Teaching English Teachers

The School of Education is offering courses for those who want to teach English language learners. Through a Wheeler Award, which grants funds to faculty in support of developing new courses, faculty member Mary Lisa Vertuca offers these courses to those studying Montessori, early and middle childhood education at undergraduate or graduate levels.

“Our ultimate goal,” says Vertuca, “is to have our students take one of these courses as a program requirement. These courses offer future teachers a great opportunity to teach ELL students in the United States or in international schools. It’s an exciting new direction for the School of Education, and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Once Upon a Time

For one Medieval and Renaissance French Literature class, story time will never be the same. Their recently published class project turns literary masterpieces into children’s stories, complete with illustrations, to make such classics accessible to those with no more than one year of French. 


Under the title “Contes du Moyen Age” (Tales of the Middle Ages), the book now lives online through the McDonald Library for all to enjoy. The collection comes from a class in 2008 where professor Jo Ann M. Recker, S.N.D. de N., recognized the value of resurrecting and preserving classic tales for future generations.

“Because Medieval stories can seem so remote—and in that sense inaccessible—I wanted to make these works more immediate for students,” says Recker. “That’s when I thought, ‘How would one read these stories to children, in simple language?’ The students discovered new ways to express otherwise complex phrases or unfamiliar words while remaining faithful to the original work.”

This is the first time such a project has been done for this class, but more volumes may follow. “It just depends on what inspiration strikes me,” says Recker. “With this collection, we just wanted to help these stories come alive and make sure that they can be enjoyed for years to come.”

Waiting in the Wings

Somewhere between Central Park and Times Square, a new world is about to unfold. As young audience members from Camp Broadway watch the curtain rise, they get ready to see more than just a show. They prepare to watch months of hard work and dedication come together in one remarkable evening. And, thanks to Robert Agis, they dream of the day when they take to the stage themselves.


At Camp Broadway, a summer program for aspiring actors, Agis serves as a musical director who helps 6- to-18-year-old kids learn about the musical side of professional theater. The 2001 graduate plays the role of accompanist, composer and mentor to these young thespians, as he gives them a taste of life on the Broadway stage. In return, his students give him inspiration and an energy that fuels his work.

“There’s something exciting, alive and present about working with these kids,” says Agis. “Teaching requires you to be very present, and each workshop brings its own level of intensity and emotion. That intensity inspires me as a performer, and their passion for the craft helps refresh my perspective as an artist.”

Agis discovered Camp Broadway while working on another Broadway production, where his rehearsal space neighbored several others. He happened to walk down the hall and saw a seemingly unlimited energy and youthful enthusiasm coming from the Camp Broadway room. He couldn’t resist joining in, and he’s been swept up in it ever since.

“You never know what to expect until you get the kids together,” says Agis. “It’s exciting to see kids with their own style and skill level, and evaluate and support them as they cultivate a career of their own.”

Home of Hope

Some cancer patients travel great distances for treatment in Cincinnati. Now, thanks to the Musekamp family, they can feel a little closer to home. 

In October, George Musekamp III donated $1 million to the American Cancer Society for the creation of the Musekamp Family Hope Lodge in neighboring Avondale. Supporting the Society is a family tradition that he and his children are proud to continue.

“When I was dating my wife more than 30 years ago, my mother-in-law  was running the local office of the American Cancer Society,” says Musekamp. “She inspired me to be a part of it, and the society has been a big part of our family ever since.”

After graduating from Xavier, Musekamp became a successful investment banker in New York. He then returned home to start his own company, Plaza Investments, which is connected to several buildings throughout Cincinnati.

His expertise in turning rescued properties into local treasures—and his passion for helping families fight cancer—helped to build this home away from home.

“It’s a beautiful stone building and a very friendly place. People get together to cook meals, share stories and enjoy having someone to talk to in a familiar place. It’s nice to give someone a sense of ‘coming home’ while they’re undergoing treatment. And it’s a great way to give back to the community.”