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Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

Internet-Based Summer Program Proves Successful At American Heritage School

Internet-Based Summer Program Proves Successful At American Heritage School
Learning never stops at American Heritage School. As soon as the final eight weeks of distance learning came to a close at the end of May, the private, college preparatory school didn’t miss a beat. Beginning June 1, it launched a new Heritage Online summer education program with 116 live and interactive classes offered to students in PK3 through the 12th grade open to students throughout the U.S. and abroad.

“We started this program because we wanted to help students around the country and across the globe who were not happy with the distance learning that their schools provided,” American Heritage School President Dr. Douglas Laurie said.

The Heritage Online courses are designed for students of average to gifted intelligence and provide reinforcement to get on track or enrichment to get ahead. Also available are one-on-one, virtual tutoring by AHS teachers, an international program, and core courses for credit, grade improvement and grade replacement.

Students are learning from the best teachers in the education industry. All are experts in their fields and are the same certified instructors with advanced degrees who teach in the AHS classrooms throughout the school year. The Heritage Online course catalog is unmatched; it offers a wide variety of courses to suit any student’s passion and interest. “There is no other brick-and-mortar school offering the depth and breadth of classes being offered by American Heritage School’s Online Summer Program,” Laurie said.

Prominent businessman Brian Tuffin was the lead teacher of one of the most popular summer program courses, Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “We are endeavoring to set new standards of education and growth for the students, to create an ever-growing group of leaders,” said Tuffin, a Harvard Business School graduate and CEO of Fuse Science.

He instilled the fundamentals of business and finance in young entrepreneurs throughout his three-week intensive class. Among the students in Tuffin’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation class was Nicola Grayling’s son, Billy. The 10th-grader had a business idea he had been thinking about for a while and hoped the course would be a great way to learn more and see if his idea had legs. “Billy loves the course and said it’s the best one he has taken since being at Heritage,” his mother said, adding that her son would much rather take summer classes online than in a traditional classroom.

Today’s generation of students is innately skilled in technology. Therefore, logging in to Google Meet at 8 a.m. for four hours each Monday through Friday, and utilizing the online breakout groups with 24-hour access to student business teams proved to be more popular than traditional class breakouts. According to Tuffin, 100 percent of the class is an open forum discussion, even in the breakout groups. Students are required to read the material and proactively advance the development of their businesses each day. “Students embraced the online learning setting,” he said. “Based on feedback we received from the surveys, we nailed it!”

The transition to online teaching was flawless, according to Dr. Carlos Pulido, a 25-year veteran AHS teacher, a key player in developing the school’s pre-med program who is also a trained physician and former trauma surgeon.

“We are a well-prepared team of dedicated faculty with only the best technical support staff for online resources and teaching tools, so we can continue to do our magic through a digital platform, enabling the students to keep getting the superb quality of education that we offer at American Heritage,” Pulido said.

Marina Woodbury took the Medical Terminology class to get a good foundation for college. She will be entering the 12th grade in the fall and wants to be a veterinarian one day. “The teacher was super funny and knew how to make the class fun, even at eight in the morning,” she said. “Now I know what almost every medical term means, along with the roots, suffixes and prefixes.”

Students tend to excel during online summer learning. According to Dr. Diana Sood, teacher of Embryology and Medical Terminology, students understand and retain the material more than if they were taking six classes at once. “The video is always on during class, so I can see their facial expressions. Are they yawning or confused or smiling or heads nodding? I will ask questions, so they have to be engaged. I will talk and explain and always do a question-and-answer to see how well they are retaining,” said Sood, who has worked as an orthopedic surgery coordinator, educator and researcher.

This is Sood’s sixth year teaching pre-medical classes and honors biology at American Heritage. The ideal online learning student is tech-savvy, shows up to class on time, uploads assignments and tests without reminders, and has exemplary academic integrity. “These are the most important traits, since a teacher is not in the same room,” Pulido explained.

As part of the school’s Prepping for Kindergarten course, the students logged in to Google Meet every morning from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and were active participants in the class. Teacher Lauren Kramer is a 20-year veteran teacher with a master’s degree and a “Teacher of the Year” award to her name. She is all about hands-on experiences. In other words, she sings with her students, dresses up as characters and goes on letter scavenger hunts — all virtually during her online class. “My students love the online learning setting, and they are eager to please,” she said.

One kindergarten mother said she saw more growth in her child during the summer online class than in the months prior to starting distance learning at American Heritage.

Another parent of elementary students in fourth and fifth grades shared how the online summer courses were the perfect way to augment her sons’ previous schoolwork and prepare for the fall. According to Jesica McLane, the small class sizes were a critical factor because this allowed the teachers to focus on each student. The computer skills her children acquired were also a great by-product of virtual learning. “We would choose to enroll again next summer,” McLane said. “It is a fun way for the kids to keep up/catch up in a low-pressure environment.”

Luckily for the McLane family, and for the many other families who had enriching educational experiences, the Heritage Online Summer Program will be available again next summer. Additionally, the school will continue to offer one-on-one virtual tutoring throughout the year, since the program became so popular in the new environment of virtual education.

“For students who wanted to advance their academic skill set, the Heritage Online program also offered courses to assist with producing higher potential SAT scores and AP scores, as well as opening students’ schedules for other courses they would like to take in the fall,” Laurie said.

He was pleased with the results of his school’s first summer online program. “In this age of uncertainty, these students will be going into their respective schools far more prepared than they would have otherwise because of the education they received from American Heritage School,” Laurie said.

The American Heritage School is located at 6200 Linton Blvd., just east of Jog Road, in Delray Beach. For more information, call (561) 495-7272 or visit


Education Place Is Designed To Fit Into A Busy Lifestyle, Particularly In The COVID-19 Era

Education Place Is Designed To Fit Into A Busy Lifestyle, Particularly In The COVID-19 Era
Evolving from a private tutoring organization for young equestrians, Education Place today is a private school in Wellington teaching up to 100 students. This year-round, Montessori-style school serves families for whom a traditional school setting does not work, and this unique education model has the school fully prepared to continue teaching students through the current pandemic.

Education Place was founded 20 years ago by Judy Blake and Anita Kane, who both taught at a local private school. Their objective was to fill a need in the western communities for tutoring and home schooling. Originally, the two educators drove with their supplies to each student’s house. Within the first year, the number of students grew so dramatically, that it required a permanent location for their flexible and alternative educational activities.

The purpose of the school was to provide a unique learning environment dedicated to high levels of productivity and integrity, an “education place” for students away from the distractions of their homes.

“We pride ourselves on providing young people with the direction and support to manage their time, learning styles and behavior,” Kane said.

They soon found that this approach works well with the modern lifestyle.

“Many families today are experiencing fast-paced lives full of information overload,” Blake explained. “They are assigned to overcrowded schools with inflexible school curricula and now remote teaching. Sometimes they suffer from isolation from their extended family due to travel requirements or multiple living locations.”

This has led many people to look for alternatives, Blake added.

“These people include students who devote daily time to special interests, such as equestrian training, music training, a job, professional practicing, such as tennis, soccer or baseball players, racecar drivers or those into modeling, etc. Now it includes students who no longer have a traditional school setting available to them,” Blake said.

Education Place is uniquely designed to meet the emotional and time challenges that such students and families face. For students visiting from other areas, such as equestrian competitors, the school can interface with the student’s home school, if necessary, even if that school is in another state or country.

There is an attention-intensive ratio of just eight students for each teacher. The facility was already set up to respond to the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic without necessitating many changes.

“Our 8,000-square-foot campus is not a public facility, so there is no one present who isn’t a student or a teacher,” Blake said.

For example, there was key card access already in place and there was more than ample space between students in the classrooms under normal circumstances.

“We have a whole system in place now,” Kane added, explaining that there are daily health checks and the taking of non-touch temperatures upon arrival of everyone.

Everything is sanitized each evening, as well as throughout the school day, and there is very limited sharing of materials, with touching surfaces continuously sanitized.

There is an isolation room configured to Centers for Disease Control standards, should anyone exhibit symptoms. There, the affected child can comfortably rest until a parent arrives to pick them up.

The founders of Education Place have a lifetime of training and career experience in the field of education.

Kane was born into education and leadership as the child of the owners of a school in Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mary Baldwin College and a master’s degree in teaching from Trinity College. She also attended George Mason University School of Law. Kane possesses graduate-level certification in Montessori teaching for children ages 6 to 9 and 9 to 12. She has taught for 30 years, and her career includes 25 years as a school administrator.

Blake has been educating and inspiring children and adults for more than 40 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University. Her graduate studies have earned her Montessori teaching credentials for children ages 3 to 6 and 6 to 9. In addition, she has completed a certificate program for child development from birth to age three. Other achievements include being the founder and director of the Ridgewood Montessori School in New Jersey.

Education Place is open 12 months a year with a program especially developed for students who find themselves bored, frustrated or lost in their traditional school or today’s non-traditional remote school situation. Perhaps they missed out on important skills during this year’s disruption of the school year, or they are yearning to get out of the house and return to productivity.

​The customized learning program features small, mixed-age classes of students in elementary, middle and high school classrooms taught by experienced, caring career professionals.

“Known as the premier provider of customized educational services for the Wellington community, Education Place aims to be where students can connect with others and build lasting relationships,” Blake said.

For those families wishing to keep their students at home during the pandemic, Education Place also provides distance support by phone or Skype.

Education Place is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 23, in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 753-6563 or visit


Neighborhood Kids Preschool Now Offering A Kindergarten Program

Neighborhood Kids Preschool Now Offering A Kindergarten Program
Wellington’s oldest preschools will soon be offering a new kindergarten program. When the upcoming school year begins on Monday, Aug. 10, Neighborhood Kids will be offering schooling for kindergarten-age children at its Greenbriar Blvd. location, courtesy of owners Frank and Olivia Toral.

Previously called Little Place and Little Place Too, the Torals took over the longtime Wellington landmarks last year from founder Susan Russell, who opened the first location in 1978. They have since rebranded the two locations as Neighborhood Kids.

“Until now, the school has served ages four months to pre-kindergarten and has graduated approximately 2,000 children from pre-kindergarten over the last 40 years,” Frank Toral said. “But we saw a tremendous need for affordable, private kindergarten education in Wellington. We will offer continuity of care by offering kindergarten. Since we’ve cared for them since they were toddlers, it only makes sense to hire a top-notch educator to get them more than ready for first grade in a loving environment.”

As of July, Toral said that top candidates for the position were all “well-credentialed, well-trained and possessing significant experience.” In an occupation where staff turnover is often quite high, the average tenure of the current Neighborhood Kids teaching staff is 10 years.

The school offers successful curriculums such as Abeka and Creative, as well as Amazing Athletes and Go Picasso programs to promote students’ physical fitness and creative development.

Unlike many public schools, Neighborhood Kids kindergarteners will begin learning Spanish and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculums, as well as reading, phonics, writing, penmanship, social studies, sports and nutrition.

Offering kindergarten at Neighborhood Kids is not the only new program. At the Wellington Trace location, which previously only accepted children once they turned 2, a program has been added to accommodate babies as young as 12 months. And a second infant room has been added at the Greenbriar location, helping accommodate Wellington’s many young families.

“There are a lot more infants under our care,” Toral said.

Additionally, while the school has always been open to children of all faiths, a new supplemental faith-based curriculum of Bible study has been added for ages 2 and up at both locations.

“Those things are a big part of our news, but it doesn’t end there,” Toral said. “Due to the coronavirus, many Wellington-area families are under financial pressure. They may be experiencing reduced hours or have lost their jobs. Both of our locations have been awarded contracts to provide parents with significant financial assistance through the Palm Beach County School Readiness Program. The program provides funding for families of new and existing students. When they call Neighborhood Kids, we can walk them through the application. They apply, get a voucher and sign up. It’s fast and streamlined, and we’re an approved provider. The program has been there, but we’ve never availed ourselves of it before, as most families were private pay. Now, we can do something to help families in these tough financial times.”

Neighborhood Kids is also following all the enhanced CDC guidelines to keep staff and families safe. Parents must wear masks when dropping off their children and are not allowed back in the rooms; children’s temperatures are taken upon entering and leaving; and there is a protocol in place should anyone test positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“We’re very mindful of the environment and doing all we can to make sure Neighborhood Kids remains a safe place for kids,” Toral said. “We hope to maintain a school where no child has tested positive. So far, thank God, no one has.”

The school also recently announced a program to help families now that the public schools are expected to remain with distance learning when the new academic year begins.

“I want parents to know that we at Neighborhood Kids have a program in place to have in-person learning support for kindergarten through fifth grade, where parents can drop off their kids for a full or half day so they can return to work, complete assignments and continue to learn in a safe, supportive and clean environment,” Toral said. “It’s one thing to teach your children in the summer, but another dynamic entirely to do it indefinitely.”

With a background in law and the ministry, Frank Toral and his wife Olivia moved to Wellington several years ago, before purchasing the two preschools. They previously operated a local church.

“We’re here to stay,” Toral said. “We no longer have a church; our exclusive focus is in developing these schools, staff, directors and students. We live in Wellington, and we work in Wellington.”

Enhancing the schools’ presence in the neighborhoods where they are located is also a key part of the Torals’ plan. Returning students and parents will notice that extensive renovations have taken place at both schools. “They’re like brand new,” Toral said.

Both Neighborhood Kids sites are currently accepting enrollment. They are open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To schedule a tour of Neighborhood Kids at 2995 Greenbriar Blvd., call (561) 790-0808. To visit the 1040 Wellington Trace location, call (561) 793-5860. Visit for more information.


As Distance Learning Becomes The New Normal, Families Explore Their Options

As Distance Learning Becomes The New Normal, Families Explore Their Options
The current academic climate is causing many parents to reconsider where and how their children will be educated during the upcoming school year.

To say that the conclusion of the last school year was a bit different is an understatement. While the vast majority of parents and educational leaders prefer students learn in a traditional classroom setting, the rising COVID-19 statistics in South Florida means it will take more time for the “old normal” to return. In the meantime, parents whose children attend public schools are looking at a “new normal.”

Most of these parents will likely accept what is being offered by their home schools, at least in the short term, but some have been exploring their options. Among those options are private schools, private tutors and other options, like Florida Virtual School.

Many private schools in the area, as well as Catholic schools led by the Diocese of Palm Beach, are beginning the school year this month with students on campus, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

While today’s public school teachers are more than qualified to instruct students sitting in their classrooms, are they ready, prepared and willing to start this new school year like they finished the previous one — working from a remote location, providing online teaching?

Most parents appreciated the work put in by teachers at the end of the last school year, but many also questioned if the educational experience provided was as effective as it needs to be. For his part, Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy has promised a more robust online learning experience this fall.

For those public school parents who are not comfortable with the new normal, there’s an alternative, which is a tried, tested, respected, established and proven online option — Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a 180-day calendar of online public schooling, which provides flexibility of learning for students in all grades.

It’s worth noting that when registering with FLVS full time, it becomes the student’s primary school of record. Individual FLVS classes, however, can be taken through the child’s home school. There is also a similar online portal provided by the School District of Palm Beach County, known as Palm Beach Virtual School.

FLVS has been around for more than 20 years, starting in 1997. The price is right, too. Since it is a public school open to all Florida residents, there is no charge to enroll in FLVS.

“We are considered part of Florida’s public school system,” said Tania Clow, communications manager for FLVS.

At Florida Virtual School (, students are getting the full academic experience. In the virtual classroom, nearly 200 courses are taught, ranging from algebra and biology to AP history and Spanish. Florida Virtual School teaches a wide range of students — from kindergarten to high school. It has long been popular with students who do not thrive in traditional public school settings.

There’s more to FLVS than what is taught online. Outside the virtual classroom, students also have access to more than 55 online student clubs and activities.

Additionally, one of its benefits is that students can choose to learn on their own schedules. That flexibility is important in a household where multiple family members may be on-the-go, such as high-level athletes and others who spend much of the year elsewhere.

With Florida Virtual School, the system still provides one-on-one personal instruction from certified teachers. Another plus is that students can work ahead, stay on target with their peers in the traditional school system or get back on track through the FLVS Flex program, if they fall behind in their studies for one reason or another.

Clearly, the public schools, private schools and virtual schools are competing for the same students, especially now, since so many students are being taught online this fall, and possibly into 2021.

The competition for students in Florida is significant. According to the FLVS web site, 215,505 students were taught by Florida Virtual School in the 2018-19 school year. Not surprisingly, the registration numbers have risen in recent months.

“Comparing year over year, Florida Virtual School has seen a 71 percent increase in FLVS Flex applications since July 1, and a 66 percent increase in applications for FLVS Full Time since registration opened in March,” Clow said. “There has also been an increase in inquiries from parents with younger children, researching online options for children in grades kindergarten to grade five. We encourage all parents to visit for more information on our comprehensive curriculum and supportive teachers.”

While enrollment for FLVS Full Time for the upcoming school year closed July 31, enrollment for FLVS Flex is open all year round.

With FLVS Flex, students in kindergarten through 12th grade can take one course or multiple courses to supplement their education.

One of the strongest qualities of an FLVS teacher is the specialized training to communicate and interact with students, despite being in distant locations.

“Communication is very important and is a focus of the extensive training all FLVS teachers receive. We believe that supportive and effective communication should be evident throughout a student’s experience, especially in a virtual environment,” explained Jason Schultz, senior director of instruction for Florida Virtual School. “It is important that we know each child and their unique learning styles in order to support them in a meaningful way.”

While some students can thrive moving through the course more independently, others need a more individualized approach, working one-on-one with their teacher, he added.

“Some students may learn best in a group live lesson, while others benefit from a more personalized approach,” Schultz said. “Having a positive working relationship with our students and families, knowing what works for them individually, and personalizing their educational experience with us is so important in creating a successful online learning environment.”

The FLVS system has been designed to enable students to easily ask their teachers follow-up questions.

“FLVS offers live lessons within the courses, teaching the material in real time using a video conference platform. Students can engage and ask questions during the live lessons,” Schultz said. “Students can also reach out to teachers at any point when they are in need of assistance, additional resources, or need to talk with their teacher. FLVS teachers return all student e-mails, phone calls and text messages within 24 hours.”

As of mid-July, the School District of Palm Beach County was still finalizing its plans for the new academic year.

According to Fennoy, a panel of health experts has suggested that Palm Beach County public schools remain closed to on-campus learning until the rate of new COVID-19 cases shows a significant decline. Fennoy supports the school year beginning with distance learning for all students, allowing for a phased return to brick-and-mortar, in-person instruction when county health conditions permit.

To support its decision, the school district will be distributing more than 82,000 laptop computers to students who need one and is also working to make WiFi more readily available to students living in homes without Internet access. Once finalized, the school district’s plan will need to be approved by the Florida Department of Education, which has a policy preference that public school districts open the brick-and-mortar schools for students five days a week.

Fennoy’s plan sends students back to the classroom based on the state’s re-opening phases. Phase 1 is all online, since Palm Beach County, like Broward and Miami-Dade, remains in a Phase 1 re-opening. Students will begin returning to campus, divided up by grade level, once Palm Beach County moves into Phase 2.

In nearby counties, there’s a mix of on-campus learning and virtual instruction. For example, in Martin County, students return to school on Aug. 10 in person, wearing masks. However, families are also being given an online option.

Visit to learn more about the school district’s plans. Learn more about Florida Virtual School at


Two Students From Wellington Selected For Prestigious Bank Of America Program

Two Students From Wellington Selected For Prestigious Bank Of America Program
Two high school students from Wellington, Katherine Oung and Ashley Kulberg, have been selected as part of this year’s Bank of America Student Leaders program.

The six-week paid summer internship program will help strengthen the students’ leadership abilities, civic engagement and workforce skills-building. In light of the health concerns that remain in local communities, the program, which gathers more than 300 high school students across the country, has been adapted to a virtual format, through which students will have the opportunity to participate in sessions that will expose them to the vital role that nonprofits play in advancing community health, the importance of public-private partnerships to advance social change and a focus on building financial acumen.

The Student Leaders will participate in programming that leverages Bank of America’s national partnerships and expertise and will work closely with the bank’s Palm Beach County leadership and nonprofit partners. They will participate in a collaborative, mentoring-focused project working closely with Communities in Schools of Palm Beach County to develop and deliver a social media strategy to support the organization’s efforts.

“Now, more than ever, as we collectively navigate the challenges we face in our communities, we remain committed to supporting youth and young adults of all backgrounds by connecting them to jobs, skills-building and leadership development,” said Fabiola Brumley, Bank of America’s Palm Beach County market president and vice chairman, business banking. “Creating opportunities for our youth to gain skills and build a network is a powerful investment in the future of our community.”

Through her experiences as an intern for Congresswoman Lois Frankel, the captain of her speech and debate team and the first non-collegiate lead writer for a volunteer-run newsroom, Katherine Oung has seen and heard firsthand about wealth inequality in her own community. Now, she’s working in real time to address these issues and level the playing field for her neighbors.

Oung believes in the power of volunteering to build connections that will serve as a tool to ignite meaningful change, especially within her local community. Because of her dedication and exceptional leadership qualities, the rising senior at the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts has been selected for the Student Leader program.

She has spent hundreds of hours educating her peers and managing the 50-member staff at Balance the Ballot, a student-run organization with the goal of raising awareness for current global issues and getting youth more involved in and informed about politics. As a lead writer, she spearheaded an initiative to facilitate voter registration in 2018. Her South Florida region registered 200 people, and the event was so successful that it will continue leading up to this year’s election.

Oung recently penned an op-ed for The New York Times entitled “Coronavirus Racism Infected My High School,” which discussed her personal experiences with racism as an Asian American amid the rise of COVID-19.

As a counselor at Arts Reaching Out to Society Camp for the past three years, Oung helped to organize Jefferson Jubilee, a holiday event donating gifts to underprivileged children. She also served as a mentor for Beyond Resolved, a student-led speech and debate organization, where she supports, advocates and raises awareness for marginalized high school students.

Through her internship with Frankel, Oung immersed herself in the needs of her community by participating in events, meeting with area residents and leaders, and listening to their stories to better promote their needs.  She has also dedicated more than 100 hours to local organizations, serving as a volunteer at the Soup Kitchen of Boynton Beach, a volunteer attorney and jury member for Youth Court, and a foster parent for the Peggy Adams Animal Shelter.

Oung aspires to one day tackle wealth inequality through government work or as an attorney. Currently, she plans to continue her passion for freelance journalism, as she believes accurate reporting is the best way to spread knowledge as a means of power.

As a student attending an elite private school, Ashley Kulberg understands her position of privilege and uses it as an opportunity to give back to her local community, while also helping on a global scale.

The rising senior at the American Heritage School in Delray Beach works to sponsor the education and frequent communication, through pen pal relationships, with her international peers as vice president of her high school chapter of Education Rocks. Last summer, she had the opportunity to travel to Bali and witness her impact firsthand after meeting her pen pal, Yuni, who is not afforded the same luxuries.

In addition to her international travels, Kulberg has dedicated hundreds of hours to participating in the varsity speech and debate team and mentoring the novice teams, which are comprised of debaters from ninth grade and middle school.

It was through these experiences that she found her voice, which she uses to advance political dialogue and spread ideas.

When she’s not writing to Yuni or supporting her debate team, Kulberg works as a student organizer for TEDxYouth, an event series encouraging conversation around “worth-spreading ideas.” In September 2019, she presented a proposal to faculty, then coordinated auditions, practices, ticket sales and all necessary components to put on the inaugural event.

Kulberg has also demonstrated her exceptional leadership skills and dedication to her professional development as a competitor for her high school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, the largest business student organization in the world; a policy research fellow for Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer; and her involvement in her religious community as a volunteer for her synagogue summer camp.

Kulberg is dedicated to addressing the challenges in her community. As a Bank of America Student Leader, she hopes to use this new opportunity to propel herself up the ladder of influence to spark positive change in her community.

Learn more about the Student Leaders program at



New Independent Living Community Wellington Bay Is Now Under Construction

New Independent Living Community Wellington Bay Is Now Under Construction

Wellington Bay, an independent living community near the Mall at Wellington Green, is now under construction, offering seniors a great option to live life to its fullest in a maintenance-free lifestyle.

Wellington Bay Director of Sales & Marketing Wendy Paige is excited to offer this lifestyle concept to the community.

“Senior living is such a great option,” she said, adding that Liberty Senior Living, the developer and owner of Wellington Bay, offers an environment that simplifies day-to-day living for residents. “It’s such a great company, concept and senior living community. It means so much to me when children of our residents come and thank me for helping their mom or dad. They often say that many become more active again.”

Paige has been in the South Florida area for 16 years. She recently moved to Wellington from Jupiter.

“I enjoy the people and the community so much, I just bought a house in Wellington myself,” she said. “I got started in senior living by helping my parents find their retirement move, 15 years ago. I enjoyed helping them and learning about this option along the way, so I changed my career and have sold senior living ever since.”

Paige has represented all levels along the senior living spectrum: independent living, assisted living and memory care.

Married to her husband, Craig Watson, a PGA member who coaches the mens and womens golf teams at Palm Beach Atlantic University, the couple have five kids and seven grandchildren, including a set of twins. “We are a golfing family, but I am excited to learn more and get involved in the equestrian side of Wellington,” Paige said.

Nowadays, much of her time is spent in her vocation, representing her passion, Wellington Bay.

“It is the only independent living community in Wellington,” Paige said. “We will offer seniors a great option to live life to its fullest while simplifying the burden of living independently with many flexible programs.”

She looks forward to stewarding Wellington Bay from its construction into a living, breathing community of residents.

“When a resident decides to live in Wellington Bay, the entire property becomes their home, so no one has to give up anything by selling their house,” Paige said. “Seniors can choose from three distinct lifestyle choices in apartment homes, garden flats or villas, all in a no-hassle, maintenance-free lifestyle.”

Paige also noted the many different services and programs at the resort-style Wellington Bay community.

“Our whole-person wellness program promotes personal health and fitness,” she said. “We will offer a true indulgence of an on-site spa, beach-entry outdoor pool — while also having an indoor pool for those days when that might be a resident’s preference.”

The 65,000-square-foot Wellington Bay clubhouse features a bar, multiple dining options, billiards table, card rooms, a library, an art room and much more. “On our grounds, we will also have bocce ball, pickle ball, great spaces for walking and residents can even fish in our lakes,” Paige said.

A key benefit of Wellington Bay is the quality of the lifestyle.

“We want our residents to stay independent as long as possible. We take care of many items for them that have simply become more of an unwanted burden,” said Paige, giving examples with the weekly housekeeping, flexible dining program, transportation and all the requirements of home maintenance. “They are all part of the monthly rent, and our Wellington Bay concierge-style service is just a phone call away, to direct or help with any of the residents’ needs.”

As an upscale independent living community in the heart of Wellington, Wellington Bay will provide a place for seniors to move when they tire of taking care of a single-family home, without having to leave the community they love. “At Wellington Bay, they can continue to live an active lifestyle filled with a variety of social, recreational, cultural and educational possibilities every day,” Paige explained.

While Wellington Bay is new, the company behind it has a long-established and award-winning reputation in the industry.

“All of the other Liberty communities have been identified as Best Places to Work. Our South Bay campus in South Carolina has been recognized as a Charleston’s Choice, and Carolina Bay has been recognized as one of the Great Places to Live,” Paige noted.

She said that she couldn’t be more pleased about the location of the new Wellington Bay Senior Living campus. “All the businesses and people have been so friendly in Wellington, and this has to be the best chamber I have ever been involved with,” she said. “They do so much to promote local businesses, especially with this pandemic going on.”

As seniors age, Wellington Bay will be able to continue serving them.

“One of the true values of Wellington Bay will be access to on-campus multiple levels of care,” Paige said. “The Lisbet Health Center is a step-up program. As people continue aging, we will also have assisted living and memory support. One nice feature of our assisted living is we will offer two-bedroom units in addition to all the amenities, programs and services that make the lifestyle at Wellington Bay so great.”

She urged anyone interested in Wellington Bay to come aboard soon and help create this unique, new community.

“Those who move in early have the chance to help shape the community and enjoy the benefits of being a founding member,” Paige said. “We are excited to share with you our plans for Wellington Bay.”

Wellington Bay is located at 2590 Wellington Bay Drive. For more information, call (561) 335-5405 or visit


Grant Ganzi Of Wellington Named Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Chapter’s Man Of The Year

Grant Ganzi Of Wellington Named Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Chapter’s Man Of The Year
Every nine minutes, somebody in the U.S. dies of a blood cancer. In today’s uncertain times, cancer patients need support now, more than ever. On Friday, June 26, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast chapter held its Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale. The program raised more than $670,848.

The two winners were Grant Ganzi of Wellington and Teri Klotz of Lake Worth. Ganzi raised $149,063, while Klotz raised $78,367. The money will support LLS’s goal to find cures for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to lifesaving treatments.

During a spirited 16-week fundraising campaign, candidates compete in honor of local Boy of the Year Aiden and Girl of the Year Lily, both blood cancer survivors, to raise the most funds to ensure a world without blood cancers.

Ganzi’s campaign was focused around Aiden and Lily, making sure that other children and their families don’t have to face what they went through. In addition, Ganzi has had other close friends who battled leukemia and wanted to help make a difference.

“I wanted to raise money for this amazing cause and organization because of my friend Brandon Phillips. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 14 and was only given six months to live. He beat the odds and has been in remission for more than 25 years. His story has inspired me to help others,” Ganzi said.

As a Lynn University senior, third-generation polo player and the Polo School’s USPA delegate, Ganzi engaged his polo community, family and friends for support, as well as holding two virtual trivia nights via ChukkerTV to raise money for his campaign.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale was held via Zoom. Ganzi was awarded the title with 16 other candidates and more than 100 guests in virtual attendance.

“We could not be prouder of these 17 individuals, who used every creative resource they had to raise dollars for our mission during a pandemic. Many would have given up, but these candidates were all in to help us in our mission to find cures for cancer,” said Pamela Payne, executive director of LLS’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast chapter.

Candidates and their campaign teams were judged solely on virtual fundraising success this campaign season, each dollar counting as one vote. Their totals will then be considered for the national title. Candidates in each LLS chapter across the country vie for the local title, and the highest fundraisers earn the national title.

Ganzi’s initial goal was to raise $75,000. “I surpassed my goal, and I’m surprised I was able to. There were moments in my campaign where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to reach my goal,” he said. “Thank you to my family, friends, team members, fellow candidates, Aiden, Lily and everyone at LLS. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Through programs like this, LLS has invested nearly $1.3 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies. The funds raised through the Man & Woman of the Year campaign are used for research to advance targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are saving thousands of lives; blood cancer information, education and support for patients; and policies that ensure patients have access to blood cancer treatments.

This year, the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast chapter had 16 candidates, one all-star and more than 200 team members competing for the title. The campaign ran from March 5 through June 26.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a global leader in the fight against cancer. Its mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. Founded in 1949, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

To learn more about LLS, visit Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572. Learn more about the Man & Woman of the Year program at


Cardiologist Dr. Rishi Panchal Has Opened A New Practice Serving The Wellington Area

Cardiologist Dr. Rishi Panchal Has Opened A New Practice Serving The Wellington Area
Cardiologist and advanced peripheral vascular specialist Dr. Rishi Panchal recently opened the Ivy Cardiac & Vascular Center on the campus of Palms West Hospital with his own distinctly client-focused approach to patient care.

Trained at some of the nation’s most prestigious facilities for cardiovascular disease, Dr. Panchal was raised in Ocala horse country and was inspired by his father, also a doctor. Growing up, he loved to ride, play golf, fish and fly planes, receiving his pilot license at age 16. Through his father’s approach to patient care, he was influenced to continue serving as a physician.

“I was with another practice for two years before opening my own to serve the western hospitals,” said Dr. Panchal, who also has an office in Belle Glade.

Up to date with the latest knowledge and techniques available, he combines that with his experience at major academic institutions and his commitment to quality care.

Dr. Panchal’s clinical areas of interest include general cardiovascular care, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, venous disorders and peripheral vascular limb preservation.

“About one-half of my practice is a specialization in peripheral vascular disease,” he explained, noting that he works with the management of peripheral arterial and venous disorders utilizing minimally invasive techniques and cutting-edge technology. “I received specialized training at Yale University’s limb preservation program.”

Dr. Panchal was involved in national research trials at Yale for carotid and peripheral arterial disease. A contributor to medical textbooks and the author of published papers, he has presented at national cardiovascular conferences.

More than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, accounting for about one in every four deaths, he explained. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, which are usually treatable or manageable.

“The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack,” Dr. Panchal said. “Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices place people at a high risk for heart disease. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol use can all contribute.”

He explained that education and guidance to patients regarding living a healthy lifestyle are as important as diagnoses and treatment of disease and disorders. “At Ivy Cardiac & Vascular Center, we provide comprehensive cardiovascular care to our patients,” Dr. Panchal said.

Training and experience at the Yale University Advanced Peripheral Vascular Interventional Program provided him with the specialized skills and knowledge to treat patients with peripheral arterial disease and critical limb ischemia.

The limb preservation program at Ivy Cardiac & Vascular Center is designed to decrease amputation rates and offer an improved quality of life for patients. Dr. Panchal has authored textbooks on the topic and received recognition for advanced peripheral vascular work and continues to be a leader in the field.

With chronic vein abnormalities being a common disorder found in some 50 percent of the population, such veins can become distended and become varicose or spider veins.

“Spider veins are typically small vessels seen on the surface of legs that look like a spider web. Though mostly cosmetic, these veins can be indicative of severe disease in the future,” he said, adding that when patients are bothered by the appearance of these veins, treatment via a minimally invasive technique can offer beautiful results.

Varicose veins are larger veins, which can become swollen, causing symptoms of leg fatigue, swelling, skin changes, restless leg syndrome and overall large, ugly veins.

“These distorted, dilated veins near the surface of the skin may look like a cord and are most commonly in the legs and ankles,” Dr. Panchal said. “They may not be serious initially, but they can lead to serious problems in the future. Many of the treatments available for these provide a minimal recovery period and allow the patient to walk out of the office after treatment.”

Dr. Panchal is fellowship trained in superficial and venous disease to provide the most comprehensive care for patients, as well as complete cardiovascular care.

His certifications include: APCA Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (2018), ABIM Cardiovascular Disease (2017), NBE Echocardiography (2017) and ABIM Internal Medicine (2014). His education and training include a peripheral vascular interventional fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine, a cardiovascular disease fellowship at the Henry Ford Health System, a residency in internal medicine at the University of Florida, a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, plus undergraduate work in biology at the University of Miami. Panchal is also a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and has memberships in the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, the Society for Vascular Medicine and the Chronic Limb Ischemia Global Society.

Ivy Cardiac & Vascular Center is located at 12983 Southern Blvd., Suite 205, on the campus of Palms West Hospital. His Belle Glade office is located at 1100 S. Main Street. For more information, call (561) 210-9495 or visit


‘Frank DiMino Campus’ Unveiled At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center Great Legacy

‘Frank DiMino Campus’ Unveiled At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center
Great Legacy

The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center, a medical home close to home for Palm Beach County children with specialized and/or acute medical needs, is now located on the “Frank DiMino Campus” in Wellington.

The new name was added to signage on the building, near the entrance and in its lobby to recognize DiMino, a 93-year-old philanthropist.

The Wellington resident made a significant contribution to the nonprofit Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation, which chose the Wellington campus naming as a way to honor him for his support. The gift was one of the largest in the foundation’s history.

“This will help us improve access to and delivery of high-quality pediatric care for children and families in South Florida,” said Aurelio Fernandez III, CEO of the Memorial Healthcare System, the facility’s parent organization. “This generous donation goes a long way toward keeping our kids safe.”

DiMino recently visited the Wellington campus and was met by staff carrying signs expressing appreciation. He connected with Fernandez and other Memorial Healthcare System leaders, including Nina Beauchesne, Caitlin Stella and Kevin Janser.

“I’m honored to support such an outstanding organization that does so much for the health and well-being of children and families in South Florida,” DiMino said.

The donation was made to the foundation’s “Catch the Love” capital campaign, which will help underwrite the cost to expand the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. The initiative will double the size of the stand-alone facility, to 320,000 square feet within an eight-story building.

“It’s a $150 million construction project, with $50 million, or a third of it, being raised through philanthropy. This donation will help underwrite the additional four stories that will be added to the existing structure,” Fernandez said.

The expansion will provide the main hospital with the additional space it needs for specialized cardiac, intensive care and medical surgical capabilities. It will also increase access to leading-edge pediatric care and treatments, including those for cancer, orthopedic, neurology and neonatal patients. Additional services will also be extended into the community and support will be provided to families during their most challenging times.

The donation is DiMino’s second significant contribution to the children’s hospital foundation. A previous gift, through his own family foundation in 2018, resulted in the DiMino name being added to the emergency department at the hospital.

“We’re just so happy to now have something he can drive by, in his community, with his name on it,” said Stella, CEO of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “It’s a great legacy for him and a great gift for us, so we’re very thankful.”

Established in 1994, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation provides philanthropic support to underwrite the cost of facilities, programs and services for children and families at the hospital and specialty center. These actions support the Memorial Healthcare System mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of those it touches.

The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center in Wellington features high quality, patient and family-centered care in a warm, kid-friendly environment. The facility features medical experts in audiology, cardiology, craniofacial, endocrinology, general surgery, immunology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, otolaryngology and pulmonology, plus comprehensive imaging (MRI and ultrasound), outpatient surgery and rehabilitation services.

Part of the Memorial Healthcare System, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center is located at 3377 S. State Road 7 in Wellington. To learn more, or make an appointment, call (561) 341-7000 or visit




Community Comes Together To Provide Basic Necessities For Healthcare Workers At WRMC Grab-N-Go Pantry

Community Comes Together To Provide Basic Necessities For Healthcare Workers At WRMC
Grab-N-Go Pantry

You know how it is. You finish a long and difficult workday and then realize you still have one more task to accomplish before you can go home — you need to stop at the grocery store. Some days, it can be simply overwhelming.

Now imagine how daunting that task would be if you had just completed a masked, gloved and emotionally draining extended shift as a healthcare worker. Wouldn’t it be nice if just that one thing — shopping — was taken off your to-do list?

For the healthcare heroes at Wellington Regional Medical Center, community volunteers stepped in to help out.

Wellington Councilman Michael Napoleone, together with Anne Caroline Valtin of the Great Charity Challenge and Liliane Stransky of the Step by Step Foundation, created the Grab-N-Go Pantry in partnership with Wellington Regional Medical Center.

By organizing donations and making purchases of essential items such as toilet paper, these volunteers made it possible for hospital workers to “shop” just prior to heading home. Non-perishable food, soap, cleaning products and more were all available at the pantry free of charge.

Napoleone saw the need and got the ball rolling early.

“Back in mid-March, when everything was starting to close down and people were panic-buying, I asked [WRMC CEO] Pam Tahan what we could actually do that would make things easier for her staff as they manned the front lines,” Napoleone recalled. “She thought a pantry would be a good idea because medical personnel were working long hours and, by the time they got to Publix, there was nothing left on the shelves.”

He reached out to Valtin to help make the idea a reality.

“I asked myself, ‘Who’s the most giving, volunteering person I know?’ and I called Anne Caroline,” Napoleone said. “In a matter of just a few hours, we had drafted a flyer, signed on with the Step by Step Foundation to handle monetary donations, created an event page and pushed it out.”

The event page read, in part: “We all owe a debt of gratitude to those medical professionals who show up every day and are dealing with the virus head-on. They know it will get worse before it gets better, but they are working long hours and putting themselves in harm’s way because it’s their job and their passion.”

Healthcare workers were first able to “shop” March 27 and throughout April, although the need died down a bit once supplies became more abundant at the stores.

“At the program’s inception, it was a key time,” Valtin said. “Personal cleaning supplies were getting hard to come by, so we donated antibacterial soap and shelf-stable pantry items like breakfast cereals and granola bars. When we found out some of the staff had young children, we began bringing in diapers.”

Valtin thanked Stransky for her assistance.

“She is known for fulfilling wish lists for local nonprofit organizations, so she was instrumental,” Valtin explained. “Anyone who wanted to help but was not comfortable with going shopping or dropping things off could donate via her Step by Step web site.”

When a donation would come in via the Step by Step web site or Facebook page, Stransky started shopping for essentials.

“I thought the Grab-N-Go Pantry was a great idea — marvelous,” Stransky said. “First responders have less time to buy groceries for themselves and for their kids at home. It was nice idea. The most important thing in a crisis like this is that people trust what we are doing in alliance with other organizations. People came together, especially the horse people. They responded right away to help. We become one, which is amazing.”

Napoleone estimates that approximately $8,000 was raised for the effort, not counting the dollar value of donated goods. Several thousand dollars were donated through Step by Step, and other organizations jumped in to help by offering grants, such as the Wellington Community Foundation, the Wellington Rotary Club, the Crowned Pearls of Wellington and the Village of Wellington. WRMC estimates that several hundred hospital staffers were served by the project.

“The Grab-N-Go Pantry was successful from the beginning because we live in a great community,” Napoleone said. “People stepped up in a big way, even those who may not have been sure where their next paycheck was coming from. The hospital had set up a big wire rack with wheels and, when I dropped off my first supply, it was packed.”

Valtin gave credit to the hospital as well.

“Wellington Regional did an amazing job organizing the items being dropped off,” she said. “Before you even stepped into the lobby, there was a shelving unit where you could drop things off. Items were moved throughout the day into a multipurpose room, where they were organized by categories. And they were very good about finding out what the workers were missing so we could bring them the most-needed items.”

Valtin was proud of how the community came together to support the Grab-N-Go Pantry. “I love facilitating things between a nonprofit and a donor,” she said. “This was just another one of those moments. It gave people a way to say thank you and support the people on the front lines. Change happens at the local level. Everybody played a small role.”

For Napoleone, actions speak louder than words.

“I’m a big believer in doing things, not just talking about things,” he said. “It’s important to look for ways you can help through actions, not just words. Grab-N-Go will definitely come back in a big way if it’s needed.”

While the pantry is not as crucial as it was in March and April, the Step by Step Foundation is still accepting donations, both monetary and in items for the pantry. Learn more at