West Boca School Grades 2017 – Ups and Downs

The State of Florida has released school grades for 2017. Most schools in West Boca maintained their A grades. The one clear drop was in East Boca, where Boca Elementary fell from an A to a B.

Among elementary schools, Coral Sunset improved from a C to a B, while Hammock Pointe and Sandpiper Shores both improved from B to A. All other elementary schools in West Boca were A schools before and kept that grade.
Other than the Morikami Park magnet school, Waters Edge Elementary had the highest scores. This may be due to its large gifted program.

Among non-magnet middle schools, Boca Middle improved from a B grade to an A. The three West Boca middle schools all maintained their A grades. Eagles Landing had the highest overall score but Omni and Loggers were close behind and outperformed Eagles in some areas.
The big news for high schools was Olympic Heights improving from B to an A grade. And in bigger news to some, Boca High outscored Spanish River. That scoring looks odd to us as Spanish River had better scores in a number of topics and a slightly higher graduation rate. West Boca High’s overall scores were a bit higher than Olympic with a notable edge in science, though the two were close on most subjects.

How a Spanish River Alum Made It In Hollywood

Janah Brooks Golden, Spanish River High 2003

We had the pleasure of speaking yesterday with Janah Brooks Golden about her unusual path from Spanish River High School to a successful career in Hollywood. We thought her story might be helpful to local youth and their parents.
Known as Janah Brooks Adickman when she was at Spanish River, is now a casting producer in Hollywood, California. She contacted us about a show – The F Word with Gordon Ramsay – she is working on right now for Fox Television. The show will feature families of four (or teams of four) who are amazing home cooks with no professional experience.

The original purpose of our contact was her effort to get the word out to those who might want to be on the show. You can apply directly on their The F Word Casting website. The deadline to apply is April 7th so move fast if you’re interested.
Her path to this career is not what we would have guessed. Ms. Brooks Golden graduated from Spanish River High in 2003. She went to University of Florida, completing a Master’s degree in Special Education in 2008. She thought she wanted to be a teacher but along the way she realized it wasn’t right for her.
She worked for a while with her father’s construction company (Ross Adickman is a founder and the CFO of Amicon). While doing that her love for food led her to start writing a blog about food, food shows on television, and cooking. Her sister was living in Los Angeles and invited her to come out and “see what it’s like.”
Two days after she arrived she found a job teaching cooking at Sur La Table. Then she got another job working as a personal chef for an celebrity she would not identify. She had various other jobs, sometimes three at the same time.
A friend was doing casting for a well known cooking show and introduced Janah to the world of reality TV casting. That led to doing casting for 13 seasons (two a year) for the show Cutthroat Kitchen, and for other shows including NBC’s Biggest Loser, Bravo’s Recipe for Deception, Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games and Iron Chef Gauntlet (airs in April).
That friend who helped her get started became her wife in 2015 and is also her business partner in their company, Front Foot First, which does reality TV development and casting.
Of course she’s only getting started, now in her early 30s. She hopes to have a longstanding career creating groundbreaking content. And she still has a passion for food.
I asked her where she likes to eat when she comes back here. One restaurant stood out in her mind – Mario’s Osteria. She ate there a lot while she was growing up – then it was closer to Town Center. Other Boca favorites include Sushi Ray, Trattoria Romana and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. In Miami she likes Alter with Chef Brad Kilgore and Eating House (Giorgio Rapicavoli).
Janah’s advice to kids (and parents) is simple: If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, move on to something else and find your path.

Marquee Theater Company presents Dreamgirls at West Boca Performing Arts Center


Written by Jacqueline Faustin, a senior at West Boca High, and a member of the school’s musical theater troupe.
Marquee Theater Company proudly opened their latest performance, Dreamgirls, at the West Boca Performing Arts Theater (in West Boca High School) this past Saturday, January 21, 2017. Director Andrew Shultz and choreographer Ben Solmor did a noteworthy job accurately and respectably chronicling this captivating tale.
Dreamgirls depicts the story of three women who all search for happiness and success in the music industry. With the help of their manager, they get the chance of a lifetime performing as backup singers for a national star. As they delve deeper into the twisted music industry, they abruptly learn just how high the cost of fame truly is.
The up-and-coming Marquee Theater Company is fortunate enough to have an across-the-board strong cast for this show. Their authentic energy, palpable throughout the entirety of the show, never faltered. This unique attribute was most definitely thanks to Alex Lugo (Deena), David Berry (Jimmy Early), and Kendra Williams (Effie). All mentioned characters exhibited remarkable stage presence that made a lasting impact on the audience.

Dreamgirls is on for two more shows at West Boca High – Friday, January 28th at 8 pm and Saturday, January 29th at 2 pm. Buy tickets online at the Marquee box office.

Alex Lugo truly is meant for the stage. Her presence alone creates an appealing and captivating ambiance; the audience can’t help but admire her as she effortless sings and gracefully acts. She has the inimitable talent to truly bring out empathy from the audience, making them really feel for her character.
David Berry presented a hilariously eccentric, yet charming charisma with his role as “Jimmy Early”. He kept his energy level high throughout the duration of the show, and this could be seen specifically in his number, “The Rap.” His character indubitably created a comedic relief for the show.
Kendra Williams stole the show with her performance as “Effie.” Williams, whom has been previously seen as Joanne in Rent, has an unequivocal aptitude for the theater arts. She portrayed her character with such emotional depth and authenticity that it is hard to believe that she, herself, is not Effie. Her show-stopping performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” the closing of Act I, had the entire audience on their feet with profuse applause before she was even finished belting her last note.
The ensemble importantly added magnetism to the show. Though some characters lacked believability, overall, they truly enhanced the large group numbers. Harmonies were beautiful when they were not too soft to hear. Their costumes and wigs added to the credibility to the show without drawing too much attention from the characters themselves.
Dreamgirls is a show that you do not want to miss out on. Its entrancing storyline was notably told through a cast full of impressive “Dreams.” Marquee Theater Company may be up-and-coming, but it definitely is not one you should look past.

Olympic Heights Teen Charged With Homicide

Saam Rajaei mugshot from Palm Beach Sheriff

In January of last year there was a highly publicized incident involving a few Olympic Heights students. One of them, James Cartigiano, was reported to have been accidentally shot in the head. Cartigiano was 16 at the time.
James Cartigiano

The Palm Beach Sheriff (PBSO) has now arrested and charged Saam Rajaei. Rajaei, now 18 and a student at Florida State, was 17 at the time and a student at Olympic Heights. Court papers and the blotter indicate his address on Madria Circle in the Escondido neighborhood.
While the earlier reports simply described an accidental shooting, the probable cause affidavit (see bottom) provides much greater detail as to what happened. The incident took place at the home of Jeffrey Zager on Sawpine Road in Delray Lakes Estates, just southwest of where Atlantic meets the Turnpike.
Jeffrey P. Zager (from Chapes JPL channel on YouTube)

The teens were visiting Zager’s son Jordan. The affidavit notes that the Zager family moved out of state within weeks of the shooting. Jeffrey Zager is the CEO of Jewelry Purchasing & Loan Ltd, a Georgia company which operates as Chapes JPL and has or had an office in East Boca. It appears that the Zagers are now in the Atlanta area where JPL is based.
The affidavit indicates that Jordan Zager, his girlfriend and Rafaei were in the house initially. Zager and Rafaei were “dry firing” a revolver in Zager’s bedroom. Dry firing means the revolver was not loaded and they were pulling the trigger. Later Zager loaded the revolver and placed it in the kitchen. It appears that Rajaei thought the gun was still unloaded.
A lawsuit filed by the Cartigiano family alleges the revolver, a “38 special Smith & Wesson,” belonged to Jeffrey Zager.
Cartigiano came into the home some time after the dry firing, saw the revolver in the kitchen and picked it up. Rajaei then tried to take the gun away from Cartigiano and it went off, striking Cartigiano. Cartigiano died a few days later. There is at least some indication that Rajaei pulled the trigger.
From our read of the facts this appears to be a tenuous case at best. Rajaei did not know the gun was loaded and had reason to believe it was unloaded. While those trained in firearms safety know you always treat any gun as if it was loaded, there is no indication that either Rajaei or Cartigiano had such training.
With that in mind we recommend all parents show this video to their children (skip ahead to 2:30 if you’re impatient):

Portions of the probable cause affidavit are below. We have redacted the name of Zager’s then girlfriend. While she is now 18 and was in the home at the time, she was a minor then and it does not appear she was a witness to anything material.


West Boca High Takes "Blood Brothers" to Tampa

All photos credit G. Richard Booth
All photos credit G. Richard Booth

The West Boca High Drama Department’s “Blood Brothers” musical has been selected for the Florida State Thespian Festival in March. Out of all the schools in the state, only nine shows were selected for “main stage” performances. The Blood Brothers performance will be one of the two shows performed in the Carol Morsani Hall venue, which seats over 2600.
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We are so proud to announce that Blood Brothers has been selected to perform at the Florida State Thespian Festival in March in Morsani Hall at the Straz Center. Congratulations to Mr. Blank, Mrs. Crout and the cast, crew, and staff for all of your hard work.

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Don’t worry if you missed it. The school plans to do another run of performances in February.
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