Seniors modeled the latest gowns and tuxedos at the annual Westlake High School PTSA prom assembly on Feb. 10. Safe driving and responsible behavior during prom and graduation season are the main messages of the assembly, but the prom fashion show is always the highlight.
The Bay Village Foundation is accepting applications for a $2,000 scholarship towards tuition for students enrolled in a full-time college or trade school program. Multiple scholarships may be awarded.
The application form is available in the high school guidance office or it may be downloaded from thebayvillagefoundation.org. Completed applications should be submitted back to the high school guidance office by Wednesday, March 2.
After several years of being homeschooled, Emily Billings entered Westside Christian Academy in Westlake as a third-grade student and graduated five years later. This academic year she returned to WCA, now a K-12 school, to teach third grade.
“When I returned to WCA in the fall, I felt as if I was coming home. I always felt cared for and genuinely loved by my teachers,” said Billings.
Their love and care extended beyond her time at WCA. One teacher in particular, Kathy Foldesy, now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and an Upper School teacher, was Billings’ “go-to” person in high school and college. When her father became sick during her college years, Foldesy was a consistent presence, becoming her life coach with a healing touch. Now as colleagues, Billings knows she can draw on Foldesy’s teaching experience at WCA. In addition, Billings was recently married. Now the women and their husbands have become close friends outside of the school.
The kindergarten students at Westshore Montessori in Westlake recently completed a science activity in brain building with STEM. The students naturally have many questions and were taught to ask beyond the "why" question, but ask a "what" question too. "What" questions focus on what is happening, what are you noticing and what are you doing.
Those answers were right in front of the students recently when we explored the solar system. The planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are in an ellipitical alignment and can be see in the very early morning until Feb. 20. The students were able to make observations and apply problem solving by using variety of materials to create their understanding of the planets in our solar system.
On Monday, Jan. 11, students from St. Raphael School traveled to far away places like Congo, Mount Rushmore and the Great Barrier Reef. But they never left Bay Village. Thanks to staff members Amy Allen and Libby Mason, Google selected St. Raphael as one of only a few schools in the state of Ohio to be part of a Google pilot called the Expeditions Pioneer Program.
Using just a Google Cardboard viewfinder equipped with a smart phone, and guided by their teacher using a tablet, students were able to experience field trips across the globe that school buses certainly couldn't take them. Many students had the chance to get up close and personal with a gorilla.
The Bay Village Board of Education is accepting applications from Bay Village residents who are interested in serving on the school board. Board member Michael Caputo announced that he will resign his position effective Jan. 14, citing his increasing career responsibilities.
The newly appointed board member will complete Caputo's current term, which expires Dec. 31, 2017, and could run for election to an additional four-year term on the November 2017 election ballot.
The Saint Raphael's seventh-grade girls basketball team showed heart, grit and resilience as they pulled out a victory in the finals of the annual St. Mark Athletic Association holiday tournament at the end of December. The champions, from left: Elizabeth Koeth, Ellen Lloyd, Anna Godlewski, Adele Frain, Reegan O'Leary, Carys Vargas, Natalie Leszcz. Not pictured are Stephanie Laraway, coach Jenna and Leo Godlewski, and Coleman O'Leary.
The holiday season has arrived, 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, Mrs. Pam DeAnna of Bassett Elementary School in Westlake asked her third-grade students to share favorite family traditions. Their varied responses recall special moments throughout the year, from Christmas to Halloween to Eid to the Fourth of July.
by Ben M., Bassett
My favorite holiday is Christmas, because we do fun things to celebrate it. I wake up very early every December 25th morning to see the gifts Santa Claus has brought. After I look, I go back upstairs and go back to sleep. I fall asleep again and the next thing I know, I hear voices saying: “Wake up Ben, it’s Christmas!” I roll out of bed and rush downstairs and we look in our stockings and open our presents. We also have breakfast. After we are all done with that, we play with our new toys and other stuff. We have a lot of fun! That is how my family spends their Christmas morning.
by Ashley S., Bassett
One of my favorite family traditions is making gingerbread houses. I love to listen to Christmas music and talk with my family as I decorate my gingerbread house. It is fun to sing along with the Christmas carols while decorating my house. I love to decorate my gingerbread house with lots of candy and icing. Candy canes, gumdrops, and Tootsie Rolls are some of my favorites to decorate with. I love the smell of the gingerbread and the candy. It smells so good that sometimes I sneak a little piece of candy and pop it into my mouth. I love decorating gingerbread houses and I think that it is a very fun way to get ready for the holidays!
The holiday season has arrived, 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, Mrs. Martha Fisher of Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village asked her third-grade students to share favorite family traditions from this time of year.
A Very Merry Christmas!
by Suresh V., Westerly
I am always excited that Christmas is on the way. Are you? My family decorates for Christmas Eve on Thanksgiving Day. We decorate a six-foot tree with ornaments. We have about 45 ornaments. We put up about 35 ornaments. We leave the rest in the boxes. After we put up the Christmas tree we enjoy a wonderful meal. We eat turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie, green bean casserole, stuffing and carrots. Before we eat we take pictures of our family, including the turkey. On Christmas Eve we collect our Christmas books. My mom reads the books to our family. We decide which one to read first. My favorite story is about Santa Claus not delivering toys and he is on a beach in California. I hope that the story is not true!
by Adrianna P., Westerly
Going to my grandma’s house is always very special. First, we go to my grandma’s house. Her house is like a museum and she likes to cook. The house is like a museum because she has lots of old things and her house is really big and fancy. She has pretty glass vases, a fireplace and a basement with lots of toys. She also has big couches and lots of plants, of course. She has tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans and eggplants with lettuce. The special thing at my grandma’s house is we celebrate, take pictures, drink hot chocolate, and roast marshmallows. We also eat cake and cupcakes. Even when I am a grown up I will still remember the fun I’ve had when I was little at my grandma’s.
There is a lot of giving going on in the Westlake Schools this holiday season. Along with the traditional hat and mitten trees at the elementary schools to supply needy children with winter clothing needs, Westlake students have organized a variety of community service projects.
The Lee Burneson Middle School Builder’s Club donated a van full of canned food for Thanksgiving to the Westlake Assistance program. The club also will use its own funds to adopt a family this holiday season. Students will shop for gifts, wrap them and drop them off for the family at the Westlake Community Services Department.
Dover Intermediate School students, led by sixth-grade science teacher John Gast, collected and donated toiletries and other necessities for the Homeless Outreach Program at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. The Outreach Program also helps with job placement services for veterans, so students also collected lightly worn ties and new dress shirts/interview attire.
The St. Raphael School Builders Club, with the help of the Bay Village Kiwanis Club, is collecting new pillowcases as part of an international program, Little Dresses for Africa. This organization is active in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, the UK and Singapore.
The non-profit organization uses pillowcases to make dresses for girls living in orphanages in the underdeveloped countries in Africa. The donated pillowcases are sent to missions that will cut and sew them into simple dresses. The AIDS pandemic has left many young girls in the care of their older siblings, who are unable to provide even the minimum necessities of life, like their own little dress.
Holly Lane third-grader Paige Bammerlin won second place in the North Eastern Ohio Fire Protection Association’s fire safety coloring contest. This year's theme was “Earl says, ‘Hear my beep where you sleep!’ Have a grown up install photoelectric smoke alarms in and outside of your bedroom,” featuring the association's smoke alarm character, Earl Lee Warning. Paige's entry featured Earl exclaiming, "Smoke is no joke! Drop to the floor and crawl to the door!"
On Dec. 2, local and regional firefighters presented Paige with a plaque during the school’s monthly Wise Owl Wednesday assembly.
The Bay Village Education Foundation (BVEF) awarded nine grants totaling $15,135 for its 2015 classroom grants award program. In partnership with the BVEF, the Bay Village Kiwanis funded three additional grants totaling $2,125.
Grant applications were submitted this fall by Bay Village City School District teachers and other staff members to enrich classroom education. All four Bay Village City School District K-12 buildings received grants.
“I am especially pleased that our collaborations with the Bay Village City School District will result not only in these wonderful classroom enrichment projects, but in alternative funding for other projects as well, based on the district’s goals and budget,” said Ellie Bricmont, chair of the BVEF grants committee. “The grants process has truly become a catalyst for moving the innovative ideas of our educators forward.”
Bay High junior Laura Colagiovanni is barely into her term as International Key Club's Ohio Division Governor, yet the 16-year-old is already leading the state's Executive Board, overseeing 25 Lieutenant Governors, and mulling over a possible five-year strategic plan for the success of future Ohio Key Club boards.
“It’s truly a pre-professional experience,” said Laura. “I campaigned hard and was elected to the position. I’m running meetings using parliamentary procedure. I’m actually doing things that I’m studying about in AP Government.”
Laura didn’t foresee the leadership opportunities available to her when she signed up for Bay High’s Key Club as a busy freshman cheerleader. She just wanted to help people. She was recruited to become the club’s freshman representative. Once she had the experience of attending leadership meetings and working on projects with upperclassmen, Laura said she had found her niche.
The 2015/16 Westshore Young Leaders Network continues to flourish as they spice up their Leadership Training by welcoming their new partner, Flo Brett, founder and executive director of Effective Leadership Academy, a Beachwood-based nonprofit. ELA partners with schools and youth groups to provide programs that help improve personal and organizational results through action-based team-building strategies, goal achievement, and positive attitude development.
Westlake Recreation Center was the site for the Annual Leadership Training where 100 middle/high school students from the six western suburbs and their school representatives put on their “Leadership Tool Belts” to become better equipped as leaders. Some of the tools in their belts included: putting on a leadership mindset, knowing yourself and your team, tuning up your personality, tackling team challenges and creating a web of influence.
Bay Village Schools students, from kindergarten to seniors in high school, continued the district's fine tradition of honoring our veterans on Veterans Day.
Normandy Elementary students brought in their veteran dads, moms, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers for a ceremony and parade honoring them all. This followed weeks of activities where students in kindergarten through second grade learned about the tremendous service and sacrifice of our military heroes.
Students in third and fourth grade at Westerly Elementary brought in photos and stories about their family veterans to create a “Wall of Stars” honoring the fight for freedom.
Westlake High School’s Center Stage Players have put on amazing musicals every other year that typically incorporate a children’s chorus from Westlake’s grade schools, which was exemplified in last year’s wonderfully successful production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." This year, Westlake aims for a more classic musical with their production of "Anything Goes."
The age-old tale of boy-meets-girl takes place on an ocean liner, the S.S. American, bound from New York to London in the 1930s. Billy Crocker (played by Alex Lathem) is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt (Anna Renkel), who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Justin Godfrey). Evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer Reno Sweeney (Anna Parchem), Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin (Jacob Kraft) and Bonnie Letour (Emma Beekman) aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. Throw in Hope’s meddlesome mother (Cass Penegor), Billy’s bull-dog of a boss (Alex Kuhn), and a dozen of Cole Porter’s greatest hits and you’ve got a rambunctious musical comedy for the ages.
Westlake High School’s Academic Challenge Team began the competition season with top finishes in the first tournament, held Oct. 31 at South Range High School in Mahoning County.
Team A – Anna Craven, Justin Krantz, Alex Lathem, Patrick Lee and Kyle Yu – finished first out of 16 competing teams from 11 different schools. Team B – Nico DiGiullio, Ryan Karpuszka, Akhilesh Reddy, Jack Wu and Talia Zheng – took home a fourth-place finish. Team C – Akshya Dhinakaran, Ella Gray, Nate Gray, Esther Park and Albert Zhou – is comprised of all freshmen and won several matches.
Team advisors are John and Sandy Packis.
Parkside Preschool & Child Care Center at 23600 Hilliard Blvd., Westlake, Ohio 44145 announces sponsorship of the USDA funded Child and Adult Care Food Program. Meals are available to all enrolled participants without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability and will be served at no separate charge §226.23(d). The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at email@example.com. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Our Destination Imagination group (The Crew from Bay Middle School) wants to help refugees who live in Lakewood, Ohio, by having a Rucking for Refugees fundraiser. The refugees are from Burma, Afghanistan and Iraq, and have many needs. The money raised from Rucking for Refugees will go to the refugees to buy food for them for the holidays.
The rucking fundraiser will take place on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m. We will meet in the Bay High School parking lot. We are asking each participant to pay $5. Rucking is wearing a backpack with heavy objects when you do activities, like carrying a log, walking or hiking. Rucking is fun and challenging!
As part of the district vision statement to collaborate with peers and the community, students from the Westlake High School Technology & Engineering department enrolled in the honors computer science principles (CSP) class have forged a partnership with the Westlake-based company Hyland Software.
The collaboration includes field trips, summer HyTech camps, Tech Club activities, internships, a Hack-A-Thon, Innovation Showdown competition, and classroom presentations. The primary goal is to introduce and encourage students to learn about coding, programming, computer technology and the increasingly expanding, innovative and exciting field of computer science.
Westlake High School 2015 graduate Aswin Bikkani was selected as one of 25 participants to attend the Stockholm University Nobel Week events in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 5-11.
The event is hosted by Stockholm University for National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) members during Nobel Week, during which the Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies, the Nobel Lectures and other festivities take place in honor of the 2015 Nobel Laureates.
The Nobel prizes were established by NSHSS Chairman Claes Nobel’s grand-uncle, Allred Nobel, to honor outstanding achievement in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace.
Westlake High School has eight students named in the 2016 National Merit Program.
Senior Rachel Kim is a Semifinalist and will move on to compete for about 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million. She is among 1.5 million students from 22,000 high schools across the country who took the PSAT in their junior year. Less than 1 percent of high school seniors make it to the semifinal round. About 15,000 students are expected to move on to become National Merit Finalists, which should be announced in February.
Martha Fisher, third-grade teacher at Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village, was honored by the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics as their Northeast District Outstanding Elementary Teacher.
The award comes as no surprise to those who know the creative, dedicated teacher whose students learn by doing. She is known for providing exciting classroom activities like her Classroom Store, Bus Tours of Cleveland (with student tour guides), Walk the USA and her famous, full service Classroom Restaurant. She was the driving force behind turning Westerly Elementary’s courtyard into a wildlife habitat that was named a National Wild School Site by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. One year, her class studied the water cycle and made and sold painted rain barrels throughout Bay Village.
Erin Blahnik’s special education students at Lee Burneson Middle School are learning real-world skills and changing lives through a new business venture – Mazy & Mylo Treats.
The middle school students are starting a dog biscuit business to sell dog treats to school district employees, friends, family and community members.
“It’s a way for my students to practice their functional skills and a way to give back,” Blahnik said.
For the second year, first-grade students at Dover Elementary School and Holly Lane Elementary School “sent” butterflies on a symbolic migration to Mexico as part of Journey North’s Symbolic Migration program.
Journey North is a program that educates students across the United States, Canada and Mexico about butterfly conservation.
Spanish teacher Kelsy Wermer collaborates with Dover first-grade teachers Karen Glesius, Jennifer Doyle and Julie Hildebrand, and Holly Lane first-grade teachers Sarah Gorius and Lisa Forshey to create paper butterflies that are sent to Minnesota, combined with butterflies from other areas of the country, and then sent on to Mexico, where the monarchs spend the winter.
It's been an entire year since Kristin Caputo's former kindergarten students sifted through the slimy pulp inside their pumpkins to gather seeds. Before the school year ended, they planted those seeds and sprouted seedlings to take home for planting over the summer.
Here it is October again, and those now first-graders are bringing in full-grown pumpkins to show the teacher.
"I love the connection these kids made over time," said Mrs. Caputo. "That long-ago October lesson continues to foster their love of learning and exploring."
Holly Lane Elementary School launched the Beyond the Bench program this week to teach students compassion and conflict management skills.
The program is the result of the Buddy Bench – a bench on the playground designed to eliminated loneliness and foster friendship on the playground by providing children with a tool to identify those who need a peer to play with and to encourage those already engaged in play invite others to join in the fun.
Beyond the Bench is a training program from Westlake nonprofit Connecting for Kids that develops improved conflict resolution skills among students, celebrate students who act with compassion and remove the stigma of asking for help.
Three Westlake High School student researchers participated in Cleveland Clinic’s Science Internship Program.
Through the program, students gain experiences in healthcare fields and careers, cultivate their 21st century skillset through hands-on learning opportunities, and find practical, real-world applications for their academic knowledge. The 2015 Science Internship Program included 64 high school juniors and seniors form 42 different high schools across Northeast Ohio.
WHS junior Christopher Slater, senior Maahi Mistry and 2015 graduate Laura McDiarmid participated in the Translational Medicine, Public Health and Creating Learning internships, respectively.
Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of only 285 public and 50 private schools receiving the honor this year. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement on Sept. 29.
Westerly Elementary is honored as an Exemplary High Performing School for being among Ohio’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance is also at the highest levels.
U.S. Olympic Team and World Cup Soccer Champ, Kelley O'Hara, arrived at Normandy Elementary School in Bay Village to throngs of students chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A.!"
She was at the school on Sept. 25 to present $5,000 from the nonprofit group Be a Learning Hero in recognition of Normandy’s parent and community collaboration on their One School One Book program.
O'Hara visited classrooms and took questions from the students. One student asked her which foot she had used to kick the semi-final winning goal against Germany during the 2015 World Cup games. She thought a moment, then said, "My right foot!" The second-grader suggested she might have used her left foot to further confuse the goalkeeper, and O'Hara explained, "Well, that goalie was confused. The look on her face made me think she wasn't too happy about that goal!" Her team went on to beat Japan and win the World Cup.
If you live near St. Raphael School you may have wondered what all the activity, energy and music was about on Sept. 10. The St. Raphael School community participated in an all-day event focused on prayer, community, service, faith and inspired action by dedicating physical activity to a greater purpose.
The event is called Rock the Challenge and it was a day to remember for students, faculty, staff and the parish community. There were a number of outdoor activities taking place, including an obstacle course. The students and staff pushed themselves physically, all the while being motivated to continue by dedicating their physical activity to their own personal intention. Everyone was inspired and cheering as principle Anne Miller finished the day by running the course herself.
Westlake High School achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification identifies WHS as a showcase example of sustainable design. The WHS project earned LEED Silver certification by scoring 54 points from the key areas measured.
The Westlake City School District again earned the Auditor of State Award with Distinction for a perfect audit. To earn the distinction, the district had to meet the following criteria:
- File timely Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports with the auditor’s office.
- No finding for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, findings or questioned costs.
District CFO/treasurer Mark C. Pepera credits the achievement to a concerted effort by his staff to enforce sound fiscal policies and the establishment of a high level of internal controls over the district’s financial operations. He also credits the administration and staff for their cooperation and adherence to guidelines established by the Board of Education.
Bay High School honored one National Merit Semi-Finalist and seven National Merit Commended Students in September.
Alana Bernys achieved National Merit Semi-Finalist distinction by scoring in the top one percent of students across the country taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT (PSAT) last year.
Bay High students who qualified as Commended Students, scoring in the top five percent of test takers nationwide, were Luke Andrassy, Joseph Auckley, Emma Chalk, Hannah Downing, Evan O'Donnel and Harrison Teutschbein.
The Westlake City School District is one of more than 60 school districts throughout Ohio that released for the second consecutive year, a more comprehensive companion to the state’s district report card.
The “Quality Profile” report includes additional accountability measures that define a high quality education and are not captured by the state report card. Since the state’s release date has been moved to later in the year because of changes made to the state testing program, the profile will provide communities with their first look at current information to assist them in assessing district progress.
Westlake High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter earned the second-place SADD National Chapter of the Year award.
The award recognizes the group’s efforts to empower young people and change the community. The WHS chapter will be recognized in October at the Ohio SADD conference.
Bay Village Board of Education members joined with students and staff to celebrate two new building additions with back-to-back ribbon cuttings on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The additions are the most visible outcomes of a bond issue that voters passed in 2012 to renovate, restore and improve facilities throughout the school district.
Westerly Elementary now boasts a new library media center. The 3,500-square-foot addition can be divided into two rooms with a pull-down, garage-type glass door.
“The roll-down door is more reliable than room dividers with floor tracks,” said Superintendent Clint Keener. He also noted that the glass maintains a visual openness and the ability to observe students from both sides.
The Bay Rockets Association is again conducting its clothing collection drive, The Great Closet Clean-Out, Sept. 25-27. All funds raised will benefit both Bay Rocket Athletics and Easter Seals Northern Ohio. Bay Rocket Athletics relies on fundraising to ensure that Bay Village Schools can maintain athletic teams from 7th to 12th grades. Easter Seals Northern Ohio uses these funds to serve over 15,000 people with disabilities. This clothing drive is an innovative way for these organizations to raise funds without having to sell anything.
I heard the news Friday night, on a phone call with my son. He was browsing the internet and found a story about the passing of a woman he'd heard me talk about.
At the end of the past school year, I was able to volunteer for Mrs. Ann-Marie Young's eighth-grade special education class at Bay Middle School. Three residents of the Knickerbocker – myself, Lois Johnson and Frank Barkdoll – were asked by Mrs. Young if we would be willing to visit her classroom to give her students an opportunity to interact with older adults.
The class was working on a unit which helped the students become familiar with the Spanish culture, its people, customs, food and geography. We were to read the book "Shadow of a Bull" by Maia Wojciechowska. We discussed several chapters and worked on vocabulary words as well as the meaning of some simple Spanish words and phrases. Mrs. Young prepared samples of Spanish cuisine for each class period, giving each of us a taste of Spain.
I was shocked and saddened by the news of her untimely passing. Our community has lost a remarkable educator who gave so much to her students. She was a true role model.