Neshaminy School District / January 2022
NHS MiniTHON roars back with record total
After going virtual for a year, the Neshaminy High School MiniTHON returned to their traditional in-person format on January 14. Following an afternoon of music, dancing and games in Gym 3, the organizers revealed the total raised for Four Diamonds -- a foundation that funds pediatric cancer research and helps young cancer patients -- was $27,697.85. This marks a new record for MiniTHON at Neshaminy, which has now raised over $100,000 over the past seven years since the high school started the activity. MiniTHON is a local version of the wildly successful THON fundraiser at Penn State University which has raised millions of dollars since it was founded in the 1970's.
Facing the pandemic last year, NHS MiniTHON student Executive Directors Alyson DeGulis and Makayla Stock took the event online with a virtual party on Zoom. Despite the lack of an in-person event to focus their fundraising, they managed to raise $7,454. This year, with help from their club advisor Kimberly Montone, they were able to get back to their in-person format.
The event was preceded by several months of planning and fundraising by MiniTHON club members. To participate in the dance, the students had to raise at least $20 to get in the door; most raised far more. They canvassed local businesses, held in-school fundraisers such as "No-Shave November" and "Stall Day" to encourage their classmates and Neshaminy staff to contribute. In December, students from the District's three middle schools held a "Mini-MiniTHON" of their own at Neshaminy High School and raised over $5,000 for their event. Those students were also invited to join the main MiniTHON in January and many did attend.
Alyson said that this year she did not expect to immediately return so quickly to the goals set prior to the pandemic. "I really didn't think we would break $20,000," she said. "I thought this year would mimic the first year of MiniTHON where we have to get the word out again and get people to realize how big of a deal it is and how important it is."
"Now I think that people just wanted to do as much as they possibly can. They want to get involved and do everything they missed last year," she added.
Both Alyson and Makayla credit their committee members for their success this year, along with support from Ms. Montone and the entire community.
Makayla, who was inspired to lead Neshaminy MiniTHON after seeing the challenges her own family faced after her younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, said she understands the financial and emotional stress that results.
"I wanted to help with that," she said. "All the money that is raised goes to research, and to help that parents don't have to worry about anything else while they're in long-term stays at the hospital. It's a very, very long process."
January is School Board Recognition Month
Being elected a School Board member is a big commitment. Each year (for a term of four years) they attend and participate in at least 22 evening Board Public Meetings, several Board committee meetings, training and legislative update sessions, meetings with administrators and public events. As elected representatives of the community, they communicate regularly with their neighbors on a variety of issues large and small. The position requires them to have a strong understanding of curriculum, budget and finance, state and federal regulations, legal issues and Board procedures. Their decisions they make are critical to the success of every Neshaminy student, and indeed, the entire community.
And what is their pay for taking on all of this commitment and responsibility?
Nothing. Just the satisfaction knowing that their work makes a difference.
To honor them, January has been designated School Director Recognition Month across the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania public schools educate nearly 2 million students and approximately 9,500 here in Neshaminy. The nine members of each local school board are a vital part of the district’s administrative team, making informed decisions that lead public schools and provide opportunities for every student to succeed.
If you see one of our Board members around town or at a meeting, be sure to let them know that they are appreciated.
Board approves field house architect, bond issue for new school
The Board met on Tuesday, January 4 for a Public Work Session with some action items. Some of the highlights include:
- Approval of a revised Board meeting calendar for 2022
- Selection of Spiezle Architects to complete the design and structural engineering for a new field house, locker rooms, concession stands and team rooms at the entrance to Harry E. Franks Stadium at Neshaminy High School. This is part of a larger project to upgrade fields, bleachers and other facilities at the stadium and other athletic fields at the school.
- Approval of a resolution to issue a $41 million General Obligation Bond to support the construction and outfitting of a new elementary school building on the grounds of Maple Point Middle School.
- Approval of updates to the Health & Safety Plan for Neshaminy School District to meet updated guidance, conditions and orders from government agencies.
The next Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25 at 7pm in the District Board Room at Maple Point.
Pre-register now for free Family Connect webinar February 1
Archive video of the first Family Connect webinar, held on December 7, 2021
Neshaminy is excited to announce the second webinar in our Family Connect series, Nurturing Resilience in Ourselves & Our Children and Teens During Challenging Times. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. This webinar is free, but pre-registration is required.
LINK: Webinar Pre-Registration
The guest host will be Dr. Robert Brooks is a clinical psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and former Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in the Boston area. He has lectured nationally and internationally and written extensively about such themes as resilience across the lifespan, motivation, learning, parenting and family relations, and creating positive school and work environments. He has authored or co-authored 19 books, and received numerous awards for his work. Dr. Brooks has also served as a consultant to Sesame Street Parents Magazine and completed a videotape and educational guide for PBS titled Look What You’ve Done! Stories of Hope and Resilience that focuses on children and adolescents with special needs.
Free covid testing available for students
Bucks County is offering free COVID-19 testing for students and Bucks County school employees. The nearest site is the Lower Bucks Service Center located at 7321 New Falls Road in Levittown. Appointments are required, please visit https://sugeni.us/WEFl. Additional testing sites are available in Quakertown and Doylestown.
"Something Rotten!" will be something fun to see at NHS Feb. 3-6
Neshaminy High School is proud to present the musical comedy "Something Rotten!" for four live performances on Thursday, February 3 through Sunday, February 6, 2022.
Something Rotten! is a musical comedy with a book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Set in 1595, the story follows the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who struggle to find success in the theatrical world as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary William Shakespeare.
Something Rotten! opened on Broadway in April, 2015 where it played for 742 performances before touring across the country and internationally. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Tickets are $10 each (plus an approximate $1 online processing fee) and can be purchased by visiting www.neshamiy.org/musical.
Summer stock returns with "Phantom" and "Lion King"
Neshaminy Summer Stock is back this year with three great workshops for students in grades 2-12! A Neshaminy tradition for over 50 years, the Summer Stock workshops will be held at Neshaminy High School between June 27 and July 24.
This year they will be staging two great shows: Phantom of the Opera for students entering grades 7-12 and The Lion King for students entering grades 4-6. Students entering grades 2-3 can participate in the Summer Stock Showcase, which includes music, dance and learning the basics of musical theatre.
This program is open to all students from the area. More information and registration forms can be found at https://www.neshaminy.org/Domain/2822.
Sponsors wanted: Harlem Wizards return March 26
The Neshaminy Education Foundation is excited to bring the Harlem Wizards back to Neshaminy on Saturday, March 26. The NEF is looking for program sponsors; if you would like to contribute and have your business card reproduced in the game program, please contact email@example.com for details. Tickets for this popular fundraising event will go on sale later in February.
Budding author gives back to his kindergarten classroom
Drew, a third-grade Tawanka student, started out drawing and writing about Mo Willems characters in kindergarten. He drew his own unique characters with speech bubbles. He was encouraged by his kindergarten teacher, Louise Geers to create his own books. Now he is creating his own complete superhero comic books during his free time. Recently he dropped off a copy of each book he created for the students in his old kindergarten classroom to enjoy.
Students chart their own math progress
Joanne Cariola's second-grade class at Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School was thrilled to see their progress on the iReady Math Diagnostic Assessment by filling in their individual data chat charts. The students have been persistent and working very hard to improve their math skills from the first time they took the iReady Math Diagnostic Assessment back in September. Every student improved and the boys and girls were so proud of themselves for seeing their growth.
IReady Math is is an online program used in Neshaminy elementary schools that provides students of all ages with differentiated instruction and supports them on their individual paths to success.
Walter Miller ES student artwork chosen for county exhibition
Britney Alvarez, a fourth-grade student at Walter Miller ES, was selected to represent Neshaminy at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Student Art Gallery. Her work will join the display of student work from across the county and remain on display for the remainder of the year for all to enjoy.
Tawanka students styling through the decades
Tawanka Elementary School celebrated Decades Day on January 19. Each grade was encouraged to dress up for a particular decade.
Students lend a hand with police food drive
Middle school musicals to celebrate the works of roald dahl
All three Neshaminy middle schools will be staging musicals based on the works of author Roald Dahl this spring. Poquessing MS (James and the Giant Peach) and Maple Point (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) will perform their shows in February, and Sandburg (Matilda) will open in March March. Tickets will be on sale through the individual schools.
Sandburg class writes words of inspiration
Eighth grade students in Ms. Sienko's English classroom at Carl Sandburg Middle School used the writing process to craft their Word of the Year - one word that symbolizes a goal connected to being their best selves. Through writing, students reflected on the previous year, visualized their hopes for 2022, and brainstormed a list of words related to their goals, hopes, and dreams. Finally, students looked for themes and patterns amongst their lists and ultimately selected one word as their Word of the Year for 2022. They wrote a paragraph explaining their choice and the personal meaning behind it. They designed sticky notes featuring their words that were posted on the classroom door to serve as a visual reminder as they enter. At the start of English class each day, students practice the power of visualization by closing their eyes, visualizing their word of the year, and internalizing the mantra - I see it. I believe it. I can achieve it. Taking this mindful minute and repeating this mantra at the start of class each day, helps students focus on the power of positive self-talk and it reminds them to set their intention on achieving all their word represents.
Gym Night 2022 apparel now on sale
Preparations for Gym Night 2022 are well under way! This premiere Neshaminy tradition is scheduled to return on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5. The NHS School Store has posted a wide variety of Gym Night apparel on their website:
The deadline for ordering is Saturday, January 29. All items will be distributed at Gym Night practices during the week of February 13.
New Hope gallery features student artwork in online show
Several Neshaminy High school art students will have their works on display at the 2022 Phillips Mill Community Associations Youth Art Exhibition. The exhibition from the New Hope gallery will be held online this year starting January 29. The works include black and white photography, Photoshop drawings, ceramics, and pencil drawings.
The artists included are Matthew Silwecki , Matthew Manubag, Gianni Ramirez , Cailin Albers, Dan Hansbury, Olivia Phelan, Samira Aminjonova. The exhibit can be viewed at www.phillipsmillartspan.com.
NHS Change it Up Club hosts movie night
The Change It Up Club at Neshaminy High School has a very special mission — to bring students with very different needs, abilities and backgrounds together.
The club implements extracurricular activities to help those with special needs in the community. Sandi Spong, a NHS Special Education teacher who is the club’s advisor, encourages students to reach out and learn about children with differences and give back to their community. The club has narrowed its focus on understanding the lives of individuals with special needs or those who are connected to children with special needs. Their activities create an environment that is comfortable to all students. The Change It Up Club assists with Neshaminy’s support of Challenger Programs such as the fall Challenger Football and Cheerleading program, and events at the Neshaminy High School and in the surrounding community. They have seen smiles on faces and enjoyed laughter because relationships are being built and everyone is learning and reaching personal goals which is priceless.
The Change It Up Club has also hosts various community social events including Holiday, Fall and Spring Socials, attends class dances and other events where support is needed. In December the club held a Polar Express-themed Movie Night. For Autism Awareness month they sold t‑shirts to the High school students and teachers to support their Kindness Program. The Neshaminy High School Gym Night hosts special needs volunteers to assist with the floor crew as well.
The parents of these children with special needs, as well as the volunteers, have been very supportive of these programs.
NHS musicians named to PMEA groups
Congratulations to the following Neshaminy High School musicians chosen for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District and Region Chorus and Band:
District Chorus: Jessica Urwiler - soprano, Olivia Garland - soprano, Kate Ewing - soprano, Dakota Yates - soprano, Madelyn McKenna - alto, Samantha Matias - alto, Lily Gonglik - alto, Brianna Pastman - tenor, Stephen Lang - tenor, Christopher Simcox - tenor, Tyler Stacherski - tenor, Andrew Neiman - bass, Cameron Krauss - bass, Bobby Trommer - bass
Region Chorus: Jessica Urwiler - soprano, Olivia Garland - soprano, Lily Gonglik - alto, Brianna Pastman - tenor, Stephen Lang - tenor, Christopher Simcox - teno, Tyler Stacherski - tenor, Andrew Neiman - bass, Bobby Trommer - bass
District Orchestra: Micah Miles, Samay Ruparelia, Emily Gelok, Kaylee Zimmerman
District Band: Micah Miles, Kaylee Zimmerman, David Olson, Eli Morrison
Region Orchestra: Micah Miles, Emily Gelok
Region Band: Micah Miles, Eli Morrison
Winter sports update
NHS Girls Bowling wins holiday tournament
Maple Point Girls Basketball wins BCL championship
The script could not have been written any better if it were set for a Hollywood film. The Varsity girls basketball team for Maple Point returned to the court this season after a year on the sidelines. Varsity Coach John McFadden had a level of excitement as he prepared for the season in the fall after watching his new team come into focus as they trained for the season.
They finished the regular season 10-1, good enough for second place, a bye and the second seed in the Bucks County League South Tournament held at Maple Point. They defeated Poquessing MS, then Pennwood MS. In the finals, they were matched up with the undefeated William Penn MS.
In what would become an instant middle school classic, the Ladies of the Point fought and clawed in the first half behind a swarming team defensive effort, taking a two point lead into intermission. The teams traded big baskets and tremendous defensive stops all second half in front a massive crowd. In the end, a big finish by Ashlyn Duffy put the Point team up for good. Hayley Kolk’s free throws and rebounding put William Penn at bay as they clinched their first tournament title since 2018.
8th Graders-Sydney Snyder, Amanda Okwara, Ayanna Reeves, Sydney Kallen, Isabella Brace, Olivia Figueroa, Emily Hines
7th Graders- Hayley Kolk, Mia Raivitch, Ashlyn Duffy, Kendall McCafferty
Managers-Jaxon Olszewski, Josh Garwo, Ayanna Morris, Megan Glass, Erika James
Ball Girl-Molly Beggs
Neshaminy Update is published monthly during the school year and distributed to the Neshaminy community via email and web. To submit comments, suggestions or news items for consideration, please email Chris Stanley, Community Relations Coordinator.
Neshaminy School Board of Directors
John Allen - President
Tina Hollenbach - Vice President
Adam J. Kovitz
Neshaminy School District
Rob McGee, Ph.D.
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Elementary Education
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Secondary Education
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Pupil Services
Donald B. Irwin, Jr.
Director of Human Resources
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Educational Operations
Neshaminy School District
2001 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047