December 2016

December 2016 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School


Ten members of the AEO gifted program traveled to Woodland Hills High School for the sixth annual K’Nex tournament on December 2, 2016. Students were challenged to design a cage structure that would withstand an impact from an exercise ball. Congratulations to Jeffrey Yan, Rudra Thakkar, Robert Fleming, Caleb Bedillion, and Max Weingrad for being the top ranking Plum team with a third overall ranking! Special honorable mention went to the second Plum team of Alexandra George, Rachel Bunce, Gowri Warrier, Lily Klucinec, and Erica Taylor. Great job to everyone who participated.

Hat Day

On Friday, December 2, 2016 Oblock students and faculty paid a dollar to wear a hat during school. The money was donated to the Make-a-Wish foundation. Many students and faculty participated in the event and a great donation was given to Make-a-Wish. Student council organized the event by wearing hats the day before. Thanks to all those who organized and participated in hat day!

Flute Players at the Pittsburgh Glass Center

On December 3, seven flute players in the Oblock Junior High band played at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, under the direction of band teacher, Mrs. Erin Marion. The young ladies (Ashley Persia, Ella Caruso, Hannah Westover, Abbie Hayward, Emily Zangrilli, Audrey Lawrence, and Lily Klucinec) took advantage of the opportunity to entertain the crowd visiting the center with holiday music.

AEO Snow Club

Thirty-six students and several faculty members at Oblock are gearing up for some fun in the snow at Hidden Valley this winter. Under the direction of Ryan Silvis, a five-week ski program beginning in January has been planned for students who enjoy skiing and/or snowboarding. The trips take place on Friday evenings immediately after school. Lessons will be available for both beginners and more advanced participants. Officers for this year are as follows: Charlotte Jones, President; Ryan Wesolowski, Vice-President; Manuel Martin, Treasurer; and Cassie Wiles, Secretary. Faculty chaperoning the trips include Mr. Silvis, Mr. Beatty, Mr. Mischen, and Mr. Fishell.

Holiday Assembly

Members of the high school chamber choir and strings quartet came to Oblock to share their talents with the 7th and 8th students and faculty. The students and staff enjoyed the festive music and singing from the talented high school students.

Oblock Cares Read-A-Thon

Again this year the students of Oblock read for a cause. Every year the AEO students raise money for local charities, MAW Plum Food Pantry and Stampede in the Park. The goal again for this year’s Read-a-Thon was to read 500 books in 2 weeks. Before the Read-a-Thon started the students got pledges from sponsors and set goals for the number of books they planned to read. From November 21 through December 5, they kept track of the books they read and then collected their pledges. The students read 562 books in that two-week period, and raised an astounding $3000, and donations are still coming in! Over 150 students and staff participated. The prize winners who earned gift cards to Game Stop, Target and Starbucks were the following students: Emily Innes, Andrew Kiehl, Nathan Brown, Tyler Jackson, and Richie Hrivnak. A big thank you goes out to the ELA teachers for organizing and planning this event for the twelfth year.

Strings Concert

On the evening of December 15th, AE Oblock presented the 2016 Strings Concert. The concert consisted of 7th and 8th grade string players. They played holiday music that brightened the audience's day. If you could not attend this concert, a small group of musicians will provide entertaining music for patrons of Chick-Fil-A at the Miracle Mile in Monroeville on Monday, December 19th from 6-8pm.

Chorus Concert

The 7th and 8th grade chorus presented their Holiday Concert at Oblock on December 22nd. Directed by Jenifer Paraschos, the ensembles performed in front of many students and guests. The 7th grade Select Chorus performed "December's Keep" and the 8th grade Select Chorus performed "Carol of the Bells", a capella. Songs performed by the 8th grade chorus included "Counting Down to Christmas", from the musical "A Christmas Story", a medley of carols in "12 Songs of Christmas" and "Sleigh Bells", which is based on Russian folk music. Seventh grade selections included "Let it Snow", "Have a Merry One", and the student favorite, "Frosty and the Hand Jive".

Socratic Seminar

The Socratic Seminar is designed to explore a deep topic in a group setting. Group members are expected to study a text, work of art, photograph etc. and discuss its themes among themselves. It is not a competition, but should be an exercise in understanding multiple meanings and communicating cooperatively and effectively.

Plum students were trained in the Socratic Method by Mrs. Yorkshire for several weeks prior to the event. They learned effective communication skills and discussed ideas related to the painting "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh and the Statue of Liberty's "The New Colossus."

At the seminar, students were divided into two groups and directed to explain the quote, "After the law, morality."

GATE students who took part in the recent Socratic Seminar at Franklin Regional were Chloe Brown, Rachel Bunce, Evan Smith, Joey Panichella, Alex Vidas, Gavin Monick, Zoe Sallinger, Alexis Beiter, Alexandra George, and Lily Klucenik.

Following the competition the students along with their advisor, Mrs. Yorkshire, enjoyed a lunch at Burgatory.

Oblock Students Participate in Nationwide Mathematical Competition

Each year thousands of students across the nation apply their problem solving skills in the annual Mathematical Association of America’s American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8). The AMC program is dedicated to developing the next generation of problem solvers through friendly competition. This year, 10 students from Oblock Junior High took the AMC 8, which covers middle school mathematics concepts, and competed for local and national awards. This November, more than 130,000 students from more than 2,000 schools participated in the AMC 8 nationwide. Congratulations to Jeffrey Yan, Rudra Thakkar, and Gowri Warrier for scoring gold, silver, and bronze from Oblock. Additionally, Jeffrey Yan received an Honor Roll of Distinction for scoring in the top 1% nationally in the AMC 8.

Team Read Update

Oblock had 52 kids in the Reading Hall of Fame with 126 points/hours by the holiday break. Five of them have over 500 points (v. 3 last year) and 12 have over 300 points each (v. 11 last year). At the All Star level are 69 students (76 points), 278 at the Varsity level (26 points), and 144 at the junior varsity level. That means 543 students total are at one of the levels.

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