Category Archives: Staff Spotlight

An Actor In Our Midst

joe final

Nobody got the right answer to last week’s little quiz. The correct answer is that Joe was the little boy in red in the cinematic masterpiece Three Men and a Baby. Here’s a short interview with Joe about his thespianism:

How old were you?

I was 3.

Do you remember doing it?

Not particularly. I have memories of being in Central Park that might get mixed with that.

How did it come about?

My mother was in Bloomingdale’s returning a gift for my newborn sister. She needed money to buy diapers. She was approached by a recruiter because of my sister.  They called us a few times later on, and my sister did some advertisements, and my sister had worked as a stand-in for the baby in the film in a couple scenes, and then they called us about something happening at Central Park. They were going to film a scene in Central Park and they wanted families and kids to be there playing.

Did you get paid for it?

We did. Maybe enough for a haircut and a pair of sneakers.

So you don’t see any royalties?

No, no royalties. Maybe I should ask a lawyer about that.

Did you or your mom meet Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, or Steve Guttenberg?

No, we never got to know them.

If you could meet one of the three, which one would you want to meet?

That’s a tough question. Maybe Tom Selleck.

What do you think of the movie?

Timeless classic comes to mind. I think it’s well-written, it’s well-acted, and I think the extras really give it that extra something special.

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An Author In Our Midst

The name you see on the lower right hand corner of the above book belongs to one of our teachers here at the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program. Mary Staub, teacher of daytime classes 3A and 3P, recently published a biking guide to NYC.


Best Bike Rides New York City describes more than 40 of the greatest recreational rides in New York City. Road rides, rail trails, bike paths, and single-track mountain bike rides all get included. Most rides are in the 5 to 30 mile range, allowing for great afternoon outings and family adventures.

About the Author:

Mary Staub is a freelance journalist and passionate cyclist who has been exploring the New York City metro area by bike for more than ten years. Biking is part of who she is and always has been. Whether for commuting or for leisure, whether in sub-freezing temperatures or on sultry summer days, whether where she lives or where she travels, biking is what she has always done. Inherently inquisitive, her interests have led her into various journalistic territories including travel writing, community reporting, mainstream news, and dance writing. Publications she’s written for include Travel + Leisure, the New York Sun, Basler Zeitung, dance journals including Ballet Tanz and Dancer Magazine, the technology news site Tech Media Network. She lives in Brooklyn.

To buy Mary’s book, click here.

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Au Revoir, Elsie


Another teacher will also not be returning this September: Elsie Choi. Elsie has been with the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program for 11 years – she started when she was 19 years old, according to her. Elsie is a veteran teacher who has decided to take some time off – right now, she’s on a cruise ship somewhere in the Northern Atlantic. Always camera shy, we don’t have any good videos of Elsie, but below you can read something she wrote about her classes a couple years ago. We’ll miss you, Elsie!

My Year with 1A & 1B

By Elsie Choi

August 29, 2012 was Orientation Day already after a long summer of relaxation.  It was time to meet a whole new group of students and get the show ready for the road. I was a little nervous. First impressions are very important. What should I wear for the day? I am sure that my students feel the same way. They were there to check me out, and at the same time, wondering what is in store for them for the coming year.

A few students come in way before class time but the majority can barely make it. There is a tendency that people come in later and later as the year goes on. Of course they have tons of excuses… my children, my dog, my watch….”See, my watch says 9…”

Students gradually become friends and chat. Think that they do not know enough English to do so? No problem. Their native language kicks in naturally. Or, a mixture of languages will do. “I did my homework la. (Chinese)”, “Is this good ma? (Chinese)”,“Michael is outside ah! (Chinese)”.  ALL ENGLISH! …..ALL ENGLISH!

Oh! No! Test again?! Eyes are wandering around. Some just want to get that 100 percent in the test. Believe it or not, a few people know they are right but still glance at their neighbor’s paper to see if the other person is doing it correctly. What a busybody!

Homework is usually done by most students but it is like pulling teeth for some. To enforce this requirement, it causes more work for the teacher to follow up and make sure that make-up homework is done the next day. A threat using Michael’s name is useful, sometimes.

Well, the year is going by swiftly despite the heartache and headache we have had. We have shared tears and laughter with personal happenings and have grown together. Let’s celebrate. Food is the number one choice. Students feed the teacher, me, all year long. I thank you all by showing you my forever growing “muffin top.”


Adios, Cliff


One of our longtime teachers here are the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program has left us for greener pastures. His name is Cliff Prisament, and he taught here from 2010 to 2014. We’ve collected some old material about Cliff as a way of commemorating his time with us, a video interview with him and a little something he wrote about his main hobby:

If you look carefully at my wrist while I’m teaching, you might notice I wear a different watch almost every day.  Since 2005, I have been collecting and fixing watches as an amateur horologist (someone who fixes watches and clocks).

In 2005, I moved to Shanghai, China to teach children English.  While I was there, I found several markets that sold very cheap, antique watches (watches that are very old).  I fell in love with watches and it became my favorite hobby.  I would sometimes buy 2 watches a week!  In 2007, I owned almost 40 watches!  Now, I only own about 15 watches.

My oldest watch is a Mickey Mouse watch made in 1933!  It’s half a century older than me!

Most people just buy a watch because they think it’s beautiful or fashionable.  When I buy a watch, I buy it because of its movement.

There are three types of watch movements.  They are quartz, automatic and manual-wind.

1. Quartz watches are the most popular.  Your watch is probably a quartz watch.  Quartz watches have a small, round, silver battery that powers the watch hands.  Quartz watches are the most accurate. 

2. Automatic watches do not have a battery.  They have a rotor, which winds a mainspring that moves the hands.  So if you wear an automatic watch every day, you never need to change a battery.

3. Manual-wind watches only have a mainspring and no rotor or battery.  You have to wind them every day or they will stop moving!

Any questions about watches?  Let me know!

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Staff Spotlight: Janel


Staff Spotlight time again! This time we’re focusing on Janel, who has been the English Through Movies teacher for several years now. Leave her a question in the Comments Section, and she’ll answer it!


50 Years!

Photo: If you've walked through the halls of 184 Eldridge of called our offices, you've probably met Alice. Today we're celebrating 50 years of her incredible service to our organization - and for that we say thanks from all of US!

If you’ve walked through the halls of 184 Eldridge, you’ve probably met Alice. Today we’re celebrating 50 years of her incredible service to our organization – and for that we say thanks from all of US!

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Staff Spotlight: Leanne

Our beloved office assistant Leanne already answered most of your questions, but Laptop #3 sat down to talk with her to ask her some more questions. Watch the interview below, then take the quiz to test your understanding:


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