Patriot FC U13 Girls Red Win Fustol Championship

 

The Patriot FC U13 Girls Red won the SMG Futsol League Division Championship in Warminster earlier this month. Fustol is a modified form of soccer played with five players per side on a smaller indoor field.

“Futsol is fast-moving and a good complement to our regular soccer training,” said Tony Ries, head coach of the U13 girls. “The smaller, fast-paced format forces the players to have tight ball control, and improves their overall ball skills. We are thrilled our team won the division, we worked hard to get here.” Headquartered in Washington Crossing, Patriot FC has nearly 500 intramural players between the ages of four to 18, as well as more than 300 travel players representing 23 teams.

Pictured, back row, are Celina Varion, Nicole Millman, Caroline Erlandsen, and Sydney Blum; front row, Abbey Kollar, Lilly Ries, and Paige Columbo. Not pictured, Bailee Matthews.

Share

Newtown’s Olympic Bronze Medalist returns to her roots, visiting her former school

 

by June Portnoy

Jamie Greubel, Olympic bobsled Bronze Medalist, received an enthusiastic welcome from kindergarteners through sixth graders at Newtown Elementary School on Wednesday, March 5th. Walking into the school’s cafeteria to the Olympic theme song, students could barely contain their excitement, cheering “USA, USA” as Jamie appeared at the school she attended from 1995 to 1996, the first year the school opened its doors.

Jamie, a Newtown Township native, drove the bobsled, with brakewoman Aja Evans, to victory during the two-women bobsled competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Principal Kevin King took Jamie for a walk down memory lane, pointing out her sixth grade photo in her class picture that still hangs in the school’s hallway among subsequent graduating classes. He then showed her a tile that had been taken down from the school’s ceiling in which Jamie, along with her classmates, had painted her handprints during her graduating year.

Next, he reflected on one of the first records Jamie set. He showed students a physical fitness board on which Jamie’s name is still displayed, announcing “Jamie holds the record for the 600-yard run at 1 minute, 47 seconds, which is still the record here today.”

Principal King told Jamie, “You’ve inspired so many people in this room to shoot for high goals, and we want to thank you for coming back and showing us that you still remember where you came from…the Olympics are always special, but this year, they were extra special knowing we had a Newtown person in the Olympics.”

Mrs. Mary Bloom, Jamie’s former physical education teacher who still teaches here today, remembers how athletic Jamie always was. Mrs. Bloom said, “She has been such an inspiration to all of us…knowing that at one time she sat in our gymnasium just like you do every single week, with dreams just like you have.

“With lots of practice and determination, Jamie achieved an unbelievable goal, to represent the United States of America in the Olympics…and to actually stand on the podium and receive the bronze medal.”

Council Rock School District Superintendent Mr. Mark Klein, who was Newtown’s school principal when Jamie attended, stopped by to welcome her back. He addressed Jamie, stating, “On behalf of the entire Council and community, not just limited to Newtown, we were so excited to see your great success in the Olympics.”

Still another visitor from Jamie’s past was retired teacher James Maloney, Jamie’s sixth grade teacher at Newtown.

When Jamie took the microphone, she said, “This is by far the biggest and most enthusiastic welcome I’ve had since I got home, and you guys literally brought me to tears when I walked into that door.”

Jamie explained that “bobsledding is a very unique sport because there are only two bobsled tracks in the United States, one in Lake Placid, NY and one in Salt Lake City, Utah, so unless you grow up in one of those two places, it isn’t likely you would grow up bobsledding.”

Instead, Jamie, who always loved sports, participated in track and field, field hockey, riding horses and a bit of basketball. She continued her involvement with track and field at Cornell University from which she graduated. After graduation, her friend invited her to Lake Placid to try bobsledding. 

“I had never competed in other sports before, but I loved sports so much I was willing to go out there and give it a try,” explained Jamie, who bobsledded for six years before making the Olympic team. She admitted bobsledding was scary at first, but the more she practiced, the better she got and the more confident she became in her newfound skills.

Jamie presented a very special slide show, which including a variety of photos taken during the Olympics. A highlight of the day was when Jamie took out her bronze medal, displaying it to a cheering, screaming audience of fans.

Mrs. Bloom recognized Jamie as the school’s first and only member of its Newtown Hall of Fame, presenting her with a concrete plaque that art teacher, Mrs. Donna Farrell, designed. It included Jamie’s name, date of graduation from Newtown, as well as pertinent information about the Winter Olympic games, including a symbol of the bobsled. Jamie signed the plaque, which will be prominently displayed in the school.

Before Jamie left, she offered students the inspiring words that, “You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. If you believe in yourself, you can make it happen. Work hard and follow your dreams.”

PHOTO CAP: Jamie with her former sixth grade teacher, James Maloney

Share

St. Mary introduces Next Day Orthopedics for quick access

In response to the growing need for urgent orthopedic care in Bucks County, St. Mary Medical Center has introduced Next Day Orthopedics. This customer-focused service is designed to help patients who need immediate treatment for a sudden injury or dramatic increase in back, joint, hand, or muscle pain. With one call, a person can get an appointment to see the right orthopedic sub-specialist to treat their specific orthopedic problem within one business day.

This new service is targeted to individuals who need to quickly see a physician for an unexpected orthopedic issue, such as a strain, sprain, or minor fracture. Next Day Orthopedics is intended for those who don’t necessarily need a trip to the Emergency Department, yet can’t wait days or weeks for a scheduled appointment with an orthopedic specialist. A nurse navigator will triage calls made by patients to the St. Mary physician referral line at 215.710.5888 and help schedule a convenient next-business-day appointment with the right orthopedic specialist experienced in the specific care a patient needs. Patients who are requesting specialized orthopedic care are welcome to call even if they previously were seen in an emergency room, urgent care center, or primary care office. Providing the right care with the right physician is the most important goal of Next Day Orthopedics.

“With Next Day Orthopedics, patients are getting quick access to some of the best specialty orthopedic care in the region,” says Dr. Richard Cautilli, Chair of Orthopedics at St. Mary Medical Center. “This convenience is backed by the expertise of our highly experienced board-certified surgeons who have attained the highest levels of credentials and specialty training. Patients calling for Next Day Orthopedics can see the right orthopedic specialist for their specific problem.”

Share

Diversity Day at Chandler Hall

 

On Wednesday, February 26th, Chandler Hall held its annual Diversity Day event on its Newtown campus. Residents, participants, staff members, children from Child Development and guests filled Wright Meeting Hall to share the heritage of their cultures while experiencing a taste of many others.

Diversity Day gives employees a unique chance to share an important part of themselves with the Chandler Hall community. Dressing in attire from their homelands, staff prepared a mouthwatering assortment of delicacies from their native countries, ranging from Israel and India to Ireland and Italy, while Wright Meeting Hall was decorated with handicrafts from all across the globe.

This year Chandler Hall’s own Bluebird Chorus kicked off the entertainment with a concert of globally-themed songs. Next, the visiting George School Chorale performed their own diverse assortment of world music, and Mary Grace O’Malley delighted the crowd with her expert Irish dancing. The event was a big success, and everyone left with full stomachs and a heightened appreciation for diversity.

PHOTO CAP: Friends Services for the Aging, Leadership Director, Marsha Coleman, flanked by the HR Director of the Kendal Corporation, Wanda Whitted-Smith and Chandler Hall’s CEO, Lynette Killen share a moment at Chandler Hall’s Annual Diversity Day.

Share

Megan Stanley is modeling a career on the runway

by M. L. Dwyer 

Standing at a statuesque 5’10” tall and wearing a size 9.5 shoe has not always been a comfortable thing for 17-year-old Megan Stanley of Newtown. Growing up as one of the taller girls amongst her peers, and towering over the boys, Megan, a junior at Council Rock North, felt uncomfortable with her height. That is, until she entered a “Be a Model for a Day” contest in April 2013 at the King of Prussia Mall. Although she did not win the contest, she did get signed by Wilhelmina, one of the largest and most successful modeling agencies in the world.

Overnight, Megan was introduced to the world of fashion and glamour. Sent by Wilhelmina for a ‘go see’ in SoHo New York, she learned how to navigate around New York City. Megan recently participated in the prestigious Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Square. There she walked for, and donned the latest fashions from, two up-and-coming designers, Furne One by Amato and Altaf Maaneshia. Denise Stanley, Megan’s supportive mom, is caught up in the thrill of all that has transpired for her daughter. She said that on Altaf Maaneshia’s Facebook page he has posted a video of Fashion Week in which Megan can be seen walking and modeling the designer’s clothes.

Megan also participated in Philadelphia Fashion Week 2014, where she wore the designs of Dom Streater, the first African American winner on the TV show Project Runway.

Flashback to a time before Megan appreciated her tall and svelte body, and was just a typical, suburban teen shopping in New Hope. While browsing in Three Crane Gallery a couple of years ago, she was approached by the owners asking her if she modeled and, if so, would she like to model for them. Megan quickly dismissed the thought and went on her way. Now, empowered with a newfound confidence, interest, and experience in modeling, she recently contacted the owners of Three Crane Gallery to see if they were still interested in her. And interested they were…they needed a model for their website! There you can see Megan modeling Mudmee Tie Dye clothes, a method of tie dying from Thailand.

While interviewing Megan, I asked her which models she most admires. Having so many favorites she was unable to pinpoint one, but said that her ultimate career aspiration is to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. While only a junior in high school, Megan is considering a gap year of modeling after graduation to see where this path may lead. As far as college, she has a strong interest in design. These two areas go hand in hand and promise to keep Megan in the fast-paced world of fashion and glamour.

PHOTO CAP: Megan Stanley on the runway. Photo by Denise Stanley.

Share

Mystx U-16 Force wins gold l at National Hockey Festival

 

Mystx Field Hockey Club’s U16 Mystx Force team took home gold at the National Hockey Festival over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. The National Hockey Festival, put on by USA Field Hockey, is the largest amateur field hockey event in the world. In total, 196 Under-16 and Under-19 teams in 28 pools competed at the 2013 National Hockey Festival held on the pristine polo fields of the International Polo Club.

The Mystx Force, with five wins and a tie, claimed the gold medal. The team comprises many players from the Suburban One League.  Council Rock North coach Heather Whalin served as Head Coach and William Tennant coach Kaitlin Rauchut served as Assistant Coach for the Force tournament team. “It was a total team effort, from the keepers all the way up to the forwards. It’s nice to see girls from all different high schools come together and gel as a team. Coach Rauchut was a great asset to have as an assistant coach and the players played a high level of hockey. It reminded me just how much I love this game,” says Coach Whalin.

PHOTO CAP: The U16 Mystx Force, back row from left, Coach Heather Whalin, Jennica Jonovich, Chelsea Duggan, Christen Pennington, Cameron Costello, Caroline McGovern, Gabrielle Acker, Brenna Reilley, Maria Palmieri, Macella Molenari, and Coach Kaitlin Rauchut; front row, Maddie Keppel, Margaret Lynch, Amanda Blum, Chloe Verweil, Gigi Tutoni, Emily Alexis, Rachel Pomerantz, and Marlena Koellner.

Share

Performing is all in the family at Villa Victoria Academy

by Olivia Quinn

Have you ever been to the Villa Victoria Academy Theatre? I’d like to invite you to come soon!  Hello, my name is Olivia Quinn, and I am currently in eighth grade at Villa Victoria Academy. VVA is known for its arts programs and annual spring musical, and I have been lucky enough to be able to participate in this great tradition since fourth grade.  Although we have Pre-K through high school here, only fourth through 12th graders can audition because the play is a huge commitment. Just like with everything else, school and grades come first!

Last year, I had the role of Peter in our production of “Peter Pan.”  I have also been in “The Wizard of Oz” as the munchkin coroner, “The Sound of Music” as Kurt von Trapp, “Oliver” as The Artful Dodger, and am currently in “Annie” as a chorus member. The cast of “Annie” is absolutely amazing!  There is so much talent, dedication, and determination. This year’s play will definitely set the bar for all other shows, because Villa doesn’t produce any old high school level play, and everyone who comes is always entertained. It is especially fun this year because my younger sisters are also in the cast. I get to be a chorus member with Juliet (sixth grade), and Isabella (fourth grade) is taking the spotlight as Annie. Each experience has helped build my confidence, people skills, talent, and overall mindset. Being able to go to practice after school is an amazing way for me to relax, decompress from the day, and just clear my head. My favorite reason for doing the plays is that I get to entertain people and make them happy by playing pretend.  There isn’t a better way.

Having been able to put on the Villa Victoria uniform since first grade, I feel as though Villa is my home away from home. I’ve been taught skills that will carry me through life. Villa has also blessed me with amazing friends that I couldn’t live without. We are a close-knit family that love each other and never cease laughing, even and especially when there are hardships. Although Villa Victoria is in New Jersey, it’s only about 10 minutes away from where I live in Newtown and there is free bus transportation. VVA is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t wish to change anything about my experiences there. Make sure you come over to Villa Victoria to see “Annie” in March, which I promise will make you laugh, smile, and want to sing along to all the songs!  

Olivia Quinn and her family live in Newtown. Tickets are on sale now for “Annie” (March 21st- 23rd) by calling 609-882-1700 ext. 10. Visit www.villavictoria.org for more information.

Share

Newtown child actress, singer and dancer has featured performance during Super Bowl Half-Time Show

by June Portnoy

When George Matwijec turned on the TV to watch the Super Bowl this year, his primary interest was much more than whether the Broncos or Seahawks won.

Instead, his focus was on the halftime show, where none other than his 10-year-old daughter, Grace Matwijec, was featured, singing “Prepare” among the Kids Choir with superstar Bruno Mars. Grace was one of only 12 children selected from hundreds who auditioned in New York for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“When I got this part, I had no idea that I’d be singing in front of 85,000 people, plus the entire nation,” says Grace, “but I wasn’t nervous at all.  I was really excited to have this chance to perform in front of so many people.”

“For the first 30 seconds of the performance, the cameras panned each girl very closely, so you could clearly see Grace,” says George. “I sat in disbelief watching Grace perform on national TV. Our entire family watched her from all over the country.”

Although Grace has had many big roles in the past, she admits that singing during the Super Bowl’s halftime show was by far one of her most exciting moments.

A close second to this performance was Grace’s 2½-month Broadway national tour performing “White Christmas” in eight different cities.  During this production, Grace played the principle role of Susan Waverly.

A highlight of performing in this production was that it entitled Grace to receive her Actors’ Equity card while on tour. As an Equity member, she is now a part of the most distinguished body of professional actors and stage managers in the nation.

Grace, who has danced since she was three, caught the acting bug right in her hometown during the Newtown Historic Association’s annual Market Day. While there, a representative from the Newtown Theatre was recruiting young talent. Grace was five at the time that she was invited to audition.

She accepted the invitation, auditioned, and got her first acting role in the ensemble cast of “Meet Me in St. Louis.” From that point, she was hooked on acting. She performed in several more shows at the Newtown Theatre, as well as at other various local theaters. Plus, she performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in the “The Music Man,” and at the Bucks County Playhouse presentation of “Really Rosie.”

In addition to acting, Grace models. Her face was featured on the packaging of Flipeez Hats. She has also done work for American Girl and Spirit Halloween. Grace recently performed in an upcoming music video with a young artist about the importance of respecting the dignity of kids with autism. Despite Grace’s high profile, her parents watch carefully to be sure all this fame doesn’t go to her head, and Grace remains a full-time student.

“It’s important to us that we keep the normalcy in Grace’s life as much as possible, and fortunately, she remains very grounded,” says George. “After taking her bows on stage, she goes home and plays with her American Girl dolls or does her homework.”

George is emphatic that schoolwork always comes first.

“I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by spending so much time performing or that it’s changed me,” says Grace. “It doesn’t phase me when people come up to me after a show to ask for an autograph or compliment me.”

George does see many benefits of Grace’s acting experiences. “Her confidence is off the charts,” he says. “If she can sing in front of millions of people at the Super Bowl, she can handle any type of public speaking, and this skill will transfer well throughout her entire life.”

Starting March 8th, Grace will be performing in Lancaster’s Sight Sound Theater’s “Moses,” where she has the role of Young Miriam. 

There seems to be no stopping Grace, and that’s just the way she likes it. She says, “Although being in so many performances can sometimes be challenging, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I love everything I’m doing.” Her goal is to someday perform on Broadway.

To see for yourself all that Grace has accomplished, visit her blog at bellagracemarie.com.

PHOTO CAP: Grace Matwijec

Share

More patients can benefit from Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at St. Mary

Thanks to an additional method for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), more heart patients are able to take advantage of this minimally invasive procedure being performed at the St. Mary Heart and Vascular Center. The transapical technique is used with patients whose leg arteries are too small or too fragile for the diseased heart valve to be replaced using the original transfemoral access point.

When cardiologists first began performing TAVR at St. Mary Medical Center in April 2012, they had only one route through the body to access and replace the diseased heart valve: via a small incision in the patient’s groin (known as transfemoral access). However, cardiothoracic surgeons now use this second access point – through a small incision in the patient’s chest wall between the ribs (known as transapical access) – in certain individuals who may not be suitable for the transfemoral technique.

“Transapical TAVR allows us to extend this life-saving procedure to patients who previously would not have been a candidate for TAVR due to poor vascular access,” says David Drucker, MD, a board-certified specialist in interventional cardiology. “Our surgeons have embraced it, and our outcomes so far are excellent.”

“Open-heart surgery to replace the diseased heart valve is one treatment option for aortic stenosis when it advances to a critical stage. However, certain patients are not suitable candidates for open-heart surgery due to their age, co-existing medical conditions, or other factors. TAVR can be an excellent option for these individuals,” says George Heyrich, MD, a board-certified interventional cardiologist and medical team lead for TAVR at St. Mary Medical Center.

Richboro resident Mary Kutsubos, 79, had the TAVR transapical procedure done at St. Mary last summer. In less than a week after the procedure, she was home from the hospital and feeling better than she had in years.

“My experience at St. Mary and with the TAVR procedure was wonderful. Everything went so smoothly, and I am very happy with all the doctors and nurses involved in my care. I am surprised at how great I feel now. Before the procedure, it was hard to breathe, walk, and even talk because I was always short of breath. But now, I can do all those things with ease – having TAVR changed my life,” says Mary, who was excited to spend Christmas 2013 at her granddaughter’s house in New Jersey – something she has been unable to do for several years due to her health limitations.

Share

Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth engages teens in prevention efforts

The Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth (CRCHY), a nonprofit community organization funded for the last five years by a federal Drug Free Communities Support Program Grant (DFC), has been working to help prevent and reduce substance use and abuse amongst youth. Many of CRCHY’s programs and initiatives include young people, as they are a critical part of the effort. Through the years, middle and high school students have served as messengers to their peers in spreading factual information about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and have also served as youth advocates in providing information, in order to change policies and ordinances on the local level (e.g. advocating for smoke-free playing fields in our local parks), and on the state level, educating our representatives about the dangers of increasing alcohol outlet density through privatizing the state liquor stores.

Most recently, students have participated in activities which are particularly noteworthy. During the week of January 27th-February 3rd, the nation recognized National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), an initiative coordinated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NDFW is a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Teens in two middle schools and one high school in the Council Rock School District took advantage of the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with scientists who specialize in the field of drugs and alcohol. On January 28th, students in the SADD groups (Students Against Destructive Decisions) of Richboro Middle and Holland Middle Schools and CR High School South, arranged an online chat time with scientists, who answered their questions, to help dispel any misinformation that they might have. The students spent time, crafting their questions beforehand, in preparation for the chat, and were excited about this unique opportunity.

In early February, two Richboro Middle School SADD students, along with adult CRCHY coalition members, attended the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America conference in the D.C. area. They participated in the National Youth Leadership Institute, which is the youth track for this highly-respected professional organization. Both students participated in classes with other teens from around the nation. In addition, they joined adult CRCHY coalition members in speaking with local congressmen on Capitol Hill. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, who is a strong supporter of the federal DFC program and who spoke at a plenary session at the conference,  also welcomed local coalition members from across Bucks and Montgomery counties to his office for further discussion about local issues of concern regarding youth substance abuse.         

Youth-created activities are planned for the next few months. In April, the students will create programs around Alcohol Prevention Month, followed by initiatives around prom.

As stated by Samantha Lavelle, member of both the SADD group at Richboro Middle School and part of the CRCHY coalition, “I do prevention work because it is great to know I am helping to make a difference in my community, especially when it is creating a healthier, happier future for others.”

For more information on how you can participate with the CRCHY in preventing substance use and abuse amongst our youth, visit www.crchy.com or call 215-944-1006.

Share