PURCHASE LINE — A big part of Evergreen Boys and Girls Club is Youth of the Year. Each fall, a member who is a senior, junior, or sophomore is chosen to compete against other schools. For the 2013-2014 school year, Purchase Line High School senior April Boyer was selected. She will have to complete a packet and give answers to topics such as what the club means to her and why post-secondary education is important.
EBGC tutor Shanda Buterbaugh, as the Youth of the Year adviser, says “To be nominated for Youth of the Year is a great honor, even at the local level. Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA has a rigorous course of requirements, and we are proud to nominate April. She’s a worthy nominee.”
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“Being Youth of the Year is amazing because it’s a good memory to look back on,” said Boyer.
“I’ve been in (EBGC) since seventh grade. I liked to go there in the past to hang out with my friends,” continued Boyer, who said the social aspect of EBGC is a highlight.
On top of this, EBGC is proud to add another junior staff member, Christopher McClead. “My parents have been pushing me to save up for a car. I’ve been a member since 2007, so Boys and Girls Club seemed convenient and close by.”
He will work at the elementary from 3 to 6 p.m. after school Monday to Thursday. He will help younger children with homework, play sports with them and learn the basics of keeping a job.
Seniors Rebecca Donahey and Ashley Karlinsey started working there last year and are glad to continue this year. Karlinsey said, “I like working at Boys and Girls Club because I enjoy interacting with children.”
“Kids are spontaneous, crazy and fun. Working with them is great because no day is the same,” added Donahey.
Boys and Girls Club has also purchased a pool table and pingpong, which physical education teacher Brad Dubetsky will be using from time to time. District Director Dan Small is in the process of going through training, so archery may be another activity offered.
Anyone is welcome to join EBGC. Applications are available in the EBGC office.
DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATED
Every fall, as students at Purchase Line walk by Spanish teacher Clarine Beatty’s room, colorful decorations and a memorial inside of her room may stand out to them. If students have ever wondered what goes on this time of year, it’s a Mexican holiday called “Dia de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead).
During this holiday, the Mexican culture celebrates loved ones who have passed away with love, honor and respect.
On a much smaller scale, Spanish students at Purchase Line choose a current celebrity death that is worthy of remembrance. In past years, the students have honored Myron Cope, Steve Irwin and Paul Newman.
Beatty does her best to bring the traditions into her classroom by carefully choosing recipes to bring in for the students.
Two of the main recipes include Mole Posole and Calabaza en Tacha. Both recipes have origins that trace back to before the time of Columbus.
Beatty said, “Mole Posole is a stew similar to chili. One of the main ingredients is mole, which is a traditional spice mix. Calabaza en Tacha is candied pumpkin. Both recipes are traditional to Dia de Los Muertos.”
Just as with any holiday, there are many traditional foods related to the Day of the Dead. Breads, mole, pumpkin and any foods that were favorites of the deceased are just a few.
Students also make traditional Mexican recipes and bring them in for the celebration — foods such as Pan de Muertos (bread of the dead), tres leches cake and chicken in black mole.
Another tradition created in Beatty’s room is the ofrenda.
The ofrenda is filled with items as an offering to the memory of the deceased.
Traditional elements that are placed on the ofrenda include candles, food, copal incense, flowers, and smiling skulls and skeletons.
Added to the ofrenda are things that were important to the deceased, and a large photograph is placed in the center.
In the Mexican culture, death is not a scary thing. Instead, whenever someone passes, the culture celebrates their life and embraces the memory of them.
Los Dia de Los Muertos is not a Mexican Halloween, although it looks like that. It is more of a Memorial Day. Day of the Dead celebrates life with a strong sense of love, respect and honor.
“It’s a lot different, the way the Mexican culture perceives death. It’s a healthier way to deal with it,” said sophomore Sierra Misko, a student in Beatty’s Spanish II class.
PHOTO: Anna Harkleroad, a student in Spanish class at Purchase Line High School, enjoyed the recent Day of the Dead celebration. (Submitted photo/Purchase Line High School)
PHOTO: April Boyer, Keystone Club president and a senior at Purchase Line High School, has been nominated as Youth of the Year for the Evergreen Boys and Girls Club. (Erica Mason/Purchase Line)