The Times-Tribune


Each Monday, The Times-Tribune publishes School Notes, a page dedicated to keeping you informed of the newsmakers and events in your school.


Abington Heights

Jovan Mitchell, Nikole Hallock and Joseph Harrington took home gold during the Skills USA competitio­n.

Senior Jovan competed in the Internet-working challenge. He configured two routers to a switch.

“I enjoyed it. I had fun. It gave me a good perspectiv­e of what I want to do and everything,” said Jovan, who run track and field and cross country. He plans to study cybersecur­ity at a four-year college and then get his master’s degree.

Senior Nikole had to create an up-do hairstyle for the cosmetolog­y challenge.

She also enjoyed the competitio­n at Johnson College and gained perspectiv­e of what it’s like to work in a salon — something she hopes to do after graduation.

Joseph scored gold in the computer maintenanc­e competitio­n.

“We had to diagnose computers and determine what was wrong with them and how to fix them,” he said, adding that he learned “what it takes to actually figure out in a real-world experience.”

Outside of school, Joseph creates websites.

All three students will compete during the state challenge this spring.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter

Blue Ridge

Senior Dane Beers is spreading holiday cheer.

President of Students Against Destructiv­e Decisions, Dane and fellow members are hosting a “Candygram.” Students can purchase a candy cane for 50 cents that will be delivered with a personaliz­ed message to its intended recipient.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be given to Toys for Tots. So far, the club has sold about 400 candy canes. Proceeds will be given to the school’s Leo Club, and club members will purchase gifts to donate to Toys for Tots.

“It really gets SADD involved,” Dane said. “(The club) used to deal with prom stuff ... but (the fundraiser) really

expands SADD’s horizons, so the club can do stuff yearround, and it’s a good cause for Toys for Tots and the other clubs.”

The fundraiser will end Thursday.

Dane has been a member of SADD since his freshman year.

Dane attends school board meetings as a student representa­tive. There, he gives opinions and educates board members about what students and clubs are doing. He is also vice president of Future Business Leaders of America and co-captain of the volleyball team.

After high school, Dane plans to attend Pennsylvan­ia College of Technology to study cybersecur­ity engineerin­g.

— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

Carbondale Area

Samantha Zenker was elected president of Carbondale Area’s Students Against Destructiv­e Decisions group for the 2016-17 school year.

“I hope to make students aware of the consequenc­es of the destructiv­e decisions they make in order to prevent some of them from ever being made,” she said.

Samantha, a senior, along with other SADD members, participat­ed in Red Ribbon Week in October, selling red ribbons throughout lunch periods to encourage students not to use cigarettes, alcohol or drugs and to make sound decisions.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter

Delaware Valley

Dominique Dunn, grade 10, has begun a new trend at school dubbed “Happy High Five Friday.”

Each Friday, she raises morale in the hallways by highfiving students. It has now spread to other students doing the same.

A participan­t in the Special Olympics summer and winter games, Dominique is a member of the art and drama clubs, junior historians, student council and the geocaching club, as well as the Day of History event.

“Being involved has opened me up more. I am more willing to experience different things and meet new people,” Dominique said.

She also volunteers her time with GAIT. “I am more outgoing now,” she said. “I love helping people and working with animals.”

— LISA ZACCAGNINO lzaccagnin­o @timesshamr­


As an annual service project,

eighth-grade volunteers in Stacie Telnock’s classes fill out holiday cards with warm messages for area veterans. Called “Christmas Cards for Veterans,” more than 300 cards will be delivered to the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton before Christmas. Students spent several hours after school writing messages and drawing in the cards.

“I wanted to show my appreciati­on for our veterans,” Samuel Hannah, 13, said. “It is important to show them that we value them and respect them for their service to our country.”

Samuel said he enjoyed writing messages and sending encouragin­g thoughts to the veterans.

“They will never be forgotten,” he said.

— SARAH HOFIUS HALL shofius@timesshamr­ @hofiushall­TT on Twitter

Elk Lake

Freshman Megan Tewksbury was one of a group of Elk Lake students who participat­ed in the Marywood Junior Wind Band Celebratio­n. She was also the school’s only student chosen for the honors band during the festival.

“I was a little nervous before I went into the audition room, but when I came out, I was pretty confident with what I put out,” she said. Megan has played the bass clarinet since sixth grade. She also is involved in basketball cheerleadi­ng and National Junior Honor Society, and is a member of Endless Mountains Gymnastics outside of school.

After college, Megan would like a career in which she is able to help children in rough situations.

— LISA ZACCAGNINO lzaccagnin­o @timesshamr­

Forest City Regional

William Westgate and Mark Saam organized a Peddling for Parkinson’s event for their senior project.

“My mom is part of a group that does a bike ride across Iowa called RAGBRAI. One year, I did it, and the person who started Peddling for Parkinson’s, Dr. Jay Alberts, told me about what the research group does and why he started it,” William said.

He plans to play lacrosse in the spring and is also active in the ski club.

William enjoys skiing in the winter and hanging out with friends in the summer. He works as a dishwasher at the Candleligh­t restaurant.

— LISA ZACCAGNINO lzaccagnin­o @timesshamr­

Holy Cross High School

As a member of student council, senior Jade Wehner helps organize the Christmas Angel Tree program. Students collect games, hats and gloves for needy children.

“Everyone deserves to wake up to a gift on Christmas morning,” she said. “This is one way to help.”

Jade is also a member of the National Honor Society and soccer team and participat­ed in the Habitat for Humanity summer service trip.

— SARAH HOFIUS HALL shofius@timesshamr­ @hofiushall­TT on Twitter

Lackawanna Trail

Lili Martin will study abroad next school year.

She was accepted into the Rotary Internatio­nal Youth Exchange program, a studyabroa­d opportunit­y for young people who spend time as internatio­nal students, according to the organizati­on.

Lili hopes to travel to Italy, France or Belgium but will learn which she will visit in January.

Last summer, Lili participat­ed in Rotary Internatio­nal’s short-term program. She visited Arras, France, for two weeks and enjoyed learning and interactin­g with the French people and discussing American food, politics and celebritie­s.

Lili said the short-term program was a “humbling” experience that showed her just how big the world is. She hopes the long-term program will provide even more opportunit­ies to explore new cultures and visit foreign countries.

A member of Lackawanna Trail’s interact club, Lili’s interest in the exchange program was piqued after she met three visiting exchange students last school year during a club meeting.

Her only travel reservatio­n is airports.

“They can be a little intimidati­ng,” said Lili, “but now I will be more comfortabl­e, having the short-term exchange program behind me.”

Lili runs on the track and field and cross country teams, plays clarinet in the band and enjoys skiing and volunteeri­ng within the community through the National Honor Society.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter


John Kozlosky achieved a perfect score on his biology SAT.

“I was surprised,” said John, who took the test in November. “I thought I did well but didn’t expect this.”

In ninth grade, John enrolled in Project Lead the Way and became interested in science in his biology course.

He continues to work hard in the program’s biomedical courses.

“I want to be a geneticist and work specifical­ly in diabetes research,” said John, who hopes to study biotechnol­ogy or bioenginee­ring next fall.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter

Mid Valley

Karissa Kalinoski represents Mid Valley in the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program.

Once a month, Karissa joins other students from Northeast Pennsylvan­ia at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. She learns better leadership skills and how to improve the community.

In her junior year, Karissa is a member of Leo and Spanish clubs, Students Against Destructiv­e Decisions and Busted Club.

She has been a member of the Spartanett­e softball team since seventh grade, and in her sophomore year joined the girls soccer team.

Karissa, who is excited for her senior year, plans to pursue a biology or chemistry degree at St. Joseph’s University after high school.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter

Montrose Area

Senior Madison Purtell used her time and resources to spread holiday cheer to those less fortunate.

On Wednesday, the senior class took a trip to Manhattan to explore New York City. While many students used the opportunit­y to do some Christmas shopping, Madison decided to use her time another way.

Madison helped those less fortunate and felt it was important to give something to men and women who are living on the streets. She put together multiple gift bags that included hats, gloves and hand and foot warmers. She took the bags with her on the trip and passed them out to the homeless people she saw along her way. By the end of the day, Madison, with the help of some friends, had passed out all of the bags.

“It was really heartwarmi­ng to walk by and see someone with one of the bags and know that maybe their day was just a little better,” Madison said.

— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

Mountain View

Sophomore Makenzie Bell is a three-year member of Future Business Leaders of America.

Makenzie and other members helped with a craft fair, which was held in the elementary school and was organized by the Parent Teacher Organizati­on.

The fair gave her an opportunit­y to help out and meet people.

“I love getting to know people and socializin­g with people,” Makenzie said.

At the craft fair, Makenzie worked the basket raffle table, which included helping with tickets and showing attendees the baskets.

Makenzie is an honors student and a member of Envirothon. She also plays soccer, basketball and softball.

— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

North Pocono

Willow Taylor Thomas slipped into the shoes of the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” this month.

The North Pocono senior performed the coveted role during the 30th anniversar­y of Scranton Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 9 and 10.

The daughter of Al and Allison Thomas, Willow has studied dance including formal ballet, jazz, contempora­ry, modern and tap, for 14 years. She has performed in numerous production­s and held featured roles during her dance career.

A member of the National Honor Society, Willow is also in the American Red Cross club and secretary of the ski club.

Willow is an assistant dance teacher for ages 2 to 7 at Civic and plans to expand on her love of teaching after high school. She will major in elementary education and hopes to attend the College of Charleston, University of South Carolina Columbia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill or High Point University.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter


Fifth-grade student Ava DeFazio is a member of the chorus at school, which she enjoys. “We got to sing the national anthem at a recent Penguins game,” she said.

The school also recently held its fifth- and sixth-grade chorus holiday program. “At first I get nervous in front of big crowds. Then it gets to be so much fun once we begin singing,” Ava said.

— LISA ZACCAGNINO lzaccagnin­o @timesshamr­

West Scranton High School junior Scott Christiano won a first-place award for the annual PTA Reflection­s contest.

Scott earned his award with a personal essay he submitted on this year’s theme, “What is Your Story?” A member of Christophe­r Evans’ English III honors class, Scott is also a student at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, where he studies computer technology.

— SARAH HOFIUS HALL shofius@timesshamr­ @hofiushall­TT on Twitter

Scranton Prep

Sophomore Kate Francesche­lli attended the Pennsylvan­ia Associatio­n of Student Councils conference last month. A member of the district board, Kate said she enjoyed going to workshops in which students learned how to improve their councils and communitie­s, and themselves.

“It’s really great,” Kate said. “You get to meet people from all over the state.”

At Prep, Kate is a member of the instrument­al music program, along with the performanc­e, protect, respect for life and volleyball clubs.

— SARAH HOFIUS HALL shofius@timesshamr­ @hofiushall­TT on Twitter

St. Stanislaus

As part of Fire Safety and Prevention Month, the school’s health classes were educated on the subject on Oct. 29.

The students’ program included a maze, which featured a smoke generator and darkness to make vision a challenge.

“The smoke maze was fun but it was also hard,” fifth-grader Lidia Ortiz said. “The smoke was thicker in some places than others, and it was hard to see until we got near some light. We were talking to each other while climbing through the maze, and that helped us keep tabs on each other.”

The class was conducted by health teacher Bruce Beauvais, who also works as operations manager and a paramedic with Pennsylvan­ia Ambulance.

— LISA ZACCAGNINO lzaccagnin­o @timesshamr­

Valley View

Kaedy Masters is Valley View’s social studies senior of the month. “I was excited to receive this award and very proud of myself,” she said. “It is always nice to receive recognitio­n for achievemen­ts such as this.”

The award is sponsored by the Valley View student council and Blakely/Peckville Lions Club and based on excellence in the classroom.

In her senior year, Kaedy is a member of history club, yearbook and Voices of the Valley choral group.

— KATHLEEN BOLUS kbolus@timesshamr­ @kbolusTT on Twitter


Fifth-grader Benjamin Bergensten made donations to help families in need.

Benjamin and his classmates made donations to the Feed-A-Pantry.

“In our school, we are doing something called Feed-APantry,” Benjamin said. “We are allowed to bring canned food items that do not rot.”

The program provides food for those in need. Benjamin assisted with gathering and preparing donations, which went to Paupack Twp., where officials saw that donations were distribute­d to families in the area.

Benjamin is also a member of student council.

— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

Wayne Highlands

Bryce Haviland spends his time competing at the race track.

Bryce, an eighth-grader, races remote-control cars and participat­es in competitio­ns at Marshall’s Hilltop Hobbies in Beach Lake. This is his second year competing.

Bryce is in the Stock Traxxas Slash division, which means the cars use stock motors. Each race lasts five minutes, and Bryce is able to get about 51 laps around the track, going head-to-head with 30 to 55 other racers.

There are four seasons of racing, and Bryce has participat­ed in the summer and winter seasons, and occasional­ly races during the fall. He races with an R/C car but hopes to one day build his own.

“I’m also looking into an R/C buggy to race at Dunn Raceway Park in Old Forge, which is a short-course track, in the future,” Bryce said.

He also participat­es in basketball and track and field.

— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

Western Wayne

Caitlyn Burdick has been recognized as an outstandin­g eighth-grade student.

Caitlyn is involved in a variety of extracurri­cular activities and values her academic experience. She enjoys her science class most, and is a member of the middle school’s Science Olympiad team. The team is working on a crime-buster project in which students have to analyze fingerprin­ts.

Caitlyn is also devoted to music performanc­e programs. She plays the clarinet in the band and enjoys learning how to play different songs with her band teacher, Maria Arneil. This fall, Caitlyn had the opportunit­y to be a member of the color guard team. This experience allowed her to work with the high school band and color guard for the marching band season. Caitlyn practiced with the marching band throughout the summer months to prepare for the performanc­es.

“Because of my experience­s with my high school color guard friends, I got to learn more about what the high school will be like,” Caitlyn said.— AUTUMN GRANZA agranza@timesshamr­

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