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Out & About in Cleveland

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Urban Community School Benefit

On Saturday, October 25th, the first event that we attended was the annual Urban Community School benefit held at the school itself on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland. This event was particularly special because it was the unveiling of their new wing, called Thomas Jeckering Middle School. Sister Maureen Doyle, the Director of Urban Community School, wrote in the program notes that, "In December of 2013, the Urban Community School began construction on a major addition to the UCS campus through our Better Starts Here Campaign. This included new classrooms and learning spaces designed to support the educational needs of young adolescents, an expanded school commons and engaging new green and play spaces to stimulate minds and build healthy bodies. With these physical enhancements came significant curriculum and technology enhancements as well, all geared to improve the way we teach children and develop young hearts and minds to live lives of great purpose."

We congratulated Sister Maureen and Mr. Thomas Gill, Chief Operating and Development Officer, of USC on the new addition. They thanked us for the help that Margaret W. Wong and Associates gave to several families that they referred to us over the years regarding matters pertaining to immigration. We also got to meet Mr. Stan Kaczmar, the architect, and Mr. Al Sanchez who coordinated the construction of the new wing.

We walked around the new facility and sampled food from such places as the Happy Dog, Urban Breakfast Shop, Momoccho Mod Mex, Crop Bistro and Bar, Gypsy Beans and Baking Co., Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream, Soho Kitchen and Bar, and Spice Kitchen and Bar.

We chatted with Ms. Sheila Barry and Ms. Julia Campbell from the event committee, and said hello to Ms. Anne Juster, the wife of Mr. Joseph K. Juster who is President of the USC Board of Trustees.

We really enjoyed visiting with Ms. Stacey Heffernan who is the Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center of the Conservancy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This was the first time that Ms. Heffernan has visited USC although USC sends its students to the Education Center for field trips each year. We speculated as to what type of winter we will have very soon; we both hope for snow but would prefer it not be as cold as last year. Ms. Heffernan told us that many field trips were cancelled last year for that reason.

We encountered Ms. Brendan Heil who were have met at several other events. Mr. Heil attended UCS when it was located at St. Malichi and St. Wendelin years ago. He said he would have liked to have gone to this facility because it was "gorgeous". Likewise, a young greeter named Tati looks forward to using the new wing because "we have bigger spaces to work here."

We had such a good time at Urban Community School that we hated to leave but we had one more event to attend on Saturday which was the annual Turkish Republic Day Ball put on by the Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio (TASNO) at the Gates Mills Community Center.

When we arrived the party was in full swing and Ms. Zeynep Ergungor, the President of TASNO, said to us with a big grin, "You're late!" Both Ms. Ergungor and and Ms. Muge Bilgin, the Vice President, were glad to see us, though, and we had some great Turkish Food while we chatted with people and watched families get up and dance to the music in front of a huge likeness of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President of the Turkish Republic, who died in 1938 but left a lasting impression.

We asked if there was a program earlier and were told by our friend, Mr. Debbie Hanson of Clevelandpeople.com and Ms. Esra Yagan, who we made friends with, that Ms. Ergungor gave a brief talk in which she upheld President Ataturk because he really opened up Turkey to the world and made some progressive reforms. Due to President Ataturk a trend was started which enabled her to immigrate to the United States and be a proud representative of her people. We were given a little informational booklet on President Ataturk which we are anxious to read.

Among the people we talked to at this event were Dr. Celal Batur, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Akron who immigrated to the United States who immigrated to the United States from Turkey in the early 1980's to obtain his Ph.D. and became a U.S. citizen in 1990. He recalled knowing a student who was recommended to Margaret W. Wong and Associates on an immigration matter.

The music was really lively and had a familiar beat to it that we couldn't quite place until Mr. Suat Aricanli, who we have seen and talked to at other events around Cleveland, winked at us and said, "now you know where disco comes from!"

Out & Aboutimwong