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Mentor Chamber of Commerce luncheon

On Tuesday, January 24th, we went to a Mentor Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Paradigm at Mentor High School where we listened to Mr. Matthew Miller, Superintendent of the Mentor Public Schools, give his annual "State of the Schools" address. We believe that it was the third one which we have attended and it seems to us that, under Mr. Miller's leadership, these schools are doing well and getting better all of the time.

Mr. Miller was proud to display a quote by State of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost regarding the district's 7th consecutive perfect audit. "Your exemplary reporting serves as the standard for clean, accountable government, representing the highest level of services to Ohioans," wrote Mr. Yost.

During his address, Mr. Miller contended that techniques of learning and teaching have changed a lot since us older people were in school (indeed this is true since we graduated from high school in 1975) and heralded the great potential of such programs as blended learning which "Wikipedia" defines as "an education program that combines on line digital media with traditional classroom methods. He introduced students who talked about how much they have benefited from the project-based research approach, career technical offerings, and even innovations in elementary school.

At the end of his presentation, he introduced a high school student who talked about what it was like to study the Syrian conflict as part of a Model UN conference that took place at Mentor High School last October.

Along the way, Mr. Miller expressed great enthusiasm about a "Digital Promise" gathering which will take place in Mentor this April and should be attended by some 275 people. We checked out the website for "Digital Promise" and learned that it "works at the intersection of education leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs and developers to improve learning with the power of technology."

All told, 130 people attended this luncheon and they represented a good cross section of the Mentor community. They seemed quite happy with the course that Mr. Miller has chartered for the future. As he was making introductions, Mr. Al DiFranco, President and CEO of the Mentor Chamber, said that he believed that exemplary schools are essential to the success of a community and its businesses, and that "Matt does a great job!"

Before the program started we spoke with Ms. Barb Bonnes and Ms. Margaret Watson, who respectively are the Director of Curriculum and the Director of Student Services for Mentor Public Schools, about the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. We learned that only 2% of the Mentor students are in need of such assistance but when such situations do arise, tutoring has yielded fine results. We also talked to Mr. Andrew Nash from the Huntington Learning Center who recalled how a young student (3rd or 4th grade) who immigrated to the United States from one of the Hispanic countries with no knowledge of English once came to the Center for assistance and the Center staff were able to hook the family up with the entities who could provide successful aid.

Another person we saw at the luncheon was Mr. Jonathan Wilterdink from Thrivent Financial who recently won a copy of Ms. Margaret W. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way" at a Chamber raffle. Mr. Wilterdink told us that he was glad that he won the book because he has a relative who is very interested in immigration issues and was thus able to give him the book as a gift during the Christmas holidays.

On an entirely different level, we enjoyed several helpings of some excellent vegetable pasta prepared by Mr. Glenn Liebhardt of the "Cater to You" catering company. Plus, earlier in January, we had purchased a ticket to the annual Harvey High School (i.e. a Painesville school) Athletic Booster Club Reverse Raffle due to take place on Saturday night, January 28th, at La Malfa in Mentor. We told Mr. Mark Wainwright, who sold us the ticket, that we probably wouldn't be able to make it due to a scheduling conflict although we support the school. We asked Mr. Wainwright to please accept whatever prize that we might win and he said that there would be no problem.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.


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