The kindergarten children at Westshore Montessori School learned about a place in the world where deserts and mountains meet and where a child might easily find a camel to ride. A parent in the class of Mrs. Laskey and Miss Monica came to share her handicrafts and customs and of her cultural heritage. We explored the geography and traditions of this country of northern Africa. Everyone had a delicious mandarin orange, the biggest crop of Morocco!
Three Westlake High School seniors were named U.S. Presidential Scholar candidates.
Aswin Bikkani, Nicholas Craven and Kartik Dhinakaran are among 98 students from Ohio named candidates for this prestigious award. Each year, up to 141 students nationwide are named Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
Application for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is by invitation only. Students must score exceptionally well on either the SAT or ACT and submit candidacy materials, including essays, self-assessments, secondary school reports and transcripts. Candidates are evaluated on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and an analysis of their essay.
On Feb. 23, 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.
Three Westlake High School seniors will receive the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Outstanding Student Award for exceptional accomplishments in their West Shore Career-Technical District programs.
Eric Van Keuls will receive the award for service occupations training, Megan Knott for early childhood education/senior services and Colin Murphy for community-based training.
The award recognizes students who are the top performers in their career-technical programs. These students will be acknowledged at the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary recognition luncheon on March 16.
Bay High students and staff members will have their heads shaved in the school's gymnasium on Thursday, March 12, to support St. Baldrick’s annual fundraising effort to fight childhood cancer.
Contributions to the effort can be made by visiting bayvillageschools.com/hair.
This is the second consecutive year that the school’s students and staff members will have succumbed to the barber’s clippers in support of St. Baldrick’s. The school raised $20,000 last year.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a vounteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.
Westlake’s four elementary schools are closer to authorization as International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools after receiving preliminary feedback from the International Baccalaureate Organization Americans (IBA).
Based on candidacy consultant reports, observations by the verification team and the schools’ applications for authorization, all four schools – Bassett, Dover, Hilliard and Holly Lane – met 115 of the 116 practices in the six standard areas required to become IB World Schools.
The Westlake High School PTSA will present the 30th Annual Green & White Revue on Saturday, March 21, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m. at Westlake School’s Performing Arts Center, 27830 Hilliard Blvd.
The emcees for this year’s show are WHS seniors Danny Phillip, Emily Lanning and Adam Othman. The Green & White Revue provides an opportunity for students throughout the district to showcase their many talents for the community.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft recently announced that the Bay Village City School District has been awarded a grant of $2,155.37 as part of the Boating Safety Education Grant Program. The Division of Watercraft is awarding more than $364,000 to political subdivisions and non-profit organizations for boating education programs. Bay Village Schools is one of 34 organizations across the state to receive funding.
The pre-K and kindergarten classroom of Mrs. Michelle and Mrs. Nancy celebrated the 100th day of school on Jan. 26. The morning was full of fun activities focusing on the number 100. We made "100 days smarter" hats, strung 100 Cheerios for necklaces, dotted 100 gumballs on gumball machines and used our painted handprints to count by 5's to 100. We are now officially 100 days smarter.
Children at Normandy and Westerly elementary schools in Bay Village will gather at Bay High auditorium the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 4, to watch a variety of popular characters take the stage with a performance designed to leave them happy and filled with delight.
No, it isn't a rock concert, a celebrity appearance by television stars, or a game show host giving away lovely cars and vacation prizes. It is, in fact, all about a book. A book! This week is the kick-off of the One School One Book program that began at Normandy Elementary in Bay Village last year and has spread to Westerly Elementary this year.
The Westlake city school district is hoping that, with a new approach, the third time will be the charm. Following the defeat of two operating levies in 2013, the Westlake Board of Education voted Jan. 26 to place a 1 mill permanent improvement levy on the May ballot. The move came after research and a recommendation by members Thomas Mays and John Finucane, who serve on the board’s audit/finance subcommittee.
The vote was announced by Superintendent Geoff Palmer during the district’s State of the Schools presentation on Jan. 27.
“Our permanent improvement levy is one that we think takes some steps in addressing our long-range needs,” Palmer told the audience of parents, residents and school employees in the Parkside auditorium. “This is a way for us to steady the ship. We need to look at things longer term.”
The Bay Village Kiwanis hosted Bay Village Schools administrators for the district’s annual State of the Schools presentation Jan. 20 in the middle school cafeteria. The program offers the public an overview of the past year’s achievements, as well as a look at plans for the coming year.
In a departure from the standard lecture format, the evening featured Superintendent Clint Keener interviewing coaches, principals and department heads on topics ranging from athletics to curriculum to infrastructure. Selected highlights follow; a video of the entire program will be available on the Bay Schools website.
Bay High School football coach Ron Rutt and soccer coach Bob Dougherty discussed their teams’ successes this past season. Matt Spellman, activities/athletics director, lauded student participation, with 70 percent of students involved in sports and 60 percent in music. The district will join the Great Lakes Conference in the fall.
Westlake’s St. Paul Lutheran School is upgrading their technology by offering a new initiative to some of their students this February. Chromebooks will be given to each fifth- and sixth-grade student to be used through the eighth grade. Upon graduation, the laptops will be theirs to keep.
Each year going forward, Chromebooks will be issued to each student upon entering the fifth grade. The Chromebooks will be used to access the latest education curriculum, applications and textbooks. Teachers and students can collaborate on homework and learning after the last bell.
Eleven Westlake High School artists and writers were recently selected for special recognition through the Cleveland Clinic eXpressions art and writing programs.
WHS senior Madeline Lee won Best of Show and a Blue Ribbon for her artwork. Junior Brittany Donna also won a Blue Ribbon.
For art, seniors Lucia Del Rincon Martinez, Jennifer Juhas and Veronica Pulling, and junior Sarah Meleragno, earned Red Ribbon awards. Seniors Caitlin O’Meara and Merlena Ward, and junior Abbey Kay earned White Ribbons. Senior Jessica Birkhimer earned an Honorable Mention.
Westlake City Schools’ middle and high school Academic Challenge teams finished in the Top 5 in the nation in an online quiz competition, qualifying them for the national competition.
The Westlake High School team finished second in the nation out of 140 competing schools in the high school 3-2-1 Questions Unlimited online quiz competition. The high school team ranks first in Ohio.
Westlake High School has been approved as an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, adopting the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum through the International Baccalaureate Organization.
WHS joins schools worldwide that share a common philosophy – a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education with a focus on rigor and inquiry. The Diploma Programme is for juniors and seniors and will offer students the opportunity to graduate with an IB Diploma Certificate.
Learn more about the Westlake City Schools’ kindergarten experience for 2015-2016 by attending an information night on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m.
Each neighborhood elementary school will host an informational session:
- Bassett Elementary School, 2155 Bassett Road
- Dover Elementary School, 2300 Dover Center Road
- Hilliard Elementary School, 24365 Hilliard Blvd.
- Holly Lane Elementary School, 3057 Holly Lane
Christopher Haddad, a seventh-grader, won the 2015 Lee Burneson Middle School Geography Bee and will take a written test in hopes of advancing to the state Geography Bee for the chance to represent Ohio in the National Geography Bee.
Advisor Anne Dill will work with Christopher to prepare him for a written qualifying test. The top 100 ranked students in each state will qualify to represent their school in the state Bee on March 27. The state champions attend the national championship in Washington, D.C., in May.
The Lakewood High School Westshore Young Leaders planned an early New Year’s themed ice skating party on Sunday, Dec. 28. This is the third year for the ice skating party that was held at Serpentini Arena @ Winterhurst Ice Skating Rink in Lakewood. More than 40 middle and high school students from the Westshore school districts (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake) enjoyed an afternoon of music, skating and excitement. The students celebrated the upcoming year with party favors and delicious cupcakes.
Students from Westlake High School and Lee Burneson Middle School science classes spent the day recently as scientists and astronauts during NASA’s 22nd Annual Young Astronaut Day at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
Westlake’s 25 students from WHS Honors physical science classes and LBMS general science classes were among the more than 350 students from 27 Northeast Ohio schools who worked in teams on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) activities demonstrating their logic and problem-solving skills through hands-on projects. Activities included Commander Missions of Rocket Balloon Propulsion, Laser Communications, Rover Entry Aero Drag and Rover Traction Robots.
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.
My Lovely Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve my family goes to my Aunt Debbie’s house. I see my cousins and we get matching pajamas. We eat snow ball cookies. They are cookies with walnuts. We eat brownies and sing songs in her music room and I play the piano. For dinner we have spinach quiche, grapes, and mac and cheese. The kids play house up in my cousin’s mom’s old room when she was a kid. Then we ride up and down the steps. The stairs go in circles and we slide on our bottoms down the stairs. Next we change into our matching PJs. Finally we open presents and we play with our new toys. All of us write letters to Santa and put them in my aunt’s special mailbox. We go home and I say, “Hi,” to Jingle, my Elf on the Shelf, and go to bed dreaming about the wonderful day that is coming.
by Lulu V.
My Christmas Tradition
We cut down our tree each year. Our family has gone to Wilcox Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree every year since I was a baby. My parents make us a big breakfast before we leave. My dad gets his saw and we all pile in the car to go find the perfect tree. Our family rides on their tractor to take us out to the trees. If we are lucky there will be snow on the ground so my brother and I can have a snowball fight! Some years my brother finds a tree and some years I find a tree but we never leave without a tree. Sometimes we struggle to get it in the door and some years we have to cut the top because it is too tall. Once we finally get it in, our dad takes a nap and my brother, my mom and I put on ornaments and candy canes and lights! I like to eat the candy canes but I also like to see the ornaments I made and have got from the past. I do this every year and I LOVE IT!!
by Aaron B.
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 Easter to the Fourth of July to Eid to Chanukah to Christmas.
My Family Tradition
My traditions are on Easter. On Easter, my family gets up and we find our baskets. We do the hot and cold clue game. When we eat pancakes and sausages, you can hear my family talking to one another. We open our baskets while we eat. After we are done eating, I open my toys and other stuff. In the afternoon, I eat my candy and sometimes I eat it in the morning, but just the pieces that spill out of my plastic Easter eggs. Of course, I do not go to school! Thank you for listening to my Easter traditions!
by Aubrie G.
Making Gingerbread Houses
After Thanksgiving four people including me, my cousin Devon, my sister Samantha, and my other cousin Kyra decorate some gingerbread houses. We use gumballs, icing and candy. I do it every year three days after Thanksgiving. It is fun doing it every year. I do two, my sister does two, and Devon does one. There are five gingerbread houses altogether. I make icing into icicles and Samantha makes a gummy gumball path. Yum! The gingerbread houses are not edible. I smell ginger and sugar! I hear talking and yelling. I love the taste of gum drops. I touch the icing and see sugar and candy on the gingerbread houses. I loved writing this story for you!
by Kaitlyn J.
Six months before receiving his high school diploma, a Westlake High School senior will receive two associate degrees and serve as commencement speaker for his college graduating class.
Aswin Bikkani, 17, was selected by the Cuyahoga Community College Joint Student Council – the college-wide student government body – to serve as the Dec. 17 commencement speaker. Aswin will graduate from Tri-C with Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees for Fall 2014 with a 4.0 GPA. He was selected from a pool of candidates to serve as commencement speaker.
The Ruth Purdy-Leslie Scholarship Fund at BAYarts was created in memory of the much-loved Bay Schools art teacher in 2011. Originally to aid students interested in taking BAYarts classes, the program was expanded to include scholarships for college-bound students.
We are seven fourth-graders from Westerly Elementary School who are interested in helping homeless people from the Greater Cleveland Family Promise shelter that are moving to their new homes. We are doing a donation drive to collect supplies for bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. The supplies can be slightly worn, and they don’t have to be new.
The donation box is at Bay Village Library, 502 Cahoon Road, and is next to the display case. The donation drive will be held from now until Sunday, Jan. 4. After Jan. 4, we will be delivering the supplies to two families’ new homes.
Neige DeAngelis, a Dover Intermediate School fifth-grade student, won a national story contest by Cricket magazine for her story about a temperamental, fire-breathing dragon named Mr. Feugo.
Neige’s story, “350 Words or Else!” chronicles the scene of Mr. Feugo, editor of “Dragonfly” magazine, being upset when readers sent in 10-page stories for publication. Neige’s story was published in the October 2014 issue of Cricket magazine.
A group of Westlake High School students joined other area schools at the Beck Center for the Arts last month to learn how to create peaceful solutions through the arts.
The Peaceful Solutions program is a one-day workshop at the Beck Center in Lakewood that includes opportunities for students to write songs, play instruments, paint, mold with clay and learn how cultural arts can have a positive impact on their lives and society.
The WHS participants were Zac Duffield, Jillian Eddy, Abigail Sperli, Paola Del Rincon Martinez, Lori Unger, Haleigh Harper and David Wanhainen, Bayanne Farraj, Sydney Chatterton, Carolyn Bedell and Andrew Sperli.
Fifty-eight Westlake High School students were part of a SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) seminar held Dec. 2 at Quicken Loans Arena to generate peer prevention ideas to take back to their schools.
About 400 SADD members from Northeast Ohio high schools attended. Nine WHS SADD and Leadership Challenge students presented a peer prevention program – pHarmingEffects – that teaches students about the dangers of using prescription medications not prescribed for them. Students used PowerPoint, videos and skits during their presentation, which they previously presented in the high school’s sophomore health classes.
Westlake Schools CFO/Treasurer Mark C. Pepera was one of six new members appointed to the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC).
Pepera will serve a two-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and represents the Association of School Business Officials International. The appointment was made by the board of trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which is responsible for the oversight, administration and finances of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
Maggie and Riley Millett are students at Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village and will be working together to write articles for the Observer. Last year, Maggie was a third-grader in Miss Holinek’s class and wrote an article for the Observer about their class cupcake sale. Now her sister Riley is a third-grader at Westerly (also in Miss Holinek’s class) and the girls are going to collaborate to write articles together!
When you see the folded yellow signs in a crosswalk that means pedestrians have the right away and drivers must stop! It does not mean to accelerate and try to beat pedestrians to the crosswalk. It also does not mean to continue at the same speed hoping that pedestrians will get out of the way in time. Additionally, it does not mean “let’s scare them and pretend we’re going to run them over.” Not cool.
However, so many people in their comfy, cozy cars listening to music, looking at or talking on their phones are often so caught up in their own world that they put pedestrians, as well as their own lives, in danger when they fail to stop!
Normandy Elementary School is putting hand germs on notice that their days are numbered at the school.
Kindergarten through second-grade students learned about healthy hand washing from St. John Medical Center registered nurses on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Then they pledged to become “Germinators” and to wash germs down the drain.
The program is called “Healthy Hands, Healthy Kids.” It is part of the St. John Medical Center Community Outreach Program. Registered nurses (and their germy aliases), all dressed in “germ” costumes, included Mary "Izzie Influenza" Kiczek, Mirian "Fanny Fungus" Buzzard, and Lucile "Lucy Listeria” Maher. Their director of education is Paul "Eddy Ecoli” Forthofer.
About 500 Normandy Elementary children in grades K-2 gathered at an assembly to honor our veterans and military heroes on Nov. 11. Rows of red, white and blue stars lining the walls were the first hint to visitors that they were in for a special day. Each star featured a brave man or woman who served in the military and was related to a Normandy student.
Special guests represented each branch of the service and a span of many years of protecting our freedoms. The program began with Boy Scouts presenting the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, words of introduction and thanks, musical tributes, and a lesson about flag etiquette.
A record number of middle and high school students and staff from Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted and Rocky River braved the cold and snow to participate in the annual Westshore Young Leaders training held at the Don Umerley Civic Center in Rocky River on Friday, Nov. 21. Over the past five years, the training has been able to reach out to close to 400 students in the Westshore District.
The Westshore Young Leaders Network partnered with McKeon Education Group to facilitate the invigorating day of interactive training. Stand By Your Quote was an excellent activity for students to examine the leadership styles of others and take a moment to reflect on its meaning and purpose in their leadership roles. One example was a paraphrase of John Quincy Adams' quote: "If your actions inspire others to dream more and do more, you are a leader."
Lee Burneson Middle School eighth-graders participated in a Unity Day Against Bullying on Oct. 30.
Language arts teacher Deb Schrembeck’s students read the novel “Bullyville” by Francine Prose, the story of an eighth-grade boy who was bullied and the consequences for all involved. They also watched the non-fiction documentary “Bully.”
Out of the students’ anger and disappointment in how the characters in both works were treated, they planned a Unity Day. Students made more than 650 colorful, personalized positive message signs they then taped to every student locker. A handful of students made public service announcements during the morning and afternoon announcements and encouraged everyone to wear orange – the national color of anti-bullying – on Oct. 30.
A blank wall is just an invitation to those with artistic vision. Bay Village’s Normandy Elementary School, in the process of having a new addition constructed, had a blocked and covered exit door that didn’t stand a chance of staying unadorned for long.
A beautiful arrangement of pastel squares now covers the unpainted drywall underneath, and each square is decorated with a student self-portrait and a suggestion for showing kindness to others. It is labeled, “Wall of Kindness.”
Those studying the wall will find dozens of suggestions for being kind. "Say good morning to a friend," says one square. "Treat others the way you want to be treated," says another. “Make your teacher joyful,” is sure to be a favorite with many adults in the school.
Eight Westlake High School AP art history and AP studio art students will participate in a Cleveland Museum of Art Museum Ambassadors program that provides a behind-the-scenes experience at the world-class institution.
Master students are seniors Paige Dawson, Lucia del Rincon-Martinez and Kylie Hulver. Apprentice students are juniors Kaylee Carson, Hayley Quinlan, Natalie Samenuk, Harleen Shergill and Kyle Wong. Students were chosen for the program by prevention coordinator Kathy McGinty and social studies teacher Beth Noren.
The first year of the program has students participating in behind-the-scenes experiences in various departments at the Cleveland Museum of Art. In their second year, students participate in similar experiences at other University Circle institutions, including the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Orchestra. This year students will be working in the different areas of the library, such as education, curating, marketing and research.
The Westlake High School girls swim/dive team earned the Scholar Team Award from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) for having the highest team GPA in Ohio for the third consecutive year.
The team maintains a 3.856 GPA, earning them a Gold Level Award. The award recognizes academic success in the classroom for the entire swimming, diving and water polo teams, as well as athletic success in the pool.
“Earning the Top GPA in the state for three consecutive years speaks to the commitment and diligence of this team,” said coach Jessica Dye. “Their excellence goes beyond the pool. These girls exemplify what the term student-athlete means. They are strong role models for our community, and I am proud to be their coach.”
Lee Burneson Middle School language arts teacher Deb Schrembeck’s eighth-graders raised $350 from an academic haunted house for the Alzheimer’s Association.
A 30-member student Unity Committee spent a month designing activities using four classrooms – math, science, language arts and U.S. studies – to produce a haunted house. The math room invited students to solve a math problem and enter the math maze. The science room provided a sensory mad scientist scene. The language arts room had the books “Divergent,” “The Hunger Games” and “Percy Jackson” come to life. The U.S. studies room housed the witches of Salem.
Techie Club is a new partnership between the Westlake City Schools and Hyland Software designed to expose students to different technology concepts, to incite interest and encourage exploration.
The club includes hands-on, interactive lessons for third and fourth grade students. Topics include computer programming, web development, hardware, software, internet, digital and social media, technology careers and robotics.
Techie Club is comprised of up to 20 students and meets for an hour after school on Thursdays at Dover Elementary School throughout the school year. International Baccalaureate Coordinator Colleen Mudore is facilitating the program with the help of Hyland Software volunteers.