News Columns & Blogs

Saint Stephen’s leader off to China, Africa

Saint Stephen’s Head of School Jan Pullen is off China and a busy summer on the road.

She’ll be in Beijing to tour schools and meet with regional educators and visit with U.S. delegates learning about the “Chinese Bridge for American Schools” program.

Saint Stephen’s students from Pre-K through second grade receive instruction in Mandarin from teacher Huan Chen, whose salary is paid by the Chinese government.

The school also hosts an exchange program with students from China’s Guilin Foreign Language School.

Pullen also will tour schools in northeastern China, bordering Russia and Mongolia.

After that, she will visit Tanzania, Africa, and the Lugalo Secondary School staff.

Saint Stephen’s and the Lugalo School have been holding weekly classes via Skype and Web cam and will plan next year’s curriculum.

n Nicholas Trent is 8 and will be a third-grader at Palma Sola Elementary.

Cheers from parents, Beth and Todd Trent, and sister, Samantha.

n Team Florida Manatee County shined in the Olympic weight competition at the recent Sunshine State Games in Lakeland.

Olympic silver medalists were Cameron Davis and Deanna Poelsma. Bronze medalists were Nathan Cook and Hector Hernandez.

Robert Smith took a fourth; Jeremy Jackson, fifth.

Hernandez also won four first-places in power lifting, while Hannah Crowe won three.

Chris Pennington is the coach.

n The Hampton Bay Cigar Club’s cigar drive has collected more than 500 cigars to send to our troops in Iraq, in care of the 124th Infantry Stryker brigade, which includes club member John Stewart’s son, Kyle.

The collection has grown from the generosity of the Marine Corps League Detachment 588, Cork’s Cigar Bar and Tampa Humidor and Tobacco Depot, as well as cigar manufacturers Rocky Patel and Pete Johnson.

For details, contact Rob Streitz at 720-3553. Or visit: www.hamptonbay

The club will celebrate its fifth anniversary Aug. 7.

n Frances and Wendell Pope’s 60th wedding anniversary was also a surprise family reunion planned by sons Wendell, Gary and Dale and daughter-in-law Mary Pope. On hand were grandsons Jay, Bobby and Danny Pope; granddaughter Sarah Pope; great-granddaughter Quintera; and Shelly, Michael and Brandie.

Vin’s People, by local columnist Vin Mannix, runs mid-week and Friday. Have a column item? Call Vin Mannix at 745-7055. Or e-mail him at