HOMER CITY — It’s that time of the year again, where everyone is full of merriment and holiday spirit. Homer-Center School District, as usual, hasn’t been slacking on its end, as wonderful and holiday-themed activities have been bustling throughout the school.
Over the past couple years the events that occur throughout the final week before winter break have been increasing in size. This year is no exception, as the week has been jam-packed with joy. Students and faculty alike are surely excited for their break and who can blame them?
[PHOTO: The junior varsity champion Quiz Bowl team from Homer-Center High School consists of, front row, from left, Hayden Michael and Chris Rura; and second row, Rick Orr, Ben Wolford and Austin Kramer. (Submitted photo/Homer-Center High School)]
Before such festive activities are introduced, let us direct our attention to Homer-Center’s junior varsity and varsity Quiz Bowl teams. This past Monday, both teams competed at the Rustic Lodge in White Township for the annual tournament against the rest of the region’s teams.
After a series of matches, the junior varsity team of Homer-Center managed to pull through and win the JV championship. However, the varsity didn’t manage to make it as far. Hopefully, the varsity team has better luck next year. Regardless of winning, the Quiz Bowl competitions offer a different realm of events for the more academically inclined students, those who may not be so apt in sports.
After some discussion, the board has also made a note that next year two new schools will be competing in the regional competition — Ford City and West Shamokin. It’ll certainly be a pleasure to have these schools added into the great competition that Quiz Bowl provides.
As a coach for the Homer-Center Quiz Bowl teams, Vicky Olinger was very pleased with the outcome. After sending a congratulation out to all the team members, she affirmed, “The competitions are a great opportunity for our students to compete in an academic arena. Here at Homer-Center we have a nice group of well-rounded students who enjoy competing.”
Now that that has been covered, back to the festivities. First, in support of the season for giving, the annual Penny Wars have been going on this week. Such donations are for a good cause, the Teddy Bear Fund Drive.
The money is collected from many donations made around Indiana County, and is then used to help support children in need at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
So, as part of the donations, Homer-Center holds a Penny War where students are encouraged to make donations of small amounts to jars held within their homerooms. Students can donate to whichever homeroom they want, which typically means their homeroom.
However, any paper bills and silver coins that are donated actually subtract the total value a jar holds, so a student may donate $5 in silver coins in order to subtract $5 from the jar.
Essentially, this can be used as a means of sabotage for students, but it also means more donations in total. It’s quite the creative way to get funds for such a charitable cause.
In addition to Penny Wars, Homer-Center held its annual Restaurant Days in order to gain more donations for the Teddy Bear Fund. This past Wednesday and Thursday, the seventh-grade class worked together in order to create a restaurant-styled eatery that operated throughout both days.
During class, teachers could schedule in a period where they can take their class down to the seventh-grade wing for a variety of homemade cooking. Classes were allowed to stay within the serving rooms and eat their meals in the diner-styled rooms, or return to class if they wished.
The students had to pay real money in order to have something on the menu, but certainly the profits did not go to waste.
The money raised is donated straight to the Teddy Bear Fund, much like the Penny Wars. This event gave students the opportunity to enjoy some extra food as well as raise money for a good cause. Not to mention, the young seventh-graders were given some extra experience with running a restaurant, where different students were tasked with all the various jobs one would find in a local eatery.
Gregory Page is one of the main teachers involved with this event.
“Restaurant Days are an annual tradition that the seventh-grade math classes operate,” Page said, when asked about his thoughts on the whole operation. “Students bring in food items prepared by their families so that students and staff can purchase them. In the spirit of the holiday season, the money generated from this two-day event goes to a selected charity to benefit local people. Homer-Center has always done an outstanding job supporting this worthy cause.” As you can see, it’s not all about the food.
To end the week today, the Homer-Center students followed through with their festive traditions and held a pingpong tournament. Many of the students participated, paying a small fee of $1. This money was then donated to the Teddy Bear Fund Drive, like all the other events, and everyone had a blast in doing so.
Later, some of the faculty put on a performance where they sang and did covers of some classic Christmas songs. By the end of the day, everyone was filled with great merriment and cheer, as Christmas break had finally begun. It was a wonderful day to conclude Homer-Center’s festivities, as well as starting family festivities. Happy Holidays.