Olympia Fencing Center founder and coach Daniel Hondor started his swordplay career with dreams of earning a spot among the Three Musketeers. Enthralled by the adventures of the trio, 7-year-old Daniel picked up his first rapier, beginning an association with fencing that would eventually take him around the world as a member of Romania’s national team. Eventually, after years of international dueling, he set down the sword and took up the mantle of coach, teaching the Romanian junior team techniques he’d learned throughout his career. The Olympics in Atlanta finally brought him to America, where he continues to share the art of fencing with students of all experience levels. He and his fellow instructors lead adult programs that help veteran swordsmen sharpen their skills and introduce novices to the sport’s intricacies. In homage to his childhood inspiration, he also hosts Musketeers classes that acquaint kiddies aged 6–10 with basic rules and moves, preparing them for future classes and eventual careers as knights of the realm.
Weichert, Realtors - Metropolitan Boston Real Estate connects buyers with homes and apartments across Boston—and they conduct their initial property searches free of charge. Their network is expansive, reaching neighborhoods from Back Bay and the South End to the Leather District, where all the houses have leather curtains. For aspiring real-estate agents, the company also runs a school, Metropolitan School of Real Estate, whose 40-hour courses prep students for the licensing exam.
After acing the SAT, students head to college and enter a huge variety of careers, from comedy to computer programming to creative design. Several of these former students sought to help others conquer the feared test at Boston Test Prep’s online-only study center. The staff designed the program to appeal to kids of the digital age—students can log on anytime, anywhere, and direct their own studies. Some might read through all the lessons and then work on practice quizzes, and others might leap right into the quizzes, pausing to link to lessons and slideshows on questions that stymie them, such as, "How many bears are there?" They’ll also learn tips on taking the test, such as mastering common question types, identifying tricks, and making smart guesses. As students work, a points system motivates them to hit a high score, much like in a video game.
The staff at Good Vibrations aren't salespeople—they're SESAs, or Sex Educator-Sales Associates. The title was invented by the store to reflect not only the rigorous training that the employees go through, but also the open and empowering attitude that they project. They encourage questions about the stock of romantic accouterments, and dispense safe, respectful advice on enhancing erotic play. For the SESAs, knowledge is a stepping stone to pleasure. They've even employed the same sexologist and historian—Dr. Carol Queen—for more than 20 years to host a regular "Ask the Doctors" class.
Above all, the staff keeps a bright and welcoming shop—a characteristic that automatically distinguished Good Vibrations from its counterparts when it opened in 1977, an era when most adult shops were dimly lit and guarded by demons. Extending the positive, forward-thinking ethos beyond the shop's walls, the company has committed to environmentally friendly wares with its Ecorotic collection of natural lubricants—as well as eco-friendly packaging.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.