50 Years of BMW Northwest

From a young age, Manfred Scharmach learned about work ethic and building a business from his father, Werner. “I started out playing around the repair shop on Saturdays,” recalled Scharmach. “As I got older, he put me to work with a broom and later washing cars.” The elder Scharmach, who was reported to be the best German car mechanic around, owned European Motor Service in Olympia. His reputation led to an invitation to become Olympia’s official BMW dealer and in 1968 the repair shop evolved to include a showroom.

Manfred continued learning from his father, working as a technician, in parts sales, and eventually vehicle sales, which is what he enjoyed most. “My dad and I got along great, and customers respected us because they recognized that we were technicians,” said Scharmach. The growing business relocated to Tacoma in 1979 and to its present location in Fife in 1988.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW Northwest, making it one of the oldest BMW dealerships in the nation and the only original family-owned dealership remaining in Western Washington. The achievement was recently commemorated with the presentation of a Monument Award from BMW of North America. In addition, the dealership is celebrating by donating $50,000 to local non-profits chosen by BMW Northwest employees. The missions of a few of the recipient organizations include supporting military veterans, providing food for children and seniors, and sheltering homeless youth.

“I watched my father set an example for how to run a business, which centered on taking care of the customer,” reflected Scharmach. That focus remains strong today and is being passed on to a third generation. Scharmach’s daughter, Madeleine McEntyre, works on special projects for BMW Northwest and the family’s two MINI dealerships in Tacoma and Seattle.

Learn more about the history of BMW Northwest and the Scharmach family by visiting www.bmwnorthwest.com.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For more information:

BMW Northwest
4011 20th Street East
Tacoma, WA 98424
866-843-3706
visit www.bmwnorthwest.com

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition

Arguably one of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements, Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome are timeless masterpieces. Whether you have seen them in person or not, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition will allow you to immerse yourself in the art from a new perspective in an innovative and unique way.

The exhibition’s museum-quality, nearlife-size photographic reproductions of the iconic master’s frescoes were created with special expertise and care using state-of-the-art technology. To help people engage with and comprehend the artwork, the paintings are displayed on 16-foot panels in 34 parts.

As you observe the artwork, you will be overwhelmed by its dimensions, your closeness to the picture, and the modern style of the exhibition. You’ll be able to explore the scenes, including The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment, at a close distance impossible to achieve in the Sistine Chapel.

“We are thrilled to serve as the only Washington state venue for Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” said David Fischer, executive director of Broadway Center. “We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors from near and far to the awe-inspiring experience of viewing larger-than-life reproductions of these beloved works in an up-close and intimate way.”

The exhibit debuts on Sept. 21 at the historic Tacoma Armory at 715 S. 11th St. and runs through Oct. 14 (dark Mondays and Tuesdays). An optional audio guide with narrative accompaniment will be available in four languages. Advance tickets are on sale at broadwaycenter.org, in person at the Broadway Center box office at 901 Broadway, or by phone at 253.591.5894. Same-day tickets will be available for sale at the Armory.

A special launch party will take place on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

Choosing The Right Private School

Puget Sound parents have so many private schools to choose from that it can be tough to decide on just one. Luckily, parents can turn to The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve for guidance. The book’s author is Peg Tyre, a former Newsweek education reporter and also the author of The Trouble with Boys. Tyre spoke to ShowCase about points to consider when evaluating a school.

In preschool, the relationship between teacher and student is key. This connection is more important than any curriculum, Tyre says. Look for a preschool teacher who is very engaged. Have a conversation with a prospective teacher about their current classroom. They should be able to speak about individual students’ strengths and weaknesses and be well-informed about their background, interests, and emotional and academic achievements.

The early years: words, words, words Children should be surrounded with words, especially in the early years, Tyre says. Look for books in the classroom and be sure the class makes regular visits to the library. In the preschool and kindergarten years, be sure the teacher is providing the building blocks for learning to read.

Math cannot be an afterthought. From the first days of school, kids should be exposed to math concepts. Tyre says there is no need to wait until children are older and able to think and speak in more abstract ways. She says that math ability has been measured days after birth and seems to be innate in all of us. In the U.S., parents, kids and even teachers may describe a person as “bad at math.” In other countries where kids perform better in math, however, if a student is not performing well in math, parents, kids and teachers say the student needs to work harder. “Math is not a talent,” says Tyre. “It’s a muscle you develop.”

Don’t focus too much on standardized test scores. Sometimes good test scores can indicate that a school is doing well at educating students, says Tyre, but other times it can indicate that the school is teaching to the test. Standardized tests measure only about one-third of the curriculum that should be taught, so if the school is teaching only the test material, your child is missing out on a lot.

There is no excuse for a school day with no recess. Apart from the obvious physical benefits of exercise, says Tyre, studies have shown that recess also increases cognitive functioning. Kids need a break of at least 20 minutes a day. The same is true for middle-school and high-school students.

Teachers matter, even more than you think. Although not even a “super teacher” can erase the effects of poverty on students, says Tyre, excellent teachers teach more and can accelerate students’ rate of learning. And good schools champion great teachers. Look for schools that provide teachers with mentors, instruction and discussion of best practices.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW