All posts by wellingtonINSIDER

THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Wellington Schools Return To The Stage After A Two-Year Pause

For two years, the local fine arts and theater programs at schools across Wellington were on a pandemic pause. However, that all changed this spring when the local theater productions roared back to life to excited audiences at schools near you.

At the high school level, Palm Beach Central High School’s Bronco Players performed the classic musical Annie to sold-out crowds of theatergoers. Not to be outdone, Wellington High School’s theater department capped the school year with a fantastic performance of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!

Disney shows were popular at local elementary schools, with Wellington Elementary School presenting Aladdin Kids and Binks Forest Elementary School performing Lion King Jr.

Smiling students at all grade levels were excited to get back to the stage and perform for their peers and parents.

Palm Beach Central High School

The Palm Beach Central High School Bronco Players took to the stage, lighting it up as bright as the sun with the musical Annie.

The student-run show about the famous Depression-era orphan opened to a rousing audience of several hundred, as a cast and crew of 53 put on the musical over four performances held March 10-12.

“It has been a long road and journey to get back to this moment,” Artistic Director Gail Marshall said, adding that Annie was the perfect show for this year. “It has a great theme and lesson of being able to look beyond the troubles of today because tomorrow, being only a day away, can bring us so many possibilities.”

The show included surprise cameos from alumni and faculty, including Principal Darren Edgecomb. Twelve of the students were graduating seniors, including Marshall’s daughter, Amelia Marshall, who played Miss Hannigan.

Binks Forest Elementary School

Students from Binks Forest Elementary School performed The Lion King Jr. on March 4 to an appreciative crowd. The performance featured wonderful singing and amazing, intricate costumes.

The audience was singing along to the songs from the popular Disney classic featuring Simba and all his friends. Directors Niki Gilberti-Wheeler, Kathy Zangen, Claudine Ashley and Robin Peck did a fantastic job and thanked the Morrison family, Karen Epstein and Jennifer Roland for their support

Wellington High School

The Wellington High School theater department staged a fantastic performance of the popular musical Mamma Mia! from May 19 through May 21.

The musical featured the music of ABBA brought to life through the story of a young woman planning her wedding. A total of 30 cast members were in the high school production, including main stars Leora Zimmerman and Allie Alder. The cast and crew worked tirelessly to make the show happen.

Wellington Elementary School

The Wellington Elementary School Fine Arts Academy made its return when the musical theater group performed Aladdin Kids to a sold-out audience on May 19. Directed by Dave Morrison, the group was made up of mostly students who had little to no stage experience, but they did a fabulous job bringing the story of “street rat” Aladdin and his Princess Jasmine to life.

The faculty, staff and students got to enjoy the show at two morning performances. The students worked hard at after-school rehearsals, which included choreography, chorus practice, student actors and actresses rehearsing lines and songs, and much more.

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Two Decades Of Proven Success

Two Decades Of Proven Success Western Academy Charter School Will Begin The Academic Year In A New, Larger Facility

Story by Deborah Welky  |  Photos by Denise Fleischman

The upcoming school year is going to be an exciting one at the Western Academy Charter School. After many years of success using rented space in a shopping plaza, Western Academy is in the process of moving into its new home — a 62,400-square-foot building located at 12031 Southern Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach.

“We’re very excited about going into our new building and being able to offer more opportunities for both our existing students and for new students that we’re now able to serve from the surrounding community,” said Executive Director Linda Terranova, who founded the school nearly 20 years ago. “We’ll be able to help more children.”

Western Academy Charter School opened with 157 students in 2003 and expanded five times at its previous location. This fall, the new building will open with 575 students — and they’ll all be under one roof.

“We’ll have more control over the security and grounds,” Terranova said. “We won’t have to use a public park as our playground. We’ll have our own fenced-in basketball courts, a soccer field, an indoor gym room and a large multi-purpose room. We used to have two small cafeterias — now we can have 350 people in this multi-purpose room and use it for the cafeteria, for dances, graduations, after care and special events like Halloween night. We’ll have more classrooms, pull-out support rooms and special education offices, too.”

With students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Western Academy offers traditional education programs that adhere to state standards and curriculum, but it was initially created to serve a specific need.

“My oldest son has Asperger syndrome and was falling through the cracks in the Palm Beach County School District system,” Terranova recalled. “Back then, children like him were secluded out in portables. I wanted him to be mainstreamed into the regular education system. I wrote the charter, and we expanded from that. There was such a high need for something that was not a district school, and we were the only charter school out here for years.”

Terranova explained that Western Academy is set up as a nonprofit organization, unlike many other charter schools.

“Because we are a self-run nonprofit — not a for-profit charter — we don’t have to pay a management company, and the money can go into the programs,” she explained. “We also have some flexibility for what our students need. We don’t have to wait to get permission from the school board, where it can take a long time to get the support down to the kids. We can implement programs for the students we have that year. If they have problems with math or have reading issues, we can tailor-make our curriculum to correct that because we’re an independent school.”

Terranova, who has a master’s degree in educational leadership, served as the school’s principal for the first 16 years but recently handed the baton to Tsiri Miller, who took over as principal for the 2021-22 school year.

“In my new role as executive director, my focus was to find us a new location, get bonds to pay for the new facility, oversee the renovations and get us moved into the new building,” Terranova said.

With support from the Village of Royal Palm Beach, Western Academy was able to arrange for bond money through the Arizona Industrial Development Authority to take over and update the vacant building at the northwest corner of Southern and Crestwood boulevards. It was most recently the home of the Palms West Charter School.

Western Academy has been an A-rated school since 2006 and has also been designated a “School of Excellence” for being in the top 20 percent of all Florida schools. Its math program ranks in the top 5 percent across the state. Based on tests given to all students in grades 3 through 8 statewide, Western Academy has beat all the district schools in Royal Palm Beach and emerged as the No. 1 charter school in all of Palm Beach County.

Miller became the principal after serving Western Academy as one of its assistant principals, dean of students, ESE coordinator and a teacher. She said the school’s biggest challenge recently has been providing high-quality education during the pandemic while keeping students and staff safe and healthy.

“Even during the pandemic, our students thrived and succeeded,” Miller said. “We were one of only a few schools in the county who opted-in for an A school grade in 2021 and remain the No. 1 charter school in Palm Beach County. I’m really proud of our students, staff and parents for working together and supporting each other during those difficult times. I am excited to be moving into our new building where we will be able to serve more students in our community.”

Terranova is delighted to see how the school has grown over the past two decades.

“The climate of our school is special because it’s like a family,” Terranova said. “We’ve been around for so long. Some families have multiple children going through our school. We care about the safety, security and academics of our children. It’s a family atmosphere in an all-inclusion school with regular programs, advanced/honors programs at the middle school level and programs for those who are academically challenged.”

Western Academy has closed its enrollment period for the coming school year with all spaces filled, a waiting list and a lottery already conducted. Call (561) 792-4123 to ask to be put on the waiting list in case a space opens up. In the meantime, enrollment opens for the 2023-24 school year on Sept. 1.

For more information about Western Academy Charter School, visit www.westernacademycharter.com.

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The Future Of Sports Instruction

The Future Of Sports Instruction
Star Athletes Aim To Breathe New Life Into An Old Wellington Park

By Mike May

While Wellington is firmly established as the premier destination for equestrian sports, it’s likely that Wellington will also soon become home to one of the finest training and instructional destinations for sports such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and cheerleading.

The business entity pushing this new idea is Wellington Athletics LLC. It’s being spearheaded by three local athletes who went on to the big leagues: Jon Bostic, Devon Travis and Pat O’Donnell.

Bostic, a current NFL linebacker, has played in the NFL since 2013 for Chicago, New England, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Washington. Travis is a former Major League Baseball player with the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays who is currently coaching for the Atlanta Braves organization. O’Donnell, meanwhile, is currently the punter for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

All three of these sports stars are also graduates of Wellington’s Palm Beach Central High School, and all three are committed to giving area residents, especially young athletes, the chance to get first-class coaching right here in Wellington, rather than travel far away to receive this high-level instruction.

Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell readily admit that they were fortunate, as they benefited from great coaches and mentors in their amateur athletic careers. Now, they want to extend that same option to other up-and-coming athletes in central Palm Beach County. Wellington Athletics is looking to fill a void.

“The mission is to close that gap by providing young athletes with a holistic approach to achieving their goals — on the field, in the classroom and at home,” explained Bostic in his proposal letter to the Village of Wellington.

The mission of Wellington Athletics is to transform the currently underutilized Wellington Community Park, located at 3401 South Shore Blvd., into a 91,784-square-foot multi-purpose sports training and coaching complex, as well as a youth sports academy. In order to build this complex and turn their sports training and coaching dreams into a reality, they need some assistance from the village.

Wellington Community Park was originally built as the home of the Wellington Boys & Girls Club in the 1980s and has not had major updates since that time. The club left in 2013 for a brand-new facility across town. Since then, the only structure at the park, the old club building, has been used for storage, and the fields are in poor shape.

The Wellington Athletics plan would knock down the current building and replace it with a state-of-art sports training facility. Meanwhile, the fields would get a major upgrade.

How is this new idea going to be financed? Enter the Village of Wellington. After putting out a request for proposals seeking a new use for the old park last year, the village has been working with Wellington Athletics to figure out how to make the finances work for the benefit of both Wellington residents and Wellington Athletics through a public-private partnership.

Wellington Village Manager Jim Barnes said that this public-private partnership is getting closer to reality, but it’s going to take some time for it to be finalized.

“When you are dealing with funds from the Village of Wellington, it just takes time to get matters approved,” Barnes said.

For a project of this magnitude, there is one big number to consider: $36 million. That is what it will cost to build the headquarters for Wellington Athletics, upgrade the fields and get the program underway. And that doesn’t include the initial $1.5 million required to dismantle the former Boys & Girls Club building.

Once the current structure is demolished, it’s going to take $36 million to build the new home of Wellington Athletics. This site will contain indoor baseball/softball batting cages, at least six indoor basketball courts, an indoor cheerleading training area, a fitness center/gym, and rooms to house a chiropractor and physical therapist, among others.

Outside, there will be state-of-the art lighted baseball and softball fields with dugouts and a large multi-purpose field, which will be big enough for a full-sized football, soccer or lacrosse field.

To get access to the coaches, instructors and sports specialists at Wellington Athletics, families will have to pay an annual membership fee. The fitness center/gym facility will have a separate pricing structure, which might be ideal for parents who can drop off their child for coaching and then visit the fitness center for a workout.

“The gym will be a huge revenue source for us,” Bostic predicted.

There will be many benefits for Wellington residents. They include access to at least one basketball court for use by local teams from 6 to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, access to the outdoor baseball and softball fields every Saturday from 1 p.m. to sundown, and access to the outdoor multi-purpose field at all times, unless Wellington Athletics needs to use it for clients. And since Palm Beach Central High School does not have lighted fields for its baseball and softball teams, those squads will be able to use the lighted fields for home games.

According to Barnes, the Village of Wellington will use money from a bond to finance $33 million, while Wellington Athletics will contribute the remaining $3 million to the overall project. The timetable for making payments to the Village of Wellington to reimburse the village for its $33 million investment has yet to be determined, but the proforma business model for Wellington Athletics indicates that this concept will not be profitable until its third year of its operation.

However the final numbers work out, the $33 million will be returned to the Village of Wellington based on the terms of a 30-year lease. The agreement will also give Wellington Athletics the option to accept two additional 25-year leases after the initial 30-year lease has expired.

According to Assistant Village Manager Ed De La Vega, the Village of Wellington will always remain in control of the land. “We never relinquish ownership of the property,” he said.

If, for some reason, the business model for Wellington Athletics fails, then the Village of Wellington would take control of the project.

Based on comments from Barnes, the Wellington Village Council has at least three more meetings to fully discuss and approve all actions needed to officially start the process.

“The best-case scenario is that the old Boys & Girls Club building gets removed starting in the first half of 2023 and that construction of the new building will be finished about 14 months later,” Barnes said.

To ensure that the Village of Wellington is making a financially sound decision, it has consulted with an outside source with experience in dealing with sports groups like Wellington Athletics. That expert is Don Schumacher of DSA Sports. Schumacher, who has extensive experience in working with sports facilities, will assist in a comprehensive market analysis.

“We are in the process of evaluating all of the hard work Wellington Athletics has put into this project,” Schumacher told the council in June. “I don’t have any information in front of me that says this is a bad idea.”

While Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell are the face of Wellington Athletics, they will not be running the day-to-day affairs of the operation. That is expected to be delegated to Clearwater-based Sports Facilities Companies, which has years of experience in running operations similar to Wellington Athletics. Sports Facilities Companies’ Jim Arnold is very optimistic that Wellington Athletics will be a success.

“I’m very bullish that a complex like this will be successful,” Arnold told the council in June. “This [facility] is a one-of-a-kind along the east coast of Florida.”

The economic impact of the presence of Wellington Athletics being operational could be as much as $6.4 million in its first year. It could be as high as $10 million by the fifth year.

“This is the new wave of sports,” Bostic said. “This is something which has taken countless hours to piece together. This is a lot more than athletics.”

Time will tell if Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell are right. But the Village of Wellington appears willing to make that initial first investment.

 

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A Focus On Community Service

A Focus On Community Service
New Wellington Rotary Club President Tiffany Rodriguez Aims To Get More People Involved In The Well-Known Service Organization

By Mike May

While Wellington is firmly established as the premier destination for equestrian sports, it’s likely that Wellington will also soon become home to one of the finest training and instructional destinations for sports such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and cheerleading.

The business entity pushing this new idea is Wellington Athletics LLC. It’s being spearheaded by three local athletes who went on to the big leagues: Jon Bostic, Devon Travis and Pat O’Donnell.

Bostic, a current NFL linebacker, has played in the NFL since 2013 for Chicago, New England, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Washington. Travis is a former Major League Baseball player with the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays who is currently coaching for the Atlanta Braves organization. O’Donnell, meanwhile, is currently the punter for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

All three of these sports stars are also graduates of Wellington’s Palm Beach Central High School, and all three are committed to giving area residents, especially young athletes, the chance to get first-class coaching right here in Wellington, rather than travel far away to receive this high-level instruction.

Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell readily admit that they were fortunate, as they benefited from great coaches and mentors in their amateur athletic careers. Now, they want to extend that same option to other up-and-coming athletes in central Palm Beach County. Wellington Athletics is looking to fill a void.

“The mission is to close that gap by providing young athletes with a holistic approach to achieving their goals — on the field, in the classroom and at home,” explained Bostic in his proposal letter to the Village of Wellington.

The mission of Wellington Athletics is to transform the currently underutilized Wellington Community Park, located at 3401 South Shore Blvd., into a 91,784-square-foot multi-purpose sports training and coaching complex, as well as a youth sports academy. In order to build this complex and turn their sports training and coaching dreams into a reality, they need some assistance from the village.

Wellington Community Park was originally built as the home of the Wellington Boys & Girls Club in the 1980s and has not had major updates since that time. The club left in 2013 for a brand-new facility across town. Since then, the only structure at the park, the old club building, has been used for storage, and the fields are in poor shape.

The Wellington Athletics plan would knock down the current building and replace it with a state-of-art sports training facility. Meanwhile, the fields would get a major upgrade.

How is this new idea going to be financed? Enter the Village of Wellington. After putting out a request for proposals seeking a new use for the old park last year, the village has been working with Wellington Athletics to figure out how to make the finances work for the benefit of both Wellington residents and Wellington Athletics through a public-private partnership.

Wellington Village Manager Jim Barnes said that this public-private partnership is getting closer to reality, but it’s going to take some time for it to be finalized.

“When you are dealing with funds from the Village of Wellington, it just takes time to get matters approved,” Barnes said.

For a project of this magnitude, there is one big number to consider: $36 million. That is what it will cost to build the headquarters for Wellington Athletics, upgrade the fields and get the program underway. And that doesn’t include the initial $1.5 million required to dismantle the former Boys & Girls Club building.

Once the current structure is demolished, it’s going to take $36 million to build the new home of Wellington Athletics. This site will contain indoor baseball/softball batting cages, at least six indoor basketball courts, an indoor cheerleading training area, a fitness center/gym, and rooms to house a chiropractor and physical therapist, among others.

Outside, there will be state-of-the art lighted baseball and softball fields with dugouts and a large multi-purpose field, which will be big enough for a full-sized football, soccer or lacrosse field.

To get access to the coaches, instructors and sports specialists at Wellington Athletics, families will have to pay an annual membership fee. The fitness center/gym facility will have a separate pricing structure, which might be ideal for parents who can drop off their child for coaching and then visit the fitness center for a workout.

“The gym will be a huge revenue source for us,” Bostic predicted.

There will be many benefits for Wellington residents. They include access to at least one basketball court for use by local teams from 6 to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, access to the outdoor baseball and softball fields every Saturday from 1 p.m. to sundown, and access to the outdoor multi-purpose field at all times, unless Wellington Athletics needs to use it for clients. And since Palm Beach Central High School does not have lighted fields for its baseball and softball teams, those squads will be able to use the lighted fields for home games.

According to Barnes, the Village of Wellington will use money from a bond to finance $33 million, while Wellington Athletics will contribute the remaining $3 million to the overall project. The timetable for making payments to the Village of Wellington to reimburse the village for its $33 million investment has yet to be determined, but the proforma business model for Wellington Athletics indicates that this concept will not be profitable until its third year of its operation.

However the final numbers work out, the $33 million will be returned to the Village of Wellington based on the terms of a 30-year lease. The agreement will also give Wellington Athletics the option to accept two additional 25-year leases after the initial 30-year lease has expired.

According to Assistant Village Manager Ed De La Vega, the Village of Wellington will always remain in control of the land. “We never relinquish ownership of the property,” he said.

If, for some reason, the business model for Wellington Athletics fails, then the Village of Wellington would take control of the project.

Based on comments from Barnes, the Wellington Village Council has at least three more meetings to fully discuss and approve all actions needed to officially start the process.

“The best-case scenario is that the old Boys & Girls Club building gets removed starting in the first half of 2023 and that construction of the new building will be finished about 14 months later,” Barnes said.

To ensure that the Village of Wellington is making a financially sound decision, it has consulted with an outside source with experience in dealing with sports groups like Wellington Athletics. That expert is Don Schumacher of DSA Sports. Schumacher, who has extensive experience in working with sports facilities, will assist in a comprehensive market analysis.

“We are in the process of evaluating all of the hard work Wellington Athletics has put into this project,” Schumacher told the council in June. “I don’t have any information in front of me that says this is a bad idea.”

While Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell are the face of Wellington Athletics, they will not be running the day-to-day affairs of the operation. That is expected to be delegated to Clearwater-based Sports Facilities Companies, which has years of experience in running operations similar to Wellington Athletics. Sports Facilities Companies’ Jim Arnold is very optimistic that Wellington Athletics will be a success.

“I’m very bullish that a complex like this will be successful,” Arnold told the council in June. “This [facility] is a one-of-a-kind along the east coast of Florida.”

The economic impact of the presence of Wellington Athletics being operational could be as much as $6.4 million in its first year. It could be as high as $10 million by the fifth year.

“This is the new wave of sports,” Bostic said. “This is something which has taken countless hours to piece together. This is a lot more than athletics.”

Time will tell if Bostic, Travis and O’Donnell are right. But the Village of Wellington appears willing to make that initial first investment.

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Every Day Brings Something New Tree’s Wings

Every Day Brings Something New Tree’s Wings General Manager Erin Townsend Enjoys The Challenge Of Keeping The Popular Local Restaurant And Bar Running Smoothly

Story By Deborah Welky | Photos By Denise Fleischman

Erin Townsend had three children, all under age four, when she went looking for a part-time job in 2008. Little did she know, that part-time job would change her life.

“I just wanted to work a couple of evenings a week, just to maintain my sanity,” she recalled.

Townsend approached Andy and Linda Maynard, co-owners of Tree’s Wings & Ribs, a popular restaurant at the south end of Royal Palm Blvd. She asked to be hired as a delivery driver. Unfortunately, no delivery positions were open, but the Maynards asked if she would like to try her hand as a server instead.

“I had never served before, but I said I’d give it a try,” Townsend said. “I loved it. I loved interacting with different people every day, having different conversations. It still tickles me.”

The job soon pivoted into a full-time position, and before too long, the Maynards approached Townsend about becoming the restaurant’s general manager.

“I was hesitant,” Townsend said. “I had absolutely no experience managing a restaurant. But they needed some help, and I do love a challenge. It was trial by fire, sink or swim. I accepted the job, and very quickly realized that I was in over my head.”

But the Maynards wanted Townsend to succeed. They sent her to Philadelphia to attend a restaurant management seminar headed up by John Taffer, star of the TV show “Bar Rescue.”

“It was really cool,” Townsend recalled. “Unlike his TV persona, John is a really sweet guy. When he found out I was from Tree’s Wings, he shouted it out to the whole banquet hall and said, ‘They have the best ribs!’ Turns out he was local then and had our ribs delivered all the time.”

Townsend is still learning every day, but that’s part of what makes the job fun. Designing menus, writing advertisements and creating signage was all new to her, but she embraced the tasks.

“I had to learn things as I went along,” Townsend said. “It was a crash course but, to me, even that was fun.”

Tree’s Wings has been a fixture in the western communities for 27 years. Townsend’s children are now 17, 16 and almost 15. Her eldest daughter is now a server at Tree’s Wings, following in mom’s footsteps.

“We serve typical American food — wings, ribs, mahi, salads, hamburgers and a ton of good appetizers,” Townsend said. “We stick to what we know, and we do it right.”

Located in the Royal Plaza just north of Southern Blvd., Tree’s Wings features a main dining room and two full bar areas. They also offer take-out, delivery and catering services.

“We’ve seen a shift in habits since the pandemic,” Townsend said. “It used to be 60 percent dine-in customers, and 40 percent split between delivery and take-out. These days, our take-out is closer to 60 percent, while dine-in is 30 percent and delivery is 10 percent.”

Townsend noted that Tree’s Wings has a sizable delivery area, including all of Royal Palm Beach and Wellington, parts of Loxahatchee and parts of West Palm Beach. And they make ordering catered platters as easy as they can.

“We have a whole menu of easy-to-order party trays,” Townsend said. “You can just call up and say, ‘Give me 100 wings, four racks of ribs and all the sides.’ When the Dave Matthews Band is in town each year, that’s just what they do. They call and say, ‘We’ve got 60 people. Be ready.’ Many of the fairgrounds performers stay at the Royal Inn across the street, and we become part of their tradition.”

Tree’s Wings also has its cast of regulars.

“Some people have been coming in for years,” Townsend said. “If we don’t know them by name, we certainly know them by their order.”

Townsend prides herself on giving customers what they want, even if it’s only the flat side of the wing or chicken that has been fried twice to achieve the crispiness they desire.

“We try to be accommodating,” she said. “We want people to be happy with their order. Our primary customer base is made up of hardworking, local people. They’re very loyal.”

Even without a culinary background, Townsend learned a lot growing up in The Acreage. “My mother, Mary Jo, is an amazing cook. I’m the middle of nine children and, on any given day, there could be 20 for dinner,” she said. “We’re super close-knit and every meal cooked is enough to feed an army.”

That said, her parents were slightly surprised at the turn Townsend’s life has taken.

“Managing a restaurant was never one of my goals. I wanted to be a teacher or something to do with nature,” Townsend said. “I was volunteering at the Grassy Waters nature preserve, planting trees. I think one of the reasons this place feels like home to me is that Andy and Linda are tremendously community minded. When we were short-staffed during the pandemic, I sometimes had to step in as a server, even though I was earning a salary as general manager. I told the Maynards that it didn’t seem fair, so I was going to donate my tips to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They matched me, dollar for dollar.”

Townsend said interacting with people is her favorite part of the job.

“I particularly like when they try to guess the secret recipe for our house dressing,” she said. “Our customers call it ‘the green stuff.’ It’s iconic. In addition to what we serve our customers, we sell it by the pint — 150 pints a week! We produce it every day, and it just flies out the door.”

While working at Tree’s Wings was once something to get Townsend out of the house, nowadays she can’t see her life without it. “I’m hoping to stay here until the day I retire,” she said.

To learn more about Tree’s Wings & Ribs, visit www.treeswingsandribs.com.

 

 

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A New Approach To Education

A New Approach To Education
Mandala World Academy Is Making Waves In The United States Teaching System

Story And Photos By Cassidy Klein

Making waves in today’s online and interactive learning systems, the Mandala World Academy is on a mission to provide students an advanced education and create a paradigm shift from the current educational teaching system in the United States.

Establishing roots in Wellington with the purchase of an equestrian center on Indian Mound Road several years ago, the Mandala World team is motivated to make a difference in the community to enrich today’s youth by providing higher education to students inside and out of the equestrian community.

Mandala World’s integrated curricula are customized and precisely crafted around extensive research conducted by Johns Hopkins University on “Brain Targeted Teaching” fueled by neuroscience, cognitive and psychological sciences, the science of learning and education to instill long-term retention.

As an institution, Mandala World Academy is transforming the process of teaching and learning to offer students the opportunity to embark on a new path in their educational careers to elevate their academic achievements.

Dr. George Hutchinson, the founder and CEO of Mandala World Academy, believes that “together, we can transmit the Mandala World Academy advanced educational system of methodologies and philosophies to all students throughout the nation and the world to achieve excellence for all our children.”

Mandala World Academy believes in a humanitarian approach to online learning. With its academic institutions focusing on the training of students in various subjects, Mandala’s experts offer students the opportunity to steer a more effective and rewarding life through education.

Driven by the brain-focused teaching model of Dr. Mariale Hardiman, Mandala World Academy addresses and emphasizes the offline and online teaching systems, including economic and environmental stability, development of advanced building architecture, cutting-edge online technologies and ongoing research relative to educational changes within the global society.

With a focus on building successful generations to come, the Brain Targeted Teaching model has all grade level core classes available, interactive environments and even an equestrian-based curriculum, making the Mandala World Academy the future of education.

The Mandala World Equestrian Academy uses an educational program that is unique and advanced, designed to utilize notable teaching and learning methods, allowing the students to neurologically utilize all aspects of their cognitive ability. This learning method is presented in relation to an environment that is melodic with nature.

The Wellington equestrian center, updated with all the latest, top-tier improvements for horse enthusiasts and equipped with a fully functional learning center on site, is ready to welcome community members. Its advanced educational program offers students a well-rounded curriculum built upon Brain Targeted Teaching to take into consideration the emotional aspect of a student.

The Mandala World Equestrian Academy has an online curriculum and in-person innovative programs designed to teach students the basic skills needed for their equines, all the way up to riders embarking on professional careers in the industry.

Courses range from Riding & Horsemanship, Equine Management, Hoof Anatomy & Maintenance, Mental Skills and Contemporary Equestrian Learning; all the way to Management of an Equine Business & Marketing, Training Courses, Equine History and Course Design within the Industry.

In company to learning the ins and outs of horses, the courses allow students to develop necessary life skills such as care-taking, understanding sport psychology, decision-making, intricate training techniques, business and communication skills, critical thinking and dedication.

In addition to learning all about the equine industry, students will be presented hands-on opportunities for learning with the equestrian academy horses.

Students will be responsible for the nutrition, fitness and all-around well-being of the horses while receiving a high level of instruction during riding lessons. The staff at the equestrian academy is able to teach and inspire students from those who are new to equestrian sports, all the way up to athletes competing on the highest level looking to make a career out of their lifelong dedication.

Mandala World’s commitment to the community and the younger generation has continued to aid in its growth over the last 10 years with an unwavering commitment to methodological Brain Targeted Teaching, setting it apart from other competing institutions throughout the world.

“Together, we can overcome the challenges of today’s school environments and prepare our children for greater opportunities now, for their future success,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

For more information about the Mandala World Academy, visit www.mandalaworldacademy.com or www.mandalaworldequestrian.com.

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Hot Chicken Made Fresh To Order

Hot Chicken Made Fresh To Order
Hot Chicks House Of Chicken Brings A Spicy Taste Of Nashville Here To Wellington

Story And Photos By Melanie Kopacz

From the first bite into a “Hot Chick” sandwich, be ready for a complex sensory experience. The layers of tastes and textures combine hot with crispy and sweet within the softness of a lightly toasted brioche bun. The complex flavors make for a perfect mix, like the Music City of Nashville itself — home of hot chicken.

Now, with its own twist on this southern favorite comes Hot Chicks House of Chicken, which is heating things up while bringing a taste of Nashville to the Pointe at Wellington Green.

“All places have their own chicken sandwiches, but their spices are blended within the flour of the chicken. So, when they fry it, that’s how you get it,” co-owner Matt Nguyen explained. “But ours is actually dipped in that. You get more of the flavor of spices than frying it in the oil. It’s dipped into the spices after it’s fried. We basically glaze it.”

It’s that dip into the spices that makes all the difference, creating mouth and eye watering bites.

Hot Chicks is an eatery where birds of a certain spicy feather are flocking to get their heat fix made from a base of paprika, cayenne and habanero peppers, along with pickles to blend in with the heat.

Guests can choose their heat level, however.

“Most common is the medium, because it’s not overbearing, but it’s not underwhelming,” Nguyen said. “But we do get a lot of people who come in and order cluckin’.”

Cluckin’, as in cluckin’ hot — the highest heat level. Their spice ranges from no heat, to mild, medium, hot, to the very hottest for those who dare.

“The cluckin’ is a little on the sweeter side, so it’s sweet and spicy,” Nguyen explained. “We use a Korean chili pepper. It’s coated on top of the chicken as well. We dip the chicken in the hot mixture and cook that on top with the chicken.”

If you want spicy, you can get it at Hot Chicks.

“Many people don’t actually expect it to be as spicy as it is because they go to other chicken places and expect spicy. When they try ours, it’s actually spicy, and they grab a jug of water,” Nguyen said. “They like the flavor of it and appreciate it’s actually a hot, spicy sandwich.”

The Brioche bun is toasted just before the sandwich is put together, so it’s still warm, then topped with “cluck” sauce, a signature, mayo-based sauce with a little bit of honey mustard, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Then for some sweet and crunchy atop the chicken is coleslaw made with a touch of honey.

“People like our coleslaw because it’s not vinegar based,” Nguyen said. “It’s mayo based, so it’s not soggy. You still get a crunch with it.”

The next crunch comes from the fried batter into the juicy chicken. All the poultry is free of antibiotics, growth hormones and preservatives. The bottom layer of the sandwich has a piece of mild American cheese and a bed of pickles, making for a satisfying round of flavors and textures.

To offset the heat are the popular crispy fries with just the right amount of crunch.

“We double fry them, so they’re a little more crispy. We usually make fries by order so when they get it, it’s fresh and not soggy,” Nguyen said. “All is as fresh as can be. We are definitely not fast food.”

It’s written in neon lights, above the register, that every sandwich is made to order. Another slogan, as you walk in the door, is, “Nashville hot chicken with a little bit of Seoul.”

That’s where the Korean Chicken Wings come in.

“The Korean style is just another flavor. It’s a more Asian flavor. We want to be a little different with the taste. We like to give people the option with that,” Nguyen said.

Those who don’t want their chicken in a sandwich can order either dark or white quarters, which can also be combined into a family meal.

“Because we fry our quarters, the skin is very crispy along with the seasoning. A lot of people love the skin on the quarters,” Nguyen said.

Another item is the Taco Chick. It features a chicken tender in a taco topped with a cilantro coleslaw, avocado and cheese.

The Slim Chick is a grilled chicken breast version of the sandwich served either Nashville or Korean style, while the Seoul Chick is fried Korean style.

Some tasty sides complement it all, such as creamy mac and cheese, potato salad and southern greens. There’s also dipping sauces, like the honey barbecue.

To blend it all together is Hot Chicks’ own brand of sweet tea, which is house made every morning and bottled.

The space combines funky and colorful artwork representing the diversity of the music that Nashville is known for. That and its hot chicken, for which the original recipe dates back to the 1920s in the kitchen of the legendary Thornton Prince. But it wasn’t until about a decade ago that the craze exploded to reach world-wide notoriety.

Now, those in the Wellington area can get their fix, whether they dine in the large seating area or take their tasty food to the outdoor covered patio with plenty of picnic tables to sit and enjoy.

A black and white mural of the Nashville skyline welcomes diners — a nod to the hometown of one of the co-owners, who brought his own take on the recipe with him to South Florida. This is the second Hot Chicks location opening in just a year and a half, with the first in Pembroke Pines.

The restaurant is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for dine-in, carry out or delivery through Grubhub.

Hot Chicks House of Chicken is located at 10140 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 170, in the Pointe at Wellington Green. For more info., call (561) 508-5502 or visit www.hchoc.com.

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Three Decades Of Smile Perfection

Three Decades Of Smile Perfection
Orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults Has Expertise In All The Latest Technology

Story By Deborah Welky  |  Photos By Denise Fleischman

When school starts up again this month, many children will be sporting new outfits, and some will be sporting something else — new braces.

And if anyone knows about braces, it’s Dr. Randall Shults of Shults Orthodontics, who has been perfecting the smiles of Wellington residents since 1993.

“Young children typically want braces because they’re kind of cool-looking, making it look like they’re ‘old enough to have braces,’ but getting braces varies by the individual and is problem-specific,” Shults said. “Some patients are best treated early, to avoid damaging the enamel of their teeth and to improve their bite, but others are better treated later on. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends seeing children when their permanent teeth first erupt (ages 7.5 to 9), but the vast majority of patients are better treated — more efficiently and financially conservatively — at ages 10 to 12 for girls and 11 to 13 for boys.”

The trend that the orthodontics community is now noticing is that there is a growing number of adult orthodontic patients, perhaps as high as 25 percent.

“My most mature patient is 84,” Shults said. “The reason why people seek treatment varies by age. When they’re younger, it’s often for aesthetics; in middle age, it’s function; and senior citizens want to hold onto their teeth. Or, perhaps, it’s simply something they always wanted done.”

For teens and young adults who worry most about how they’re going to look in braces, plastic aligners are a great option.

“Things are dramatically different than they were even 15 years ago,” Shults said. “There have been vast improvements in aligners, and I recommend them in many cases. Yet some people prefer more traditional braces because aligners require more responsibility, and they don’t want to mess with them. On the other hand, regular braces come with hygiene and dietary restrictions. For me, the key is to identify the problems precisely and treat the patient efficiently. Mild to moderate problems can be treated with aligners. Moderate problems can be solved with aligners or braces. Severe problems have to involve braces; for instance, if the jaws and teeth don’t match or the jaws don’t match each other. There are even cases where teeth have to be removed or jaw surgery performed. Whatever it is, I try to keep people within a two-phase treatment bracket of 18 months.”

Many patients are looking for a faster process, but Shults cautions against rushing things.

“There’s a reason that orthodontists go to school three years longer than dentists,” Shults said. “Part of that extra training is the physiology of tooth movement and bone physiology. You can only move teeth at a certain rate. You have to respect the biology of tooth movement and keep moving forward at a reasonable rate.”

That said, Shults said that braces can be temporarily removed for significant events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs or weddings. “It can be done,” he said. “But it’s expensive in terms of both time and equipment.”

Originally from Colorado, Shults graduated with honors from the University of Colorado School of Dentistry in 1984 and completed his orthodontic residency and certification at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Dentistry in 1989. He also received his PhD in sensory physiology from the University of North Carolina. He arrived in Wellington and set up his private practice nearly 30 years ago.

Through the years, Shults has seen many trends come and go, including the colorful “gummi bear look” popular in the 1990s.

“Back in the 1960s, braces were a ring around every tooth. It was a nightmare. In the 1970s, braces moved to brackets you glue to each tooth. That particular bracket, in the 1970s and 1980s, could be either a steel tie or an elastic tie. In the 1990s, you just held the wire in place with a plastic tie, which could be infused with color. The biggest risk for staining was those ties. They were also plaque traps. In the 2000s, the bracket design was changed to a smaller, easier-to-clean bracket, and the need for ties was eliminated.”

Shults has always embraced new technology. His practice, Shults Orthodontics, has been serving the area since 1993, changing locations whenever the need to expand or add technology beckoned.

“I’ve always been a tech guy. I have always enjoyed working on cars and doing software programming,” said Shults, noting that now he has little time for either. “In 2009, we got rid of all paper — all charts and internal communication, x-rays and imaging. Going totally digital was the most significant upgrade to my practice.”

As past president of the Palm Beach County Dental Association and former chair of the Orthodontic Section of the Atlantic Coast Dental Research Center, Shults continues to be listed as a lecturer for the research center. His approach to his practice is “to provide evidence-based treatment based on the best science available at the time.”

Shults Orthodontics is located at 12180 South Shore Blvd., Suite 101, in Wellington. Call (561) 793-9888 for a consultation. For more information, visit www.shultsorthodontics.com.

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Exquisite Estate Near Equestrian Show Grounds

Exquisite Estate Near Equestrian  Show Grounds
Beautifully Designed Home Is Located In Wellington’s Highly Desirable Sugar Pond Manor Neighborhood

Photos courtesy Lucy Lopez of Keller Williams Realty

This elegant home is located in the highly desirable Sugar Pond Manor neighborhood, just minutes from Binks Forest Elementary School and Wellington’s equestrian show grounds. A thoughtfully landscaped yard invites you into this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home. Upon entrance, you’re greeted by beautiful floors, a stately separate office and a bright floor plan. Meticulous attention to detail is presented in the kitchen with granite countertops, a gorgeous back splash and white cabinetry. Adjacent to the kitchen there is a comfortable family room. A large master bedroom with an en suite bathroom and a guest room are conveniently located on the first level. Upstairs are two other bedrooms and a bathroom. The fenced-in backyard has a screened pool enclosure. Other upgrades include a new roof redone in 2021.

 

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Putting The Needs Of Students First

Putting The Needs Of Students First
Polo Park Middle School Principal Michael Aronson Aims To Provide A Top-Notch Educational Environment

Story by Deborah Welky | Photos by Denise Fleischman

When Polo Park Middle School opened along southern Wellington’s fast-growing Lake Worth Road corridor in August 2000, it became the community’s second middle school.

Now 22 years later, Polo Park is led by Principal Michael Aronson, who has been serving in that position for four years, since taking over in August 2018.

Aronson grew up attending Broward County public schools, where he got an extra dose of attention in his early teen years.

“My mother taught at my middle school, so any time I remotely got into anything I wasn’t supposed to, she knew about it immediately and it was corrected quickly,” Aronson recalled. “So, my path was pretty straight and narrow.”

Yet in high school, a guidance counselor told him to give up the college prep classes he had been taking and get onto a vocational track. Fortunately, his college advisor disagreed.

“She was a big influence in my life,” Aronson said. “Her name was Patti Skelton, and she told me to do what I thought was best for me. She saw a different person in me than my guidance counselor saw. She thought I was destined for good things and that college should be in my future.”

Aronson took her advice, attaining both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgia Southern University before becoming a physical education and health sciences teacher at a high school in Georgia.

“I considered becoming a college soccer coach but, once I got into education, within a couple of years, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Aronson said. “Seeing the difference I could make in kids’ lives, education was where I wanted to remain.”

Aronson later returned to Florida to teach physical education at Palm Beach Lakes and Wellington high schools. It was at Wellington High School that Aronson decided to pivot into administration, cheered on by then-Principal Cheryl Alligood, who went on to serve as chief academic officer for the School District of Palm Beach County.

“She would push me to get everything I needed to get done to become an administrator,” Aronson recalled. “She saw a lot of great leadership qualities in me. I had my degree when I moved to Florida, but there was a lot of red tape I needed to push through in order to get things done.”

That will to push through stood Aronson in good stead during the pandemic. “The biggest challenge for me as a principal has been getting through the last three years and getting the kids caught up to where they need to be,” he said. “They needed to get reacclimated to being back in the building. They needed to remember how to behave in a classroom. And they needed to get the information that they didn’t necessarily get while they were home, especially in math. We have an engineering program here at Polo Park Middle School, so STEM is big for our school. We needed to get them ready for that high level math by remediating their math skills.”

Yet Aronson can take pride in the fact that his teachers continue to steer kids in the right direction despite the setbacks of the pandemic.

“We want to continue providing our students the quality education they’ve been accustomed to getting,” he said. “The teachers are just happy to not have to do hybrid teaching, to have the kids back in front of them again where they can give them the attention they need to make sure they’re successful.”

At Polo Park, the successes are many. More than 600 students make the honor roll every six weeks. The baseball team recently won the county championship. The girls volleyball team won all their divisions. And the robotics team won the state championship, then placed 36th in the world championships.

“Kids are always kids,” Aronson said. “They need structure and leadership, but in the last couple of years, social skills are something we’ve had to reteach. They’ve been home for two years with no friends around or even family. Some kids have changed their personalities permanently because of that. Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it’s bad — it depends on the kid.”

Aronson’s goals for the future are to continue to grow as a principal and leader.

“I can’t rest on my laurels,” he said. “I must continue to grow every year to make sure the school staff and kids get the best part of me. I want Polo Park to continue to be an A-rated school with top-notch academic, athletic and robotics programs. I also want to see the continued success of all the other activities that are overlooked. We have a lot of great things that go on here.”

 

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