October 2014

October 2014 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School

Student Council
Student Council members, under the leadership of Mrs. Jenna Romanelli, are busy planning fun and charitable activities for Oblock students to participate in this year. The mission of Student Council is to cultivate leadership, to provide opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills in the school and the community, and to instill the value of service through charitable acts. Activities for this year include planning and decorating for the Welcome Back Dance, Harvest Dance, Holiday Dance, and Spring Dance, along with sponsoring Hat Days, organizing a coat drive, assisting Reach Out Club with activities, and fundraising for the Make a Wish foundation.


Oblock’s award-winning yearbook is already being planned and subscriptions are being taken by a dedicated staff of 7th and 8th graders under the leadership of Mrs. Shannon Cecchetti, AEO Reading teacher, and Mrs. Linda Innocenti, AEO Science teacher. The 88-page hard cover book will include pictures of all students, faculty, sports, clubs, and activities, and it is on sale now. The cost is $25. To order, visit http://jostensyearbooks.com?REF=A07350600 and reserve your copy before December 1. Orders are only being accepted online.

Academic Endeavors
Twenty GATE students traveled to South Allegheny Middle School on October 16 to participate in the Academic Endeavors Competition. The Academic Endeavors is a competition in which students are challenged to compete against other schools in the following strategic/logic games: Quiddler, Boggle, Scrabble, Blokus, and Othello. Oblock entered four teams of five students and saw fantastic competitive results with Jonah Albert ranking 1st, Ian Dryburgh ranking 2nd, Kali Minick ranking 3rd, Justin Bruno ranking 4th and Jordan Westbrook ranking 5th in individual scores. Oblock captured first, second, and third place team scores. The 1st place overall team award went to Jonah Albert, Matt Brown, Justin Bruno, Ian Dryburgh, and Elsa VanBeek. The 2nd place overall team award went to Alexis Anderson, Christian Jones, Liza Loebig, Kali Minick, and Jordan Westbrook. The 3rd place overall team award went to Emily Bolton, Madeline Monick, Noah Sachs, Devan Taylor, and Jade Vrabel. This is the 5th year in a row Oblock has won this competition.

Girls’ Basketball
The Oblock eighth grade girls’ basketball had a successful season! The following athletes are members of the eighth grade team: Nicole Bohatch, Alyson Bryner, Samantha Casile, Angela Dawson, Jessica Frew, Molly McDade, Chloey Pilston, Alexa Seigh, Jillian Tishko, Olivia Wendell, and Kelsi Zik.

The 7th grade girls’ basketball team enjoyed a very positive season as well. Members of the team include: Kelsey Baranowski, Sierra Belgrave, Ana Boyle, Chloe Fabio, Rebecca Gras, Rylee Hepler, Mackenzie Lake, Ashley Sullivan, Angelina Tavella, Danielle Taylor, and Gianna Trombetta. Nice job girls!

Girls’ Soccer
The girls’ soccer team finished their season with a record of seven wins, nine losses, and one tie. The captains for the 7th and 8th grade girls’ soccer team were Caitlyn Brosius (8th grade), Mallory Ratesic (8th grade), and Laura Pearlman (7th grade). The two players with the most goals were Hannah Odom with six goals) and Mallory Ratesic with five goals. The following players are recognized for their outstanding effort at their field position: Caitlyn Brosius and Alex Ralph at midfield, Elena Banta at defense, and Zoe Nonnenberg in goal. Congratulations to the girls’ soccer team for their great season!

Boys’ Soccer
The AEO Boys’ Soccer Team finished with a record of 9 wins, 3 losses, and 2 ties this year. The very talented group was led by top scorers Luke Gildea, JC Floyd, Ben Tishko, and Dakota Bollinger. Goalies, Gavin Ekiert and Will Miller combined with strong defenders, Cole Kelly, Luke Zezza, Adam Lewis, and Connor Zik helped the team earn a shutout in 7 of their 14 games. Overall, the team outscored their opponents 46-16. Coach Dill stated that it was a great team effort throughout the season.

Cross Country

A total of forty boys and girls participated in cross country this year at Oblock. According to Coaches Mr. Wade Campbell and Mr. Joe Fishell, the team worked extremely hard. Team Captains this year for the boys were Zach End, Justin Decheck, and Jarrod Citrano. For the girls, Alexis Smith, Madeline Monick, and Abigail Glasspool. Conrad Hankinson placed 5th overall at the Fox Chapel invitational, as well as Krista Hydock placing 16th overall. In their final WAADA meet, the team ran very hard. Most of the runners ran their best times of the year. Conrad Hankinson placed 4th overall, Angela Valotta placed 12th overall, and Krista Hydock placed 15th overall. All of the athletes had a great season, and every single one of the runners improved their times from the beginning of the year to the end. Both teams ended the season with winning records. Their coaches couldn't be more proud of them.

Oblock Cares Read-A-Thon
AEO students are raising money for local charities, including Make-a-Wish, Plum Community Library, Plum Food Bank, Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, and many other worthy causes. By participating in the Read-a-Thon, the students will help to make a difference in the lives of others. The goal for this year’s Read-a-Thon is to read 500 books in 2 weeks! Before the Read-A-Thon starts on November 19, students will get pledges from sponsors and set a goal for the number of books they plan to read. The students will keep track of every book they read from November 19 through December 3. After the Read-A-Thon ends on December 6 at 3 pm, the students will total their books, collect their pledges, and hopefully reach the school goal of 500 books! Prizes will be awarded to the top earners. Oblock's Reach-Out club will be organizing and planning this event for the fourth year.

Twenty-eight 7th and twenty-two 8th grade boys learned football fundamentals this year under the guidance of head coach, Ryan Silvis and his assistants, Phil Beatty, Adam Szarmach, and Steve Stremple. Over the course of the season they learned the game of football and became a better team ready to move on to the next level.

The 7th grade team faced a schedule that put them against the best teams in the WPIAL, such as McKeesport, North Allegheny, and Shaler. They finished with 2 wins against McKeesport and Shaler. The highlight of their season was defeating Shaler, 12-0, to end their season after losing to the same team just the week before. Anthony Little, Nick Stitt and Larry Scafuri led the way on both sides of the ball. However, the strength of the team was with the line. On both sides of the ball the offensive and defensive lines continued to dominate. The line consisted of Dante Singleton, Akil Washington, Ryan Billings, Braeden Koehler, Matt Colalella, Aidan Wetmore, Nick Nardo and Brian Daugherty.

The 8th grade team also played against the top teams in the WPIAL. The boys played really well, but seemed to be plagued by injuries for most of the season. Most of them learned to play multiple positions and consistently stepped in to fill a hole whenever and wherever the need arose. At the junior high level, success is not always defined by wins and losses. Numerous boys got significant playing time in their first year playing football. These boys battled week in and week out and were a very competitive group. RJ Hart led the way on both sides of the ball, hauling in circus type catches and keeping the Mustangs in most games. Hunter Linhart stepped in as a first time starter at quarterback and really learned the position well. The other leaders of the team included: Cooper Aubele, Adam Garvin, Danny McGregor, Colin Stecik, Parker Zacher, Seth Norcutt, Shane Dudding and Tommy Lindsey.

Music Department
The 2014 - 2015 school year is off to an exhilarating start in the music department at A.E. Oblock Junior High this year. The 7th and 8th grade Chorus, under the direction of Jenifer Paraschos, is busy rehearsing for their upcoming holiday concert. The program continues to grow with another year of record enrollment. As a member of the ensemble, each student learns to sing with proper expression, technical accuracy, posture, embouchure, breathing technique, and tone production. The class explores different styles of choral literature and languages. The current repertoire includes "Winterlight", "Peppermint Winter", "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" and an arrangement of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" from the hit movie, Frozen. Each ensemble meets three out of six days in the cycle. The 7th and 8th grade Select Ensembles are busy rehearsing repertoire in the style of GLEE. Students for these groups were selected by audition and perform with choreography. The Holiday Concert is Tuesday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m.at the Senior High School Auditorium.

History Bowl
Sixteen GATE students traveled from AEO to the Heinz History Center on October 29th to participate in the History Bowl, an academic event designed to engage students in problem solving and creative thinking. Accompanied by Mrs. Trenz, GATE Advisor, the students had to complete challenges in four exhibits in the History Center: Pittsburgh's Special Collections, Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat, Sports Museum, and Heinz. Over 200 students from area schools took part. 

The purpose of the event is to promote interest in American history and the heritage of Western Pennsylvania through the interactive exhibits. AEO students did an excellent job in the competition and had fun, while learning about local history. Attending the event were: Emily Bolton, Matthew Brown, Carter Campbell, Abigail Casey, Cheyenne Copeland, Ian Dryburgh, Gabe Esposto, Angelo Giunta (St. Bernadette), Christian Jones, Cole Kelly, Madeline Monick, Katie Mozelewski, Noah Sachs, Devan Taylor, Jack Troy, and Aiden Wetmore.

Library News
Oblock is working hard again with reading this year as more incentives and programs challenge the students to read more than they ever have. Students are listening to excerpts from books during their lunch periods, they are already being rewarded by getting in the lunch line first when they reach the Reading Hall of Fame, and teams are preparing for the Battle of the Books competition.

Many students have already earned numerous AR points to guarantee their place in the Reading Hall of Fame as part of the library’s Team Read competition. All students may participate in Team Read by accumulating Accelerated Reader points in order to reach one of the four levels of the program: Junior Varsity, Varsity, All-Star, or Hall of Fame. There are 24 students at the Hall of Fame level already, including Lexi Moreland, who is the first to reach the 300 Point Club this year. Forty-one students are at the All-Star level, 256 at Varsity level, and 177 have made it into the JV reader level! That’s a total of 498 students who have made it into one of the levels.

There are 30 students comprising five teams preparing for the annual AEO Battle of the Books competition. Books from the Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice list are circulating among the team members as they prepare for the first day of competition on November 7. Teams will compete during activity periods with the winners being declared after the final competition on November 17.

The October book challenge was to read and pass an AR tests from a pre-approved list of (long) scary books. Congrats to the following students who met Mr. Fishell's October book challenge: Emily Beyer, Claire Gendron, Kendra Kelsesky, Lexi Moreland, Phoenix Olsavsky, Kacie Persia, Mason Proskin, and Cassidy Schrencongost.

Professional Learning Communities
The AEO teachers continue gathering at 7:30 a.m. or during common open periods to discuss academic issues and to share lesson ideas. The math department was busy discussing common core standards, lessons, and assessments. The social studies department discussed common midterm assessment, adaptations, and lesson ideas. The technology staff was busy conversing about ITPP Grant and Robotics Club. A common subject of PLCs in October for the Reading/English Department was discussing writing and how to prepare for ELA PSSA test, reading strategies, open-ended questions, PSSA preparation, and Moodle. They also discussed eligible content and curriculum updates. The special education teachers conversed about comprehension strategies to use before, during, after reading, along with curriculum. The foreign language teachers brainstormed project ideas, discussed their Moodle pages, and agenda items for the Foreign Language club that meets weekly during activity period. The science teachers continue to meet to discuss the curriculum, content, Study Island, and labs. Across the curriculum many teachers were discussing parent communications, SAP issues, end of the quarter issues, and parent-teacher conference day.

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