jaguars football player Denard “Shoelace” Robinson, a running back and wide receiver. Robinson knows this school. He knows this community. He grew up here, and started school at Park Ridge Elementary and eventually graduated from Deerfield High. For him, this event is all about giving back.

I love my community,” he said. “I want to be the change I want to see.”

Shoelace Foundation board member Jerry Jasmin added, “Denard always wants to give back. He is in a unique situation in that he plays in the same state he is from. He wants to empower underprivileged children to become better citizens.”

Besides local kids, children and teens from other cities, like Lauderhill came out to participate. Coach T. Anderson coaches youth football in the 7U category there. Two of his grandchildren, age 7 and 8, participated in the camp and he sat with other parents on the sidelines beneath tents in the shade.

I love it,” he said of the event. This is a great thing for our youth … to have a positive role model. We need more of this all the time.”

DBHS student 16-year-old Joell hopes to play football in college. He is a linebacker right now for the school. He loved doing the drills.

[My favorite part is] we had to run inside the box [ladder] and outside of it and do burpies,” he said as he described some of the drills.

Nine-year-old Mickeelah, who was one of the few girls in the group, came out because Denard is her cousin. She normally gets to see him only on holidays so this day was special.

Racing is my favorite part. I did some drills. Some of them were hard for me,” she said, adding, “[For lunch], we had a hot dog, Pringles, a granola [bar] and some juice [among other items available].”

Volunteer Bruny Colquhour felt the event went well.

Everything is very organized. The kids look forward to it every year. Shoelace is doing great for the community. It inspires the kids to dream big,” she said.

Besides Denard, there were other well-known players who attended either the event this day or the 1st annual basketball event that happened the night before. They included Robinson’s teammates from the Jaguars, including wide receivers Tony Washington and Rashad Lawrence; J.T. Thomas from the New York Giants; Rashard Robinson from the San Francisco 49ers, Adrian Witty from the Cincinnati Bearcats and rapper Ace Hood.

Denard not only helped kids to improve their skills, but taught them the importance of education.

He explained to one student who did not like to read, “In order for you to play football, you have to have your education first. You have to use school to get you there. If I could do all this work in football, I can do it in school.”

Besides doing football drills and having lunch, students got to enjoy themselves jumping in bounce houses.

He didn’t let students leave without delivering one last powerful message, saying, “Always have a role model. My role model was my dad. I want to be that person [for you all]. If I see somebody I look up to, I always want to be better than them. You all can do whatever you want. You can be president; you can be an astronaut; you can be a football player … It is here for the taking. Never do it for the haters. Every time I step on the field, I do it for love. I do it for people who support me. Do it for the people who support you.”

For more on the Shoelace Foundation, visit www.theshoelacefoundation.org.

Comments Off on Lace Up Football Camp

Celebrating Shipwreck Park

Posted on 15 July 2016 by LeslieM

shipwreck071416By Rachel Galvin

Imagine playing craps with an octopus, putting on a poker face for card sharks under the sea and being served drinks by a mermaid… This fantastical concept will soon be a reality right off Pompano Beach. You will be able to stop for a selfie beneath the sea as you dive down to visit the Lady Luck, a 324 ft. historic tanker scheduled to be sunk on July 23 just 1 ½ miles off the shoreline.

The ship will be the centerpiece of what will become known as Shipwreck Park, surrounded by 16 other existing wrecks. This will be a unique underwater cultural arts park with rotating underwater art exhibits.

The Lady Luck has starfish and sand dollars on the highest level, closest to the surface where coral may grow. Down below, there are poker tables, crap tables and slot machines to explore, along with creative characters.

On July 8, many gathered inside the Pompano Marriott to celebrate the sinking of this vessel. It also served as a fundraiser toward that effort and for other events to come.

The road to creating this event was not a simple one. After attempting to purchase several boats and having the deals fall apart, they finally found a gem in New York, a tanker called Newtown Creek that had been decommissioned and was up for auction. Utilized to transport sludge in New York City since 1967, this vessel is getting a new lease on life as a tourist attraction thanks, in part, to Assistant City Manager for Pompano Beach Greg Harrison, who negotiated the deal from the original asking price of $235,000 down to $100,000.

Harrison said he was brought into the project in 2014.

They assigned me to work with the chair of the economic development committee, Tommy DiGiorgio, Jr., and the chair of the tourism committee, Rob Wyre, to figure out how to make it a reality. It was a big challenge,” said Harrison.

Next, they needed an artist and that is when Dennis MacDonald came into play. Known locally for such projects as the Rapa Nui sculptures that were sunk off Deerfield’s pier June 7, 2015, MacDonald has worked with companies like Universal Studios and Disney in the past. When given the idea from the committees to do a casino theme, he wasn’t sure what to do, but it came to him eventually.

When they gave me the concept, I was stumped at first, but then I thought, ‘Let’s have fun with this, make it whimsical.’ I started 2 ½ months ago. We used small models to create the sculptures. I had some art friends help me. Paul Costanza helped create the musculature on the sharks and helped with all the [characters’ attitudes]. I looked at the project as seven different environments, photo opportunities,” said MacDonald as he showed off a picture of his favorite slot machine, commenting, “I built it using pieces of the boat. It has a steampunk feel.”

Of course, getting sponsors was essential. Wyre is also the Regional Vice President of Operations and General Manager of the Isle of Capri Casino, so they partnered with the city on this venture, donating $312,500, which the city matched. The money goes toward cleaning up the boat to make it ready for the sinking, including removing any pollutants that may be harmful.

Wyre said, “This was the budget we thought we needed to just get it done, but we were a bit short. [This is why we are raising funds.]”

DiGiorgio understands the importance of this wreck on the community and the draw it will have from people all over the world.

I was just in Spazio, Italy. There was a guy waiting for me and he didn’t speak English, but we were next to a dive shop and the guy there came out to [translate] for us.

He asked where I was from. I said ‘Ft. Lauderdale’ and then ‘actually Pompano.’ He said, ‘Pompano? Is that where they are sinking the casino boat?’ The guy takes people out on dives. He said next year, he is scheduled to go to Mexico, but, the year after, he is coming to Broward County,” he said.

He knows the economic engine this will be and talked about the large amount of hotel rooms that will be filled, and more to be added, just to accommodate the influx of tourists.

The Vandenberg cost $9.5 million I think [sunk off the Keys in 2009]. The economic payback was less than six months. Spiegel Grove [also sunk there in 2002] cost $5 1/2 million and got a payback in less than three months.,” he said, adding, “It will take less than 20 minutes to get to [the site of the sunken Lady Luck], not a full day. In a couple of hours, people can have a great experience.”

At the July 8 event, there was a silent auction filled with nautical items, as well as a live auction with Pompano Mayor Lamar Fisher as auctioneer. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages were served. Joe West sang some oldies and speed artist Dale Henry a.k.a. “Paintman” quickly painted four pieces, which were auctioned.

DiGiorgio added that County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, who was at the event, was instrumental in getting free dockage at Port Everglades where the ship will be brought into, from its current position on the Miami River, before it sinks at 2 p.m. on July 23 off the Pompano Pier.

For more information, visit www.shipwreckparkpompano.org.

Comments Off on Celebrating Shipwreck Park

Zion Lutheran becomes Somerset Academy Key, retains preschool

Posted on 08 July 2016 by LeslieM

zionsomerset070716By Rachel Galvin

The Class of 2016 was the last class to graduate from Zion Lutheran. The school that began in 1964 is in the process of being transformed into a charter school called Somerset Academy Key. During the transition, many students and teachers went elsewhere, but others remained and an influx of new students is coming in. They currently have enrolled 420 students, but expect to have 600 in total by the time school starts.

There no longer will be a Christian curriculum and, since it is turning from a private to public school, students will be subject to testing and requirements they have never experienced before, but new principal Dennis Mulrooney said the changes are a good thing.

[The students] haven’t had those rigors before. I believe it is a step above. We are pushing higher education and setting them up for secondary success, putting them in a position to get into college. We are there to help them along the way.”

Mulrooney began his work in education in schools in Miami-Dade County. He has worked in administration and as a curriculum coach. He worked as an Assistant Principal at Somerset Academy in Miramar at an elementary level for two years. Looking to gain high school experience, he transferred to another charter school, Mater Academy, where he became Assistant Principal for two more years. When the call came asking him if he wanted to come to Deerfield and open Somerset Academy Key, he jumped at the chance.

Getting the call was a blessing. It is everything I have ever wanted,” he said.

The school is being freshened up to have a more Somerset feel. They will be retaining the colors and the lion mascot from Zion, but the lion may change a little.

They are updating the computers, installing new software. They have about 200 computer stations and plan to increase it up to 400-450 stations once they reach their intended enrollment.

In addition to already instituted extracurricular activities, including sports, students will be able to create their own clubs.

Students will create and drive the activity [programming]. If there is enough interest, they can get a sponsor and fundraise,” said Mulrooney, adding, “I want students to feel this is a second home for them.

The school, which will now only serve grades 6 to 12, currently has open enrollment. But the process to get in is not as easy as a regular school.

There is only a certain amount of seats at each level. Once we hit that, students go on a wait list. It is not a simple process. The later students register, the less likelihood they will get in,” he said.

Meanwhile Zion’s pre-school, now called Zion Early Learning Center, and the church is still operational.

The preschool serves ages six weeks to Pre-K. Kids here tackle STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) from day one. They follow the WEE curriculum, which is Christian-based. The staff is all CDA certified (with the Childcare Development Association). Over the summer, students learn a different fairy tale every week and incorporate it into their studies.

They also have a Vacation Bible School and a Summer Camp. The camp, which runs through August, includes traveling to fun adventures like the park, movies and elsewhere.

Both Somerset and the preschool are seeking students. For more information on Somerset Academy Key, call 954-481-0602 or visit www.somersetkey.com. For more information on the preschool and their programs, call 954-421-3146.

Comments Off on Zion Lutheran becomes Somerset Academy Key, retains preschool

Advertise Here
Advertise Here
Ad
Comunidade Evangelica Internacional Zona Sul-Florida Dr. Bob Harrison America's Increase Authority Financial Breakthrough Havera Traducao Simultanea July 31 6pm Free Admission FB: ceizs usa 2205 W. Hillsboro Blvd Deerfield Beach, FL (954) 421-7737 www.ceizsusa.com
Ad

front page

COVER