Westlake Chinese Cultural Association is a 27-year-old non-profit organization. WCCA's mission is to promote intercultural exchanges, provide Chinese cultural information and services, and deliver quality Chinese language education to our communities. Started as a home school, WCCA welcomes anyone who is interested in learning the Chinese language, or about Chinese arts, culture and traditions. Classes are held on Saturday mornings at Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake for all ages, including adults.
Normandy Elementary School in Bay Village celebrated the conclusion of its three-week-long, community-wide literacy project "One School One Book" on Friday, March 21. Students and their families had all been reading along with the same book, "The World According to Humphrey" by Betty G. Birney, and classes were treated to a surprise visit from the hamster himself!
The project, funded by the Bay Village Education Foundation and Normandy PTA, was implemented by Normandy Principal Dan Sebring and his Literacy Committee. Every student at the school received a copy of the book, a packet with directions on reading along and other fun activities, and the chance to win raffle prizes by "spotting" Humphrey around town. Humphrey posters were placed in various Bay businesses for Normandy students to find, and when they found "Humphrey," they'd receive a raffle ticket. Students could also turn in tickets with their answers to questions about the book.
In an extremely rigorous and detailed assessment of its exemplary music program, the Bay Village City School District has been named once again to the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education list. This marks the 12th consecutive year that the district has been named to the prestigious list.
“Music is truly an integral part of our schools and the Bay Village community,” said Clinton Keener, superintendent of the Bay Village City School District. “Our students, parents and music instructors are passionate about music, and our community members of all ages turn out in droves for our student performances.”
Saint Bernadette School hosted two very special activities this past month focusing on family. On March 15, the school hosted their first annual Father-Daughter Dance in their performing arts center. Almost 200 girls and dads shared some quality time while dancing the night away. Guests enjoyed refreshments, dancing, games and prizes. Many of those in attendance already said they can't wait for next year's dance.
While many high school students continue to engage in unhealthy, high-risk behaviors, the fact remains that a majority of youth are choosing not to use. More than 100 high school students representing Bay Village, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Lakewood and Westlake braved the cold to attend the fourth annual Westshore Young Leaders High School Lock-in on Feb. 28 at the Westlake Recreation Center.
The lock-in is the Westshore Young Leaders high school signature event. Westlake’s SADD students took the reins to orchestrate a fun-filled evening. The group brought students from Brecksville/Broadview Heights High School to perform "The pHarming Effects" play. The presentation addresses the misuse/abuse of prescription drugs and how it is affecting youth today. Each lock-in participant received training materials so each district will be able to address prescription drug misuse/abuse by conducting presentations in their area.
The Westlake High School Center Stage Players will stage a production of "Legally Blonde: The Musical" on Friday and Saturday, April 11 and 12, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. at the Westlake High School Performing Arts Center, 27830 Hilliard Blvd.
The story is based on the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial.
Admission for the show is $10 at the door; no presales available. Children 6 and under admitted for free.
On March 14, Westlake High School hosted its annual Prom Assembly for the graduating seniors. The purpose of this event is to promote safe driving and responsible behavior during the many activities that take place during prom and graduation season.
Principal Timothy Freeman, Westlake police officer Scott Fortkamp and members of S.A.D.D (Students Against Destructive Decisions) addressed the class. A fashion show featuring student models followed. For the first time in this event’s history, Mr. Jim Egan and Mrs. Melissa Crist (educators at the high school) modeled as well.
Bay High students have raised $20,000, doubling their ambitious one-week goal of $10,000, to help fund promising cures for childhood cancer through St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Contributions were collected in just one week (which included a snow day with no school) through cash, checks and online donations, and a top motivator was the promise of art instructor Thomas Schemrich to shave off his longtime ponytail hairstyle, which he says he has worn almost always since he was 15 years old.
Bay High's Youth Philanthropy Fellowship (YPF), along with Bay High's Student Council and Key Club, sponsored the fundraiser. The following students participated in the event by also having their heads shaved: Nick Best, Michael Clark, Tim Garner, Molly Harkness, Jared Hengst, Elyse Legeay, Andrew Majercek, Jack Rodman and Andrew Taylor. Staff members being head-shaved included teachers Joe Cheney, Billy Judge, Jared Shetzer, Scott Stelter and the school's principal and YPF adviser, Jason Martin.
Bay High students will present Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, "Cinderella," Thursday through Saturday, March 20, 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m., at the Bay High Auditorium.
"The story is the fairytale we all love," said the production's director, Maryann Nagel. "But the dialogue and lyrics are a little more up to date. It is great fun to watch."
Cinderella, played by Kaitie Foley, is treated badly by her stepmother, played by Katie Randazzo, and stepsisters, played by Maisie Kuh and Kerry O’Brien. With the help of her Fairy Godmother (Jessica Cusimano), Cinderella is transformed into a princess in time to impress her prince (Peter Kotowski) and his parents, King Maximillian (Edward Hughes) and Queen Constantina (Colleen Kowalski). After the ball, the prince, with his trusted herald Lionel (Evan Kelly), work together to find the princess he loves.
An art class project led Holly Lane Elementary School fourth-grader Maddie Gentzel to create a company that makes and sells cupcakes to help kids with cancer.
“Cupcakes for Cancer” started out last fall after Maddie and her classmates were tasked by Holly Lane art teacher Staci Peltz with creating a poster about a shop or a place. She came up with the name “Cupcakes for Cancer” and started thinking about how she could actually turn her love of cupcakes into a plan to help children with the disease.
“I love cupcakes, and I like to bake them,” Maddie said. “So I thought why not do something I love to help someone else. A cupcake always brightens a person’s day.”
Westlake’s Bassett Elementary School raised $3,255.79 on Feb. 28 at its sixth annual Family Game Night for Autism Speaks, a science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding autism research and increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders.
Each year Family Game Night promotes quality family time and presents the school with an opportunity to educate the community about a special issue. In the past the event has raised dollars for Cystic Fibrosis, The Gathering Place, The First Foundation for Ichthyosis, Crohns & Colitis Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Westlake High School Leadership Challenge students also volunteer at the event.
West Shore Career-Technical District Outstanding Student Award recipients were honored by the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River at its March 10 luncheon 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.
Lee Burneson Middle School student Kyle Yu is heading to Columbus to defend his state Geographic Bee title and compete for the chance to represent Ohio at the National Geographic Bee next month in Washington, D.C.
School-level winners took a qualifying test and the top 100 scores were named semifinalists and eligible to compete at the state Bee.
State qualifiers compete in an oral competition, to be held April 4 in Columbus. State winners will be invited to the National Geographic headquarters in late May to compete in the national finals for scholarships.
It’s that time of year again! The Westlake High School PTSA proudly presents the 29th Annual Green and White Revue. A longstanding Westlake tradition, the Green and White Revue features a variety of performances by Westlake City Schools students, including singing, dancing and even pogo sticking!
The show is an excellent way for students throughout the district to showcase their many talents for their friends, family and community members. This year’s show will be hosted by WHS seniors Evie Kennedy, Joe Knurek and Allyson Pesta. More than just a musical variety show, the Green and White Revue features acts both classic and contemporary, all while celebrating the talents of Westlake’s finest.
Featuring some of our communities' great students.
Bay High senior Sahana Petras sees cooking as much more than a way to satisfy a hungry family. She studies culinary arts for part of her school day at the West Shore Career-Technical District, housed at Lakewood High School. She was recently awarded the Outstanding Student Award in Culinary Arts by the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Club.
Sahana is inspired to study culinary arts by her mother and her godmother. “My mother is a very creative cook, and she makes delicious, colorful and unique meals, not necessarily from a recipe. She’ll just see what we ingredients we have on hand and put something wonderful together. And my godmother taught me many dishes, like Chicken Curry, from her Filipino culture. I cook Indian, German and Irish dishes for my family, and I enjoy that my cooking can also express my love of culture.”
The WHS String Orchestra received the top rating of “Superior” at the OMEA State Orchestra Contest held at Lakewood High School on Feb. 21. The orchestra of 50 students was entered in Class A, the top and most difficult class, and received the top Superior rating from every adjudicator at the competition. It is the highest achievement in the OMEA in the state.
This is the largest string orchestra in the history of WHS. The orchestra is conducted by Raymond Walczuk. More than 30 orchestras in the northeast part of the state attended the competition at Lakewood High School.
A team of sixth- through eighth-graders from Parkside Intermediate School and Lee Burneson Middle School placed third overall among nine schools competing at the annual Equations mathematics competition.
Sponsored by the Educational Support Center of Cuyahoga County, the regional competition requires students to use mathematical skills to create and solve questions using creative methods.
In the seventh- and eighth-grade division, the seventh-grade team placed first while the eighth-grade team placed second. The middle school teams are coached by LBMS gifted specialist Kate Vitek and seventh-grade math teacher Anne Dill.
Normandy Elementary School in Bay Village was buzzing with excitement as our school celebrated Presidents Day with a special program on Feb. 13, arranged by Normandy's History Committee and Principal Dan Sebring.
A troupe of "living historians" from Northeast Ohio visited us to bring to life the presidents and first ladies that the students have been studying since Feb. 3. Our local American Legion led the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem and then Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield and William Taft, and first ladies Mary Todd Lincoln, Lucretia Garfield and Eleanor Roosevelt were introduced on stage and entertained by students.
St. Paul Lutheran School in Westlake hosted a number of special activities the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1 to celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week. During the week, St. Paul students participated in several service projects to benefit the local community. The main project of the week was a food drive where classes competed to bring in the most canned and boxed food for local pantries. Students also made fleece blankets and created Valentine’s Day cards that were distributed to area veterans, shut-ins, nursing homes and shelters.
Everyone has a birthday, but some people don’t get to celebrate it. Have you ever taken the time to think about that? Our third-grade Destination Imagination team was shocked that some kids don’t get to celebrate their birthdays and we decided we wanted to help everyone have a birthday party as our DI community service project.
We contacted the Cleveland Family Promise Organization that works with homeless families. They are based at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont. They agreed to let us provide birthday parties at their daytime shelter once a month.
The first birthday party we celebrated a three-year old boy’s birthday and his mom’s birthday. We were surprised because he didn’t know how to open up the presents we gave him. We were sad that the mom couldn’t be there because her car broke down.
Eight Westlake High School seniors were named 2014 National Merit Finalists in the National Merit Program. Pictured from left, Deepak Kumar, Apshara Ravichandran, Krish Shah, Sameena Khan, Jacob Wise, Paavani Reddy, Ethan Fitz and Michelle Adamczyk are among the 15,000 students nationwide named National Merit Finalists, based on their PSAT scores taken in their junior year.
Featuring some of our communities' great students.
Bay High senior Thomas Shelton would like to be a doctor someday, perhaps a pediatrician. He works with many children in his role as a lifeguard at Bay Village’s aquatic center during the summer, and he is getting experience in a medical environment through his volunteer work at St. John Medical Center.
An excellent student planning to major in pre-medicine, Thomas also gravitates to the fine arts, winning numerous awards for both visual arts and writing. This year he won a Gold Key award in the region’s Scholastic Arts competition, and he has previously won prizes in the PTA Reflections fine arts competitions.
The Great Big Home and Garden Show at the I-X Center this month will showcase the top ten area high school model home designs from the 17th annual Student Model Home Design Contest, held Jan. 18 at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville. Among them will be six Westlake High School team designs, as WHS students continued their strong showing in the competition.
The WHS senior team of Chris Tsuei, Chris Stone, Rob Slater and Connor Stanton took first place and the overall grand prize, winning the $1000 scholarship.
Second place overall and $300 went to the Westlake team of Ethan Fitz, Nai-Ning-Kuo, Peter Slater and Mingda Chen. They also won two specialty category awards for “Best Presentation” and the prestigious “Architectural Award of Merit.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft recently announced that the Bay Village City School District has been awarded a grant of $7,889.50 as part of the Boating Safety Education Grant Program. The Division of Watercraft is awarding more than $300,000 to political subdivisions and non-profit organizations for boating education programs. Bay Village Schools is one of 22 organizations across the state to receive funding.
The funds will be used to provide a boating safety education program this summer for sixth- through eighth-grade students. The nationally recognized program, known as Spirit of America, provides students both classroom and on-the-water sessions to teach safe boating skills.
The Westshore Young Leaders along with Lakewood High School celebrated at a Pre-New Year’s Skate Bash on Dec. 29, 2013. at Serpentini Arena. The skating event is becoming a winter break tradition of our leadership program. This year’s theme involved celebrating a safe, drug- and alcohol-free Pre-New Year’s Eve. Our Young Leaders came out in full fashion, furnishing students with party hats, beads, noise makers and prizes for the “most glamorous outfits.”
The 2013 Westlake High School girls soccer team has a combined 4.13 GPA – the third highest in Ohio – and was named a 1st Team Scholastic All-American Team by the Adidas National Soccer Coaches Association.
The award is based on grades and on-the-field accomplishments. This is 10th time in 12 years the team has earned an All-American Scholar Team award.
With more than 600 school superintendents in Ohio, being selected as the best in the state is an outstanding accomplishment. Westlake's Dr. Daniel Keenan Jr. was named Ohio's 2014 Superintendent of the Year by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and honored during a BASA luncheon in Columbus last December.
The community of Westlake celebrated his achievement with a ceremony held in the rotunda of Westlake High School on Jan. 13 in which family, staff and students presented congratulatory messages of thanks to the school system's leader. The evening featured accolades from students, teachers, principals and board of election members, as well as the honoree’s father, Dr. Daniel Keenan Sr., a retired superintendent of Steubenville’s schools.
Bay Village parents of children who will be five years of age on or before Sept. 30, 2014 are invited to attend a Bay Village Kindergarten Information Meeting on Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m., at Normandy Elementary School, 26920 Normandy Road in Bay Village. Only parents should attend, due to limited space.
The kindergarten registration packet will be distributed at this meeting. In addition to an overview of kindergarten and kindergarten readiness, there will be information tables for those with questions regarding daycare, kindergarten readiness, speech therapy, early entrance and volunteer opportunities.
Eleni Packis, a Westlake High School senior, is making a difference one day at a time in her many activities inside and outside of school.
Last fall, Eleni helped organized the Ohio Make A Difference Day as part of her duties as northwest gubernator for the Ohio Junior Classical League (OJCL), a statewide Latin Club. Eleni and Allison Kao, the northeast gubernator from Shaker Heights High School, designed an Olympic day for Youth Challenge, a nonprofit in Westlake and Shaker Heights that brings together children with disabilities and teen volunteers for adapted sports and recreational activities. Eleni also volunteers throughout the year at Youth Challenge.
Three Westlake High School students won Gold Key awards in the Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art & Writing Competition, which recognizes creative achievement of seventh to 12th grade students throughout Cuyahoga County.
Senior Madeline Chernosky and junior Sadie Roff won Gold Key awards. Madeline also won two Honorable Mentions and Sadie won a Silver Key award. Senior Alex Sierputowski, who is a West Shore Interactive Media student at Lakewood High School, also won a Gold Key award for animation.
Bay Village students in grades 7-12 garnered 12 first-place Gold Key awards, 14 second-place Silver Key awards, and 43 Honorable Mention awards from a field of nearly 2,100 entries in this year’s Cuyahoga County Regional Scholastic Arts competition. Gold Key winners will be judged at the national-level competition in New York City this spring.
Gold Key winners are Bay High seniors Elizabeth Auckley, Grace Harms, Thomas Shelton, Aubrey Theobald and Grace Veres (who won three Gold Key awards); Bay Middle School eighth-graders Adriana Chesterfield, Maria DiLallo, Daina Renerts, Anelise Seicean, and seventh-grader Luke Fortunato.
Two Lee Burneson Middle School Academic Challenge teams competed Dec. 14 in the Copley-Fairlawn Middle School Academic Challenge Tournament, competing in separate brackets against teams from Cloverleaf (Lodi), Copley-Fairlawn, CVCA (Cuyahoga Falls), Granville, Hawken (Lyndhurst), Lincoln (Warren) and Sacred Heart (Wadsworth). The two teams finished undefeated this season with perfect 7-0 records in their respective brackets.
A collaboration between Bay High varsity boys basketball coach, Jared Shetzer, Bay High Principal Jason Martin, and BHS senior Grace Harms has breathed new spirit into Bay High School's athletics program. Coach Shetzer wanted a concept that would bring the school together, and he came up with "One Rocket Nation" as a slogan.
Principal Jason Martin liked the idea, and he also wanted a fundraiser for the Youth Philanthropy Fellowship (YPF), a student service group he advises. Enter Grace Harms, an award-winning student artist well known for her talent at graphic design.
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. In keeping with the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year tradition, Mrs. Martha Fisher of Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village and Mrs. Melissa Graham of Bassett Elementary School in Westlake asked their students to share favorite family traditions. These are some of their responsses.
Setting up the Christmas Tree
by Brian B., 4th grade, Bassett
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my family puts up a Christmas tree. Sometimes we put up a real tree and sometimes an artificial tree. This year we put up a real tree! First we go to the basement and bring up all of the bins that hold the Christmas ornaments. Then, we sort the ornaments into seven piles, one pile for each family member. My whole family puts the lights on the tree together and then we go in the kitchen and get some candy canes. We each hang our pile of ornaments and candy canes on the tree. My parents wrap an ornament for each of my siblings and we get to unwrap the ornaments on that day. Lastly, we hang our new ornaments on the tree. The tree looks really cool when we are finished decorating!
These are my Christmas Traditions
by Elizabeth H., 3rd grade, Westerly
I have two elves on the shelves. Do you know about the elf on the shelf? They are elves that come at Thanksgiving and stay till Christmas and every night they fly back to Santa and tell if you’re good or bad and in the morning they hide so you have to find them. You can’t touch them though, and they can’t go in water, and you can get them at Barnes and Noble. They are my favorite thing about Christmas because I am an only child and there are not many kids on my street. My elves keep me company and sometimes they stay two more days than they’re supposed to. I also invite my best friend over to help decorate the tree and she brings her elf on the shelf. We put all three elves on the shelves while we decorate the tree. We then put all three elves in a basket and go to the zoo. My friend and I love it because the Christmas animals like the polar bear and seals are out. Santa and his reindeer are there. He is in the wolf lodge. The elves are my friends, and I love going. Mrs. Claus is also there giving out candy canes. This is my favorite tradition playing with my elves, and friend, decorating the tree, and going to the zoo to see Santa.
Tara Wendell, senior editor of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer, was honored at a recent Kiwanis meeting with The OSBA Media Honor Roll award for her excellence in working with the Bay Village City School District.
Schools superintendent Clint Keener presented the award, which states it is given for “fair and balanced education reporting, and exemplary service to our community.”
“Tara does a truly fine job of covering our annual State of the Schools presentation, with photos and quotes for each speaker. Her articles drive lots of traffic to our website, and people do watch the videos!” said Keener.
Featuring some of our communities' great high school students.
Bay High junior Jack Rodman likes to tinker. The aspiring mechanical/aerospace engineer likes to take apart and fix mechanical items, a skill which undoubtedly serves him well in his lawn mowing and snow removal business. He also likes to build things, and he recently completed a new bookshelf for his bedroom.
A vice president of Bay High's Student Council and a member of the National Honor Society, Jack has also played on Bay High's boys golf team for three years. He is a member of the school's A Cappella Choir and Bay High's Choraleers, a selective, auditioned group for those serious about singing and performing difficult music at a high level.
Westlake High School senior Krish Shah scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test given last spring. Fewer than 1/10th of one percent of the average 1.6 million students who take the ACT annually earn a top score of 36. This is the eighth time in five years a WHS student has earned a perfect score on the test.
Krish is a National Merit Semifinalist and was part of the Westlake Demons boys tennis team that swept the Southwestern Conference Tournament last spring. The team earned the title of Tournament Champions and Krish won his third singles title.
BVEF President Scott Best, Grants Co-Chair Ellie Bricmont, Rhonda Schneider and Jacquie Mayer from the foundation awarded and celebrated over $10,000 in grants to several Bay Village Schools educators at the Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting. The generous number and total of 11 grants combined was awarded in partnership with Bay Village Kiwanis.
Each year, educators have the opportunity to submit requests for instructional support and enrichment materials that intend to have a significant impact in students learning for years to come. The foundation annually contributes to these requests, from contributions and fundraisers, awarding these educators the opportunity to strengthen and add innovative ideas into students’ daily learning experiences. This year, the following educators were awarded grants from various schools in the district:
Westlake High School’s Academic Challenge team finished undefeated in its bracket at the Aurora Invitational Tournament held Nov. 16. The win qualifies the team for regional competition.
Each week, students representing schools from all around Northern Ohio battle toward the season championship on Academic Challenge, now in its 46th year. Three teams compete for points by answering questions covering topics including math, science, history and current events. At the end of each program, the points are totaled, and at season’s end the three highest scoring teams return for the Championship match.
Featuring some of our communities' great students.
Westlake High School senior Ethan Fitz is planning a career in engineering – possibly in the field of robotics. So his summer internship at NASA Glenn Research Center was a perfect launching pad into potential scientific careers.
Ethan assisted in ongoing research on droplet combustion in microgravity by analyzing and processing results from an experiment running on the International Space Station (ISS) remotely. He was part of the Glenn High School Internship Project/Small Business Innovation Program (GHIP/SBIR), an eight-week paid summer internship for students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and professional administration at NASA Glenn.