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PENNS MANOR: Annual Penny Wars, holiday concerts held

by By CLAIRE KIRSCH, Gazette Student News Reporter on December 13, 2013 11:00 AM

KENWOOD — As the days are dwindling down until Christmas break, the students of both Penns Manor High School and Penns Manor Elementary continue to keep busy.

In the high school, the members of the National Honor Society, under the leadership of President Audrey Aikins and adviser Jamie Cortazzo, hosted its annual Penny Wars to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Aikins created posters and announcements to help raise awareness for the annual competition. The competition was held this week. In this season of giving, a series of collection days were held, with special collections on Wednesday, Thursday and today.

[PHOTO: Audrey Aikins, National Honor Society president at Penns Manor High School, counted pennies from the Penny Wars collection. (Claire Kirsch/Penns Manor High School)]

On normal collection days, pennies counted as positive points, whereas silver coins and dollars subtracted their worth in points. Monday and Tuesday were normal collection days. On Wednesday, all coins counted as double their monetary worth in points. On Thursday, the student who brought in the most money was rewarded with a special treat, and today, all money collected counted as positive points for the grade level. The groups were competing for a doughnut party, with all of the funds collected going to St. Jude’s.

When asked about the event, Aikins said, “I would like to thank everyone that helped make our annual NHS Penny Wars a success. St Jude’s Children’s Hospital is always very appreciative of our donation, especially during this time of year. The students did an excellent job in showing their support for this worthy cause.”

In the elementary, the members of the fourth-grade chorus, Blue Band, fifth- and sixth-grade chorus and White Band have been hard at work in preparation for their annual Winter Holiday Concert. The concert was held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the high school auditorium.

Alice Morgan, the new elementary music teacher, has been busy preparing with the two chorus groups. The fourth-grade chorus opened the program with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. The fourth-grade chorus, a group of 25 students, got everyone in the Christmas spirit with the traditional Christmas carol “Here We Come A-Caroling.” The next selection was a familiar piece best known from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, “Christmas Time is Here.”

Changing pace, the fourth-grade chorus then performed Artman’s “Song of the Littlest Angel.” To close out that section of the program, the students sang “Keep Christmas With You,” featuring Alyssa Grant, Allison Johnson, Hayden Sturgeon, Gretta Ratay, Hannah Emigh and Hannah Lieb. This pieced reminded all in attendance that the wonder and peace of Christmas should be held in our hearts year-round.

Next in the program was the elementary Blue Band. Directed by Paul Rode, these 41 students worked very hard to prepare for their show Wednesday. The Blue Band opened with the English folk song known as “Hot Cross Buns,” followed by the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” and the Traditional Hanukkah Song “Dreydl, Dreydl.” They closed with a favorite, “Jingle Bells.”

After the Blue Band performed, Morgan brought out the fifth- and sixth-grade chorus to sing four songs. The 34 students opened their portion with a traditional Latin piece, “Dona Nobis Pacem.” Translated to English, the title of the song means “grant us peace.”

Continuing with this theme the chorus sang “Home for the Holidays,” followed by “Silent Night/Stille Nacht.” This song featured Lydia Cox, Allison Polenik, Bailey Orr, Jordon Hill, McKenna Bothell and Ariel Fultz. The students where accompanied by Joel White, the network administrator for the district. Closing their performance, the fifth- and sixth-graders performed “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” which featured Blake Eshelman, Parker Clayton, Moriah Marshall, Morgan Peach, Autumn Raffaele and Morgan Smith.

To close the evening’s festivities, Rode brought out the White Band. This band has 36 members this year, and for the next portion of the concert they performed four songs. Selections for the White Band were “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “Echo Carol,” “Christmas Stomp,” a piece featuring Gabe Riva, Gavin Good and Ijae Karlinsey, and a John O’Reilly arrangement known as “Holiday Sampler.”

When the student’s get back from Christmas break there will be more activities in both the elementary and high school, including events and activities in the high school for the FBLA, musical, Environmental Club, Science Club and SADD.

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