Akilah Easter may be well-versed in table manners and how to sit like a lady, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, she spent her childhood as a shy, self-proclaimed tomboy. It wasn’t until Akilah’s mother encouraged her to pursue charm school, pageants, and modeling opportunities that she overcame her withdrawn, unladylike tendencies and stopped using the lobster fork as a weapon. Fifteen years later, Akilah still cherishes the rough-and-tumble part of her personality—she’s a runner, a certified personal trainer, and a YogaFit instructor—but she credits etiquette lessons as the source of her poise and confidence. Through her classes at EitiquetteFemme, she builds an equally strong, self-assured character in her clients.
Akilah starts sharpening manners at an early age with a course appropriate for tots, one for teens, and a four-week charm school for girls. But she also invites adults, men immersed in the dating world, and mother-daughter or father-son duos to conquer class topics. These include everything from table manners and formal dining to social-media etiquette, professional presentations, and the proper way to stand, walk, or mime walking down nonexistent stairs.
At its core, Code Chicago teaches students how to use the basic tools involved in both web and mobile design. Most programs take the form of a 12-week exploration, covering such languages and concepts as Ruby on Rails, Java, HTML, and CSS. The instructors also take lessons a step further by offering courses in less-technical topics such as entrepreneurship and generalized game design. At the end of each full program, students produce their own unique app, which they can then run on the web, Android or iOS devices, or any cleverly modified cassette deck.
Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
Chicago Real Estate School's instructors are all working real-estate agents with long track records of success. Founder Kim Bates designed the curriculum of the school to help agents pick up business savvy along with their license and incorporate hands-on sales and leasing training. From self study to online courses, the school accommodates all types of learners. Even after they've completed their prelicensing requirements, students aren't thrown onto the job market alone: staff keep up the support with career guidance, job placement, and an all-day review that prepares students for the Illinois state exam or just lets them soak up more juicy tidbits on seller disclosures.
For the past 15 years, 8 Count Productions has wrangled skilled pugilists from around the world for exciting bouts of physical power and agility. Windy City Fight Night 21 marks the Chicago debut of Edner "Cherry Bomb" Cherry, named as ESPN's Friday Night Fights Fighter of the Year in 2006. Boasting a 28-6-2 record over his 10-year career, Cherry continues his quest for the junior-lightweight belt and a social situation in which it might be appropriately worn.
Professional pastry chefs at Kupcakes by Kerrie stack ovens with moist morsels in a variety of traditional and gourmet flavors. Customers can sink their fangs or Battleship game pieces into a classic red velvet cupcake ($1.50), topped with one of six different frostings, such as butter cream or coconut. Confections connoisseurs can invest in a gourmet cupcake ($3) to flirt with flavors such as pumpkin spice or ice coffee, or masticate on candy corn cupcakes in a jar ($3–$4), which house layers of cake and frosting under glass for folks to eat with a spoon or proboscis. Kupcakes by Kerrie will personalize their treats with decorative designs ($2–$3.50), and they offer discounts of $3–$4 per every four dozen on large orders.