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Olympic champion — and those in training — on ice

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Approximately 40 budding skaters learned tips from a pro on how to perfect their poppings, fine-tune their flutzes and make error-free edge jumps during a holiday skating party at Prospect Park, featuring world figure skating champion skater Oksana Baiul.

Looking tanned and relaxed, the 1994 Olympic gold medalist and a troupe from the Coney Island Skating Theatre wowed the crowd at Wollman Skating Rink where they led drills for students from Brooklyn Ice, a free skating program founded by former US figure skating gold medalist Violet Eagan. The children, aged six through 10, are mostly from single-parent homes and attend schools neighboring the park.

The group enjoyed a post-skating party inside the rink, featuring refreshments.

Brooklyn Ice provides skating opportunities twice a week for its students at the rink, in addition to fall dance and educational enrichment workshops at the Picnic House.

For more information, call 728-783-1218, or visit

Students in the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT) at the High School for Enterprise Business and Technology (EBT), 850 Grand Street, are certainly not getting your typical high school education.

The students – Fanny Tavera, Marilyn Taveras, Rachelle St. Pierre, Christopher Perez, Devika Paul, Mark Sanders, Stephanie Marte, Maytee Rosales and Victoria Garcia – have just returned from a trip to The Hague, Netherlands, billed as “Brooklyn in Den Haag 111,” and have come to understand why the hospitality and tourism industries are the career of choice for many college graduates these days.

Three members of the EBT faculty along with students from the EBT Model United Nations Team and the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism made the trip, the focus of which was to help the students develop a broader perspective and knowledge of international travel and tourism.

“Our students not only get a general education but they learn about the hospitality and tourism industries at the same time,” said Regina Flannery, director of the New York AOHT program.

“Part of our focus in making this education relevant is having the students interact in the real world of hospitality. That’s why internships and job shadowing events are such a large part of our program. These international trips show our students the importance of the hospitality industry in not just this country but the world.”

According to Juan Mendez, principal of EBT, the experience of traveling to a foreign country is something that many of the students have never experienced before. “For most of them it was their first time leaving the country. They were fascinated with Europe and how the hotels were operated there.”

Some of the students are even considering applying to a college they visited in the Netherlands with a strong hospitality program.

“It was something we didn’t expect,” said Yvette Wharton, assistant principal of the school. “But it just shows how exposing students to new things expands their horizons.”

The AOHT students explored many aspects of the city in their trip by taking tours of major hotels, museum excursions and visits to cultural sites.

Through interaction with the students at the Mondrian College of International Tourism & Leisure Management, the AOHT students were able to share insights and exchange ideas relevant to the hospitality and tourism industries.

Students for the trip were chosen based on their overall academic credentials.

Residents of Park Slope and Prospect Heights doing some last minute Christmas shopping couldn’t believe their eyes when Jolly Ol’ St. Nick rolled along Flatbush Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to Pacific Street on a rickshaw, ringing his bell and handing out candy canes to area children.

The North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District hired the rickshaw, driver, and Santa Claus, who made a special stop at the Avon store on Flatbush Avenue for hot chocolate, cookies and free photo sessions with Kris Kringle.

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