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Summer Newsletter 2017

Forest Hills School District Summer Newsletter 2017

Principal’s Corner ~

Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Ed Alexander ~ JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ~ The 2016-2017 school year was filled with many challenges and successes. Our mid-year move into the new Junior-Senior High School was met with great anticipation, a little confusion and most importantly, great excitement! Our staff and students made this transition a very smooth process by working together and remaining positive, as we worked out the kinks. In January, we all hit the ground running and picked up where we left off in December. I am very proud and honored to be the Junior High Principal and am committed to making our initial “first day” a success this August. We are working hard this summer to put together a solid schedule, which will maximize learning opportunities for all students. Our grade 7 and new student orientation will take place on August 8 at 9:00 am in the auditorium. We hope to see you there! Thank you all for another great school year! Enjoy the summer break and be safe! NASA Class Studies The Nasa class spent most of the year studying water quality, types of pollutants, Benthic macroinvertebrates, and environmental issues. The class learned how to perform chemical, biological, and physical tests. They utilized these tests during a field trip to several local streams … the South Fork of the Little Conemaugh and Sandy Run. They were then asked to give an assessment of the quality of the streams. The gradual degradation of the South Fork Run as it proceeded from the source through Beaverdale was discussed. Several Brook trout were “observed.” Last fall the class went on a bike trip down the Ghost Town Trail. Many indigenous and invasive species of plants were observed. Discussions of local customs and mining heritage ensued with stops at the “AMD to ART” remediation location in Vintondale and the mining monument (Mine #6 portal) near-by. The students also got a close-up inspection of the Elizabeth Furnace. Poetry Power If you walk into Mrs. Shrift’s eighth grade class, you will be amongst a room full of poets! Students started the school year by having monthly poetry celebrations, where they used a variety of poems to help them learn about authors, time periods, and the art of language. Listening to music and analyzing lyrics allowed students to understand the power of words and images to create meaning and emotion. Students celebrated National Poetry Month by entering a contest held by The American Library of Poets. In addition to this national contest, teachers and students voted on the best poems in 8 th grade. Congratulations to the finalists: Isabella Colbert, Haley Croyle, Paige Debias, Julia Shima, and Somer Silvis. Claire Bawiec captured the first place win with her poem “Names.” The poem contemplates the privileges and problems that are produced because of labels given by names. 14

Research Scholars Award for 9 th Grade Students The Research Scholar Award in Language and Letters is awarded to exemplary student research projects in the English Composition 9 courses. There is an individual award and a group award for the top scoring projects in the grade. This year for the individual award students self-selected a poem of their choosing, researched it for critical theories and literary merit, and formulated a research paper. The students then presented a 10-15 minute, conference-style presentation of their papers with a questioning forum by classmates. The quality of the research paper composition, use of research skills, critical thinking, and professionalism of the research presentation are taken into consideration as criteria to win the award. For the group award, students selected a significant literary period and formulated research groups in a project-based learning experience culminating in top group presentations across the grade competing in a symposium for the award. The award is then awarded to the group for the top-scoring presentation and research paper in the entire grade. Students were required to integrate interactive technology into their presentations and created everything from trading cards to word clouds and some even created their own songs. This year Rosalie DiPaola received the individual award for her paper entitled “A Powerful Performer,” in which she formulated a thesis on poetess Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus.” On her win, Rosalie says: “It was such an honor to win this award especially because it was a project I was so passionate about. Winning the award definitely makes me feel like all of the hours of work paid off. Hopefully I can continue to have this passion for writing and can win more awards such as this in the future.” The group award was awarded to Haylee Christ, Garet Connor, Corrine Hill, David Nastase, Jacob Rok, and Caleb Sorchilla for their presentation and paper on “The Contemporary Era" which adeptly covered both fiction and non-fiction writings and the cultural time period surrounding author Stephen King. Haylee Christ and Jacob Rok said that the most challenging part of the project was “matching all of the pieces together” and that in the end it was “a good feeling to know that our group’s hard work paid off.” Congratulations to these students on a job well done! Inaugural Student Literary Magazine This year, Ms. Mock’s Composition & Honors Composition 9 classes participated in the creation and distribution of an electronic literary magazine, created with the platform Joomag.com, which captured a collection of original student literary work from the 2016-2017 school year. The reason behind the magazine’s creation is evident in the student-written mission statement: “We the students of the Forest Hills Junior High School know that at this age, we all have many opinions & talents that we would like to share with the world, but may not know how. Therefore, with this magazine, we aim to provide young aspiring authors with a forum to present their voices through writing, and to help express themselves & their opinions.” The theme of this year’s magazine was chosen based on the concept of Journeys: Finding your Hope & Passion along the way. This was inspired by the students moving from the middle school building to the new junior-senior high school building. The vision for the magazine, as written by the students, states: “We hope this magazine will grow to become an engaging, accepting place for writers to feel free to write & display their creativity on a blank canvas for students to not only present their work but to inspire the footprints of future generations of young Forest Hills student writers to follow. We see this magazine becoming a legacy in our district and creating a space for future generations of writers to show their work.” The magazine’s core values include: student centered writing, fairness, creativity, originality and progressive writing. Submissions from all grade 9 students were accepted in the following categories and are featured in the literary magazine: poetry, 6 word stories, short stories, essays, artwork, blackout poetry, and plays. The students were responsible for editing and laying out the magazine as well. Please check out the literary magazine at the following link: https://www.joomag.com/magazine/fhjhs-literary-magazine/ M0172487001484931028 15

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