May - June

May-June 2013 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High


Life Science Department
The 8th grade Life Science Department would like to thank Susan Campbell and PPG Industries for their $1000 Public Education Leadership Community grant for the second year in a row. 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.


Girls’ Softball
The girls’ softball team finished a solid season with a record of 12-3 under the direction of Coach Froehlich.  Members of the team are as follows: Michaela Palmieri, Delenn Poe, Rayna Donatelli, Amanda Dynoske, Alyssa Cotter, Marissa Lynch, Gia Zazzera, Meghan Barrett, Keri Bellisario, Marissa Beighley, Sabrina Maggio, Sidney Young, Tara Marcyjanik, Rachael Klipa, Becki Hyland, and Nicole Polakovic. 


Junior High Play
This year the Oblock Jr. High Drama Department will put on the "Broadway Dinner".  For the Broadway Dinner, the students will transform the cafeteria into a cabaret space for fine dining.  Seats are sold for the dinner on a first come - first serve basis.  Students performing in the Broadway Dinner also serve the food and bus the tables in between courses.  Musical numbers ranging from Les Miserables to The Little Mermaid will be performed.  The show date is May 23rd and dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.


The AEO Track Team had a very successful season with 120 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 Bernie Pucka and Joe Fishell. 

Notable accomplishments this season were the place winners at some of the invitationals the athletes attended.  Carlee Domke finished in 1st place in the 100m  hurdles at the Mars Invitational; Savanna Proden placed 2nd in the High Jump at the Mars Invitational; the boys 4x100 relay team (consisting of Karrson Ewing, Mario Coreno, Roman Franchi, and Nick Coxon) placed 4th at the Mars Invitational;  Carlee Domke placed 1st in the 100 meter hurdles at the Plum Invitational; Hunter Aubele placed 5th place in the long jump at the Plum Invitational, and the 4X100 relay team of Jason Molinaro, Quinn Stezoski, Mario Coreno, and Roman Franchi placed 4th at the Plum Invitational.  Congratulations to all of the track athletes.


Obstacle Course
To round out a year of fun and fitness, the AEO Physical Education Department will hold the annual Obstacle Course Competition on the last day of school.  Fifteen students qualified for the event by recording top times in gym class.  The 7th grade girl qualifiers were Nina Huczko, Jasmyn Floyd, and Kat Jones.  The 7th grade boys were Connor Karkowsky, Christian Kougher, Sean Cook, and Max Manning.  The 8th grade girl qualifiers included: Claire Klippel, Skyler Kutzner, Savana Proden, and Justina Czekaj.  The 8th grade boys were Lenny Briscoe, Patrick Goodlin, David Palmieri, and Adam Mahr. 


Music Concerts
The 7th and 8th grade Chorus, under the direction of Jenifer Paraschos, performed their spring concert on May 15th.  This year, there are 485 students involved in the choral program.   The 7th and 8th grade Select Ensembles performed “Boogie Shoes” and “Proud Mary” in the style of Glee.  Alexandra Zegar, a graduate of Plum High School, is the choreographer for the groups.  The 7th grade students performed “Starry Night” which is based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar.  Another one of their selections was “Circle of Life” from the musical, The Lion King.  The 8thGrade Chorus entertained the audience with numbers like “Java Jive” and ”Durme Durme” which was performed in Landino, a Judeo-Spanish romance language. 

Mila Liberto, Jules Dunmore, Haley Grieco, Karen Dopico, Sam McCoy, Jillian McKinzie and Amber Stawecki were the featured 7th grade students.  Allison Burns, Shannon Moran and Jordan Williams were featured 8th grade students.  Nolan Carney, 8th grade chorus member, performed guitar solos during the stage changes with Ms. Figel, piano and Mr. Miller, drums. 

Finally, Mr. Robert Kalanja’s 7th and 8th grade bands entertained on May 16th, and his 7th and 8th grade strings groups performed on May 9th.  The 7th grade orchestra played pieces such as “Yesterday” by the Beatles and “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!NK featuring Nate Ruess from FUN.  The 8th grade orchestra played pieces such as “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins and Themes from Harry Potter by John Williams.


Honors Breakfast for Honor Students
The Honors Breakfasts on May 17 (for 8th graders) and May 16 (for 7th graders) recognized 112 8th graders and 122 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.


Professional Learning Communities
AEO teachers were meeting throughout the month of May to discuss final exams, new ideas for next year’s curriculum and the common core, activities to honor academic excellence, and strategies to keep the students working and turning in assignments.  The Honors Breakfasts and Awards Nights were discussed in PLCs consisting of teachers across the curriculum.  Seventh grade reading and reading skills’ teachers discussed novels, changes in curriculum for next year, audio books, and Hall of Fame success.  Foreign language teachers discussed final exams and writing prompts to promote higher level thinking skills to contribute to PSSA tests.  English teachers discussed final exams, lessons, curriculum, and the common core for next school year, and changes in technology for next year.  Math teachers collaborated on the preparation for the Keystone exams and common quarterly assessments.  Special education teachers discussed the concerns they had about testing rooms this year and worked out possible changes for next year.  The music department discussed implementing terms, reading, and information pertaining to history and created a composition in conjuncture with English classes.  The PE and health teachers discussed the obstacle course, fitness test, and final exams.  Finally, the science teachers discussed the Next Generation science standards , how they line up with what they are teaching now, various units, middle level grades scope and sequence, along with units and exams to coordinate with the SAS website.  


An impressive 2013 yearbook was distributed at AEO recently under the direction of art teacher Mrs. Amanda Durick, and English teacher Mrs. Karen Mienke.  Students look forward to this day and enjoy getting the signatures of their friends and teachers, especially the 8th graders who want to preserve their junior high memories.  Eighth grade yearbook officers included Nicole Polakovic, president; Taylor Fusco, vice president; Mauriana Sciullo, secretary; Alyssa Towchik, treasurer; and Kassy Knight, web coordinator.  Eighth grader editors this year also included Emily Brunson.  Seventh grade staff members included Marissa Beighley, Maria Caughey, Sofia Chapkis, Megan Mascilli, Madison Sciullo, Andrea Tomaro, and Amber Wolosencuk.

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 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. 

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 June 4 in the school cafeteria, where 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 were presented to the 8th grade girl, Claire Klippel, and the 8th grade boy, Adam Mahr, 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. High school senior, Christen Kraemer delivered the alumni address.  Members of the 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 events was “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.  Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”  Jimmy Carter


Special awards were presented to individual students in several categories at the Awards Night.  The categories and recipients included the following:  Chorus—Allison Burns; Band—Skyler Kutzner; Orchestra—Brianna Marks; Art—Halyley Lenhart-Smith; Technology Education—Nathaniel Albert; Physical Education—Savana Proden and Nicolas Coxon; Spanish—Justin Sembower; and French—Skyler Kutzner. 



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 art work completed by students.  In the halls brilliant exhibits of creative projects are on display for the 12th annual Art Show.  

During the school year, the 8th grade students explored the world of glass mosaics.  Students from several classes used recycled materials to create one of a kind glass mosaics.  The first mosaic had a “Never Forget” theme as a tribute to those currently serving in our military and all veterans.  The Mosaic was created using a recycled kitchen table and chairs.  All throughout the brightly colored table, there were four soldiers standing in different positions surrounded by a Purple Heart award and camouflage.  In the second mosaic, students explored the amazing work of art by Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night.  A recycled door was used to create this project, where students used acrylic paint on the wood part of the door and glass tiles on the windows.  The goal for the art classes was to create unique, involved visual projects that use recycled materials for a specific theme.  The visual projects will be added to the permanent collection for all to view and enjoy. 

 Along with the mosaic projects, students explored using wax as a medium.  The outcome of the projects was amazing. The students took crayons, and arranged them into a certain theme, and then blasted the wax with a heat gun controlling the heat and direction of the wax. The art department keeps exploring new techniques and creating unique, high quality, visual projects.  Mr. Depew is amazed by what the students created, and is pleased with another successful school year for the art students. 


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 7th grade students created two dimensional projects including Pop Art comic drawings, Op Art drawings, and Poetic Portraits. The three dimensional projects included collage Surrealism cubes, Paper-Mache Gargoyles, and plaster Warhol portraits. According to Mrs. Durick, “students were very creative with the art materials and efforts this year.” 


The art club, in its second year at AEO was a huge success containing over 100 7th and 8th grade students working during activity periods.  The art club’s projects focused on a variety of themes with scratch art mosaics and paintings as final products. 


From the decorated Pop Art comic drawings to the wax artwork to the Mosaic table and chairs, the displays both awed and impressed the visitors who attended the Band Concert and the Academic Awards Night activities.  

"Art teaches nothing but the significance of life." 


Library News and Top AEO Readers
The week of May 6-13 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!  The Team Read initiative seems to prompt students to purchase more books to achieve their own personal goals.  Over 30 new titles have been added to the AEO library from the book fair selections.  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.


Competition for the Reading Hall of Fame has ended with 348 students earning a place in the esteemed Reading Hall of Fame (53% of students at AEO).  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 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.  The Hall of Fame has grown in the last seven years from 31 the first year to 641 this year!


Twelve 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 Gabrielle Miller with 870.2; Jonathan Hiener with 831.6; and Kayla Graziano with 641.5.  Other members of the 500-point club were Marissa Beighley, Matthew Hartley, Bowen Henry, Claire Klippel, Lilianna Lalchan, Sommer Lewis, Max Lu, Ryder Springel, and Julie Weyant.  In addition to the 348 Hall of Famers, AEO had 102 All-Star Readers; 164 Varsity Team members; and 27 Jr. Varsity Team members.  That means 98% of the students made it into one of the categories!  Also, forty lucky Hall of Fame students won a gift card to either Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Subway, or Starbucks and three kindle fires were also raffled off. 


The theme for the book challenge this month was “Mysterious May”.  The students who successfully completed the challenge were Ryan Loebig, Nolan Carney, Ryder Springel, Marissa Beighley, TJ Hyland, Frank Czura, Gregory Perez, Sophia Weingrad, Skyler Kutzner, Amber Redburn, and Jordyn Roman.


Students who had the most points in their individual reading classes were also awarded free Kennywood tickets.  Winners were as follows: Hailey Dikun, Shaun Slagle, Madison Lippert, Lindsey Born, Owen Kurzdorfer, Codey Yount, Jonathan Hiener, Max Lu, Marissa Beighley, Vaughn Schrecongost, Samantha Friday, Todd Haberstock, Cody Stockman, Colin Patton, Lucas Foster, Ryan Kircher, Dom Borriello, Ryder Springel, Bowen Henry, Sommer Lewis, Matt Hartley, Julie Weyant, Gabrielle Miller, Kayla Graziano, Claire Klippel, Lilianna Lalchan, and Tara Marcyjanik.

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