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Out & About in Cleveland

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Horizons Academy and Unveiling the Statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen

On May 22nd, we were invited by the Horizon Science Academy to attend their "Community Awareness and Volunteer Recognition Breakfast" where we were seated with old friends Laura Fruscella, Asim Datta, Pierre Bejjani, and Murat Gurer. We also spoke to Mr. John Paul Martini, President of Martini Construction Company who built this school and liked working with Ms. Wong when she served on the board for Horizon Academy. We were very impressed by the way that the Horizon students took charge of the program especially Ms. Gabrielle Blackshire, a student ambassador who served as the master of ceremonies. In addition to Ms. Blackshire, there was the Junior ROTC who did the presentation of colors, the Turkish Dance Team, the Spanish Dance Team both of whom performed for us, and a several science presentations by the STEM Team.

The director of Horizon Science Academy is Mr. Mustafa Ada who, during opening remarks, told us that Horizon Science Academy is a independently operated, tuition-free college preparatory high school, serving grades 9-12, with an emphasis on math, science and technology. There are 500 students enrolled there and many of them come from challenged backgrounds. Next week 83 students will graduate and 73% of these graduates are headed for college. Horizon Academy is proud of its 100% college acceptance rate since 2008 for those who choose to attend college after graduation.

There are no metal detectors here and discipline is maintained by such positive things like rigorous but worthwhile course work and attractive school uniforms. There is tutoring every day after school for those who require it and Horizon Science Academy is always looking for new community partners. To be sure, Margaret W. Wong and Associates is certainly very proud to be a community partner to this institution.

Remarks were also given by the Art Teacher, Ms. Jennifer Cooper who showed us some of the students' paintings and told us that the art program had been recognized by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. Ms. Cooper believes that producing a piece of art is a form of expression and should be encouraged because the process of creating can be a very positive thing. She concluded by saying that "art leaves no child behind".

The keynote speaker of this morning was Dr. Michael Schoop, Ph.D. who is the President of the Metro Campus of Cuyahoga Community College who started his presentation by giving the definition of "mass customization" which is the process of delivering wide-market goods and services that are modified to fit the needs of the individual customer and went on to say that this must be the new trend in education-to assist students in choosing the classes in which they are most likely to do well and to explore their career interests. Accordingly, the bureaucracy that might impede this must be cut, and there must be more interactions between the college and the students as well as the students and their peers who might be able to help them also. Dr. Schoop went on to say that enhanced education is imperative because the high earning baby boomer generation is slowly going out and without a good education today's young people will be stuck in low-paying jobs throughout their lives and will have very little purchasing power which could have a destructive impact on our economy.

Several people were honored for their contributions to the school including Dr. Patrick Bray, a retiree who now gives his time to tutoring students. He seemed like the kind of gentle, patient man that we would all like our children to learn from.

Our favorite part of the morning, however, was when one of our staffers volunteered for a ride on a hovercraft that the science students had constructed from leaf blowers and actually glided across the room several times on a platform that was slightly off the floor. We didn't expect to do this when we got up that morning!!!

 

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After we left Horizon Science Academy that morning we headed right over to the Zhongshan Merchant Association on Rockwell Avenue in Cleveland to greet a delegation from Zhongshan, China and for the unveiling of a bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. This statue turned out to be a beautiful gift from the delegation, headed by Ms. Han Zesheng, Vice Chair of the CPPCC Zhongshan Committee, to Cleveland which is very special to the people of Zhongshan since Dr. Sun visited this city when he was in exile and living in the U.S.

Many prominent local people were here on this day included City Councilmen Brian Cummins, Jeff Johnson, T.J. Dow and Joe Cimperman; W. Michael Fleming, Executive Director of St. Clair Superior Development; Margaret W. Wong (Immigration Attorney); Lisa Wong (OCA Cleveland); Joy Roller (Global Cleveland), Jason Lin (HCI & Omni Square); Anthony Yen (Confucius Institute); Henry Liu (Cleveland Chinatown Development); Tom Kaung (CCSA); Chia-Min Chen (Asian Liaison to Cleveland City Hall); and William Young (Chinese Benevolent Association) to name only a few.

Afterwards, we all walked over to the Emperor's Palace restaurant for a delicious lunch, a couple of speeches, and the presentations of various citations.

Councilman Cummins, who is working with the Asian Community of Cleveland to establish a Sister City relationship with Zhongshan, said that he is very happy about the resurgence of the Asian Community of Cleveland and is proud that Cleveland is the recipient of the statue of Dr. Sun since Councilman Cummins regards him as the "father of modern China". Councilman Cummins, who has traveled extensively and visited Zhongshan, went on to say that he believes that Zhongshan plays a vital role in the economy of its region and Cleveland is destined to have an important relationship with Zhongshan.

Councilman Dow said that he had visited China recently also but unfortunately he did not make it to Zhongshan. Councilman Dow went on to talk about how much he enjoyed visiting China's historical sites and was amazed at how nice the people of China were and how well he was treated. Councilman Dow said that he felt that his experiences on this trip gave him more insight into issues pertaining to the Asian community that is a significant part of his district and he believes he is a better councilman because of this.

Later in the day we drove out to Solon for a "3 Chamber Business to Business Show" put on by the Aurora, Solon and Twinsburg Chambers. There were at least 80 businesses advertising their goods and services and our visit was beneficial to Margaret W. Wong and Associates because we had conversations with quite a few people who indicated that they were in need of an immigration attorney at one time or another and that they would certainly keep us in mind if a situation ever occurred again.

Some examples of this were businesses that have/had hired several foreign born workers; a payroll service that is constantly asked by its clients for help on all kinds of problems and including immigration; a law office who might refer us should an immigration matter arise; a consulting firm whose clients. once in a while, ask about what they would have to do to help a worker immigrate to the U.S.; a restaurant owner who had to help several of his employees on their immigration paperwork when the restaurant first opened; a person whose friend married a woman from Guatemala and had a tough time with her immigration paperwork.

Moreover we ran into some friends like Cheryl A. Carter, now working for Habitat for Humanity, who has worked for many non-profits over the years including several that Ms. Wong has supported; Masroor R. Malik who really appreciated our support of the recent CAIR dinner; and Robert F. Redmond, a commercial realtor who is helping to renew the lease of Pearl of the Orient and has known Ms. Wong and her family for many years.

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