By Paul Ingvaldsen / Staff Writer

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Elegantly coiffed Joan Scarcella, 79, a senior studies major, walked into PCC’s William H. Dyer Hall on Sunday afternoon, April 6, as students and guests assembled to meet “Thomas Jefferson” and then enjoyed six rounds of wine testing. Scarcella asked, “Where’s Jefferson sitting?”

Portraying the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president, Peter Small, 60, explained how he became an actor.

“I’ve always been interested in Thomas Jefferson since I was a child,” Small said. “I was a history teacher in the Washington D.C. and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. I started doing this in my classes as part of the lesson, dressing up as historical figures,” he said.

Small described early efforts to distance America from England in the mid 1700s as colonists struggled to create a vast new country.

“Jefferson wanted to protect the people from the tyrannical British government. He believed protecting the rights of the states would protect the rights of the individual.”

Senior studies teacher Mary Thoits, 90, made the connection between Jefferson, grapes and wine.

She said, “We’re combining Jefferson, who had a vineyard, and wine tasting.”

Jim Martois, 77, lead the event as wine steward and orchestrated a fun and educational presentation.

“I’m a member of the Society of Wine Educators. We promote the healthy drinking of wine,” he said, waving a dark-colored wine bottle with a smile.

Guests were treated to six rounds of one ounce samples as smiles appeared among the crowd. “Wine tasting is pretty simple. We use the three ‘S’s’. Swirl, sniff and sip. It’s either going to be ‘yum’ or ‘yuk,’” Martois said.

“Yum, yum,” answered the crowd after the first Chardonnay.

Martois went on to offer advice about wine purchases and storing. “I’d buy Washington wines over California wine any day,” he said. “Wine from Walla Walla is some of the best in the U.S. California wines have about one percent more alcohol. That one percent makes a big difference in taste,” he said.

After the wine tasting event an opportunity drawing was conducted by senior studies event coordinator Beverly Norborg.

Holding her prize as she left the room, world affairs major Shirley Liskovec, 82, said, “Another orchid to kill.”