May 2009 Pensacola Volume XI, Issue 1
Silent Auction Was A Huge Success
By Betsy Botts
Parent & Advisory Board Member
Pensacola Pyramid's first silent auction, “A
Pyramid Valentine,” was held on February 6
at the Pensacola Garden Center, and it was a
More than 200 people attended and it was the
most successful fund-raiser in Pyramid Pen-
sacola history. Behind the financial success
is the "rest of the story."
The Pyramid Show Choir started the evening
off with a high-energy performance that had A patron studies the bid sheet at Pyramid’s
the crowd clapping, dancing and singing silent auction.
They left the crowd wanting more. It never with Nina Fritz.
fails to amaze me what Carol Culton can
pull out of this talented group. As I watched After I placed my bids, it was fun to sit back
her become totally involved in her animated and watch people circle back to the items in
direction of the singers, I think I saw her levi- which they were most interested to be sure
tate for a second or two. they were still the highest bidder.
Watch for this in future performances! Her Somehow, my sister managed to get out of
enthusiasm and hard work is evident in the my line of sight, and she out-bid me on a cou-
finished product of each performance. ple of "my" items.
The crowd milled about snacking on the great I got into a live-auction bidding war with a
hors d’oeuvres, catered by Classic City, sip- friend over the Nina Fritz portraits, and I bid
ping wine or soft drinks and showing great against my husband, Nathan, on a few items
interest in the donated items that included before I realized what I was doing, but we all
such varied items as handmade pottery, left happy.
themed gift baskets, mini-vacations, boating The wall of art by the artists of Pyramid was
trips, jewelry and personal portrait sessions
(Continued on Page 11)
New President Vows To Take Ownership
By Betty Wells I guess someone thinks they
Student Council President have our best interests in mind.
As the first African American was being I wish they could explain it to
sworn in as President of the United States, I all of us.
was nominated for President of Pyramid’s Maybe our student council
Student Council and have since won the members can help all Pyramid
election. To say it is an honor would be an students learn how to exercise
understatement. I am so excited. our rights and question things
Just as our country is experiencing tough that do not seem right.
times, so is Pyramid and many of my We all love Pyramid and the opportunities
friends. The state has made many changes to we have to do so many different things. In
our benefits and supports. Some have had order for us to continue learning and experi-
more cuts than others. encing new things, we must take ownership
To help you understand the way some of us of our responsibilities and help with fund
have been affected, I will share with you one raising.
of my services that is no longer available. I This will be one of our goals this year as stu-
am no longer eligible for dental benefits. dent council members.
Even if I change my remaining services Nominees for President were: Rosa Davis,
around, save the money and budget accord- Betty Wells and John Folmer. Vice Presi-
ingly, I cannot use it to go to the dentist. If I dent: Kellie Thompson, Wesley Allen,
have a problem that has to be taken care of, Stephen Ward and our current President,
the money must come from somewhere else. James Emmons. Secretary: Jonathan
For some reason, they do not think it is im- Botts, of Pensacola Developmental Center,
portant for us to maintain good dental health Lori Cooper and Jackson Dean.
anymore. Stephen Ward was elected as Vice President
One of my friends at Pyramid had to have all and Jackson Dean is the Secretary. Look for
of her teeth pulled. Luckily, she had it done great things from our administration over the
before she lost her benefits. However, now upcoming year!
she has to walk around without any teeth be- Editor’s Note: Upon learning of her
cause false teeth would also be connected to friend’s plight from Pyramid Systems
the dental services she no longer has due to Manager Herb Woll, Dr. Edward
the cuts. Nolan agreed to provide dentures at
These are just two of the many stories I no cost. She’ll be flashing a full set of
could tell you, but what would be the point? teeth in no time.
Some Paperwork Is Worth The Effort
Cindy Coleman about the implications of those family roles.
Director I was surprised to find that many are mem-
It is amazing what we don’t bers of clubs and sport teams and that some
know about other people, their fancy the theater. Others take an active role
abilities and their aspirations. in their neighborhoods.
Pyramid has developed a new We discovered roles our students would like
tool, the Social Role Inventory, Ms. to obtain, such as volunteering in the commu-
to fill that void. Coleman nity and registering to vote.
With the wealth of information We have discovered that we have more
we have gleaned, our students have a whole things in common with each other than we
new view of themselves — and we have a were aware of.
more effective way of meeting their needs. One of our students, James Emmons, is a
The inventory was created by Executive Di- husband and father. He stated on his inven-
rector Kim Faustin, who oversees Pyramid’s tory that he would love to have a paying job
documentation process. to help support his family.
“No longer are individuals labeled or defined His physical limitations presented barriers,
by terms about their deficits—assets are cele- but together we discussed the situation and
brated,” Ms. Faustin said. “A person is much tailored a valued paid job for him.
more than his or her limitations. Pyramid “Now I can buy something special for my
students are defined by their talents.” son,” he exclaimed.
“Many people with disabilities see them- We also learned that Mr. Emmons wanted to
selves only as someone who needs assis- “revive” a former social role, as a performer.
tance,” she said. “The Social Role Inventory I am happy to say that he has been cast as the
helps them see themselves as the talented King for our performance of “Cinderella”
people they really are.” next year at the University of West Florida.
“This awareness increases their self-worth,” Mr. Emmons is already learning his lines and
Ms. Faustin said. is thrilled to be a part of the group again.
We thought we knew our students well. The Social Role Inventory is part of the fabric
However, after completing a couple of the that makes Pyramid, well, Pyramid. It is what
inventories, we discovered that we had only keeps us Achieving in meeting and exceeding
scratched the surface. the expectations of our students.
We always knew that many of our students At the end of the day, isn’t that what it is all
often were nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, about?
brothers and sisters, but had never thought
Music Creates Miracles Every Day
By Carol Culton, MT-BC Q-chord, drum, tone chimes
Performing Arts and cabasa.
Coordinator Ms. Parrish has demonstrated
& Benjamin Eby innate musical understanding:
Performing Arts she anticipates the final
Instructor phrase of each song by play-
ing stronger rhythmic beats.
Coming off a whirlwind year
She also demonstrates prefer-
of more than 25 perform-
ences in her choice among
ances, the Pyramid Show
Choir is gearing up for an-
other busy year. Paul Yarbrough is working
on gross and fine muscle con-
Churches, businesses and or-
trol. He is able to strum a
ganizations are already book-
steady, 4-beat pattern on the
ing performance dates as far
into the future as next Christ-
Anthony Ensley has emerged He is starting to work on fin-
as an honorary member of ger grasp and upper arm con-
We are truly blessed with tal- the show choir.
trol while playing the steady
Family Café in Orlando next beat holding a tone chime.
We have enjoyed continued
month. Nancy Fain is making pro-
and enthusiastic support from
gress on strumming consis-
parents, teachers, local artists These high-profile activities,
tently through a whole song
and musicians as well as the however, are just the tip of
and has just begun working
University of West Florida’s the iceberg.
on visual-motor coordination
Dean’s Office and the Student Just as important are the mu-
using a tone chime.
Disability Resource Center, sic therapy classes where
and, of course, the Pensacola miracles large and small oc- Johnnie Mae Wright has
Civitan Club. cur every day. completed memorizing and
singing a vocal solo and has
Pyramid performers are busy Megan Parrish continues to
just added a second song to
with new concert pieces to make progress on her social her repertoire.
learn and music to memorize. and communication skills.
We are gearing up for a hectic She has graduated from tac- Anthony Ensley earned the
spring and summer concert tilely tolerating one instru- honor of performing with the
series and are looking for- ment to holding and playing Show Choir last month. He
ward to performing at the four instruments including the (Continued on Page 10)
Show Choir Performs Far And Wide
By Carol Culton, MT-BC
From the campus green to the
dusty fairground pathways. . .
from the Yacht club beaches
to the pavement of historical
Pensacola. . . what a time we
We sang at the annual Civitan
picnic in Seville Square,
which is always a fun event.
After performing with their
faces painted in all sorts of
spring colors, choir members
enjoyed a barbeque lunch, a The Pyramid Pensacola Show Choir performs at the University
dance contest and lots of Pines Retirement Community
Gallery Night in downtown who received a standing ova- The highlight of this year so
Pensacola was a success tion, a generous donation and far was the February silent
again this year. As the choir a spectacular luncheon buffet. auction at the Garden Club.
sang, people began filtering in
to find out what great- “We’re ready for TV or even The choir rocked the house,
sounding group was singing. Broadway,” exclaimed Lori and as a result, they received
Cooper. several invitations for future
The choir ventured forth to performances.
experience some new venues After 25 performances last
in 2008 including the Univer- year, the Show Choir started
Don Salter, owner of the
sity of West Florida, where the New Year like the veter-
Seville Diner, was so im-
the choir was featured as part ans they are—hitting the
pressed that he invited the
of the university’s October pavement running!
choir to a luncheon at the
Disability Month celebration. Almost before they had time Seville Grill. We are looking
The Pensacola Yacht Club to breathe, the choir was prac- forward to this culinary ex-
performance was an exciting ticing new music for their cursion! Yum!
event for the choir members production of “Cinderella.”
(Continued on Page 11)
Student Artist Becomes A Mentor
By Diana Amato
Visual Arts Coordinator
Over the years, we have watched any number
of student artists steadily improve their work.
The latest one is making progress by leaps
and bounds in a very short period of time.
Two years ago, he would not even enter the
art room. I continuously let him know that
his workstation was ready for him when he
One day, he made a decision to join the art
class. That was a new beginning for Jona- Mr. Botts takes a break from the early stages
than Botts; the start of incredible progress as of creating his latest piece.
Botts is part of the Art Team that teaches
Mr. Botts, who lives at the Pensacola Devel- painting classes at The Veranda Retirement
opment Center, sold a painting, Center.
“Imagination,” last month at the WLC Diver-
The first month he went, he watched other
sity Art Show held at Sun Trust Towers.
students helping to pass out easels, paper, wa-
The buyer loved the watercolor created with ter bowls, paper towels, paint and pallets.
alcohol paints on yuppo paper. He is work-
He did not spend time conversing with the
ing on watercolors, as it is this month’s theme
residents as he was not yet comfortable with
in the art room. He has started to make wa-
tercolor postcards as a new marketing tool.
When he went in January, he passed out pa-
When he chooses to draw, he is working on
per towels and told each resident, “Here is
his rendition of the patchwork style made fa-
your paper towel.”
mous by Emile Lahner.
That was a big accomplishment for him. He
He has been working on it for a month. To
was so comfortable that he even made a
learn that a project can be ongoing is a con-
painting while sitting next to a man who was
cept we are trying to teach.
93. Mr. Botts blessed the man, who kept
Pyramid art students have a good mentor in looking over at his painting to see what to do.
Nam Truong, who might work six months
On this day, Mr. Botts became a “mentor”
on the same painting.
In addition to his work in the art studio, Mr.
A “Green” Christmas at Cordova Mall
By Diana Amato
Visual Arts Coordinator
& Rita Bryant
Visual Arts Instructor
Christmas 2008 was a special time for Pensa-
cola Pyramid. The Liberty National Insur-
ance Company honored us by paying for ven-
dor space at Cordova Mall for a Pyramid
Christmas art show and sale.
Not only did they sponsor the space, but after
speaking with the Mall Business Manager,
they made it possible for us to have two ven- Unique ceramic angels were among the hot items
dor spots (doubling our available space) and at the mall..
an additional day for “after Christmas” sales.
This 10-day event was made possible by Rivers received checks for over $100. Sev-
Laurie Hoffman, administrative assistant, eral received checks between $100-$250 in-
and by Liberty National representatives Tim cluding Gary Grimes from PDC, and Nam
Tarantino and George Kloser. Truong, John Zachry, and John Folmer.
Seven others received checks for more than
Art Instructor Rita Bryant headed the pro- $50.
ject. In addition, we were blessed with many
volunteers who helped “man” the art show Ceramic angels, ornaments and pottery were
for 8 to 12 hours each day. the big sellers, and luckily, we had a large
amount of product available.
A big “high-five thank you” to Herb Woll
and to all the parents and Pyramid staff who Our sales and the wonderful time we had
worked to make this show a great success. meeting Christmas shoppers was stupendous,
and truly exceeded our expectations.
To say that sales were successful is an under-
statement. Our sales total for the 10 days was The exposure for Pyramid had immeasurable
nearly $5,000, which permitted a great pay- value, as people from all walks of life now
day for Pyramid artists. know what Pyramid represents and have a
clearer idea of the talents of people with dis-
Kenya Williams, Lisa Nixon, Mike Nehme abilities.
and Jerome Sanders, from Pensacola Devel-
opment Center, and Megan Selland, received We look forward to the next Christmas sea-
their first arts commission ever. son and hope that we can say, “See you at the
Kassie Livingston, from PDC, and Melissa
Wealth of New Software Spurs Learning
By Joyce Parandelis lab. According to Mr. Allen,
Computer Instructor “I like to create my own play
Our computer room has been lists, look up different music
very busy with new software groups and play “Tropix.”
including Tropix, Thomas These new educational games
and Friends: Trouble on the have attracted the attention of
Tracks, Learn to Read with our ABE educators, Dan
Phonics, Transition Math, Shawn Jackson explores new Arndt and Bill Eddins.
and Jump-Start Phonics. software.
Commenting on one student’s
Many of the new programs progress, Mr. Arndt stated, “I
ask students to fill in letters, of progress to complete; this have noticed that Alex Doria,
swap-and-match, create indeed is one of the favorites
of Pensacola Developmental
shapes, match, problem solve, in the class. Center, has come a long way
follow directions and more. Jackson Dean can finish a on the computer.”
This software focuses on game within six hours, in-
Mr. Eddins is now assisting
skill-based learning, progress cluding “Freddie Fish” and the students in computer class
tracking and instant grading. “The Haunted School,” and for an hour each day, which is
It also offers print-out pro- one of our new students,
gress sheets and extra games Daniel Andrews, enjoys
to play after achieving a level computer games, especially If it takes a student a month to
of progress. solitaire. learn one small task, then I
One new software program Wesley Allen thoroughly en- feel I have helped that student
even has five different levels joys his time in the computer accomplish a goal.
Pyramid Owes A Lot To These Folks
Thanks to Dr. Lusharon who will be treating the Show members, Pyramid staff and
Wiley, Associate Dean of Choir to lunch. management team.
Students, UWF and Michelle A big “thank you” to all the A very special “thank you”
Batch, Student Disability Re- artists, business contributors, goes to Rhonda Locklin who
source Center, UWF for invit- sponsors and supporters of donated her financial support
ing us to be a part of the life our first annual Silent Auc- for the decorations by Cele-
of the university. tion. Special kudos go to brations.
Thanks go to Don Salter, Herb and Ann Woll, the cor-
owner of the Seville Diner, porate staff, Advisory Board
(Continued on page 11)
Newcomers Enrich Student Body
By Mary Bittick
We want to extend a warm
welcome to eight students
who have joined our Pyramid
Danny Doheny is a good lis-
tener, who likes playing Mr. Ms. Mr. Dean
bingo with the Adult Basic Ms. Tucker Andrews Thompson
Education class and identify-
ing animals and colors. He
transferred to the Pensacola
Pyramid from our sister pro-
gram in Fort Walton Beach.
Norman Randolph loves to
smile and laugh and is set-
tling in well. He likes to
tease his instructor and has an Ms. Selland Mr. Mr. Auld Mr.
endearing grin. Doheny Randolph
Megan Selland is a sociable He likes to play video games. Kellie Thompson is a
young lady who enjoys taking friendly young lady who en-
walks, listening to music, and Mary Tucker is a friendly joys coming to Pyramid and
using her new alphabet board. lady who enjoys shopping, is excited that she has made
going out to eat and spending
Raymond Auld, who likes to time with friends. She espe- so many new friends. She
be called “Rizzo,” has a great cially likes to go to Starbucks. also loves listening to music,
smile, enjoys listening to hip- singing and watching movies.
hop music and watching mu- She also enjoys doing math
Daniel Andrews loves stay-
sic videos. He will be receiv- and art projects, as well as ing busy. He enjoys basket-
ing a service dog from Canine working on letter recognition ball, bowling, doing cross-
Assistants. and phonics. Eventually, she
would like to have a job in the word puzzles and using the
Jackson Dean is an intelli- community and is working on computer. He also enjoys
gent young man who enjoys developing her job-related playing bingo and Uno, and
doing math, art, word skills. listening to rap music.
searches and using the com-
puter to search the Internet.
Music activities have helped
Miracles Ms. Salusky learn to make
eye contact while doing a
(Continued from Page 4) rhythmic ball tossing activity
has been working on playing and to have increased interac-
rhythmic patterns on the tions with her peers.
djembe, an African drum. Billy Cosson has started to
He made so much progress use basic expressive language
this past year, that he was to make his needs known.
able to accompany the Show Through songs such as
Choir on the song, “Under the Cleo Champa uses the mic to “Keeping Your Hands Out of
Boardwalk.” belt out her favorites the Water,” adapted to his
Mr. Ensley performed at the unique needs, Mr. Cosson
Garden Center and at the Uni- and genres. smiles, asks for popcorn, and
versity of West Florida. He is Mr. Chris Dacuma is a occasionally demonstrates
truly an “honorary” Show purposeful participation.
bright, sensitive and energetic
Choir member. student. His goals in music Ms. Cleo Champa, from the
Newcomer Kellie Thompson focus on social and communi- Pensacola Developmental
is focusing on fine motor cation skills. Center, loves to sing with the
skills and visual-motor coor- We hope that he will eventu- microphone, and she espe-
dination using rhythm instru- ally begin to speak and sing cially enjoys familiar church
ments and finger cymbals. tunes and classic pop music.
into the microphone.
We are pleased with the pro- At the beginning of the year, Recently, Ms. Champa has
gress in Performing Arts II shown an interest in playing
Mr. Dacuma started to hold the keyboard. Verbal instruc-
classes, too. the microphone for a few sec- tion tends to distract her, so
In one of Instructor Benja- onds. Then he began blowing she explores the keyboard
min Eby’s classes students into the microphone. while her classmates sing a
focus on communication, so- Finally, this past month, he familiar tune.
cialization and academic skill said a joyous, “Hi!” into the
development. She is beginning to demon-
microphone. Who knows strate imitative skills while
Singing familiar songs pro- what surprises await. her instructor demonstrates
vides students with opportu- Delores Salusky, from the short melodic phrases.
nities to express emotions. Pensacola Developmental
Listening to a variety of mu- Center, is focusing on eye These are but a few of the
sic offers a chance to experi- contact, communication, co- miracles we see each and
ence different musical styles ordination and balance. every day in Performing Arts
standing ovation, then re- panying a song on the
Performances mained standing throughout, djembe, an African drum.
(Continued from Page 5) clapping and moving to the Afterward, Mr. Ensley was
In February, the UWF Dean’s music, encouraging the stu- smiling from ear to ear as he
Office asked us to perform for dents at every turn. introduced himself to a host
the state Special Education What a thrill! To top it off, of well-wishers, saying, “I got
Conference on High School each choir member was pre- to go to college today!”
Transition. sented with a gift. The Pyramid Show Choir
The Show Choir was intro- Choir members were exhila- continues to grow as profes-
duced by Dr. Lusharon rated, but for Anthony Ens- sionals, as charming individu-
Wiley, Associate Dean and ley, from the Pensacola De- als and, most importantly, as
coordinator of the Student velopmental Center, this was good will ambassadors for
Disability Resource Center. an extra special day. Pyramid and for all talented
After each of the first two Mr. Ensley was a guest per- individuals with disabilities.
songs, the audience gave us a former with the choir, accom-
the generosity of our Big Thanks A new, colorful
Auction donors and atten- Show Choir banner
(from Page 1) dees. was created and do-
one of the most The financial benefit (from Page 8) nated by Fast Signs,
popular areas. Bid- to Pyramid is of We thank Monica and manager Peggy
ders were often two great importance in Blackmon for doing Mellies.
and three deep to get order to continue the the make up, and to A hearty thanks also
a look at the art. present quality of Keri Gauthier and to Monika Durbin
Thank you, Diana programming. Lynn Miller for run- and the Pensacola
Amato, for the way However, perhaps ning the sound sys- Music Teachers As-
you guide and en- the greater benefit is tem. sociation for their
courage the artists to the fact that we edu- Christmas at Cordova generous donation to
express their feelings cated many commu- Mall wouldn’t have the Show Choir.
on canvas as well as nity members about happened without the Finally, we acknowl-
the attractive way the capabilities and leadership and gener- edge the generosity
you displayed their talents of the stu- osity of Laurie Hoff- of Mr. James Flour-
work and in the myr- dents of Pyramid. man, administrative noy. For the past two
iad of other festivals I can't wait to see assistant and Liberty Gallery Nights, he
and shows around what we do next National representa- has donated his build-
town. year to top this! tives, Tim Tarantino ing for the Pyramid
I was impressed with and George Kloser. Art Show and Show
7309 W. Highway 98
Pensacola, FL 32506
We believe in what we do.
We make a difference.
May 15 Gallery Night - Subterranean Bookstore at 8 Gregory Street 6:30 p.m.
June 5-7 Family Café in Orlando, FL at Disney Coronado Springs Resort
Gallery Night At The Subterranean Bookstore
Pyramid will again be partici- We want to thank the First of downtown businesses.
pating in Gallery Night in Presbyterian Church for pro- The free event celebrates the
downtown Pensacola on Fri- viding this venue — and for diversity and excitement of
day night. providing the refreshments. Pensacola’s vibrant arts scene
The Pyramid Show Choir will So be sure to make the Sub- and nightlife.
perform at 6:30 p.m. terranean Bookstore a manda- While you’re downtown you
tory stop during your shop- will also have to chance to
The art show and perform-
ping on Gallery Night. explore many other galleries,
ance will be held at the Sub-
terranean Bookstore at 8 Gallery Night is an annual cultural organizations, busi-
Gregory St., courtesy of the event series produced by the nesses and boutiques for an
First Presbyterian church.. Arts Council of Northwest evening of exciting art, mu-
Florida. sic, performances, food, and
The rousing performance will
shopping (of course!).
have your toes a’ tapping and It is sponsored by the Cat
might inspire a tear or two. Country 98.7, A.M. 1620 and Free parking is available at
The Downtown Crowd, the Baylen Street garage or
We will have original paint-
which showcases local artists the Baylen Street parking lot.
ings, prints, and ceramics on
while encouraging patronage