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Garrettsville – James A. Garfield senior baseball standout Brandon Baumgardner’s favorite song is “Lights Out” by P.O.D. It is no wonder the first game of the season Brandon was exactly that… LIGHTS OUT.

When the lefty took the mound last Thursday at Waterloo little did Brandon know he was on the cusp of greatness… Perfection to be exact. Brandon struck out 13 of the 18 batters he faced on his way to the first perfect game in Garfield history.

Baumgardner used just 70 pitches to eliminate the Vikings and also made a sliding play down the third base line to throw out another would be base runner.

Brandon also helped his own cause offensively with two doubles, two runs scored and two runs batted in. This year Brandon is 1-0 with one save. His 14 strikeouts in three games is just one shy of his freshman total (15), and he gave up just one hit Saturday versus Kent.

Baumgardner career stats: 11-5 overall, six saves and 111 strikeouts, First team PTC his junior season and second team the year before.

 

Garrettsville – OPENING NIGHT for J.A. Garfield’s performance of “Willy Wonka” is Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and senior citizens.  House doors will open 30 minutes prior to show start time.

Pictured above are the cast and crew of “Willy Wonka” who invite you to attend their performance. Performance dates are: Thursday through Saturday, April 7- 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Pre-sale tickets have been wonderful and we expect another year of SOLD OUT shows.  There will be concessions available during intermission and flowers for sale to present to actors following the performance.

There will also be a Wonka Basket raffle each performance night.  This is a great comic show for the whole family to enjoy!  Senior David Soukenik (Wonka) and Sophomore Shiloh Van Oss (Charlie) do an excellent job as the two main characters. It’s almost as if Gene Wilder was in our show!

 

The 2011 James A. Garfield Hall of Fame slate is completed by two young men a decade apart who displayed their talent and teamwork in several venues and at several levels.

Matt Paul, class of ‘85, earned letters in golf (3), basketball (3) and baseball (4);football only got one year of his time, golf took precedence for time avilable.

Baseball was where he really got a chance to shine. Garfield baseball teams took the PCL championship in his junior and senior years (‘84, ‘85)with Matt on the mound in his share of hotly-contested games.  He was named to the all-county first team in each of those years and player of the conference in ‘85.

Basketball followed the same sort of script, as Matt was named to the PCL all-county first team in both ’83-‘84 and ‘84-‘85

Moving on down the road at Hiram College, Matt spent one year on the varsity basketball squad then chose to focus on baseball.  Good choice!!  He received the conference Cy Young Award (for pitchers) in his junior and senior years and the Donald M. Campbell Award for best male athlete in his senior year.  He was elected to the Hiram College Hall of Fame in 2002; his picture’s on the wall.

Matt then chose to enter the field of education and is currently a principal in the Kirtland Schools.

He was chosen for the Garfield Hall of Fame earlier but had school duties required of him.  Now is his day of recognition.  A homer for sure!

The Garfield class of ‘95–and every crowd member there to watch–was frequently electrified by the performances of our sixth honoree, Barron Chambers. The numbers may have faded by now, but he at one time held the all-time Garfield rushing and TD scoring record as well as the most yards rushing in a season; at broken field running he was a whiz.  He was twice named to the All State Team in football and was three times a PCL All Star in that sport.  He was part of the PCL Championship teams of 1993 and1995, garnering letters in football, basketball and track during that time. Football didn’t take up all of his time; he made it to the honor roll too and served as a camp counselor for the annual trip to Camp Fitch.

Of course that wasn’t the end.  Barron moved on to Tri State University at Angola, IN where his talents in football led to his being named MVP of the Quarter-final and Semi-final conference championship games and election to the Tri State Hall of Fame.  He also acquired, through dint of considerable hard work, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.  Can’t keep a good G-Man down

 

CHAMPION, Ohio – The Champion High School Relays have become an annual event for the J. A. Garfield G-Men high school track & field team.  Last week, the Berkshire High School track & field team joined the fun on a blustery, yet sunny afternoon.

Garfield and Berkshire hold a lot of promise in this early show of the season.  The Badgers finished the evening with eight first-place finishes including the boys’ 1600-meter relay & 4 x 400-meter relay, and both the boys’ and girls’ distance medley & 4 x 800 meter relay races.

Garfield earned three first-place finishes with the boys’ 4 x 200-meter relay and 4 x 100 meter iron man relay and the girls’ 4 x 1600-meter relay.  Garfield also had seven impressive second-place finishes.

The Badgers’ boys’ team won the meet with a score of 91 points while the Garfield G-Men followed close behind into a second place finish with 85 points.  The Berkshire girls’ team also had an notable finish, earning second place while Garfield girls’ team finished in fifth place overall.

Season schedules for both schools can be found at www.highschoolsports.net.

 

“Consider the ladies”…as First Lady Abigail Adams wrote to her destined-to-be-second-U.S.-President John Adams when he was one of the patriots, politicos and visionaries laboring to write a constitution for the new nation, the United States of America.

Mrs. Adams didn’t have a whole lot of luck at influencing the direction that took but the James A. Garfield School District has been well-served by the ladies, as witnessed by this year’s Hall of Fame honorees, Jami Bray Mirka, ’83 and Sarah Thompson, ’98.  Consider them :

Nineteen eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two and eighty-three saw the Lady G-Men riding high in both volleyball and basketball, securing regional qualifier status twice in volleyball (‘80&’81), sectional championships in volleyball (’80 & ’81) and basketball (’82-’83), district championships in volleyball in’80 and ’81, district qualification in basketball in ‘82-’83, county championships in volleyball in ’80, ’81 and ’82.  Whew!

And one of the kingpins–er, queenpins?–of these teams (two other members have already been named to the HOF) was Jami Bray Mirka…who did not go unrecognized at the time.  She was chosen for the all-county VB first team in ’81 and ’82, received honorable mention on the all-county BB team in’81-’82 as well as first team selection for ’82-’83.  The Lady G-Men had 37 straight league victories in VB over a three-year period.  Some ladies, huh?  Jami earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball as a starter all four years.  While all of this was going on, she was also serving as scorekeeper/statistician for boys’ sports–basketball, track, football.

She then shifted gears, so to speak, and attended the Ohio State University to take a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Economics; basketball and volleyball became intramurals pursuits.  She has had work published (The title is looooong, as is anything in econ .or international relations.) and has served as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Campbell University.  A stint  at a Nature center in N.C might be considered another shift, a fun one.  A husband and two daughters who are also avid volleyball players and fans have been part of the trip…a grand ride for a grand athlete!

Sarah Thompson saw the same kind of scenery on her athletic journey, dotted with varsity letters in volleyball(3), basketball(3) and softball(4), coach’s awards(3) an umpire’s award, a leadership award, first team selection for Div. III volleyball (’97) three PCL league championships(’95,’96,’97), one district championship (’95)one regional runner-up, one district runner-up spot, two sectional championships.  Strong teamwork and outstanding talent across the board made the Lady G-Men a power to be reckoned with in the area; one of the sparkplugs and powerhouse players was Sarah.  It didn’t hurt that she also played on the Ohio Bandits of the National Fastpitch Association.  That team placed as national runners-up in  1995; Sarah took the Most Improved Player Award in 1997, the Player Appreciation Award in 1998.  In 1999 she was named to the Ohio Bandits Hall of Fame.  Then it was on to Lakeland Community College and more of the same.

Sarah was named NJCAA LCC Female Athlete of the Year in 1998-99, Most Valuable Player and NJCAA Region XII All-Tournament Team ,achieved a Region XII Division I Championship and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1999-00.  This resume’ probably had something to do with her serving as assistant varsity softball coach at Ravenna H.S. in 2003.

Having received  her associate’s degree from Lakeland in 2000, Sarah persevered in her academic track at Kent State University, securing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies.  She’s currently working as a neuro tech  with Neurology & Neuroscience Associates…and a shortstop at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company.  Still a great team player.

 

Garrettsville – Zoe Swenson and Adam Norris won their respective divisions for the 4th grade PTO chess tournament.  Congratulations to them both!  The tournament was held over their lunch break for several weeks, and they recently competed in the finals.

For the boys, Chad Angermeier came in second while Nathanael Dech came in third.  For the girls, Trinity Syvertson came in second and Erica Musgrove took third.

The tournament was sponsored by the Garfield PTO and the elementary school.  Students were invited to come during their lunch once a week and play chess, checkers, cards, or even just read a book.  Over sixty-five different students participated in the program.  Special thanks to the PTO and principal Keri Dornack for providing the prizes to the winners.

 

The James A. Garfield High School Hall of Fame returns.  Honorees in this year’s class total six, with one a holdover from a previous flight who will finally face the music (Fight Song, anyone?)after being deferred  from a previous ceremony.
Who are these worthy individuals?  Read on.
First up : Daniel James Gallagher, Class of 1970.  Dan made his mark in three sports, baseball, wrestling and football.  Baseball had the shortest run (ha), with appearances on the Crestwood Hot Stove All-Star teams in ’63 & ’64 and Garfield varsity ball in his freshman year.  Work in the family business intervened and Dan’s time was then limited to wrestling and football.
Some limits!  Dan wrestled–and lettered–in his freshman, sophomore and senior years in four different weight classes (junior year went to work), placing 4th in the county in 1967 & 1970.  Football was his real passion and it showed.  His junior high team (nobody had middle schools then) was undefeated.  He played on the freshman team (Yes, there was a separate freshman team ), then earned three varsity letters.  The 1969 season saw ten G-Men placed on the county squad, with Dan Gallagher as 1st team defensive middle guard (alongside Jack Lambert, of Steeler fame).  The Record-Courier recognized Dan on its all-star team and he picked up a trophy for “Most Improved “.Dan then spent seven years in the Army National Guard, serving stateside as the Viet Nam era ended.
The Soap Box Derby in Portage County owes much to Dan’s involvement.  He led the push to stage the event in Mantua and smiled to see his children–Shannon, 4th place in international competition, Tyler, World Title in 2005–and neighbor RickiLea Murphy bring home honors.
What does he do for fun?  Well, guess how the National Honor Society got the rock placed in front of the high school building.  Guess who competed–at age 43–and took first place in his age class in the Badger Open Wrestling Tournament at 167 lbs.  And he still runs the family business ( twenty years in the student employment program).  Worthy of recognition in many areas.
Chronologically, next comes Gary Brunn, Class of 1973.  Gary was nominated by friend and team-mate Mike Paul, who played with him on the Hot Stove baseball team, mostly Freedom boys, which rode Gary’s pitching abilities to become state qualifiers.  Gary set a school rushing record–since surpassed– in football, earned a total of 12 letters (football, baseball, basketball, wrestling) , was named to the all-county team in football, played on county championship teams in football and basketball.  Moving on to college, Gary played defensive middle guard for the feared Bearcats of Cincinnati and achieved recognition by the Cincinnati Enquirer and Post  as a player who was “coming of age”, “one to watch”
Instead of taking that route, Gary went into business, eventually operating his own construction company in the Cincinnati area.  Too soon, the hazards of the construction industry brought an end to his career.  He died in an industrial accident on March 26, 1999.  He was forty-four years old.  Gone but not forgotten, he will be honored at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Mass Media Class under the direction of Mrs. Tina Downing in conjunction with The Weekly Villager, is pleased to announce their first edition of the “Hi-Crier”. Look for this quarterly publication produced by talented Garfield students who will share school district news, events and items of interest. The paper will be available throughout the J.A. Garfield district wherever you pick up your Weekly Villager. Congratulations up-and-coming journalists — we are proud of you!

Columbus – On Saturday, March 5th the Garfield and Crestwood boy’s bowling teams competed in the State Championships at Wayne Webb’sColumbus Bowl.  It was the first trip to State for both teams.

The G-Men got off to a great start in game one, led by Kyle Bolton’s 258 and Cody Berg’s 251.  They got some clutch bowling the rest of the way from teammates Mack Hawkins, Clark Kolmorgen, and Howard Moore to finish in 4th place and qualify them for bracket play.
In the head-to-head best-of-five baker series the G-Men defeated Carrolton High School 3 games to 1 advancing them to the semi-finals where they faced the #1 seed Wapakoneta team.

After falling behind 2-1, the G-Men rallied and won game four by the score of 210-206 to force game 5.  Garfield had a small lead going into the 7th frame when back- to- back splits let Wapakoneta take control and eventually win the game 208-176.
It was a valiant effort for their first state appearance. Coach Howie Moore was very pleased with their bowling and vowed that they will be back next year with almost everyone coming back.
Individually, Kyle Bolton earned 1st Team All-State honors along with Cody Berg receiving Honorable Mention All-State.
The Crestwood boys were in contention after the first three actual games, but couldn’t put together a big baker game and ended up finishing 12th.

Mantua - Every year, Crestwood students are recognized for outstanding contributions in the classroom and in the athletic field. Students who help in the community are no exception.
Crestwood senior Kyle Vertoch, a member of the National Honor Society, is organizing a rummage sale as his NHS service project to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Vertoch’s aunt and grandmother are both afflicted with the disease.

The sale will be held April 1, and he is asking the community for donations.
“A rummage sale is a good way to get both the community and the high school involved,” said Vertoch. “Everyone has stuff lying around the house that they don’t need anymore. I’m currently running announcements at the high school and hopefully I can find a way to reach out to the community.”

According to the NHS website, NHS is a national organization established to recognize outstanding high school students in grades 10-12. More than just an honor roll, NHS honors students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. There are currently 52 students in NHS at Crestwood, none of whom are sophomores.

“We decided early on that we wanted to place our focus on the element of character and service,” said Crestwood Teacher and NHS Advisor Nancy Groselle. “We can get a pretty good feel of what the students are about by the time they finish their sophomore year. In fact, up until this year we only had seniors in NHS, but by changing the induction ceremony from spring to fall, we were able to extend participation to both juniors and seniors. The community service project allows students to exhibit the tenets of not just service, but also leadership and character. Kyle is a great student and displays these characteristics every day.”

The NHS rummage sale will take place April 1 from 10 am until 7 pm in the Crestwood High School cafeteria. Anyone with articles to contribute can drop them off any day in the high school library from 2:40 to 3:30 pm beginning March 21. Cash donations will also be accepted.

Columbus - Area wrestlers did a fantastic job in representing northeast Ohio and their respective high schools in Columbus last week.
Leading the way were the Crestwood Red Devils who qualified a school record seven wrestlers.  After finishing second in the Akron Firestone district the week before, head coach Dave Wrobel was confident that his team could make a run at a top 5 finish in Columbus.  Five of his seven qualifiers had previous state tournament experience and that experience paid off in the first round as the Red Devils won 5 out of 7 matches Thursday afternoon.  On Friday the Red Devils found themselves competing against many of the pre-tournament favorites in their respective weight classes and success was harder to come by.  When wrestling concluded for the day the only Red Devil to be unscathed was senior Cody Ryba who kept alive his hope of being Crestwood’s first state wrestling champion since 1994 (Brian Singleton).  Coach Wrobel, like most wrestling coaches had mixed feelings as he assessed the results from Friday’s action.  He felt his team “competed well” … was “ecstatic for Cody Ryba’s results” …  and “dealt with the pain of not seeing all his wrestlers make it to the placement round”.  On Saturday evening, Cody Ryba put the finishing touches on a brilliant season for Crestwood when he won the 171 lb. championship with a 5-4 decision over Jake Cramer of Oak Harbor.  The victory moved Crestwood up to 6th place in the final team standings.
The Garfield G-Men qualified three wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament which was also a school record for them.  Coach Alan Harbert was “pleased with how well we competed” … “thrilled that all 3 kids were wrestling in the placement round” … and “very excited that two of his wrestlers were underclassmen and would be returning to his practice room next season”.  Kevin Stock was the highest finisher (4th) for the G-Men but lost his chance to wrestle for an individual championship when he was defeated in his semi-final match, 8-7.  The final score was  ultimately decided by a penalty point earlier in the match.
Cardinal’s Casey Johns lost his opening match and then rallied to win his next four matches to make the consolation bout. Johns found himself in familiar territory matched against his freshman nemesis from Beachwood, Sammy Gross, whom he defeated in the districts by a pin in the second period. Sammy, however, got his revenge by besting Casey 4-1 in Columbus.

Cardinal’s other state placer, Ziegler, won his first round match before falling to the eventual second place finisher. In the consolation bracket Chad won two more matches before falling to a third place finisher and winning his fifth place match 7-3.
The Southeast Pirates were looking to get back on track after a one-year absence from the state wrestling tournament.  The Pirates had two wrestlers qualify this year, with one of them trying to finish a Cinderella season.  Junior Tylor Brokaw placed 5th in the sectional wrestling tournament two weeks ago and thought his season was over, only to gain entrance into the district tournament last week as an alternate.  Tylor took full advantage of his second opportunity by placing 4th at districts and punching his ticket to the state tournament.  His story book season ended in Columbus when he lost his first two matches.  Teammate Ravonne Lawrence did however take 6th place at 171 lbs to give second year Coach Bob Noall his first state placer.  Coach Noall was extremely happy for Ravonne,  “he did all the right things to put himself in position this year and hopefully it will lead to bigger things for our program”.

Complete results can be found at the OHSAA website:  http://www.ohsaa.org

Garrettsville – On March 11, 2011, Charles Klamer will celebrate a benchmark which makes him the longest-serving school district superintendent in Portage County. On that date in 1991, Klamer became superintendent of the James A. Garfield School District.

Over the next 20 years, he was to pull the flailing school district from the brink of bankruptcy, oversee a successful tax levy that allowed for the construction of a new middle school and a renovated high school, and guide the student body’s scholastic improvement so the district would reach the state’s highest rating for performance in standardized tests, attendance and graduation rates: Excellent with Distinction… all this despite the fact that JAG schools spends less per pupil annually than all but two other school districts in the county. (In 2005, Klamer retired, then was immediately rehired by the board at a lower salary, saving the district about $90,000 over two years.)

With all of this in mind, and Klamer’s current contract set to expire July 31, the JAG Board of Education has extended the superintendent’s contract for another four years. Klamer’s salary under his new contract will remain at $60,000 annually.

Why didn’t the superintendent simply let his current contract run out, so he could retire, satisfied, with the district at the top of its game? “The people keep me here,” Klamer says with a broad smile. “This is my home; this is my community.”

That was not always the case. Before coming to the Garrettsville area, Klamer was superintendent of the Bloomfield-Mespo School District in Trumbull County for nearly 10 years, following two years there as a middle school and high school principal. “But I had my eye on the James A. Garfield School District all the while,” Klamer sys. “I felt that this district had a lot more potential than it showed from the road, whenever I drove by on State Route 88.”

When Klamer became JAG superintendent in 1991, he arrived on a chaotic scene where a “lack of trust, a lack of transparency, and a lack of acceptance of one another had been the rule. The district was basically bankrupt, having accumulated a lot of debt,” Klamer recalls. The levy had failed eight times already, and was about to go on the ballot for a ninth time.”

“But I’m a rather positive person,” Klamer says. “And I came here with a vision. This was one of the only local school districts remaining with a centralized business community that catered to kids — a roller rink, a bowling alley, Dairy Queen and other family-friendly restaurants, parks, a safe atmosphere, strong churches and civic involvement, and caring parents. I believed in this district from the start.”

Klamer deflects any credit given to him on behalf of the district’s achievements. “”It’s not what I’ve accomplished but what the kids, the community, parents and staff have accomplished since I’ve been here. These people work hard and are committed to excellence.”

Looking toward the next four years, Klamer’s main challenge is to sustain Excellence with Distinction. “It’s one thing to get on top academically. It’s quite another to maintain it!”

Garrettsville –  It’s gonna be sweet! …Not just the edible set of candy confections, but the entire production of “Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, the spring musical taking the James A. Garfield High School stage April 7-10. Come and see how Violet Beauregarde morphs into the Blueberry Girl, how snotty Veruca Salt can be, how the Oompa-Loompas make all that candy, how strange Willie Wonka really is, how Charlie makes everything alright, and so much more.
Why Willie Wonka? “We wanted a show that appeals to the whole family, something that everyone would enjoy,” says producer Joe Gaither. “It’s kind of a funny story really… Do you remember that AT&T commercial that ran all summer long? The one with the paper sketches interacting on the streets of a city with the music of “Pure Imagination” sung by Gene Wilder (the original Willy Wonka)?  That’s where the idea came from.”
Most of the lead roles are being played by high school students and some of the younger roles are being played by middle school and intermediate school students. “The nice thing about theatre at Garfield is that the kids really adapt well to their roles,” Gaither says. “With a little costume, makeup, and some attitude, the audience will never know that an adult role is being played by an 18- or perhaps a 16-year-old.”
People routinely ask which movie is this production closest to, the Jonny Depp or Gene Wilder version? Gaither responds, “Well, the Jonny Depp version is closest to the book (by Roald Dahl) but the music comes from the Gene Wilder version. You will find a lot of similarities to both movie versions in this stage performance.”
Anticipating another sold-out performance (like last year’s Beauty & the Beast), Gaither has pre-show tickets going on sale February 28. This year, assigned seating is being utilized, so patrons will be able to select the seat of their choice (based on availability). Payments must be made in order to reserve tickets. Gaither has the layout of the auditorium posted on the school website to make it easier for parents and the community to view a seating chart as well as a form to mail in ticket payments. You will find links to these in the “NEWS” section at the top of the right column of the James A. Garfield High School home page: http://www.garfield.sparcc.org .
People may also call high school secretary, Mrs. Young, at (330) 527-4341 or can stop in at the high school front office during business hours (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) to purchase tickets.  If you call to reserve tickets, payment must be received within 24 hours or the reservation will be forfeited.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for students 18 and under, and for senior citizens. All checks must be made out to James A. Garfield Local Schools. All sales are final; there are no refunds or changing of seats and dates after purchase is made.
Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. April 7-9, and 2 p.m. on April 10 (doors open 30 minutes prior to start).
Fundraisers are in motion to offset costs for the musical, including school dances, silk rose sales, a concession stand, and program ad sales. ‘Breakfast with the Characters of Willy Wonka’ will also be hosted at James A. Garfield Elementary School in early April, before the start of the school day.  Information will be sent home with all elementary students.

Garrettsville – Brian Gorby is a proud father. And he has every right to be. His son, Travis, has been selected as McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week, representing the Greater Cleveland/Northeast Ohio area. A television news crew from WEWS Channel 5 traveled to the Garrettsville G-Plex sports complex on Tuesday night to video and interview the freshman soccer standout for broadcast on Wednesday.

Travis  — who just turned 15 in October — coaches a soccer foot skills clinic every Tuesday night at the G-Plex for rookies aged 4 -14. Travis started every varsity game this year as a freshman at James A. Garfield High School, playing outside midfielder. The JAG varsity soccer team won a record number of games this past season, advancing to the state regional tournament against CVCA, which ultimately won the state title.

Not only did Travis earn his varsity letter, but he received the Top Freshman Award from Head Coach Michael Coney, and the Portage Trail Conference Scholar Athlete Award for Academic Achievement while participating in the sport. Travis maintained a perfect 4.0 grade average while taking Advanced Placement college-level classes…  with perfect attendance, too.

Travis has been playing soccer for 11 years now — on 55 different teams. He has played in almost 500 soccer games, scoring 650+ goals and making 700+ assists. While in eighth grade, he was playing on four different teams in four different leagues at the same time (finishing up two indoor leagues while playing on two outdoor leagues). The teams went a combined 44-1-1, with Travis scoring 96goals and 106 assists, primarily playing the center midfielder and forward positions.

While WEWS Channel 5 puts Garrettsville in the regional spotlight, its prestigious honor is especially significant for Travis, who has been selected for an award usually set aside for upperclassmen; and among peers from big schools in the most competitive athletic divisions.

Since 2007, relatively few student athletes from Portage County have been named McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week. The only former James A. Garfield student listed is Olivia Dressler, named during her 2008-09 senior year; one of the top female goal scorers in Ohio soccer history.

The McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week honors teens who are “true all-stars, both on and off the field.”  Nominations are taken on behalf of those deserving recognition for hard work and a winning attitude.

Coaches, teachers, friends, family members, teammates, classmates or neighbors can submit the names of students who excel at their game, give back to the community and value education. News Channel 5 honors athletes each week who set examples in the classroom, on their team and in the community.

Travis is accustomed to achieving high aspirations at a young age. While in middle school as a member of Beta Club, he was selected as a People to People Student Ambassador and traveled throughout Europe for three weeks during the summer of 2009, visiting Belgium, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

He has also been Student of the Month at Garfield almost every year since first grade, and has won numerous other academic and athletic awards over the years, including a Portage County D.A.R.E. essay award when he was in fifth grade.

According to Travis’ father, “His trophies and medals almost clutter his room because there are so many, and I have cut out many articles and saved stacks of newspapers with his name in them for his scra book, along with all of the academic and athletic awards programs from the school that I save with his name in them. He has numerous letters of recognition and congratulations from the superintendent, the board of education, his past principals and teachers. I could go on and on… and if you couldn’t tell, I am very proud of him (I’m proud of all three of my sons).”

(front row) Brooke Heavner, Brett Hammonds, Mrs. Bell, Rachel Gruszewsk, (back row) Josh Whan, Kendall Morrison, Mike Jajcinovic and Danielle Hickman(photo courtesy of Josh Simmons/Bird’s Eye Photography)

(front row) Brooke Heavner, Brett Hammonds, Mrs. Bell, Rachel Gruszewsk, (back row) Josh Whan, Kendall Morrison, Mike Jajcinovic and Danielle Hickman (Photo courtesy of Josh Simmons/Bird’s Eye Photography)

Rivalries have been around for years and many times the rivalries brings out the not so good in people. Folks get so caught up in the rivalry they have a tendency to be more negative than positive, but that has been changed recently with the Garrettsville–Windham Rivalry.

Last fall when Mike Chaffee took over as the principal of Windham Schools, he wanted to revive the rivalry that had somewhat died down over the years with Garrettsville. Chaffe wanted to turn what often  becomes a week of pranks and sometimes vandalism into a week of positive, healthy competition for a good cause.  He thought: after all, we already have one good cause that both schools are involved with, the Volley for the Cure. The annual Windham-Garrettsville volleyball game has always been Volley for the Cure, a fundraiser for breast cancer, so why not expand it to other causes for other head-to-head competitions.
Chaffe had several ideas and contacted Joe Malmisur, principal of neighboring James A.  Garfield High School, to see if he would be on board with the idea, Malmisur agreed that the kids needed to have their energies channeled into a positive challenge rather than a negative one, thus creating “Rivals for a Cause.”

The “Rivals for a Cause” was launched the week of the Garfield- Windham basketball game held at Windham on February 4, 2011. The schools each had planned a food drive, t-shirt sales to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the head-to-head basketball competition for a chance to keep the revolving trophy that was established for the entire 2011-2012 school year.

The hospital  benefit  suggestion came from Danielle Hickman who had recently toured the hospital when she represented Windham at the Liberty Bowl over the Christmas holiday.  The hospital tour inspired her to consider raising funds for the facility. Both principals agreed it would be a good cause. Both schools’ student councils were challenged to raise funds by selling t-shirts, with the proceeds going to the hospital. Each school sold different colored t-shirts; Windham sold white shirts while Garrettsville sold gray shirts to raise funds for the hospital.

The rivalry week came and the t-shirts were ordered, but due to two snow days that week, the sales week was limited to two days. In spite of the shortened week, the schools were still able to raise a combined total of $1,500 for the hospital.
The yet-to-be-named revolving trophy will be awarded at the end of the school year to the school which has won the most varsity head-to-head sporting events this school year. The winning school will have the trophy to display until the end of the next school year. They will  hold the bragging rights for the year as well.

The schools also plan on holding a name-the-trophy contest later this year. Each school will submit name ideas and the principals of each school will choose the top 5 or 6 entries from each school. They will then give the mayors of the two towns the job of deciding the winning name for the trophy.

The food drive seemed to be a fantastic way to serve the community and still rival one another, however the two snow days that week severely limited the collections at both schools and they have decided to postpone the drive to the week of the Garrettsville-Windham baseball games.

Garrettsville – Bulletin: the James A. Garfield Quiz Masters appeared this past Saturday on the WEWS Channel 5 Academic Challenge program at 7:00.  Interesting mix of competitors–Indian Valley (Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas County), Canton Central Catholic and Garfield.  Quite an extensive viewing area the station has from which  to draw participation.  It was a “Great Battle of the Brains” whereby the Quiz Masters gave quite a performance! Team Captain  Molly Everett, Logan Dean and Eileen Mangan did a wonderful job  squeaking out a very impressive win which included capturing several bonus round  points!!  Great Job!

Apropos of which, here’s a heads-up   about the return of Machine-O-Mania/Touch-A-Truck in concert with the annual village-wide yard/garage/porch sale on May 21st & 22nd.  Save that Sunday morning and afternoon to come on out to the James A. Garfield parking area to get a look at the BIG BOYS…and GIRLS, for that matter.  If it’s large and lovingly polished, if it’s fast and fairly loud, if it’s got tires that could be lived in by most of the population of Latvia, it’ll be there.  The gathering is a fund-raising activity of the Garfield Quiz Masters and it’s FUN!  Plan now to attend.

Garrettsville - Alien adolescents (Yes, yes, aren’t they all?) wandered the halls of James A. Garfield Middle School on Saturday, January 15, 2011, looking for the auditorium (the Iva Walker Auditorium), looking for their assigned rooms, looking for inspiration.  It was the District Power of the Pen tournament, locally underwritten by the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary, and attended by schools including Southeast, Crestwood, Stanton, Aurora as well as Garfield.

The standard procedure is this: Students and judges are assigned numbers–no names, please–and directed to writing rooms by number only, (No judge will read papers by any writer from his/her own district).  Writing form sheets are passed out in the rooms and each session–each grade–receives a writing prompt (a topic to be written about…how my dog got fleas, my first act as President, my deepest regret, whatever) and forty minutes in which to write.  The students then move on to their next room and the judges read the papers while a new batch of scribblers comes in to work on a new prompt.  The judges confer and sort the writings as to their perceived merits. The adjudicated writings –originals and copies–are sent to a central tabulation location, the points for placement are assigned to individuals and to teams and the number one papers from each room go to master readers for “best of round” designation.

This repeats for a total of three rounds then kids and judges break for lunch and a movie.  Tabulators and master readers continue slaving away until all papers have been read, all points awarded, all tabulations completed.  Awards time!

A table-full of trophies and awards (Thank you, Rotary!) is distributed to the assembled writers.  Some excerpts are read, some happy people come to the stage, some parents and teachers beam with pride, pictures are taken.  Team standings are met with applause and cheers; trophies go home.

Congratulations to the James A. Garfield 8th grade Power of the Pen Team for placing 4th at the district tournament. Strong finishes were made by 8th grader Lindsey Jones who placed 9th overall, 8th grader Evelyn West who placed 12th, and 7th grader Collette Rhoads who placed 11th. Crestwood’s 8th grade team took 3rd place while their 7th grade team placed 4th. Joanna Ondash (2nd), Hannah Bennett (7th) and Angelina Neno (10th) were Crestwood’s strong finishers.

And you just know that some of them will be writing about this in a journal to use again sometime in a story.

Ravenna – On Thursday, February 10, 2011 Maplewood Career Center will hold its annual Open House and Spaghetti Dinner between the hours of 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.  A spaghetti dinner featuring salad, pasta with choice of sauces, bread, dessert and drink, will be served from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. and self-guided tours will be permitted until 8:30 p.m.  The public is welcome.

Cost for dinners is just $3.50 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens and students.  Children under six are free.

The event is held in conjunction with sophomore visitation day when area school sophomores are encouraged to visit career technical programs.  Parents and sophomores attending the Open House will receive free dinners and have the opportunity to visit labs, meet instructors, and discuss career opportunities with working professionals in the career fields.

Maplewood provides career technical education to high school students from ten area school districts, offering a wide range of career choices.  Maplewood also features an extensive Adult Education catalog which includes recreational classes, computer and technical skills, and job training programs.

Maplewood is located at 7075 State Route 88, Ravenna, Ohio 44266.  For more information call 330-296-2892.

Garrettsville -  Michael Oddo, a comedian/hypnotist, will perform on Saturday, January 22nd.  He will do two family-friendly shows- one at 3:30 pm and the other at 7:30 pm in the James A. Garfield High School auditorium.  Each show will last from 60-75 min.  Tickets are $8 per person, per show (regardless of age). Oddo’s performances are to raise money for this years  junior/senior prom.  Students will be selling tickets at the high school girls and boys home basketball games and during lunch in the high school and middle school.

If you are interested in purchasing any tickets for yourself and/or a group of people please send in the money with your high school or middle school child or you can contact Mrs. Sweigert at the high school by calling (330) 527-4341.  All checks are to be made payable to  James A. Garfield High School.

Garrettsville – The Child Development Class at J.A. Garfield High School is eagerly awaiting the “Baby Think It Over” dolls.  Pat Wetzel, the teacher of the class has applied for a grant through “DonersChoose.org”  to receive two of the computerized babies for the classroom to use.

The purpose of the infant simulator, after the student has cared for it for a weekend, is to have the feeling that they are not ready for a baby.  Recent studies have shown the use of Baby Think It Over is more effective in changing the attitudes of adolescents toward parenting than other popular strategies such as shadowing a teen parent for a day.

The infant simulator weighs 6.5 pounds, it has an internal computer that simulates an infant crying as realistic, at random intervals 24 hours a day. The “parent” is given a non transferable key attached to a hospital bracelet on the wrist that must be inserted in the baby for a specific length of time to simulate feeding, bathing, diaper-changing and comforting.  Care sessions last from 5 to 35 minutes.  If the baby has been properly cared for, it will coo to signal the end of the session. If it is neglected or handled roughly (dropped, thrown, or struck), tamper-proof indicators on the computer will alert the instructor.

If you would get on line at the email address “ DonersChoose.org” and contribute any amount to make it possible for the students to participate in this worthwhile learning experience, the class would be so grateful.

Garrettsville -  Michael Oddo, a comedian/hypnotist, will perform on Saturday, January 22nd.  He will do two family-friendly shows- one at 3:30 pm and the other at 7:30 pm in the James A. Garfield High School auditorium.  Each show will last from 60-75 min.  Tickets are $8 per person, per show (regardless of age). Oddo’s performances are to raise money for this years  junior/senior prom.

Students will be selling tickets at the high school girls and boys home basketball games and during lunch in the high school and middle school.

If you are interested in purchasing any tickets for yourself and/or a group of people please send in the money with your high school or middle school child or you can contact Mrs. Sweigert at the high school by calling (330) 527-4341.

All checks are to be made payable to  James A. Garfield High School.

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Burton-Berkshire High School is proud to announce their Junior and Senior Students of the Month for December.  Congratulations go out to Nathan Dornback, Patience Elliott, Lisa Gregory, Melissa Koziol, James Rohaley and Spencer Wilson.  Great job and keep up the good work!

The Berkshire After Prom Committee is holding a raffle for Berkshire Juniors only.  New Directions Photography located at 11800 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls (440.708.0965) has donated a Senior Portrait Package valued at $435 to be raffled to assist in raising funds for the After Prom.  They have also donated two $25 runners up prizes.  Raffle tickets, which are $10 each, can be purchased at any home basketball game.  The drawing will be held at the Spaghetti Dinner/Spring Musical After Prom fundraiser on April 8th.

The Berkshire Family and Civic Engagement Team is working alongside the United Way in Geauga County to help the community utilize the United Way’s 211 Help Line.  The 211 Help Line is available to all Geauga County residents either via the website (www.211Geauga.org) or by calling 440.285.3194.

Here is just a sampling of the service information provided through the Help Line.  You can find alcohol and drug programs, crisis services, employment services, food pantries, health care services, shelter for victims of domestic violence or for those who are homeless, parenting programs, many kinds of support groups, family services, volunteering and much more.  The Berkshire Family and Civic Engagement Team are made up of parents, community members, administrators and the Executive Director of the United Way in Geauga County.

Below is a list of upcoming Berkshire sporting events:

Varsity Girls Basketball:

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Cardinal HS) 6:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Wednesday, Jan. 19 (Grand Valley HS) 7:30 pm at Grand Valley High School

Saturday, Jan. 22 (Painesville Harvey) 2:30 pm at Harvey

Wednesday, Jan. 26 (Kenston HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Junior Varsity Girls Basketball

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Cardinal HS) 5 pm at Berkshire High School

Wednesday, Jan. 19 (Grand Valley HS) 6 pm at Grand Valley High School

Saturday, Jan. 22 (Painesville Harvey) 1 pm at Harvey

Wednesday, Jan. 26 (Kenston HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Freshman Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 17 (Hawken) 4:30 pm at Hawken

Thursday, Jan. 20 (Beachwood HS) 5 pm at Berkshire High School

Monday, Jan. 24 (Richmond Hts. HS) 5 pm at Richmond Hts. High School

Varsity Boys Basketball

Tuesday, Jan. 18 (Independence HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Friday, Jan. 21 (Richmond Hts. HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Hawken) 7:30 pm at Hawken

Junior Varsity Boys Basketball

Tuesday, Jan. 18 (Independence HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Friday, Jan. 21 (Richmond Hts. HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Hawken) 6 pm at Hawken

Varsity Boys Wrestling

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Ashtabula Edgewood) 9 am at Ashtabula Edgewood

Other matches are to be announced, please check the website (www.berkshireschools.org) for up to date times and locations.

There are a lot of great things happening at the Berkshire Schools.   Thank you to Superintendent Doug DeLong for the updates and news.

Chandler Bee and Ethan Milko (Photo: Iva Walker)

Garrettsville – Excitement filled the air.  Tension mounted as the contestants moved into position for the competition.  The crowd was hushed….  No, wait…this was the annual James A Garfield Middle School Spelling Bee…this crowd is never hushed…quiet, maybe…attentive, perhaps…but hushed?   In your dreams, Principal Tom Sullivan, organizer Jackie Lovelace, in your dreams.

The judges table featured a Webster’s Unabridged, three judges and the dreaded bell to signal lack of orthographic (Look it up) success.

The microphone–center stage–was adjusted  to pick up the veriest whisper from the height-challenged or the stratospherically-inclined.

And the words rolled forth: gnash, versatile, suffrage, grammarian, monstrosity …speaking of which, who picks these things out anyway?   One interesting moment of the event came about when Becky Kirk, who was cruisin’ up to that point, got the word, “yippee”.  The pronouncer spoke the word…silence…spoke the word again–with definition…silence…spoke once more, with feeling…then Becky turned  and said, incredulously, “Is that THE WORD?”  It was, and she spelled it right to move on to the next round.  At one point, all of the spellers in the rotation had missed their words, so everyone got another crack at the brass ring.

The two survivors of the process, Chandler Bee and Ethan Milko–a seventh grader and an eighth grader, held up through all that and the finale words–surmountable and   herringbone–to take finalist honors and head for the county bee which will take place at Maplewood Career Center on February 1st at 6:30 p.m.  Congratulations to all participants and good luck to our champs as they head to The Big Enchilada.

Portage County – Snow days are every school kid’s fantasy come true… until it’s time to make up for lost instructional time. Most area school districts have already exhausted their allowable cancellation days due to two major snow storms in early December. Now districts are on borrowed time as actual winter weather kicks into typical gear, with drifting snow, ice, below-zero wind chills and slick roadways posing hazards for the next three or four months.
Due to a change in state law intended to increase instructional time for students, the number of calamity days for public schools has been reduced in 2010-2011 from five to three. Many administrators and students are hopeful that Ohio Governor-Elect John Kasich will repeal this new law set in motion by outgoing Governor Ted Strickland.
But until then, schools’ first line of defense against inclement weather will likely be two-hour delays rather than cancellations. Late-start days still count as instructional days to the Ohio Board of Education, so the hope is that they will buy districts the time needed to brighten and clear roadways, mitigating the risk of potential accidents.
“Typically, we see three to five weather cancellation days per year,” says James A. Garfield Schools Superintendent Charles Klamer. Considering that three school days were already cancelled by mid-December, it’s likely that the district will double that number before the spring thaw arrives.
Safety for students and bus drivers is a superintendent’s top priority, even with pressure mounting to keep school doors open as scheduled rather than extend the school year with added make-up days. “We drive district roads in the early morning hours, consult with our transportation and maintenance supervisor, other neighboring school districts, road crews and weather forecasts before making any decisions,” says Klamer. “It’s not easy making a decision in the dark. The worst thing to happen is to have a school bus accident on our hands.”
With that in mind, both Garfield and Crestwood school districts will implement two-hour delays when possible, if weather forecasts and local road departments indicate that roads can be adequately cleared in time, and weather conditions are likely to improve throughout the remainder of the day.
Currently, the JAG school year has set June 8, 2011 as the last student day (graduation is June 5). With every school day cancelled hereafter, the school year is another day longer. If 10 cancellation days accumulate, Klamer’s understanding is that the state requires other measures for making up lost instructional time, such as extended school days or Saturday school.
The JAG School Board will finalize its calamity day procedures for the remainder of the school year by December 27, and will post it for parents on the district website: www.garfield.sparcc.org. As always, notification of delays and cancellations will be made available on major radio stations, Fox 8 News and Channel 5 TV weather alerts.
When Crestwood called a snow cancellation on December 14, it became the district’s fourth calamity day this school year, exceeding the state allowance of three. Consequently, Crestwood will be extending the school year an extra day through June 8, 2011… until further notice.
According to Crestwood Superintendent Joe Iacano, Crestwood tries to alert parents of delays or closures by 5:45 -6:15 a.m. that morning. Periodically, forecasts are definitive enough that school can be called off in time for the nightly news the prior evening. The announcement of a closing or two-hour delay will be broadcast on Cleveland television and radio stations and via Crestwood’s Alert Now telephone system. Those who have not signed up for the Alert Now system should contact their child’s principal for details. Parents should avoid calling schools or stations since incoming calls tie up phones and delay notification.
If a Crestwood parent believes it is safer to keep their child home all day due to localized conditions, even after schools re-open, they should send a written excuse the next day and students will be excused and allowed to make up any missed work for credit. (See www.crestwood.sparcc.org for full details.)
Crestwood is the only Portage County district to have surpassed the three-day limit so far. In addition to JAG, five other Portage districts — Rootstown, Ravenna, Aurora, Streetsboro, and Windham — have depleted their three-day allowance. Remaining Portage school districts — Waterloo, Field, Kent, Mogadore and Southeast — have used two snow days and have one bonus day remaining.
…And winter has only just begun.

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield Schools will be sponsoring the Mobile Dentist again this year.  They will arrive at the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools on January 26.  We have invited the Smile Programs to bring their on-site preventative dental care services to our schools because we know how important good oral health is to a child’s overall health.  The program can provide services to families who need financial assistance, accepts insurance and/or can subsidize fees for persons who can partially cover the cost of an exam and services.
The dentist will arrive at the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools on January 26.  A mini clinic will be set up in the buildings and the dentist and team will provide preventative services for students who return the registration forms that were sent home.  If you would like to register, you may also contact your child’s school.

Meadville, Pa. – Tight end Rob Carlisle capped a marvelous senior campaign with one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate sports. On Wednesday, Carlisle was named ESPN First Team Academic All-America in recognition for his rare combination of outstanding academic achievement and athletic ability.

Carlisle, who holds a 3.95 cumulative grade point average, majors in Biochemistry with a minor in Economics. In addition to his outstanding credentials in the classroom, he is a three-year starter for the Blue and Gold having appeared in 29 consecutive games. Carlisle was easily one of the league’s biggest break-out stars this season and closed the year as the top tight end in the North Coast Athletic Conference. He garnered First Team All-Conference accolades after finishing the slate with 41 catches and 461 yards, both tops in the circuit at his position. His presence as a blocker and a receiver enabled Allegheny to finish third in the NCAC in total offense while ranking second in red-zone scoring and third in rushing.

Carlisle becomes the 30th student-athlete in the history of Allegheny College to elicit Academic All-America honors, and his selection is the fifth for the Gators’ storied grid program. The last Allegheny student-athlete to cop a First Team Academic All-America selection was swimmer Jennifer Erdos in 1998. Kevin Baird is the only other football player to claim the coveted postseason award following the 1981 season.

The ESPN Academic All-America program covers all NCAA divisions and selections are made by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

Berea –  Samantha M. Martin of Garrettsville was inducted into the Dayton C. Miller Honor Society at Baldwin-Wallace College during a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.

Martin is a junior.

Dayton C. Miller recognizes academic excellence and inductees are selected for consistently maintaining superior academic work. Only four percent of the undergraduate student body achieves membership.

Findlay – Alyssa Cain, a junior pharmacy major, recently performed in The University of Findlay’s student piano recital.  Cain performed “Autumn Breeze” by John Bastien.

Cain, a 2008 graduate of James A. Garfield High School, is the daughter of Garrettsville’s Lynette and Charlie Cain.

The University of Findlay is a comprehensive university with a hands-on approach to learning located in Findlay, Ohio, approximately 45 miles south of Toledo. With a total enrollment of approximately 3,900 full-time and part-time students, The University of Findlay is noted for its innovative, career-oriented programs in nearly 60 majors and nine graduate and professional degrees.

Garrettsville - The James A. Garfield Elementary School music teacher Mr. Ken Fox and the third graders kicked off a celebration for the winter season on Wednesday, December 1st. As the first snow of the season fell softly outside, the children presented their audience with a wonderful mixture of music, poetry, chants and musical instruments.

Garrettsville – Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians, having received a taste of   the Power of the Pen at their meeting on November 17, affirmed their support for the program, directed at the Garfield Middle   School by Mrs. Jackie Lovelace.  This support took the form of a $600 contribution toward the facilitation of  the district tournament to be held at Garfield in the spring.  The club also briefly considered the possibilities in reaching out to middle school-age students with information about the goals and activities of Rotary at all levels.

Other items on the agenda included: (1) possible follow-up on the Renaissance 490 presentation by Rev. Fred Youngen, acknowledging the helpful community activities involved and the resources required to carry them out, (2) including the center as a future program, (3) recruiting new members, (4) planning for the Santa Delivery Project–truck needed, sign-ups at Business Works and McCumbers-Brady Realty, tradition since the ‘60’s,  (5) beginning plans for Family Week coming up in February–sponsorships and donations will be solicited after the first of the year, contact any Rotarian, (6) ideas for new programs, (7) assembly at the Jackson Estates on December 13 at 6:30… CHRISTMAS  PARTEEE !

Of the 611 school districts in the state of Ohio James A. Garfield schools are beginning to set themselves apart from most. The dedication and professionalism of teachers, staff and administrators in the district have earned continued academic distinction. Furthermore, wise economic decisions have made the district the best value in Portage County and the third best value in the state when it comes to providing an excellent education to our kids.

The district earned its first state Excellent rating for the 2007/08 year and again in 2008/09; the only other district in Portage County to achieve this was Aurora City Schools. Last year, 2009/10, the James A. Garfield Schools were rated Excellent with Distinction, earning a perfect 26 out of 26 indicators, AYP (average yearly progress), Value Added and the Performance Index (101). The high school has been identified as Excellent for the last seven (7) consecutive years, and last year the elementary school also earned an Excellent with Distinction ‘perfect’ rating, making history as the first Garfield School building with this distinction.

Last week the state reported 74% of our third graders passed the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment given in October. With that high achievement, we anticipate them scoring in the 90% range on the spring test.

These continued results are achieved by our hard-working and dedicated teachers. They inspire our students to work hard and excel! This Excellent with Distinction rating was achieved with us having the third lowest per pupil expenditure of the 81 districts earning this rating out of 611 school districts. Garfield has spent the least per pupil in Portage County the last ten years. Last year the per pupil amount was $7,697, which is 27% less than the state average of $10,512. It is obvious that both the adults and students are appreciative and work every day to keep the costs down while working to continue to improve the good education for the students. It is heartwarming to feel the warmth and respect that is shared by residents, faculty, staff, administration and kids. Respect, hard work and dedication produces awesome results from everyone working together!

Burton-Have you ever thought about continuing your education but thought you were too old or that it was too expensive?  To tell the truth, you probably have come up with lots of excuses not to do it.  The truth is there is a place just for you that offers the opportunity to go back to school, get financial aid assistance, choose from several convenient class times and gets you all the guidance you need to take the steps necessary to get started on your degree or to just learn something new.

The Kent State University, Geauga Campus, is located at 14111 Claridon-Troy Road in Burton and is north of the Geauga County Fairgrounds.  They offer many Associate and Bachelor Degree Programs.  The Geauga Campus offers day, evening and weekend classes to fit your schedule.  For those students interested, on-line classes are also available.  You can take classes in the spring, summer and fall which allows you to get that degree faster.

They also offer a complete Financial Aid office to help you wade through all the financial options available to you.  There are many options for helping you get back to school such as student loans, grants, scholarships and benefits for veterans. You may even qualify for one of several payment plans available to students.

The thought of going back to school can be very intimidating for some, especially if you have been out of school for a few years.  The great thing about the Geauga Campus is it is smaller than the main campus and, therefore, not as overwhelming and the cost is about 40% less than attending in Kent.  Finding your classes is much easier and the number of fellow students is much smaller.  The Geauga Campus serves about 900 students and offers an 18:1 student to teacher ratio, so you will not be just a number.  When you are just starting back, smaller classes are much less intimidating and can help get you back into the academic swing of things.

The Geauga Campus offers a virtual Bookstore where you can buy all the supplies you need for your class on-line and they will be delivered right to your home.  In the case of the Geauga Campus, smaller is better.

There may be any number of reasons holding you back from fulfilling your dream of furthering your education.  Just let me say that I went back to school and got my Associate’s Degree at the age of 45 and am hoping to finish my Bachelor’s Degree next year at the age of 48.  It was scary to start and I was extremely intimidated but it was the best decision I ever made.  The fear passes and quickly turns into excitement.  It is hard work, and you have to create a new schedule that allows for classes as well as homework time, but it is amazing how easy it is to find the time for something you want to do.  Even if you do not pursue a degree, just taking classes and learning new things makes life so much more interesting.

The Geauga Campus was founded in 1964 so they have been doing this for a while.  You can trust that you will get the services and guidance you need.  If this is a dream you have had, you CAN realize it.  If you have thought you might want to go back to school, the time is now.  You can still enroll for classes in January.  Check out the campus website at www.geauga.kent.edu/ or call 440-834-4187 to schedule a campus visit.  It really is never too late; why not take the first step today.

Pictured above is the James A. Garfield Band Booster Two Grand Dinner Winner Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio.

Garrettsville – The First Annual TWO GRAND DINNER reverse raffle and silent auction was held at the Sugar Bush Golf Club on Saturday, November 13, 2010.  A packed house enjoyed appetizers courtesy of Glenna and Quentin Spaur, dinner courtesy of Guido’s of Ravenna and amazing desserts made by Sherry Jones and Pat Stoneman.  Ticket sales were limited to 300 and each number was drawn randomly from a bingo machine.  Every 10th  number drawn received a prize.  The grand prize winner was Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio, aunt of one of the band members.

Throughout the evening, guests participated in a HEADS or TAILS 50/50 raffle (winner, Casey Everett), a weekend getaway in a Pirates’ Treasure Chest (winner, Mary Koval), 50/50 raffle (winner, Jeff Pesecky) and The LOTTERY TREE raffle (winner, Betty Mishler).  Multiple winners took home prizes and Strawberry Daiquiri LolliPops from the LOLLIPOP TREE.

Guests also bid on and won 36 different items in our silent auction ranging from a 3-person Lake Erie Fishing Charter, to Fossil handbags and everything in between.  A huge thank you goes to all who donated, purchased tickets and worked tirelessly to hold this event!

The Garfield Band Boosters sponsored the dinner to raise funds for new uniforms for the marching band and to benefit the band programs, grades 5-12.  The current uniforms worn by the MARCHING PRIDE are 27 + years old and are in dire need of replacement.

Organizers of the event are excited for next year and will have tickets available for purchase in October 2011!   Go Band!!!

Taking the approach that it certainly does take a whole village to raise a healthy child, the state of Ohio now mandates that schools are somewhat responsible for keeping children from becoming obese.

Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 210 — the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children bill — on June 10, 2010. The law mandates that school districts implement specific activities to inhibit obesity, such as measuring each student’s Body Mass Index, offering healthier meals in lunchroom cafeterias, and providing more opportunities for physical activity.
Childhood obesity is considered one of the most profound public health issues confronting Ohio and the nation today, according to Healthy Choices for Healthy Children, a coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing and decreasing childhood obesity in Ohio. The coalition advocates for public policy in Ohio that supports research-based solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic, such as this new law.

“The ABC’s of ending childhood obesity are accountability, bipartisanship, and comprehensive solutions,” says Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Steve Allen, M.D, a coalition leader and promoter of the legislation. “Accountability means holding everyone that interacts with our children accountable to higher standards, from parents to schools to businesses. Bipartisanship means lawmakers from across the political spectrum taking responsibility for our children’s health. And, comprehensive solutions mean making change at all the places our children interact with food and exercise. This legislation accomplishes all three, in a way that will help our children avoid becoming the first generation in Ohio history to live shorter lives than their parents.”

The law is designed to improve the nutritional value of foods offered during the regular and extended school day, and to raise the bar for physical education. The bill also provides for Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings upon school entry and in the 3rd, 5th and 9th grades, and a pilot program for daily physical activity during the school day.

An amended version of the bill includes opt-out waivers for a requirement of 30 minutes of physical activity and BMI screenings for school districts demonstrating financial hardship. The Ohio House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate bill, creating a pilot program for districts to provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity in grades K-12. Districts participating in the pilot will be recognized on their district report card.

Key provisions of the bill include offering more nutritional choices for the a la carte menu and vending machines, providing free breakfast to all students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches when funds are appropriated, creating a statewide council with teacher representatives to address childhood obesity, creating a school district waiver for the body mass index (BMI) measurement requirement, and incorporating the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity into the health curriculum. Implementation will begin during the 2011-12 school year, starting with BMI measurements taken for students.

This is nothing new for local students at Garrettsville’s James A. Garfield School District, says Superintendent Charles Klamer. “For the past five years, freshmen and sophomores have had their BMI measured and we research ways to lower it. In 2008/09 we partnered in a wellness grant with the Portage County Health Department and Kent State for BMI testing in grades 3 and 6.”

Additionally, Sue Rossi, grade 5-8 physical education teacher, was awarded a Kohl’s Fitness Grant last year, and again this year. This includes a partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital for 7th and 8th graders. Along with BMI testing, Rossi incorporates instruction on how to control BMI with physical activity and sensible eating habits.
“I believe Garfield Schools have been proactive with academics but also with solid physical education activities,” says Klamer. “Teaching proper exercise and nutritional information are important.”

In terms of providing healthy eating options, the superintendent says, “Our cafeteria has offered fresh vegetables and fruit
every day with lunch for over 25 years. Our secondary schools only offer limited sweet items. The Garfield Schools will be ahead or on target to implement the activities specified by this new law.”

Considering that 70 percent of the cost in health care is related to chronic disease, and obesity is a major cause of chronic disease, this law is expected to help to reduce the disease burden on taxpayers by helping children learn to lead healthy, active lifestyles early in life. It is hoped to improve students’ future quality of life and also help to take billions of dollars in unnecessary costs out of Ohio’s health care system.

The Garfield G-Men fell just short in their bid for first post season win in school history dropping a 22-7 decision to the Chagrin Falls Tigers.

While two big plays were all the G-Men defense would allow, it was the missed opportunities that doomed Garfield in the end. Garfield’s first offensive play went for 12 yards and a first down. Unfortunately, the G-Men would not get another first down until the first play of the second quarter.

Freshman Zach Hoffmann’s field goal attempt was blocked, allowing Chagrin Falls to take over on downs. The ensuing drive spearheaded by a Tiger running back bursting through the line for one of Chagrin Falls’ big plays. The 45-yards set up the Tiger’s first score, the failed two-point conversion left a 6-0 score after the first quarter.

The second frame was more offense but not much to show for as the Tigers tallied another touchdown for a 12-0 halftime lead.

The first play of the second half saw the Tigers pitch left and run 63 yards for the score,  making a 19-0 deficit. The Tiger would then hold Garfield on the next drive on a fourth and goal at the one-yard line. A Chagrin Falls time-consuming drive led to a field goal, putting the game out of reach, 22-7.

The talented Garfield team had not been shut out all season and that did not change last week as junior Bobby Bright punched it in from 1 yard out and Hoffmann’s kick made it 22-7.

The snowy surface and slick ball made playing rough at times and grounded the G-Men air attack. Garfield was averaging 178 yards passing and 200 yards rushing was held to just 227 yards of total offense, mostly due to the weather.

This talented senior group leaves some big shoes to fill.

Newton Falls – Newton Falls Exempted Village School District has released the Calamity and Weather Delay Information for the 2010-2011 school year.

New rules on calamity days are as follows: The State of Ohio has mandated new changes on school closings. Beginning this school year, 2010-2011, each school district is limited to three (3) school closing days due to weather or a calamity. Any additional days must be added to the school calendar. Beginning in the 2011-2012 school years, districts will have no weather or calamity days, therefore are required to make up every day missed. Any required make-up day(s) will be added to the end of the school year calendar.

Newton Falls School District may at times use a two (2) hour delay in starting school. Parents will be notified by our electronic telephone messenger system as well as through the local media. School bus runs and building openings will be delayed two (2) hours. Parents are encouraged to plan for such emergency situations in advance. Student dismissal times will remain the same times.

Hiram – The Eastern European Ensemble, Turli Tava, will perform at Hiram College on Thursday, November 18 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.  The location is Frohring Music Hall, 11746 Dean Street.  The free concert is part of the College’s convocation series.
Turli Tava plays energetic and creative music strongly rooted in Macedonian and Bulgarian dance traditions.  It takes its name from a spicy gumbo of the Balkan regions, a mix of flavors that reflects the cultural blend of Turli Tava’s repertoire.  The musicians in the group have been playing for Eastern European communities in North America and Europe for decades.
Leader of the group is Walt “Vlado” Mahovlich (clarinet/saxophone/gajda), an accomplished multi-instrumentalist from the Cleveland Balkan community.  Walt  also leads the well known folk group Harmonia.   Other members are Sasho Dukovski (accordion/keyboard/vocals) and virtuoso percussionist Rumen “Sali” Shopov.
The public is cordially invited.  For further information call Dr. Tina Dreisbach, Hiram College Music Department, 330-569-5303 or email dreisbachts@hiram.edu.

Hiram – The Eastern European Ensemble, Turli Tava, will perform at Hiram College on Thursday, November 18 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.  The location is Frohring Music Hall, 11746 Dean Street.  The free concert is part of the College’s convocation series.Turli Tava plays energetic and creative music strongly rooted in Macedonian and Bulgarian dance traditions.  It takes its name from a spicy gumbo of the Balkan regions, a mix of flavors that reflects the cultural blend of Turli Tava’s repertoire.  The musicians in the group have been playing for Eastern European communities in North America and Europe for decades.Leader of the group is Walt “Vlado” Mahovlich (clarinet/saxophone/gajda), an accomplished multi-instrumentalist from the Cleveland Balkan community.  Walt  also leads the well known folk group Harmonia.   Other members are Sasho Dukovski (accordion/keyboard/vocals) and virtuoso percussionist Rumen “Sali” Shopov. The public is cordially invited.  For further information call Dr. Tina Dreisbach, Hiram College Music Department, 330-569-5303 or email dreisbachts@hiram.edu.

The old cliché, “on any given day” never rang truer than last week. The 1-8 Newton Falls Tigers traveled to Orwell last week to take on the 8-1 Grand Valley Mustangs. The score was what everyone expected, the winner was not. The Tigers roared into Grand Valley’s stadium and walked away with a 38-13 victory, their first since opening day. The loss turned back the Mustangs playoff hopes, missing the playoff by .2 computer points, the closest the Mustangs have been to the playoffs since 2001 when they missed he playoffs by one computer point.

The Tigers dominated the game from start to finish, with a suffocating defense and a potent offense. They allowed the Mustangs to gain just 27 yards on the ground and 150 through the air. Meanwhile, the Tigers Anthony Kline raced for 164 yards on 13 carries while teammate Matt Brazin passed for 125 yards. The victory is a great stepping-stone moving into next year.

After three straight losing seasons the Crestwood Red Devils seem to have things turning in the right direction. First-year head coach Chris Kosiorek is a big reason for that direction.

Trailing 20-3 after the first quarter the Red Devils did not fade into the cold Friday air, instead they became more inspired and outscored the Southeast Pirates 32-14 for a 35-34 victory. The Red Devils finished the contest with 187 rushing yards and 204 passing. The defense made the stops when they needed to and allowed just 79 passing yards. Southeast also missed two extra-points and failed on a two-point conversion. The Devils’ 5-5 record is the best since 2006, which was also the last season they had a winning record in conference play.

After losing four straight games to Berkshire and coming off their first losing season since 2005, the Cardinal Huskies were out to prove themselves worthy last Friday night, beating their archrival Berkshire 26-13. The victory is the program’s first win over the Badgers since that 2005 season. With the loss the Badgers fall to 1-9, completing back to back losing seasons for the first time since 2001-2002.

The Garfield G-Men proved to be the bigger and better team last Friday when they beat Windham 49-7. Windham answered Garfield’s opening touchdown drive with a touchdown on the Bombers opening drive. The fading “W” burned into the Garfield playing surface was no distraction as the G-Men ran all over it to the tune of 436 yards of total offense,  291 rushing and 145 in the air. The opening drive was all of Windham’s offense as they amassed 148 total yards.

Week 11 for the G-Men will be played at Chagrin Falls as they take on the 9-1 Tigers.

This marks the Tigers eighth playoff appearance and third straight. They are 8-7 in their 15 games played in the post season but are a very beatable team this season.

This is a 7:30 kickoff with $9 gate price or $7 presale at the school. Call 330-527-0039 for availability.

2010 GMS Lady G-Men Cross Country Team

Pictured above are (left to right) Bottom Row: Emily Prigodich , Isabella Scarl , Molly Mathews , Julia Roubic , Amanda Bartlett , Mariah Coulter , Hannah Trent Top Row: Kaylee Martin, Lizzie Gerez, Danielle Keffer, Jessica Moore, Coach Jessica Crookham, Hayliegh Hannigan, Shiann Penna, Megan Ryser, Lindsey Jones , Maddie Lininger, Brittany Alloway.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield girl’s Middle School cross country team made school history by winning the PTC Championship meet on October 16, 2010.  Scoring for the team were Mariah Coulter, 2nd in the county with a time of 13:16 followed closely by her teammates Shian Penna 13:51, Molly Matthews 13:58,  Amanda Bartlett 14:19,  Haylie Hannigan 14:49,  Lindsey Jones 14:51,  and Kaylee Martin 15:09.  Congratulations to all of them for a fantastic season of hard work and dedication.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but  one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Windham – Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but   one important element was missing on the field. The band. The band helps lead cheers and adds to the spirit of the game, but they were absent on that opening day two years ago. They were absent all season except for a brief appearance of a seven-member pep band for homecoming that year. Well, that was then and this is now. This season the band has 26 members, including majorettes and a flag line, and now performs at all football games, home and away. Although they may be small in numbers as far as marching bands go, they are mighty in sound. When I first heard them a few weeks ago I thought they were bigger than 26. They had a rich sound that made one think they were larger than they really are.

What was the change? Everyone says the band director played a big role in the growth and rejuvenation of the marching band. In 2008 Becky Kresen came aboard as the band director bringing with her a fresh vision for the school’s instrumental music department. When Kresen came to the district, she told the board it would take maybe five years to rebuild the band program and probably three years before they would be able to put a marching band on the football field. Well here we are two years into the rebuilding program and she already has developed a quality marching band and so much more.

In the elementary school she started recorders for the fourth graders and then added xylophones for the third graders. She also has plans to add boom whackers to the program for 2nd graders. Kresen explained that when the kids are exposed to musical instruments prior to taking up instrumental instruction  they have less difficulty with the instrument because they already have the concept of reading music under their belts and all they have to do is learn the mechanics of the instrument.

Kresen has impressed the Board of Education so much that they approved the purchase of new uniforms last year. The school board and the music boosters jointly purchased 30 or so uniforms with the plans to have 60 uniforms purchased by the end of three years. When all the uniforms needed are purchased, they will continue to buy a few each year to replace the older ones as they wear out. The uniforms they purchased were $432 each with a reversible/removable breastplate. The band uses the breastplate for marching band and removes it for concert band.

The band that started off as a seven member pep band two years ago has grown beyond just marching at football games. This year they have marched at the Ravenna Balloon- a-Fair, their homecoming parade, Memorial Day Parade, and performed at two band showcase nights at Mogadore and LaBrae Schools. Along with the marching performances, this year they have plans to enter their first solo’s ensemble contest. As they continue to grow and develop, expect to see more of them at area competitions.

1942 Windham Bombers Basketball Team

The 1941-42 Windham Bombers team of coach David Thomas won the Portage County Championship that season, recording the best record since the Garrettsville team of 1932 which made it to the state tournament. They are just one of the legendary teams which sports historian George Belden will discuss on November 15 at the Windham Historical Society.

Windham - The history of the legendary Windham High School basketball program will be relived on Monday, November 15, as sports historian George Belden speaks to the Windham Historical Society, at a meeting co-sponsored by the Windham Bicentennial Committee.

This talk is being presented to the public at Katherine Thomas Elementary School, 9032 Maple Grove Road in Windham, with the doors opening at 6:30 for meet and greet and the talk commencing at 7:00 PM.

The title of the presentation is “Basketball Before Marty Hill.” Hill is the current Bomber coach who has taken Windham to statewide fame with his squads which seem to dominate the local small-school hardwood scene.

This will be the first in a series of talks about the great basketball legends of Windham High School.

Belden has spent much of the last year interviewing the greats of Windham’s basketball past, and has spent months in the newspaper archives at Kent State University reading every article ever written about the teams he will present.

His research reveals the origin of Windham basketball in unassuming fashion in the late 1920’s, then jumps to the early 1940’s Bombers of David Thomas, which ruled northeast Ohio in both basketball and six-man football. His 1940 squad featured three boys who were first team All-Americans in football and were just as talented on the basketball floor.

The second coach he will honor is Clayton West, whose early 1950’s teams blitzed through the PCL. His 1951-52 Bombers were undefeated through their first 25 games, the longest winning streak in Ohio that season.

The final coach in this first installment of basketball speeches will be Dick Schlup, whose late 1950’s teams were forced to play an independent schedule against much bigger schools. Schlup’s squads lost only six regular season games in three years.

Many of the boys who played for those three coaches will be returning for the talk, and anyone who remembers their heroics or wants to relive great times in Bomber sports history will not want to miss Belden’s talk.

The Windham Historical Society meets the third Monday of every month to review and discuss new acquisitions and research on this small town on the cusp of its Bicentennial, which will fill Windham with activity in July of 2011. The Society is heavily involved in all the Bicentennial preparations, and is selling a multitude of 200th Anniversary items at the talk.

The Historical Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include films, pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.

The society has extensive facilities for copying paper items.

The Society is continuing to sell Ralph Pfingsten’s lavish new book, “The History of the Ravenna Arsenal,” newly published and containing over 900 pictures. The Society and Bicentennial Committee receive a stipend for every copy sold. These books make wonderful Christmas gifts, especially for that  person who has everything. They are available for purchase at the upcoming meeting, by contacting President Lynnea St John at 330-326-6061, or emailing her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.