Published: September 14, 2008

High Fives


The Dance Factory's Competition Team participated in the 2008 Applause Talent Nationals from July 9-13 in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The team competed in several divisions, including solos, small groups and large groups, student choreography and for scholarships.

The team boasted 14 soloists who competed and all received gold awards. They performed 12 group numbers, and came home with 10 gold and two high gold awards.

Two students competed in the student choreography category, where they choreographed a dance for the small group division in lyrical and modern dance. Megan Showalter's choreographed dance, Wild Horses, won her the first-place national overall award. This was the first year the Dance Factory competed in this category.

The group performances started with a Blast from the Past (a '50s number) and ended with Hit the Floor (a hip-hop number). The competition team also won an award for Best Hair for its "Eeh Hee" number.

In addition, two other teammates, Jackie Schulaski and Jordan Driscoll, were awarded scholarships.

Dance teachers Jenna D'Angelo and Nicki Squillace did the choreography and props for most of the team's dances.

The 2007-08 competition team consists ofTara Dorta, Jordan Driscoll, Holly Edwards, Tiffany Edwards, Jackie Feret, Kathy Gilbert, Emily Jones, Emily Kane, Lexi Lauer, Jackie Schulaski, Megan Showalter, Morgan Smith, Alayna Vance and Vanessa Whitfield.

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Emmanuel "Manny" and Miriam "Mimi" Hirsch recently retired as volunteers from Oak Hill Hospital after almost a quarter century of service.

The Hirsches are members of the original group of volunteers at the hospital and were on duty on the day the facility opened. But their involvement with the hospital began long before that.

Media accounts show the Hirsches' active involvement in "Citizens for West Hernando Hospital," the citizens group that lobbied for a hospital on the west side of Hernando County in the early 1980s.

Up until recently, the Hirsches were volunteering at Oak Hill Hospital for as many as four times a week, for three- and four-hour shifts. Just before they retired, they had reduced their time to just one or two four-hour shifts per week.

Manny Hirsch was active on the hospital's executive committee during his tenure and served as chairman of a department and over several volunteer projects.

The hospital's volunteer association recently honored the Hirsches with a small celebration, complete with a cake.

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Halfway through Ramadan, which runs through September, the local Islamic community continues to observe the practice of fasting. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is Ramadan, a time for Muslims to focus on purifying their souls through prayer and self-sacrifice. Fasting is one of the five pillars or duties of Islam.

Muslims fast during the daylight hours, and in the evening eat small meals and visit with friends and family. This small meal and the celebration is called "if tar", the dinner of fast breaking.

Dr. Adel Eldin, a local cardiologist, said that in addition to fasting and the extra daily prayers, called "da taraweeh," Muslims hope Ramadan can bring attention to and bring about a show of kindness and generosity toward their fellow residents.

"Religious tolerance can be seen all over the world. In the Qitabay mosque in Cairo, Egypt, a local Jewish artist who wanted to show his faith was allowed to depict the Star of David in several stained-glass windows and on chairs inside the mosque," Eldin said. "It's all about respecting one another, and it can be celebrated through art and beauty."

PHOTO, MAMDOUH SHEBL, Special to the Times: SPECIAL SYMBOL: To bring attention to the true meaning of Ramadan, Dr. Adel M. Eldin, a local cardiologist, shares this photo demonstrating religious tolerance, taken inside the Qitabay mosque in Cairo, Egypt. A local Jewish artisan was allowed to depict the Star of David inside the mosque, on stained-glass windows and furniture he made.
Published in the following newspaper: St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Section: Hernando Times