March 18, 2010

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Artist visits Norwood Margaret Smigiel, Flourtown resident and author of The Princess Albums, “recently honore Kindergarten to 3rd grade Norwood-Fontbonne Academy students with a reading of her book,  “The Princess Doctor.” This is a story of a princess who wishes to dedicate herself to helping others and through this adventure, discovers a different “happily ever after.”  Smigiel describes herself as a wife, mother, national champion cyclist and accidental author.   She was inspired to write her stories of service, charity, and dedication because of her children’s love of reading.  When asked why she used a princess as her heroine, she said that her two daughters always like to dress up as princesses, and she also wanted them to realize they could achieve much in life “instead of just waiting for their prince.  She shared her motto with the students, “dream big with a kind heart.”

Smigiel also presented NFA’s librarian, Shannon Craige, with two signed copies of her book. The next two stories in the series, “The Princess Chef” and “The Princess Architect,” are soon to be published. (Front, from left) Kevin Comerford (Wyndmoor), Elysha Rice (Willow Grove), Lauren D’Emilio (Roxborough). (Back, from left) Richard Veon (Lafayette Hill), Margaret Smigiel, Mari Kniezewski (Blue Bell), Casey Stephenson, (Wyncote) C. J. Lynch (Lafayette Hill).

OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD Alexandra Gilliam of Wyncote as the Tin Man (actually Lady), Sharell Bryant of Southwest Philadelphia as Dorothy, and Chris Golson of Blue Bell as the Scarecrow starred in Germantown Friends School’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” which ran as the school’s spring musical last weekend.
GFS’s “Oz” was performed with a twist.  The production was loaded with social and political allegory – all found in L. Frank Baum’s novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” originally published in 1900 during the height of the populist movement.  The scarecrow represented the Kansas farmer, the Tin Man symbolized the factory worker, and Dorothy wore silver slippers echoing the movement that saw silver as “the people’s money” as opposed to gold currency.
But the GFS production also succeeded as a children’s story and true adventure of the imagination.  “Something that is unique to the American personality is the idea that we have everything within us to solve our problems and accomplish our dreams,” said Lisa Burns of Chestnut Hill, head of the drama department and the play’s director.

GFS students in grades 6 through 12 sang, danced, and made the round-trip from Kansas together.  In addition to the original music, musical director Heath Allen composed some new songs for the production, including a comic number for the Wicked Witch.  The spring drama program at GFS includes the upcoming eighth grade musical “Oliver” and the ninth grade musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Depaul USA granted $10,000 from Green Tree Community Health Foundation

Depaul USA has received a $10,000 grant from the Green Tree Community Health Foundation in support of the programs at Depaul USA. The announcement of the grant was made by Susan Hansen, Ph.D., executive director and CEO of the foundation, on behalf of the Board of Trustees on Feb. 19. Eileen Smith, Executive Director of Depaul USA, said that the funds would be used to support the case management for Depaul House residents, especially the supportive services that focus on the well being of the residents to include the promotion of health education and good nutrition.  Depaul USA incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) in March 2009, and Depaul House, Depaul USA’s first project, opened its doors in April as a unique service that provides a comprehensive range of support to help men move out of homelessness. Depaul USA is located in a former convent in Germantown,  and 25 homeless men aged 20 – 55 have their own private room where they set up residence. “Many of the residents who come to Depaul House are beginning to recognize the importance of good health practices again,” According to Smith. “Our program supports them in deepening this awareness so they can continue to attain their goals.”


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