Students Steal the Show at Wyalusing Board Meeting

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The cast of “Rags,” the spring musical at Wyalusing Valley High School delighted board, faculty and audience members with a rendition of “Penny a Tune,” (top) setting the tone for a lively, upbeat school board meeting on Monday evening. Faculty members (above) enjoy the performance as directed by Robert Shumway (standing, back) and accompanied by Carol Madill on piano.

Story and Photos by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the March 15 edition of the Rocket-Courier)

The wide array of talents possessed by students in the Wyalusing Area School District was showcased at the monthly meeting of the school board on Monday. New artwork adorned the walls of the Community Room, and board members were treated to a rousing selection from the upcoming high school musical “Rags.” Several teams of elementary pupils had an opportunity to explain the K’nex projects that took them to a regional competition, and state wrestling qualifiers were honored with certificates.

Robert Shumway, a music teacher in Wyalusing for 34 years, introduced the student singers, who will star next weekend in what will be the 38th musical that Shumway has directed in his career. “Rags” will be presented at Wyalusing Valley High School Thursday through Saturday, March 22 to 24, starting at 7 pm each evening.

Wrestlers Creighton Edsell, Darren Schum, and Luke O’Connor (above) represented fellow state qualifiers Ed Mapes and Mike Wilcox, who were unable to attend the meeting. Darren related that the journey to this point had been an incredible experience and that he was enjoying the ambiance of the competitions. Board member Gene Anne Woodruff later remarked that she was impressed by the number of elementary school wrestlers who attended the state matches.

Dr. Deana Patson, coordinator of curriculum and instructional technology, explained the process of getting three teams of fourth- through sixth-graders to the IU17 K’nex competition, beginning with a school-wide contest that involved 10 teams. In addition to Debbie Geist of the Sullivan County School District, Patson cited Wyalusing faculty members Dana Otis, Tammy Card, Bill Lutz, Tim Moss and Melissa Bennett as instrumental in the success of this year’s K’nex adventure. K’nex qualifiers (above, from left) Alyssa Sterling, Kylie Pickett, and Joslyn Miller explained the process of designing and building a rotational nightstand with fellow teammate Desirae Fletcher, who was unable to attend the meeting.

Bennett (above, left) and fellow art instructor Shauna Case provided details of March as Youth Art Month and the Building Community Through Art project. An Artist of the Day is being acknowledged during the morning announcements, and the paper feathers that made up the montage that spread across two walls of the Community Room (behind them) were created by students and faculty from kindergarten through 12th grade. The annual student art show will be moved to the lower level of Wyalusing Valley Elementary School this spring, she noted, and the exhibit will fill the halls leading to the conference room. Superintendent Jason Bottiglieri expressed hopes that the event would coincide with a school board meeting so that more people who appreciate the work of the students.

Staff Changes Announced

In addition to accepting the resignations of high school guidance counselor Jeffrey LaFrance, who had started with the district in 1997, and custodian Norris Mosier Jr., who began work in the schools in 1984, the board granted unanimous approval to the hiring of Dr. Charles Suppon as the district’s new special education director. Suppon (below) attended the meeting with his wife, Melanie, and said that he had been smiling all week at the prospect of coming to Wyalusing. No doubt, his smile was enhanced by the couple also learning this past weekend that they are expecting a baby.

Other new hires included coaches Brett Jayne and Jason Vandemark and substitute teachers Erin Kettenburg, Ricky Lindblad, and Heather McMicken.

Dual Enrollment Program Offered at NTCC

Dr. Bottiglieri was excited about the prospects for student interested in technical fields who can start earning college credits as early as next fall via a partnership between the Northern Tier Career Center and Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Students from Bradford and Sullivan counties will be able to enroll in a two-year program of study in information technologies and achieve 12 college credits at a greatly reduced cost of $100 per credit and an Information Sciences and Technology certificate. (Read more here: http://www.endlessmtnlifestyles.com/?p=9939) 

Public Commentary

Jason Boatman stayed to the end of the meeting to express his confusion at a seeming change of opinion by the district as to the safety of access to the former athletic building at the intersection of the campus exit road an Wyalusing New Albany Road. When the building was deemed dilapidated – the reported impetus to building the new Life Center – crossing the road there was also cited as a safety concern. “What makes it more safe for the children to cross the street there now?” Boatman (below) asked.

It is the policy of the school board not to offer and immediate response but to take the question under advisement provide an answer after a few days of deliberation.

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