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WEST SHAMOKIN: Caroling, holiday events brighten the festive season

by By DJ HOUGH and VINCE PASSERINI, Gazette Student News Reporters on January 10, 2014 11:00 AM

RURAL VALLEY — As the holiday was approaching and students were preparing for break, West Shamokin High School French classes wanted to start the holiday season off by caroling to students and members of the community.

Every year, the French classes go around the school singing French Christmas carols they learned in class the weeks before. Mrs. Somporn Hall, the French teacher at West Shamokin High School, organized the many different songs the French students had to learn for their performances. The students worked very hard, reciting the French words over and over again in order to sound like real French citizens. The week before break, the French classes went to numerous rooms and caroled to their fellow classmates. All of the rooms clapped and cheered for the wonderful carols the students had sung.

On Dec. 22, West Shamokin’s senior high chorus sang their winter choral songs to local nursing homes. This year the school’s band came along as well. The chorus first went to the Armstrong Health Center in Kittanning where many of the older citizens were excited for the show. Some of the people at the nursing homes sang along to their favorite Christmas songs as both music departments performed. After both the chorus and the band had finished, the students could see the happiness and joy that they had brought to the crowd. Once they were done, the students shook hands with the audience and wished them all a merry Christmas.

After eating lunch at either King’s Restaurant or Taco Bell, the students traveled to Grey’s Colonial Acres Home in Kittanning. Once situated, the students sang and played their songs. On the bus ride home, the students talked and sang with all of their friends. Everyone had fun going to the nursing homes and enjoyed talking to the people there. Overall, both caroling groups had a blast singing their carols in their own special way. They both did a wonderful job and received tons of cheers. It was a great way to start off the holiday season, because, you know, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is by singing loud for all to hear!”

Volleyball Day Tournament

Every year, the West Shamokin Student Council hosts a holiday tournament the day before Christmas break known as Volleyball Day. All students are given the opportunity to form teams of eight to participate for the bragging rights of being the holiday tournament champions. In order to make the competition fair, the tournament is divided into two divisions: senior high and junior high. This is a serious competition for many students and many teams have shirts professionally printed.

[PHOTO: Members of West Shamokin High School’s winning volleyball team from Volleyball Day are, from left, seniors Brandon Schamberg and Zane Clowser; junior Lizzy Cornish; senior Amanda Wensel; junior Scott Przybysz; and seniors Tristan Cribbs and Kelly Clowser. (Submitted photo)]

Just like every other year, students were highly anxious as they waited for the day of the tournament to arrive this year. At 8 a.m. on the day of the tournament, Douglas Arbuckle, one of the physical education teachers, wasted no time getting the games under way. To many students, Game 1 is the most important game of the day. It is the first chance to show off their skills and intimidate the other teams.

In the first game they played, the Home Team, consisting of seniors Zane Clowser, Brandon Schamberg, Kelly Clowser, Tristan Cribbs and Amanda Wensel and juniors Lizzy Cornish and Scott Przybysz, was able to win by crushing their first opponent. The Home Team continued to dominate the tournament as they headed into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. The Home Team was able to hold on to the strong lead all the way to the championship. There they played the Abusement Park team consisting of sophomores Zach Bowser, Stephanie Schrecengost, Emilee Wilson, Tori Smith, Jarret Kintz, Eli Frailey, Ryan Barnnett and David Ramer.

In the end, the Home Team took home the bragging rights and the traditional holiday tournament champion T-shirts after defeating the Abusement Park in a high suspense game. All of the students, win or lose, had an amazing day that none of them will soon forget.

Many of the students, who were not feeling the Volleyball Day thing, could choose to play games in the library, work on the computer in the computer labs, or watch movies that were shown in the auditorium. Students were permitted to choose from movies like “Monster’s University,” “The Croods” or “Polar Express.” The cafeteria was set up with music and the sophomore class sold baked goods. Overall, this was an excellent way to get ready for the holiday break — relaxing with friends and having fun.

The End of Another Great Year

As 2013 moves out of the view of the students here at West Shamokin, the ambitious attitudes of the new year are always enjoyable to see.

We at West Shamokin would like to take a moment to look back at some of the wonderful things the school has done toward the end of this past year.

At the end of this year’s Orphans of the Storm Supplies Drive Competition, we had collected hundreds of donations for the local shelter. In first place was Miss Kim Swank’s first period, and their “adopted” dog, Molly, will be visiting the school very soon.

Through the white rose benefit, the senior high student council raised more than $120, which was donated to the “Toys for Tots Foundation.”

The teacher secret Santa project was very well received and appreciated by all of the teachers at West Shamokin; most even gave gifts to their student Secret Santas at the end of the week.

Beating the odds of the weather, the senior class was able to host an amazing Snow Ball Dance on the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh.

[PHOTO: Jenny Yassem and Vince Passerini, West Shamokin High School seniors, took a break from the dance floor to smile for the camera on the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh for the Senior Snow Ball on Dec. 21. Passerini was responsible for planning the event, the biggest Snow Ball West Shamokin has ever seen.  (Submitted photos/West Shamokin High School)]

Though it poured during the entire trip down to the city, as soon as the buses shifted into park the rain ceased for the rest of the night. Everyone had a great time dancing the night away and admiring the beautiful lights of the city.

As this first semester comes to an end at West Shamokin, the students and staff are looking forward to an equally productive and enjoyable second half of the school year.

For the seniors at West Shamokin, this will serve as their last semester of high school and they will then be moving on to bigger and better things.

The senior class is planning to go to New York City for their senior class trip. The senior class trips serve as the last hurrah for all the seniors and its rapid approach excites the class of 2014, while at the same time the trip marks the end of a chapter in these young people’s lives.

However, the end of one chapter also marks the beginning of a new one.

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