Culinary Students Learn Revolutionary Era Baking for Presidents’ Day

by Alana J. Mauger

Pastry Arts students from the Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) got an historical lesson in baking as they partnered with Valley Forge National Historical Park to celebrate the 282nd birthday of first U.S. President George Washington on Feb. 17.

The CAI was tapped to recreate Martha Washington’s cake recipe, which 25 students, under the guidance of adjunct instructor and Chef Julia Quay, used to create one large birthday cake and 500 patriotically-decorated cupcakes for hundreds of children and families in attendance.

The Park’s annual Presidents’ Day celebration also included arts and crafts, singing, dancing and a formal cake-cutting ceremony by General Washington himself.

The creation of Washington’s birthday cake is one of MCCC’s “50 Acts of Kindness” as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2014, MCCC students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are committed organizing 50 acts of community service – one for every year of the College’s existence. To learn more at the College’s 50th anniversary activities, visit

To learn more about the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College, visit, or stop by the CAI’s spring open house, 1400 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, on April 26 from 10 a.m.-noon.

General George Washington prepares to cut his birthday cake, which was prepared by students from the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College. He is joined by CAI student and faculty representatives, as well as by his wife, Martha, on Feb. 17 at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

General George Washington prepares to cut his birthday cake, which was prepared by students from the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College. He is joined by CAI student and faculty representatives, as well as by his wife, Martha, on Feb. 17 at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

See more photos from the event on the College’s Think Success blog.

MLK Day of Service Kicks off ’50 Acts of Kindness’

by Alana J. Mauger

BLOG DSCF1253Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters joined thousands of individuals and organizations across the nation in honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20 for an annual day of service.

Close to 150 participants – the largest turnout since introducing MCCC’s annual college-wide day of service four years ago – volunteered at three sites in Montgomery County: Habitat for Humanity ReStore in East Norriton, Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, and Olivet Boys & Girls Club in Pottstown.

“We’re impressed with the turnout,” said Jenna Klaus, assistant director of civic and community engagement. “This is the first year we opened it up to alumni and partnered with an outside organization [] for sign ups. As a result, we had several community volunteers join us, including 30 students and staff from Penn Christian Academy.”

In addition to honoring King, the day of service also officially kicked off the College’s “50 Acts of Kindness” initiative as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

“In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we’re organizing 50 acts of community service throughout 2014 – one for every year since the College has been in existence,” explained Klaus.

According to Klaus, more than 35 activities are already on the books, with more being planned by MCCC’s student clubs and organizations.

To learn more about MCCC’s 50th Anniversary activities, visit

For information about civic and community engagement at MCCC, email

Photos by Alana J. Mauger, Megan Sneeringer, Diane Vandyke and Stephanie Wittig

Computer Science Students Showcase Work, Promote Program

by Alana J. Mauger

Students enrolled in one section of Associate Professor Kendall Martin’s Computer Science II – Object Oriented Programing (CIS 111b) course showcased their work in Montgomery County Community College’s Parkhouse Hall atrium earlier this month.

“We’re calling the event Technology Transfer Day, primarily because we want students enrolled in CIS 111 [Computer Science I – Programming/Concept] to see the kinds of projects they can work on if they enroll in the next course,” explained Martin. “In the intro class, students really learn the basics, but in the CIS 111b course, they get to apply that knowledge and work on collaborative projects like the ones showcased here.”

Among those projects was a Wiimote Smartboard, developed by students Chris Gorman, Harshil Patel and Andrew Weiss.

“We’re using a Wii remote as an IR camera, which connects to the laptop with Bluetooth, and you can write on the [projected] board with an IR pen,” shared Weiss. “This is great for classrooms. Essentially, you can buy everything needed outside of the laptop and projector for $35.”

One team developed a paint program that can sense multiple touch points for use on a children’s Smart Table, while another team worked on a gesture-based air piano that employs Leap Motion control.

Students Stephen Normile, Lawrence Jamil, Chris Calvano and Dan Wrubal wrote a Google Maps-based game that allows players to navigate around actual barriers in their location.

“It’s based on a modified code from Space Invaders,” said Jamil. “We’re working on making a sword weapon instead of lasers.”

Other students from the class partnered with MCCC’s Engineering program, writing code and developing a website for the program’s Quad Forge project.

“The students actually found fixes for problems in the open source program that were folded back into the international version, which is very exciting” shared Martin.

CIS 111 and 111b are required courses for many of MCCC’s STEM programs, including Computer Science, Computer Networking, Electronic Game and Simulation Design, Information Technology, Software Engineering and Web Design and Development, among others.

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photos by Alana J. Mauger

PHOTOS: MLK Day of Service

More than 70 students, faculty, staff and their friends and families participated in the third annual College-Wide Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 21. Groups volunteered at the Greater Norristown Police Athletic League and the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Pottstown. Check out bigNews next week to read about a literary service project performed by the College’s Education students that day.

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Photos by Alana J. Mauger (Norristown) and Diane VanDyke (Pottstown)

Students to Present Fall Performing Arts Showcase & Dance Performance Ensemble Concert

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College invites the community to its Dance Performance Ensemble Fall Concert on Nov. 30 and Fall Performing Arts Showcase performances on Dec. 3, 5 and 6 in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. All four performances are free of charge and open to the public.

The Dance Performance Ensemble Fall Concert will be held Friday evening, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. and features a variety of student-choreographed works that range in style from modern to hip hop.

On Monday, Dec. 3, at 12:30 p.m. students will present a one-hour matinee preview of the Fall Performing Arts Showcase featuring Dance, Music and Theater selections.

The evening performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 6. Each evening performance will feature a different lineup of the best work by students in the music and dance departments, including the Dance Ensemble, College Choir, the Chamber Choir, the new Chamber Strings, the Guitar Ensemble, the new Jazz Lab Band and the Performance Jazz Ensemble.

The performances will highlight several works by the notorious avant-garde composer John Cage in celebration of his centennial birthday. Among other works, the Chamber Choir and Dance Ensemble are collaborating on a choreographed re-imagination of Cage’s “Litany for the Whale.” The result will be a piece that blends ancient Gregorian tradition with modern dance and aleatoric elements.

The Showcase is presented at the end of every semester. For the Spring Semester, the Dance Performance Ensemble concert will be held Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m. and the Spring Showcase performances will be held Monday, April 29, at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, May 1, and Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Dance Performance Ensemble, contact Coordinator of the Dance Program and Director of the Dance Ensemble Dr. Melinda Copel at; for more information about the Fall Performing Arts Showcase, contact Associate Professor of Music Andrew Kosciesza at or visit the College’s website at

Check out photos from the Spring Performing Arts Showcase and Dance Performance Ensemble concert!

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Photos by Matt Carlin

Cadets Graduate From Municipal Police Academy

by Diane VanDyke

Thirty police cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on Nov. 14 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Auditorium, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The graduates of Class 1202 included Stephen Andrews (Richboro), Gregory Borgmann (Warminster), Raymond Brook (Maple Glen), Michael Choiniere (Gilbertsville), David Clouser (Quakertown), Richard Dean (Yardley), Shalako Drabinksy (Chalfont), Kevin Furman (Newtown Square), Eric Honick (Conshohocken), Jason Howell (Limerick), Erik Iochum (Abington), Joseph Jennings (Churchville), Salvatore LaMantia (Yardley), Michael Lanzafame (Philadelphia), Bryan Lukens (Whitemarsh), Scott Lukens (Plymouth Meeting), David Malischewski (Perkasie), Joseph O’Mara (Lower Gwynedd), Stephen Pimm (Ambler), Michael Pinciotti (Newtown), Benjamin Romanowicz (Bensalem), Benjamin Scott (Pennsburg), Brian Seibert (Worcester), Jennifer Smith (Abington), Kevin South (Morrisville), Rafael Stoppazzollo (Philadelphia), Michael Theiss (Tuckerton, N.J.), Michael Verrillo (Warrington), Anthony Vogel (Horsham) and Zachary Wise (Phoenixville).

Valedictorian Sgt. Stephen Pimm earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship award, and Lt. Bryan Lukens earned the Leadership Award. Sgt. Richard Dean was awarded the Spirit of Distinction Award for his teamwork, discipline, dedication and leadership.

The ceremony started with a moment of silence in respect for fallen Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox, an alumnus of the Police Academy. A chaired draped with his jacket bearing his name was placed next to the podium during the ceremony in his memory

Guest speakers for the evening included Sgt. Ken Hawthorn of the Warrington Township Police Department and Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman also attended.

In his remarks, Hawthorn told the cadets to “be firm but be fair,” and not to dwell on mistakes.

“Remember, your patrol car has a big windshield and a small rearview mirror,” he said. “What’s in front of you is more important than what’s behind you.”

Castor reminded the cadets to “do the right thing” when the moment calls for it. “Being a police officer,” he said, “is not a profession but a calling, a calling to do the right thing for the people of the community.”

During the ceremony, the McGowan family presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to Orwigsburg Borough Police Officer Matthew Fogarty of Royersford.  Fogarty graduated from the Police Academy in July 2012 and also serves as an emergency medical technician.

When receiving the scholarship, Fogarty thanked the McGowan family, telling them, “Chief McGowan was the leader I dream of becoming.”

Chief McGowan started his law enforcement career in 1974 with the Lower Moreland Police Department. While working there, he graduated from the FBI National Academy and earned his master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Joseph’s University. After his retirement in 1992, he became the police chief and public safety director for East Norriton Township, a position he held until June 18, 2010, when he was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.

In addition to his law enforcement career, McGowan was an academic instructor in the Criminal Justice program at Montgomery County Community College. He also served as past president of the Montgomery County Police Chiefs’ Association and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association and was instrumental in establishing the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Academy Director Frank A. Williar praised Class 1202, stating that the members of this class are definitely people he would recommend to safeguard his family and the community.

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428.

The Academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,200 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 96 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Williar, a 1974 Police Academy graduate, was hired as the Academy Director in 2005. The Academy is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.

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Photos by John Welsh