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WEST SHAMOKIN: Club named Pennsylvania SADD Chapter of the Year

by By VINCENT PASSERINI and DOUGLAS HOUGH, Gazette Student News Reporters on November 22, 2013 11:00 AM

RURAL VALLEY — In reward for all of their efforts, the West Shamokin High School SADD chapter has been named Pennsylvania’s SADD Chapter of the Year.

The chapter was presented with this award at the Pennsylvania SADD State Conference at Seven Springs last week.

[PHOTO: The Student Ambassador Program was a contributing factor in West Shamokin High School’s SADD chapter winning Pennsylvania’s SADD Chapter of the Year award last week at Seven Springs. This program pairs juniors and seniors with incoming seventh-graders to help them transition into the high school. One thing they do while meeting once a week is to assist with the seventh-graders’ OWL (Organize While Learning) binders. Seventh-graders, from left, Haley Goldstrohm, Ashlynn Cornish and Allix Monoskey organized their binders with senior ambassador DJ Hough overseeing. (Submitted photo)]

The chapter was actually sponsored by the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission because of the school’s dedication to make their school a better place.

Some of the major events that the chapter has done include the Student Ambassador Program, which is a mentorship program that helps incoming seventh-graders with the transition from elementary school to high school, and a Safe Driving Day, which is a day filled with activities to help student drivers to make the safest choices possible.

At the conference, the chapter was able to listen to amazing motivational speakers and participate in very informative workshops, with ideas they took back to West Shamokin.

Some of the workshops included “Underage Drinking Jeopardy,” “Standing Out From the Crowd,” “Marijuana and Youth,” “Ice Breakers” and “What Do You Consider Lethal?”

All of the workshops were very effective in getting their message across to the students. The students can to take these messages back to their school and get it out to the student body. The entire student body is very excited and proud of the SADD chapter and knows that they will continue to make a significant difference within West Shamokin.

COUNTY CHORUS

On Nov. 14, Ford City High School hosted the annual Armstrong County Chorus Festival.

More than 100 gifted chorus students from all over the county came to represent their schools in this spectacular event. These schools were Apollo-Ridge, Freeport, Ford City, Kittanning, Leechburg and West Shamokin.

[PHOTO: Singers from West Shamokin High School recently participated in the Armstrong County Chorus Festival. Kneeling from left, are Chayce Cockroft, Elle Gandolfi, Olyvia Didiano, Michaela Dalessio and Emilee Wilson; second row, Sydnee Crissman, Jenny Yassem, Makayla Murray, Briana Priestas, Leah Baum, Pia Reichman and Damian Clark; and third row, Anna Skamai, Amberlyn DeLuca, DJ Hough, Vince Palilla, Kyle McIlwain, Ryan Skunda and Alex Peat.  (Submitted photo/West Shamokin High School)]

As the students arrived at the high school, they were greeted with warm smiles and refreshments by their Ford City colleagues, who would be performing alongside them. The auditorium was buzzing with conversation and laughter as the students waited to begin two days of rehearsals.

Once on stage, they met their choral director, Dr. Ryan Beeken, who is the choir director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He informed the students that he would direct them and play silly games that would help improve their voices when they performed.

During their entire stay, Dr. Beeken and the chorus practiced the music for the concert. By the end of the day, people could definitely see improvement from when the chorus first began. In the evening, the students went home to rest.

Once the students returned, they tried to perfect all of the music they had practiced the day before.

Dr. Beeken intricately went over each piece of music, making sure each song was flawless.

By the end of the day, the chorus sounded angelic and was ready to show their talent to the community. Before the demonstration, the school held a banquet for the dedication that the students and everyone who helped had shown.

The food was awesome and the choir members enjoyed making and talking to new friends.

As the time of the concert got closer, all of the students became nervous.

They all relaxed in the gym by warming up their vocal cords. Dr. Beeken told the students that he really enjoyed directing the chorus and insisted they would have a close to immaculate performance.

Once on stage, the show began. The County Chorus sang many wonderful songs like “Sing Dem Herrn,” “Dreams of Thee” (flute played by Anna Skamai), “Agnus Dei” and “He Never Failed Me Yet.” There were also two excellent solos — one performed by Olyvia DiDiano, who sang “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” and the other by Anna Sorisio, who sang “The Girl in 14 G.” All the songs sounded amazing. They were all given a standing ovation from the crowd.

In the end, all the students had a great time. I personally want to thank Ford City High School for hosting the event and offering the snacks and meals to the exhausted and hungry students.

I also wanted to thank all of the chorus teachers for allowing us to go to this amazing experience.

I especially want to thank Cathie Reefer for dedicating her time to her students at West Shamokin and teaching us the class that we all love.

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