High School teacher Amy Hatlee, dressed as the GM Mustang, tries to mime the news about the $25,000 State Farm grant to High School Principal John Althouse. The grant was kept secret to students, faculty and staff until a surprise assembly at the stadium.
Students Say Thanks
(Top) Davis Steffy, a second grade student, presents a veteran with a token of appreciation following Brecknock's Veterans Day program. (Middle) Cumru Elementary student Jared Sweeney escorts a veteran into the gym for the Veterans Day assembly. (Bottom) GM Alum Jay Ostrich presents Nancy Brady with a combat flag during the High School Veterans Breakfast.
Students from Jane Wolfgang's kindergarten and high school art classes pose with their monster art projects.
The glossy paper recycling bin outside the high school is officially open for business. Community members are invited to drop off magazines, catalogues or any glossy paper with all proceeds from the recycling benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania.
Members of Juilliard's Aeolus Quartet take the stage at Cumru Elementary. The group gave an educational performance to fourth grade students.
A Ford Mustang backs slowly onto the high school auditorium stage. The car, donated by John's Great Cars, was a silent star of this year's Fall Play.
"Go powder your wig," sings teacher Damien Drago with his band, RockinThruHistory. The group held a special assembly at GMIS, which featured several songs inspired by the American Revolution. To listen, click here.
Sunday, December 15
at Dairy Queen of Kenhorst
All-you-can-eat pancakes, bacon, smoothies and coffee
Proceeds benefit the Mifflin Boys & Girls Basketball Teams
Wednesday, December 11, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the High School Main Gym. Email Brad Selbst to sign up.
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN THANKS OUR CORPORATE SPONSOR:
State Farm Insurance presents the High School with a $25,000 grant during a surprise assembly on November 20. The school won the money as part of the Celebrate My Drive campaign.
IN THE NEWS
Safe Driving Leads to Cash for High School
As if the benefits of driving safely were not reward enough, Governor Mifflin High School recently cashed in on its community's commitment to safety behind the wheel. The school received $25,000 from State Farm Insurance during a top-secret assembly in November.
The money was awarded after high school students, faculty, staff and parents helped spread the word about safe driving as part of the national campaign, "Celebrate My Drive." In conjunction with National Teen Driver Safety Week in October, "Celebrate My Drive" encouraged anyone age 14 and older to go online and make a safe driving pledge in the name of a participating school. Each pledge counted as one vote for the schools helping to spread the word about safe driving.
According to State Farm officials, more than 3,500 schools participated in the campaign in the United States and Canada. After the votes were calculated and verified, Governor Mifflin Principal John Althouse was notified that the school placed among the top 100 participating schools for the number of pledges gathered. The high school finished in the top 50 among large schools with 750 students or more. The final rankings will be released by State Farm on December 9 on the website www.celebratemydrive.com.
Students were not notified of the campaign results right away. Instead, Althouse and teacher Amy Hatlee, who introduced "Celebrate My Drive" to the school, worked closely with local State Farm agent June Houck to plan a surprise assembly and check presentation. During the week of November 18, which also happened to be American Education Week, students, teachers and parents were invited to Governor Mifflin Stadium under the ruse of an American Education Week assembly. After brief remarks from Governor Mifflin Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bulinski, Althouse took center field. He was soon interrupted by the Mifflin mascot, who tried to act out the news of the prize. Houck entered the track in the back of a convertible, with a large check in hand, and was met by cheers from students, teachers and parents in the stands.
During her remarks, Hatlee thanked the students, teachers and many local business owners, who helped spread the word about the safe-driving campaign. State Farm requires that 10 percent of the grant be used to further safe-driving education in the school. Althouse said he would seek student input on how to spend the remainder of the money to better the high school.
Veterans Honored Across the District
Service men and women, active duty and retired, received a hero's welcome at several events in their honor for Veterans Day. Celebrations began in the week prior to the official holiday, when Mifflin Park and Brecknock welcomed veterans to special assemblies.
At Brecknock Elementary School, students escorted veterans into the gym where music teacher Brian Beears led students in patriotic songs. Librarian Virginia Hart also provided some historical facts throughout the presentation. Before leaving, students presented veterans with a certificate and flower to thank them for their service.
On Monday, November 11, Michael Kurtz's high school Military History class and members of the high school Student Government Association (SGA) welcomed vets to a special breakfast held in the high school cafeteria. Air Force Captain and Mifflin graduate ('89) Jay Ostrich was the keynote speaker for the morning. Over the summer, while Ostrich was stationed in Eastern Africa, students collected candy and sent it overseas. Ostrich and his fellow Airmen used the candy when interacting with children and educating them about health and hygiene. During the breakfast, Ostrich presented SGA Adviser Nancy Brady with a flag that flew over his camp in Africa.
Cumru Elementary also opened its doors to veterans on Veterans Day. Under the direction of teacher Lisa Smith, students in kindergarten through fourth grade sang songs with a theme that paid tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Students recited Abraham Lincoln's famous speech and veterans were treated to a moving ceremony that culminated with a performance of the song, "Thank you, Military" by the fourth grade performing arts class.
Monster Mash-Up Brings Together Elementary and High School Artists
They say two heads are better than one. In the case of a recent art project in Jane Wolfgang's art classes, bringing together two imaginations led to vibrant works of art and a unique connection between some of the district's oldest and youngest students.
Wolfgang introduced her students to "The Monster Engine," the original brainchild of renowned comic book artist Dave Devries. "The Monster Engine" started after Devries' young niece drew a monster in the artist's sketchbook. Devries took his niece's drawing and added his artistic touch.
Wolfgang brought Devries' concept to her classrooms. She asked kindergarten students at Mifflin Park to draw a monster using only a marker. Once the drawings were complete, Wolfgang, who also teaches an art class at the high school, presented the kindergarten students' drawings to her high school Visual Arts I students. The high school students enlarged the drawings and added color to bring the drawings to life.
The high school students made a special visit to Mifflin Park to meet the young artists and share their interpretations of the original artwork.
Community Recycling Center Officially Opens on GM Campus
The Governor Mifflin Leo Club and the Shillington Lions Club have teamed up to offer Berks County's first glossy recycling site benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the large, green recycling container, which is located in the high school parking lot near Waverly Street. Anyone is welcome to use the receptacle to recycle magazines, catalogues, fliers, or any material made of glossy paper. Once the bin is full, members of the Shillington Lions Club will coordinate recycling of the items.
The money raised from recycling will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania. The Ronald McDonald House program offers free lodging and meals to families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. Since 2004, more than $222,000 has been raised through similar recycling programs throughout the region.
Governor Mifflin High School Leo Club Adviser Melissa Azzarello has a personal connection to the cause. She was a guest at the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey after her son, Nicholas Azzarello, was born prematurely and had to spend five months in the neonatal unit. Nicholas Azzarello, who graduated from Governor Mifflin in 2011 and attends Kutztown University, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony along with members of the Shillington Lions Club, members of the Leo Club, Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bulinski, High School Principal John Althouse and a representative from the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey.
From Juilliard to Cumru, Acclaimed Quartet Offers Music Lesson
With a blend of Greek mythology, physical comedy and classical chamber music, the Aeolus Quartet captured the attention of Cumru Elementary fourth graders. The internationally known group of musicians serves as the graduate resident string quartet at Juilliard School in New York. Cumru Elementary was one of dozens of stops on the quartet's international tour of performances and educational programs.
The Aeolus Quartet was in the area for an evening performance at Reading's WCR Center for the Arts. While at Cumru, the musicians taught students about the different string instruments in the quartet.
After leaving Berks County, the members of Aeolus headed to Washington D.C. where they performed a special concert using instruments on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
Real-Life Mifflin Mustang Takes the Stage for Fall Play
This was not your typical Mifflin Mustang. Just days before the curtain went up on the high school's 2013 Fall Play, stage crew members and volunteers carefully maneuvered a 2004 Mustang convertible onto the auditorium stage. The car served as the central prop for the production of The American Car: The American Dream, directed by Tina Angstadt.
The car was donated by John's Great Cars in Shillington. The play, which ran November 22-24, was an ensemble piece with all scenes revolving around the American car.
There is little time to rest for Mifflin's thespians. Auditions are scheduled for mid-December for the 2014 Spring Swing production of The King and I.
SCHOOL BOARD UPDATE
Board Members Get First Look at 2014-2015 Budget
Planning for the 2014-2015 District budget began this month. Business Manager Mark Naylon presented the Board with its first look at the $66.7 million draft plan during the December finance meeting. The final budget deadline is June 30, 2014.
Naylon explained that the district currently faces a $1.68 million budget gap, which would equate to a 1.1 mill tax increase. However, Naylon also explained that there are several contributing factors that will help reduce the budget closer to the .7 mill increase projected last year. Those items include retirements and lower enrollment numbers that could lead to fewer staff positions through attrition.
While state law prevents school districts from passing multi-year budgets, last year, Naylon presented the Board with a five-year budget projection. The goal was to help the Board make current budget decisions while minimizing the overall impact on tax payers, staff and the educational programs in the District. After the passage of last year's budget, which included a .8 mill increase, projections showed that a .7 mill tax increase in subsequent years would lead to balanced budgets without significant staff or program cuts.
Budget discussions will continue in the coming months. You can view the complete budget calendar by clicking here.
Board Welcomes New Member
Donald B. Kennedy was officially sworn in as the newest member of the Board of School Directors during the Board's reorganizational meeting on December 3. Mr. Kennedy was elected to a four-year term in November. Ronald C. Dunkelberger, Jr., Michele F. O'Brien, Ed.D., and James D. Ulrich were re-elected to four-year terms, while Lisa A. Peterson was re-elected to a two-year term.. Mr. Kennedy will fill the seat of outgoing member Jeffrey Haggerty, who served six years on the Board and did not seek re-election.
Mr. Kennedy is a resident of Cumru Township. He is currently a member of the Reading Choral society and his church choir. He is also a past member of the Governor Mifflin Music Association, the Blue Mountain Region of the Sports Car Club of America and the Endowment Committee of his church.
Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Emmaus High School and works in Lebanon in the field of IT system support and administration.
Also during the December 3 meeting, members voted to maintain Ulrich as president and elected Peterson Vice President.
For a complete listing of upcoming events and details, please click here.
12/6-12/7 - GM Music Association Citrus Sale Pick-Up
12/7 - SAT Exam
12/7 - Cumru Holiday Activity/Book Fair
12/7 - Mifflin Park Holiday Shoppe
12/9-12/13 - Brecknock Holiday Secret Shop
12/10 - High School PAC/PTO Meeting
12/10 - GMIS PTO Meeting
12/11 - Middle School Winter Concert
12/13 - Midle School Student Council "Winter Formal" Dance
12/14 - ACT Exam
12/16 - Wrestling Club Meeting
12/16 - Board of School Directors Voting/Curriculum Meeting
12/17 - GM Music Association Meeting
12/18 - GMIS Holiday Concert
12/18 - High School Winter Choral Concert
12/23-1/1 - Winter Vacation - No School
1/2-1/3 - In-Service - No School for Students