In The Q


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ASPIRE honored its hard-working students and several community business partners during a recent recognition night.

ASPIRE stands for Acquiring Skills Professionalism, Independence and Responsibility for Education/Employment. It’s for students ages 18 to 21, who may have a mental or physical challenge that calls for more schooling to help them prepare to navigate the world after high school.

Students are taught daily living skills, how to gain and retain employment and are educated in self advocacy and interpersonal skills.

Elizabeth Alvino, the teacher who helped create the program, praised the students for their hard work and the contribution they made to the community. She also recognized the community partners that gave her students the opportunity to develop their skills

Those businesses included Peace Tree Farm of Kintnersville, which provided the students with a tour of its facility early in the school year, and those where they worked, including Hope ReStored Thrift Shop, the Quakertown Food Pantry, Swann’s Pantry, Aid For Friends and Lowe’s.

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3 QCHS students among 56 BCCC Firefighter Academy grads

Three Quakertown Community High School students were among 56 firefighters to graduate from the Bucks County Community College Firefighter Academy.

Zachary Mahler, Alexa Rummel and Dylan Winters were the QCHS students. Zac and Dylan are with Quakertown Fire Company No. 1, while Alexa is a member of the West End Fire Company.

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Quakertown Skate Park crew joins Sen. Mensch in state Capitol

These Quakertown middle and high school students did an awesome job representing the Quakertown Skate Park and community in the Pennsylvania Senate.

The students, from left, are Mark Krenzel, Logan Brezner, Connor Matusek and Braxton Johnson. In the middle are Sen. Bob Mensch and Dave Kratz, pastor at East Swamp Church.

Mensch invited Kratz to be the guest Chaplin for the day, and the pastor led the opening prayer. Each of the Quakertown guests were then recognized by name on the Senate floor.

Mensch, who helped secure grants for the Skate Park, had lunch with the Quakertown contingent and gave them a tour of the Capitol.

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Wallops Island: ‘Hands-on, wet-feet education’

Though he’s retired from decades as a science teacher in the Quakertown Community School District, Pete Jarrett can’t stay away from the eighth graders annual four-day trip to the Chincoteague Bay Field Station in Wallops Island.

“I enjoy the kids, and I miss teaching,” said Jarrett, who began the educational fieldtrip for Strayer Middle School students 32 years ago. “Plus, this facility has my heart strings connected to it. It changed my life as far as being a teacher, and led to a successful, enjoyable teaching career.”

Jarrett's vision has inspired a program that more than 1,200 of the district’s leading eighth graders have participated in, exploring the unique mid-Atlantic coastal region and its productive salt marshes, pristine barrier beaches and peaceful inland waters.

Jarrett and science teacher Jacki Clymer, who took over the program’s administrative duties following Jarrett’s retirement in 2015, recently traveled with 33 students and three chaperones to spend four days and three nights in what is described as a “hands-on, wet-feet education.”

“It’s four days of learning by being outdoors,” Clymer said. “They’re immersed with an appreciation for the outdoors, the marine environment, and their role in it.”

All first graders receive new book as summer prize

All first graders in the Quakertown Community School District went home for summer vacation with a new book to read, compliments of the Quakertown Community Education Foundation.

The $3,000 project allowed the school district to give out 400 books to encourage the young students to read over the nearly three-month break.

“First grade is such a crucial year for students in the development of their reading skills,” said Erin Oleska, the district’s supervisor of literacy and arts. “They’re learning to read books that actually have a full plot. We believe this will help them continue to grow as readers, and actually learn to love to read.”

The concept was proposed about a year ago by QCEF’s Robert Leight, a former school director, who described first grade as the “entry into literacy.”

QCEF President Bill Tuszynski said the idea began with “providing books to students who couldn’t afford them. But it’s difficult to identify those students, and there could be a stigma attached to it. So the board decided to do it for all of them.”

The book each child received was determined by their teacher, based on the interest they’ve shown in a certain topic and their reading ability.

Teachers have taken an active role in the program, Oleska said, developing reading celebration days. “It’s almost like a ceremony where the books are handed out for the student’s hard work,” she said. “Teachers made sure the kids got the right books in their hands for the summer.”

Strayer Middle School choir continues its superior performances

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Messa di Voice, Strayer Middle School's a cappella choir, achieved the Middle/Junior High School Overall Award for the 18th consecutive year in the Music in the Park Festival.

The choir demonstrated an advanced performance in pitch and intonation, choral blend and balance with appropriate vowel sounds on a variety of repertoire by entering three categories for adjudication. Messa di Voce competed in Mixed Choir, Renaissance Choir, and the Vocal Jazz Choir, receiving a superior rating in all three categories, placing it in the 90th percentile.

The Overall Award goes to the choir that has achieved the highest score of the day. The founder and choral director of Messa di Voce is Cynthia Teprovich.

Students in the above photo are (back row, left to right) Austin Hunsburger, Ayden Hendricks, Jessica Kempter, Elizabeth Callan, Brooklyn Spear and Jadyn Fuentes. Middle row: Jordan Mitchell, Sonya Roeder, Faith Pflaumer, Nathan Grebb and Eryn Cianciola. Front row: Rachael Szabo, Bryce Widdos, Mason Lippincott, Alyssa Cassell, Michelle Barratt. Missing: Trinity Rodriguez.

On field of play, Quakertown competitors are true sports

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Six Quakertown Community High School sports teams have won the Sportsmanship Award in a vote of Suburban One League American Conference coaches for the 2017-18 season.

Lacrosse, co-ed golf and the boys teams in bowling, cross country, soccer and volleyball were the QCHS teams selected for the honor.

“It says a lot about the character of our coaches and our student athletes,” said Slyvia Kalazs, the high school’s athletic director. “It’s about being competitive, but also respectful and sportsmanlike. I think that has to be modeled by the coaches for the kids to do it. I’m really proud of our coaches. You’ve got to be a good sport, whether you win or lose.”

It’s the fourth time in seven years that Quakertown will be recognized by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association for having teams win the award. The high school has achieved the honor every other year since 2011-12.

“This shows that character is something very important to us,” said boys volleyball coach Andy Snyder. “Our athletes have the capability to win humbly and to lose graciously. They realize there’s something bigger than just winning. It’s about how you treat your opponent, how you conduct yourself.

“I try not to preach about it, but to demonstrate it. Ultimately, it’s their own decision. I try to guide them the right way.”

The high school golf team has won the award two years in a row with different team members both years.

“We set the bar pretty high. We expect it,” golf coach Nick Hood said. “We don’t let the other team dictate how we act. We do that ourselves.”

Hood said his golfers don’t root against the opposition. “We don’t like that mindset he said,” he said. “Our kids shake hands with the other coaches and the other players. A good shot is a good shot, so it’s okay to say ‘nice shot’ to the other team. To win that, it’s the most proud I can be of my team.”

Special Olympians bring home the Gold

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Two students from Quakertown and two from Palisades combined to win the Gold Medal in the 4 x 25- meter freestyle relay at the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games.

Will Buckley, an eighth grader at Strayer Middle School, Malachi Fuentes, a ninth grader at Quakertown Community High School, and Palisades ninth graders Jack Bancroft and William Blaikie, took home the gold as part of Bucks County’s contingent in the Summer Games at Penn State.

The students train and compete under the direction of head coach Stacy Pletz, as part of the Upper Bucks Special Olympics Aquatics, sponsored by the Upper Bucks YMCA.

Katelyn Sovorsky, a 2013 graduate of QCHS, also competed in the events.

“This is both very emotional and very rewarding,” Pletz said of the team’s outstanding results. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication to get to this point. It’s very hard to place, and move up to this level, but they have done that.”

Alumni Association awards scholarships to four college-bound seniors

Four seniors have each been awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Alumni Association of Quakertown Community High School.

Matt Johnson, Jordan Meyers, Samantha Norton and Nikki Vanelli are the scholarship winners, announced during the organization’s annual meeting on June 2.

“These are students who are truly giving back to the community,” said Melea Rupert, president of the association. “They really impressed us during their interviews.”

The association has been giving out scholarships since 2010. Before this year, it awarded two scholarships. This year it doubled the number to four. Each year, one of the students is a graduate of the Upper Bucks County Technical School.

In addition to the student awards, the Alumni Association awarded an honorary diploma to Ray Ely, the principal at Milford Junior High School when it opened in 1974. Harry Quinque, a former teacher and assistant principal to Ely, and Ray Fox, vice president of the association and a Milford teacher when the school opened, spoke on behalf of Ely.

'Tis the season -- for summer sports camps

Quakertown Community School District

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. Find more District topics of interest on the website by clicking here.