Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At Great American Teach-in, Pinellas students learn about life and art, history and health

Boarding school: Garrison Jones Elementary School first-grader Patrick Jenkins, 6, breaks a board Thursday held by tae kwon do instructor Gloria Tran from Victory Martial Arts in Palm Harbor. Tran led different groups of students throughout the day in calisthenics, defense moves and breaking boards.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Boarding school: Garrison Jones Elementary School first-grader Patrick Jenkins, 6, breaks a board Thursday held by tae kwon do instructor Gloria Tran from Victory Martial Arts in Palm Harbor. Tran led different groups of students throughout the day in calisthenics, defense moves and breaking boards.

Times Staff Writer

At the Great American Teach-In on Thursday, students learned about making flan, becoming a certified public accountant and surviving cancer. And all that came from just one speaker.

David Hastings, a CPA who with his wife owns Gulfport's Habana Cafe, showed students at Boca Ciega High School how to caramelize sugar for flan, and explained how he works out food costs at the restaurant.

Then he turned to his personal story about surviving oral cancer. Doctors traced his condition to the human papillomavirus, said Hastings, who urged the youths to fight the disease by getting vaccinated against HPV. The virus, long known to cause cervical cancer, is increasingly connected with other cancers as well.

"I thought that it was very moving," senior Nora Parketny said of Hastings' cancer survival story.

Across Pinellas County on Thursday, guest speakers from all walks of life did their best to open students' eyes to jobs and hobbies they might want to pursue — and much more.

At Oldsmar Elementary School, every class had at least four speakers, including musicians, military personnel, fitness instructors, a clown and a herpetologist who brought in some reptiles. Largo Middle School featured police, Coast Guard personnel, a Web designer, youth pastors and guide dog trainers, plus a popular demonstration of kite-boarding and wake-boarding.

Boca Ciega had a particularly diverse showing, with speakers that included students from Stetson University College of Law, physicians, an architect, a "sleep technologist," and speakers on topics such as domestic violence, bicycling, wellness, writing and martial arts.

Outside in a courtyard, glass artists David Walker and Joshua Poll used 4,000-degree heat from a propane-and-oxygen torch to show students how they make their artwork for Zen Glass Studios in St. Petersburg.

The artists were impressed by the depth of students' questions about materials, pricing and other issues. Which is important because, "You have to be an artist, but you have to be a business person too," Walker said.

While most speakers shared stories of their careers or avocations, Mary Wygodski came to share history. She's 87, a Holocaust survivor. She said she believes it's her duty to relate what she lived through — and that her family members did not survive.

She was 15 and living in Poland when German Nazis forced the family to live in a ghetto. She was later sent to the Stutthof death camp, where everyone was given a bar of soap and told to line up for a shower.

"I wanted to take a shower and was so happy," she said. But she was pulled out of the line, and later sent to a different camp. It was only later that she learned the shower was a gas chamber, and no one survived it.

"I can't understand how I remained alive," she said.

The next camp she went to was a satellite of the infamous Buchenwald. Eventually, she was liberated by American forces.

Wygodski was separated from other family members. Decades after World War II ended, she learned her father and brother had been killed in a concentration camp, but never discovered the fate of other family members.

Serena Wetter, a 10th-grader, has a special interest in Holocaust history and got permission to change her schedule to hear Wygodski. She left the session both informed and moved.

"I was about to tear up," Serena said.

Curtis Krueger can be reached at [email protected]

At Great American Teach-in, Pinellas students learn about life and art, history and health 11/15/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 4:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  2. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  3. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  4. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in

    Blogs

    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.
  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]