Archive for February, 2011

MCCC's Relay for Life - April 29-30

By Sarah Grebe
Montgazette Staff Writer

It’s been a year since my mother lost her nine-month battle against cancer.

She left behind a husband, four children and two beautiful grandchildren.

And just when I thought I could no longer bear the emotional burden of this disease, my older sister, Bernadette, who, like me, is also a Montgomery County Community College student, was diagnosed with an early form of cancer. Fortunately, thanks to treatment, she is cancer-free.

I personally know the toll this disease can take on family, friends and loved ones.
That is why I urge you to take part in the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life,” which will be held for the first time on the MCCC campus on April 29 and April 30.

Led by Student Government Association Vice President Joshua Schwartz, an inspiring six-year cancer survivor, and West Campus SGA President Grace Pusey, the event is a 12-hour (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) walking relay that seeks to draw more than 750 participants and raise more than $15,000.

The relay’s objective is for each team to keep one members walking at all times. The relay has been an overnight event since it was established in 1986. The reason team members keep walking is because “cancer never sleeps,” according to the American Cancer Society.
What can you do to help the cancer fight? Join a team, donate or form your own team and create your own fundraising goal.

The American Cancer Society will also sell luminarias, a makeshift lantern or vigil candle, for $10. The candle is lit after dark to honor those afflicted by cancer.

MCCC’s hosting of the Relay for Life has already drawn some large sponsors, including Starbucks Coffee, Penn Liberty Bank and Cabot Cheese.

The opening ceremony will include guest speakers and live performances from local musicians. Cancer survivors such as my older sister, Bernadette, and Schwartz will help start the event by participating in the “Survivors Lap.”

“As a cancer survivor, I know what it is like to conquer a battle that seems forever impossible. Having cancer and surviving when I was told I wouldn’t has given me a new aspect on life,” Schwartz said.

The Survivors Lap will be truly motivating to watch because the participants are heroes and fighters that have won a tough battle. Seeing these people, young or old, come together is truly inspiring. Above all, they share one thing — they survived cancer. 

The Relay for Life will be a life-changing event that can give everyone the opportunity to celebrate the lives of survivors, remember loved ones and fight back against cancer.
For more information or to get started, check out the Web site: www.relayforlife.org/pamccc.

Read through the survivor stories and caregiver stories while visiting the site. They are truly touching and give more motivation to continue fighting.


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How I Got Here

By Kevin Devine
Montgazette Editor

At each Montgazette staff meeting we discuss the possibility of having a “How I Got Here” story. We have not yet interviewed anyone, so I figured I’d start with myself.

I was a “fairly bad” student throughout high school. I say “fairly bad” because my poor grades resulted from my attitude and lack of caring. I was a transplant from Philly and couldn’t stand the suburbs. To me, everyone was a snob – I didn’t make too many friends.

My senior year of high school, I picked up a pen, a guitar, a girl and a class on acting.
I went on to help my high school win first place in the first Pennsylvania Shakespeare Competition. Being on stage gave me a great feeling, so I decided to attend college for acting.

I applied to nine universities, but due to my poor grades, I was rejected by eight. My number one choice accepted me into their conservatory based on my audition. To fix my grades, I’d have to attend MCCC for the summer – just a week after my high school graduation.

Things went well and I made it to the acting school. It didn’t take long for me to slip up, and I began skipping class to write poems, songs and short stories. I also missed my girlfriend and as the great Bob Dylan said: “You can’t be wise and in love at the same time.”

I dropped out of college to be with the girl. I came home and got a full-time job as a cashier at a grocery store. On the side, I pursued a career in music. I had saved up $300 (not much, but cashiers at grocery stores make almost nothing) for an apartment. I was ready to start a new life when (drum roll, please) I GOT DUMPED!

What did I do? I quickly spent the money and wrote (yeah, crybaby over here) a notebook of music. I recorded an album with a good friend – in his basement – and released it. Out of nowhere, I was in magazines, music blogs and on TV. I was being called the next Bruce Springsteen. It was great, but I wanted a second chance at school.

I enrolled at Montgomery County Community College again to take some writing classes. I took creative writing with Dr. Tiffany Rayl, who encouraged me to write more short stories and poems. I owe her a lot. Then, my life took an unexpected turn.

I took a journalism class. The instructor’s name was Clark DeLeon. I remember sitting at my computer when a large man with broad shoulders and glasses walked in. “Hello,” he said, sipping from an ATC coffee. “My name is Clark DeLeon and I’m here to change your life.”

I laughed, but he did. He inspired me so much that I tried to get a job with Philadelphia City Paper. I received only an internship, but I went on to interview Channing Tatum (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Step Up) and published an article on him.

Here I am now. I’m taking classes, and enjoying the life of a 20-year-old college student (it only happens once). My plan is to attend Temple University in the near future. But who knows what will happen? As you can see, life is unpredictable.

So I’m here to ask you: what’s your MCCC story? How did you get here?

Email me: kdevine0604@students.mc3.edu
I’d love to hear from you.

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By Samantha Berk
Montgazette Staff Writer

Few can afford to dine in five-star restaurants on a regular basis.

But Philadelphia Restaurant Week makes this luxury possible for many – including myself.

About 100 high-quality restaurants participated in the event, which was held Jan. 16-21 and Jan. 23-28. They offered lunch for $20 and dinner for $35. Typically, the dinner price at one of these fine restaurants can run more than $150.

Restaurant Week allows ordinary people to experience the finest cuisine the region has to offer.

I chose to dine at Le Bec-Fin since I love French culture and especially French cuisine. I have traveled to France and always wanted to see if Philly’s finest French restaurant captured the country’s flavors accurately. There is no other restaurant that optimizes five-star quality and sophistication.

Owner and Chef Georges Perrier had announced that his famed restaurant – now celebrating its 40th anniversary – would close in August. But recently, Perrier, 67, granted his business a reprieve and partnered with his chef, Nicholas Elmi, according to Philadelphia Inquirer food columnist Michael Klein. Come August, the restaurant will close, but only for renovations to the dining area and downstairs bar.

Le Bec-Fin hopes to expand its clientele by participating in fixed-price menu events such as Restaurant Week.
Dressed in my Sunday best, I arrived at Le Bec-Fin to see how the other half lives.

While I felt a little out of place (my group was probably the youngest out of anyone there), I was grateful to have the opportunity to dine at this Philadelphia landmark.

The menu offered a choice of three appetizers, four main courses and three desserts that would please a variety of people. The dining atmosphere was sophisticated, yet welcoming.

The first course arrived as my friends became apprehensive to eat escargot. Since I had them in France last year, I knew they were delicious. Le Bec-Fin did not let me down. The appetizer was drenched in a creamy buttery sauce. Those who can overcome the stigma of eating snails will find that they have a flavorful, mushroom-like texture.

After such a unique appetizer, I could not wait to try the main course: steak with a side of rutabaga, complete with a creamy champagne-infused sauce. Since I never had rutabaga before, I was happy I was able to try something different and quite tasty.

Finally, it was time for dessert: the signature “Gateau Le Bec-Fin,” which is a chocolate cake soaked in rum topped with vanilla ice cream.

Read the description of the dessert again if you don’t yet comprehend how delicious it was.

Instead of rushing through each course, my friends and I savored each item and considered ourselves lucky to be enjoying such a delicious meal.

The portions may be small, but the quality of the food is superior to any other restaurant that I have patronized. The food is rich and much more filling than it looks. Living lavishly can be affordable, as long as people are aware of fixed-price menus and events like Restaurant Week.

A little Internet research can open your eyes to affordability in the world of quality cuisine.

Another Restaurant Week in Philadelphia will occur later this year, and the Main Line is planning one to include about 40 restaurants. In different cities across America, different restaurants participate in similar events.

I am happy I dined at Le Bec-Fin, and I encourage everyone to eat like a celebrity at least once. A three-course dinner was well worth the $35.

It was the meal of a lifetime; a perfect night – except for the disappointing fact that the waiter did not speak a word of French.

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