January 2013 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High School
Oblock’s newspaper, Mustang Moments, has provided students, staff, and parents with two big issues packed with news, sports, features, and amazing photographs so far this year. 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 7th and 8th graders 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 the Mustang 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, and their efforts are evident in the two issues that have been circulated.” The staff consists of the following: News Editors-- Shannon Barr, Amanda Nichols, Nina Huczko, and Karen Dopico; Feature Editors-- Tara Marcyjanik, Caitlin Boyle, Brianna Marks, and Meghan Barrett; Sports Editors—Grace Balzer, and Sydney Workman; Activity/Club Editors—Megan Mascilli, Cameron Clark, Danielle DelVecchio, and Sommer Lewis; and Photographer—Hanna Rindt.
In the fall all 7th and 8th grade students were given the opportunity to participate and compete in the Reflections contest. Reflections is a program that is theme based and gives the students the chance to reflect with their music, art/photography or writing abilities. The theme for this year was "The Magic of a Moment.... ". The students completed their entries on their own time and submitted them to the library in October. Many students worked hard and turned in creative products, and the results are now in! The following students placed in the visual arts category: 1st-Kayla Green, 2nd-Marissa Beighley, 3rd- Hugh Donnelly, and 4th-Ariana Papadopolous. In the literature category Megan Mascilli was first. In the photography category 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place went to Kere O’Donnell for her entries and in 4th was Hannah Elynczky. Finally, in Film Production was Abby Evans in 1st place.
After the entries were judged at the school level, they went on to the Plum Council of PTA level. In the visual arts category was Marissa Beighley in 1st, Hugh Donnelly in 3rd, Ariana Papadopolous in 4th, and Kayla Green with an honorable mention. In literature was Megan Mascilli in 1st place. In photography was Kere O’Donnell in 2nd and 4th place. Abbey Evans was 2nd place in Plum Council in film production, but 1st place in Allegheny County. Abbey will be moving on to the state level! Congratulations to all students for their time and hard work.
On January 15 a group of 7th and 8th grade GATE students from Oblock Junior High competed in the Science Bowl at the Carnegie Science Center. The students who competed were Alexis Bruno, Reed Coulson, Frank Czura, Dominic DeFabio, Carlee Domke, Nick Frazetta, Tanner Froehlich, Matt Hartley, Ryan Loebig, Jordyn Roman, Erin Simqu, Ryder Springel, and Jacob Tarosky. Mrs. Barker and the GATE students were also 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 entitled Hubble while they were there, which detailed the many NASA journeys to enhance the space telescope. All of the students had a great time and did a wonderful job at all of the competitions.
Future City Competition
On Saturday, January 19, Mr. Beatty accompanied both seventh and eighth grade students to the Carnegie Museum for the Future City Competition. The students began working on their models in October, during activity periods and after school. The students who attended were Johnathan Hiener, Sofia Chapkis, Graham Merlin, Ryan Loebig, Blake George, Carlee Domke, Jared Martorell, Makayla Sherve, and Frank Czura. These students worked extremely hard and won the following awards: Best City Layout, Best Bridge, Best Overall City, which was voted on by other schools. Congratulations to all the students on a job well done!
On January 24, Mr. Kalanja led the 7th and 8th grade band students in their winter band concert. Both ensembles played a wide variety of music which the audience very much enjoyed. The 7th grade band, having 50 members, which is the largest group to come to Oblock in a few years, played pieces such as “Cardiff Castle”, an exciting piece called “Drive”, and their favorite “Dark Adventure”. The 8th grade ensemble played “Chester”, a popular song during the Revolutionary War, John Philip Sousa's “U. S. Field Artillery March”, and “African Marching Song”. The bands were excited about their performance and look forward to their spring concert on May 16th.
Eighth Grade Boys’ Basketball
The AEO 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball Team, coached by Mr. Rich Mull, social studies teacher, has had a competitive first half of the season. Members of the team include Logan Valvo, Cooper Myers, Jordan Ernst, Michael Anderson, Adam Mahr, Andrew Nolan, Tyler Plunkett, Alex Billstone, Walter Washington, Ben DeSabato, Logan Carney, Dante Bernardi, Colin Dedert, Jordan Slagle, Anthony Saccone, Nick Klonowski, and Max Cass.
Seventh Grade Boys’ Basketball
The AEO 7th Grade 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 include BJ Campbell, Dominic Carlisano, Markus Cestra, Jadin Fields, Jacob George, Michael Giannuzzi, Isaiah Horne, JJ Jenkins, Ryan Kircher, Jeremiah McClain, Nathan Mull, Colt Robb, Will Rumcik, Sean Saich, Logan Simmons, Corey Thomas, RJ Wigenton, and Peter Zullo. The team’s leading scorer is Isaiah Horne averaging 12 points per game, and Will Rumcik is chipping in about 10 points per game. Coach Depew wanted to add a quote from Michael Jordan, “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
AEO’s Wrestling Team, coached by Oblock social studies teacher Stephen Stremple is off to a great start. Members of the team are Cameron Anderson, Dylan Bartlett, Justin Bartley, Dominic Bernardi, Anthony Capalongo, Jacob Cappa, Mauro Cautela, Dominic Davido, Ryan DeLoach, Michael DelPino, Joe DelPino, Luke Foster, Jordan Fries, Shawn Fries, Ryan Gallagher, Matt Goodlin, Dominic Hodil, Josh Hordubay, Jacob Innes, Nico Ionadi, Josh Kirkpatrick, Max Manning, Brian McCloskey, Zach McGregor, Nick Meyers, Chris Monroe, Dennis Newton, Mike Pernice, Martin Pivik, Austin Pryzmenski, Derian Quarles, Matt Rossi, Chase Ruffner, Zac Scholze, Keyshawn Smith, Trevor Sommer, Tom Stitt, Daniel Ulyanyuk, and Antonio Williams. The team’s record so far is 5-4, and the wrestlers placed 2nd as a team at the South Fayette Invitational. Wrestlers who placed individually at the invitational are as follows: Max Manning-2nd, Dom Davido-1st, Nick Meyers-4th, Antonio Williams-1st, Ryan DeLoach-1st, Brian McCloskey-3rd.
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 quarterly assessments, lining up curriculum, writing curriculum, and sharing notes. The social studies teachers discussed curriculum, scope and sequence, and the use of nonfiction materials within their classrooms. The science teachers convened to talk about technology, labs, content, and curriculum. The tech ed teachers discussed curriculum and the success from the Future City competition, while the computer teachers discussed Progress Books. The language teachers met to discuss changes to the Exploring Spanish and French syllabi in regard to expectations. 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 students for the PSSAs, and they also discussed curriculum writing, common core standards, the research process.
On Thursday January 31, Mrs. Barker, AEO math teacher and ten members of the Oblock GATE program traveled to Woodland Hills for the 30th annual Equations Tournament. According to Mrs. Barker, “Equations is a game played with 24 cubes containing numbers and operators. The cubes are shuffled to reveal the resources for that round. A number goal is set and students take turns placing the cubes into 3 categories: forbidden, permitted, or required. Students are challenged to find complex solutions to average goals. The game takes a lot of forward thinking, logic, and reasoning skills.” Congratulations to Team Oblock for finishing in 3rd place and to Dom DeFabio, Nick Frazetta, and Quinn Stezoski for being Oblock's top three scorers! Additional members of the team included Ryan Loebig, Jake Tarosky, Nolan Puhala, Nick Klonowski, Frank Czura, Jared Martorell, and Tori Turchick.
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.
In January, the library book challenge was titled “Sweet Reads”, focusing on books that were Candy or Fun-Food related. Those books were Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot”, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator: The Further Adventures of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka, Chocolate –Maker Extraordinary, The Big Splash, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, Bliss, The Candymakers, The Candy Shop War, The Sweetest Spell, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, and Drizzle. If they read and passed the AR test, they earned a prize from Mr. Fishell. The following students successfully completed January’s book challenge: Thomas Highland, Jordyn Roman, Colin Lewis, Alyssa Fleischman, Lilianna Lalchan, Somer Lewis, Hannah Arrow, Christina Guerriero, Marissa Beighley, Michael Schollaert, Eric Scherger, Max Lu, and Ryder Springel.
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, 164 students have achieved the highest honor in Team Read by earning more than 126 points and arriving at the Hall of Fame. An additional 155 students are in the All-Star level, just points away from the Reading Hall of Fame, 232 are in the Varsity level, and 81 are in the JV level, bringing the total to 632 students (out of 665-95% of students) are in one of the windows. The amount of students in the Team Read is ahead of last year and they are on a record-breaking pace! Great job students!