Teaching in India

Snake charming isn’t exactly a skill you would expect your typical high school student to have. But Stephanie Scafa of West Windsor, a graduate of High School South, Class of 2001, and a senior at Susquehanna University, can say she’s had a bona fide snake charming lesson from a pro – in India.

Scafa is teaching English in Jaipur, India, as part of a study abroad program with Global Crossroads. She is living with a host family, and in addition to teaching is taking time for studying snake charming, flute, yoga, and Indian cooking. (She had been taking an intensive Hindi class at college.) She already plays the piano and oboe and was active in the high school band, marching band, and orchestra programs.

Her mother, Liz Scafa, is an investment planner who runs Scafa Financial Group, on Princeton-Hightstown Road in West Windsor. Her father, Dave, is a CPA, and runs David J. Scafa, CPA, PFS, out of the family home. Her younger sister, Christine, 17, is a senior at High School South.

Scafa went to India as a volunteer in July and took a 10-day tour throughout the country before going to Jaipur.

She has maintained an E-mail correspondence with her family in which she has shared anecdotes about her travels, such as this one:

""We spent the last three days in Jaipur and Agra, seeing lots of places and temples, including the Taj Mahal. Now we have a free day in Delhi and I’m with two other American girls just spending the day walking around and seeing some parts of the city where I’m not staying. It’s really nice. Also in Jaipur I went on a camel ride (a camel with two humps…it was so high up!), and I got henna done on my hand.""

Scafa later wrote:

""Today (October 11, 2004) was amazing/hilarious/incredible… we had our snake charming lesson and the guys that teach the flute to me each play 10 different instruments, and they all know how to circular breathe (which is incredible), and they all dance.

""I just went with my friends to their permanent rickshaw driver’s house for chai and his daughter, who’s our age, dressed me up in one of her Rajasthani outfits that she made and her wedding jewelry. It was really fun. The rickshaw driver, who’s the nicest, most generous old man, invited us over later in the week to have his daughter henna our hands and just hang out.""

Stephanie was born in New York and lived in Brooklyn until 1988, when the family moved to West Windsor. But her West Windsor experiences didn’t prepare her for this next surprise:

""When we got back to our program center we realized that there’s a family of monkeys living on the property. It’s so cool. Every day is so packed…it’s amazing.""

Scafa plans to spend an extra month in India after Christmas, then return to school for the spring semester. After graduation she has already signed up for two years in Africa with the Peace Corps.

Liz Scafa visited her daughter on her last day of teaching . She says: ""The classroom had a concrete floor and there were no tables or chairs. The food was brought into the classroom in a big pail and everyone ate from bent dishes. The kids adored her and they all had smiles on their faces. It was quite an experience.""

Outhouse Exhibition

When I began studying painting my daughter said that I had to start at the bottom – but I did not imagine that my first exhibition would feature an outhouse,"" says Barry Garelick. He recently converted the portable bathroom at the West Windsor Farm Market into an old-fashioned looking outhouse – complete with images of a sun and a moon.

A business analyst, Garelick has lived in Village Grande for nearly three years with his wife, Anne Weidler, a retired guidance counselor. She is president of the Hadassah group in Village Grande and is active in the choral group.

The couple lived in Long Island until he tired of the two-plus hour commute on the Long Island Railroad and they moved to Queens. They began looking at over-55 communities and discovered Village Grande. ""Before we moved in, we visited often, and every time we met more fabulous people,"" he says. ""We felt at home.""

Their grown children include a son, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who is now a chef on Mt. Hood in Oregon. His daughter, son-in-law, and their three grandchildren, live in Merrick, New York.

Although they had no relatives in New Jersey when they moved here, visits have enticed Garelick’s brother, a niece, and a nephew to move to the state.

Through an art course, and later a small project at the West Windsor Senior Center, he learned about the outhouse idea from Rosalyn Gracey, also of West Windsor. The outhouse colors include four variations of gray, brown, and black. This is his first experience with acrylic paint.

Gracey, instrumental in the decoration of the outhouse, hung a sign on the inside wall with the history of the outhouse, which reads: ""Ever wonder why there is a crescent moon on outhouses? Because, at one time, it meant that it was an outhouse for women. Outhouses for men had a sun. In the later 1800s, when country inns became less elegant, men were invited to use the woods and bushes. Only women retained the luxury of the outhouse. Today, most outhouses are unisex – in spite of the moon.""

The farm market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m through October 30. It is located in the Vaughn Drive parking lot at the Princeton Junction train station. Please visit the handicapped-accessible ""outhouse"" located in the middle of the parking lot.

In School


Rosemond Kacsur, a parent and landscape architect, recently initiated and designed a flower-filled garden in front of Town Center Elementary School – with the assistance of kindergarten students. She began the project with a horticulture lesson for the students. She explained how to plant bulbs and how the planting of pansies acts as a blanket to protect the bulbs through the winter.

The students selected the color and exact placement of each bulb after they were shown the areas to place the bulbs. Together, the students designed the bulb display.

Kindergarten parents assisting in the project include Jan Capuano, Christine Centofanti, Martina Avgousti, Andrea Blohm, Desiree Cuitino, and Denise Doherty. Melesio Rodrigues, from the Brickman Group, finished the planting. Jeff Molizon, project manager from the Brickman Group, helped coordinate the project.

The bulbs were donated by Kacsur. The Brickman Group provided the mums and pansies, as well as the planting material. They will maintain the flowers into the spring without cost to the school. Lin Baumann, a parent and decorative painter, will create a sign as a permanent marker.

Coats for the Needy

Millstone River and Village School students in grades four and five are collecting clean, gently worn coats and jackets, as well as new hats, mittens, and gloves for needy families served by Martin House in Trenton. The program is part of national ""Make a Difference Day."" Items may be dropped off on Saturday, October 23, at the Millstone River School front parking lot, 75 Grovers Mill Road, from 9 a.m. to noon. benefit from this collection.

Walk Our Children to School Day

Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu proclaimed Wednesday, October 6, to be Walk Our Children to School Day in Plainsboro and encouraged parents, children, public safety officers, and community leaders to consider the safety of pedestrians every day. Approximately 250 Wicoff School children and parents and close to 175 Town Center School children met at the Plainsboro Plaza and Queenship of Mary Church, respectively.

Community leaders including Cantu, Deputy Mayor Neil Lewis, and Plainsboro Community Police officers walked with the children and parents to their schools.

Upon arrival at school children and parents were served refreshments donated by Superfresh, Bagel Street, Asian Food Market, and the 99 Cent Outlet.

Technology Award

Patricia Pollio, computer resource teacher at Town Center School, received the Technologist of the Year Award from Mike Munafo, president of the New Jersey Association of Educational Technology. NJAET is a group of over 700 educators including teachers, computer coordinators, administrators, and consultants who are working to promote the use of technology in education. Pollio has worked in the district since 1982.

Education Foundation Mini-Grants

The WW-P Education Foundation has awarded 21 grants totaling $15,"015 to teachers and staff in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.

Language!, Kristin McCormack, special education teacher, Town Center Elementary School. This comprehensive program will increase reading skills of children in grades K-3 with learning disabilities. Using effective literacy strategies, the project will support the goal of teaching children to be independent, successful readers and writers.

Third Grade Math, Kelly Borup, Ann Trzasko, and Ellen Wheeler, teachers, Wicoff Elementary School. Parents and children join together to promote an appreciation of mathematics.

Visual Feedback for Voice Production of Speech and/or Hearing Impaired Students, Bonnie Engel Lee, speech and language specialist, Dutch Neck Elementary School, and Terri Russo-Weitz, speech and language specialist, Wicoff Elementary School. Students with speech, voice, and/or hearing impairments will be able to watch a computer screen and ""see"" their voice and speech change as they learn and practice new movement patterns using the Speechviewer III software.

Friday Friends, Lisa Stamile, special education teacher, Millstone River School. This innovative program utilizes board games to foster friendships between special education and mainstream 4th and 5th grade students.

Millstone River Habitat II, Beth Eaves and Sven Strnad, teachers, Millstone River School. This project will use large aquariums to replicate the Millstone River environment, allowing 4th and 5th grade students to observe and interact with the ecosystem for which the Millstone River School is named.

Reading S.E.E.D.S. Book Share Group, Frances McDonough, language arts specialist, Village School, and Victoria Anderson, language arts specialist, Millstone River School. Reading S.E.E.D.S. (Stories that Explore and Excite Discussions to Share) brings children, parents, and educators together in a literacy setting to share various perspectives and explanations on a shared book.

WeatherBug Achieve, Michelle Vitulli, Village School. A unique combination of live weather data, dynamic graphics, standard based lesson plans, and web-based instruction. The program, affiliated with the NBC news program, provides a connected learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, into the community, and into the rest of the world.

Using Technology to Enhance Microscopic Investigation, Sharon Zubricky, computer teacher, Millstone River School. With the use of a computer and the ProScope, a handheld USB microscope, there is a new and exciting way to discover the microscopic world. This technology allows teachers and students to see a display, capture, and reuse microscopic images during scientific explorations.

Courage: The Character of ""We the People,"" Karen Black, media specialist, Community Middle School. Innovative reading discussions among middle school students, other students, and older adults in the community. Book characters will embody the characteristics of courage.

Kids Loving Kids, Joseph Cifelli, Donna Ritz, and Debra Radice, High School North. High school students in the Academy program provide education and hot lunches to homeless preschool children who attend the Cherry Tree Program.

Pulse Oximetry Monitoring for Asthmatic Students, Patricia Walsh and Anne Marie Gominiak, school nurses, High School North. Grant funds will purchase a pulse oximeter, a non-invasive portable monitor, which is used to measure blood oxygen saturation level and heart rate. It will be used to assess students with asthma or any student requiring assessment in a school setting.

Bringing Authentic Chinese Art to WW-P, Wei-ling Wu, Chinese teacher, High Schools North and South. A two-day cultural event organized by the Chinese Club and classes at both high schools. Students from grades 4 to 12 will interact with artists from China and learn unique Chinese art forms including dough modeling, paper cutting, inner painting, Chinese calligraphy, brush painting, and seal carving.

YouthInk: Playwriting Residency, Donald Gilpin, language arts teacher, High School South. Under the guidance of McCarter Theatre professionals, 85 11th and 12th graders will engage in a demanding, eight-week playwriting workshop. They will all complete original short plays, with four selected to be performed at High School South and one staged at McCarter’s spring 2005 play festival.

Lending Library for Parents of High School Students with Special Needs, Karen Kelley, learning consultant, Wicoff Elementary and Community Middle School. Expand the special education lending library to include resources for high school parents to help answer questions about their child’s special needs. The Parent Connection Lending Library is located at the Community Middle School’s Media Center.

""Polk County""/Harlem Renaissance, Estella Ruggiero, language arts teacher, High School South. Students will read ""Polk County"" by Zora Neale Hurston and engage in a hands-on theatrical experience with artists-in-residence from McCarter Theater. Students will enrich their understanding and appreciation of the Bayou people and the musical ties that bind them.

A.S.E.T.S. (Achieving Sexual Equity Through Students) , Christine Fedorka-Tomalin, guidance counselor, High School South; and Deb Levinson, guidance counselor, High School North. High school students will be trained to present the A.S.E.T. program. This program addresses the issues of equal career opportunities, harassment, and gender equity issues presented by 18 high school students to a target audience of 8th and 9th graders in the district.

African American Male Support Group, Toni Watten, school psychologist, High School South. Weekly support groups to provide African American male high school students with academic support and motivation.

Bilingual Book Centers – Chinese/Japanese/Korean, Suihua (Susie) Zhao, ESL/Bilingual Teacher, High School South and Community Middle School. Establish bilingual book centers to help ESL students learn English faster and adapt to the American school system in the shortest possible time.

Korean Festival and Textbooks, Hee Kyong Chai, Korean bilingual teacher, High School South. The Korean Festival is a cultural event that provides an experience of Korean culture to students and the community. Activities include traditional dances, plays, a fashion show, music, and special games.

Cognetics, Holly Cowell, advisor, High School South. Cognetics is a program offered through the National Talent Network that allows student teams to use creative problem solving to work on an interdisciplinary challenge. A multi-district exposition in the spring will allow students to showcase their efforts.

Future Problem Solving, Holly Cowell, advisor, High School South. Students in this program use a six-step problem-solving method to solve a futuristic problem. The grant will allow the team to expand and continue its success at regional, state, and international levels.

The foundation, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the continued excellence of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional Schools, has awarded over $116,"000 in grants for more than 170 innovative projects in the schools since 1997.

College Life

Jonathan Elliott of West Windsor is promoting another play that he wrote while he was a student at the College of New Jersey. ""This is Your Second Chance,"" about two college sweethearts, is part of the school’s fall one-act festival, Tuesday through Thursday, November 16 to 20, at 8 p.m. It is directed by Dennis Chin and will be performed in the Don Evans black box theater. Tickets are $6. Visit www.tcnj.edu or call 609-771-1855.

Elliott says the play, a fast-paced romantic comedy, tells of the story of ""Nora and Whit, who find their life and love thrown into turmoil as graduation leads to the real world – and Nora leaves Whit in the dust. It seems like a clean breakup – until complications occur in the form of Nora’s rich new boyfriend, a barely-packed apartment, a last-minute tryst on a couch, the difference between Winnie Cooper and Yoko Ono, a can of mace, and a crazy/mysterious woman skulking about Washington Square Park. Is there still a spark of affection between Nora and Whit? And, if so, is it worth holding onto? The play takes us through a day in the life of these New Yorkers, as kisses, blows, and sharp-tongued wit are exchanged with equal facility.""

Elliott is a member of the inaugural class of George Mason University’s masters program in arts administration. A finalist in the Theater of the First Amendment’s playwriting competition, he is working part-time as a dramaturg. His next show is Kafka’s ""The Trial."" He is currently working on two plays, one about housepets and Armageddon, and the other about Philadelphia, art, and controversy. A graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, Class of 2000, he received his bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey in May.

Danielle H. Bratek has been admitted as a member of the Florida bar. A graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, Class of 1996, she received her juris doctor from Nova Southeastern University Shephard Broad Law School in May. While in law school, she participated in both an internship in London, England, and a pro bono honor program. She is the daughter of Ronald and Janet Bratek of West Windsor.

Elizabeth Dugan of Plainsboro, a student at Michigan State University, accepted membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She has also earned entrance into the Honors College at the school.


Mark Lee, a police officer in West Windsor Township for the last eight years, is running as an Independent for one of the open seats on the Mansfield Township Committee. He moved to Mansfield from Hamilton Township last December because the area reminded him of how West Windsor looked 20 years ago.

According to the Register-News, he has made controlling residential sprawl one of his campaign promises. He is also interested in farmland preservation while promoting commercial development.

Madeline Lightman, a resident of Village Grande, is the recruiter for the blood bank at the University Medical Center at Princeton. She has lived in West Windsor for over 30 years and her three children were born and raised in town. A former dental hygienist, she returned to school for a degree in business and now combines her marketing and health care skills.

""There is no substitute for human blood,"" she says. ""Our only source of it is you and others like you in our community.""

The blood bank in Princeton is open almost daily and every Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are invited. Call 609-497-4366 for information.

""It is difficult to get people to donate and yet it’s no big deal,"" she says. ""I do it twice a year.""


Vishal Boyal and Melissa Villatoro have joined Anji Goyal’s ""Home Team"" at RE/MAX of Princeton. Goyal is a sales association and Villatoro is client care administrator. Anji Goyal, licensed in real estate for over 20 years; and her husband, Prash Goyal, are also members of the team. The Goyal Home Team can be reached at 609-452-1887.

Laurence M. Downes of West Windsor, chairman and chief executive officer of New Jersey Resources and its principal subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas, Wall, was elected chairman of the American Gas Association’s board of directors for 2005.

He joined New Jersey Natural Gas in 1985 and served the gas company as senior vice president and chief financial officer. In 1995, he was elected president and CEO of the company and a member of NJR’s board of directors. He was named CEO of NJR later that year and in 1996 he was elected chairman of NJR’s board of directors.


Chabad of the Windsors has moved to West Windsor. Their first service will be held on Saturday, October 23, at 1686 Old Trenton Road. The four-year old organization led by Rabbi Sholom and Aliza Leverton recently purchased over three acres of land for a new Chabad Center. For more information visit www.chabadwindsor.com or call 609-448-9369.


Princeton HealthCare System has announced the following births:

Daughters were born to Plainsboro residents Krishnaveni Repakula and Sridhar Chimaladinne, September 27; Jenna and Santhosh Abraham, October 3; and Boopathy Revathy and Vengadessa Djearamane, October 8.

A son was born to Plainsboro residents Wan-Ling Hsieh and Wei Pin, September 28.

Daughters were born to West Windsor residents Tara and Reed Newhall, October 4; and Zhu Wenging and Meng Lu, October 8.


Margaret Gabriela Minieri, 85, of West Windsor died October 7. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she attended the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in Manhattan after high school. Her late husband, Dr. Paul Minieri, was the well-known biochemist who received a patent for the first broad-spectrum antibiotic tetracycline. They moved from New York City in 2001.

Survivors include daughter and son-in-law, Claudine and Peter Connors; grandchildren, Priscilla and Grayson Connors, all of West Windsor; and longtime family friend, John Chung of Seoul, Korea.

Contributions may be made to the Annenberg Science Center Fund, Peddie School, South Main Street, Hightstown 08520.

Ruth F. Zalkin, 83, of East Windsor died October 8. Survivors include a daughter, Roberta Zalkin of Plainsboro. Arrangements were under the direction of A.S. Cole Funeral Home in Cranbury.

Raymond W. Schroder, 82, of Burlington Township, died on October 12. Survivors include a daughter, Susan Rae of Plainsboro. Arrangements were by Peppler Funeral Home, Bordentown.

Michael J. Snyder, 54, of Yardville, died October 14 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Born in the Bronx, he lived on Long Island and West Windsor before settling into Yardville.

He worked for CBS Television in New York as a video engineer on shows including ""Late Show with David Letterman,"" ""The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,"" and ""Eye to Eye with Connie Chung."" He won an Emmy Award for technical excellence as senior video engineer for ""NFL Today"" in 1988, and received several other Emmy nominations.

He was the vice president of operations for Starlight Communications where he worked on direct satellite feeds to major network stations for projects including Gorbechev’s meetings with presidents Reagan and Bush, ESPN’s ""Top Rank Boxing,"" and other news events.

Survivors include his daughter, Lisa Anne Snyder of Yardville, his former wife, Joanne M. Snyder of Morrisville, PA; a brother and sister-in-law, Gene and Roz Snyder; and a sister and brother-in-law, Phyllis and Marty Williky.

Donations may be made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 216 Haddon Avenue, Westmont 08108.

Jonas A. Levin, 82, of Delray Beach, Florida, died October 13. Survivors include a daughter, Lori Watson of Plainsboro. Memorial service will be held at Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, 1534 Pennington Road, Ewing, on Sunday, October 31, at 11 a.m. Donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 2550 Route 1, North Brunswick 08902, or the National Kidney Foundation, 325 Chestnut Street, Constitution Place #725, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Dorothy K. Weingart, 76, of Belle Mead, died October 15 in the University Medical Center of Princeton. Born in Elizabeth, he lived in Belle Meade for 75 years. She, and her husband Dewey Weingart, founded Dewey’s Upholstery Shop in West Windsor over 50 years ago.

Survivors include her husband of 50 years; two sons and daughters-in-;aw, Joseph and Dale Weingart, and Scott and Sue Weingart, all of Belle Mead; a daughter Patty and Mitch Mistyn of Little Rocky Hill; a brother Anthony Krystaponis of Princeton; and six grandchildren, Joe, Chris, Kevin, Cory, Jessie, and Krystina.

Services were at St. Paul’s Church in Princeton,

Charles E. Stecher, 77, of West Windsor died October 17. Born in Newark, he lived in Cranford for 44 years and moved to West Windsor a year ago. He served with the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Survivors include his son, Charles E. Stecher Jr.; grandchildren, Meaghan and Michael Stecher. He was also father-in-law to Pat Stecher and Jim Weiveris. Donations may be made to Elks Camp Moore, Box 375, Pompton Lakes 07442.