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Dr. Ellenbogen Speaks at Chambers of Commerce Luncheon; Fundraiser for Ms. Meryl Johnson

IMG_4162On Tuesday, August 30th, we went to La Malfa on Heisley Road in Mentor for a joint luncheon of the Eastern Lake County, Willoughby/Western, and Mentor chambers of commerce.

The speaker was Dr. Kirsten M. Ellenbogen, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center, who spoke about the need to develop a more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) oriented workforce to meet the demands of business and industry both now and in the future. She contended that a large part of the high unemployment rate is not due to a lack of jobs; it is because workers to do not have the skills to fill the industrial/technological jobs that are presently available.

Accordingly, she believed that parents and teachers must encourage youngsters to think creatively and engage in project oriented activities. For example, she was very proud of the work that is being done at the MC2 STEM High School at the Great Lake Science Center. We checked out its website and learned that it was "designed as a project-based learning environment, the MC2 STEM High School exposes students to the design and implementation practices scientists and engineers use. Students spend their days creating, exploring and discovering as they learn to become innovators, logical thinkers and inventors."

Dr. Ellenbogen told us that one of its projects was building an underwater robotic vehicle that will be functionable  in Lake Erie.

We asked her if there are international students involved in the various programs that the Great Lakes Science Center has to offer and do they contribute a lot and Dr. Ellenbogen replied that there certainly were foreign-born students working there and she loved to work with them because she respected their point-of-view and she believed the introduction of multilingualism into the classroom was a good thing. She went on to praise the work of immersion schools; not so much because they teach children how to speak another language but because this leads to them actual THINKING in another language which will prove invaluable should they pursue a career in science/technology.

Today's luncheon was attended by 180 people representing 120 organizations.  We shared a table with Ms. Vicki Curtis from Hy-Gain Electric; Ms. Karen Bowersox from Downs, Designs, Dreams; and Ms. Eva Nemcik from My-Happy Feet; and Mr. William Thompson who is both a pastor and an entrepreneur who has his own insurance firm. We tabled next to him at Painesville Party in the Park.

We spent a few minutes talking with Ms. Nemcik who, we learned, immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia with her family around 1968-1969. She worked for GE for 26 years and eventually founded a successful company in the area of "foot alignment socks" that help relieve the stress of confining footwear.

Among the other people we spoke to on this day was an official in a local church who was glad to take our contact information because often times missionaries are dispatched to different countries and make all kinds of connections.

We also talked to an immigration attorney in Lake County who saw us tabling on behalf of Margaret W. Wong and Associates at Painesville Party in the Park and thus resolved that next year he/she will be tabling there too.IMG_4179

Tuesday evening we went to the Beachland Ballroom on Waterloo Road to attend a fundraiser for our good friend Ms. Meryl Johnson who is a candidate for the State Board of Education in Ohio District 11 which is a position currently held by Ms. Mary Rose Oakar who has endorsed Ms. Johnson as her successor.

Ms. Oakar was present at this gathering and spoke on behalf of Ms. Johnson who she said was a "great candidate." She said that she favored Ms. Johnson to replace her because has taught for 40 years and is very good at what she does because she loves children and is very concerned about their welfare. Therefore, she has often mentored/assisted children who have suffered in terms of harassment and/or have a very unstable home life.

IMG_4174Moreover, Ms. Oakar believes that Ms. Johnson will not be afraid to speak out and advocate for what she believes in should she ultimately be elected to the Board which is a nonpartisan office and for Ohio District 11 there will be four candidates on the November ballot.

We arrived early and helped Ms. Cindy Barber, the owner of the Ballroom, hang a "Meryl Johnson" banner on the curtain in the back of the stage.

We got to meet Ms. Johnson's campaign manager, Ms. Annette Chase and Ms. A.J. Catledge who was helping at the registration table. Also tabling there were Ms. Amparo Vega, the owner of the Original Cleveland Watch Company and her assistant, Ms. Megan Connelly.

Throughout the evening several musical groups turned up to perform like Carlos Jones and Friends, the Colin Dussault Blues Project, and the Prayer Warriors. As for the Prayer Warriors, let it be noted that Ms. Johnson (who just loves to sing is a member and performed a couple of numbers with them.IMG_4178

To top that off, Mr. Todd Smith adapted for Ms. Johnson an old campaign song that had been made use of by several other candidates and sang it for all of us.

We told Ms. Chase that if we have some time in the week before the November election, we will volunteer to help put Ms. Johnson over the top because, unlike the campaigns for federal and statewide offices that are very media driven, we believe that Ms. Johnson's campaign is the type of operation where the volunteers just might make the crucial difference in terms of winning.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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