Alumni Newsletter

Keeping our Alumni informed of Atlantic Cape activities

Distinguished Coach Aims High for U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships

It’s quite a big deal for a little school to host the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships, the prestigious annual event that draws top archers from across the country taking place at ACCC May 15-18.

“Only a few two-year schools get to host this,” said Dr. Helen Bolnick, ACCC’s veteran archery team coach. “This is pretty exciting for the college.”

Dr. Helen Bolnick

Dr. Helen Bolnick has coached ACCC’s archery team for more than 30 years. ACCC will host the USIAC May 15-18.

Then again, Bolnick has never been one to think small. During her 30-plus years with ACCC, the youthful 82-year-old from Elmer has served as a highly inspirational mentor to numerous young archers—with impressive results. In fact, this is the third time during Bolnick’s tenure the college has hosted this event, which is sanctioned by the National Archery Association, and rotates through various colleges in the country. Thus, ACCC joins such distinguished higher learning institutions as UCLA, James Madison, Arizona State, Michigan State and Texas A&M universities.

Perhaps that’s not so surprising, considering that ACCC has produced 37 All-America archers during the years Bolnick has been at the helm. Bolnick also was involved in three Olympic competitions, including those held in Los Angeles in 1984 and Atlanta in 1996.

In 1976, she founded the Atlantic City Archery Classic, an annual competition established to generate more interest in the sport on a regional level. It was that event that inspired a young high school archer from Hammonton named Steve Gatto, 20, a general studies student at ACCC, to become involved in the college’s archery program.

Gatto went on to claim first place in the country in the compound category during the 2007 National Target Championship. He also competed at the XXV Torneo Batalla de Carabobo in Venezuela in 2007, where he won the Gold Cup for overall performance in the men’s compound competition. This archery championship included competitors from around the world.

The ACCC team additionally produced Sagar Mistry of Brigantine, who was ranked 9th top recurve archer in the world among All-America Archers and/or Academic All-Americans by the NAA in 2005.

Bolnick has personally garnered numerous honors, including the 2006 Margaret Klann Coach of the Year Award, named for the legendary archery coach who held forth at Arizona State University from 1946 to 1976. Klann founded the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships in 1966.

These are just some examples of the team’s numerous accomplishments through the years, and how Coach Bolnick has managed to generate excitement for a sport that’s anything but. “This is not spectator-friendly,” she drolly conceded. “It’s like watching grass grow.” Be that as it may, Bolnick’s enthusiasm for this ancient sport—combined with her superlative mentoring talents—have positively influenced many young archers through the years.

“Dr. Bolnick is great. She’s been like a second mom to me,” Gatto said. “She has confidence in every one of her archers.”

The U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships takes place Thursday, May 15, through Sunday, May 18, at ACCC, 5100 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing. For more information, call Bolnick at (856) 358-3196, or e-mail

Alumni Updates

Chef Michael Schlow, ’87 ACA, is heating up the restaurant scene in Boston. His fifth Boston-area restaurant, 606 Congress, is now open at the new Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. He describes the restaurant’s cuisine as modern American. The restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating, two private dining rooms, an exhibition kitchen and a communal chef’s table. This new venture joins Schlow’s existing restaurants, Radius, Via Matta, Great Bay and Alta Strada. In addition, Radius’s burger won the Amstel Light Burger Bash, Feb. 21, at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival hosted by Rachael Ray.

Alumni updates

ACA grads Terence (’88) and Patrick (’89) Feury have been making waves along the regional culinary scene for years. The brothers, raised in Middletown, previously distinguished themselves at various upscale eateries in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Atlantic City. They are now primed to open their own much-anticipated establishment in Villanova, to be called Maia, in May. The trendy new restaurant will feature hip neo-rustic décor and an adventurous menu with a special emphasis on Alsace and Scandinavian influences. Maia also will feature the best in local fruits and produce.

Stephanie George ’89 is an elementary school teacher for Atlantic City Public Schools. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Evelyn Benton, ’89 ACA, director of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey—Southern Branch, and Deborah Pellegrino, ’91 ACA, executive pastry chef, at Harrah’s/Showboat, were two of the judges at the Lick Hunger Ice Cream Challenge in March. The Academy of Culinary Arts organized the contest, where students created original flavors. The winning flavors are being sold at Lindy Hops Ice Cream with proceeds going to the food bank.

Former ACA student Ted Iwachiw, ’91, owns the trendy nouvelle cuisine establishment called Ted’s on Main, 20 S. Main St., Medford. The eatery received a glowing review in the Camden Courier-Post, which specifically mentioned Ted’s superb crab cakes, New England clam chowder and trendy yet warm ambience. The reviewer gave it four-and-a-half stars, a rating of very good to excellent. The restaurant also received a “very good” review in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

ACA alum Michael Williams, ’92, was featured in the new What’s On Atlantic City magazine. Williams, who has been a chef at various casino restaurants for years, recalled such memorable experiences as cooking for Frank Sinatra.

Michael England, ’99 ACA, is executive chef at The Palm in Atlantic City. He received the prestigious President’s Award from the Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey in February and was featured in Atlantic City Weekly. In honoring England, 30, the association’s president Willie Lewis said, “Chef England displayed the highest standard of culinary skills, care for customers and dedication to his kitchen and food quality, which is why he was given this year’s award. It is an achievement alone to reach the executive chef position at such a young age.”

ACA grad Amanda Nahas-Christodoulou, ’00, was featured in Atlantic City Weekly’s Forty Under Forty. She is Chef/Owner of From Scratch, a personal chef company. The silver-medal graduate’s business primarily serves those who need specialized and medical diets. She serves on the board of Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer and Heart Fund and is the Noogieland Chef at Gilda’s Club South Jersey. She has taught nutrition workshops in Atlantic City to mothers who are on government assistance and worked with the Atlantic County Women’s Center. She lives in Egg Harbor Township with her husband, Alex.

Stacey Bertonazzi, ’02, who has been blind since the age of three months, was featured in an article about her work as a teacher of Braille and computers at the Margaret Winchester Enrichment Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Hopewell Township in The Press of Atlantic City.

Jeremy Smith, ’03 ACA and a senior at Rowan University, is beginning his own business, A Taste of Romance. He will prepare and ship gourmet meals for two to his customers.

Amy Goffio, ’04 ACA, is chef de cuisine for student dining at Columbia University in New York City. She recently wrote a guest column for Ed Hitzel’s Restaurant Magazine about her experiences trying to please the diverse palates of college students.

Andrew Sciarretta, ’06 ACA, was named executive sous chef at Sonsie at The Pier Shops at Caesars Atlantic City. Sciarretta lives in Vineland.

ACCC General Studies graduate Mark Beamer, ’06, was the subject of a profile in the Vineland Daily Journal, which showcased his budding success as an entrepreneur. In addition to holding down a full-time job at South Jersey Gas Co., Beamer—who hails from Collings Lakes—also runs his own, successful computer products and service company called Beamer Computers Inc., in Folsom.

ACA grad Julie Pearce, ’07, is manager and decorator at the acclaimed Cake Lady Bakery in Marmora. The upscale bakery is known for its exquisite cakes for weddings and other special occasions.

ACA grad James Moran, ’07, is the sous chef at the newly opened Pinziminzio Trattoria restaurant in Brighton Beach.

ACA 'Lick Hunger' Ice Cream Flavors Sold Locally

As spring approached, the students at the Academy of Culinary Arts started thinking about their favorite warm-weather treat—ice cream. Nine students competed in the first Lick Hunger Ice Cream Challenge, creating 11 original flavors in two categories on March 5. The winner in the adult flavor category was Lemon Meringue Pie by Randi Wallace of Cherry Hill. The winning children’s flavor was Where’s the Beach, a concoction of Creamsicle swirl, salt water taffy bits and orange jelly candies created by Nancy West of Frenchtown.

The winning Lick Hunger flavors are being sold this spring at Lindy Hops Ice Cream locations in South Jersey, including 401 Pitney Road, Galloway; 900 12th St., Hammonton; and 88 Hartford Road, Delran. Net proceeds from the sale of these flavors will go to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey—Southern Branch.

Nancy West dishes up her winning flavor, Where’s the Beach

Nancy West dishes up her winning flavor, “Where’s the Beach.”

Students were encouraged to create exotic and unique flavors and had more than a month to perfect their creations. The partnership with Lindy Hops allowed students to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-world challenge. Other flavors included Hot Apple Pie, Wasabi Pignoli, Chocolate Covered Strawberry and Bodacious Blueberry.

“This was a great learning experience for the students. They had to conduct research and development to create their final products and factor in marketability of the flavors,” said Kelly McClay, dean of the Academy.

“The whole process was fantastic. I have excitement with ice cream, and to see that reflected in the students and the judges was great,” said Linda L’Erario, owner of Lindy Hops.

Judges for the event included: Evelyn Benton ’89 ACA, director, Community FoodBank of New Jersey—Southern Branch; Ed Jones of Lindy Hops Ice Cream; L’Erario of Lindy Hops Ice Cream; Deborah Pellegrino ’91 ACA, executive pastry chef, Harrah’s/Showboat; Geoffrey Pettifer, director of college marketing, ACCC; and Dan Skeldon, meteorologist, NBC 40.

“We were thrilled to be considered the beneficiary of this event,” Benton said. “Ice cream is an indulgence for most of us, and some people don’t have the benefit of that luxury. So we’re grateful this event will provide support for those people.”

To learn more about the Lick Hunger Ice Cream Challenge, visit

ACCC’s New Health Professions Institute Opens May 23

ACCC will officially open its new Health Professions Institute at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus, 1535 Bacharach Blvd., on Thursday, May 22. In addition, there will be an open house and tours of the campus May 19-21 from 10-11:30 a.m. and 5-6:30 p.m.

ACCC renovated existing garage space into a state-of-the-art site featuring classrooms, science and computer labs. The consolidation of existing auxiliary and allied health care training to one location will allow the school to expand its offerings. ACCC President Dr. Peter Mora called the institute a “demonstrative commitment to the health care industry.”

The institute was funded by a $1.2 million capital grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and $1.8 million in state and Atlantic County funds. The project is also backed by Workforce Investment Board Healthcare Partnerships and executives in the health care industry.

HPI was created in response to the growing demand for skilled health care workers in the region. According to the N.J. Department of Labor, there will be 98,700 new health care jobs created in New Jersey by 2010. Nearly 10 percent of all workers in Atlantic and Cape May counties will be employed in the health care sector. HPI will help to improve opportunities for low income individuals to acquire skills for these demand occupations with high wage potential, benefits and career mobility.

Courses include Patient Care Technician, Surgical Technology Program, Medical Administrative Office Specialist, Medical Administrative Office Specialist with Internship, Phlebotomy, Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Central Service Technician, CPR/AED/BLS, CPR, Recertification, Parish Nursing Certificate and Heartsaver CPR/AED/First Aid. The programs prepare students for the necessary certification exams and/or entry-level positions in their selected field.

To register to attend an open house, call (609) 343-4874.

Gourmet Gala to Benefit Former ACA Chef Educator Bill Bailey

A gourmet gala benefit for former ACA Chef Educator Bill Bailey will be held 3-7 p.m., Sunday, May 18, at the Ocean City Yacht Club. Tickets are $25 per person. Items are needed for a silent auction.

Bailey was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor in his frontal lobe on Feb. 2. On Feb. 7, he underwent extensive surgery to remove the cancerous tumor at New York University Medical Center. He then began six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation in an attempt to keep the tumor at bay.

Bill Bailey

Bailey has lived in the Absecon-Ocean City area for more than 14 years. He is an accomplished chef, currently Executive Sous Chef at the Trump Marina.

Money raised will defray overwhelming medical expenses for Bailey. Tickets are $25 per person and available upon request at or call Vicky at (609) 432-1170, JT at (609) 602-1155 or Nancy at (609) 926-0167.

ACF Accrediting Team Visits ACA; Accreditation Decision to Come in July

The American Culinary Federation three-person accrediting team visited the Academy of Culinary Arts in April to conduct interviews and observe culinary classes. The team identified numerous strengths of the ACA’s programs in an oral report concluding the visit.

The next step in the accreditation process is for the team to formalize these points in writing and give the Academy a chance to respond. The Academy will learn the status of its accreditation application when the ACF Commission meets in July.

Some of the strengths the team listed were: “The program coordinator is highly qualified to lead the program; highly qualified faculty to facilitate student learning; the program offers outstanding co-op opportunities; and there is evidence of superior student support services.”

According to Chef Kelly McClay, ACA Dean, the students who complete an ACF accredited program will automatically receive the level of Certified Culinarian and or Certified Pastry Culinarian. This is an impressive credential for students entering the workforce. “We are pleased to have gone through the process and are very happy with the outcome,” McClay said. “We are looking forward to July.”

ACCC Students Get Younger, College Responds to Growing Needs

The average age of ACCC students is dropping as greater numbers of students choose to begin their higher education at community college.

The average age of a freshman ACCC student is now 24.5, down from 27.2 in 2000, according to Dr. Richard Perniciaro, Dean of Administration, Planning and Research. The average age among all ACCC students is 25.5. Several trends have caused this shift, including demographics and cost of education, he said.

ACCC Mays Landing campus

The number of students graduating from New Jersey high schools will peak next year. In Cape May County, this has already begun as the population ages. In Atlantic County, the peak is expected around 2010, unless there is a large influx of working-age families as casinos expand, Perniciaro said. ACCC saw record enrollment this spring, with more than 6,500 students taking classes.

Additionally, the cost of education has out-paced inflation and income growth. “Many students that may have gone away to college or attended a four-year school are now choosing to stay at home, get the first two years at the community college, and save money for years three and four,” Perniciaro said. This trend has been encouraged by the NJ STARS scholarship program as well as by tuition increases at all schools.

For ACCC, this means that the students are arriving with expectations about “college life.” This includes modern facilities, a choice of programs and student life demands.

To meet this growing demand for service, ACCC approved a facilities master plan, Blueprint 2020. The plan calls for a new science, technology and math building, renovation of existing classrooms, a comprehensive student center, a fitness center and more.

The college is working with the state and county governments to secure funding and hired Maria Kellett as Director of Major Gifts to generate new donations that can provide scholarships to the growing population of students in need.

Interested in Earning More Credits? Register Now for Summer, Fall Classes

Registration is under way at all ACCC campuses for its five summer sessions and the fall semester.

The last day to register for the fall term in person, by mail or fax is Aug. 29. The last day to register online is Sept. 1. For the summer sessions, students must register (in person) no later than the last business day prior to the start of the class. See for registration deadlines.

Fall term classes begin Sept. 2. Academy of Culinary Arts classes begin Aug. 27.

The first summer session is six weeks, May 27 to July 3. An eight-week session begins June 23, and a second six-week session starts July 7. In addition, two accelerated 11-day sessions begin May 27 and June 16. Be sure to register early as some classes fill quickly.

For a complete listing of courses, visit ACCC’s or call (609) 343-5000, 625-1111 or 463-4774, ext. 5000, for a free schedule.

Restaurant Gala Celebrates 25 Years, Raises $200,000 for Scholarships

The Press of Atlantic City Restaurant Gala marked its 25th anniversary with a dining feast featuring 40 of the best restaurants from the region and a detailed “Reflections” theme. The event raised $200,000 for student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts and ACCC.

Academy students prepare to serve hors d’oeuvres at the Restaurant Gala

Academy students prepare to serve hors d’oeuvres at the Restaurant Gala. The 25th anniversary event raised $200,000 for student scholarships.

Nearly 900 people attended the April 3 Gala at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The event showcased the talents of the ACA’s culinary students, who prepared thousands of sumptuous hot and cold hors d’oeuvres served during cocktail hour. The ACA students and chef educators received a standing ovation from the attendees during the dinner reception. A dessert extravaganza capped off the evening.

A 50/50 raffle brought in more than $17,000 for college scholarships. The first prize of $10,380 went to Jane Osborne and Harry Peek of Wildwood; second prize winner Charles Pessagno of Cape May received $5,190; and third prize winner John Celestino of Linwood received $1,730. Winning amounts were based on 346 tickets sold.

A woman enjoys the decadent desserts during the Gala’s Dessert Extravaganza

A woman enjoys the decadent desserts during the Gala’s Dessert Extravaganza.

Held annually, the Gala has served as the premier black-tie fundraising event in South Jersey for 25 years. It has raised nearly $2 million in its history for ACA scholarships. The 26th annual Gala will be held March 12, 2009, at Bally’s Atlantic City. For more information, visit

Variety of Fun, Informative Workshops on Tap This Summer

From computer training to fitness classes, cooking series and financial planning, ACCC is offering dozens of workshops through its Continuing Education department this summer.

Some classes include: eBay: Buying, Selling, Collecting; How to Follow Your Passion in the Creative Job Field; Personal Trainer Certification; Drawing Basics for Beginners; Retirement Planning Today and Beginning Spanish.

In addition, the Academy of Culinary Arts will offer hands-on workshops including an International Cooking Series, a Summer BBQ Series, Summer Entrée Salads, Cold Soups and Easy Summer Desserts.

Classes begin throughout the summer. For dates, times and fees for all courses, or to register, call (609) 343-4829 or (609) 463-4774, ext. 4829, in Cape May County. Class sizes are limited, so register early. Register online or view the complete schedule of courses at

ACA’s Bruce Johns Named Educator of the Year

Chef Bruce Johns, Director of Culinary Operations at the Academy of Culinary Arts and a graduate, was named Educator of the Year by the Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey, a chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Johns, of Marmora, was honored at the organization’s 35th Annual President’s Scholarship Dinner Dance Ball in February.

Chef Bruce Johns

The award is presented to an educator whose knowledge, skills and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef. The recipient should also demonstrate the ability to help students define and develop their careers by using their skills and abilities to provide a strong foundation for their future success.

After beginning his culinary career at Resorts International in 1983, Johns enrolled in the Academy of Culinary Arts to earn his degree. He went on to work in various South Jersey restaurants before becoming owner/chef of Our Place Too. He joined the Academy as a chef educator in 1994, and was later named chef supervisor. In October 2007, he was promoted to director of culinary operations. He is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at Rutgers University. He is a certified executive chef and certified chef educator through the ACF.

Remember ACCC in Your Will

If you’re thinking of updating your will or changing your estate plans, please consider a gift to the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation. Each year the ACCC Foundation provides more than $200,000 in scholarships to needy students as well as supporting important college programs.

To learn more about the benefits of including the ACCC Foundation in your will, call Kathy Corbalis at (609) 343-4907 or

Benefits of Membership

Membership in the ACCC Alumni Association, which is open to all students who have received a degree or completed the culinary arts program, will provide you with meaningful discounts and benefits while keeping you informed about the people, programs and events at your alma mater.

With your membership card, you can receive free career counseling and job placement assistance at ACCC’s Career Center. The Center offers guidance and resources to assist you in making informed decisions on career choices. Resources include the FOCUS program, a computer-based career planning program that directs the user to appropriate occupations. FOCUS is available to alumni and requires an orientation session before use. Job placement workshops include resume writing, tips on interviewing and preparation for completing job application forms. For more information on FOCUS, call Hal Lugerner, (609) 343-5627. For information on other Career Center services, call Tammy DeFranco, (609) 343-4900 or 463-4774, ext. 5274.

If you’re not already an Alumni Association member, call (609) 343-5616 to join, or visit for more membership information. Annual membership dues are $15; lifetime memberships are $150.