Creating Alumni Connections + Building Alumni Relationships


In This Issue - Spring, 2017

  • Strongsville High School Finishes Renovations
  • New Strongsville Middle School Opens
  • El Salvador Teaching Team Visits Strongsville High School
  • SHS Girls Soccer Player Lauren Rakytiak Earns All-American Award
  • State Competition Results for SHS Choral & Instrumental Groups
  • DECA Students Shine at State Competition
  • SHS Welcomes New Varsity Football Head Coach Lou Cirino
  • SHS Musical - "Fame" (May 11-13)
  • SHS Adds Junior Air Force ROTC Program to Course Offerings
  • "Excellence In Athletics" Raises Over $1.6 Million for Turf Field & Weight Room
  • 1:1 Chromebook Initiative Begins with Class of 2020
  • SHS Recognized for AP District Honor Roll
  • SHS Community Open House - Saturday, May 13 (4-7pm)
  • Meet SHS National Merit Semi-Finalist & 3 Commended Students
  • Send Us Your Alumni Update!


The Strongsville City School District recently completed construction and renovation projects as the result of an $81 million bond issue approved by the Strongsville community in 2012. A new state-of-the-art middle school and upgrades to the high school were the two main components of this project. Not only was the overall project finished on time and built to high standards, but the work was completed under budget.

Strongsville High School renovations occurred in seven separate phases to minimize disruption to students and classes:

Phase 1:
600 Wing of Classrooms

Phase 2: 700-800 Wing of Classrooms

Phase 3: Auditorium

Phase 4: 100-300 Wing of Classrooms

Phase 5: Music Area & Athletic Facilities

Phase 6: Cafeteria & Kitchen, Main Gym, Main Office, Parking Lots

Phase 7: Special Education Classrooms & Media Center

Through cost efficiencies and savings realized by the District in managing this process, additional upgrades and renovations in accordance with the scope of the Bond project were able to be completed for the long-term benefits of students and staff. These additions to the original project scope for the high school project included:

  • New seats, updated hardware, and updated lighting for the planetarium
  • New cabinets, new appliances, and new furniture for the Family Consumer Science classroom
  • Additional heating and cooling equipment/controls upgrades and improvements
  • Updated sprinkler system (including 1,700 new sprinkler heads)
  • New entrance walkways, safety bollards, and landscaping for the auditorium and main entrance
  • New and updated space for the weight room and the wrestling room
  • Driveway loop and parking lot resurfacing, including full depth replacement and culvert replacement
  • Added parking lot for students including a sidewalk and lighting
  • New lighting in the existing student parking lot and walkway including security camera surveillance
  • New lockers and new sound panels in the band room
  • Upgraded Main Office area and reception desk
  • 1,700 new student desks and chairs, as well as 56 new teacher desks and chairs
  • New sound system in the main gymnasium
  • Replacement of ceiling tiles and lighting in several classrooms

We hope you are able to return to SHS in the near future to see the many changes and upgrades our school has gone through over the past few years!


Strongsville City Schools welcomed a new addition to the District at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year - Strongsville Middle School (SMS). This middle school is now home to all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the District (Center and Albion were demolished in the summer/fall of 2016). Funded by an $81 million bond issue passed in November, 2012, SMS is a $45.5 million construction project for the District. SMS sits on the same site as the former Center Middle School.

Additional facts about the project:

  • The building is three levels, housing an individual grade on each level

  • 76 classrooms, with flexibility to open individual classrooms into larger collaborative learning spaces

  • The overall building square footage is over 185,000 square feet

  • The gymnasium is roughly 18,000 square feet, with seating for 650 fans

  • The building includes an auditorium that seats over 800 people

  • The project site is over 20 acres

  • Strongsville Middle School contains:

    • 20,000 sq. ft. of glass

    • Approximately 5,700 cubic yards of concrete

    • Over 1,300 tons of structural steel


Eight guests from El Salvador visited Strongsville City Schools for a week in December, as part of a “Connecting Communities, Connecting Cultures” program developed by Strongsville High School Spanish teacher, Mrs. Tonya Barba-Minor, and an English teacher in El Salvador, Elizabeth Orellana Sanchez. The visiting group from El Salvador included six teachers, one principal, and the Executive Director of Epilogos Charities, Inc.

Ms. Orella Sanchez was interested in learning different teaching methods and experiencing other learning environments, in order to bring those ideas and techniques back to her classroom in El Salvador. Ms. Barba-Minor wanted to give her students and colleagues a “real-life” experience of what they have been studying in the classroom. Through the assistance of the El Salvador Committee at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville, this exchange trip became a reality. The Church helped organize sponsors, host families, and donations for some of the travel costs.

A special Thank You to Mrs. Barba-Minor for organizing this very meaningful and impactful visit!


Strongsville High School Junior Lauren Rakytiak became the twelfth Strongsville Lady Mustang soccer player to earn the designation of All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She joined an exclusive list of only fifty-one female high school players nationwide and was selected by a panel of high school coaches at the local, state, and national level. Lauren put together a phenomenal season in helping the Lady Mustangs go through an undefeated regular season against a schedule that included multiple national level programs, ending the year as the number one team in the final Ohio Soccer Coaches poll for the regular season.

Lauren's 2016 Season Stats:

  • 20 Games Played

  • 18 Games Started

  • 23 Goals (4 Game Winning)

  • 8 Assists (2 Game Winning)

Lauren continues to work very hard at her craft and is looking forward to continued growth for herself and her team in her senior year. Congratulations to Lauren on this well-deserved honor!

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Congratulations to Ms. Vickie Eicher (SHS Choral Director), Mr. Andrew Hire (SHS Orchestra Director), and Mr. Brian King (SHS Band Director) and the following choral and instrumental groups for their accomplishments in the recent OMEA Competition:

Strongsville Cantorum earned a Superior (I) Rating

Strongsville Womens Chorale earned a Superior (I) Rating

Strongsville Wind Ensemble earned a Superior (I) Rating

Strongsville String Orchestra earned an Excellent (II) Rating
Strongsville High School Chamber Strings earned a Superior (I) Rating
Strongsville High School Symphony Orchestra earned a Superior (I) Rating
* Both the Chamber Strings and Symphony Orchestra earned the best score possible receiving superior ratings (I's) from all four adjudicators

The groups will be competing in the upcoming state competition - best of luck Mustangs!


Seventy-one (71) Strongsville High School juniors and seniors recently competed in the DECA State Competition. Thirty (30) students advanced to the finals round, and seven (7) of those students qualified for the DECA National Competition to be held in Anaheim, California at the end of April. Strongsville students competed against over 2,000 DECA students from across the state of Ohio.

DECA is the only national student organization operating in the nation’s schools to attract young people to careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and entrepreneurship. DECA competitions include a written test over business and marketing information, as well as role­playing, and problem solving events. Students are judged on the basis of their ability to develop and communicate sound, creative, and thorough solutions to the problem situations in a variety of industry categories.

Congratulation to these students who have qualified for the national competition and their teacher and adviser, Ms. Jessica Frenchik, on a job well done.

Joanne Munshower & Julia Ostrowski - Business Law & Ethics Team (1st place)

Shannon McKinley & Morgan Pinzone - Sports & Entertainment Team (3rd place)

Jaret Reimer - Hotel & Lodging (4th place)

Allison Mehmed - Quick Serve (4th place)

Leah Marko - Automotive (2nd place)

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Mr. Lou Cirino has been recently hired as the new Mustangs Varsity Football Head Coach. Coach Cirino has been West Geauga High School’s head coach since 2010. West Geauga’s varsity teams have amassed a 46-25 record during his tenure as head coach. West Geauga qualified for the OHSAA playoffs in three of his seven seasons, including 2015 when the team won its opening round game and was one of the final 16 in the Division III football playoffs. That same year, he earned recognition as both Chagrin Valley Conference Coach of the Year and AP Northeast Ohio Lakes All-District Coach of the Year. Mr. Cirino was also named Ohio Division III State Coach of the Year in 2013.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Mr. Cirino spent time as an assistant coach with the Buckeyes from 2004-2006. He also has a Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University. In the classroom, Mr. Cirino teaches social studies at West Geauga High School and was named its High School Teacher of the Year in 2009 and 2014. He will be joining the SHS teaching staff in the Social Studies department beginning with the 2017-18 academic year.


Don't miss the spring production of "FAME: The Musical!". SHS students have been in rehearsals since early February and are excited for the following performances in the newly renovated SHS Auditorium:

Thursday, May 11th - 7:00pm

Friday, May 12th - 7:30pm

Saturday, May 13th - 7:30pm

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students.


A new Air Force JROTC course is now available for Strongsville High School students. The course is available for students who have intentions to enlist in a branch of the military and also to those students who are interested in developing their leadership and teamwork skills. Aerospace science, leadership education, and health and wellness are the main components of the curriculum. The class instructors are Lt Col (ret) David Krempasky and CMSgt (ret) Brad Buening. Click HERE for a video feature on this new program at SHS.


Thanks to the generous donations of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, Strongsville High School has a new synthetic turf field, a 70 foot flagpole, a 15 foot by 25 foot American Flag, and a renovated weight room. Currently, the "Excellence in Athletics" campaign has raised more than $1.6 million. The rededicated field at SHS is now Serpentini Field at Pat Catan Stadium, thanks to the generosity of Serpentini Chevrolet, who donated $400,000 to this project and the annual car raffles. Thanks to all of the donors who have provided facilities and equipment that will benefit our students for years to come!


Each student in this year's Freshman Class (Class of 2020) received their own Chromebook, as part of the District's 1:1 technology initiative. This Chromebook will be their very own device to utilize during their four years at SHS. They will be able to keep the Chromebook upon graduation, as well. High School classes, as well as at all grade levels, continue to incorporate lessons, activities, and learning utilizing these Chromebooks. Freshman classes will continue to receive Chromebooks, and by the year 2020, all students at SHS will have their own personal device.


Strongsville City Schools is one of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board, earning a place on the 7th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. Strongsville is also one of only 32 school districts in Ohio to earn this recognition. To be included on the 7th Annual Honor Roll, Strongsville City Schools had to increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of three (3) or higher for the past three years. Reaching these goals shows that Strongsville is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students of all backgrounds who are ready for AP.


Don't miss your opportunity to see the newly renovated Strongsville High School! SHS will be open to the public on Saturday, May 13 from 4-7pm. It's your chance to see the refurbished auditorium, the brand new gymnasium and cafeteria areas, the renovated Media Center, and the upgraded classrooms. And make plans to stay for the performance of "FAME: The Musical!" by our SHS students. The musical starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, and $10 for students.


Strongsville High School Senior Zachary DeLisio has earned the status of National Merit Semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. Zachary is one of approximately 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists across the country. He will have the opportunity to compete against other semifinalists to become a Finalist and earn a National Merit Scholarship, which will be announced in the next few months. About 1.6 million juniors entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). National Merit Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, including the highest scoring entrants in each state.

Zachary is planning to study Actuarial Sciences in college. In addition to his studies, he is involved in Strongsville’s Leadership Academy, an Executive Board Member of Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), a member of National Honor Society, and captain of the varsity lacrosse team. Among his teachers who have made a significant impact on his high school career, he credits English teacher Mrs. Carol McKnight for “pushing me to be the very best I can be.”

In addition, three Strongsville High Schools seniors have been named as commended students in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. Julia Foust, Michelle Kahle, and Daniel Morris are among the 34,000 Commended Students being recognized with this accomplishment. Commended Students placed in the top five percent of students taking the PSAT/NMSQT.

Congratulations to Zachary, Julia, Michelle, and Daniel for this recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Program!


Do you have news you would like to share? We would love to hear updates from our SHS alumni. Let us know exciting announcements you would like to share - we want to provide alumni news and share your great stories and accomplishments in "life after SHS" to our community. Send alumni news to!