Indiana, PA - Indiana County

UNITED: School pauses to 'Celebrate America'

by PATRICK WALKER on November 16, 2012 11:00 AM

ARMAGH -- Each year, students from United Junior High School dedicate a day in November to "Celebrate America." What started out as a simple classroom activity over 10 years ago has since matured into an event-packed day consisting of student presentations and class plays.

The original idea began when Amy Shellhammer, a junior high social studies teacher, and since-retired junior high English teacher Barb Hudnall decided to collaborate on a classroom project.

Thus, "Celebrate America" was born.

Students in social studies classes research sports heroes, presidents, scientists, inventors, trail blazers, or other famous inspirational Americans. The students then dress as their chosen American, present a PowerPoint slide to their class and explain a prop that directly relates to their American.

In English classes, students practice plays, readings and poetry that are important to the history of America. During the day of the presentations, classes perform several plays and present poems to their classmates.

At the end of this year's celebration, prizes were awarded in the following categories:

Best Costumes -- Ethan Klauss, Samantha Hall and Morgan MackĀ 

Best PowerPoint Slide -- Austin Vogel, Tessa Fry and Michelle Bloom

Best Overall Presentation -- Johanna Knapic

Best Actor in a Play -- Logan McIntire

Best Actress in a Play -- Alexis BettsĀ 

Best Group Performance -- "I Have A Dream" Speech -- Kody Kopka, Devin Mack, David Brothers, Joey Montanti, Brenden Lawton and Travis Rohrabaugh

A scavenger hunt of famous American quotes and a "Jeopardy!"-style game show wrapped up the events of United's "Celebrate America."

In addition, United celebrated some of the best traditions of our great country by holding a mock election in which all students were eligible to register and vote as well as a Veterans Day assembly in which faculty, staff and students honored veterans and spoke about what makes Veterans Day important to them.

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