October 2013 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High School
Student Council members, under the leadership of Mr. Steve Stremple, are busy planning fun and charitable activities for Oblock students to participate in this year. The members are elected by the student body after submitting a petition signed by their peers and teachers as an endorsement for their candidacy. 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. Jen Scharba, AEO English 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. Officers for the 2013-14 are Marissa Beighley – president, Madison Sciullo – vice president, Andrea Tomaro – secretary, Maria Caughey – treasurer, and Brianna Lentz – web coordinator.
Fifteen GATE students, accompanied by GATE advisor, Mrs. Teresa Barker, traveled to South Allegheny Middle School on October 9 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 three teams of five students and saw fantastic competitive results with Reed Coulson ranking 1st, Matt Brown ranking 3rd, and Carter Campbell ranking 4th in individual scores. Oblock captured both first and second place team scores. The 1st place overall team award went to Frank Czura, Ryder Springel, Reed Coulson, Bowen Henry, and Carter Campbell. The 2nd place overall team award went to Brandon Horvatic, Matt Brown, Ian Dryburgh, Jade Vrabel, and Jared Martorell. This is the 4th year in a row Oblock has won this competition.
The Oblock eighth grade girls’ basketball currently is much improved contributing to a successful season, stated Coach Bernie Pucka. The following athletes are members of the eighth grade team: Haley Chiusano, Sydni Whiteman, Emily Daugherty, Autumn Henry, Madison Myers, Tifani McElhouse, Leah Kuzinski, Jamie Denzer, and Rhiannon McCune. All the girls have worked hard and contributed to the winning record of 8-6. The girls played well this year, and their hope to end the season on a high note against McKeesport and Seneca Valley. The girls will wrap their season up Oct. 21st and 22nd in the Annual North Allegheny tournament.
The 7th grade girls’ basketball team is enjoying a very successful season to date. The team currently stands at 12-3, with 3 games remaining on the schedule. Members of the team include: Alexa Seigh, Chloey Pilston, Jillian Tishko, Molly McDade, Nicole Bohatch, Isabella Russo, Olivia Wendell, Dee Pernice, Jess Frew, Samantha Casile, and Angela Dawson. The team hopes to finish the season strong at the North Allegheny tournament next week. Good luck girls!
The girls' soccer team finished their soccer season, with a remarkable record of 12 wins, 2 losses, and 3 ties! The top three girls with the most scored goals were: Jasmyn Floyd (10 goals), Anjalina Malazich (8 goals), and Mallory Ratesic (6 goals). The top four girls with the most assists were: Jordyn Huemme (6 assists), Mallory Ratesic (6 assists), Anjalina Malazich (5 assists), and Jade Vrabel (5 assists). Kelsi Zik and Rachel Zimmerman each had 6 shutouts! Congratulations to the girls' soccer team for an outstanding season! Great job!
The AEO Boys Soccer Team finished with a record of 16 wins and 2 losses this year. The very talented group was led by top scorers Callan Scharba, Kole Lisovich, Payton Goodwin, and Jackson Gildea. Strong defenders Sean Saich and Kevin Magnus helped the team to earn a shutout in 11 of their 18 games. Overall, the team outscored their opponents 96-12. Coach Dill stated that it was a great team effort throughout the season.
Over forty boys and girls participated in cross country this year at Oblock and according to Coaches Mr. Wade Campbell and Mr. Joe Fishell, the team worked extremely hard. Team Captains this year for the boys were Sean Cook, Xavior Lyons, Justin Decheck, and Alex Smith, and for the girls Mackenzie Kieffer, Megan Mascilli, Alexis Smith, and Harley Craig. In their final WAADA meet, the team ran very hard. Most of the runners ran their best times of the year. 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.
Oblock Cares Read-A-Thon
AEO students are raising money for local charities, including Make-a-Wish, Plum Community Library, Plum Food Bank, the Hillman Cancer Center, 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 22, 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 22 through December 6. 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 third year.
Oblock GATE students Emily Bolton, Alexis Bruno, Cloe Hall, Megan Mascilli, Katie Mozelewski, Noah Sachs, Devan Taylor, Victoria Turchick, Jade Vrabel, and Sophie Weingrad recently competed at the Creative Convention at Allegheny Valley Junior/Senior High. The students competed in four creative thinking tasks requiring brainstorming, project construction, creative thinking, and performance. The students competed in various challenges related to the theme, "Games." Oblock’s team competed against sixteen teams from six other school districts. The team was coached by GATE advisor, Mrs. Amanda Durick. Katie Mozelewski won a prize for her Link costume from the video game "Zelda".
Twenty 7th and thirty-five 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 Fox Chapel. Their record was 2-3-1. Their last game ended in dramatic fashion with RJ Hart scoring on a reverse with under 30 seconds left to steal a win away from Fox Chapel by the score of 18-14. Hart scored twice in that game and led the way all season long with circus catches week in and out forcing teams to double and triple team him at times. Their other win came against Latrobe, while they tied McKeesport. The team was plagued with injuries but the boys did a nice job of stepping up and filling in. Leading the way all season long for the team was Adam Garvin, Colin Stecik, RJ Hart, Shane Dudding, Nick Hubner, and Seth Norcutt.
The 8th grade team finished with a record of 3-3-2. Their wins came against Gateway, Wilkinsburg and South Allegheny, while their two ties came against Penn Hills and North Hills. The boys did a great job of fighting week in and out against some really good teams. The defense led the way all season long by giving up an average of 11 points per game. On offense they were led by quarterback Dom Carlisano, running backs Dakota Sunday, and Corey Thomas, wide receivers Reed Coulson and Franklin Mercurio and lineman, Ashton Chaffo, Nathan Mull, Aaron Shefler, Mike Gianuzzi, and Nick Florek. There was also a group of first year players that learned a lot this season and look to make a nice addition in future years including Tom Stitt, Nick Gibson, and Mike Jones. As a group, these boys were eager to learn the game and showed tremendous growth over the course of the season. The future looks bright for Plum football.
The 2013–2014 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 "Throw Open Your Shutters", "I See a Star", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and a unique arrangement of "Jingle Bells". 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 are choreographed by Alexandra Zegar, a 2011 Plum graduate who is studying dance at Point Park University. The Holiday Concert is Tuesday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m.at the Senior High School Auditorium.
Bullying Prevention Program
Oblock's Anti-Bullying initiative kicked off this year on Thursday, October 24th. Miss Markiewicz, AEO counselor, went into all lunches and announced this year’s initiative to all students.
Thursday, October 31st will be our AEO STOMP OUT BULLYING DAY. All students and staff are encouraged to wear orange on this day. This year, students are encouraged to create an anti-bullying poster that will be judged the morning of October 31st and prizes will be awarded to one student from each lunch for the most creative poster.
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 lunch period, 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.
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 44 students at the Hall of Fame level already. Forty eight students are at the All-Star level, 293 at Varsity level, and 150 have made it into the JV reader level! That’s a total of 535 students who have made it into one of the levels.
There are 44 students comprising eight 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 in November 4. Teams will compete during activity periods with the winners being declared after the final competition on November 15.
The October book challenge this month was to read and pass two AR tests from books by Lois Duncun. Congrats to the following students who met Mr. Fishell's October book challenge: Nick Gibson, Marissa Beighley, Alexis Smith, Jadyn Hill, Justin DeCheck, and Max Lu.
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 the open-ended scores from the PSSA tests, collecting evidence, Keystone tests and preparation. The social studies department discussed preparing for the Veterans’ Day celebration and curriculum. The technology staff was busy conversing about changes in Microsoft 2013 and the Google Drive. A common subject of PLCs in October for the Reading/English Department was discussing nightly reading goals, reading strategies, quarterly assessments, open-ended questions, PSSA preparation, and Moodle. They also discussed graphic organizers 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 daily to discuss the curriculum, technology, and ongoing projects like the Environmental Science club and the STEM Club. Across the curriculum many teachers were discussing parent communications, SAP issues, end of the quarter issues, and parent-teacher conference day.