By Nadine Buckley
With every new year comes new additions to the school. This year is no exception as Shenango High School presents a new gym floor and a fresh coat of paint. However the most noticeable change is the giant pictures hanging on the hallways. These photographs show students, past and present, participating in various school activities like performing in marching band, playing sports, cheering as part of a crowd and showing all-around school spirit. Some say motivational words like “Skill” and “Unity” underneath. The mastermind behind these inspirational decorations? None other than the small but mighty chemistry teacher and track coach, Mr. Chris Vecenie.
“So the school I went to growing up had tons of school pride stuff all over the place,” Vecenie said. “I felt like we could do a little better of a job around here with those types of things. So I came up with this project to infuse some school pride into the school through pictures of kids doing stuff in Shenango gear.”
In order to make his vision a reality,Vecenie had to get the support of the school staff behind him. This proved to be relatively easy, as nearly everyone thought it was a great idea. The main concern was being able to balance the different groups being shown. They wanted to make sure everyone had a fair representation.
Of course, this project would not have been able to happen without Clarks Studio. The locally renowned photography studio has been taking Shenango’s pictures for years, capturing many sporting and musical events with their cameras. The pictures they chose to display in the hallways were typically ones where the students’ backs were turned or their faces were covered in some way to keep them anonymous and therefore relatable to the general student body. Other pictures feature smiling faces of previous distinguished alumni who have left their mark on Shenango in some memorable way.
The woodshop teacher, Mr. Miklos, is also currently working on an academic scoreboard. It will allow the students to see how they compare to the rankings of other Lawrence County schools in testable subjects like SAT and PSSA scores, along with graduation rates to help build a competitive spirit and encourage students to do well not just for themselves, but for Shenango as a whole.
Vecenie said that he just wanted kids to walk around school and feel pride in being a Shenango kid, whether they were involved in something extracurricular or not. Even if all a student does every day is come to school and sit in class, they can feel like they are part of a bigger family.