May-June 2015 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High School
French Dinner Cruise
On Monday, May 4th, Mrs. Mendenhall and thirty French I students enjoyed a French dinner cruise, aboard the Gateway Clipper. The students had the opportunity to experience French cuisine, culture, music, and entertainment of Howard Mineone, French comedian and mime, all while sailing along Pittsburgh's Three Rivers.
The girls’ softball team had a tremendous season under the direction of Coach Froehlich. Members of the team include: Sara Corcoran, Ashley Cotter, Gabrielle Fischetti, Abbegail Froehlich, Allie Galvach, Molly Giles, Olivia Grieco, Bailey Hulick, Kira Kiggins, Mackenzie Lake, Melinda Pivik, Britney Shanter, Sidney Shanter, Karina Singh, Samantha Stapf, and Olivia Wendell. Great season girls!
The AEO Track Team had a very successful season with 110 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 Phil Beatty and Ryan Silvis.
Congratulations to Madeleine Monick for breaking the school record in the hurdles with a time of 16.05 seconds! Also a congratulations to Hunter Linhart for breaking the school record in the discus with a distance of 146 feet! Great job!
Some super athletes that medaled at the Plum Invitational were as follows: Madeline Monick-1st 100m hurdles, Claire Gendron-4th 100m hurdles, Robert Hankinson-5th 100m hurdles, Alyson Byrner-5th 1600m, Conrad Hankinson-3rd 1600m, Xavier Lyons-5th 400m, Dan McGregor, Thomas Lindsay, Miles Tush, Rahmon Hart-5th 4X100m relay, Madeline Monick, Claire Gendron, Devan Taylor, Alyson Bryner-5th 4X400m relay, Conrad Hankinson, Xavier Lyons, Cole Kelly, Miles Tush-3rd 4X400m relay, Jillian Tishko-3rd high jump, Brody Simmons-2nd high jump, Emme Lawton-6th discus, and Hunter Linhart-1st discuss (Broke the school record). Congratulations to the track team for an outstanding season!!
To round out a year of fun and fitness, the AEO Physical Education Department will hold the annual Obstacle Course Competition during the last week of school. Twenty-one students qualified for the event by recording top times in gym class. The 7th grade girl qualifiers were Claire Gendron, Angela Valotta, Kali Minick, Ashley Sullivan, Olivia Pernice, and Abby Glasspool. The 7th grade boys were Miles Tush, Robert Hankinson, Kyle Delaplane, and Evan Stinson. The 8th grade girl qualifiers included: Maddie Monick, Sophia Tkachuk, Jillian Tishko, Ally Bryner, Jenna Moorehead, and Alex Ralph. The 8th grade boys were Sam Pagano, Shane Bacasa, Conrad Hankinson, Justin Decheck, and Cole Polliard.
The 7th and 8th grade Chorus, under the direction of Jenifer Paraschos, performed their spring concert on May 12th. This year, there are 490 students involved in the choral program. The 7th and 8th grade Select Ensembles performed “Footloose” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” in the style of Glee. Jan Zegar, retired Plum Music Teacher, is the choreographer for the groups. The 7th grade students performed “Stodola Pumpa” which is a Czechoslovakian Folk Song and "Things That Never Die" which is based on a Charles Dickens poem. Another one of their selections was “We Go Together” from the hit movie and musical "Grease". The 8th Grade Chorus entertained the audience with numbers like “James Bond", and ”On My Own” from the musical "Les Miserables".
Kelsey Evans, Ross Betar, Liza Loebig, Savannah Kay, Nate DeLuce, Justin Mascilli, Tyler Gallagher, Melanie Campbell, Yasmine Durrani and Abby Casey were the featured 7th grade students. Fadya Kumbuka, Justin Bruno, Jess Frew and Derek Jenkins were featured 8th grade students. Alaina Cirigliano, 8th grade chorus member, performed a piano selection during the stage changes. The concert was accompanied by Judi Figel.
Mr. Robert Kalanja's Orchestras had their Spring Strings Concert on May 7th. Four groups played. The 7th grade orchestra played pieces such as “Celtic Suite" and "Dragon Dances" by Soon Hee Newbold. Next, the chamber orchestra performed "Overture" by Black Veil Brides. The 8th grade orchestra played pieces such as “Yesterday” by the Beatles and “Irish Suite” which is collection of Irish Folk Songs. Also featured in the strings concert was a guitar ensemble from the 7th and 8th grade general music classes, who played "Yankee Doodle," "Ode to Joy," and "Rockin' Robin."
Finally, Mr. Robert Kalanja’s 7th and 8th grade bands entertained on May 14th. The 7th grade bands featured piece was "Drive." They also played a well-known piece titled "Celebration." The 8th grade band played several pieces. Their feature piece was "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis. There were many soloists during the concert. One was Aidan Doyle, whose picture was featured in the Plum Advance Leader.
Honors Breakfast for Honor Students
The Honors Breakfasts on June 3 (for 8th graders) and June 2 (for 7th graders) recognized 105 8th graders and 87 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 aligning curriculum to 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 changes in curriculum for next year, audio books, and Hall of Fame success. Foreign language teachers discussed final projects and writing prompts to promote higher level thinking skills. English teachers discussed lessons, writing, curriculum maps, and curriculum changes for next school year. Math teachers collaborated on the preparation for the Keystone exams and common assessments. Special education teachers discussed the concerns they had about possible changes for next year. The music department discussed the changes in curriculum, success of concerts, and concert dates for next year. The PE and health teachers discussed the obstacle course and fitness tests. The social studies teachers talked about hands-on activities, primary source documents, and reviews for exams. Finally, the science teachers discussed the changes in the curriculum, differences in labs, and the various units of study.
An impressive 2015 yearbook was distributed at AEO recently under the direction of reading teacher Mrs. Shannon Cecchetti, and science teacher Ms. Linda Innocenti. 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. Yearbook staff members this year included Juwanna DelGiacco, Ryan Billings, Jamie Ham, Abigail Glasspool, Katie Schohn, Lauren Newton, Luke Cecchetti, Sophia Vargesko, and Cody Bollinger.
Talent Thursday Extravaganza!
All year Oblock students have been able to display their talents during their lunch periods. On May 29, AEO enjoyed the first 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!
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.
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 3 in the school cafeteria, where 100 seventh graders and 45 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, Alexandra Ralph, and the 8th grade boy, Evan Sante, 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. Alexandra Vitti, 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 event was "It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be." Dumbledore - J.K. Rowling
Special awards were presented to individual students in several categories at the Awards Night. The categories and recipients included the following: Chorus— Carly Chandler; Band— Kenny Bostard; Orchestra— David Gale; Art— Jillian Tishko; Technology Education— Conrad Hankinson; Physical Education— Alexandra Ralph and Colin Gilboy; Computer Applications— Gabriella Elliot; Spanish— Isabella Stoll; and French— Autumn Leatherwood.
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 dazzling exhibits of creative projects are on display for the 14th annual Art Show.
The students once again never cease to amaze; a few larger scale projects were created again this year. Nicole Abrams created a mixed media work of art using recycled materials, the door includes license plates, records, tiles, and metal along with several other materials. The theme of the door is "My City" and was featured at the New Kensington better block party. Student, Jill Tishko created a glass mosaic, the mosaic theme was a tree branch. Throughout the school year Jill worked diligently adding each piece of glass. The mosaic was finished off with a distressed wood frame. Once again students used several materials to create works of art including license plates, wax, plaster and a large amount of acrylic paintings. The student work was highlighted this year during the band concert and academic awards night, another awesome display.
The seventh grade projects included plaster pop art sculptures, comic enlargement drawings, graffiti names, zentangles, collage portraits and independent projects. Art club created paintings and large group collages of famous artworks.
From the decorated Pop Art comic drawings to the graffiti 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 300 Point Club and Battle of the Books students went to Education Day at PNC Park on May 27 thanks to a grant from PPG. The morning 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 8-15 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.
Competition for the Reading Hall of Fame has 216 students earning a place in the esteemed Reading Hall of Fame (48% 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/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 ten years ago, the Hall of Fame only had 31 students!
Eleven Hall of Fame members made it to the prestigious 500-Point Club and all received a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card, with the top three receiving $25 gift cards. There are a few days left, but the current members of the 500-point club are Alexandra Moreland, Kacie Persia, Cole Kelly, Robert Hankinson, Jamie Ham, Omar Matin, Aidan Doyle, Vanessa Wright, Cameron Corrigan, Abigail Casey, and Noah Lane. In addition, AEO had 107 All-Star Readers; 191 Varsity Team members; and 81 Jr. Varsity Team members. That means 98% of the students made it into one of the categories! Also, 39 lucky Hall of Fame students will win a gift card to either Barnes & Noble, Burger King, iTunes, Pizza Hut, Subway, Starbucks, or Target along with three kindle fires that will raffled off at the Hall of Fame breakfast.
The theme for the book challenge in May was all about adoption for National Adoption month. The students who successfully completed the challenge were Cassidy Schrecongost, Leanna Moore, and Emily Beyer.
Students who had the most points in their grade or the most in their individual reading classes were also awarded free Kennywood tickets thanks in part to the PTSA. Winners were as follows: Ross Betar, Abigail Casey, Luke Cecchetti, Jesse Cook, Aidan Doyle, Emily Druga, Wiame Elbahtaoui, Jamie Ham, Robert Hankison, Cole Kelly, Noah Lane, Omar Matin, Lexi Moreland, Michael Napierkowski, Kasey Nolte, Praj Perez, Jermel Perilman, Kacie Persia, Michael Saikaly, Dante Singleton, Curtis Stewart-Frison, Hailey Wittkop, Jonah Albert, Amanda Klein, Jade Vrabel, Bailey Weber, and Vanessa Wright.