Rotary recognizes 15 outstanding West Shore Career-Tech students

West Shore Career-Technical District Outstanding Student Award recipients were honored by the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River at its noon luncheon on March 19 at the Don Umerley Civic Center.

The 15 students, top performers in their Career-Technical programs, were chosen for their exemplary accomplishments in the classroom, school activities, clubs, athletics and service in the community. Each student exemplifies traits of leadership, dedication, responsibility, caring, community involvement and initiative.

“The Rotary Outstanding Students represent the “best of the best” in the West Shore Career Technical District. Our teachers and staff work tirelessly to give all of our students rich academic, technical and real world experiences,” remarked Bill DiMascio, West Shore Career-Technical District educational coordinator. “These students have taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them. No matter what path they chose to follow for future success, we know they possess the relevant knowledge and skills to achieve to their fullest potential.”

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 9:40 AM, 04.03.2018

Westlake students help community organization

Hilliard Elementary School’s second-grade classes used their study of business and charities to take up a collection for the Elyria Friendship APL.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, students study a “How We Organize Ourselves” unit, which encourages students to look at how organizations form and impact the community. Students research types of local organizations, how they help and economic choices.

“They learn that community organizations – business and charitable – provide goods and/or services,” said elementary IB coordinator Deb Wadden. “They study how individuals and organizations can make a difference and impact people and the economics in the community, and the economic choices organizations and individuals make, based on needs, wants and choice.”

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:09 AM, 03.20.2018

Glenview in Bay Village earns 4-star state quality award

Glenview Child Care & Learning Center, the Bay Village City School District’s daycare, preschool and before-and-after school care center, has received a Four-Star Step Up To Quality award from the state of Ohio. The rating recognizes that Glenview’s preschool education program and its special needs preschool go beyond the state’s basic standards.

“We are very proud of Glenview,” said Clint Keener, superintendent of Bay Schools. “We are fortunate to attract very caring and talented early childhood teachers who are well qualified and experienced. Glenview is a wonderful place for young children to learn and grow.”

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:12 AM, 03.20.2018

WHS senior among nation's top debaters

Westlake High School senior Shawn Walls earned the National Speech and Debate Association’s Academic All American Award.

The Academic All American award recognizes academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success, and personal excellence. Fewer than 500 students of the more than 141,000 who qualify receive this award. This places Shawn in the top half of 1 percent of all student members nationally. He will receive a certificate.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.20.2018

Bay High presents 'Once Upon A Mattress' March 22-24

Bay High School drama students will present the musical comedy "Once Upon a Mattress" Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 22, 23 and 24, at 7 p.m. at Bay High Auditorium.

General admission tickets are $9; reserve tickets are $12. Tickets may be purchased online at

The musical is based upon the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea."

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:16 AM, 03.20.2018

WHS junior scores perfect 36 on ACT

Westlake High School junior Ella Gray scored a perfect 36 on the ACT exam.

Ella said she took a practice course and a lot of practice tests on her own from books in preparation for the exam.

Ella is an officer in the Center Stage Players, secretary of Key Club, and a member of Shakespeare Club and Academic Challenge. She also is on the JV tennis team, participates in Show Choir and Chorale, and played a part in every musical in play at WHS since her freshman year.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:09 AM, 03.20.2018

3 LBMS students qualify for state chemist challenge

Three Lee Burneson Middle School eighth-grade students qualified for the state-level "You Be The Chemist" Challenge contest in Toledo on April 14.

You Be the Chemist is an interactive academic contest sponsored by the Chemical Education Foundation that encourages students in grades 5-8 to explore chemistry concepts and their real-world applications. LBMS state qualifiers are Neige DeAngelis, champion of the qualifier competition; Anusha Bangalore, who came in third place; and Alexa Higgs, who came in sixth place and is an alternate for the state challenge.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:08 AM, 03.20.2018

Incoming Bay Schools superintendent honored by Ohio peers

Jodie Hausmann, who will join the Bay Village City School District as its new superintendent in August, has been awarded the Betsy M. Cowles Leadership Award by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA).

The award annually recognizes a woman in school administration who has demonstrated outstanding education leadership by making significant contributions to educational administration in a school district, education service center or educational institution. Hausmann currently serves as superintendent for the Perkins Local Schools in Sandusky.

Bay Village Board of Education members Beth Lally and Lisa Priemer attended the presentation made at the BASA Women’s Conference in Columbus on March 14.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.20.2018

LBMS Mathletes bring home awards

Three Lee Burneson Middle School teams came home with awards from the Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics competition at Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville.

Thirteen teams per grade level from across Cuyahoga and Lorain counties competed. The eighth-grade LBMS team of Kathrine Xiao and Subratha Araselvan, and the seventh-grade team of Roman Lucarelli, Yehyun Choi and Michelle Ho earned medals for scoring in the top 20 percent. The seventh-grade team of Juan Orellano and Andrew Hung earned a Champion blue ribbon for scoring in the top 60 percent.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:08 AM, 03.20.2018

School crisis response and grief support program available to local schools

Tragic events such as the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school are difficult for anyone to comprehend and process. Locally and across the country, we collectively mourn the loss of life every time such a senseless tragedy occurs. In addition, our own sorrow, fear and despair can be heightened as we watch and hear about the plight of grieving students, teachers and the affected community on the nightly news.

Following such a crisis, expert on-site support frequently plays an instrumental role in helping faculty, staff members and students navigate the painful experiences of trauma, grief and loss. Locally, the bereavement center at Hospice of the Western Reserve – now called Western Reserve Grief Services – has offered a Crisis Response Program to provide immediate, on-site crisis response to deaths in the school communities of Northern Ohio for more than 15 years.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:18 AM, 03.20.2018

Bay Village Schools selects next superintendent

The Bay Village Board of Education has hired Jodie Hausmann, superintendent of Perkins Local School District in Sandusky, Ohio, to replace the district’s current superintendent, Clint Keener, when his retirement becomes effective Aug. 1.

Hausmann has served as superintendent at Perkins since 2015, where she led a strategic planning process engaging more than 100 of the district’s stakeholders. She collaborated with community members for passage of an operating levy and permanent improvement renewal levy after a long district history of failed ballot issues. Under her instructional leadership, grade-level Value Added scores for the district moved from failing to straight A’s in one year, earning the Ohio Department of Education’s Momentum Award for two years.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:33 AM, 03.06.2018

Bay High Technical Department awarded top high school honor

In recognition of Bay High's extraordinary Technical Department program, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) is awarding technology teachers Luke Kieffer and Ron Rutt its Program Excellence Award at its annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia, this April.

The Program Excellence Award is one of the highest honors given to technology and engineering education programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Bay High was the Ohio high school winner this year.

Applications of technology are expanding into every nook and cranny of education and work. Students in Bay High's Technology Department have a wide choice of skills and concepts to explore, such as engineering, construction, architecture, wood and metal working, energy systems, alternative energy, computer-aided drafting, solid modeling, and video production.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:31 AM, 03.06.2018

Annual Green & White Revue showcases Westlake talent

The Westlake High School PTSA proudly presents the 33rd Annual Green & White Revue on Friday, March 9, and Saturday, March 10, at 7:00 p.m. at the Westlake High School Performing Arts Center, 27830 Hilliard Blvd. The emcees for this year’s show are Hani Baltagi, Emily Huffman and Andrew Hom. 

The talent and variety show will feature talents of all kinds from Westlake Schools students ranging in age from kindergarten to high school. Some of this year’s acts include vocal, bands, guitar with original student compositions and the unusual. This is a one-of-a-kind show for the city of Westlake!

Admission for the show is $8 at the door with children 6 and under admitted for free. All proceeds to benefit the Westlake High School PTSA. For more information, email

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:27 AM, 03.06.2018

Bay Village Schools' keychain company celebrates 20th year

Students at Normandy and Westerly Elementary Schools in Bay Village get a first-hand experience in how to succeed in business each year with the First-Fourth Keychain Company. The program pairs first-graders (in Diane Poretsky's class) with fourth-graders (in Barb Woodburn's class) in an enterprise that includes manufacturing and marketing keychains made of brightly-colored beads.

Started with a grant from the Bay Village Education Foundation in 1997 (written by Barb Woodburn and retired teacher Nancy Glinka), the program won the Economics America and Harvard Business School Club of NE Ohio Samuel H. Ellott award for Leadership in Economic Education in 2004.

Students acquire skills that include problem-solving, negotiation, compromise, persuasion and active listening. They account for the cost of raw materials as well as transportation for a field trip and travel between schools. They then determine if pricing will cover costs and a profit. The company has "payroll" that is paid in small school supplies.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:38 AM, 03.06.2018

Annual safe boating camp on hold

Spirit of America, the annual safe boating program that had previously been sponsored by the Bay Village Schools, is in the process of finding a new sponsor. The program is currently delaying the application process until the new facilitating organization is confirmed.

The Bay Village Schools decided to end their sponsorship due to logistical reasons. Another change comes with the announcement that longtime coordinator George Christ has decided not to coordinate the program, however he will remain as an instructor and assistant to the new coordinator this year.

This has been a very popular summer program in the area since 1999. Hundreds of students have been certified by passing the Ohio Boating Education Course, which is required by law in order to operate a vessel with an engine over 10 horsepower, and on-the-water skills education. Students are provided experience in power boats, sail boats, personal water craft, canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and also a large boat like a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. The program is part of the nationally recognized Spirit of America Foundation (SOAF), with programs across America.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:33 AM, 03.06.2018

Westlake Athletic Boosters open new spirit store at WHS

The Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters (WDAB) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new spirit wear store, “The W Shop,” at Westlake High School on Feb. 2, during their annual spaghetti dinner. Over 300 people joined WDAB for a homemade spaghetti dinner and then helped celebrate the grand opening of The W Shop.

Prior to moving into The W Shop, WDAB sold spirit wear out of a truck at home football games and during various events throughout the school year. Apparel and other items were stored in cabinets at the high school. 

With a permanent space to showcase our merchandise, we plan to expand what we offer, including youth apparel and sport-specific items. The W Shop is a wonderful addition to WHS for everyone who would like to shop for Demon gear to support their hometown teams. Hours for the store will be shared on the WDAB website.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:47 AM, 02.20.2018

Bay Village superintendent search update

The Bay Village Board of Education is in the process of conducting a search for its Superintendent of Schools upcoming vacancy.

Because the board values all stakeholder opinions, it held nine focus group sessions guided by search consultant Finding Leaders this past November. Five staff sessions and four, widely-publicized public sessions gave participants an opportunity to let the board know what qualities and attributes in the next superintendent were important to stakeholders.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:36 AM, 02.20.2018

Westlake Council of PTAs honors Founders' Day award winners

Westlake Council of PTAs recently held its annual PTA Founders' Day dinner and awards ceremony at Wagner's of Westlake. 

Each February, PTA units across the country celebrate the founding of PTA over 120 years ago, and honor the contributions of those who enrich our students' experiences and are dedicated to the PTA mission. Westlake Council's Founders' Day event recognizes the many people who contribute to making a difference for our students and schools in Westlake by presenting three types of awards, all of which are decided based on nominations from the school and PTA community.

Each of the nine PTA units in Westlake chooses one honoree to receive the Ohio PTA Achievement Award. This is the highest honor a PTA can bestow on an individual and is usually awarded to someone who has given outstanding service to children and youth either at school or in the Westlake community at-large.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:33 AM, 02.20.2018

5 WHS seniors named National Merit Finalists

Westlake High School has five students named National Merit Finalists. Seniors Steven Brewer, Jack Wu, Ryan Karpuszka, Patrick Lee and Kyle Yu are among 15,000 students to achieve Finalist standing in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. A pool of nationwide Semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, was selected. From this pool these academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about $36 million in scholarships.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:32 AM, 02.20.2018

Bay High senior Ava Walker is National Merit Finalist

Ava Walker, a senior at Bay High School, is a 2018 National Merit Finalist. Ava earned the prestigious academic distinction with her score on the 2016 Preliminary SAT (PSAT) taken during her junior year in high school. The nationwide pool of finalists represents less than one percent of the 1.6 million students from 22,000 U.S. high schools who take the PSAT.

Ava plans to major in mathematics with a focus in actuarial science when she attends college next year. She is leaning toward attending Kent State University.

“I’ve always liked math,” she said. “Then, when I had my statistics class about two years ago, I really enjoyed it. It’s bringing in real-world problems, and it gives a real, practical use to math."

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:37 AM, 02.20.2018

National Art Honor Society students create bags for homeless

A visit to her daughter in Scottsdale, Arizona, sparked a community service idea adopted by Westlake High School National Art Honor Society (NAHS) advisor Kelly Atkinson.

Atkinson, a WHS art teacher, and her brother, Brent Walla, were driving past Arizona State University when they passed a homeless man. Walla pulled over and grabbed a Ziploc bag filled with toiletries from his trunk and handed it to the man.

“It’s just something he does,” she said, adding that she thought it was pretty amazing and something she wanted to bring back to Ohio.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:32 AM, 02.20.2018

Westlake students win art, writing awards

Three Westlake High School students earned Gold Key Art Awards in the 2018 Scholastic Art + Writing Exhibition – Cuyahoga County Region and will move on to national competition in New York.

Liv Adkins earned a Gold Key for her digital art “Gutten og Trollen,” Jamie DeMeza for her photograph “The broken 4th” and Jamie Novak for her painting “RTA.” Gold Key awards demonstrate the highest levels of achievement in originality, personal voice and technical skill. Gold Key art is forwarded to New York for national judging.

Liv Adkins also won a Gold Key Writing Award for her humor piece “Religion,” which was also an American Voices Medal nominee, the highest regional honor. Liv’s piece is one of five works from the region selected “Best in Show” that exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. A panel of jurors in New York City will select one writer from each region to receive a national Medal.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:54 AM, 02.06.2018

Bay Village Schools approves 2018-19 school calendar, earlier start

The Bay Village Board of Education approved its 2018-19 school calendar on Monday, Jan. 22. About 50 parents and teachers attended the board meeting, some offering support of the plan and some parents expressing disappointment that the Aug. 20 start to the school year was too early.

“This calendar was developed in close consultation with our educators and will increase instructional time before testing at all grade levels,” said Superintendent Clint Keener. “However, the Ohio end-of-course tests at the high school level have become especially high-stakes. Starting with the class of 2018, the tests can determine whether students qualify for graduation.”

Bay High School operates on a 90-minute block schedule, with entire courses completed in one semester. The schedule allows students more time to study subjects in depth without interruption, and it allows them to take more courses overall. Faculty wanted the first semester to end before the December winter break so that students could take their tests without being away from instruction for that extended time. However, more instructional days before the break were then required.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.06.2018

WHS has 2 U.S. Presidential Scholars candidates

Two Westlake High School seniors were named U.S. Presidential Scholars candidates.

Ryan Karpuszka and Patrick Lee are among 110 students from Ohio to be recognized for this prestigious award. Each year, up to 161 students nationwide are named Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.06.2018

Eight looks great for the Westshore Young Leaders Network

January 2018 is the eighth year the Westshore Young Leaders Network students have been serving the six western suburbs (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake) as communities united together for healthy living. Established in 2010 through the support of the Westshore Council of Governments and the Westshore Enforcement Bureau, the group has grown its student and adult membership to foster young leaders who promote healthy, safe, drug-free and addiction-free lifestyle choices.

A snapshot of the recent months include the September Leadership Training Conference at the Westlake Recreation Center. Ninety middle and high school students spent the day fine-tuning their best asset – themselves – under the direction of the Effective Leadership Academy.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:02 AM, 02.06.2018

DIS student's artwork selected for state exhibition

Dover Intermediate School fifth-grade art student Melaina Zupan had her Notan cut paper design project chosen for exhibition at the 38th Annual Young People’s Art Exhibition (YPAE) in Columbus.

Melaina’s piece is one of 130 student works from around the state chosen for the exhibition sponsored by the Ohio Art Education Association. Melaina will be recognized at the YPAE Recognition Ceremony on March 3 at the Rhodes State Office Tower. Student artwork will be on display Feb. 17 to March 16.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.06.2018

2 WHS seniors named Coca-Cola Scholars finalists

Westlake High School seniors Norah Wilson and Jack Wu are regional finalists in the Coca-Cola National Scholarship Contest.

Norah and Jack are among 250 Regional Finalists from 1,936 Semifinalists selected from more than 90,000 applicants from across the country to continue through the selection process. Only 150 will be named Coca-Cola Scholars in March and will receive a $20,000 scholarship.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 02.06.2018

Westlake students connect through fairy tales

Deb Schrembeck’s seventh-grade language arts classes spent the last five weeks researching and writing fairy tales customized to second graders at Dover Elementary School.

The Lee Burneson Middle School assignment requires stories to be at least five pages, include images and an About the Author page, and focus on the child receiving the story. Students created their fairy tales based on questionnaires that second-grade students filled out about themselves, including their desired vacation spots, a list of family members, and favorite books and movies.

Stories will be assembled into hardbound books that the LBMS students will present to their Dover students on Feb. 2.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:18 AM, 01.23.2018

WDAB to host spaghetti dinner

The Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters (WDAB) will host an evening of Demon tradition with the Annual Spaghetti Dinner on Friday, Feb. 2. The event will be held in the Westlake High School Rotunda from 3:45-7:30 p.m. Dinner tickets are $8 and include pasta, sauce, salad, bread, soft drink and dessert. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at

Westlake families, athletes, staff, community, coaches and alumni are encouraged to attend. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit WDAB and our student athletes in grades 7-12. There is a large list of events happening that evening: Demon boys basketball games begin at 4:30 p.m.; a ribbon-cutting for the new spirit wear store “The W Shop” is at 5:45 p.m.; opening night of the play “Faith County” begins in the Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.; and our 2018 Hall of Fame inductee class will be introduced during halftime of the boys varsity game. Grab dinner before or after the festivities!

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:20 AM, 01.23.2018

LBMS writers recognized in Library of Congress contest

Five Lee Burneson Middle School students were named semifinalists in Ohio in the Library of Congress’ Letters About Literature Contest.

Deb Schrembeck’s language arts classes participated in the reading and writing contest. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels.

Five seventh-grade students earned semifinalist certificates for Ohio for their letters:

  • Ashley Rocky wrote to R.J. Palacio, author of “Wonder”
  • Xiomara Flores wrote to Jennifer Jacobson, author of “Paper Things”
  • Kylie King wrote to R.J. Palacio, author of “Wonder”
  • Natalie Farrag wrote to Raina Telgemeier, author of “Ghosts”
  • Alexis Hamilton wrote to Dan Gemeinhart, author of “The Honest Truth”
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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:18 AM, 01.23.2018

Strong showing for Bay High students in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Bay High School students took away 12 Gold Key, 15 Silver Key, and 23 Honorable Mention awards in the 2018 Cuyahoga County Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Gold Key winners will be forwarded to New York for judging at the national level.

Seven Gold Keys in the Art category go to four Bay High seniors: Maria DiLallo (paintings, “The Little Things” and “Family Is Not Always Blood”), Celia Reid (photography, “Desertion”), Amelia Robinson (painting, “Flash”) and Megan Sjoquist (comic art, “Citywalkers”; drawing and illustration, “Paper Monsters”; and art portfolio “Full of Life”).

Five Gold Keys in the Writing category go to four Bay High seniors: Carlen Goebel (short story, “Solitary Confinement"), Emma Legeay (poetry, “Ms. Plath”), Sara Sirignano (poetry, “My Middle School Journal”) and Roman Vatolin (poetry, “Normalcy With Chaos"); and sophomore Elizabeth Holup (flash fiction, “Anatomy of Our Mothers”).

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:17 AM, 01.23.2018

Bay Village VFW recognizes essay winners

Bay Village VFW Post 9693 announced the winners of the annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen essay scholarship contests.

The Voice of Democracy winner is Grace Beam, a senior at Bay High School. The Patriot's Pen winner is St. Raphael eighth-grade student Mariana Maddox. 

Voice of Democracy is open for all high school grades and Patriot's Pen is open to seventh and eighth grade. Both contests require a written essay; the high school project requires a recorded reading as well. Grace's essay was on the theme of “My Responsibility to America”; Mariana's essay was titled, "America’s Gift to My Generation."

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 9:38 AM, 01.09.2018

Bay coach Ron Rutt is Cleveland Browns HS Coach of the Year

Bay High School Rockets head football coach, Ron Rutt, was honored on Sunday, Dec. 11, during the Cleveland Browns’ game as their 2017 High School Coach of the Year.

The Browns also surprised Rutt at school the following day with a gift of Xenith helmets for the team worth $25,000. The Rockets had already been awarded $1,500 for winning a Browns Game of the Week, and $3,000 for Rutt being Coach of the Year. As an added treat for Rutt, the Browns will send him to the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida, next month. Rutt will represent the Browns as Cleveland’s Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominee.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.19.2017

Westlake students share their favorite traditions

The holiday season has arrived, with all of the magic and wonder that make this time of year so special. It is a time for rejoicing, connecting with loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime. For the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year feature, students from Mrs. Jannell Sargent’s fourth-grade class at Dover Elementary in Westlake share favorite family traditions.

Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve, we go to church where we stay up until 3:00 a.m. We sing “Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Christ is Born.” After Mass, we head home and go straight to bed. The next morning, we take a mini-train to Santa’s Village. On our train ride we sing songs together. Santa joins us on the train, and gives us treats! When we get home, I help my mom make cookies. I am in charge of decorating them with sprinkles. I always enjoy this time with my family!
– Stephen B.

Decorating for Christmas
My family has many Christmas traditions. First, we decorate our Christmas tree with silver and blue ornaments. Then, we put up our special ornaments. We get to pick a new ornament every year for the tree. Next, we put the star on top of the tree. After we put up our Christmas tree, we put up our stockings. Our stockings are white and blue so we put them in a pattern of blue, white, blue, white. We put nutcrackers on the fireplace next to the stockings. Then, we decorate outside, and put lights on the house. Finally, we are done decorating and ready for Christmas!
– Mateo H.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.19.2017

Bay Village students share their favorite traditions

The holiday season has arrived, with all of the magic and wonder that make this time of year so special. It is a time for rejoicing, connecting with loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime. For the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year feature, students from Mrs. Martha Fisher’s third-grade class at Westerly Elementary in Bay Village share favorite family traditions.

The Pine Tree Barn
Christmas cookies, presents, and Saint Nick. Every Christmas our cousins come to our house and we go to the Pine Tree Barn. The trees have ribbons on them to tell you how much they cost. This year we bought a expensive tree. The ribbon was a blue with purple polka dots. My mom did not want to buy an expensive tree but my dad really liked it. My cousins wanted to buy a better tree than us but they bought a tree that was smaller. After we pick our trees, we play with our cousins while my dad and our moms put our Christmas trees on their cars. This year my brother brought a baseball and we played baseball at the Pine Tree Barn field and my team won. After we eat lunch, I always get hot chocolate and then we go on a sleigh ride and sing Christmas carols. My dad forgets some words for the songs. This year he forgot the words to “Jingle Bell Rock.” Sometimes I don't sing. We always have a fun time at the Pine Tree Barn!
– Adrian

Our Family Celebration
Big feast, play games outside with our friends and family, and visit our grandpa, grandma, aunt and uncle! When we are together we share things that we keep as nice secrets. We give compliments to our friends and family and then have a party and have fun. Our Muslim holiday is really sweet with our family and we have so much happiness and eat sweet food. We make a cake and give money for charity. We let people visit in our home. We make a big feast for people we care about. We go to church and walk around the church and have a wonderful ice cream treat. We pray for charity all together. We walk around our house and hold candles and throw scraps of papers everywhere around the house. We throw scraps of paper around the house because we love our family and always play and have fun all the time and care about each other. We celebrate on December 29 and have a party and fast for Ramadan and honor Allah.  
– Aida O.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.19.2017

Westlake Schools, teachers reach contract agreement

On Monday, Dec. 11, the Westlake Teachers’ Association (WTA) and the Westlake Board of Education voted to approve a new three-year contract for the district’s certified staff.

Thanks to monthly meetings between district leadership and WTA representatives, both parties have created an open channel of communication. The ongoing dialogue in these meetings, coupled with a solutions-based relationship, allowed the Board and WTA to focus on salary and benefits during the negotiation process. They were able to reach an agreement through constructive discussion and in an efficient timeframe.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 9:56 AM, 12.19.2017

Bay Village classroom grants awarded

There is no shortage of problems facing our upcoming generations, and the approach to learning is becoming more and more problem-based for Bay Village Schools students. 

The Bay Village Education Foundation has awarded classroom grants totaling more than $18,000 that encourage development of skills to help students learn to solve problems of all kinds, whether the solutions address the environment, humans or robots. Another $2,000 in grants was provided by Bay Village Kiwanis in partnership with the Foundation.

“We were thrilled with the quality of grant applications we received,” said Ellie Bricmont, vice president and grants chair of the Bay Village Education Foundation. “We require a significant level of research and detail from our grant applicants. As usual, our teachers were impressive in their planning and creativity. They will provide our students experiences that make learning interesting and fun.”

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:34 AM, 12.05.2017

Westlake Schools staff honored with excellence awards

Two Westlake Schools staff members were honored by their peers with staff excellence awards at the Nov. 27 Board of Education meeting.

The Excellence in Teaching award went to LaVonne Szafranski, a sixth-grade science teacher at Dover Intermediate School. The Excellence in Classified Service awards went to Judi Spitzer, a teacher assistant at Dover Elementary School.

Szafranski is described by her colleagues as a dedicated educator who always goes above and beyond for her students and teammates. She meets challenges or change with determination and the desire to be the best. She builds relationships with her students and is always communicating with families.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.05.2017

Bay Village Foundation calls for scholarship applicants

The Bay Village Foundation is pleased to announce that the application for the Foundation's scholarship is now available on the Bay High School page of, under the Guidance tab listing local scholarships.

This $2,000 scholarship is available to all graduating high school seniors who live in Bay Village and is to be used toward tuition for students enrolling in a full-time college or trade school program. Scholarships may be awarded to multiple students.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:35 AM, 12.05.2017

Bay Village Schools launches new mobile app

After unveiling an updated, mobile-responsive website this fall, the Bay Village City School District has launched a new mobile app geared to the needs of parents and students. Members of the public will find it useful, too.

“People who do not have children in our schools can receive important notifications, like those about school closings, through the mobile app,” said Clint Keener, superintendent of schools. “The app is a perfect companion to our new website and all the information it offers.”

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:34 AM, 12.05.2017