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A Fun Day
Posted 5/26/2022 at 10:42:41 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
North Olympics Race
Buckeye North Elementary students enjoyed a day in the sun during the annual School-wide Olympics event on Monday. Kids in grades K-6 were divided into blended teams and completed relay races such as a balloon pop and bunny hop as well as tug-of-war. Twenty-five Buckeye Local High School students volunteered to assist and the top three teams included teachers Jane Kleineke’s Werewolves, Jennifer Aubrey’s Elves and Melissa Kernen’s Krakens. Pictured is third-grader Ada Price racing to give freshman Gavin Edgell in a straw skirt during a tropical-themed dress-up race.
BL Seniors Gain Scholarships
Posted 5/25/2022 at 10:37:44 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School seniors received more than $65,000 in scholarships during the annual Senior Awards Assembly on May 10.
   Organizations and schools provided awards totaling $65,750 in addition to academic scholarships from local colleges and universities during the event to help graduates pursue higher education.
  Among this year’s recipients were Allison Trekal with the Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship for $500; Cameron Best and Adrianna Blazeski, the Buckeye Local Jr. Panthers Scholarship for $500 each; Jacob Phillis, the Leon Berze Memorial Scholarship for $500; James Hornyak, Ethan McHugh and Jacob Phillis, Brilliant Lions Club Scholarship for $500; Mariah Pelkey, the Buckeye Local Board of Education and Buckeye Local Football Alumni Scholarships for $500 each; Kylie Gura, Buckeye Local Classroom Teacher Association Scholarship for $500; Adrianna Blazeski, Brooklyn Lengyel, Brianna Merkel and Matthew Scott, Dillonvale High School Alumni Association Scholarship for $750 each; Hannah Reynolds, From the Heart Anonymous Scholarship for $750; Jacob Phillis, Eastern Gateway Community College’s Jefferson County Academic Scholarship for tuition, books and supplies; Cameron Best, Nathan W. Finney Memorial Scholarship for $500; Hunter McFadden and Hannah Reynolds, Cody Griffith Life Improvement Award for $750 each; Hunter McFadden, Heske Family Award (for most improved GPA) for $400; Cameron Best, Adrianna Blazeski and Brianna Merkel, Indian Club Scholarship for $1,000 each; Cameron Best and Bailey Ebright, Jefferson County Farm Bureau Scholarship; Kylie Gura and Aivri Ruttencutter, Kontogiannis Family Scholarship for $5,000 each; Brooklyn Lengyel, Maderia Family Scholarship for $1,000; Adrianna Blazeski, Isabella Hepburn, Kylie Gura and Kassidy George, Jessica Marie Mayle Memorial Volleyball Scholarship for $1,000 each; Allison Trekal and Ethan McHugh, Bill Mazeroski Baseball Scholarship for $4,000 each; Kaydence Angel and Kylie Gura, Brad W. McFadden Memorial Scholarship for $500 each; Adrianna Blazeski, Josh Merriman Memorial Scholarship for $500; Aivri Ruttencutter and Rylie White, Russ Moran Memorial Scholarship for $500 each; Matthew Scott and Rylie White, Mt. Pleasant-Dillonvale Lion’s Club Scholarship for $500 each; Brooklyn Lengyel, Mt. Pleasant High School Class Alumni Association Scholarship for $1,000; Kaden Bednarek and Adrianna Blazeski, Joseph Nieb ‘43’ Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 each; Cameron Best, North Elementary Robert Dalrymple Memorial Scholarship for $1,000; Adrianna Blazeski and Shaelynn Cesario, OAPSE Scholarship for $200 each; Adrianna Blazeski and Hester Lambright, Freshmen Academic Scholarships from Ohio University Eastern.
  Ohio High School Athletics Association (OHSAA) Athletic Awards were also given to the following: Cameron Best and Adrianna Blazeski, Scholar Athletes; Trevor Herbert and Allison Trekal, Courageous Student Award; Ethan McHugh, Justin Driscoll, Kassidy George and Mariah Pelkey, NFHS National Award of Excellence; Cameron Best and Adrianna Blazeski, the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award.
  Three $3,000 scholarships went to Kaden Bednarek, Brooklyn Lengyel and Brooke Shaffer from the Charles and Thelma Pugliese Charitable Foundation while the Sons of the American Legion Squadron Post 525 presented $500 scholarships to Kaden Bednarek, Hester Lambright and Allison Trekal. More honors included Mallory Kujawa with the Special Friends Scholarship for $500; Demetria Christian, the Edward J. Stanko Memorial Scholarship for $250; Robert Ellis, the Steven E. Strupe Memorial Scholarship for $2,000; Jacob Phillis, the Mike Tolliver Memorial Scholarship for $750.
  Touchdown Club Scholarship winners included Justin Driscoll with the Pete Ziniach Scholarship for $500; Ethan McHugh, the Bill McHugh Scholarship for $500; and Mariah Pelkey, the Dick Thurnes Scholarship for $500. The V.A.L.E.S. Scholarship was awarded to Ethan McHugh and Mariah Pelkey for $750 each while Cameron Best and Isabella Hepburn each received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4811 Scholarship for $500. Other recipients included Kaden Bednarek and Brooklyn Lengyel, Warren Township Lion’s Club Scholarship for $500 each; Allison Trekal, the Nora Webb-Winstead Memorial Scholarship for $1,000; Mallory Kujawa, Doyle R. Weldon Memorial Band Scholarship for $1,000; Kaden Bednarek and Hannah Reynolds, Wells Township Haunted House Scholarship for $100 for each year they volunteered; Brianna Merkel, Wheeling Hospital Auxiliary for $1,000 for four years; and Adrianna Blazeski and Bailey Ebright, Woman’s Club of Adena Scholarship for $500 each.
South Raises Money for Autism Awareness
Posted 5/25/2022 at 10:32:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
South Autism FR
Buckeye South Elementary showed its support for autism awareness by raising $734 for the Autism Speaks organization. School speech pathologist Vanessa Maurer spearheaded fundraisers complete with T-shirt sales and activities throughout April, which incidentally was Autism Awareness Month. Among the activities were themed dress-up days for a donation, a door-decorating contest with Jenny Potts’ first-grade class earning a pizza party and free planning time for the teacher and a Kids and Coins for Autism monetary collection with Madison Legros’s first-grade class being the top moneymaker. As a result, they received free outside time and a chance to toss water balloons at Principal Julie Packer. Maurer said the coin collection funds went to the organization while $630 in T-shirt sales proceeds will provide South students with sensory items and supplies to aid social skills. She was pleased with the response and looks forward to holding more events next year. Pictured are teachers and students standing in formation as the infinity symbol—one of the symbols for autism—in a show of solidarity.
BL Kids Attend Camp
Posted 5/17/2022 at 10:13:14 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL FFA Camp Muskingum
Seventy-three students from Buckeye North, West and South Elementary Schools attended FFA Camp Muskingum near Carrollton on May 3-6. There they had a chance to participate in archery, outdoor science lessons, nature hikes and other activities. They also learned about team building and leadership and met their future classmates when they attend Buckeye Local Jr. High School next fall.
Art Show Winds Down
Posted 5/15/2022 at 10:50:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Art Show
More than 80 pieces were on display during the 2022 Spring Art Show on May 10-13 at Buckeye Local Jr./Sr. High School. Students in grades 9-12 showcased watercolor and acrylic paintings as well as charcoal drawings and sculptures they completed throughout the school year. Their works were exhibited in the theatre with a public viewing that Monday and the show was open to staff and students during school hours for the rest of the week. Art teacher Amanda Gruber said the event has been held for more than a decade but was preempted by the COVID pandemic.
Moving Up
Posted 5/14/2022 at 10:43:39 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLJHS Sixth-Grade Tour
About 100 sixth-graders from Buckeye North, South and West Elementary Schools converged upon Buckeye Local Jr./Sr. High School May 12 to tour the facilities. Student Council members led groups throughout the building to familiarize them with classrooms and other surroundings before moving up to  seventh grade in the fall. Pictured is eighth-grader Kamden Kinyo guiding some of the underclassmen during the event.
Celestin Remains Interim Superintendent
Posted 5/4/2022 at 11:45:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Celestin
DILLONVALE-Interim Superintendent Scott Celestin will remain in his position for another year following talks with the Buckeye Local Board of Education.
   Celestin’s service was extended through the 2022-23 school year in a non-contractual agreement at the April 25 board meeting and officials made the announcement following an executive session. Board President Teresa George was pleased to see Celestin continue at the helm and said it will give leaders a greater opportunity to select a permanent replacement.
   “We feel with Scott continuing on the current path as interim superintendent that it will allow the board to take time to choose a new superintendent,” George said. “We don’t want to rush it; we want time to choose a superintendent who is the right fit for the district.”
   She praised Celestin for his efforts to carry the district through the current year and said he has the support of stakeholders and staff alike. 
   “I think Scott is doing a phenomenal job. He has the support of staff and administrators, and with the assistance of [Assistant Superintendent William Luther], the district is going in the direction it needs to be.”
   Celestin, who has been an educator for the past 34 years, spent 18 of them at Buckeye Local Schools. He served as principal at Buckeye Local High School in 2004 and later became district director of transportation and student services. He held those titles from 2011-2017, after which he was named assistant superintendent along with Luther. Celestin has served in an interim capacity since December of 2020 and was grateful to continue his tenure.
   “I think it’s a great district and the staff and students here are amazing,” he said. “There are good things coming for Buckeye Local and I'm glad to be part of it.”
   The district includes an estimated 1,700 students and 200 teachers and staff and Celestin said one of his goals is to get everyone working together and show them that they are appreciated. Meanwhile, more plans are coming down the pike with nearly $500,000 in improvements at the high school. The first phase of heating and cooling updates was recently completed at a cost of $163,181 and upcoming projects include a new public announcement system, exterior lighting replacements and paving along Panther Drive and the parking lot for approximately $330,000. The HVAC project was financed using federal ESSER money while the remaining expenses will be covered under the district’s general fund. Other improvements entail a new radio system for school and bus communication for about $135,000 and updating the reading series across the district.
Annual Sea Air & Land Challenge at BLHS
Posted 5/3/2022 at 12:43:49 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-Students will put their STEM knowledge to work during the fourth annual Sea Air and Land Challenge at Buckeye Local High School on May 6.
   The event, which is sponsored by Penn State University’s Electro-Optics Center (EOC), runs from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and begins with a brief gathering in the auditorium while the challenges follow with land and air events in the gym and sea activities scheduled outside in tented areas. Teams compete with members operating remote-controlled robots they designed to finish timed tasks on land, under water and by air with experts judging all of the activities. The teams will break for lunch, after which trophies will be given for top performers in each challenge as well as an Innovation Award. In addition, Navy Chief Chris Lange will be featured as keynote speaker. BLHS will have three teams competing while other schools expected are Martins Ferry, Wheeling Central and potentially Bedford High School from Michigan. 
  Organizer Jeff Merrill, a math teacher at BLHS who also helped establish the school’s STEM program, said the challenge was first created at the EOC and Buckeye Local was invited to participate. BLHS officials were inspired to host their own event in 2018 which attracted about 100 students from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
  “The Sea Air and Land Challenge is an Office of Naval Research-sponsored program in which teams of high school-aged students learn about the engineering process through the design and build of a robotic system.  The systems are then used to compete in challenges relevant to the Department of Defense which mimic missions encountered by the military, national security agencies and first responders,” he explained. “The challenge provides the opportunity for high school students to tackle a difficult engineering task while working with educators and engineering mentors. The teams have 12 to 16 weeks (one semester) to design and build unmanned vehicles and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads to compete in the challenge of their choice. Teams may build submersibles for the sea challenge, drones for the air challenge or rovers for the land challenge. The challenges are designed by engineers at the Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and by some of the country’s finest Navy SEALs and Green Berets.”
   He added that STEM was a growing job field and the military plays a vital role through national security. It also introduces students to career opportunities and helps educators implement a successful program in their school districts.
  Merrill commented that the teams were excited to showcase the skills they’ve learned along the way.
 “Students love the challenge of building the robots to meet the criteria of the challenges given to them,” he said.
BLHS Art Club Donates to Ukraine
Posted 4/27/2022 at 9:50:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Art Club Ukraine Drive
The Buckeye Local High School Art Club sponsored an online charity campaign through social media in April and gathered clothing, hygiene products and medical supplies for the people of Ukraine. The event was held in conjunction with IC Care of Wheeling, which transported contributions from across the Ohio Valley to the war-torn country. Advisor Amanda Gruber said it was the first time the 10-member student group conducted a donation drive and they thanked everyone for their generosity.
Blood Drive Draws Donors at BLHS
Posted 4/6/2022 at 12:12:57 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Blood Drive
CONNORVILLE-Students, faculty and community members stepped up to help save lives during the biannual blood drive at Buckeye Local High School on April 1.
   Organizers said 39 people registered to donate but 27 units were collected at the event set in the small gym. Vitalant, formerly the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh, coordinated efforts in conjunction with the school’s student council. Student Council Co-advisor Michael DiCenzo, who shares duties with Myste Carter, said a mix of school and community contributors were part of the effort and every bit helps.
   “A majority were students, plus teachers signed up and we had a few from the community,” he commented.
   In addition to saving lives, the blood drive has also supported the student council by providing a $500 scholarship to a graduating member should they raise 25 units at each drive. Unfortunately, the collection fell slightly short this year to be eligible.
   “We had 33-34 signed up in the fall and had 23 donors,” he added. “They collected 17 whole blood units, two plasma, and four double reds.”
   But the real purpose was to help others and students on hand were happy to lend their time. Juniors Rachel Jarman, Gage Cermak and Lizzie Frank all are first-time participants and said they were inspired in various ways.
   Jarman said she wanted to replenish supplies created by the blood shortage while Cermak saw the need firsthand.
   “I’m on the Dillonvale E-Squad,” he said. “I like giving.”
   “It helps people,” added junior Lizzie Frank. “I’ve always wanted to help, and since my mom worked with the American Red Cross I’ve always been around blood drives.”
   The third time was the charm for senior Brianne Merkel, a repeat donor who wanted to make a difference. She gave blood with a little support from friend and fellow senior Aivri Ruttencutter.
  “I wanted to give back to those in need,” Merkel commented. 
   “I’m just trying to help out,” noted first-timer Nathan Cline, a junior.
   The student council has organized the blood drive for well over a decade except last year because of COVID. Members manned stations such as the cantina while Vitalant personnel oversaw the collection. Units were provided to local hospitals including Weirton, Wheeling, Pittsburgh and Barnesville to support cancer and surgical patients, the elderly, accident victims and people with blood-borne issues, among others.
(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School senior Brianna Merkel gives her third donation with a little emotional support from friend Aivri Ruttencutter during the BLHS Student Council’s biannual blood drive on April 1. About 27 students, staff and community members contributed to the cause to save the lives of countless people.)
Coding Students Bring Designs to Life
Posted 3/25/2022 at 9:21:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLJHS Coding Class
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local Jr. High School students are putting their coding skills to use and bringing designs to life with some modern technology.
  Tech teacher Kathy Yocum instructs a nine-week programming course and alternates eighth-graders during the first and third nine weeks and seventh-graders during the second and fourth nine weeks. The upperclassmen wrapped up their sessions on March 18 with the younger students starting anew the following Monday, and Yocum said the schoolwork offers a real hands-on approach to learning.
  “We did programming, or coding, and algorithms, sequencing, conditionals, loops and variables,” she explained, adding that she manages to keep students engaged through interactive lessons. “They enjoy more hands-on activities. I wanted to get more into circuitry because there are some really cool projects we could do.”
  Students use what is known as block code and write programs in various tech languages including Python. They are then able to create unique projects such as operating tealights with circuitry and turn designs into objects with 3-D printers. Yocum previously earned a grant to acquire one printer in 2018 and used career technical funds to procure two more Makerbot Sketch units this past January for further computer-aided design (CAD). The high-tech hardware uses plastic thread melted to 220 degrees Celsius to create a digital model through what is known as the additive process. The hot plastic is squeezed out in layers within a matter of hours to form figures designed by students, but other materials can be used professionally including ceramic, glass, metal and even biological materials. Yocum said CAD affords endless opportunities to make the world a better place.
  “They can print houses and bridges,” she continued, saying biomedical researchers are also looking at ways to rebuild bone. “It goes into medicine and there are a lot of different areas. I’m trying to get students to see the possibilities that are available. There is so much more we can do.”
   For now, her classes are beginning to understand the many potential uses and how they can create on their own.
  “They can learn about exporting it out of the class program in a format the printer can understand. They are also practicing how to attach them to emails. I try to bring in skills they need to know in the future if they get into a career using this.”
   Their classroom practice has yielded three-dimensional shapes including snake toys, names and the school logo from the printers, and Yocum said the classes have completed an estimated 60 projects. She gains ideas from YouTube and the CAD program they use in class, as well as one from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
   Some of her students have chalked it up as a fun learning experience.
   Eighth-grader Autumn Shaughnessy said her favorite part of the class was having Yocum as her teacher.
   “The teacher is because she works with you through things and helps with the 3-D coding,” added classmate Emily Edwards.
   Fellow pupil Clayton Williams is eyeing a possible vocation in his future.
   “I want to build computers,” he said.
 (Photo Cutline: Seventh-and eighth-graders are learning how to write computer codes and create digital models on 3-D printers at Buckeye Local Jr. High School, giving them advantages with high-tech tools to prepare for 21st Century careers. Pictured is eighth-grader Chase Milton with a few of the items students have created with Makerbot Sketch 3-D printers in class.)
100 Days and Valentines
Posted 2/23/2022 at 10:08:01 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
South 100 days and valentines
It was all about hearts and the young at heart as kindergarteners at Buckeye South Elementary observed Valentine’s Day and 100 days of school this month. Students had the option of dressing up like Cupid’s  cuties to centenarians for the occasion. Pictured are, front from left, Lillian Ricer, Rowan Angel, Maysen Horvath, Charlie Jo Hall and Gavin Smith. Back: Kaiden McCarthy, Cam Long, Hannah Napper, Zoey Nonemaker, Andy Sempkowski, Ella Thomas, Charlotte Kolenich and Tony Pape.
George, West to Lead BLBOE
Posted 1/12/2022 at 12:49:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLBOE January 10 Board
DILLONVALE-The Buckeye Local Board of Education kicked off the new year by organizing its panel on Tuesday.
   During the organizational meeting, Teresa George and Ashley West respectively were elected board president and vice president while officials also approved annual business such as establishing service funds and authorizing the superintendent to take action on various operational matters.
   The regular session followed and included approving a bevy of other issues. Under personnel matters, the board approved one-year contracts for classified staff who are currently at the end of their current pact. They include Courtney Romanyak and Lindsey Farmer, aides at Buckeye South Elementary; JoEllen Roshak, custodian/cook for the district and Buckeye Local High School; and Ray Roshak, head mechanic for the district. 
  Meanwhile, supplemental contracts were approved for Jason Merryman as junior high boys’ track and head cross country coach, Jim Berze as head golf coach and Jim Hoover as head football coach at BLHS while pupil activity contracts were given to Timothy Jacob as assistant baseball coach and Joe Soos as assistant softball coach.
  Officials also gave a shout out to student achievers during the meeting. Alexis Becker, a sixth-grader at Buckeye West Elementary, won the J.B. Green Team Billboard Drawing Contest and will have her rendering on display along Ohio 7 near Martins Ferry.
  Building spelling bee winners were also tapped from the schools and included the following: Alora Turner, first place; Sean Turner, second; Ava Conley, third; Kennody Mori, fourth; Emma Vitek, fifth; Brooklyn Torok, sixth; Damien Ohle, first alternate; and Necia Hosenfeld, second alternate at North; Ryan Palmer, first place; Jaremiah Burress, second; Janelle Cooper, third; Cameron Tittle, fourth; Kohlten Haga, fifth; Nathan Dentz, sixth; Logan Bailey, first alternate; and Ashley Harbert, second alternate, Buckeye South; Jocelynn Mathews, first place; Liam Thomas, second; Wyatt Durbin, third; Michael Kovalski, fourth; Evan Krupinski, fifth; Loriana Hess, sixth; Steven Bolock, first alternate; and Bryce Sobleski, second alternate, West Elementary. The district bee was set for Jan 12 at BLHS at 7 p.m. with a snow date on Jan. 19.
   BLHS students were then recognized for their charitable works over the holiday. They included Aivri Ruttencutter, Ethan McHugh, Brianna Merkel, Adrianna Blazeski, Isabella Hepburn, Robert Ellis, Zeke Argentine, Alexa Williams, Ayden Krupinski and Hunter Darrah for a toy drive; students Justin Driscoll, Ethan McHugh, Trey Hoover, Dylan Palmer, Hunter Roush, Hunter Darrah and Matt Scott, who served as elementary helpers; food pantry volunteers Corey Olinski, Ashley Soos, Mikayla Higgins and Hayden Mort; and BLHS National Honor Society members Bri Merkel, Riley White, Kaden Bednarek, Cameron Best, Adriana Blazeski, Kirsten Faulkner, Isabella Hepburn, James Hornyak, Hester Lambright, Brooklyn Lengyel, Ethan McHugh, Mariah Pelkey, Aivri Ruttencutter, Matthew Scott, Brooke Shaffer, Link Szafran and Allison Trekal for their toy campaign.
   In other action, the board:
--Held an executive session on personnel matters with no action taken;
--Announced calendar events including the end of the second nine weeks/first semester on Jan. 14; no school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17; report cards on Jan. 21; a two-hour early dismissal on Feb. 16; and no school for President’s Day on Feb. 21;
--Set the next regular meeting for Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the administrative office in Dillonvale.
(Photo Cutline: The Buckeye Local Board of Education selected new leaders during the organizational meeting on Jan. 10 while districts are also observing School Board Appreciation Month in January. Pictured are, front from left, President Teresa George and Vice President Ashley West. Back: Brooke Stingle, April Ogden and Clint Powell.)
BLHS, Family Recovery Center Tackle Vaping
Posted 10/20/2021 at 10:15:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School and the Family Recovery Center of Steubenville are teaming up to educate students on the dangers of vaping.
   Principal Luke Parsons said prevention specialist Doug Murray is helping to institute Vaping Prevention Plus to provide prevention and intervention to students who are found with a vape or tobacco product. Officials said school will also take its own course of action but the sessions are an extra form of response.
   “I have utilized that already this year,” Parsons said. “It’s not just about punishment; it’s about changing their habits and making them realize how it affects them. It’s another tool we can use to make sure we are helping students rather than punishing them.”
  Murray said the program was another means of helping students help themselves.
  “We had done a workshop in the past to educate students on the dangers of vaping but wanted to reach the students in a different way moving forward,” he explained. “After looking through multiple evidence-based programs, we settled on Vaping Prevention Plus Wellness. What is great about this program is it is very flexible on how you deliver the information. It can be used as a prevention tool and an intervention tool in a group or individual setting.”
  He said vapes have very high levels of nicotine with one pod containing the same as 20 cigarettes. Since the human brain is still developing until age 25 to 26, usage may impact memory, learning and moods while kids will be more susceptible to using other addictive substances later in life. Murray and other prevention educators from the center underwent training this past summer and were certified to implement the program this fall. It is currently being offered to middle and high schools throughout Jefferson County.
  “I have probably talked to over 1,500 students in the past few years about vaping in a group setting. This program has only had one session scheduled one on one but more are being scheduled for the future,” Murray noted. “It’s important to educate students about the dangers of vaping because it can truly hurt them later in life. I always tell them you may not see the effects today or tomorrow, but you may find out the hard way down the road.”
  In addition, he plans to continue QPR Institute suicide prevention training at Buckeye Local and other schools to tackle the issue and help save lives. Murray, who is also a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer, held sessions at BLHS throughout the previous school year and anticipates more trainings this term. QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, helps identify people who may be experiencing suicidal ideations and attempts to provides tools to assist people in crisis. Sessions include videos, a detailed PowerPoint presentation and various situational exercises on how to respond, plus refresher courses may be conducted every one to two years.
  “I will be doing QPR sessions again this year. My goal is to reach 500 students and community members by the end of June of 2022. I believe we are going to start at Buckeye very soon and train all members of the student council. I am very excited to continue this program in Jefferson County.”
  Murray has worked with BLHS since 2017 and cited Parsons as key to bringing programs to the school.
  “He has always been very open to our program, so I definitely owe him a lot of gratitude and I always look forward to serving Buckeye.”
North’s Abuzz about Bees
Posted 10/20/2021 at 10:10:16 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
North Honeybees
Students in Heather Long’s second-grade science class at Buckeye North Elementary got a closer look at the lives of honeybees. The class completed standards-based activity pages and got a taste of honey and pollen. The culmination of their studies was to look into a real hive and view the honeycomb, capped honey and pollen brought into the hive by some local bees. Pictured taking a gander are, from left, Zeus Kuprowicz, Rhonda Pethel, Kevin Matthews and Brelyn Herring.
BLHS Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted 10/8/2021 at 11:50:47 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Hispanic Heritage
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School is recognizing Latin history and culture during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
  Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is celebrated to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the U.S. and to celebrate Hispanic cultural heritage and Hispanic culture. Hispanic Heritage Week initially was approved by President Lyndon Johnson and expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16, 18 and 21, respectively. The observance helps highlight what it means to be Latino and their influence on the American culture. Activities are being spearheaded by teacher Bonnie Soos’ Spanish IV students, who also created a hallway display following this year’s theme of “Music Mania.”
   “During this time period, we recognize the contributions of the Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture,” she added. “This year, we are focusing on music. Each one of my classes is involved and each day we listen to two songs in Spanish.  Each song is from a different Spanish-speaking country and there is a total of 21 countries with the U.S. making 22 because of its large Spanish-speaking population.”
   Soos said students will vote digitally for their favorite tune via a Google Form and the winning song moves on to the next phase similar to March Madness for college basketball.
   Meanwhile, the entire school will herald National Hispanic Heritage Week on Oct. 11-15 with different events. Each day, students may dress up for Lazy Lunes (Lazy Monday) in school-appropriate sweats and pajamas; Matching Martes (Matching Tuesday) by twinning in identical duds and coordinating colors with a Hispanic country’s flag; Marvelous Miercoles (Marvelous Wednesday) by dressing as a superhero; Yee-Haw Jueves (Yee-Haw Thursday) with a choice of dressing preppy in bowties and dresses or donning camouflage, flannels and boots; and Vivid Viernes (Bright Friday) with freshmen wearing yellow, sophomores going green, juniors in orange, seniors in pink and teachers adorned in their homeroom colors. Former senior homeroom teachers are also encouraged to wear pink hues.
   Events also include daily announcements and trivia and members of the student body have a chance to participate in the Music Mania Challenge by voting for their favorite songs. Soos said the tunes should be narrowed down to the top 5 with the final selection announced around the conclusion of the celebration that Friday. She added that the songs are performed in traditional languages which also enrich student learning.
   “I want to mention the benefit of listening to music in the target language.  It is a proven fact that it helps with pronunciation, strengthens listening skills, builds vocabulary and helps connect learned material to real-life situations.”

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School is marking National Hispanic Heritage Month with displays and ongoing activities led by Spanish IV students. Events run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 with Hispanic Heritage Week activities set for Oct. 11-15. Pictured with a display are, front from left, Aivri Ruttencutter, Brianna Merkel, Adrianna Blazeski, Rylie White and Hester Lambright. Back: Ethan McHugh, Matthew Scott, Nicholas Kinkus, Mariah Pelkey, Isabella Hepburn and Kirsten Faulkner.)
Buckeye Local Holding Orientations, Open Houses
Posted 8/13/2021 at 12:57:39 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-Buckeye Local is preparing for the new school year with orientations and open houses slated at the district’s respective buildings.
  Activities are being held in lieu of the annual Back to School Bash which was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Buckeye Local High School has scheduled an orientation at its facilities this week while the elementary schools have events set later this month.
  Buckeye Local Jr. High School in Connorville held festivities on Aug. 12 and incoming seventh-graders received schedules, met teachers and toured the building to become familiar with their new surroundings. BLJHS Principal Jason Kovalski was ready for the new year to begin.
  “I am excited and looking forward to getting back to some normalcy in school and the classrooms,” Kovalski said.
   BLHS has scheduled its 2021 Orientation for Aug. 17 with a mandatory meeting for athletics, band and cheerleading in the Panther Theatre at 5 p.m. Principal Lucas Parsons said one parent must attend in order for students to participate in those activities and coaches will be on hand for athletes and parents to sign in. Additionally, sessions are planned for freshmen in the theatre at 5:30 p.m. followed by sophomores, juniors and seniors at 6 p.m. 
   Buckeye North, South and West Elementary Schools will each hold events on Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 5-7 p.m. with South also conducting a grand opening for the public next month.
   North Elementary Principal Susan Nolan said her school will welcome kids back and parents will be updated on what to expect for the new term.
  “Bus transportation officials will be here for bus routes, schedules and parent information and students and parents can walk through the building,” Nolan commented, saying she was preparing for a return to classes and is optimistic about the upcoming year.
  South Elementary Principal Julie Packer said the number of attendees will be limited at her school’s festivities but another activity is being scheduled for next month.                                                   
  “This open house is for students and one accompanying adult,” she said. “There will be an open house for the public in September.”
   The second event will be held Sept.1 from 5-7 p.m. and the public may view repairs from an August 2020 flooding incident which closed the school and forced students to temporarily relocate to the former St. Joseph Primary School down the street in Tiltonsville. The district spent an estimated $270,000 to repair the building and make it operable once again.
   Meanwhile, West Elementary Principal Jim Rocchi said the Adena site will host a session with students and parents to acclimate them with the school.
   “We are planning to have a brief meeting with all parents to explain daily procedures, have devices available for parents to complete all necessary forms online, pass out supplies which are being supplied by Ascent Resources and permit students and parents to visit their classroom and meet the teachers,” Rocchi added. “Our PTO will have a table set up with information about activities throughout the year and we will have information about our Schoolwide Title I program.”
   He continued that a bus driver will be on hand to answer any questions regarding transportation and students will be permitted to put items in their classrooms or lockers so they won't have to transport it all on the first day of school. Rocchi is looking forward to starting the new year and can’t wait to be reunited with everyone.  
   “I am anxious to see all of our students and staff! We are focusing on growth mindset and positivity this year. We want all students to believe they are capable of achieving whatever they set out to do. With all of the negativity and turmoil in our world today, it is imperative that we be a shining light for our students.”
   Classes will resume at Buckeye Local Schools on Aug. 25.
Spragg Remains a Fixture at West
Posted 6/8/2021 at 12:15:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Spragg 89th Birthday
ADENA-West Elementary School Nurse Delores Spragg has been a fixture within the Buckeye Local School District for the past 17 years, so it comes as no surprise when staff and students honored her for her 89th birthday.
  Well, at least Spragg was surprised by the gesture on May 17 as teachers, staff, administrators and pupils gathered in the gym just after the school arrivals and presented her with a commemorative cake and handmade cards. 
  “They called me to the gym and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and gave me a cake with candles. They also decorated with balloons, cards and signs. As the day went by, the kids wished me a happy birthday,” she said. “It was nice. With everything closed down last year, it was a good thing for everybody. It got us back into a routine of just having some fun.”
   She was moved by the support and said she has enjoyed her time and has no plans to stop anytime soon. Spragg began working in the district in 2004 after spending 30 years on the other end of the spectrum with a nursing home facility.
   She was born and raised in northern Belmont County and found her calling as a nurse after assisting with an ill neighbor while growing up. Spragg graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1950 and Ohio Valley School of Nursing in 1953, plus she went on to earn a degree in administration and social work from Ohio University Eastern in 1981. Spragg also married and raised three children, and her brood has since expanded to include four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She also recalled completing clothing alterations and consulting at nursing homes before being asked to assist with diabetic students in the local school system.
  She has worked with youth from the Shamrocks 4-H Club for six decades and Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church Sunday School for 65 years, where she found she had a knack with children. That proved to be beneficial when she was asked to join Buckeye Local. She eventually filled the post at West and has done everything from treating scrapes from at recess or gym class to providing medication and treatments as well as vision and hearing tests to students. She has led fundraisers for the American Heart Association to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising thousands of dollars for the causes. Spragg has also been a part of her church choir and acted as an elder, but her true path has been to serve the children. 
   Principal Jim Rocchi said Spragg has been a mainstay and staff and students alike adore her.
   “Mrs. Spragg is truly one of a kind! Her dedication to our students and passion for nursing is evident through her lifetime of work. She is loved by every student and staff member and is always willing to offer her wealth of medical advice to anyone. We are honored to have Mrs. Spragg tending to our students.”
   Spragg said the time will come to step away, but right now it isn’t in the cards.
   “I feel the Lord is leading me. He’s giving me the knowledge and I have to share it,” she said. “I’d be bored to death if I didn’t do something. I think about retiring but then ask what I would do. I’m the kids’ grandma here and some of them even call me Grandma. I hope they see an older person who is out working and caring. Whenever God tells me to retire, I’ll retire.”
(Photo Cutline: West Elementary School nurse Delores Spragg was surprised by students and staff with a cake and best wishes for her 89th birthday this month. Spragg has been part of the Buckeye Local School District for the past 17 years and has become a beloved figure and grandma by proxy.)
Buckeye Local Inducts NHS Members
Posted 5/26/2021 at 1:08:16 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-The newest members have been inducted into Buckeye Local High School’s National Honor Society following a ceremony in the school theater.
  The program included introductions by district Superintendent Kim Leonard, BLHS Principal Luke Parsons and NHS Advisor Alonna Ackerman, requirements for membership by President Jaina DeMeter and a lighting of the candles representing the four pillars of NHS—scholarship, leadership, service and character—by Vice President Carley Newton, Secretary Whitney Gibbons, Treasurer Anne Takach and Historian Maria Zackey. 
  Twenty-five students were added to the organization during the event and introduced by Gibbons and Young. They include juniors Kaden Bednarek, Cameron Best, Adrianna Blazeski, Kirsten Faulkner, Isabella Hepburn, James Hornyak, Hester Lambright, Brooklyn Lengyel, Brianna Merkel, Ethan McHugh, Mariah Pelkey, Aivri Ruttencutter, Matthew Scott, Brooke Shaffer, Link Szafran, Allison Trekal and Rylie White, plus seniors Alan Burkett, Tyler Donahue, Julia Long, Guiliana Moscato, Brian Palmer, Trenton Phillips, Brock Sempirek and Landyn Walker. 
  Rounding out the current members are Lyndsi Carpino, Abbey Kinyo, Meghan McAleavey, Skylar Muldrew, Noah Meyer, Alyssa Slie, Sierra Sterling, Megan Valuska and Abbey Young. The ceremony concluded with a recitation of the NHS pledge by DeMeter and closing remarks by Ackerman.
   To become a member of the NHS, students must maintain at least a 3.45 GPA, be involved in at least one school activity and maintain a clean disciplinary record. Students are selected based on a point system and earn points by demonstrating outstanding scholarship, leadership, service and character. Holding leadership roles and participating in service to both the school and the community are considered as part of a student's application, as well. 
    Ackerman said the student organization is steeped in community service and managed to carry out a few projects even though they were altered by COVID.
    “Each year, our chapter selects a central goal for our service. This year, our service theme was ‘Coming Together’ with the goal of helping our community heal from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued. “Our chapter helped to organize and load school supplies over a three-day period that were distributed to our elementary students. Later in the year, students helped to load lunches onto buses to be distributed to students within the district. They also organized a drive to send out cards to Sienna Hills Nursing Home and Valley Hospice Care Center for Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter. In the past, we have volunteered at the Monsters at the Mall 5K, completed a Christmas card drive to send cards to local cancer patients, nursing home residents and veterans and we also held a drive at Valentine's Day last year to donate personal care items to Valley Hospice.”
FCA Blanket Project
Posted 4/29/2021 at 10:50:36 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS FCA Blanket Project
Buckeye Local High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in cooperation with the Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa International, knotted blankets which were donated through The Linus Project to the Urban Mission Ministries Inc. and The Gabriel Project of Wheeling. Pictured are, in front, Belinda Boyce, FCA advisor and ADK Beta Epsilon Chapter president. Back: Brooklyn Lengyel, Jacob Phillis, Corissa Griffith and Carly Long. Not pictured are Cai McKeever, Josey Meddles, Ashley Soos, Jaelee Thompson, Rachel Jarman and Janyah Withers.
Stop the Presses!
Posted 4/29/2021 at 10:46:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Stop the Presses
Buckeye Local High School English teacher Belinda Boyce’s class recently read the novel, “A Brilliant Death,” by author, former resident and Buckeye North High School alumnus Robin Yocum. Students completed an assignment associated with the story and created mockups of front pages of the Steubenville Herald-Star, covering the events of the book as reporters might have. The author was so impressed with the project that he planned to post it on his website and Facebook page. Pictured, from left, are students Anne Takach, Brock Sempirek, Brianne Merkel, Megan Valuska, Abby Young, Guilianna Moscato and Maria Zackey with their designs.
Raising Old Glory
Posted 4/12/2021 at 10:10:20 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL North Flag Raising
Britiney Charlton and Lukes Radtka, both fourth-graders at Buckeye North Elementary, raise the U.S. flag outside the school as part of the regular flag patrol procedure. Different students are selected each day to perform the task and Charlton and Radtka were joined by their teacher, Kayla Kalp.
BL Students Earn Rewards for Reading
Posted 4/12/2021 at 10:00:20 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-Elementary students in the Buckeye Local School District have shown a love for literacy by taking part in the “Operation--I Like to Read” program.
   Students from Buckeye North, South and West were rewarded after reading hundreds of books outside of the classroom. Among the prizes were Fire 10-inch, high-definition tablets with cases while students reading five or more books received a Barnes & Noble gift card. North Elementary preschooler Zefram Perry read 133 books with his family and earned a tablet and $75 gift card. Other recipients included Michael Romestan, a first-grader who earned a tablet, along with first-graders Tyler Giles, Alia Maderia and Rylan Price, second-grader Luca Maderia and third-grader Scott Neely, who each gained $25 gift cards. Buckeye South kindergarten students Mallory Boughan and Olivia Hopkins received tablets while $25 gift cards went to kindergarteners Megan Bobish, Brooklyn Davis and Trenton Stewart, second-grader Dominic Stewart and sixth-grader Chastity Stewart. Meanwhile, West Elementary first-grader Aiden Call and kindergartener Emmalyn Milliken each won a tablet while preschooler Adrienne Milliken received a $25 gift card.
   Diane McCracken, district Title I parent engagement coordinator, said students had the opportunity to participate in the program during the third nine weeks while parents and adult care providers were also encouraged to take part. In addition to making memories, the practice helps kids learn basic reading skills.
   “The program was designed to strengthen a child’s reading ability,” McCracken added, saying the extended reading program was financed with Title I funding plus community donations. “The reading project reached out to parents through technology and the books in this program were emailed to families in PDF form. The book could be downloaded to a computer, tablet or even a phone and the students had the opportunity to create their own library.”
   She said 43 families read more than 250 books and children gained added literacy skills outside of school.
   “This was extra reading at home, beyond the student’s regular classroom reading assignments. Each student read five books and received a token. The more tokens they received, the better opportunity of winning their own technology device.”
   McCracken continued that the program also afforded her the chance to meet great families while parents and children shared quality time with a book.
   “They worked on reading skills and creating memories while building a love for reading. ‘Operation—I Like to Read’ will now be entitled ‘Operation—I LOVE to Read.’”
BLHS Student Being Published in Anthology
Posted 3/10/2021 at 12:26:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Lengyel Being Published
CONNORVILLE- Buckeye Local High School junior Brooklyn Lengyel will see her words in print as the young author is being included in a national publication.
    Lengyel, the daughter of Jeffrey and Jeannette Lengyel of Rayland, will have her original work, “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” appear in “Collection of Voices: A JustWrite Anthology Volume II.” She said it was the first time she has been published and her story follows a detective trying to avenge his mother’s death. 
   Her story was selected after she and members of the high school’s creative writing team participated in a virtual JustWrite Ohio competition on Feb. 13. Lengyel placed 13th in the regional competition last year and received an individual award in Division I, where the top 15 writers are recognized. This year, she placed 17th in Division II during regionals among junior and senior scribes. Lengyel placed in the top quarter of students with that score and qualified for the state contest that will be held virtually on May 22. 
  “The judges of the competition chose which stories would be chosen for publication,” she said. “I’m very excited! Participating in the competition was a very fun experience. The anthology isn’t a very widespread publication, but I’m still very honored to have the opportunity extended to me.”
   Lengyel said she has been writing nearly her entire life and recalls days when she put her imagination on paper in elementary school and would write a story in her notebook rather than pay attention to her teachers.
   “I love how writing gives you a chance to express yourself while also giving you an opportunity to create entirely different worlds and characters,” she added.
   Lengyel credited her creative writing coach, Stephanie Crust, and teammates Anne Takach, Carley Newton, Hester Lambright, Jacob Phillis and Jaina Demeter for inspiring her and also acknowledged her team’s great work during the competition.
   “Both my coach last year [Brianne Poilek] and my coach this year [Crust] helped me immensely in becoming a better writer. My parents also always encouraged my writing, which helped me develop the passion I have for it today.”
    While she enjoys writing, she counts science and math as her favorite subjects and extracurricular activities include technical crew for the school play, Foreign Language Club and Science Club. Lengyel said she plans to study biomedical engineering in college. 
   JustWrite is a regional interscholastic writing competition that works to inspire, praise and build confidence in young writers. The publication date has yet to be announced but the tome will be available for purchase on the JustWrite website at https://www.justwriteohio.org/merchandise.
BLHS Culture Fair Goes Virtual
Posted 3/10/2021 at 9:46:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Virtual Culture Fair 2 girls
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School has taken its cultural celebration online after COVID-19 sidelined in-school plans.
   The Foreign Language Club’s 16th annual International Culture Fair has gone virtual and can be found on YouTube. Advisor Bonnie Soos said students decided to change course since the annual activity could not be held in the school commons and instead opted to host “Pop Culture Around the World” online. The video was released March 5 as the club concluded National Foreign Language Week festivities with daily announcements, themed days, Instagram posts and trivia. 
   “We began meeting virtually in September on a weekly basis to plan the online event. We voted together as a club on the theme and the officers created the guidelines for the projects,” said Soos. “Although the club members missed the in-person interaction, they really enjoyed recording their projects and decorating their display boards. Some created digital presentations.  The kids were bound and determined to have a fair this year, especially the seniors, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. They really put their hearts and souls into the projects.”
   They reported on 16 different countries with highlights including population, major cities, traditions, geography, languages, trends and famous sites and natives plus they incorporated tasty treats from each area in an online cookbook. Co-Presidents Alyssa Slie and Maria Zackey introduced the program while students Carley Newton and Whitney Gibbons covered Canada, Kayden Bednarek and Paige Martin discussed the United States, Abbey Berze and Emily McDiffitt mentioned Mexico, Julia Orban and Lyndsee Malechowski promoted Peru, Kylie Gura featured France, Brooke Bikoski and Renee Slie highlighted the United Kingdom, Corissa Griffith and Gage Cermak spotlighted Scotland, Jasmine Yohe narrated on Norway, Brooklyn Lengyel and Mariah Pelkey talked about Germany, Cai McKeever and Jaelee Thompson reported on Italy, Abigail Meeker, Madison Wilt and Maggie Wilt commented on the Czech Republic, Cassie Burkhead, Haylee Brown, Noah Jock and Pacey Hill promoted Poland, Alyssa Slie, Brock Sempirek, Julia Long explored Greece, Megan Burrier and special guest Supakji Prajnabhakti talked about Thailand, Brianna Merkel, Hester Lambright and Rylie White presented on Japan and Jaina Demeter showcased South Africa. Interactive Media teacher Dan Davis and his class were also involved in the process while students Trenton Phillips and Sempirek were technical coordinators who provided editing and graphic designs. 
  The 80-member club includes in-person and remote students, so making the videos took some creativity while also meeting COVID safety protocols. Students involved in the video said it was different from the traditional fete the club hosts each year, but they wanted to do something since the coronavirus also canceled last year’s event.
  “I think with the situation we were in it turned out really good,” said Phillips. “It came together well. Everyone contributed and there wasn’t a person who didn’t have a hand in the video.”
  “No one could come in last year but we still got to hang out with our friends, so it was equally fun,” said Sempirek. “It was a bit different but we had a good time.”
   “It was fun and different,” added Lengyel.
   “I think it was a great idea,” Zackey commented. “Though we couldn’t meet face to face, we still shared the fair and how wonderful it is.”
   The video has gotten several hundred views and people also have the chance to select the best country and recipe. To view the video, go to https://youtu.be/yPfMkfi5jto.
(Photo Caption: Buckeye Local High School students Abbey Berze and Emily McDiffitt, members of the Foreign Language Club, highlighted Mexico in their video presentation for the 16th Annual International Culture Fair which was posted on YouTube this year after COVID-19 affected in-school festivities. About 16 countries were represented from Canada and Japan to Peru and the United States and include information on government and trends to traditions plus a link to a cookbook featuring a dish from each area.)
BL Student Councils Collect for Urban Mission
Posted 3/3/2021 at 1:23:12 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Student Council 4 girls donations
CONNORVILLE- The Buckeye Local Jr. and Sr. High School Student Councils did their part to serve the community by collecting items to benefit Urban Mission Ministries Inc. of Steubenville.
   BLHS Student Council Co-Advisor Michael DiCenzo said 46 members participated and gathered $160 in gift cards, personal care items, hats, gloves, socks and other winter items. The event occurred throughout January and items were delivered to the Urban Mission on Feb. 19.
  “This is the first time we have done it,” he said. “The students are always eager to find ways to help people, especially in our local community. When they recognize that there is a need for something, they seek out ways they can help.”
   Members want to continue serving the community but the pandemic has thwarted traditional means of assisting causes. DiCenzo noted that many hands-on projects and events have been canceled due to the inability to social distance but safety protocols were in place for the collection. Students and staff instead were asked to take donations to the school office or one of the student council advisors, which also includes Jenny Lowry and Jennifer Panepucci, to reduce large gatherings and close contact between individuals. 
   “We hope to continue to help the Urban Mission and other organizations that share the students’ goals in the future,” he concluded. “The students want to do a litter cleanup project in the spring and we are in the early stages of planning it.”
(Photo Cutline: The Buckeye Local Jr. and Sr. High School Student Council organizations collected winter items, gift cards and other goods to benefit Urban Mission Ministries Inc. of Steubenville and recently donated them to the community group. Pictured are, from left, BLHS Student Council President Bri Merkel, Vice President Kaydence Kinyo, Secretary Corissa Griffith and Co-advisor Jenny Lowry.)
Modified Plans Eyed for Camp Muskingum
Posted 2/17/2021 at 12:02:07 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ADENA-Plans are being modified for the annual trek to Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum and even more Buckeye Local students can participate. 
  Buckeye West Elementary Principal Jim Rocchi, a school camp representative, said the coronavirus pandemic halted last year’s event and changed the way this year’s activities will be conducted. A daylong event is being scheduled instead of the usual overnight residential camp so current sixth- and seventh-graders have an opportunity to attend and enjoy Nature’s Classroom in a safe environment. Camp Muskingum is located in Carrollton and organizers said dates are being eyed for this spring, but events will run between 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 
  “The sixth grade is going on one day and we are also sending the seventh grade on a separate day since they did not get to go last year,” said Rocchi, adding that a total of 215 Buckeye Local Jr. High and elementary students are expected to attend.
   He is coordinating local efforts with Buckeye North Principal Susan Nolan, Buckeye South Principal Julie Packer and BLJHS Principal Jason Kovalski and said a candy bar fundraiser will be held to defray costs for the trip. Buckeye Local has been part of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum for at least a decade and dates this year are being eyed for April and May.
  According to organizers, all programming will take place outside and students will be with their group and one instructor all day. The itinerary includes a day hike featuring creek exploration, geology lessons, tree identification and animal adaptations, as well as a sack lunch provided by the camp, classes, group games and a campfire. The groups are created by the school coordinators and protocols will be enforced, such as social distancing, staggered meal times and usage of masks except when eating. The participating school will also select two classes that all students will take part in and programming sessions can be followed up with a virtual visit from camp instructors. Videos will be created and an instructor available to answer students’ questions.
QPR Training Continuing at Buckeye Local
Posted 2/5/2021 at 12:55:06 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-Staff and students at Buckeye Local High School are getting a special lesson in lifesaving by undergoing a series of training sessions with the Family Recovery Center of Steubenville. 
  Six students and three staff members took part in the first installment of the QPR Institute suicide prevention session on Jan. 22 with more people expected to undergo training on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, helps identify people who may be experiencing suicidal ideations and attempts to provides tools to assist people in crisis. Sessions include videos, a detailed PowerPoint presentation and various situational exercises on how to respond, plus refresher courses may be conducted every one to two years.
  Doug Murray, prevention specialist with Family Recovery Center of Steubenville and a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer, said one person commits suicide every 10.9 minutes across the nation and having QPR training is imperative at a time when people already feel negatively impacted from the effects of COVID-19.
  “I really stress how it comes down to being human and creating hope because when people are feeling hopelessness, you are there to instill hope in their lives,” Murray explained. “I think QPR or any type of suicide prevention or intervention training is very critical now for students, administrators and employees. Anybody could be suffering from mental distress.”
   He said the pandemic has instilled a sense of fear and isolation, anxiety for kids who may return to school and depression in those who may have suffered setbacks from job losses to the ending of relationships. It is also important to be aware of signs since suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for kids aged 10-14 in Ohio.  
  “Kids are already navigating through life, but with the pandemic in the mix it makes it harder.”
   Murray noted that mental distress may also befall adults since they, too, have been impacted by the coronavirus or other factors. For that reason, he said a few warning signs to look for include expressing suicidal threats, prolonged depression, isolation, no desire to live, withdrawing from life and society and anger and irritability. People should look for direct and indirect verbal clues as well as behavioral clues from prior suicide attempts to cutting or self-destructive acts to situational clues ranging from job loss, school expulsion and family problems to loss of relationships and the death of a friend or family member. 
   According to statistics, 37 of Ohio’s 88 counties were above the national average with 15.7 suicides per 100,000 people in 2018. Rural areas show a significantly higher rate while seven out of 10 counties with the highest rate have a population of less than 50,000 people. Murray said the key is to give those in distress some help and hope by simply being there.
  “People who are considering suicide are just looking for a glimmer of hope, and all it takes is someone to ask if they are okay.”
   Murray would like to provide the program in other area school districts and said he feedback he’s received at the previous session at BLHS had been encouraging with people being actively engaged in learning. Meanwhile, BLHS Principal Luke Parsons said the training comes at a critical time and could make a significant difference for someone in need.
  “The students understand the need for the program and are excited to share their experience with the rest of the student body. This program will benefit BLHS now and in the future,” Parsons said. “We are in the midst of a social and emotional nightmare that most people don't understand. Our students are taking the brunt end of COVID and its effects and this program will help students and staff recognize signs that could save a life.” 
  Parsons added that depression, anxiety and loneliness are rampant during teenage years, but what is currently happening in the world creates a perfect storm. Parsons has worked with Murray and the Family Recovery Center in the past and didn’t hesitate to become involved in QPR. 
  “I will do and try whatever to make sure my students have access to the love and support they need. All schools need to reach out to Doug and get this program into their schools,” he concluded.
NHS Sending Valentines to Care Facilities
Posted 2/5/2021 at 12:50:36 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-The Buckeye Local High School National Honor Society is sending a little love to local care facilities, but with a modern twist.
  The organization’s 14 members have undertaken their latest community service project and are collecting Valentine cards for Valley Hospice and Sienna Hills Nursing Home, but the messages will be provided via email to ensure safety under COVID-19 protocols. Advisor Alonna Ackerman said the NHS has done a Christmas card project with the facility in the past, but this marked a first for Valentine’s Day efforts. 
  “Last year, we sent Christmas cards to Sienna Hills, in addition to local veterans and the cancer center at Wheeling Hospital,” she said. “For Valley Hospice, we had collected personal care items to be given to the residents for Valentine’s Day last year. This year, we plan to collect Valentine cards from the NHS and any high school student who wishes to participate. These valentines will be both collected and sent via email to Valley Hospice and Sienna Hills to be distributed to the residents. We did this at Christmas, as well, and were able to send letters to the residents for the holidays.”
  She said the valentine and Christmas letter projects were born from the hearts of very caring students who simply wanted to lift people’s spirits.
   “Each year, we select a service theme and this year’s NHS chose ‘Coming Together.’ It was their goal to reach out to people who have been isolated due to the pandemic and help raise their spirits and feel connected to the community,” Ackerman added. “We also wanted to make sure that we could reach out in a way that would be safe for everyone involved, so after speaking with the facilities, we were able to figure out how to do this electronically.”
   NHS members will collect and proofread submitted valentines plus create their own, while hopes are to generate enough for each of the 18 residents at Valley Hospice and 40 people at Sienna Hills to brighten their day. The cards will be sent in time for distribution on Valentine’s Day.
   “Our NHS members seem really excited about the project and I know they love the idea of putting a smile on someone’s face,” Ackerman commented. “These students have done a great job at thinking of opportunities for service despite the challenges that the pandemic has presented. I could not be more proud to work with such a wonderful group of kids. It truly makes me love my job.”
   The NHS has also assisted with sorting school supplies that the Buckeye Local School District distributed to students this year and hopes to complete one more service project in the spring. Ackerman said she would like to include current members and new inductees in the latter endeavor.
Buckeye Local Holds District Bee
Posted 2/5/2021 at 12:40:44 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
RAYLAND- Buckeye Local Jr. High School seventh-grader Brooke Kovalski earned the top spot at the Buckeye Local School District Spelling Bee held on Jan. 13 at Buckeye Local High School. 
   Kovalski now advances to the Jefferson-Harrison Regional Spelling Bee presented by the Steubenville Herald-Star with a chance to head to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Rounding out the Top 10 contenders were Lyla Navarro of North Elementary, second place; Jack Newell of BLJHS, third; Holden Mentzer of West Elementary, fourth; Sophie Schuetz of BLJHS, fifth; Michael Kovalski of West Elementary, sixth; Kirsten Morgan of BLJHS, seventh; Olivia Takach of BLJHS, eighth; Brayden Carothers of North Elementary, first alternate; and Isabella Hendricks of North Elementary, second alternate.
Posted 1/8/2021 at 3:20:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLJHS Spelling Bee Winner
Buckeye Local Jr. High School seventh-grader Brooke Kovalski won the building’s spelling bee on Dec. 17 and moves on to the district event Jan. 13. Rounding out the school’s top spellers were Kylie Watt, second place; Olivia Takach, third; Madison Zeroski, fourth; Sophie Scheutz, fifth; John Newell, sixth; Natalie Rager, seventh; and Kirsten Morgan, eighth.
BLHS Supports Its Own with No Shave Benefit
Posted 12/15/2020 at 12:21:15 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL No Shave Stevens
CONNORVILLE-Things got a little hairy at Buckeye Local Jr./Sr. High School as male students and teachers sprouted some facial fuzz all in the name of fundraising.
  The school hosted No Shave November from Nov.1-Dec. 1 to support two teachers battling cancer and raised $1,373 in the process. BLHS Principal Luke Parsons said the junior and senior high both participated and it was a great way to help their own.
  “Teachers and students decided to forego their razors for the month and raise money for teachers who are battling cancer. There was no winner or prizes; the prize is simply to give to our own. We just did it for our colleagues,” he said. “This is our first year, but definitely not our last.”
  There was a $40 cost to enter or participants could also have sponsors. Meanwhile, female teachers took part by sponsoring their male colleagues or paying $40 to wear jeans all month. Proceeds benefit educators Toni Gray and Anthony Barsch, who are grateful for the support.
  Gray, who is in her first year as a grade 7-12 MH/ED teacher, said she was both touched and thankful.
  “I can’t tell you what an honor it is to work for bosses that’s continuously go over and above to support and care for their staff.  I’ve been made to feel like a part of a family from staff and administration since I started here, as though I’d always been here,” Gray added. “It’s been nothing but support, compassion and encouragement. I am truly so thankful to work with such wonderful, caring people, both staff and administration.” 
  Barsch, who has taught history for 20 years but is currently on medical leave, was also appreciative of the gesture.
  “I would just like to thank everyone that participated. It’s been a rough year for so many and it means a lot for the students and staff to keep me in their thoughts and to help cover the many insurance co-payments and other expenses during this difficult time.” 
  Meanwhile, Parsons said the school community is close and always strives to lend a hand where needed.
  “We are a tight-knit family at the Buckeye Local School District and giving back to our own is the easiest decision we make each day. In October, money was raised for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it was donated to the No Shave November cause. We go out of our way to support one another personally and professionally. ‘Together, we are Buckeye Local’ isn't just a phrase you see on our walls. It is something we truly believe in here at the building.”
(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School Band Director Bill Stevens was among the male staff and students who sprouted a little facial fuzz for a good cause during No Shave November. The junior and senior high schools banded together to support teachers Toni Gray and Anthony Barsch, who are both battling cancer, and $1,373 to assist them.)
Buckeye Local Promotes Family Reading Time
Posted 12/10/2020 at 1:45:55 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Donation to South Nolan
DILLONVALE-Buckeye Local Schools is promoting the fundamentals of reading by engaging parents and students to share in the experience together.
   Diane McCracken, district Title I parent engagement coordinator, has taken to social media to tout the Reading A-Z Program that is available at Buckeye North, Buckeye South and Buckeye West Elementary Schools. The program allows students in grades K-6 to experience extended reading opportunities that can help strengthen their abilities. McCracken said being able to read fluently is an important part of a child’s education.
   “I started reaching out to parents in March when schools were closed,” said McCracken. “It’s been greatly utilized but there are more people we could reach out to.”
   She currently works with an estimated 50 families from all three buildings and said there are many benefits from being involved. The extended reading program, which is provided through Title I funding, gives parents and students an opportunity to spend some quality time together and enhance the child’s reading skills in the process. Some of the positive aspects include exercising the brain, improving concentration, improving vocabulary and language skills, teaching children about the world around them and developing a child’s imagination. More importantly, reading is simply fun.
   “Reading promotes achievement in all subjects, not just English. Children who are good readers tend to achieve better across the curriculum,” she added. “It reinforces extended reading skills.”
   COVID-19 has hindered opportunities to hold family engagement events at the schools, so she is encouraging activities at home through social media. Parents simply email McCracken and she will provide an online book that is age appropriate for the student, while the books are available in a PDF format which is downloadable on laptops, tablets and even phones. She is always thinking of unique ways to build interest through online newsletters including “Home & School” and “Early Years” as well as promoting literacy in everyday activities such as grocery shopping and reading ingredients while preparing meals. McCracken is also considering a possible reading contest to engage more participants.  
   Families can view her posts on the school PTO Facebook pages, but for more information email McCracken at diane.mccracken@buckeyelocal.net.
South Benefitting from Local Contributions
Posted 12/9/2020 at 4:33:32 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Donations to South Marathon
TILTONSVIILE-Kindness from Buckeye Local schools, businesses, organizations and the community are helping Buckeye South Elementary staff and students after flooding displaced them from their building.

  More than 200 students in grades PreK-5 have been utilizing the former St. Joseph Catholic School on Mound Street since late August when clogged drains led to the infiltration of rainwater throughout the elementary building, damaging nine classrooms on South’s three floors. But the generosity of schools, local groups and community members are enabling teachers and school leaders overcome the hurdle by preparing South for use once again.

  Among them were Marathon, which presented a $1,500 check to Principal Julie Packer to help finance repairs at South so students could return to their classrooms. Terminal Manager Craig Celestino said it was an honor for the company to support the school.

  “I’m happy Marathon has been able to support your disaster relief,” he told Packer.

   She was equally grateful, saying every little bit helps.

   “I’m so thankful for this donation from Marathon and we’ll put it toward repairs to get back into the building,” she responded, saying the response has been amazing. “The community has been so helpful.”

  Susan Nolan, principal of Buckeye North Elementary and a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa educational sorority, said the two groups also contributed more than $500 to South to assist teachers, especially those who lost classroom decorations and supplies in the process. 

  “The sorority donated a check for $400 and most of its members are retired or current Buckeye Local teachers,” Nolan said. “The staff at North also donated $150 and both donations were given to the teachers for supplies. We did an Amazon wish list to have at the church such as mobile dry erase boards and even asked for pencils to glue sticks. We got everything on the wish list from a variety of people. One teacher also collected items for a silent auction and we’ve gotten more donations for that.”

   Packer said people have reached out with donations of money, supplies and even gift cards to help get re-established.

  “We will repaint the building, not just the rooms that were damaged, replace teachers’ items and make any type of upgrades to help the students.”

   The largest monetary contributors were the Cardinal Plant in Brilliant and Colaianni Construction of Wheeling, while other donors included St. Joseph Catholic Church and Father William Cross, Superintendent Kim Leonard, Assistant Superintendents William Luther and Scott Celestin, district Treasurer Merri Matthews, Buckeye South PTO, West Elementary/Principal Jim Rocchi, Buckeye Local Jr. High School/Principal Jason Kovalski, BLHS/Principal Luke Parsons, district maintenance, custodians Mike Todoroff and Brian Zinko, Rayland Dairy Queen/Emilee Petric, Midei Food and Fuel, Pizza Express, Nutrition Group, bus drivers, Erin Best and Jr. Panther Basketball, Landmark/Jeff Wood, Sam’s Club, Jim and Marsha Chrisagis, Tom Poluga, Imperial Teacher Store, Serenity Hair Salon, Jeff Neilly and Union Hall 809, Sharon Rhine and Lisa Brown, Sarah Lewton, Martins Ferry Arby’s, Furniture Rescue, Huntington Bank, Karen Pazelli, Thomas Pollock, Melissa Faulkner, Amy Bassinger, Lewis and Robyn Vittek, Michelle Thompson and Antonio Pape, Janet Bell, Shirley and Vince Pastre, Sandra Skatula, Jenn and Kevin Duck, Sarah Waldsmith, Becky Dutton, Bob Farmer, Amy McCutchen, Sommer Roth, Moose and Squirrel Cedar Log Homes, Dawn Patrone of Lampasone, Jennifer Stockman, START, Dinero Ciardelli, Tina Chappell, Tabitha Bednarek, Sharon McKeegan, Lacy McNeil, Michael and Christy Wyatt, Megan and Greg Whiting, Anthony Lollini, Kyria Howard, Jodi Steffik, Julie Dompa, Brooke Stingle, Ruth Burley, Dan and Mary Holt, Lindsay and Matt Farmer, AEP Cardinal Plant, Fulton Tire, Dr. and Mrs. Crake, Littlejohn Law Offices, Ciofani Family, Jeanie McFarland and coworkers, Patty Morgan and Pickerington teachers, Touchdown Club, Tangles, Roger and Margaret Warren, Lions Club and St. Clairsville Kroger.
(Photo Cutlines: Buckeye South Elementary Principal Julie Packer is pictured with Craig Celestino, terminal manager for Marathon Corp., who presented a $1,500 check to help repair damages that the school sustained from flooding in August. School, business and community members have donated supplies and funds to assist as the school gets repaired for use once again. Also pictured in a separate photo with Packer is Buckeye North Elementary Principal Susan Nolan, who is also a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa educational sorority and presented $550 in donations from both groups to further assist the cause. South students and staff have been temporarily relocated to the former St. Joseph Catholic School until work is complete.)
Buckeye South Teacher Earns Grant for Sensory Solutions
Posted 11/19/2020 at 8:48:59 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has awarded $600 to one Buckeye Local School District teacher to help provide sensory solutions for students. 
   Buckeye South Elementary teacher Alyssa Lollini is a 2020-21 Best Practice Grant recipient and her windfall will benefit 10 special education students through her project, “Sensory Solutions for Sensational Students.” Lollini, who instructs students in grades K-4, will purchase materials to promote in-seat positive behavior, attention to task and body awareness. She said sensory interventions using sensory strategies are a part of evidence-based practices to include exercise, reinforcement and self-management techniques, The items will help students decompress and can be used prior to reaching a point of escalation.
   This is the first time she received the mini-grant and Lollini said it would definitely help her students.
    “I am beyond excited to be one of the recipients of this grant. I can’t wait to order everything and have my students use the different sensory items throughout the day,” she said. “This is such an amazing opportunity to provide them with the tools necessary to help them best succeed! I am incredibly thankful to the ESC for awarding me this grant and I know my students are very excited as well.”
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko touted Lollini and all of this year’s recipients for their insightful and innovative ideas.
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has awarded Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
Donation Helps Student Council Feed Families
Posted 10/29/2020 at 11:19:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-A contribution by one local company is helping the Buckeye Local High School Student Council feed needy families.
  Teacher Michael DiCenzo, who shares co-advising duties with teacher Jenny Lowry, said the organization received a total of $2,000 from Ohio Coatings this summer and the funds will be put to good use. 
  “We received two installments of $1,000 in May and July and it is being used by the student council to purchase food for students’ families as part of our food pantry,” said DiCenzo. “This is a continuance of our program from last year that we started in January. Before the pandemic, students could come to the food pantry to pick up food. Now, with social distancing in mind, we are going to pack food boxes for students each week to take home for the weekend.”
  The organization fed an average of 10 families per week after the start of the pandemic and expects to increase that number this year once the program restarts. Officials added that student council has also reached out and partnered with local churches for donations and may also seek grant money for further projects. COVID-19 has impacted group projects but the 46 students are eager to perform their public service.
   “We are limited in how and when we meet, but we are still finding ways for students to engage themselves in leadership roles and serve the community,” DiCenzo continued. “Aside from continuing the food pantry with social distancing in mind, we are also organizing a virtual Veterans Day assembly in place of our usual in-person one to honor our local veterans. We will be writing thank you notes to our local VFW and American Legion members, and the students also plan on going to Upland Heights Cemetery in Warren Township to clean up graves of deceased veterans. We will continue to find ways to serve while still meeting social distancing protocols.”
  Future plans are to hold a fundraiser in conjunction with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to benefit the Breast Cancer Center at Wheeling Hospital. FCA is the primary sponsor but student council will assist with the project.
  “We also hope to be able to organize the Special Olympics in the spring, but we will have to see if it will be able to go on with social distancing protocols in mind. Our students will continue to brainstorm new ideas for activities after we complete the Veterans Day projects,” DiCenzo concluded, saying the student council was grateful for the support. “We are grateful that Ohio Coatings, businesses, churches, nonprofit organizations and individual community members continue to support our students’ endeavors. This is a prime example of our community coming together for the greater good of those in need and we could not do what we do without them. The Buckeye Local community accomplishes outstanding things when we all work together.”
BLHS Students to Receive QPR Training
Posted 10/28/2020 at 11:25:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
CONNORVILLE-Students and staff at Buckeye Local High School will receive training during an upcoming event to help save a life.
  Doug Murray, prevention specialist with Family Recovery Center of Steubenville and a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer, will meet with students and officials on Nov. 9 for a QPR Institute suicide prevention training session. QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, helps identify people who may be experiencing suicidal ideations. Murray will meet with 16 students, or four from each grade level, and said the hour-long event will include videos, a detailed PowerPoint and situational learning exercises.
  “By the end of the training, trainees should be able to break the stigma of how to ask the big question like ‘Are you feeling suicidal?’ They will learn to identify direct verbal, indirect verbal, behavioral and situational clues. Trainees will gain the tools to persuade the individual and how to go to about referring them to get help,” Murray explained. “I believe it is important for students to learn QPR because you never know when you could save someone’s life. It could be a peer, parent or even someone in the community that could be saved by someone that is QPR-certified. Suicide is one of the nation’s top causes of death in teens.”
  He added that Buckeye Local was the first school to be offered the program and officials quickly jumped on board. It will be available to other schools and community agencies in order to certify more people so they can prevent further suicides and save more lives. The QPR method has been utilized for several years but is new to the area. Murray said he was certified in February and became the only trainer in Jefferson County.
   “We hope to train as many students as we can at Buckeye and across the county. We will be doing scheduling with Buckeye Local, other schools and the community as they see fit. We are more than willing to accommodate anyone who wants to become QPR-certified.”
  And he said the method indeed works.
  “Communities where QPR is taught in schools and around the area have seen a drop in suicide numbers. Just like if someone goes into cardiac arrest surrounded by people who are CPR-certified, they are more likely to survive. It’s the same with QPR and people experiencing suicidal ideations.”
  BLHS Principal Luke Parsons said Murray’s role has always been essential while the program would be extremely beneficial.
  “Doug been a great asset since I returned to Buckeye at West Elementary and his involvement with the students and myself grew once I started at the high school last year,” Parsons added, saying Murray contacted him this summer and discussed the program. “He started discussing the program he was trained on over quarantine called QPR and I was hooked.  [BLHS Dean of Students] Janelle Windsheimer, the office staff and I spoke continuously over quarantine and summer about the mental health of our students and it was always priority No. 1, so when Doug started talking about a way to have students and the office staff become certified in a program that would be able to detect suicidal tendencies within our student body, how could I pass it up?”
BLHS Honors Hispanic Heritage
Posted 10/16/2020 at 1:28:10 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Hispanic Heritage Month Mural
CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School students have been honoring Latin influences to culture and society during Hispanic Heritage Month.
   While the monthlong observance ran from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, the school wrapped up Hispanic Heritage Week on Oct. 5-9 with theme days and other activities. Murals and signs adorned walls while biographies of famous figures and descriptions of Spanish-speaking countries have also helped educate school staff and students. Spanish teacher Bonnie Soos said it was a way to share some culture throughout the school and showcase interesting people and places.
   “It’s a time to recognize the contributions the Hispanic culture has made to our culture,” Soos added. “My Spanish IV class created the mural and bulletin board and lower-level classes created biographies of famous Hispanics and research Spanish-speaking countries.”
   A mural depicting late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player Roberto Clemente, American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Santomayor, artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and poet Juan Herrera also includes quotes from the famous figures, plus biographies touted the likes of artist Pablo Picasso and singers Selena Gomez and Joan Baez to Broadway star Lin Manuel Miranda. Additionally, pupils crafted information about 21 countries where Spanish is the primary language and shared details about Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina and El Salvador to Guatemala. Those projects gave the entire school a chance to learn about the different countries’ capitals, population, tourist spots, cuisines and sports and other interesting facts. 
  Soos said theme days were also held throughout Hispanic Heritage Week including Lazy Lunes, or Lazy Monday, where students had a chance to dress in their pajamas; Matching Martes (Tuesday), where people were twinning in identical outfits; Musica Miercoles (Music Wednesday), where students donned T-shirts bearing their favorite bands; Juego Jueves (Game Thursday), where people wore team jerseys; and Vaquero Viernes (Cowboy Friday), which featured western attire. Daily announcements have also been made to educate how the culture has influenced others.
  “The whole point of this week was to bring awareness of the Hispanic culture and celebrate with the whole school,” she said.

(Photo Cutline: A mural depicting famous figures from singer Selena Quintanilla and baseball player Roberto Clemente to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor helped bring awareness to Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 while Hispanic Heritage Week was held on Oct. 5-9 at Buckeye Local High School. Spanish teacher Bonnie Soos said signs, biographies, daily announcements and details about Spanish-speaking countries helped educate the school about the influence of the Hispanic culture.)
Playing Safely
Posted 10/5/2020 at 1:26:16 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Buckeye West Play Safely
Students at Buckeye West Elementary in Adena are playing safely while practicing social distancing during this time of COVID-19. Principal Jim Rocchi said he noticed kids getting creative since they cannot fully interact or use playground equipment during recess. Instead, they walk on makeshift balance beams and incorporate other games to ensure their free time could still be fun. Rocchi said he was pleased with how the students have used their imagination to adapt to the changes.
South Students, Teachers Adjust to New Space
Posted 10/5/2020 at 1:18:13 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL South Adjusting to New Surroundings
TILTONSVIILE-Nearly a month after Buckeye South Elementary School temporarily relocated to St. Joseph Catholic Church, educators and students alike are adjusting to their new surroundings.

  Principal Julie Packer said more than 260 pupils in preschool to fifth grade are settling in to the former St. Joseph and St. Mary Primary Schools, which has been unused since the 1980s. More online students are also returning to class and leaders are making it work amid COVID-19 protocols. 

  “The church has been more than accommodating,” Packer said. “We have taken over every inch of their space. They have been so gracious and it’s amazing that we’ve been able to keep the kids together.”

   Initially, about 215 pupils attended face-to-face with sixth-graders moved to Buckeye Local Jr. High School and about 100 remotely learning. Packer said roughly 40 kids have since returned to school and interest is still growing.

  Officials are still awaiting word as to when classes will resume at Buckeye South, which sustained damage during a late August rainstorm right before school was set to begin. Water poured into rooms after drainage upon the roof became clogged, impacting nine classrooms on three floors. Talks occurred soon afterwards and leaders were concerned about sending students to other district schools since it meant bus crowding and longer rides, but St. Joseph generously filled the void and kept the students close by in Tiltonsville. The church had operated a high school through the Diocese of Steubenville for two decades and reopened as St. Mary’s Primary School for grades 1-3 from the late 1970s to early 1980s. 

   Three upper-level spaces serve as classrooms while several grades are also sharing two social halls on the lower floor. Packer said the latter classes are separated by a dividing curtain and teachers are doing their best to control noise levels and respect their neighbors.

   “We are doing the best we can and know we can provide face-to-face learning better than online. We’ve put the first-grade classes together and the teachers are co-teaching,” she explained. “The kids are separated by grade levels and no longer have homerooms. The kids are trying to find a balance and the staff has been gracious and adapted well to everything. They know we are lucky to have the church here and we do what works.”

   Packer noted that first-year teachers have adapted exceptionally well to the changes and she hoped to return to South soon. Meanwhile, cleanup and repairs continue but no timeframe has been given for its reopening.
(Photo Cutline: Buckeye South Elementary teacher Gianna Ellis instructs kindergarten students in one of two social halls at St. Joseph Catholic Church following flooding at Buckeye South Elementary in Tiltonsville this August. Students in grades PreK-5 utilize former classrooms and two larger spaces at the former St. Joseph School while sixth-graders study at Buckeye Local Jr. High. Principal Julie Packer said about 40 remote students have resumed classes in person while another 50 remain learning online.) 
Dividers Donated to North
Posted 10/5/2020 at 12:54:46 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL North Desk Divider Donation

  BRILLIANT-Buckeye North Elementary School is getting some assistance as the site strives to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

  Principal Susan Nolan said the Wells Township Sportsman Club donated desk dividers which have been placed in many of the classrooms. The devices are transparent and enable pupils to work independently while following social distancing guidelines.

  “Bill Cook, a representative of the Sportsman Club, contacted me and wanted to do something for the school. They gave us over 100 dividers and were enough to do classrooms for preschool to third grade,” she said. “We got them before school started and they give kids an opportunity to take off their masks for a bit at their seat.”

   She said the organization has helped the school in the past and she was grateful for the ongoing support.
   “Mr. Cook always wants to do something in the building and we are thrilled with the donation,” she said.
(Photo Cutline: Students at Buckeye North Elementary in Brilliant have a little added safety with the donation of more than 100 desk dividers from the Wells Township Sportsman Club. The transparent dividers were installed in grade PreK-3 classrooms and allow students to work while practicing COVID-19 safety protocols.)
South Students Return to Temporary Classrooms
Posted 9/17/2020 at 11:50:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL South Students Return to Temporary Classrooms
  TILTONSVIILE-Students at Buckeye South Elementary returned to class in new surroundings after their school building was heavily damaged during a recent rainstorm.
  About 215 pupils in grades PK-5 are temporarily attending the former St. Joseph Catholic School just a stone’s throw away on Mound Street in Tiltonsville while another 125 are either learning remotely or attending Buckeye Jr. High School in the sixth-grade class. Buckeye South sustained water damage in late August after drainage upon the roof became clogged, sending water through all three floors and affecting nine classrooms. Principal Julie Packer said teachers preparing for the restart noticed the damage and thankfully no children were present at the time.  
  Officials have worked to clean and repair the site and have no definitive timeline to return, but hopes are to be back by January. She said tests have shown no asbestos or lead in the building but teachers were not yet permitted for safety reasons. However, everyone worked together to ensure classes would resume in another setting.
  She noted that options to split students between Buckeye North in Brilliant and Buckeye West in Adena would lead to crowding and longer bus rides, and she was grateful to Father William Cross and St. Joseph Catholic Church for offering their space. 
  “We wouldn’t be here without the church. They just opened their arms and welcomed us,” Packer added. “We’re grateful for them.”
   St. Joseph School operated as a high school through the Diocese of Steubenville for two decades until 1970 but reopened as St. Mary’s Primary School for grades 1-3 from the late 1970s to early 1980s. Buckeye Local Superintendent Kim Leonard said church leaders graciously opened the doors to accommodate South Elementary faculty, staff and students and she was very appreciative of the support.
  “The people have taken great care of the church and we only had to make a few minor updates,” she said.
   And the Panther pride couldn’t be stronger as teachers from Buckeye North and West Elementary Schools raised money or purchased items on their own to help South teachers in need, while the Buckeye Local Junior Panthers also contributed Amazon gift cards. 
   “It happened because everyone has been working nonstop,” Packer said.
   “It takes a community to raise a child, and that’s exactly what this community has done,” Leonard concluded.
(Photo Cutline: Buckeye South Elementary School fifth-grade students began their first day of class in new surroundings at the former St. Joseph School in Tiltonsville, which opened its doors after rain caused substantial flooding to the elementary building in August. About 215 pupils in grades PK-5 are attending at the site while sixth-graders are traveling to Buckeye Local Jr. High School and other students are remotely learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Buckeye Local officials are grateful for the church’s help as well as business and community members who have also offered support by donating money, gift cards, food and time to make the move successful. Cleanup and repairs continue at South Elementary and hopes are to return by January.)
Buckeye Local, Donations Help Supply Students
Posted 9/17/2020 at 11:42:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-Students in the Buckeye Local School District received free school supplies this year, thanks to support from donors and the district itself.
  Assistant Superintendent Scott Celestin said $12,000 worth of paper, pencils and other necessities were procured to assist students and avoid the spread of coronavirus. Celestin said about $4,000 each was provided by the school district, Team B.L.U.E. (Buckeye Local Unites Everyone) and Ascent Resources to benefit an estimated 1,800 students.
  “We usually put out supply lists for parents but wanted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by preventing kids from sharing them and bringing them from home,” he said.
   Celestin said he knew the price tag would be costly, but donors generously pitched in one-third to cover expenses and helped all of the students in the district. Every child in grades PK-6 received crayons, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, two pocket folders, an art box and two one-subject notebooks. Officials said preschoolers also received mats, grades K-2 gained index cards and grades 3-6 obtained composition notebooks, paper highlighters and colored pencils. In addition, everyone was provided with ear buds and a binder while junior high and high schoolers received notebooks for their studies.
  Susan Nolan, principal at Buckeye North Elementary and a member of Team B.L.U.E., said the organization’s contribution was made since COVID-19 led to the cancellation of this year’s Back-to-School Bash.
  “Since we could not have a Back-to-School Bash and other districts were purchasing supplies, Superintendent Kim Leonard got on board to buy supplies and the [Ascent Resources] also donated to the district,” Nolan said. “[Team B.L.U.E.’s] funding was still there from donations in the past, and if we have a Back-to-School Bash next year we can solicit money again.”
  Ascent also worked with Buckeye Local Schools to reduce common area school supplies after the district reached out regarding its 2020-21 back to school year project. The project consisted of buying school supplies for students that would normally be shared in the classroom such as crayons and pencils.
  “Being able to assist students and staff during this pandemic has become a top priority for Ascent Resources in Ohio,” Amanda Finn, director of government relations, stated in a company release. “We value not only the safety of our employees and vendors, but of the communities in which we operate. Being able to contribute over $10,000 in COVID-19 related donations for back to school initiatives was a great cause for us to support.”
North Students Learn Importance of U.S. Census
Posted 3/13/2020 at 11:56:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
North SIS Week Census

BRILLIANT-Since 2020 is the year of the U.S. Census, students at Buckeye North Elementary are learning how the data shapes functions within their communities.

   Students in teacher Kelly Bauknecht’s sixth-grade class spent time completing assignments geared toward the process through the Statistics in Schools (SIS) program, which observed SIS Week on March 2-6. Materials were provided to schools to enhance students’ learning, boost their statistical literacy and data-finding skills and prepare them for a data-driven world. The main goal was to highlight the importance of counting everyone in the 2020 U.S. Census, especially children, since it affects the amount of federal funding schools and communities receive for programs and services. The census is completed every four years and funding supports education and could make a difference in the lives of students.

 “I did an activity provided by the census website called ‘Where is Gina the Geographer?’ with roughly 40 sixth-grade students,” Bauknecht said. “I have never done anything like this before.”

   She said the topic is significant in another capacity since she is actively involved in local government.

   “I am currently on council for the village of Dillonvale and attend monthly meetings at the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission, so I know how important this 2020 Census is to our local area. I wanted to pass that information along to the students hoping they can share what they learned with their parents or guardians about the importance of the census.”

   She noted that a majority of her pupils had never heard of the census before and the activity gave them a chance to get educated. Several students agreed, saying that participation in the census would help communities in the long run.

   Pupil Jacob Davis said the process would help states obtain funding to operate public programs.

 “You know the population in the United States and what state needs money,” said student Jacob Wade.

 “I didn’t even know what a census was, but now I think it is very important,” added Avery Kepner.

   “It’s important and you need to know your statistics,” said Emily Edwards.

 The activities lead up to Census Day on April 1 and residents are reminded to complete the forms so everyone is counted.

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye North Elementary sixth-graders learned the value of the U.S. Census during Statistics in Schools Week on March 2-6. A program highlighted the importance of completing the census so the data could help communities and schools obtain funding for programs and operations.)

West Raises Money for AHA
Posted 3/13/2020 at 11:45:11 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Buckeye West Heart Challenge

ADENA-Students at Buckeye West Elementary School jumped and played their way to raise more nearly $1,200 for the American Heart Association as part of an annual campaign.

   Children in grades K-2 took part in Jump Rope for Heart festivities while grades 3-6 played Hoops for Heart during their special time in gym class. They collected $1,186 in donations for the AHA during American Heart Month in February and Paul Fillipovich, physical education teacher at West, coordinated the fundraiser on Feb. 17-21. Fillipovich said contests were held in each category with six recipients in the jump rope category and eight first-place winners in the hoops portion.

 The top two spots in each category respectively went to second-graders Brady Hennebert and Carmine Sanchez and sixth-graders Grant Dombroski and Kamden Kinyo. Others who placed for jump rope included Emily Keller, first; Ella Pugh, second; and Ross Boroski, third for kindergarten Group A; Sammi Jo Foldi, first; Camilla Dosen, second; and Camden Bell, third, for kindergarten Group B; Rylee Becker, first; Eli Vargo, second; and Dominick Baker, third, for first grade Group A; Payton Fetty, first; Kaydence Sobleski, second, and Ann Meyer, third, first grade Group B; Brody Hennebert, first; Isabella Glauser, second; and Lucinda Lewis, third, for second grade Group A; and Carmine Sanchez, first; Alexis Morrison, second; and Hunter Nacci, third, for second grade Group B. Top shooters included Brooklynn Matthews, first; Cameron Knight, second; and Haleigh Brown, third, for third grade Group A; Kylie Kinney, first; Jackson Hertler, second; and Malia Chiodi, third, third grade Group B; Bralynn Abshire, first; Alexis Becker, second; and Dominic Carpenter, third, for fourth grade Group A; Carson Dulkoski, first; Destiny Dombroski, second; and Evan Krupsinski, third, for fourth grade Group B; Hunter Sall, first; Kaia McConnell, second; and Shawn Jordan, third, for fifth grade Group A; Rya Risdon, first; Brianna Kovalski, second; and Alyssa Krieger, third, fifth grade Group B; Grant Dombroski, first; Tera Carmalt, second; and Olivia Takach, third, for sixth grade Group A; and Kamden Kinyo, first; Brentley Guyer, second; and Gaige Dombroski, third, for sixth grade Group B.

 Students received prizes through the AHA for each level of funding they raised in addition to soccer balls, basketballs and jump ropes, among other items. He said kids learned a valuable lesson while they got moving.

 “This was to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease,” Fillipovich added. “This event is a great time for the students and a great way to spread the word about preventing heart disease and living heart healthy lives. [The prizes] allows kids to get excited for it and they understand where the money is going.”

(Photo Cutline: Students at Buckeye West Elementary raised nearly $1,200 for the American Heart Association during Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart challenges in February. Contests were held for the top jumpers and hoopsters, which included Brody Hennebert and Carmine Sanchez and Grant Dombroski and Kamden Kinyo, respectively. First-place finishers in each grade included, pictured front from left, Carmine Sanchez, Rylee Becker, Payton Fetty, Brody Hennebert and Emily Keller. Back: Brooklyn Matthews, Rya Risdon, Kamden Kinyo, Grant Dombroski, Hunter Sall, Braylynn Abshire and Carson Dulkoski. Not pictured are Sammi Jo Foldi and Kylie Kinney.)

Buckeye North Donates to Hounds’ Haven
Posted 2/28/2020 at 10:26:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
North Hounds Haven Donation

Buckeye North Elementary School is helping their furry friends at the Hounds’ Haven no-kill animal shelter in Dillonvale by providing money and supplies to the facility. Principal Susan Nolan said classes took a collection from Feb. 10-14 and raised $242.20 plus 255 pounds of items such as food and blankets, while the two classes in grades PreK-2 and 3-6 with the most weight in donations receives an ice cream party. Shelter operator Robin Cibulka was on hand for the presentation Feb. 21 and Diane Holcomb brought her rescue-turned-registered therapy dog to meet the children. Pictured are, from left, Cibulka, school aide and Hounds’ Haven Committee member Kim McKnight, Nolan and preschool teacher/committee member Kylene McCombs.

March Activities Highlighted at North
Posted 2/28/2020 at 10:24:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-The coming of spring means activities will be sprouting at Buckeye North Elementary School.

   Principal Susan Nolan said the school calendar was filled with events, beginning with the Real Eyes Program on March 2-5. The program is sponsored by the Ohio Ophthalmologists Association and representatives will visit classrooms to discuss eye care with students in kindergarten, first, third and sixth grades.

 Additionally, the school candy bar sale has been extended to March 6 and will benefit sixth graders and their siblings heading to Camp Muskingum in May. Those students are selling sweets for $1 each and half of the proceeds will help fund the excursion.

 The Buckeye Local School District will also hold preschool registration from 9-11:30 a.m. on March 10 at South Elementary, March 11 at North and March 12 at West for incoming students who are not already enrolled. Nolan said parents and guardians who are unable to attend signups at the actual building may also register at the other schools on their selected dates but should inform officials where the student will be attending.

   The Jefferson-Harrison Regional Spelling Bee is scheduled for March 14 at 11 a.m. in the school auditorium. About 50 spellers from Jefferson and Harrison counties as well as homeschools will have the chance to spell their way to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this May. The event is hosted by the Herald-Star and Jefferson County Educational Service Center and sponsored by area businesses.

   Finally, the school will celebrate Dr. Seuss Day on March 20 although the author’s actual birthday is commemorated on March 2. The month culminates with state testing on March 23.

BLJHS Literacy Night Features Escape Rooms
Posted 2/28/2020 at 10:17:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local Jr. High School is looking to attract families to literacy night festivities by offering a fun night of sleuthing.

   Activities are set for March 10 at 6:30 p.m. and will include a series of four escape rooms based upon core educational subjects such as math, science, English/Language Arts and social studies. Families must solve clues to get through the rooms and there is a chance to earn a prize. Jr. High Principal Jason Kovalski said literacy night is held each year as required by Title I and he organized the event with a committee of teachers. The escape room concept was suggested by teacher Kimberly Amos, who was inspired by a similar activity at the school.

   “[Amos] came up with the idea because our enrichment teacher, Kimberly Smith, has been doing this in class and the kids love it. The escape rooms are timed and cards give hints to move along,” he explained. “There are four escape rooms and each one is tied to some curriculum, and in order to get clues to the room the families will have to answer a series of questions. Everyone who completes the process will have their name put in for a drawing.”

   Kovalski said the winner will receive a gift card as a reward. Refreshments will also be available and organizers hope the mystery theme will draw plenty of participants.

   “It’s about getting the community involved in what’s going on with the school,” Kovalski noted.

West Holds Science Fair
Posted 2/5/2020 at 12:00:52 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
West Science Fair

ADENA-Buckeye West Elementary students showed off their skills during the annual Science Fair on Jan. 23.

   Fifth- and sixth-graders exhibited displays about planets, volcanoes and more for judging. Organizer Allison Bartek, a fifth-grade teacher at the school, said the top three winners plus honorable mention recipients from each grade level were officially awarded during an Honors Club assembly.

   Among the recipients were sixth-grade winners Kamden Kinyo, Pierce Sobleski and Jack Newell with classmates Tucker McVicker and McKenna Halicky earning honorable mention, as well as fifth-graders Brandon Keller, Shawn Jordan and Jacob Porter winning top spots and Shaylee Bezak, Madison Krzys and Joseph Greene gaining honorable mention. Judges for the event included school nurse Dolores Spragg, teachers Jamie Traczyk and Melissa Sobleski and Principal Jim Rocchi.

   “I assigned all of the fifth- and sixth-grade students a project in which they could choose the topic, but they had to follow specific guidelines I provided,” Bartek said. “The fifth-grade project had fewer requirements than sixth because of what we covered in class. The projects range from volcanoes to animals and electricity in a jar. I am very excited with how they turned out.”

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye West Elementary fifth-grader Shaylee Bezak poses with her entry for the school science fair on Jan. 23, gaining honorable mention for her display. About a dozen fifth- and sixth-graders showcased their science knowledge with exhibits about planets, animals and related topics.)

North Elementary Holds Benefit for Hounds’ Haven
Posted 2/5/2020 at 11:57:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-Students at Buckeye North Elementary are sharing the love with some furry friends by conducting an annual benefit for Hounds’ Haven Inc.

   The school will collect money and items for the no-kill animal shelter in Dillonvale and hold a different animal-themed activity each day from Feb. 10-14. Principal Susan Nolan said it all begins that Monday when students pay to vote for their favorite animal.

   “All of the money goes to Hounds’ Haven,” she added. “Donations of old blankets, toys, cat and dog food, treats and cat litter are being accepted. The top two classes in grades PreK-2 and 3-6 with the most weight in donations will get an ice cream party.”

   Kids will also complete a coloring activity and their artwork will be posted in the building, while they get to dress as their favorite animal that Tuesday. On Wednesday, they may bring in their favorite stuffed animal with paws and Thursday they bring a book to become a “PAWS-itively good” reader throughout the day. Events close on Friday with the collection of items and money for donation to the shelter.

   Hounds’ Haven, which is located at 22 Township Road 150, is a “quality of life” shelter for homeless and abused animals around the Ohio Valley and provides food, care and love while actively seeking adoptive homes. For more information about the organization, call (740) 733-8546. or go to the Fans of Hounds’ Haven Facebook page.

BLHS to Host Ohio Supreme Court This Spring
Posted 2/5/2020 at 11:55:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE-Students will have an opportunity to see the state’s judicial branch in action as Buckeye Local High School hosts the Supreme Court of Ohio this spring.

   BLHS was selected to participate in the Off-Site Court program and the seven justices will preside over three cases in the school auditorium on April 29 between 9-10:30 a.m. Students from schools throughout Jefferson County as well as homeschools will be invited to watch the system at work. Principal Lucas Parsons said he was approached at the start of the school year by Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge Michelle Miller to make a submission to the Ohio Supreme Court for consideration.

   “There were eight schools in the running and we were contacted,” Parsons added. “We had to give presentations and they liked our enthusiasm and facilities, and then we were chosen as the site. I’m very excited. This brings a whole new level of support to Buckeye Local by bringing this to the community.”

   Judge Miller said she was asked if Jefferson County schools could hold court when she first got into office.

   “This is a big deal that the Supreme Court of Ohio is coming to Jefferson County,” she added. “My staff and I had the opportunity to go to one in October and it is such a wonderful opportunity for the students.”

   Sara Stiffler, manager of the Ohio Supreme Court’s civic education and outreach programs, said cases were still being assigned for that day but topics selected generally appeal to what teens view in society.

 “[Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor] tries to pick cases that will be of interest to students,” Stiffler said. “In the past they have included search and seizure, DUI’s or an accident with a school bus.”

   She added that Chief Justice O’Connor recently reached out to counties where the judiciary had not held oral arguments. The purpose of the program is to make the Supreme Court more accessible to students statewide who may not have the opportunity to witness it in action in Columbus, while it also provides transparency to the court system.

   “Anybody from the community can attend and students come from local high school government classes, generally American government, mock trial or Ohio Model United Nations (OMUN). We usually get 150-200 students who hear each of the three cases and the number depends on the county. We can have as many as 600 in one day.”

   Prior to the offsite court visit, a local attorney will visit classes and work with the teachers to prepare students for the cases they will hear. The classes will learn about oral arguments, court rulings and terminology while the state court’s Office of Public Information will also provide curriculum material to study before the session.

 According to the state Supreme Court’s website, the Off-Site Court program was started in 1987 by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer to honor the year of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. He initiated the program to educate students and other Ohioans about the state judicial system and sessions are held twice a year during the spring and fall in different counties. On the morning of the court session, selected students attend a question-and-answer session with the justices of the Court. Then, students from each participating school attend one of the three oral arguments. After their assigned case has been argued, each group of students meets with the case attorneys for a debriefing. To date, the Off-Site Court program has enabled 41,399 Ohioans—with 32,605 of them students--to personally observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court and interact with justices, attorneys and court staff.

BLHS Offers Student Pantry
Posted 1/31/2020 at 10:44:04 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Student Pantry

CONNORVILLE-Students can quell their hunger with a new food pantry available at Buckeye Local High School.

   The student council began operating the program on Jan. 21 and members are spreading the word that it benefits everyone. A variety of treats are stocked in a space near the second-floor media center to help students curb their appetite at school, plus they may take items home. The pantry is open before first and second period—or respectively from 7:25-7:34 a.m. and 8:20-8:30 a.m.—as well as before departure at the end of the school day.

   Advisor Mike DiCenzo, who shares duties with fellow teacher Jenny Lowry, said the idea was to give students access to snacks as well as to help feed their families, and there was an obvious need to fill. Members of the student council's executive committee created a student-based survey to determine what items to include and requests ranged from fruit snacks and granola bars to soup and macaroni and cheese. The organization was also inspired by a successful program at Indian Creek High School and reviewed their project to obtain ideas. 

   BLHS Student Council Co-Presidents Kya DeMeter and Conrad Schuetz said local churches have donated food for the pantry to help keep it replenished. The goal now is to ensure students know it is available so they can take advantage.

   "It's everything they can easily make here or take home," said DeMeter. "It's for everyone and it's free food."

   "There are Pop Tarts, macaroni and cheese and Ramen noodles," added Schuetz. "It's open to anybody, whether you got up late and didn't eat breakfast or need to take something home. The local churches donate items or money and we purchase items."

Photo Cutline: The Buckeye Local High School Student Council formed a free food pantry for students near the second-floor media center and hungry students can take advantage of snacks before first- and second-period classes or at the end of the school day. Items are offered to eat in school and to take home. Pictured with a few of the goods are student council co-Presidents Kya DeMeter and Conrad Schuetz.


BLHS Fundraising for Digital Sign
Posted 1/17/2020 at 9:24:06 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School is looking to modernize its school sign with a digital display and officials are seeking donations to make it happen.

   Principal Lucas Parsons and junior high Principal Jason Kovalski will be soliciting the public in order to collect funds for the project, which would replace the current sign on the school grounds. A new mechanism would cost an estimated $15,000-$20,000 and leaders hope to have one in place this school year.

   “We are trying to replace the sign out front with a digital sign,” Parsons said. “Any donations could be made to Buckeye Local High School and earmarked for the new sign. We want it to be done by before the end of the year.”

 Solicitation letters will be sent at the end of the month but donors may make contributions now. The present signage was erected 28 years ago and officials said an update would provide a more aesthetic and efficient way to communicate with the public.

   “This is for the junior and senior high,” Kovalski added. “It will be an easier way to inform the public of what’s going on at the schools. We encourage members of the public to attend our events and activities.”

   Donations may be sent to Buckeye Local High School at 10692 State Route 150, Rayland, Ohio, 43943. For more information, contact the school at (740) 859-2196.

Panther Paws Club Hosts Veterans for Holiday Dinner
Posted 12/18/2019 at 9:25:56 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Panther Paw Club Dinner

ADENA-The Panther Paws Club at Buckeye West Elementary shared some yuletide cheer with local veterans as the afterschool program hosted a special Christmas dinner on Dec. 10.

 Members of Adena American Legion Post 525 were invited to break bread in the school cafeteria and Post Commander Gary DeNoble was joined by Paul Kalonick, Tom Sickle, Roger Sliva and Frank Zamski shared some quality time with about 25 students and five staff members. Title teacher Wendy Lovell, who acts as site co-coordinator with second-grade teacher Lisa Brown, said it was the first time the dinner was held and kids had a chance to learn about the veterans, plus it was fitting since the American Legion has been a school partner for years.

   “The Legion members are very active in our community and especially our school,” she said. “They participate and help lead our school’s Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day programs, respectively. The purpose was to meet with the vets and get to know more about them on a personal level. Students see them at the school and community events, but they really don’t get to meet with them one-on-one. A goal of our after-school program this year was to foster community involvement and reach out to the various organizations in the community so the students can learn more about showing gratitude, respecting others and learning what it means to give back.”

   Lovell, Brown and teacher’s aide Jessica Valesko planned the event with help from district Assistant Superintendent William Luther, who also serves as program coordinator. Legion members had a chance to engage the youth in conversation at the dinner table and discuss a variety of topics from their family, friends, hobbies, school activities and holiday plans.

  “The Legion members were thanked by the staff and students for their participation, for their help in the community and the school and, most importantly, for their service to our country,” Lovell added. “Based on this year’s response, we would like to try a similar event next year.”

   Each veteran also received a holiday card with a message of thanks and a small angel ornament before shaking students’ hands in a receiving line. 

 “The students and vets all enjoyed themselves. One of our visiting vets commented that he hadn’t had so much fun in quite a while,” she noted. “It was delightful to see the children handing the men the candy canes, offering to fill their coffee cups and enticing them with Christmas cookies. One of the children expressed that she felt as if she were talking to a friend while others asked if we could do it again in the future.”

   Lovell also thanked the cafeteria and custodial staff for their assistance and said Gena Joseph and Laura Morrison served the meals. Additionally, students visited Altercare Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care Center on Dec. 13 to brighten up residents’ spirits by dining with them, singing Christmas carols and presenting holiday cards and handmade ornaments at the facility on U.S. 250 outside Adena. Other events have included a monthly literacy activity with representatives of the Adena Library and visits from the Wheeling Nailers while more plans are in the works to foster community involvement in the spring.

   The Panther Paws Club is part of an extended learning center developed at the school last year. The site received a 21st Century Grant for afterschool programming and operates weekdays from 3:30-6 p.m. for grades K-6. About 86 kids are enrolled in the program, while an average of 25-30 pupils participate during the afternoon sessions. For more information, contact West Elementary at (740) 546-3331 or 546-3413.

(Photo Cutline: Twenty-five students with Buckeye West Elementary’s Panther Paws Club after-school program shared a holiday meal with members of the Adena American Legion Post 525 during a special Christmas dinner on Dec. 10. The event was a way for the two groups to get to know each other better and to show appreciation for the veterans for their service to the school, community and country. A similar event is eyed for next year.)

Buckeye South Filling Shelves for the Holidays
Posted 12/13/2019 at 10:54:39 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL South Food Drive

Students at Buckeye South Elementary School are in the giving spirit this holiday season by donating food and personal items to assist the needy. Teacher Jane Kleineke organized the annual project and said students collected non-perishable items and toiletries from Dec. 3-13 as a way to give back to the community, while the donations went to the Dillonvale Food Pantry. Pictured with a few of the goods are, front from left, second-graders Hayes Conaway and Ellie Ricer. Back: Jane Kleineke, second-grader Makayla Lander and first-grader Brooklyn Peters.

Brilliant Lions Keep Kids Warm This Winter
Posted 12/13/2019 at 10:51:36 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Lions Club Donation

BRILLIANT-The Brilliant Lions Club is keeping kids warm this winter by donating 10 new coats to Buckeye North Elementary School.

   Ten lucky kids were chosen in a drawing to receive seasonal attire provided by the organization in partnership with Walmart. Coats and gloves were presented at the school as part of an annual project and club President Dave Porter said it was just another way to help the community.

   “We’ve been doing this for more than 15 years,” Porter said. “The Brilliant Lions Club provided the program at the former elementary school and Walmart has partnered with us for the past few years. We help the school every chance we get.”

   He added that the group gains sweet rewards by simply seeing the smiles on the students’ faces when they receive their coats.

   “If that doesn’t make you cry, then I don’t know what will. It isn’t about getting something, it’s about giving.”

 Principal Susan Nolan, who is also a longtime Lions Club member, was grateful for the organization’s continued support.

   “I think it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s exciting for the kids that they’ve won something and it helps out everybody,” Nolan said. “The Lions are always promoting helping people and they do this every Christmas season. Kids are always grow out of stuff, but if we can give them something that helps a little bit longer that’s great. Anytime I need something, all I have to do is ask and they come.”

 Meanwhile, the club has volunteered time to assist with updates to the school auditorium and installing new playground equipment, plus they have helped maintain bleachers and landscaping on the grounds. Porter said the group has actively supported the community by giving money and their time.

   “Anytime [Nolan] needs a hand at the school, she lets us know,” he continued. “We gave over $3,900 to community projects in the last year and have built handrails, ramps and steps for people. For a small community, everybody works together.”

(Photo Cutline: The Brilliant Lions Club donated 10 brand new coats and gloves which went to lucky students who won a drawing at Buckeye North Elementary. The annual project is an effort to help keep kids warm this winter. Pictured are, front from left, Shane Renforth, Zyianne Hardway, Briah Batenburg, Kalani Asuncion-Kahoalii, Briar Crites and Donald Paugh. Middle: Principal Susan Nolan, Abigail Runnion and Kai’Noah Hundley. Back: Lions Club member Butch Ford, club President Dave Porter, and members Ralph Nickoson, Jim Everson and Don Hutchinson.)

Buckeye Local, Edison Team up for Paws for Claus
Posted 12/6/2019 at 10:22:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

DILLONVALE-Buckeye Local and Edison high schools may have a rivalry in sports, but they are also up for a little friendly competition when it comes to helping the community.

   For the second year in a row, the Panthers and Wildcats are teaming up to collect toys for needy kids through their Paws for Claus campaign. Each school seeks to gather the most toys and the public can also participate by bringing items to an upcoming boys’ basketball matchup this Friday at 7 p.m. at BLHS. Edison kicked off the activity last year but this time Buckeye Local is leading the effort. Principal Luke Parsons invited the community to join in the cause and said those who bring a new toy will receive free admission to the game. 

   “The event is being coordinated by myself, student Hannah Badger, student council and [Edison High School Assistant Principal Josh] Leasure. The goal is to raise the most presents possible to help needy children in our area,” Parsons explained. “On a side note, it is always the goal to raise more than Edison. This is an ongoing event from the past. Edison and Buckeye Local are rivals, but in the same breath we are closely similar to one another and have many personal connections to each other.”

   Paws for a Cause began as a joint effort between former students, former BLHS Principal Coy Sudvary and Leasure as a way to help brighten the holidays for area kids. Leasure reached out to Parsons to continue the campaign and Parsons was happy to carry on the tradition.

   “Buckeye Local and Edison are always helping one another and this is no different. This area is all about family and we consider the districts around us, especially Edison, as extended family,” he added. “Don’t get me wrong though, we still want to beat them Friday night. In coordination with Hannah Badger, we have launched a promotion on social media and our own interactive media teacher Dan Davis has created beautiful signs that have been shared around the school and community.”

 Meanwhile, Leasure noted that collections began prior to Thanksgiving break and hopes are to surpass BLHS with the number of items gathered. Last year, Edison Local Schools raised more than 400 toys alone which were distributed to needy elementary children through the district’s Giving Tree program as well as a community church to aid its holiday project. Leasure said teachers were giving students extra credit as an incentive to increase the donation amount and his students always heed the call when it comes to helping others.

 “I have always said that our kids, or kids in general, love to help out those who have a need. A lot of our students want to help their classmates and communities out by donating toys,” he added. “Some of our students have even found themselves in the position to need and had someone that helped them, and now they want to pay it forward. Likewise, it’s great to work together with a rival and do something positive for our local communities. The kids get that and want to be a part of doing good for our communities, especially during the holiday season.”

   Leasure said he hopes Buckeye Local and Edison continue working together and increase the number of volunteer projects they could do in unison throughout the community. One idea is a possible canned food drive during the football season to help stock local pantry shelves for Thanksgiving, while it would also continue to build the rivalry and relationship between the schools in a positive way.

   Parsons agreed, saying it was important to remember that education is more than just academics.

   “It is about molding and instilling a sense of community and pride within students that not only helps them better themselves, but the people and community around them,” he concluded, and he invited the community to take part in the special event and cheer on their teams.

West Authors Publishing Spooky Sagas
Posted 11/20/2019 at 11:34:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL West Spooky Stories

ADENA-Ten sixth-graders at Buckeye West Elementary have become budding authors, and now their works will be seen in print through a national contest.

   Students Bri Sellers, Ben Riter, McKenna Halickey, Nevaeh Sasak, Kirsten Morgan, Isabella Russell, Brooke Kovalski, Pierce Sobleski, Tera Carmalt and Jaden Keenan entered original works for the Young Writers’ Spooky Sagas contest and a book will be published this February.

   Teacher Melissa Sobleski said a dozen West Elementary students submitted stories while there were 10,000 entries nationwide. Their pieces were written and submitted in October and will appear as part of Spooky Sagas 2019—Ohio early next year.

   “They were selected based upon their ability to create a mini saga that read like a fictional story,” Sobleski said. “The criteria were to have a clear beginning, middle and end. They were given a paper with a brainstorming section and a lined section and had to write their ideas, then combined them into a 100-word piece that told a complete story.”

 Among the mini sagas are Sellers’ piece, “The Not-So-Scary Ghost”; Riter’s work, “The Boys and the Candy”; Halickey’s tale, “The Scarecrow by Horror Girl”; Sasak’s story, “Don’t Dare”; Morgan’s adventure, “The Creature”; Kovalski’s piece, “The Name on the Tombstone”; Sobleski’s narrative, “Spike the Rabbit and the Brain Munchers”; Carmalt’s tale, “The Haunted Twin” and Keenan’s original fiction, “The Tale of Darkfur: A Little Horror Story.”

   The students learned the good news this month and will be able to see the fruits of their imagination in print come Feb. 7. Even more exciting is a copy of the tome, which will be published under West Elementary School, will be sent to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to provide a lasting record of their achievement.

   Editors of the Young Writers publication stated the aim of the project was to get kids to be passionate and confident about their work, as well as to showcase their writing skills and boost confidence. All of the selected authors received a certificate for their accomplishment, but more accolades could be in store this spring. In April, the Young Writers’ Award of Excellence will be presented to the school with the best set of stories and the best published writer will receive an iPad and trophy while three runners-up will earn a $50 Amazon gift card. 

(Photo Cutline: Ten Buckeye West Elementary School students will have their original stories published in Spooky Sagas 2019—Ohio this February. Their submissions were part of the Young Writers’ Spooky Sagas Contest and there 10,000 total entries nationwide. Among the budding storytellers were, front from left, Jaden Keenan, Tera Carmalt and Nevaeh Sasak. Back: Ben Riter, Bri Sellers, Kirsten Morgan, Brooke Kovalski, Isabella Russell, McKenna Halickey and Pierce Sobleski.)

North Students Support Operation Christmas Child
Posted 11/20/2019 at 11:30:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL North Operation Christmas Child

BRILLIANT- Buckeye North Elementary students are playing elves and supporting needy kids around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

   The program, which is sponsored by the Samaritan’s Purse Christian international relief organization, helps children in need around the world to ensure they have a good Christmas and benefits youth between the ages of 2-14. Donors are invited to contribute smaller items such as toothbrushes, bars of soap, combs, crayons, yo-yos, coloring books, small books, socks, playing cards and bracelets to fill special boxes provided for the project. North students gathered enough toys, toiletries and school supplies to pack several dozen boxes and the effort was spearheaded by preschool teacher Kylene McCombs. She has organized the collection for the past five years, including two years at Buckeye North in Brilliant and three years at Buckeye West in Adena, and she said both sites have been generous in giving.

   “I did it for a while through my church and decided to open it up to the school. Over the past few years, it has averaged about 30 boxes and our goal is to fill 32 boxes for this year,” said McCombs. “The entire school collected for a week and some [kids] went all out.”

   Preschooler Richlynn Striffler went shopping with her mother and brought in several bags of goodies because, she said, they wanted to help. They kindly supplied gloves and hats to keep the children warm.

   “[It’s] for kids who are not going to get presents,” she added. 

   “We give them to different kids because they don’t have toys,” said classmate Evan LaSalle.

   McCombs said the boxes will be taken to her church, East Richland Friends Church in St. Clairsville, to make someone’s holiday even brighter.

   For more information about the project, go online to www.samaritanspurse.org.

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye North Elementary students gathered small toys, toiletries, school supplies and more for the Operation Christmas Child relief effort, which helps give needy kids around the world an even happier holiday. Preschoolers Evan LaSalle and Karmyn Renforth are pictured with a few of the boxes.)

Buckeye South Collects for Pajama Drive
Posted 11/20/2019 at 11:27:59 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Buckeye South Pajama Drive

TILTONSVILLE-Youngsters at Buckeye South Elementary are keeping their peers a little cozier by collecting clothing for Scholastic Book Clubs Pajama Program.

   Students in grades PreK-6 gathered 81 pairs of sleepwear for the 10th annual Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive and the items will be donated to the Tri-County Help Center to help other children facing uncertainty, be it homelessness, foster care or poverty. Principal Julie Packer said the hope is to bring the youth some comfort amid their strife.

   “Second-grade teacher Mary Matthews came to me after seeing this program and asked if we could do it,” Packer said. “We collected from mid-October to Nov. 1, and at the end of the campaign Scholastic donates books to the pajama drive.”

 Students were encouraged to provide brand-new pajamas in all sizes, from newborn to adult, which were complete sets or appropriate nightgowns. The sleepwear also must be for all seasons, but especially the winter months. As in incentive, the top collecting classrooms will be treated to class parties. Fittingly, Matthews’s students and Sarah Lewton’s kindergarten class were the winners.

   Packer said she was provided a list of area receiving organizations and the St. Clairsville site was included since it serves Belmont, Harrison and Jefferson counties.

   “Anything we can do to give back to people, we will,” she commented. Packer said it was the first time for South to hold the program but the school may continue it in the future.

 The pajama drive was organized in partnership with Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting a comforting bedtime routine for children affected by instability in order to help them thrive. The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive is the largest such event in Pajama Program’s history with more than 730,000 pajamas donated since 2009. Scholastic Book Clubs has also donated nearly 1 million books within that timeframe. Donations for the Pajama Program are continuous since the need is year-round. For more information, go online to www.scholastic.com/pajamadrive.

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye South Elementary kindergarten teacher Sarah Lewton and second-grade teacher Mary Matthews’ classes were the top collectors in the 10th annual Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive, which is sponsored by Pajama Program and Scholastic Books to benefit local kids facing uncertainty. About 81 pairs of pajamas are being donated to the Tri-County Help Center in St. Clairsville while Scholastic Books will match with brand-new books to give affected kids some comfort. Pictured are, front from left, Tanner Eastham, Addison Wilt, Hayes Conaway, Kyllian Payne and Breonna Lucas. Back: Sarah Lewton, Kyle Beranek, Raelynn Glover and Mary Matthews.)

Let’s Go Crazy
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:44:55 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Red Ribbon Week at North

Kids at Buckeye North Elementary School marked Red Ribbon Week by donning crazy hair and socks to commemorate the event, which is held each year across the U.S. to draw awareness to drug and violence prevention. Pupils were invited to take part in themed days, such as coloring their tresses or sporting kooky styles while also flaunting funky footwear. Pictured are, front from left, Kason Starr, Blake Worwa, Jerry Carr, Caroline Frye, Aubree Skinner, Ronnie Dulaney, Tyla Pagett and Sophia Vitek. Middle: Mikaela Renforth, Marissa Pethtel, Derek Thompson, Kyian Wilson, Stormy Kopras, Caden Dulaney, Colin Lindsay and Damien Ohle. Back: Blake Haught, Meleia Ellis, Brody Kurner, Karly Koran, Kylie Watt, Rylan Walker, Aiden Speegle, Britiney Charlton and Chase Worwa.

DARE Program Stresses Good Choices
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:39:50 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL DARE Program

BRILLIANT- The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program wrapped up in several classes at Buckeye North Elementary School, but not before providing students with some key information to help them make good choices.

   Wells Twp. Police Sgt. Sean Norman, DARE officer for Buckeye Local Schools, concluded 10-week-long lessons for second, fourth and fifth grades but will keep instructing sixth- and eighth-grade students for the rest of the school year. Lessons range from drugs and peer pressure to stranger danger and are age-appropriate according to the pupil. Sgt. Norman led second-graders on a final refresher course on what to do and what not to do in various situations, even acting out some scenarios with the children. Incidents included being approached by strangers, Halloween safety and finding a gun, while kids were also peppered with questions about how they would respond to seeing a younger sibling with a potentially dangerous substance. He said while the topics vary, the lesson for all ages is how to make good choices.

   “They find out why it’s important to learn some of the things we learn and that there are ways to be safe,” he said. “We began at the start of the year and each [grade lesson] is different and age-appropriate.”

   Second- and fourth-graders learn about kindness, handling their anger and dealing with dangers while fifth-grade lessons are designed to help those students know the difference between prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Sgt. Norman noted that topics become more intensive for the upper grades and focus on responding to pressure and making safe and responsible choices under the theme “Keeping It Real.” 

   But the fun isn’t over quite yet as DARE dances are held each month at the Wells Twp. Community Center for fourth- to sixth-graders. The next event is set for Nov. 8 at 6-8 p.m. for $3 admission with snacks for sale. The dances have been held for more than 15 years and also create a sense of togetherness among the students. 

   Sgt. Norman said the goal is for students to retain the knowledge they’ve learned so they may stay on the right path, and it also helps form camaraderie between the youth and safety forces.

   “You are on the kids’ level and they get positive interaction with law enforcement. I’ve been doing this for at least 15 years and it helps build trust. Kids don’t know how to deal with stress and peer pressure and here they learn that every choice they make has a consequence.”

(Photo Cutline: Wells Twp. Police Sgt. Sean Norman, DARE officer for Buckeye Local Schools, shares some final lessons with second-graders at Buckeye North Elementary following a 10-week program. Students in second, fourth and fifth grades concluded programs on bullying to drug and stranger danger while sixth- and eighth-graders will continue more intensive lessons for the rest of the school year, but the key is for all of the pupils to make good choices when facing various situations.)

West Students Exercise Mind, Body and Spirit
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:36:47 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL West Yoga

ADENA-First-grade students at Buckeye West Elementary School are exercising their mind, body and spirit by regularly practicing yoga in the classroom.

 Teacher Song Walrath has implemented the practice for the past three years and her 21 students take time each day to stretch and meditate to help them clear their minds, relax and focus on their studies. She said it has made a positive impact upon the children’s concentration.

 “I went to a mindfulness class, and as stress levels rise it would be a way to get them calm and to focused. I’m trying to teach them self-control,” Walrath added. “They do it during breaks between work and they get out of their seats and do deep breathing exercises.”

   Students also stretch into warrior, star and frog poses before quietly meditating, and Walrath completes the exercise with a story.

   “Kids at this age need to get out of their seats and move, and I think this gives them a purpose for moving and they take pride in it. Sometimes we do this twice a day and we have an affirmation statement: ‘We will be kind, make good choices and always try to do our best.’ Our class motto is ‘To Persist.’”                                                         

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye West Elementary School teacher Song Walrath and several of her first-grade students practice yoga and meditation in class to help them focus on studies. Walrath has been implementing exercises for the past three years and said it benefits the children’s minds, bodies and spirits. She is pictured with pupils, from left, Robert Glauser, Payton Fetty, Olivia Krupinski and Annie Meyer.) 

Taking Flight
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:31:11 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

Buckeye West Elementary student Trey McCoy launches his marshmallow catapult as part of a STEM project in his fifth-grade science class. Teacher Allison Bartek said her pupils studied motion, force and Newton’s Laws in class and were introduced to the engineering design process for some hands-on learning. They were supplied with plastic spoons, a Styrofoam bowl, rubber bands and tongue depressors to create their contraptions and marked the distance of each landing. Bartek said the students were actively engaged in the learning process and enjoyed the activity.

A Brighter Smile
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:21:37 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Mobile Dentist at North

Buckeye North Elementary student Skyler Pethtel has a brighter smile following a recent visit from Dr. Dwight Fox and Ohio Dental Outreach’s mobile dentist program. About 30 students took part and received X-rays, examinations, cleaning, fluoride treatments, sealants and non-invasive cavity treatment. The mobile dentist program visits each fall and spring and is set to return in May. 

Buckeye Local Teachers Receive Mini-Grants
Posted 11/8/2019 at 9:52:58 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

DILLONVALE-Educators in the Buckeye Local School District are among the 2019 Best Practice Grant recipients through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and will use their allocations for unique learning projects.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko recognized teachers Jeff Merrill, Colleen Weekley and Jenny Potts during the regular Buckeye Local school board meeting on Nov. 4 and presented each of them with $600 mini-grants to implement their ideas. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 mini-grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year.

    Merrill, a math teacher at Buckeye Local High School, said his funding will help eight students develop a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) project for the school’s annual Sea Air & Land Challenge competition. Roughly 40 students from Ohio and West Virginia participate in the contest each year and the event is sponsored by Penn State University’s Electro-Optics Center (EOC).

   “My project is an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). I have eight students in my STEM class who will be responsible for building and operating the ROV,” he said. “This is the first time I have received a Best Practices Grant. I feel honored to receive this grant so that the students at Buckeye Local can have even more STEM experiences. They learn to build, troubleshoot and work collaboratively on a common goal.”

   Merrill said the funds benefit junior and seniors in his STEM class and thanked JCESC for awarding the mini-grant so students have more opportunities to expand their learning skills.

   Weekley, an intervention specialist at Buckeye North Elementary, will purchase critical-thinking activities for her project, “Everyone Needs a Little Help from a Friend,” to communicate and collaborate and think outside the box so students can play to their strengths. 

    “I am getting hands-on learning materials for students to collaboratively work together. There are STEM activities, science, math, reading and social studies activities, games and challenges. Some of the materials will be used in class, but most of the activities will be utilized during Title or recess time. With students and people so focused on technology, I wanted activities that would challenge the students without the use of technology,” she said. “I am really excited to be able to give the students the opportunity to create, learn and make mistakes on their own in small groups.”

   Weekley that it would benefit more about 80-100 fifth- and sixth-grade pupils but other grade levels may use the materials. She commented that it was her first Best Practice Grant and she was grateful to have her project chosen.

    Potts, a kindergarten teacher at Buckeye South Elementary, will use her windfall for “We Know Our ABC’s and Want to Share Our Recipes,” a project in which her 25 students will publish a cookbook with help from the community. 

   “This collaborative project will involve the students, their families, the community and the teachers at school.  The kindergarten students will create a collaborative ABC’s recipe book that will be professionally printed and bound,” she said, adding that her pupils will be responsible for interviews, writing the recipes and drawing illustrations. “After all of the recipes are collected, the class will work together to bring the book to life.  The students will use their letter knowledge to put the recipes in alphabetical order. They will also be able to use their math skills to number the pages. The students will then learn what it takes to be a published author by making a rough draft of the book.”


   The book will be released through Studentreasures Publishing Company and the class will receive 29 copies of the book as included in the grant, but unlimited additional copies may also be purchased. Potts added that her students will benefit from the collaboration as well as practicing the skills they learn in the classroom. Additionally, they get to share their hard work with the world by displaying their book in the school library. Potts also hopes to make the book an annual class tradition.


   "This grant would allow us to have the start-up supplies to use year after year.  Next year, the students would have to pay for the book, but we would be able to start earlier because we will have the necessary items and experience to begin right away.”


   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

   “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Dr Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

North Elementary Visiting Fire Station for Safety Week
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:14:22 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-Buckeye North Elementary students will pay a visit to the Brilliant Volunteer Fire Department this week to learn about safety.

   Classes will be at the site each day from Oct. 14-17 where they will watch a video on fire safety and talk to officials, as well as view turnout gear, equipment and vehicles and tour a smokehouse to learn about hazards in the home. Principal Susan Nolan said the fire department works well with the students and teaches them a lot about staying safe.

   “The kids love going there and the fire department is excellent with them. They are introduced to the fire trucks and their capabilities and they go through a smokehouse to see what needs to be done if there is a fire,” Nolan said. “They are given instructions and some watch a video, and then they see the gear and equipment that is used. They really do a nice job.”

West ELC Building Community Involvement
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:12:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

ADENA-Buckeye West Elementary is helping students hone their classroom skills as well as learn about the community through its Extended Learning Center.

   The ELC, which is currently in its second year of being funded under a 21st Century Grant, operates at the school on weekdays from 3:30-6 p.m. and is led by site co-coordinators Wendy Lovell, a Title teacher, and Lisa Brown, a second-grade teacher, with Buckeye Local Assistant Superintendent William Luther as program coordinator. Lovell said teacher’s aide Jessica Valesko also assists and about 69 kids are enrolled in the program, while an average of 30-40 pupils participate during the afternoon sessions. 

   “Students can enroll any day,” Lovell said. “It’s a latch-key program and is also for working parents. It’s for anyone who has a need. We’re here for them.”

   Free dinner is offered to students whether or not they attend ELC, provided that those who do not stay have their own transport home. Students to participate in the sessions will complete homework, work on reading and math skills, do activities such as gym, music and art and work at their own pace during computer time before being dismissed to their parents or for bus transport home. However, they will also have opportunities to go on field trips and interact with the community. Lovell said the group recently visited the Adena Library, where they learned about services and enjoyed stories with librarian Pam Kourim, and now Kourim plans to visit the school each month for more activities with the children.

   Organizers are currently seeking other forms of outreach and are contacting businesses and organizations to get involved.

   “We want to visit a local nursing home and do a Christmas program for the residents and possibly work with veteran’s groups on projects,” Lovell added. “We wanted to establish a rapport with the students last year and now we want to branch out. Adena has been supportive of our students and school and we want to have students give back to the community.”

 The ELC plans to promote itself through activities at the school’s upcoming Fall Fair literacy night on Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. while registration forms have been sent home with students. For more information, contact the school at (740) 546-3331 or 546-3413.

Safety Day at South
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:10:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL South Safety

Buckeye South Elementary welcomed local emergency personnel for its second annual Safety Day activity on Oct. 2. Students held safety drills, learned about fire safety, practiced in the Jefferson County Fire Association’s smokehouse and viewed emergency equipment. Representatives of the Tiltonsville and Yorkville Volunteer Fire Departments and the Tiltonsville Police also joined in and educated youth on how to respond in emergency situation. Principal Julie Packer said she appreciated the responders for being involved in another successful event. 

Buckeye West Planning Literacy Night
Posted 10/8/2019 at 10:09:04 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

ADENA-Students will be “falling in love with books” during a literacy night event at Buckeye West Elementary in Adena.

   Intervention specialist Melissa Sobleski, event organizer, said this year’s activity is set for Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. “Falling in Love with Books” is the autumnal theme and it will include a fall festival that evening. A variety of free and fun festivities are set including face painting and STEM activities such as building a scarecrow, a spider toss, skeleton labeling, mystery picture creations and a pyramid cup game. Sobleski said each activity incorporates a reading element from reading directions to matching words. Additionally, local firefighters will have a truck on display and talk to kids about trick or treating safely this Halloween.

   “This is the first year we are attempting a literacy night this large and we are hoping to have several families participate,” she added. “We are offering goodie bags to the first 50 participants, which will include a free book. West Elementary hopes to promote parent involvement and increase literacy awareness through fun, hands-on activities.”

Buckeye North to Unveil Updated Auditorium
Posted 9/18/2019 at 12:32:08 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-Buckeye North Elementary is getting set to unveil its updated auditorium with a special open house on Sept. 19.

   Principal Susan Nolan said the open house is set for 5:30 p.m. and will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially introduce the enhanced space and Nolan hopes to have a representative from the Charles M. and Thelma M. Pugliese Charitable Foundation on hand since the organization provided a sizeable grant for the work.

   The project is nearly completed and adds nearly 600 new seats and a fresh coat of paint to the decades-old facility. Newer seats were acquired at an auction at the former Follansbee Middle School with extras purchased from a Michigan-based company. Nolan said they replace the original furniture which dates back to 1952. Among other upgrades are new paint on the walls and ceiling, added décor and energy-efficient LED lighting. 

   “About 294 seats were bought from Follansbee and we bought 288 extra from Martin Seating,” she commented. “We replaced the lights with LED’s that came through donations from staff, alumni and other donors. We had to buy lights, extra paint and a plaque, and any extra left over may be used to bring in a program for the kids.”

   Efforts began this winter when Nolan had the winning bid during the school auction. She later received a $53,888 grant from the Pugliese Foundation to defray costs for the additional chairs. Funds also paid for labor to remove the older items and install the new furniture, plus the purchase of several cameras for the auditorium, preschool wing and a public access area at the north end of the building.

   Crews prepared the flooring since the more modern chairs are larger and there will be fewer seats in the room, while Nolan added that sets of the older chairs were either purchased or recycled. She also thanked volunteers for taking time to paint and assist with other aspects of the project.

 “We had five Buckeye Local High School art students, Sonya Powell, Jeff Neilly and D.J. Eddy painting and the custodial staff has gone above and beyond to clean.”

Watch D.O.G.S. Program Begins Fourth Year
Posted 9/18/2019 at 12:30:08 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-Buckeye North Elementary School’s Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program is entering its fourth year and officials are gearing up to add new volunteers on campus.

   Principal Susan Nolan said fathers and students will be invited to attend a free pizza night at the school on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. to highlight the program and register new participants. About 200 people have attended in the past while a dozen dads and other male family members have been inspired to take part.

   “We will have pizza and drinks and do a presentation with the dads to get some to sign up for the year,” Nolan said. “About 10 to 12 have volunteered throughout the year.”

   Invitations will be sent home later this month and those who plan to attend may RSVP to the school.

   The Watch D.O.G.S. program, which first began in Arkansas in 1998, is part of the National Center for Fathering and has been implemented in more than 5,300 schools around the world. Dads, grandpas, uncles, stepdads and adult brothers actively volunteer across the country and spend time in the classroom, patrolling hallways and school grounds, interacting with students at lunchtime or assisting with bus dismissals. Its purpose is to provide positive role models for the students in addition to adding extra security in the school building. Members get a closer look at daily school life while gaining a greater awareness of the impact they can have in their student’s academic performance, self-esteem and social behavior.

   Volunteers must undergo a BCI background check to participate and wear special T-shirts and “dog tags” as identifiers while on school grounds. The dads also get a free lunch and may dine with their student and have their picture taken with Nolan for a Wall of Fame at the school. She said the volunteers enjoyed taking part and often returned or recommended that other dads join, while the ultimate goal was to get more fathers involved. For more information, contact the school at (740) 598-4589 or visit the website at www.fathers.com/watchdogs.

A Fresh Start
Posted 8/28/2019 at 1:51:54 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Fresh Start

New Buckeye Local High School Principal Lucas Parsons addressed freshmen as school commenced for 2019-20. Parsons, like the class, is starting fresh in the high school building and he said they were all on the adventure together. He, school guidance counselors Krista Kinyo and Jami Cammer and freshman class advisor Chuck Eddy discussed grades, rules and activities and also answered questions during the gathering.

Honing Instructional Skills a Plus for Math Teachers
Posted 8/28/2019 at 1:49:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE-Math teachers at Buckeye Local Jr./Sr. High School are getting some extra support to help their students succeed in the classroom and ongoing professional development is part of the equation.

   Teachers in grades 7-12 will work with Carri Meek, CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support and an instructional specialist. She began visiting the school on Aug. 28 and will be on-site throughout the school year to meet with educators for strategic coaching and spend time in their classrooms.

 “I will work with administrators on instructional leadership and support plans for staff,” Meek said. 

   Meek added that they will focus on identifying standards which need additional instructional or assessment activities and aligning relative resources for them, as well as using checklists or digital tools to record individual standard growth and using the assessment data for decision making and immediate interventions.

 “I have been in education for 28 years and have been working on school improvement initiatives for the past 15 years with great success,” she added. “Some of my most struggling schools moved from being Ohio focus schools to independent status. As student achievement and progress are monitored and part of weekly focus groups and conversations, the growth and change in instruction is contagious. Teaching and assessing with clarity benefits both teachers and students. Better than the rise in scores is the rise in growth mindset; kids are taught differently and are able to experience success.”

   School leaders said the ultimate goal is to help the teachers improve students’ learning skills.

   “[Meek] will be in throughout the year to meet with grades 7-12 teachers to improve upon instructional strategies in the classroom,” said Assistant Superintendent William Luther. “We’re looking at ways to help our teachers, so it’s helping student performance. It is totally focused on math, whether it’s remedial or advanced.”

   “Carri Meek is working one-on-one with the math teachers in the junior high and high school, and I am excited to provide support to the math teachers this year and in essence help our students,” said BLHS Principal Lucas Parsons.

 “She works with the teachers in their classrooms and as a group,” said BLJHS Principal Jason Kovalski. “We are going to set a few focus areas as our goals.”

BLHS Collecting Donations for Smith Family
Posted 8/28/2019 at 1:47:29 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Fundraiser for Mackenzie

CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School staff and students are opening their hearts and wallets to collect funds in honor of Mackenzie Smith.

   Smith, the 14-year-old daughter of Marsha and Ross Smith of Bloomingdale and a student at Edison High School, passed away suddenly on Aug. 11 and a trio of BLHS freshman hope to honor her by raising money to assist her family. Kaydence Kinyo, Carly Long and Emily Valuska all participated in the Jefferson County 4-H organization with Smith, and although they were in different clubs they all shared a common interest in the organization. The county 4-H recently donated funds to help Smith’s family while the steer she raised was shown and sold during the fair earlier this month. Now, the Buckeye Local freshmen hope to spread some kindness and help Smith’s family with the collection at their school. A moment of silence was held to honor the teen’s young life and organizers announced the fundraiser, which started Aug. 23. 

 Kinyo described how the unexpected tragedy has affected many people, saying, “Mackenzie passed away just two days before our fair started. Unfortunately, she never did get to show her steer or make memories like we did at the fair.”

 Long remembered Smith as a cheerleader who loved the color pink and always had a smile on her face, and the fundraiser was a way to support her loved ones.

 “We are asking for the students and staff at Buckeye Local to help us raise money for Mackenzie’s family. We will be coming around during third period and we will also be at lunches. We are asking to please give a donation,” she added.

   Valuska then urged her peers to never take anything for granted and said Smith will always be in people’s hearts. 

   “Our small town schools always support each other in times of need and we would be proud to show how wonderful our Buckeye Local family is,” she commented.

    The teens said they were glad to lend a hand and help others in their time of need.

   “I feel grateful that I can help them out,” Valuska noted. “It just makes me feel good about what we’re doing.”

   Marsha Smith was touched by the gesture and said people have been very supportive during her family’s time of loss.

   “We’ve been completely blessed with all the help, love and support. I’m so proud of the kids,” she added. “We’re honored and very thankful.”

   Donations may be taken throughout the year while more plans are eyed to sell pins bearing ribbons in Smith’s favorite hue at Edison sports activities.

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School freshman, pictured from left, Kaydence Kinyo, Carly Long and Emily Valuska are spearheading a fundraiser to benefit the family of Mackenzie Smith, an Edison High School student who suddenly passed away suddenly this month. The teens were involved in Jefferson County 4-H clubs and the Buckeye Local students wanted to help Smith’s family amid the tragedy.)

BLJHS Launching Community Committee
Posted 8/28/2019 at 1:45:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local Jr. High School hopes to spur more interaction between the school and local area by organizing a community involvement committee.

   Principal Jason Kovalski said he and a group of teachers are searching for retired educators and available members of the public to volunteer their time and help students both in and out of school. Volunteers will be required to undergo a background check prior to participating but the time they spend at the school is flexible.

   “I’ve developed a committee to seek out people in the community to try to get the community more involved with the school,” said Kovalski. “The volunteers would give additional help and attention to students struggling with reading, writing and math. I would love for retired teachers to get involved with this program.”

   He said the committee was a first for the junior high and was created to support the school and its students, plus he is looking for ways the estimated 270 seventh- and eighth-graders could give back and become more civic-minded individuals. Volunteers could also help with deliveries and related fund-raising activities.

 “We could work at food drives and collect animal shelter donations to get involved in the community,” Kovalski said.

   For more information or to get involved, contact Buckeye Local Jr. High School at (740) 859-2196.

BLHS Teacher to Study in Uruguay
Posted 6/5/2019 at 11:19:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Teacher Studying in Uruguay

CONNORVILLE-Buckeye Local High School teacher Bonnie Soos will head below the equator this summer to participate in a special study program in South America.

 Soos, a BLHS alumna who has taught at her alma mater for the past 18 years, will join educators from across the nation for the Summer Seminars Abroad for Spanish Teachers (SSAST) program through The Ohio State University. She will depart on July 8 for Montevideo, Uruguay to hone her linguistic skills during a 17-day workshop at Academia Uruguay and live with a host family for the duration, plus she will have opportunities to immerse herself in the culture and participate in extracurricular activities. Among the activities are weekend excursions and a visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 She previously studied in Venezuela and Mexico as an undergraduate at Ohio University in Athens around 1999 and said those experiences helped shape her career.

   “I would not be where I am today if it were not for these two amazing experiences. Being fully immersed in culture and language is how one truly acquires a foreign language and understands and appreciates one’s culture,” she explained. “I am always itching to travel and have been blessed to have traveled to many places since then. Over the years, I have planned student travels to places such as Mexico, Spain, France and Italy. I try to instill my passion of language, culture and travel in my students and it is very rewarding.”

   She became involved with the program as a way to improve herself as an educator and said she was looking for authentic professional development opportunities during summer break. In December, she received information through the Ohio Department of Educator and jumped at the chance. Soos applied in January and shortly thereafter was accepted into the program. She will also receive three graduate credits for her participation. But for her, the rewards are so much greater.

 “I am super excited for this opportunity. It has been over 20 years since I last studied abroad,” she continued. “I am excited to meet other Spanish teachers from around the U.S. and I hope to collaborate with them and become lifelong friends. I am looking forward to living with a Uruguayan host family. This unique opportunity will help me to become better acquainted with their culture and customs in a direct and authentic way. Upon my return to the classroom in August, I will be eager to share all of these amazing experiences with my students. My students love hearing stories and looking at pictures from my past trips.”

   Soos hoped to continue such studies in the future should the opportunities arise.

(Photo Cutline: Bonnie Soos, a Spanish teacher at Buckeye Local High School, will join similar educators from across the U.S. for a 17-day workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay, in July as part of a linguistics program through The Ohio State University. Soos will reside with a host family and also immerse herself in South American culture for the duration of her stay.)

West Elementary Observing Memorial Day
Posted 5/17/2019 at 1:12:55 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

ADENA-Buckeye West Elementary School will commemorate Memorial Day with a special gathering on May 24.

   Adena American Legion Post 525 will conduct a ceremony in the school gym at 1 p.m. and students and community members will join in the free festivities. Roger Sliva, organizer and past commander, said it was the 26th year for the event.

 “The purpose of the Memorial Day service is to honor those who have died to preserve our liberty and to instill in our schoolchildren and others the true meaning of Memorial Day and to respect our flag,” Sliva added.

 Several Legion members from different service branches visited the school on May 13 to speak to fifth-graders about their personal experiences, service and sacrifices and to educate them about Memorial Day, respect the flag and other patriotic holidays. During the ceremony, the Color Guard will make an appearance while the featured speaker is Michael Bongart, a member of the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission and Vietnam veteran.

 Music teacher Jack Skidmore will also lead schoolchildren in patriotic songs while students Grant Dombroski, Octavia Bailey and Tristan Palmer will read their winning submissions to the Legion’s fifth-grade essay contest on the subject “What Memorial Day Means to Me.” Legislators were also invited to present certificates to the young essayists and members of the Legion’s auxiliary will honor younger students who took part in a related poster contest.

 “This year, the service consists of Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-30th District) presenting certificates to the three student essay contest winners from the fifth grade and students in grades K-6 will receive awards for posters and colored pictures,” said Sliva.

 Additionally, officials will conduct a roll call of all killed in action from Adena while the auxiliary will have poppies available for a donation. All money collected will benefit the veterans.

Scholarships, Awards Given at BLHS
Posted 5/17/2019 at 11:16:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE- Buckeye Local High School recognized students during the annual senior awards program on May 14. Dozens of local scholarships and awards were distributed and among the students recognized were the following:

--Katelin Rogers, Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship for $500;

--Emily Holzopfel, Morgan Donley and Stevie Roberts, the Buckeye Local Junior Panthers Scholarship for $500 each;

--Jordyn Spencer, Leon Berze Memorial Scholarship for $500;

--Katelin Rogers, Buckeye Local Board of Education Scholarship for $500;

--Katelin Rogers, Buckeye Local Classroom Teacher Association Scholarship for $500;

--Gage Kornetti and Carlye Sempirek, the Dillonvale High School Alumni Association Scholarship for $750 each;

--Owen Long, Eastern Gateway Community College Scholarship (Jefferson County Academic Scholarship for tuition, books and supplies);

--Sierra Farnsworth, Nathan W. Finney Memorial Scholarship for $500;

--Ethan Boroski, Kiri Carothers, Camryn Case, Sierra Dudzik, Kaelynne Duke-Holland, Emily Holzopfel, Owen Long, Kylie Merkel, Rachel Moore, Audrey Sebring and Carlye Sempirek, food pantry recognition;

--Collin Buck, Emily Holzopfel and Katherine Zackey, four-year perfect attendance awards for $100 each;

--Freshman Shayla Zinn, sophomore Isabella Gaudio, junior Seth Bird and senior LeeAnn Wurschum, Heske Family Awards for $100 each for most improved GPA in grades 9-12;

--Michaela Greene, Independent Agents Association of Belmont County Scholarship for $500;

--Michaela Greene, Emily Holzopfel and Audrey Sebring, Indian Club Scholarships for $1,000 each;

--Sierra Dudzik and Sierra Farnsworth, Kontogiannis Family Scholarships for $5,000 each;

--Marines Awards of Excellence to Collin Buck and Michaela Greene for scholastic excellence; Shayne Christian and Jordyn Spencer as distinguished athletes; Jayme Chittenden for musical excellence; and Damien Grant and Zakary Fraelich for entering the Marines;

--Camryn Case, Morgan Donley, Jailyah Green, Madalyn Kujawa and Rachel Moore, Jessica Marie Mayle

Memorial Volleyball Scholarships for $750 each;

--Camryn Case and Frederick Hertler, Bill Mazeroski Baseball Scholarship for $3,000 each;

--Kodie Richardson, Brad W. McFadden Memorial Scholarship for $500;

--Audrey Sebring, Woman’s Club of Adena Scholarship in Memory of Kelly McKim Smith for $500;

--Patricia Faulkner, Russ Moran/Lori Whitaker Memorial Scholarship for $1,000;

--Ethan Boroski and Sierra Farnsworth, Mt. Pleasant-Dillonvale Lions Club Scholarship for $500 each;

--Ethan Boroski, Michaela Greene and Rachel Moore, Mt. Pleasant High School Class Alumni Association Scholarships for $1,000 each;

--Kiri Carothers, North Elementary/Robert Dalrymple Memorial Scholarship for $1,000;

--Carlye Sempirek, Ohio University Eastern Scholarship Multicultural Merit Award;

--Michaela Greene and Owen Long, OHSAA Scholar Athletes; Jordyn Spencer, Courageous Student Award; Audrey Sebring and Gage Kornetti, NFHS National Award of Excellence; Shayne Christian and Emily Holzopfel, Archie Griffin Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award; and Julie Holzopfel, State Award for Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity;

--Emily Holzopfel, Kylie Merkel and Rachel Moore, Charles and Thelma Pugliese Charitable Foundation Scholarship for $1,000 each;

--Camryn Case, Morgan Donley and Katelin Rogers, Sons of the American Legion Squadron Post 525 Adena Scholarships for $500 each;

--Carlye Sempirek, Special Friends Scholarship for $500;

--Morgan Donley, Edward J. Stanko Memorial Scholarship for $250;

--Patricia Faulkner, Steven E. Strupe Memorial Scholarship for $1,000;

--Jordyn Spencer, Mike Tolliver Memorial Scholarship for $750;

-- Dustin DiCola, Pete Ziniach Scholarship for $500; Gage Kornetti, Bill McHugh Scholarship for $500; and Ben Bailey, Dick Thurnes Scholarship for $500 from the Touchdown Club;

--Gage Kornetti, V.A.L.E.S. Scholarship for $750;

--Aubrey Sebring and Abby Nightingale, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4811 Scholarships for $500 each;

--Emily Holzopfel and Jordyn Spencer, Warren Township Lion’s Club Scholarship for $500 each;

--Jordyn Spencer, Nora Webb-Winstead Memorial Scholarship for $1,000;

--Kaelee Anderson, Doyle R. Weldon Memorial Band Scholarship for $1,000;

--Sierra Farnsworth, Wells Township Haunted House Scholarship for $500;

--Jayme Chittenden, West Liberty University Scholarship;

--Ashley Burkett and Cassandra Cominsky, Bethany College Scholarships;

--Gage Kornetti, Joseph Nieb ‘43’ Memorial Scholarship for $500;

--Emily Holzopfel, Maderia Family Scholarship for $1,000;

--Emily Holzopfel, Cynthia Rose Phillipson Memorial Scholarship;

--Owen Long and Audrey Sebring, Bill Johnson Future Leaders of America Award;

--Sara Lambright and Abby Nightingale, ACT Jefferson County Recognition;

--Camryn Case and Audrey Sebring, Adena Lions Club Scholarship;

--Audrey Sebring, Wheeling Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship for $1,000 annually for four years.

Books With Badges Program Conducted at North
Posted 5/13/2019 at 1:28:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Books with Badges at North

BRILLIANT-Safety forces from throughout the area converged upon Buckeye North Elementary School to treat kids to a day of reading and camaraderie through the Books With Badges program.

   Officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Brilliant Volunteer Fire Department met with students for an open forum and discussion ranged from safety to their jobs. Trooper Watts of the OSHP post in St. Clairsville began the program three years and has visited about 55 schools during that time with assistance from other departments. 

   “We mainly talk with the youth about the importance of positive relationships between the young ones and law enforcement,” he said. “It’s about having a positive mindset.”

   Books With Badges is a reading program for elementary school students that shows how reading can be fun while establishing a bond between children and emergency personnel. The program’s goals range from teaching students the importance of an education to building their confidence and enabling safety personnel to become positive role models in a child’s life. Emphasis is placed upon the elementary level, where reading and writing become the foundation of the student’s growing education. Additionally, it helps influence youth in a positive way and bridges the gap between safety forces and the general public.

   Trooper Watts was joined by Deputy Yoho, Dispatcher Rath and Deputy Thompson with K-9 Officer Kilo of the JCSO as well as paramedic/firefighters Bob Nash and Chrissy Roush of the Brilliant VFD. They first gathered with fifth- and sixth-grade students in the auditorium and answered questions about their work and the canine cop’s training. Deputy Thompson said he trained with Kilo for 10 weeks to become acclimated with his new partner, while they continue to practice three to four times a month to sharpen the dog’s skills. Officials also discussed being safe in the event of a fire, and Deputy Yoho said it was important to have a central meeting place with family members should they have to flee a burning home. For those students entering the junior high next year, officials encouraged them to become involved in school activities. Dispatcher Rath suggested they get active in sports and clubs and Trooper Watts said they should make new friends. 

   “A lot is going to start changing [in seventh grade],” he added. “You don’t have to impress people, just be yourself and stay around positive people.”

   More topics included students’ personal goals and future career interests, the latter of which ranged from being a nurse practitioner to an engineer. The safety personnel then ventured into other classrooms, introducing Kilo to kids before branching off to read to students in grades K-4 throughout the day. 

   Principal Susan Nolan said she appreciated the visit, which tied into the school’s observance of Right to Read Week, and the program was very beneficial to the students.

 “I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to see police officers in a positive way,” she noted. “It’s a great program.”

   For more information, visit www.BooksWithBadges.org or Facebook.com/BooksWithBadges.

(Photo Cutline: The Books With Badges program was held at Buckeye North Elementary School on May 9 as officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Brilliant Volunteer Fire Department visited classrooms and read to kids, as well as talked to them about safety and their jobs. Pictured are, from left, Trooper Watts of OSHP, Deputy Thompson, K-9 Officer Kilo and Deputy Yoho of JCSO, Bob Nash of the Brilliant VFD, substitute school staffer Bill Petrozzi, Chrissy Roush of Brilliant VFD and Dispatcher Rath of JCSO in a kindergarten class.)

North Obtains Nearly $54K Grant for Auditorium Project
Posted 5/1/2019 at 11:04:17 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-Buckeye North Elementary School got a major shot in the arm with a nearly $54,000 grant to complete its auditorium upgrade.

   Principal Susan Nolan said the school received a $53,888 allocation from the Charles M. and Thelma M. Pugliese Charitable Foundation to help update the decades-old facility with newer seating and paint. Nolan said she received the confirmation on April 30 and was delighted to see the project reach fruition.

   “I am very excited. This will be used to furnish and redo the auditorium,” she said. “It will help get the rest of the seating, paint the auditorium and get three new cameras as well.”

 Nolan had acquired nearly 300 blue seats from the former Follansbee Middle School this winter after placing the winning bid at auction and plans to purchase 200 more with the windfall. The seating will replace furniture that has been part of the building since it opened in the 1950s, but there will be fewer seats available since the new chairs are wider. Nolan said members of North’s WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) group helped transport the items with help from school maintenance workers and other volunteers. She said she contacted the company which installed the chairs at Follansbee to potentially purchase 200 more and business officials offered to install all of the seats at North. Nolan also planned to use proceeds from the sale of the original seats at North to help defray expenses. 

   Another goal is to add a fresh coat of paint to the auditorium’s walls and Nolan hoped to involve the Buckeye Local High School art class in creating pictures of the school mascot, while work could be completed this summer.

Schools Squaring off Friday at Sea Air & Land Challenge
Posted 5/1/2019 at 11:02:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BLHS Sea Air Land Challenge

CONNORVILLE-Roughly 40 students from Ohio and West Virginia will put their STEM skills to use during the second annual Sea Air & Land Challenge at Buckeye Local High School this Friday.

   The activity, which is sponsored by Penn State University’s Electro-Optics Center (EOC), kicks off at 9 a.m. with a brief gathering in the auditorium while the first run of challenges follows in the gym and outside the building. Five teams from BLHS, Martins Ferry, Beaver Local, East Liverpool and Wheeling Central will compete with members operating remote-controlled robots they designed to finish timed tasks on land, under water and by air. The second run of challenges starts at 10:40 a.m. and experts will judge all of the events. The teams will then break for lunch around 11:45 a.m. before heading back into the auditorium for trophies and to hear from keynote speaker Sgt. John McCoy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

   Organizer Jeff Merrill, a math teacher at BLHS who also helped establish the school’s STEM program, said the challenge was first created at the EOC and Buckeye Local was invited to an activity four years ago. BLHS officials eventually opted to host their own event last year, which drew about 100 students from 14 teams representing BLHS, Beaver Local and Quaker Valley, the latter of which traveled from the Keystone State.   

   “When we started this, our hope was to get more local schools involved,” Merrill said. “We have judges coming in from the American Modelers Association of Wheeling and are working with Penn State EOC, which is sponsoring the challenge.”

   Buckeye Local’s two teams include seniors and juniors Ethan Boroski, Hunter Colvin, Kya DeMeter, Sean Bates, Josh Kinyo, Justus Chieffalo, Fred Hertler, Conrad Schuetz, Haylie Marshall, Kode Richardson, Brooklyn Grant and Skyler Sall. Merrill said the students were excited and it was a great opportunity for all of the contestants to showcase their knowledge.

   “Our students are very excited and very competitive,” he noted.

(Photo Cutline: Students from Buckeye Local High School are pictured completing a STEM exercise during the school’s inaugural Sea Air & Land Challenge last year. Another event is set for this Friday with five teams and an estimated 40 students coming from schools in Ohio and West Virginia.)

South Elementary Hosting Car and Craft Show
Posted 5/1/2019 at 10:59:11 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

TILTONSVILLE-Vehicles, vendors and more are in store for the third annual South Elementary Playground Committee Car and Craft Show on May 11.

 The fundraiser will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school located at 100 Walden Ave. in Tiltonsville with a rain date set for May 18. Dozens of cars and crafters will be on hand, as well as plenty of food and fun for the whole family. Proceeds benefit the school’s playground committee to help finance improvement projects. Joe Malechowski, PTO president and committee chair, is organizing the activity and said there is something for everyone.

 “This is our third year and we’re hoping for some good weather,” he said. “We will have about 28 vendors but never know the number of cars until the day of the show.”

 The show has attracted 80-90 cars and bikes plus 20-30 vendors to peddle crafts, cosmetics and other wares. Malechowski said dash plaques will be given for the first 100 vehicle entries, in addition to 30 trophies with the top three by year range and a Best of Show custom trophy. Registration for the car show is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a cost of $8 and no preregistration is necessary. Judging starts at 1 p.m. with trophies being distributed at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Malechowski at (740) 275-6406.

   Attendants may also browse among such vendors as Avon, Thirty-One, Sweet Dyes, Younique, Country Scents, Country Vine Primitives, Origami Owl and Paparazzi, to name a few, and sales run until 4 p.m. Other offerings include door prizes, a Chinese auction and raffles along with music from DJ Mr. Bill and kids can enjoy face painting, an inflatable ride, balloons and a fire truck display by the Tiltonsville Volunteer Fire Department. The Yorkville VFD will also cook up some scrumptious burgers, pulled pork and other hot foods while playground committee members will have Sno-cones, popcorn and other concession items. Additionally, shirts will be sold for $10-$12 to benefit the school playground project. Malechowski said the event raised $3,000 last year and funded a shelter with tables for students to enjoy recess outdoors.

   For more information about the event, go to the South Elementary Playground Facebook page.

BLHS Science Club Beautifies Courtyard
Posted 5/1/2019 at 10:56:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL Science Club Beautifies Courtyard

The Buckeye Local High School Science Club got their hands dirty to beautify the courtyard in the center of the building. Teacher Amy Basinger, who acts as co-advisor with teacher Dave Cybulski, said about 32 juniors and seniors spent a month clearing away old mulch and plantings, trimming trees and bushes and adding blue rubberized mulch for an extra pop of color. The cleanup was part of an annual project that Basinger said helps streamline the site for future maintenance.

Buckeye Local Olympic Challenge on May 16
Posted 5/1/2019 at 10:53:58 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

CONNORVILLE- Students in grades K-12 will get a chance to shine when the Buckeye Local School District holds its annual Olympic Challenge on May 16.

   Games will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the two gyms at Buckeye Local High School and between 50 to 100 students from throughout the district will participate in a series of events. Scott Celestin, who heads the Buckeye Local Olympic Challenge Committee with Mary Ellen Bolock, said the program is for students who receive intervention services within the district and the BLHS Student Council will oversee the activities.

 “It’s really nice how it has morphed from when I started to including the student council. Mary Ellen got involved and she works with them,” he added, saying club co-advisor Jaide Brown was also involved. “They do an amazing job and they organize and plan it together.”

 Students will participate in a variety of athletic events according to grade level, including 50- and 100-yard dashes, a softball throw, obstacle course, shot put, standing and running long jumps, soccer kick, shuttle relay and an Olympiad. It will be followed by a lunch and awards ceremony, and Celestin said every participant will receive an Olympic medal while first-, second- and third-place ribbons will be presented for each event. Trophies will also be given to each boy and girl with the most overall points.

 Celestin said he has been part of the Olympic Challenge for a decade but the program itself has been held for more than 20 years. He noted that the real rewards had nothing to do with the medals themselves.

   “The emotion and look on the kids’ faces…it gives them a chance to shine,” he said. “It’s very rewarding.”

   The public is invited to attend and cheer on the young athletes who participate in the program.

Buckeye Local NHS Inductees
Posted 4/12/2019 at 1:10:14 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
BL NHS Induction

Eighteen new members were inducted into the Buckeye Local High School Panther Chapter of the National Honor Society on April 7. They include, front from left, Halie Marshall, Alexis Scott, Brooke Roski, Alyssa Lingenfelter and Brooke Carpico. Middle: Conrad Schuetz, Jenna MacAlister, Brianna Staats, Kya DeMeter, Allie Berze and Corban Westfall. Back: Elijah Lovell, Bryan Blazeski, Steve Bezak, Garrett Cesario, Kylie Merkel and Mary Dagan. Not pictured is Farah Hawk.

South Sets Kindergarten Readiness Event for May
Posted 4/10/2019 at 9:17:35 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

TILTONSVILLE- Buckeye South Elementary is making sure some of its newest pupils are prepared for the classroom by hosting a kindergarten readiness event on May 9 for parents of 2019-2020 students.

  Principal Julie Packer said the session will be held at 6 p.m. Kindergarten students are assessed every year but officials will highlight what parents need to know before their child begins class.

   “We will be focusing on skills the students should have when they come in August and what they will learn throughout the year,” said Packer. 

   Information on how parents can help them at home will also be reviewed and she added that a large kindergarten enrollment is expected for the next school term. For more information, contact the school at (740) 859-2800.

North Holding Plant Sale for Dalrymple Scholarship
Posted 4/10/2019 at 9:15:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

BRILLIANT-A plant sale is currently under way at Buckeye North Elementary to benefit graduating Buckeye Local seniors in the name of a former educator.

   The school is conducting its 10th annual flower sale from now until April 23 to raise money for the Robert Dalyrmple Scholarship Fund. The fund is in honor of Dalrymple, who taught at the school for more than three decades, and provides $1,000 each year to a graduating high school senior who attended North Elementary. Dean’s Greenhouse of Westlake, Ohio, is providing a variety of flowers and vegetables in time for spring planting. Items are available in flats and baskets and range from $3 to $25, while offerings include herbs, vines, petunias, begonias, marigolds, impatiens, geraniums, New Guineas, ferns, fuchsias, million bells, material plants, mixed annuals and vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage and eggplant.

   Principal Susan Nolan said purchases may be made online or in paper form through any student or even by contacting the school. Delivery and pick-up day is set for May 9. For more information or to make orders, call the school at (740) 598-4589 or go to https://app.myteamworks.org/buckeyenorth-3 .

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