AEO’s newspaper,Mustang Moments, has provided students, staff, and parents with two big issues packed with news, sports, features, and amazing photographs. This important public relations tool for the school is sponsored by AEO English teachers, Mrs. Karen Mienke and Ms. Melissa Addis, and staffed by a dedicated group of 7thand 8thgraders who have an interest in writing and/or photography, as well as journalism and reporting. It serves as a communication tool for Oblock students, faculty, parents, and the Plum community, recognizing the achievements and notable events of Oblock Junior High School. According to the advisors, the mission of the paper is to “provide students with the opportunity to identify and write about newsworthy events and people in their school community, while improving their listening, writing, and editing skills.” Ms. Addis stated: “The newspaper is an excellent opportunity for students who have an interest in writing to practice their skills and a great tool to highlight the people and events that make Oblock a unique and wonderful school. Students, parents, and even faculty members are often surprised at all that is happening at Oblock after reading theMustang Moments.” Mrs. Mienke added: “The newspaper staff is a unique, hardworking group of individuals who do a wonderful job of getting the Oblock news out to the students, parents, and faculty. They show enthusiasm for writing, andtheir efforts are evident in the two issues that have been circulated.” The staff consists of the following: News Editors--Shannon Barr, Machaela Erdeljac, Tara Marcyjanik, Caitlin Boyle, Brianna Marks, Mark Johnston, and Nick DiGuilio; Feature Editors--Taylor Fusco, Amanda Nichols, Meghan Barrett, Kaleigh Ray, and Jessica Pendergraft; Sports Editors--Sylvia Ankrom, Jared Carr, Nino Fischetti,Alyssa Towchik, Meghan Walker, Mike Pernice, and Emily Oehling;Activity/Club Editors--Nick Palmer, Chris Baker, Tori Monstrola, and Javier Calero; andPhotographers--Lexis Adreon andSylvia Ankrom.
The AEO library is a busy place in the winter as all students through their English classes are working on research papers under the guidance of their classroom teachers and the school librarian Susan Pinal. From biographies to sports to world events, students are doing both online and book/magazine research while learning the fundamentals of the research process, including how to do in-text and online citations and how to locate authoritative sources on the Internet. Also, 25 students each week “Get Caught Reading” and receive a book mark and reward from Burger King, and all students continue to work toward the end-of-the-year grand prize of freeKennywood tickets to the best readers in each class.
In January, the library honored books that have won awards, such as the Newbery Medal, the Michael Printz award, the Coretta Scott King award, and the Margaret Edwards award, among others. This challenge tied in with other awards like the Golden Globes that are popular this time of year. Students chose from a list of 45 award-winning books to participate in this challenge. If they read and passed the AR test, they earned a prize from Mr. Fishell. The following students successfully completed January’s book challenge: Dennis Newton, Justin Sembower, Joshua Cochran, Caitlin Born, TJ Hyland, Nathaniel Albert, Jacob White, and Alyssa Fleischman.
There has been an increased amount of reading and it is definitely being reflected in the progress students are making in the Accelerated Reader’s Team Read program. By the end of January, 144 students have achieved the highest honor in Team Read by earning more than 126 points and arriving at the Hall of Fame. An additional 150students are in the All-Star level, just points away from the Reading Hall of Fame, 254 are in the Varsity level, and 77 are in the JV level, bringing the total to 625 students (out of 670-93% of students) are in one of the windows.
On January 26 a group of 7thand 8thgrade GATE students from Oblock Junior High competed in the Science Bowl at theCarnegie Science Center. The students who competed wereRachel West, Victoria Michaels, Tori Monstrola, Ryley Handyside, Ana Benitez, Adriana Bernaiskaya, Matt Saich, Noah Coulson, Graham Merlin, Spencer Zacher, and Tom Frank. Mrs. Scharba and the GATE students werealso joined by students from all five of the elementary schools. Students participated in a variety of science-related competitions. They were also able to attend an IMAX movie entitledRocky Mountain Express while they were there, which detailed the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway from its inception to present day. All of the students had a great time and did a wonderful job at all of the competitions.
Eighth Grade Boys’ Basketball
The AEO 8thGrade Boys’ Basketball Team, coached by Mr. Rich Mull, social studies teacher, has had a competitive first half of the season. Members of the team includeTaylor Vivino, Brian Magnus, Matt Saich, Ethan Winesburgh, Patrick Crossey, Dillon Bellotti, Jack Marold, Tommy D’Andrea, Carlos Henderson, Nick Carlisano, Robby Deemer, Ryan Accettulla, Kevin Brown, and Alec Zahn. At the end of January their record was 12-1. The top scorers are Crossey, Vivino, Marold, Winesburgh, Deemer. Coach Mull states that this team is extremely hard working and is happy with their progress thus far. The team members and coach look forward to a strong finish to the season.
Seventh Grade Boys’ Basketball
The AEO 8thGrade Boys’ Basketball Team, coached by Mr. Bill Depew, art teacher, has had much action in the first half of the season. Members of the team includeJordan Ernst, Jordan Slagle, Logan Valvo, Nick Frazetta, Cooper Myers, Dante Bernardi, Andrew Nolan, Ben DeSabato, Michael Anderson, David Palmieri, Brian Doczkat, Nolan Carney, Colin Dedert, Alex Billstone, Alex Terrell, Anthony Saccone, Tyler Plunkett, Adam Mahr, and Ricky Stickel. The seventh grade team leading scorer is Adam Mahr. Their record so far is 5-7 and they are hoping for a strong finish to theseason.
AEO’s Wrestling Team, coached by Oblock social studies teacher Stephen Stremple, and principal, Joe Fishell is off to a great start. Members of the team are Dylan Bartlett, Anthony Capalonga,Mauro Cautela, Ryan Connelly, Dominic Davido, Ryan DeLoach, Tony DiNinno, Zach Eckman, Matt Goodlin, James Grimes, Dominic Hodil, Nathan Hoff, Christie McGregor, Zach McGregor, Nick Meyers, Chris Monroe, Dennis Newton, Mike Pernice, Austin Pryzmenski, Derian Quarles, Billy Rhoades, Tyler Ruggiero, Kenny Sellers, Trevor Sommer, Daniel Ulyanyuk, and Tommy Zummo.
Professional Learning Communities
Teachers at AEO continue to meet in PLCs to discuss curriculum, plan common lessons, and dialogue about new trends in technology and education. Algebra teachers met to discuss CDT results and PSSA prep, Moodle pages, and technology integration. The geography teachers discussed Moodle materials and Multi-Cultural Night. The art teachers convened to talk about where they will be displaying art work and how to set up 4-square graphic organizer as a tool for writing assignments for their artist research projects. The tech ed and computer teachers discussed curriculum and their plan to use Microsoft Live in their classrooms. The language teachers met to discuss changes to the Exploring Spanish and French syllabi in regard to expectations. Physical educations teachersdiscussed fitness testing and the use of Microsoft Live. The learning support reading and English teachers focused motivating students, ordering state materials, and students with modified tests. Finally, the reading and English teachers planned strategies for preparing student for the PSSAs, including anchor glossary games, and ways to help students retain what they learn. Those teachers are discussed AR success and planning the research process.