May - June 2012


May-June 2012 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High



Southwest Veterans Hospital Performance
On May 1, members of the Select Chorus class and Orchestra class performed at the Southwest Veterans Hospital while the members of Reach Out Club joined them for community service. The students performed selections from their upcoming concert.  After the concert, the students served the residents drinks and dessert while spending time conversing with many World War II veterans. 

Members of the 8thgrade select choir are James Alverson, Kayla Anderson, Deana Bellante, Adriana Bernatskaya, Ryan Binkley, Melissa Braun, Emma Burgman, Angela Campbell, Nicolette Casarcia, Madison Cheripka, Ashley Counahan, Aleandra Coyle, Lisa Divittorio, Joseph Doerfler, Ramsy Donatelli, Madison Gestrich, Candance Graham, Bryanna Holby, Amanda Kiefer, Rebecca Lee, Natalie Marco, Madison Mercurio, Stephen Overfelt, Alexander Pogue, John Shipley, Michael Simboli, Daniel Smith, Haley Stefancis, Alexander Tejchman, Rachel Valotta, Taylor Williams, Madison Yohe, and Bryana Zanotelli.  Members of the orchestra are Abby Ciuffi and Kara Roessler.  Members of the reach out club that attended the performance are Abby Hanlon, Morgan Booker, Olivia Koch, Lindsay Kadlecik, Carly Sipe, and Kendall Pearson.

Eighth Grade Career Expo
On May 1, students and faculty from Forbes Road East were at AEO talking to the eighth graders about possible career paths. These students presented and demonstrated their programs through 19 stations. They provided demonstrations and a wealth of information in Health Science, (health science technology and health career academy), in Manufacturing (robotics engineering technology), and in Information Technology (computer networking & security and information technology & gaming). Questions were answered about a variety of other career topics as well-art, multi-media, computers, robotics, automotive, landscaping, emergency responses, child services, networking, technology, culinary arts, building construction, and health care. The Oblock students were given the opportunity to visit any of the stations present. Overall, the eighth grade students seemed very interested and walked away with many careers to think about.


Life Science Department
The 8thgrade Life Science Department would like to thank the PA Game Commission and Howard Nursery for providing them with 500 assorted seedlings from the Seedlings for Schools program. Eight species of trees were planted in a nursery behind Oblock Junior High School and some other trees have been potted. Stallard Nursery and 380 Auction donated the pots and soil, and the students will be responsible for taking care of all the trees.

The 8thgrade Life Science Department would also like to thank Susan Campbell and PPG Industries for their $1000 Public Education Leadership Community grant. This money goes to support the Trout in the Classroom program. This program, sponsored by Trout Unlimited and the PA Fish and Boat Commission, is designed to foster an awareness of brook trout’s role in cold water conservation. Students will raise brook trout from eggs to fingerlings, eventually releasing them into a state approved stream.

GATE Art Competition
Oblock Junior High GATE students recently competed in the 2012 Art Expo held at Gateway Middle School.  AEO's team placed third overall and eighth grader Spencer Zacher won second place in the competition for his individual artwork. The Art Expo, which had a theme of “Architecture,” consisted of an individual art competition where students brought personal artwork they created based on the theme, an artwork created on site as a team, and identification of architecture. Based on a combination of points from the three activities, awards were given in two categories: individual and as a team in both the high school and middle school age groups.  Seven school districts competed, totaling 60 students, in middle school and high school categories. This was the fourth year for this art competition, and the fourth year Oblock has competed.  AEO’s team, sponsored by art teacher Mrs. Amanda Durick, included Kayla Anderson, Lisa DiVittorio, Tom Frank, Nick Klonowski, Victoria Michaels, and Tori Monstrola.  Congratulations to the team for their outstanding performance!


Global Youth Invasion
The Andy Warhol Museum hosted Global Youth Invasion on May 4. It was a multimedia event where local teens take over the Warhol.  This year’s event had youth art, a teen fashion show, local music acts, free food, art activities, a teen DJ dance party and more.  Projects from Oblock were chosen as part of the display. Only 2 districts this year were selected. Five projects were submitted by a group of students who created 3-D plaster sculptures in art club, sponsored by Mrs. Durick and Mr. Depew, which was influenced by the Andy Warhol style. The students whose artwork was selected were the following: Betsy Young, Allyson Donnelly, Alex Pogue, Megan Abriola, Kelsey DiClaudio and Marissa Dent. 

8thGrade Select Chorus Performs at the Sons of the American Legion
On Saturday, May 5th, members of the 8thgrade Select Chorus and String Orchestra performed at the Sons of the American Legion in Plum.  The students displayed their talent as part of the annual S. A. L. banquet.  Volunteering their time and talent, the students performed solos and in small groups. At the conclusion of the performance,   S. A. L. presented the Oblock Music Department with a new Roland piano amplifier.  The amp owned by the school district was broken in a power surge and the classroom amp was on loan from a teacher.  Students who participated were:  Erin Barrett, Maddy Yohe, Maddie Cheripka, Ramsy Donatelli, Ashley Counahan, Mike Simboli, Angela Campbell, Emma Burgman and Rebecca Lee. 

 Girls’ Softball
The girls’ softball team finished a solid season with a record of 12-5 under the direction of CoachFroehlich. Members of the team are as follows: Hannah Adamski, Morgan Booker, Alyssa Cotter, Rayna Donatelli, Amanda Dynoske, Ryley Handyside, Jessica Lloyd, Marissa Lynch, Annie Monfredi, Emily Oehling, Michaela Palmieri, Delenn Poe, Lisa Reddington, Shelby Rodriguez, and Gia Zazzera.

Top Ten Banquet and Honors Night
Three hundred and seventy AEO students will be recognized for academic excellence at the upcoming Academic Awards Night and Honors Breakfasts. At the Academic Awards Night on June 6, 67 seventh graders and 63 eighth graders will be honored for achieving a 4.0 GPA; also on this night, 12 students will receive special awards for elective areas and the prestigious American Legion Awards will be presented to the 8thgrade girl and 8thgrade boy who best exemplify the qualities of leadership and citizenship. The faculty greeting will be delivered by retired math teacher Joe Ionta, and musical entertainment during the dessert social will be provided by the AEO Strings Group, under the direction of Mr. RobertKalanja. High school senior, Amanda Rees will deliver the alumni address. Members of the 8th Grade Select Chorus, directed by Ms. Jen Little, will also provide entertainment. At the Honors Breakfasts, 129 seventh graders and 109eighth graders will be recognized for achieving grade point averages between 3.4 and 3.9. Under the direction of guidance counselors Joe Miller and Missy Markiewicz, both events are being planned by more than 25 teacher volunteers. These events recognize and honor AEO students who haveworked all year to achieve academic success. The theme of the events is“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” -Albert Einstein. 

The AEO Track Team had a very successful season with 138 7thand 8thgrade boys and girls participating. Boys’ Head Coach andboys'/girls' sprinting and hurdlescoach, Nick Oto and Girls’ Head Coach andboys'/girls' long distance coach,Wade Campbell were assisted throughout the season by Fran Sciullo boys’/girls’ high jump and long jump coach; Joe Fishell coaching theboys' and girls' shot put and discus; and Courtney Martz coaching the boys' and girls' sprinting and hurdles

Many tremendous school records were broken this year. Ashley Amato in 100 meter hurdles with a time of 16.4. Ethan Winesburgh in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 16.6 and in the long Jump with a distance of 19 feet, 1inch.  

More notable accomplishments this season were the place winners at some of the invitationals the athletes attended. Ashley Amato finished in 1stplace in the 100 hurdles at the Mars Invitational; Ana Benetez placed 1stin the High Jump at the Mars Invitational; the boys 4x100 relay team (consisting of Ethan Winesburgh, Dajoun Bell, Ashton Teeter, and Jon Malinowski) placed 1stat the Plum Junior High Invitational; Carlee Domke placed 1stin the 100 meter hurdles at the Highlands 7thgrade invitational; Brianna Schlegel placed 1stin the 400 meter run at Highlands Invitational; Shannon Moran placed 1stin the shot put at the Highlands invitational; Roman Franchi placed 1stin the 110 hurdles at Highlands Invitational; Mike Pernice placed 1stin the shot put at the Highlands invitational; and the Girls 7thGrade 4x400 team (consisting of Miranda Martin, Jessica Dupal, Jamie Ratesic, and Amanda Parente) took first at the Highlands Invitational. 

Art Club Field Trip to Warhol Museum
On May 15, Art Club sponsors, Mrs. Amanda Durick and Mr. Bill DePew accompanied their members to the Warhol MuseumThe students received a guided tour by a museum docent; the tour included a brief description on Warhol’s childhood and how he discovered the pop silkscreen technique. Eighth graders attending were the following: Megan Abriola, CJ Beegle, DeanaBellante, Melissa Braun, Micaila Brown, Josie DiClaudio, Allyson Donnelly, Emily Gall, Alayna George, Candace Graham, Travis Jenkins, Samantha McGowan, Grace Merlin, Victoria Michaels, Samantha McGowan, Alex Pogue, Marissa Pronio, Betsy Young, and Bryana Zanotelli. Seventh graders attending were the following: Mathieu Barron, Allison Burns, Chelsea Burton, Stephanie Craft, Brooklyn Emahizer, Alexa Ferchaw, Nikki Gilboy, Kayla Graziano, Teddy Jeannette, Claire Klippel, Hunter Mitlo, Audrey Pattock, Julia Rupert, Hailey Ryan, Mauriana Sciullo, and Shannon Soboslay. 

Obstacle Course
To round out a year of fun and fitness, the AEO Physical Education Department will hold theannual Obstacle Course Competition on the last day of school. Sixteen students qualifiedfor the event by recording top times in gym class. The 7thgrade girl qualifiers wereClaire Klippel, Riley Polecik, Skyler Kutzner, Amber Martin, and alternate Savannah Proden;7thgrade boys wereDante Palmieri,Lenny Briscoe, Mauro Cautela, Roman Franchi, and alternateRyan DeLoach . 8thgrade girl qualifiers included: Ana Benetez,Lauren Slane,Maddie Biertempfel,Christine McGregor, alternateKayla Morrill;8thgradeboys wereDillon Billotti, Tony Dininno, Joe Durso, Austin Pryzmanski, and alternate Matt Goodlin. 

GATE Forensic Tournament
The seven students on the GATE Forensics Team dominated the Eastern Suburbs Special Programs Association Tournament, taking six of the eight awards given.  The schools in the association included the following: Greensburg-Salem, Woodland Hills, East Allegheny, Steel Valley, and West Hempfield. Students could participate in a dramatic duo, poetry, and prose.  Students were evaluated only on their voice, facial expressions, and gestures, and they were not permitted to move about the stage or look at their partner. In the dramatic duo competition, Lisa DiVittorio and Matt Goodlin won first with “Scientist Meet Fish” by Susan Kim.  Victoria Michaels and Megan Oravetz took second with a selection from “Finding Nemo” from Disney.  In the poetry competition, Logan Tomko won first with “Vincent” by Tim Burton.  Tori Monstrola won second with “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss, and Tom Frank took second playing George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the prose competition.  Lisa DiVittorio walked away with third reading “Former Miss Grain Belt Turns Feminist” from a fictional newscast.  Every student from Plum placed in each category that they entered.  Congratulations to those students!

Knitwits Field Trip
On Tuesday, May 22, the Knitwits and their sponsor, Mrs. Yorkshire, took a field trip to Starweaver Alpaca Farm.  Starweaver is owned by Wini Lebreque, a nationally prominent fleece judge and lecturer.  They learned about 23 types of fiber, processed alpaca fleece in a carding mill, used a knitting machine, and hand-dyed wool and alpaca yarns.  Those attending were Molly Dinnin, Rylee Carter Alyssa Fleischman, Angela Mamatas, Skyler Kutner, and Sarah Kirkpatrick.

Awards Breakfast for Honor Students
The Honors Breakfasts on May 24 (for 8thgraders) and May 25 (for 7thgraders) recognized 109 8thgraders and129 7thgraders for achieving grade point averages between 3.4 and 3.9. Each student received a hearty breakfast and a special certificate. Mr. Miller, Ms. Markiewicz, and more than 25 teacher volunteers planned the event.

Music Concerts
The 7thGrade 8thGrade Chorus, under the direction of Jenifer Little, performed their spring concert on May 23rd.  This year, there are 432 students involved in the choral program.   The 7thand 8thgrade Select Ensembles performed “Mambo Italiano” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” in the style of Glee.  Alexandra Zegar, a graduate of Plum High School, is the choreographer for the groups.  Stars and Stripes and the spiritual “Oh, Won’t You Sit Down” are a few of the songs the 7thGrade Chorus performed.  The 8thGrade Chorus entertained the audience with numbers like Beatlesongs and the Zulu song “Aya Ngena”.

Finally, Mr. Robert Kalanja’s 7thand 8thgrade bands entertained on May 22, and his 7thand 8thgrade strings groups performed on May 10.

Professional Learning Communities
AEO teachers were meeting throughout the month of May to discuss final exams, new ideas for next year’s curriculum, activities to honor academic excellence, and strategies to motivate students suffering from spring fever. Seventh grade reading and reading skills’ teachers discussed novels, changes to literary vocabulary words, audio books, Hall of Fame success, and curriculum for next year. Foreign language teachers developed packets for reviewing for the final exam. The Honors Breakfasts and Academic Awards Nights were discussed in PLCs consisting of teachers across the curriculum. English teachers discussed common final exams, lessons for next school year, and changes in technology for next year. Math teachers collaborated on the eligible content for Dr. Rossi and final exams. Special education teachers discussed the concerns they had about testing rooms this year and worked out possible changes for next year. Finally, the science teachers discussed the implementation of the momentum lab, the presentation of motion and forces unit, and plans for a common final exam.


Family and Consumer Science Students Complete Pillowcases for Children’s Hospital
Fred Rogers believed that “Life is for service”. Mrs. Braun, Oblock family and consumer science teacher, encouraged students to make pillowcases for Children’s Hospital as an extracurricular activity. The community service project was to make the hospital stays for chronically ill children as pleasant as possible. The project allowed students to transfer theoretical knowledge to actual practice by integrating the knowledge from math class (line and angle measurement) into real life activities.  

The money for this project came from a McDonalds Grant.  Some of the fabric was also donated in memory of Eda Harchelroad, Doris Harchelroad, and Doris Brown. The students completed about 60 pillowcases. Those who worked on the project were Gigi Garcia, Sydney Desiderato, Brooklynn Emahizer, Savana Proden, Alec O’Block, Justin McKenna, Sabrina Davenport, and Credence Yocca.

Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture. The program’s goal is to make wellness a part of the game plan in school and encourage more physical activity. This year Oblock students were involved in tennis, soccer, and basketball intramurals and all participated in the gym class obstacle course.
Students were also involved in taste testing in the Oblock cafeteria. The taste test events included sweet potatoes, which are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium and Greek yogurt, which is high in calcium and protein.

Pirate Game
The Oblock Junior High chorus students of Ms. Jen Little have been busy practicing the National Anthem in preparation for their performance prior to the June 8 Pirate game.  More than 175 students, accompanied by an additional 675+ families, friends, and faculty, will be attending the event which, according to Ms. Little, “…is a great outreach project that not only affects members of our community but extends beyond Plum as well.”  The students will stand in the outfield at PNC Park and perform in front of thousands of people.  Also, Ms. Little added, “It gives me an opportunity to teach the National Anthem and discuss the importance of this to our country.”  Guidance counselor, Mr. Joe Miller assisted in planning this important event. 

Junior High Play
This year’s junior high class play was titled “Beowulf on a Budget”.  Premise:  A local theatre was broken into on the eve of their production Beowulf and all of the props and costumes were stolen.  What followed was a humorous adaptation of the original story involving household items and common objects used as props to put on the show.  The cast consisted of 7thand 8thgraders and involved over 20 students.  The show ran on May 31stin the auditorium of Oblock Junior High. 

An impressive 2012 yearbook was distributed at AEO recently under the direction of art teacher Mrs. Amanda Durick who is in her eighth year as yearbook sponsor.  Students look forward to this day and enjoy getting the signatures of their friends and teachers, especially the 8thgraders who want to preserve their junior high memories.  Eighth grade yearbook officers included Rachel Valotta, president; Alyssa Doyle, vice president; Victoria Michaels, secretary; and Emily Gall, treasurer.  Eighth grader editors this year also included Kayla Anderson, Angela Campbell, Alyssa Ioannou, Nicole Ioannou, and Sarah Mozelewski.  Seventh grade staff members included Allison Burns, Taylor Fusco, Kassy Knight, Nicole Polakovic, Mauriana Sciullo, and Alyssa Towchik.

Academic Awards Night
Students who achieved exceptional academic success this year at A.E. Oblock Junior High School were recently honored. The event was the Academic Awards Night on June 6 in the school cafeteria, 67 seventh graders and 63 eighth graders were honored for achieving a 4.0 GPA; also on this night, 12 students received special awards for elective areas. The prestigious American Legion Awards werepresented to the 8thgrade girl,KaylaAnderson, and the 8thgrade boy, Patrick Crossey, who were selected by their teachers for best exemplifying the qualities of leadership and citizenship.  

Principal Joe Fishell welcomed parents and students. The faculty greeting was delivered by retired math teacher Joe Ionta, and musical entertainment during the dessert social was provided by the AEO Strings Group, under the direction of Mr. RobertKalanja. High school senior, Amanda Rees will deliver the alumni address. Members of the 8th Grade Select Chorus, directed by Ms. Jen Little, also provided entertainment with the musical selection, “An Irish Blessing.” 

Under the direction of guidance counselors, Joe Miller and Missy Markiewicz, the events were planned by more than 25 teacher volunteers.  The annual event recognized and honor AEO students who haveworked all year to achieve academic success. The theme of the events was“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” -Albert Einstein.

Special awards were presented to individual students in several categories at the Awards Night. The categories and recipients included the following: Chorus-- Rebecca Lee; Band-- David Myler; Orchestra-- Jeremy Ferkatch; Art-- Victoria Michaels; Family and Consumer Science-- Lindsay Kadlecik; Technology Education-- John Malinowski; Physical Education-- Jacob Chapla and Kelsey DiClaudio; Spanish-- Victoria Monstrola; and French-- Jessica Lloyd.  

AEO Art Gallery and Annual Art Show
Art is dynamic and relevant at AEO as witnessed by the recent addition of a permanent art gallery in the hallways to display exceptional art works and by the brilliant display of creative projects at the 11thannual Art Show. Paintings for the AEO Art Gallery are selected, according to Mr. Bill DePew and Mrs. Amanda Durick, AEO art teachers, when they “show creativity and a high level of quality.” The AEO gallery is now confined to the hallway leading to the art rooms, but they eventually hope to extend it down the main hall for more public availability. “This is just another small, but important, step in promoting the visual arts and the students here in Plum,” stated Mr. DePew.  

Since this year’s Art Show theme was music,the projects consisted of musicians and turning recycled materials into art projects like old albums and CDs. Two classes made animal themed projects created out of recycled materials. Students and teachers lined the walls with student projects representing their study of many artists and their individual art styles. The cafeteria and gymnasium were also filled with creative and unique student displays. Some of the new paintings will be added to the permanent collection. The projects were a result of research regarding the style, history, and media used by students’ favorite artists; from this research they created PowerPoints to share with the class and, ultimately, visual projects representing the artists’ styles. According to Mrs. Durick, “students were very creative with art materials this year.  Projects were made out of recycled materials, melted crayons and records, broken CDs, and guitar picks.” A new addition to the Art Gallery was the art club. The art club’s projects focused on the theme of music including sculpture Warhol style portraits of musicians, song lyric drawings, glitter CDs, and scratch art mosaics.  

From the decorated hanging CDsto the cartoon paintings to the 3D pictures, the displays both awed and impressed the visitors who attended the Band Concert and the Academic Awards Night activities.  

8thGrade Picnic
AEO 8thgraders enjoyed a picnic day the last week of school to allow them to celebrate their graduation from junior high school. These deserving students attended Fun Fest in Harmarville. There were able to engage in many activities including bowling, laser tag, pool, and arcade games. The eighth graders enjoyed socializing with their friends, listening to a DJ, and a lunch of pizza, cookies, and drinks were provided for the students. 

Top AEO Readers
Both the Scholastic Book Fair and Team Read have kept Mrs. Susan Pinal, AEO librarian, busy in May.  She reports that the Book Fair was a huge success. Shestated, “I believe our Team Read initiative, culminating in the Hall of Fame, has prompted our students to purchase more books to achieve their own personal goals.”  Also, more than 50 new titles have been added to the AEO library from the Book Fair selections.  A large portion of the profit from the book fair went to purchase prizes and gifts for the Hall of Fame Breakfast.

Competition for the Reading Hall of Fame has ended with 351 students earning a place in the esteemed Reading Hall of Fame (53% of students at AEO), according toMrs. Pinal.  To reach this prestigious goal, students had to read an average of 25-30 books and accumulate more than 126 Accelerated Reader points. Encouraged by a support team including librarian Mrs. Pinal, Principal Joe Fishell, Activity Period and study hall teachers, and the reading/English teachers, the students moved through the junior varsity, varsity, and all-star ranks before being inducted into the Hall of Fame. This number is 54 more than last year’s total of 297 Hall of Fame readers. The Hall of Fame has grown in the last six years from 31 the first year, 86 the second, 173 the third, 206 the fourth year, 297 last year, and 351 this year!

Ten Hall of Fame members made it to the prestigious 500-Point Club with the top three receiving $25 gift cards.  The top three point earners for the year were Noah Coulson with 2,840.3; Gabrielle Miller with 2,335.6; and L.T. Scheetz with 1,026.3. Other members of the 500-point club were Jenna Cecchetti, Kayla Graziano, Rebecca Hyland, Claire Klippel, Lilianna Lalchan, Zeynep Ozcan, and Linda Yount. In addition to the 351 Hall of Famers, AEO had 110 All-Star Readers; 150 Varsity Team members; and 40 Jr. Varsity Team members.  That means 98% of the students made it into one of the categories! Also, forty-five lucky Hall of Fame students won a 10 dollar gift card to either Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Subway, or Starbucks.

Students who had the most points in their individual reading classes were also awarded free Kennywood tickets.  Winners were as follows: Josh Anderson,Matt Ansell, Noah Barosh, Jenna Cecchetti, Marie Citrano, Jordan Cortazzo, Noah Coulson, Ben Davis, Lisa DiVittorio, Carlee Domke, Tim Feerst, Brandon Galiano, Domanic Geraci, Kayla Graziano, Caleb Horner, T.J. Hyland, Rebecca Hyland, Nico Ionadi, Sarah Kirkpatrick, Claire Klippel, Lilianna Lalchan, Tara Marcyjanik, Thomas Matusky, Cora McKee, Gabrielle Miller, Zeynep Ozcan, L.T. Scheetz, Tyreese Sweeney, and Linda Yount.   


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