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PENNS MANOR: Elementary students celebrate Earth Day, Arbor Day

by By EMILY BROWN, ERIKA ALLISON and CLAIRE KIRSCH, Gazette Student News Reporters on May 03, 2013 11:00 AM

KENWOOD — This year, in celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day, our Penns Manor Elementary School had several events take place throughout the week.

Fifth-grade science classes, along with teacher Bill Packer, cleaned up the school property. PennDOT donated gloves and bags to help make the clean up possible. The elementary lobby is now filled with papier-mâché globes made by the fourth-graders in their art class with Joe Frontino.

[Read the complete report of area high school news from the Gazette's network of student news reporters today in the Student Pages in the paper and in the Student News section on The Indiana Gazette Online.]

Six-hundred seedlings were donated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and were distributed today to the students for Arbor Day. All students got to watch “The Lorax” today while enjoying an ice cream party in the multi-purpose room. Thanks to Mr. Frontino, Student Council continued to collect newspapers until today to donate to a local Amish farmer to use as bedding. As students learned, this newspaper bedding is being put back in the Earth, naturally recycling it. All of these events were made possible thanks to Kim Rhea, the Student Council, other faculty and staff, and the Science Committee.

Happy Arbor Day from all of us at Penns Manor and continue to keep the Earth beautiful.

National Honor Society

Scholarship, leadership, character and service: the four cornerstones which make up the meaning of the National Honor Society.

On April 25, the juniors and seniors who have rightfully earned their membership into this group participated in the 2013 National Honor Society Induction Ceremony. Every student in attendance had shown that they deserved to be recognized as a part of the National Honor Society by portraying in themselves all four elements that make up the society.

The 17 current senior members helped welcome the 21 new members with speeches explaining the cornerstones, a candle lighting ceremony, and the NHS Pledge. It’s not only important for the members of this club to serve as role models for other students, but to maintain their personal standards as well, keeping grades, attitudes and heads held high.

This year, the Penns Manor National Honor Society was also able to donate money made from their annual “Penny Wars” competition to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The 2012-2013 officers of NHS are Alexa Sichko, president; Emma Myers, vice president; Caitlyn Bence, secretary; and Jennifer Knezovich, treasurer; the adviser of the club is Jamie Cortazzo. Many thanks go out to Cristina Smolcic, who took over and organized last night’s ceremony in Mrs. Cortazzo’s absence, and principal, Daren Johnston. Best wishes and congratulations go out to new and current members who participated in this special event.

Courtney Kuzemchak

The week of April 16-20 was an extremely busy one for Penns Manor’s Courtney Kuzemchak. Kuzemchak started her week off with the FBLA State Convention in Hershey, exchanging her business wear for her oboe and went to Erie. When asked about her week, Kuzemchak said, “Being able to go from FBLA States to PMEA States was slightly stressful, but so much fun.”

The 2013 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Concert Band Festival was held at the Bayfront Convention Center, and Iroquois High School, in Erie.

Upon arrival on Wednesday Courtney auditioned at McDowell High School and then checked into the Hilton Hotel. She traveled to Iroquois High School, the rehearsal location for the festival, on Thursday. She was then seated according to how she placed through the auditions, and then rehearsal began. Rehearsals were led by Dr. Dennis M. Layendecker, the guest conductor who is the Director of the George Mason University School of Music.

In the evening, Kuzemchak, along with the other students, saw motivational speaker Scott Lang. Friday started off with a trip to the convention center to see the exhibits and vendors. She then returned to Iroquois High School for more rehearsal. In the evening, the students traveled the Warner Theatre to watch the All-State Vocal Jazz and All-State Jazz Ensemble concert before returning to the hotel.

Saturday was the final day of the festival. In the morning, the All-State Concert Band members traveled to Warner Theatre to watch the All-State Chorus. They then did a sound check for their performance at 4 p.m. The songs performed by the All-State Concert band this year were “Birds of Thunder,” by John Bliss, “Firefly,” by Ryan George, “Blue Shades,” by Frank Ticheli, and “Spheres,” by Ola Gjeilo. The All-State Orchestra performed after the Concert Band.

Kuzemchak did not get to State Band by her personality alone. She worked her way up from fourth grade when she started on clarinet, to oboe halfway through her ninth-grade year. In tenth grade, Kuzemchak went to Districts but did not advance to Regionals. Her junior year was a step higher, placing second chair in the IUP Honors Band, second chair at District Band, and third chair oboe at Regionals. This year was by far her best year, placing first chair oboe overall at District Band, first chair overall at Regionals, and playing second oboe third chair at All-State Band. Throughout high school, Kuzemchak has also participated in County Band Festivals, and plays in the Johnstown Symphony Youth Orchestra as the principal oboe.

In preparation for the festival, Kuzemchak practiced countless hours to attend and place at Districts, then even harder practices for Regionals to place first chair. Once accepted for the State Festival she practiced even more. When she placed for State Band Courtney said she felt, “incredible, and on top of the world, realizing that all of the hours I put in was worth it.”

Overall, Kuzemchak said that the All-State Band experience was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime event. So while her future of attending the University of Mary Washington to major in Historic Preservation may take her away from Penns Manor, it will never take her away from music.

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