May - June 2017

May-June 2017 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School

French Dinner Cruise

On Monday, May 15th, Mrs. Mendenhall and forty French I students enjoyed a French dinner cruise, aboard the Gateway Clipper. The students had the opportunity to experience French cuisine, culture, games, authentic French Pop music straight from the airwaves of France, and entertainment of Howard Mineone, French comedian and mime, all while sailing along Pittsburgh's Three Rivers.


Nine GATE students participated in the “Ship-a-Chip” competition. The students had to work to mail a Pringles potato chip through the US Mail to another school without having it break. The students had to create their own package to mail the chip in, and create a QR code to apply to the outside of the container with directions on how to correctly open the package. If the chip made it intact, the combination of the smallest and lightest package would win. Two teams were successfully able to mail the chip without having it break. Two teams from Oblock placed, taking 2nd and 3rd place overall. The 3rd place team consisted of Alexandra George and Alexis Beiter. Congratulations to the high scoring team from Oblock that took 2nd overall consisting of Rachel Bunce and Gowri Warrier.

Girls’ Softball

The girls’ softball team had a tremendous season. Members of the team include: Francesca Beighley, Hannah Blanford, Makinzie DeRiggi, Makayla Jackson, Jaralyn Kincaid, Brooke Kundla, Maura Marston, Melanie Mienke, Ashley Polakovic, Sydney Proden, Mackenzie Stapf, and Shianne Walker. Great season girls!


The AEO Track Team had a very successful season with 105 7th and 8th grade boys and girls participating. Boys’ Head Coach Wade Campbell and Girls’ Head Coach Courtney Mendenhall were assisted throughout the season by Joe Fishell and Rich Bernardi.

The track and field team had wonderful results at the 15th Annual Plum Invitational on May 3. Girls 4X800 relay placed 4th: Ella Logan, Morgan Filar, Ally Pack, Sydney Anderson; Boys 4X800 relay placed 1st: Reed Martin, Ethan Jones, Nick Kineck, Will Brewer; Girls Hurdles: Emily Kirkpatrick placed 2nd , Jillian Durst placed 4th; Girls 100m: Jamie Seneca placed 6th; Boys 1600m: Nick Kineck placed 1st, Will Brewer placed 5th; Girls 400m: Faith Holyfield placed 3rd; Girls 4x100 relay: Jamie Seneca, Adrianna Mack, Emily Kirkpatrick, Khyliah Horne placed 1st; Boys 800m: Reed Martin placed 1st , Nick Kineck placed 3rd; Girls 200m: Adrianna Mack placed 2nd; Girls 4x400 placed 1st: Emily Kirkpatrick, Ella Logan, Sydney Anderson, Jamie Seneca; Boys 4x400 placed 4th: Reed Martin, Max Matolcsy, Alex Mitolo, Nick Kineck; Girls Long Jump: Jamie Seneca placed 2nd; Boys Triple Jump: Max Matolcsy placed 3rd; Boys Shot: Logan Parker placed 3rd; Boys High Jump: Max Matolcsy placed 3rd; Boys Long Jump: Max Matolcsy placed 3rd; Girls Shot: Kai Johnson placed 4th; Girls Triple Jump: Khyliah Horne placed 3rd , Jillian Durst placed 5th; The Plum Boys Track Team Placed 2nd overall in the meet and the Plum Girls Track Team Placed 2nd overall in the meet. Great job to all of the athletes and helpers at this invitational!

Congratulations to the following students that medaled at the WAADA Championships on Saturday: Boys 4X800m relay placed 2nd and broke the school record: Reed Martin, Ethan Jones, Will Brewer, and Nick Kineck; Girls 4x800m relay placed 3rd: Morgan Filar, Ally Pack, Ella Logan, and Sydney Anderson; Girls Triple Jump: Khyliah Horne placed 4th; Boys Shot Put: Logan Parker placed 1st; Boys 1600m: Nick Kineck placed 3rd; Boys Discus: Rocco Caprara placed 6th; Girls High Jump: Chloe Brown placed 4th and Khyliah Horne placed 6th; Boys 800m: Reed Martin placed 2nd and Nick Kineck placed 6th; Boys 4x400m relay placed 5th: Reed Martin, Ethan Jones, Nick McMasters, and Will Brewer. Congratulations to all of the athletes that competed Saturday and to the entire track team for a great season!

Music Concerts

The 7th and 8th grade Chorus, under the direction of Jenifer Paraschos, performed their spring concert on May 9th. This year, there are 460 students involved in the choral program. The 7th and 8th grade Select Ensembles performed “Lacrymosa”, from Mozart's "Requiem" and "Babylon Canon". The 7th grade students performed “Chickery Chick", "Feed the Birds" from "Mary Poppins" and "Someone's in the Kitchen", to name a few. The 8th Grade Chorus entertained the audience with numbers like "Sippin' Cider with Eliza", "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "The British Invasion" a Beatles medley.

Seventh grade students Elizabeth Amen, Macey Barritt, Alicia Colose, JoJo Garcia, Anna Saville and Bailey Walker were featured on a descant as well as Rachel Bunce, Elizabeth Glasspool, Caroline Hunter, Kasey Kiggins, Ashley Pastor and Alexis Thornton on kitchen utensils. 8th grade student, Paige Harris, performed a solo piano piece. The concert was accompanied by Judi Figel.

Mr. Robert Kalanja's Orchestras had their Spring Strings Concert on May 11th. Three groups played. The 7th grade orchestra played pieces such as "Kings Court" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The 8th grade orchestra played pieces such as “African Accents,” "Themes from Harry Potter," and “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. Also featured in the strings concert was a guitar ensemble from the 8th grade music classes. They played "Yankee Doodle," "Ode to Joy," and "Surf Rock."

AEO Art Gallery and Annual Art Show

Art is a dynamic element of Oblock Junior High. The art department has been making constant additions to the permanent art gallery in the hallways to display exceptional artwork completed by students. In the halls dazzling exhibits of creative projects are on display for the 16th annual Art Show.

The students once again have produced a wide variety of amazing works of art. Art student, Emily Zangrilli has created several awesome black and white drawings, one of Emily's works of art was displayed in a local art show along with Plum high school students work. Emily is also designing the program cover for this years honors evening. Several students have explored photography this school year, creating several different projects using the iPads. In addition to all the larger projects, many students have produced some really interesting works of art, have explored photography, printmaking, metal sculptures and also used recycled materials to create one of a kind works of art. The art show will be on display starting May 11th and run until May 31st. Again this year was another very successful display of student creations.

The seventh graders focused on the ceiling tile project, creating many designs on the ceiling tiles throughout the school. In addition, students drew realistic portraits in their choice of media, and many students created papier-mâché drawings independently or in groups. Seventh graders finished out art class creating graffiti letter designs or independent projects. Seventh grade feature artists were John Hill and Addison Sofran.

From the decorated Ceiling Tiles to the recycled artwork to the photography and printmaking, the displays both awed and impressed the visitors who attended the Band Concert and the Academic Awards Night activities.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Degas

STEM Scholarship Awarded

Mallory Sourlas was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship from EVERFI. She was selected from thousands of entries across the country. Mallory completed the STEM lesson that was affiliated with the Pittsburgh Penguins that went along with the practice that Oblock attended as a school field trip. After the field trip, she completed an essay reflecting on her experience regarding the process. Congratulations Mallory!

Career Fair

On May 19, students from Plum Senior High School who attend Forbes Road CTC were at Oblock to provide students with career information. These students were here representing their fields of interest. Some of the careers that were represented were the following: electrical technology, automotive technology, advertising design, multimedia design, advanced manufacturing, early childhood education, landscape design, collision repair, cosmetology, culinary arts, EMS, and computer networking security. Oblock students were very interested and asked the Forbes students a variety of quality thought-provoking questions. An excellent experience was had by all.

Awards Night

Students who achieved exceptional academic success this year at A.E. Oblock Junior High School were recently honored. The event was the Awards Night on May 25 in the school cafeteria, where 93 seventh graders and 79 eighth graders were honored for achieving a 4.0 GPA; also on this night, 9 students received special awards for elective areas. The prestigious American Legion Awards were presented to the 8th grade girl, Emily Segar, and the 8th grade boy, Lucas Wycich, who were selected by their teachers for best exemplifying the qualities of leadership and citizenship.

Principal Joe Fishell welcomed parents and students. Musical entertainment during the dessert social was provided by the AEO Strings Group, under the direction of Mr. Robert Kalanja and AEO Band, under the direction of Mrs. Erin Marion. Brianna Allison, delivered the alumni address. Members of the 7th and 8th Grade Select Chorus, directed by Mrs. Jenifer Paraschos, provided entertainment.

Mr. Miller, Ms. Markiewicz, and more than 25 teacher volunteers planned the event. The event recognized and honors AEO students who have worked all year to achieve academic success. The theme of the event was "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Special awards were presented to individual students in several categories at the Awards Night. The categories and recipients included the following: Chorus— Julia Vargo; Band— Audrey Lawrence; Orchestra— Aamirah Hickman; Art—Emily Zangrilli; Technology Education— Michael Bednar; Physical Education— Sydney Linhart & Lucas Wycich; Spanish— Sydney Linhart; and French— Julia DeFabio.


Students at Oblock received both a paper copy of the yearbook and a video yearbook this year, which was created by Mrs. Durick and the yearbook staff. Yearbook staff members this year included Adriana Mack, Alexis Thornton, Aydin Polliard, Cadence Domke, Cosette Swan, Emily Simmons, JD Cochran, Julia Chapkis, Kaitlyn McKenna, Kaitlyn Schmidt, Matt Diss, Megan Miller, Nathan Brown, Talia Leone, Tristyn Auth, and Sam Pine.

Honors Breakfast for Honor Students

The Honors Breakfasts on May 31 (for 8th graders) and May 30 (for 7th graders) recognized 106 8th graders and 118 7th graders for achieving grade point averages between 3.4 and 3.9. Each student received a hearty breakfast and a special certificate. Congratulations to those hard working students.

8th Grade Picnic

AEO 8th graders enjoyed a picnic day the last week of school to allow them to celebrate their graduation from junior high school. These deserving students attended Zone 28 in Harmar. They 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.

Talent Thursday Extravaganza!

All year Oblock students have been able to display their talents during their lunch periods. On June 2, AEO enjoyed the third Annual, Talent Thursday Extravaganza. All the acts practiced to put on a show for the entire school. The seventh and eighth grade students thoroughly enjoyed the performances. Congrats to all participating students!

Library News and Top AEO Readers

The top readers and Fantasy Baseball Math Club attended a Pirate game at PNC Park thanks to a grant from PPG. The morning of May 26 started with a weather presentation by local meteorologists Jeff Verszyla from KDKA and Stephen Cropper from WPXI. Then students had time to start their workbooks by completing a scavenger hunt for stations located throughout the stadium with answers to the questions.

May 5-12 was the annual spring Scholastic Book Fair. Students went to the Book Fair during their reading or English class and were able to return for purchases before school or during their study halls. It was a great time to get books for summer reading! Overall, the book fair was a huge success! A large portion of the profit from the book fair went to purchase prizes and gifts for the Hall of Fame Breakfast.

The Team Read Competition has 187 students earning a place in the esteemed Reading Hall of Fame. To reach this prestigious goal, students had to read an average of 25-30 books and accumulate more than 126 Accelerated Reader points (hours). Encouraged by a support team including Principal Joe Fishell, activity period/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. When this program started eleven years ago, the Hall of Fame only had 31 students!

Thirteen Hall of Fame members made it to the prestigious 500-Point Club. There were also 3 students earning more than 1,000 points (Mark VanOrden, Alexandra George, and Rudra Thakkar). In addition, AEO had 113 All-Star Readers; 212 Varsity Team members; and 66 Jr. Varsity Team members. Also, over 40 lucky Hall of Fame students won gift cards to places like Amazon and Target ranging from $5 to $125.

Students who had the most points in their grade or the most in their individual reading classes were also awarded free Kennywood tickets thanks to the PTSA.

Print This Article