Collier County Public Schools – Moving Forward with the 2020-21 School Year

By: Quinton Allen CCPS Communications Specialist II

 As the sun rose in Naples on Monday, August 31st, Laurel Oak Elementary (LOE) principal Dr. Brian Castellani, a long-time Collier County Public Schools administrator, stood alongside his colleagues and welcomed back bright-faced students – albeit masked – on this first day of school for Collier County Public Schools (CCPS). “For the past six months, we have been doing things differently, but to see the kids here this morning has made it so exciting,” shared a very happy Castellani.

     Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kamela Patton, started her day by visiting the home of the Balan Family, one of the District’s families learning virtually. The Balan’s youngest children, son Alex (kindergarten) and daughter Adriela (second grade), started the year via CCPS Classroom Connect. “It’s an incredible day,” said Patton, “to be able to offer a virtual learning option for students. It takes an enormous amount of work and coordination, along with a technology department that is second to none, to provide these choices for parents.”

     Students and staff returned to school campuses that looked a little different this year, with health and safety being a top priority as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the changes include students and teachers wearing masks at all times when on campus, social distancing (at least six feet apart), classroom desks separated to the greatest extent possible, water fountains disabled, and hand sanitizer strategically placed throughout schools. These changes, along with other safety measures, will help the District provide a safe learning environment where our students will be able to grow and succeed.

     As CCPS bus drivers began their routes, a familiar sight returned to the roads of Collier County. The freshness of a new school year was in the air, and you could feel that first-day excitement. Throughout the District, schools like Osceola Elementary decorated their campus with balloons. Veterans Memorial Elementary staff anxiously awaited the arrival of students, smiling ear-to-ear as students exited their bus or parents’ car. Dr. Patton, as she does every year, visited several CCPS schools throughout the day. Each stop confirming what she already knew – students were excited to be back at school! While things will no doubt look and feel a bit different this school year, the District is motivated to continue to build upon the strong parent and community relationships that already exist.

     Dr. Castellani shared his optimism as he greeted his LOE students on their first day: “I hope we learn a lot about each other, and learn that we are resilient people. I hope that we help each other and will be respectful. In the end, we will come back to normal – whatever that means. It might be different than we are used to, but we will come out learning so many things about each other, about technology, about psychology – and that we are gritty people.”

Bascom Palmer welcomes Dr. Zelia M. Correa as co-director of Ocular Oncology

Dr. Zelia M. Correa

Zelia M. Correa, M.D., Ph.D., one of the country’s leading experts in the field of ocular oncology, has joined Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as codirector of the ocular oncology service.

Recognized throughout the world for her expertise in ocular oncology, Dr. Correa specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye tumors such as ocular melanoma, retinoblastoma, ocular metastasis, and choroidal hemangioma.

Ocular oncologists are highly specialized ophthalmic surgeons who diagnose and treat tumors and pseudo-tumors of the eye. Ocular tumors can be benign or malignant and affect patients ranging from young children to older adults. Treatment of these tumors involves various forms of laser and radiation therapy, intraocular injections, delicate biopsy procedures, and advanced microsurgical techniques.

Dr. Correa most recently served as the Tom Clancy Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. In this position, she built an excellent ocular oncology program that has drawn patients from across the U.S. and throughout the world. She previously served as professor of ophthalmology and Mary Knight Asbury Chair of Ophthalmic Pathology & Ocular Oncology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“Dr. Correa’s career has been characterized by outstanding accomplishments, not only in the field of ocular oncology, but also in vitreoretinal surgery, ophthalmic pathology, and medical education,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Her extraordinary interdisciplinary expertise will significantly benefit the care of patients who come to Bascom Palmer from around the world,” added Dr. Alfonso, who holds the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Correa’s research focuses on the use of artificial intelligence to distinguish benign from malignant ocular tumors based on imaging characteristics. She will conduct her research at Bascom Palmer’s ocular oncology laboratory. “Dr. Correa is one of the leading authorities on ocular oncology, and her recruitment to Bascom Palmer will allow us to achieve our ambitious goal of creating the foremost international destination for patients with eye tumors,” said J. William Harbour, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, vice chair for translational research, director of the Bascom Palmer ocular oncology service, holder of the Mark J. Daily Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology, and associate director for basic science at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Harbour’s world-renowned ocular oncology laboratory focuses on the use of genetic and genomic technology, bioinformatics, and genetically modified experimental models to better understand and treat major forms of eye cancer, including uveal melanoma and retinoblastoma.

“Dr. Correa is widely recognized for her clinical expertise, surgical skills, and devotion to her patients,” Dr. Harbour added. “Her talents will be critical to our ability to provide for the needs of our rapidly expanding number of ocular oncology patients who come to Bascom Palmer from throughout Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and across the globe.”
A native of Brazil, Dr. Correa received a medical degree from the Faculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto (Brazil) followed by a residency in ophthalmology at the Faculdade de Medicina de Marília (Brazil). She received a doctorate in philosophy at the Federal University of São Paulo (Brazil) and completed four fellowships: vitreo-retinal surgery at the Hospital do Olho Rio Preto (Brazil); ocular oncology and ophthalmic pathology at Wills Eye Hospital; and experimental ophthalmic pathology at McGill University (Canada).

Her academic career includes more than 150 peer-reviewed original scientific publications, book chapters and abstracts. She currently serves as a member of the editorial boards of JAMA Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Science Technology Journal, and is the ocular oncology section editor for EyeNet magazine.

Dr. Correa plays a leadership role in the education of ophthalmologists both in the U.S. and internationally. Her educational focus has been on two separate areas: graduate medical education, where she served as director of medical education at the University of Cincinnati, and post-graduate medical education, where she has taught ophthalmology residents and retina/ocular oncology fellows for more than two decades in classrooms, patient clinics and operating rooms.

Residents have elected her Faculty of the Year, and the University of Cincinnati presented her with the Dean’s Award for Education. Among her many accolades, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recognized her accomplishments by naming her a “Guest of Honor” and presenting her with a Senior Achievement Award, the Special Recognition Award for Leadership Development, and the International Ophthalmologist Education Award. She also founded and has directed the leadership development program for the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) for over a decade. The PAAO recognized her efforts by presenting her with the Ambassador for Education Award and the Benjamin Boyd Humanitarian Award.

FGCU Art Galleries plan full season of shows, with some twists By Drew Sterwald

The FGCU Art Galleries have reframed some exhibitions planned for the 2020-21 school year and postponed others in light of COVID-19-related complications and safety precautions — which currently include limiting gallery visitors to students, faculty and staff until further notice. Nevertheless, the art will go on.

“We’re essentially maintaining the number of exhibits planned, but the content will change,” explained Gallery Director John Loscuito.

Spring graduate Meg Brunner discusses her senior project in The Wasmer Gallery. Photo: James Greco/FGCU

As the galleries move forward with installed as well as virtual projects, they usher in the new season with a look back showcasing last spring’s graduating seniors, who had to forego their traditional moment in the spotlight earlier this year. Art majors’ senior projects are being displayed through Sept. 3 in the Wasmer Art Gallery and the ArtLab; digital design majors will have their projects exhibited Sept. 18-Oct. 1 in Wasmer.

Private receptions were being held for parents, administration and faculty to recognize graduates’ college-career crowning achievements. At the end of their studies, art majors are required to develop and present a coherent body of self-generated work. The senior project combines their knowledge of techniques and concepts while drawing on research of historical and contemporary artists.

You can read more about each artist’s projects on the galleries’ website. One of those featured, Meg Brunner, said she found it “rewarding and exciting” to finally see the exhibit come together after a challenging final semester. “With the COVID delays we weren’t even sure if we were going to have an exhibition at all,” said Brunner, who has been getting her career off the ground as a freelance photographer and graphic designer since graduating.

Tanner Yorchuck in front of his work “Storm Squad.” Photo: James Greco/FGCU

“Senior project is such a defining moment for students in the art program because it’s a way for us to showcase who we are as artists and put all of our skills that we’ve been taught to the test. Being able to share this moment with everyone has been amazing. All of the stress and long studio nights feels so worth it when I look around the galleries and see all of the incredibly meaningful work my classmates and I were able to create.” Plans are already in place to showcase December’s graduating seniors with an online catalog and videos of the artists.

In the meantime, the annual alumni exhibition will feature Eagle grads collaborating virtually with current students to create a printed project. “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To An Exhibition…” will begin with 2018 grad Chloe Lewis teaming up with 2009 alum Steven “Rusty” Coe — online, because she’s a freelance illustrator living in New York City and he’s an independent woodworker and installation artist in Sebring. Florida.

“They will be creating a physical and online ‘zine of their work against a backdrop of adaptability and how to deal with change,” Loscuito said. “They’ll be creating that in September and then we’ll invite the student body to contribute images to that ‘zine and layer them into the artists’ images in October. We’ll print that in November and give it to contributors and our donors. That’s a really responsive way to change from a physical exhibition. How can we create something that’s still engaging to students and alumni but do it virtually and still have a physical object at the end?”

Heather Couch’s “Untitled” installation incorporates ceramics and wool. Photo submitted.

In the midst of the pandemic’s unpredictable impact on operations, no one can see what lies months ahead, but “When We See Further” is still scheduled as an installation to run Oct. 16-Nov. 19 in the Wasmer Gallery. The group exhibition of sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing and painting features four south Florida artists collaborating for the first time: Heather Couch of West Palm Beach, Marina Font of Miami, Renee Rey of Naples and Terre Rybovich of Homestead. The exhibit explores themes of self-image, physical and psychological connection, impermanence and spirituality.

Artists referencing the body is a topic Loscuito and Assistant Curator Anica Sturdivant had been discussing for a few years. They already had connections with a couple of the artists, and a series of studio visits convinced them the foursome would complement each other in a group show.

“None of the artists had worked together before,” Loscuito said. “Some knew of each other, but they did not know each other personally. After the studio visits, Anica and I discussed inviting all four artists to talk about the possibility of an exhibition. These discussions led to the exhibition we have planned.

“We intend to install it — we can’t capture it with just (one-dimensional, digital) images. We will have an opening virtually with a small group in one of the studios asking questions to the artists. People will be able to join online and ask questions. These are timely narratives.”

“The Eternal Spring,” a triptych in acrylic on canvas with gold leaf, by Francheska Castano of. Photo by James Greco/FGCU

Another topical, multifaceted collaboration involving California artist Travis Somerville, the Black History Museum of Fort Myers and FGCU had been planned for the spring semester. It has been postponed until the 2021-22 school year, when it is hoped that such cooperative projects can happen more effectively without coronavirus-related constrictions. “He really likes to involve the local community,” Loscuito said.

Somerville’s work delves into social injustice and the economic and political structures that perpetuate oppression, racism in America, the refugee crisis and the current global political environment, according to his website.

A rotating exhibit of pieces from the galleries’ permanent collection will take the place of that show, incorporating hands-on workshops for students on matting, framing and hanging artworks. Meanwhile, Loscuito holds out hope that conditions will allow for fully public shows and receptions for the galleries’ much-anticipated annual rites of spring: the juried student show and the senior projects exhibit.

CCSO Update on Collaborative Response Graphics

Under a new initiative, deputies responding to 911 calls inside public buildings and certain businesses are now able to quickly navigate rooms, hallways, stairwells and parking areas at these locations, using a new mobile mapping technology called Collaborative Response Graphics.

The graphics are part of the Collier County Mapping Initiative, aimed at improving response times and incident command during emergencies. The initiative is funded in part through a federal grant the Collier County Sheriff’s Office received. The agency is working with veteran-run, special operations company Critical Response Group to complete the maps.

The mapping technology combines facility floor plans and high-resolution imagery to create an overlay map, detailing the locations and names of various rooms and features of each building. Having this information readily available helps deputies navigate unfamiliar structures to quickly locate callers in need.

“The CCMI creates a single common operating picture for all the first responders within the county,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “This will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our response in multi-jurisdictional operations, special events, and emergencies at public and private infrastructure across the county.”

Maps are stored on a secure, cloud-based server and access is granted to first responders through a mobile application. The CCSO’s federal grant is covering the cost of server storage. Private businesses looking to be added to the server will have to contract for their own maps, which will then be added to the agency’s database.

Local agencies participating in the new initiative include: Naples Police Department, Marco Island Police Department, Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department, City of Naples Fire Rescue, North Collier Fire Rescue District, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Immokalee Fire Control District, Collier County EMS, and county representatives of the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Collier County Government Complex and Collier County Public Schools are the first to take part in infrastructure mapping as part of this project. The first private organization to take part is Artis – Naples.

Businesses interested in participating in the initiative should contact Sgt. Neal Bohannon at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at (239) 252-0018, or by email




The Naples Players…Discover Culture in Collier

Discover Culture in Collier, a 7-month outdoor entertainment season presented by The Naples Players (TNP), is the latest development in an effort to continue safely providing arts and culture programming while coronavirus concerns still linger.

The season will feature live music, theatre, art and other monthly events utilizing a number of Collier County parks and outdoor attractions as the backdrop, the first of which are Drive-In Movies in downtown Naples starting in September.

TNP Drive-In Movie Nights will feature two movies each month projected onto a 33-foot screen using a state-of-the-art projection system. The events, sponsored by The Inn on 5th, are hosted in the newly refinished 50-car lot located at 300 8th Street South, just one block north of the iconic 5th Avenue South home of The Naples Players community theatre. The movie soundtracks will be broadcast over short-range FM radio to the cars in attendance.

The series begins with a 2-night screening of the musical movie Grease, on September 8th and 9th, followed by Jurassic Park on September 22nd and 23rd.  Movies begin promptly at 8 p.m. Concessions and non-alcoholic refreshments are available for purchase.  Due to space, ticketing is required in advance.  A full schedule and tickets are available online at:

General admission is $45 per vehicle; but Current TNP season ticket holders receive free admission on select “Season Ticket Holder Nights.”  Additionally, current members of The Naples Players or Season Ticket Holders who want to attend the other movie evenings can purchase tickets for $20.

Additional outdoor entertainment events as part of the Discover Culture in Collier series are slated for announcement in early September. Information about the full season of events will be found at:

“This shift in our season will not replace the revenue lost, nor will these experiences replace the joys of live theatre. But it’s most important to us to keep the arts, and our community’s spirits, alive by providing opportunities for people to safely experience culture together,” said TNP Executive Artistic Director, Bryce Alexander.

The Naples Players temporarily closed their doors on March 12th in response to COVID-19.  Since then, the non-profit theatre had endured losses of more than $1.25m in lost revenue, ticket refunds, and season ticket sales. Even so, TNP has maintained its full staff and has been working to provide critical arts education and community building throughout this difficult time.

For more information visit or call the box office at (239) 263-7990.


The Naples Players is a non-profit community theatre committed to the enrichment, education, and entertainment of our community through a superior theatre experience. For more than 67 years, the theatre has served as the cultural jewel of Downtown Naples,  Florida.

For sponsorship opportunities contact Executive Director Bryce Alexander –  239-434-7340 Ex 124





When a Marine becomes a Chaplain ….chris sheriff tells his story

“Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come,” we sing and it is the Amazing Grace that song declares that has been a steady foundation for me. When I was only a child, my grandparents gave me the gift of respect for God and others as they exampled for me what it looked like to be faithful in devotion to God and His church. Imagine me, an 8 year-old hyperactive little kid having to sit on my grandfather’s knee as he read to me the wisdom from the Bible, specifically the book of Proverbs (he likely had hopes that those words would somehow reign in my hyperactivity and mischievousness). If you imagined a frustrated grandfather and an equally frustrated kid then you got it right! But though the words from that King James version bible fell on deaf ears for an 8 year old, it would be the example of that faithful follower of Christ that would help shape who I am today.

 After college I joined the United States Marine Corps. Paris Island, where recruits from east of the Mississippi are sent to become Marines, welcomed me with open arms…arms ready to break me, shape me, and turn me into a US Marine. Later that year, after completing my initial training (Boot Camp, Marine Combat Training and my occupational training), I was sitting in a chow hall at Camp Pendleton, C.A. as we watched those two planes fly into the World Trade Center in NY. Breakfast was quick that day. As part of 1st Marine Division, we began desert training in Twenty-Nine Palms, CA and Yuma, AZ. That training lasted all throughout 2002 and by January of 2003 we had landed in Kuwait, offloading ships and prepping the gear to get ready for the order to invade Iraq; that order came in March, 2003.

 Yet, even through the trials and pain that come with military service, I was being prepared for a greater call. Through the dust of that war-torn place, I could still see God’s hand guiding and protecting me; leading me through many dangers, toils and snares. Finally after two tours to Iraq I decided to become a civilian again in 2009 and traded one uniform for another. Many lessons are learned in service to your country, but the greatest lesson for me was the same one my grandfather tried to teach me from the safety of his knee nearly 40 years earlier…love the Lord your God and your neighbor with all your heart, no matter the cost.

 The military added to my appreciation for hard work and sacrifice, understanding that though the work may sometimes seem fruitless in the moment, the seeds we plant will ultimately bring fruit. I worked for a few years in business but knew that there was another place I should be. It was a nagging kind of dissatisfaction I felt no matter the success I was having. One day in an uneventful and quite boring way, I felt as if I was being nudged out of my daily routine and into a life of full-time ministry. It was a surprise to most who had gotten to know me, but certainly wouldn’t have been a surprise to my grandfather, had he been alive to see it. So I began my seminary studies and after three years I entered my first pastorate in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Almost four years later our family moved to beautiful Naples, Fl where I continue my ministry at The Arlington of Naples…a paradise within paradise!

As a Chaplain at The Arlington of Naples, I now have the distinct honor and genuine pleasure in serving the residents who have chosen to make this community their home. It is no overstatement to say that I find full joy and fulfillment in my work as I counsel, pray with, teach, and worship with the residents of The Arlington. Who would have known that though it seemed hopeless at the time, my own grandfather was helping to shape me into the man that would one day care for the grandparents of others? God knew. Though He chose quite a journey through the wilderness to bring me to this place, it is the experiences of life that have helped shape me into a tool for God to use to bring hope to others. You also have a chance to shape someone. Will you?

 All of us travel our own path in this journey of life. I don’t know what your path has been like, but it has been my experience that through all the turns, valleys, and mountains of life, God is leading me to my destination. Who knows what the future holds?

That’s right, He knows!

ZOOM ETIQUETTE … Evelyn Cannata

Evelyn Cannata

New terminology has entered into our  vocabulary called “Social Distancing.”  Definition, no hugging, no kisses, no handshakes. Enter the new FaceTime, ZOOM.  According to Business Daily, Zoom was a video conference system founded in 2011 by a Chinese-American, Eric Yuan, who came up with the idea while a VP of Engineering at Cisco Systems. His company had no interest in this idea, so he quit. End of story? He is now a billionaire worth $7.5B and still going strong.

Enter Etiquette By Evelyn. Yes, there is business etiquette for Zoom Business Meetings. During this pandemic, many people are entering the world of online meetings for the first time faced with the chaos of audiovisuals, mute, unmute, backdrops, and lighting. If you have never used Zoom before, click the link to download Zoom before the day of the meeting (do a trial run) and familiarize yourself with any features you may need to use on the day – video on, mute/unmute the microphone, stop/start the video, screen share, double-checking your default settings. Test your audio and video before you join a meeting. Do not wait until you enter the meeting. Position your camera correctly, making sure you are not a shadow or a bright sun. Join the meeting in a quiet area. Join 5 minutes early before the meeting starts.

Provide your name. Please do not eat or drink while on the call. Remember, you are not going to the gym, so please no gym clothes or heaven forbid, pajamas, unkempt background, a barking dog, or children yelling. There is a mute button when not talking, however, what happens frequently is that you forget to unmute when you want to speak, so your lips are moving but no sound.

TIP: Keep your audio muted automatically by going to Settings >    Audio > Mute microphone. To quickly unmute when needed, just press and hold the space bar down. Stay focused and look at the camera. Ladies, please no low cut or sheer tops. Gentlemen, no graphic tee shirts, remember, this is a business meeting. There is a “raise your hand” button, so you can “wait your turn” and not talk over people. The host should be the last to leave. One last piece of business meeting etiquette; everyone can see you staring at your phone  instead of paying attention to the video meeting. Keep your phone to the side, on mute, turned over, or even better, turn it off until after the meeting. Please do your homework, learn about other items on Zoom. Just think of a Zoom Meeting as a face-to-face meeting and conduct yourself as you would if you were all there around the conference table.

                             “Welcome to our new normals for now.”


When Myra Janco Daniels read about all the cuts to arts programs in our schools, she wanted to make sure that the arts were supported in the Latchkey Children’s curriculum. Upon opening the Fran Cohen Youth Center on The Salvation Army campus, she participated in developing their programs to include dance, music, art, theater, pottery, culinary pursuits and communication  classes.

The Center has a large music room which houses three pianos, ten keyboards and private lessons are given on these instruments along with bass and guitar by our volunteers. They have a choir and drama classes. They have performed for their parents and volunteers at various events.

In the Child Development Center, the children are encouraged to participate in  Kindermusik, which is a wonderful program to help learn new skills and discover new ways to explore and develop their own creativity. The Center has its own pottery wheel and kiln and the students are taught by Joan Eshkenazi, a well-known potter and artist.

Latchkey League volunteers work closely with the children to create pottery. They are very proud of their pieces and displayed them at our Latchkey League meetings. A full commercial kitchen is available and classes in culinary cuisine are taught by Miss
Beth. They learn food preparation and the components of healthy diets. Added to these opportunities is a dance studio, art room and a computer lab for homework and creativity.

Tutors are also available for school assignment help. In the main room is The Book Nook, a very popular spot with the children. Children explore the wonders of reading, can borrow books and volunteers are on hand to help with their selections and/or read to them. Many of the books have been donated by individuals and by Books for Collier Kids.

Another very important component of the program is recreation. The Salvation Army has built a large playground on their campus for this purpose. The fence around the play area is to be decorated with acrylic butterflies in different sizes and colors. Latchkey Members and their friends have been given the opportunity to purchase one with their name or name of a loved one imprinted on them.

The largest butterfly is 15” x 10” and is $500; middle size is 15” x 8” and is $250. The smallest butterfly is 11” x 18” and is $100. If you are interested in supporting this project, please call Judy Tedder, President of the Latchkey League, at 239-254-0843.

Your support of these Latchkey Children is important to their futures and to ours because today’s children are our future.

Telling the Stories of Upstanders

     Education is the core of our work at the Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center.                                                                 

So what are we teaching, you may ask? History? Yes, certainly. We teach students and adults about the important facts about the Holocaust. One of our founders, Lorie Mayer, a Holocaust Survivor, always emphasized that there is no need to embellish a story about the Holocaust to make it seem more dramatic or horrific – it was horrific.

We explain when and how it happened, who suffered and died, who were the perpetrators, the bystanders, and the upstanders. “Why did it happen?” is a question students often ask. “Why, how could humans do this to other human beings?”  Part of the answer is that too many bystanders let it happen. Not enough people stood up against this evil. But importantly, some did. Some people stood up against tremendous evil, often at great risk to themselves and their families, in order to save lives, do the right thing, and not be a bystander.

Who were these people who stood up against this evil? Were these heroes special, or ordinary people like you and me? These heroes, or Upstanders, came from all walks of life. Farmers, social workers, college students, journalists, and diplomats.  We tell the stories of these helpers, heroes and heroines, Survivors and Liberators so that people can understand the power and importance of their own actions today. Our local Survivors tell the stories of the Upstanders who helped them and their families survive or escape the Holocaust.  Diplomats like Col. Castellanos who issued citizenship papers to Rob’s family,  families in the south of France who took in Renee and Rosette as their own children, and strangers who offered food and shelter to young Abe who escaped from several concentration camps.

Education about the Holocaust is education about the best and the worst of human behavior.

When you walk through the Holocaust Museum or watch a movie about the Holocaust or other genocide, you may think it yourself, “what would I have done?” But the more important question to ask yourself is“what am I doing today to be an Upstander and not a Bystander?”

During this pandemic there are many opportunities to help others and be Upstanders.  Fear can often result in people striking out and looking for a scapegoat. Being calm and responsible rather than blaming others is one way to be an Upstander. Volunteer, help a neighbor, and be a helper wherever and whenever possible.

We look forward to seeing you at the Museum or on one of our virtual programs. Please visit or call 239-263-9200 for more information.

Susan L. Suarez, MBA, CFRE  President and CEO                                                                                                                                                 


CIVILITY HAS LEFT THE ROOM Etiquette By Evelyn Cannata

Evelyn Cannata

Civility definition: “Polite, intelligent, and respectful behavior.” Other definitions; Caring for one’s beliefs without degrading someone else in the process. In other words, “not my way or the highway,” or “giving you your rights at my expense.”

So, unfortunately, there is an increase in civility leaving the room. Social media is a prime example. Suppose you disagree with the subject matter; instead of an intellectual conversation and agreeing to disagree, there seems to be more rude, demeaning, insulting, aggressive language, and behavior.

More often than not, it seems that when uncivil behavior occurs and is not corrected or has consequences, others will most likely repeat it, and it turns ugly. When what used to be our role models in life, our teachers, celebrities, politicians, and sports stars, who behave uncivil (and get away with it) is often modeled and repeated by others and become “cool.”

A very close friend of mine and I sometimes disagree on a subject. Neither of us is possibly wrong, just different. In the end, we agree to disagree. We could yell, get angry, hold grudges as happens today, even in families, but we don’t. Different views should be able to be debated openly, honestly, and without maliciousness.

America has achieved the highest technology, education, human rights, and a high standard of living, but we are also becoming desensitized to bad behavior.

Many studies have compared students in the 1960s and ’70s and found that today’s students do not care about society’s approval of their behavior as they did a few generations ago, and in America today, our isolationism exists because of our technology, communications, and way of life; they cut out the interaction of personalization, so people become detached and self-interested.

That my friends is not good news for our society, and today, most people cannot hear an opposing view without resorting to blame hateful rhetoric, such as hate speech toward police officers, and even violence.

Unfortunately, this is not the America I knew. “If we cannot be civil, our quality of life deteriorates, society itself begins to fray, and democracy weakened. We get to the point where incivility escalates and crosses into violence.” (AARP Bulletin)…as we are witnessing.

Always remember, one person, one voice, one action, can make a difference. The neighborhood concept, the thank you note, the ethics, the manners, and the respect need to return to become the generous people, good neighbors, and, most importantly, the “America,” I knew before it is too late.