Fifth Grade Authors

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Several fifth graders in Mrs. DeCaprio’s reading classes received a “Young Author Award” for creating, writing, and illustrating their own picture books. Students began the project in January by studying and analyzing literary and visual qualities of picture books. They used the books to learn about story structure, character and plot development, visual elements, and graphic layout. Each student then developed his or her own original fiction story with illustrations and created hard cover picture books. The books included a photo and biography of each author.

Once completed, the fifth graders shared their stories with students in Kindergarten through third grade by participating in read-aloud activities.

A group of teachers read each book to determine winners in the award categories. Students were awarded certificates in several categories, including “Best Story” and “Best Illustrations.”

Celebrating Literature

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By Nadine Buckley

Within the walls of Shenango High School, you have your athletes who live for sports, your scholars who strive for the grade, and then your students who are simply content with reading a good book. Youngstown State University holds an annual English Festival for any student willing to participate. A list of books are given around mid-September, and it is the student’s duty to read as many as they can by the Festival’s date in April.  The books this year ranged from the dramatic to the historical and included titles such as Deadline, The Impossible Knife of Memory, Shadows of Sherwood, X: a Novel, and The Family Romanov.

Not only does the Festival expose students to the best young adult literature available, but they learn from many esteemed guest authors who appeared at the Festival as speakers to hold lectures. This year’s visiting authors were Chris Crutcher, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Kekla Magoon. There were also many different writing games and competitions like impromptu writing where students are given an essay and an hour to finish it, a journalism workshop where students got to interview one of the guest authors, poetry workshops, and trivia contests to see who knew the most about the books they read. Additionally, several contests students could enter before the actual day of the festival were options, including a music contest in which young composers could enter a piece of music they had written based on a scene from a book, an art contest where those good with a pencil or a brush could design a unique book cover, a graphic essay contest where they must create a small comic based on a prompt, and the Candace Gay Memorial, Essay Contest, the most prestigious of the festival.   Shenango’s own Nadine Buckley placed third in this contest.

In addition to Nadine’s award, junior high students Elaina Ferrell, Ethan Krouse, and Riley Bruce also received prizes for outstanding work at the Festival.

“Countless of our students have benefitted from the YSU Festival,” noted librarian Mrs. Scott.  “It gives students a chance to meet authors, read literature new to them, express themselves in individual and group competitions, and enjoy reading. I think being at the festival amid like-minded people who enjoy reading and learning and sharing books, it feels like a celebration of learning.”

Get Ready for Fall!

By: Jordyn Morosky and Kailee Smith

Football, as Shenango knows, is making major changes for the upcoming season. Welcoming the new coach James Graham, the players are already preparing themselves mentally for the new challenges ahead of them.  

Being a former athlete for Shenango, Coach Graham decided to take this opportunity and give back to the community that supported him during his high school career.

“Watching the team gel and grow can be the biggest reward, sometimes even greater than the wins and loses,” Coach Graham stated. “I am a firm believer in that timing is everything, and the transition of my current role at my organization with the opening at Shenango just seemed like an opportunity that I had pursue. Being able to coach on the same field where I played is extremely surreal.”

Soon-to-be graduate Josh Young’s advice to his former teammates it to “be acceptable to change! Change can be a good thing.”

Sophomore Mark Mangino shares Young’s sentiments.  “I am excited to get a fresh start, and I have heard he was a pretty successful athlete so I am hoping he brings the mentality to our football team.”

“James Graham has been a winner and true professional throughout his life, and has the passion to put time and effort into the program and community to keep it competitive and successful,” Frank Augustine, Sr., affirmed.

Coach Graham already has a concrete vision for the season that is quickly approaching. “My goal for the season would be to get better each and every day. My philosophy is that if we are better tomorrow than we are today, we are moving in the right direction,” he noted.  “I feel when this is the attitude and the expectations are set, everything else seems to take care of itself. I believe this applies to everything in life, not just football.”

Not only does Coach Graham bring passion to the table, but a wealth of experience as well.  “I have been involved with athletics basically my entire life. In regards to football, my involvement is around 16 years from playing in grade school, college, and now coaching. I have also been coaching baseball and basketball at the youth level over the past five years.”

Musically-Gifted Wildcats

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By: Chaslin Hoover & Addie George

Shenango singers continue to flourish in their musical abilities. Two Shenango students, senior Hayden Carpenter and junior Anna Bupp, were selected to be a part of an elite group of singers chosen state-wide.  They recently traveled to Lancaster for an experience they will never forget.

“It was such an honor for Anna and Hayden to make it so far in the PMEA festivals!” Mrs. Leali shared.  “It is so difficult to make it that far, and I am beyond proud of their hard work. Hayden is Shenango’s FIRST student to make All State Chorus more than once. Anna is our FIRST girl to make All State Chorus since the 1970’s.   It was truly an awesome experience for both of them,” she shared.

Throughout their journey, Anna and Hayden not only improved as singers, but learned what it takes to accomplish a goal as well. “It definitely proved to me,” Hayden said, “that you need to work hard for whatever you want because if you try to just float by on natural talent or just the fact that you don’t think someone will be as good as you are, you’re not going to succeed in it. You have to do your best in everything.” Along with Hayden, Anna explains the work ethic and mindset needed to become successful, and her advice is true for any goal, not just chorus. “This showed me,” Anna said, “that the harder you work, the more you are rewarded. Never give up on working, even if you made it to the end because there is always another level.”

Anna and Hayden both mention that this experience was definitely one that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. The talented Wildcats were on the same page regarding the idea of how enjoyable it was to be surrounded with such amazing singers and people who all share the same aspirations as them. “It was extremely eye-opening. It was crazy to see how many people share the same interest and talent as you AND take it seriously,” Anna said.  “It was fun making new friends and new memories.” In addition to being surrounced by musical genius, Hayden mentioned how beneficial it was to have a knowledgeable director as well as a nurturing atmosphere.

These two Wildcats plan on taking their talent beyond Shenango. Hayden will be attending Penn State this fall and intends to partake in some type of musical activity. “At Penn State, they have an amazing music program,” Hayden explains, “and you’re able to take private lessons while you’re there, so I plan on taking advantage of those resources to get better.” Only being a junior, Anna plans to continue her path of chorus next year. “I want to mature my voice more and understand the concepts of auditioning techniques,” Anna says. “I also want to be able to go to State Chorus again to learn more from the experience.”


Distinguished Young Women of Shenango

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By Annalise Ginocchi and Zoey Angelucci

Annually, Lawrence County hosts the Distinguished Young Women program, formerly known as Junior Miss, to give academically successful and talented juniors an opportunity to receive college scholarships.

This year, Shenango High School has six junior representatives participating in the DYW program. They are Zoey Angelucci, Nadine Buckley, Mariah Bupp, Isabella Cionni, Annalise Ginocchi, and Alisa Fracul.

Multiple aspects are evaluated in this program, including interview skills, fitness, grades, talent, and self-expression. The girls practice these elements in order to perfect them for the upcoming show. They will be scored on each category. In addition to winning overall, the categories give the girls more opportunities to earn scholarship money. There are also other opportunities to reap financial rewards, such as by winning best or worst bowler, highest SATs scores, essay winners, community service, and most friendly. The program is a great way to earn scholarships while also having a good time.

Not only is the program a unique social experience with girls from different schools, but chairperson Rosanne Palladino teaches the participants life skills and respectable behaviors. “I’ve learned a lot of things from this program that will definitely benefit me in my future.  It’s just such a great learning experience,” Isabella Cionni stated

The girls can agree this has been a great opportunity to make new friends also. Annalise Ginocchi noted, ”I really got to know all 28 of the girls and made some great new friends that will last even after this is all over.”

The DYW show will take place on May 19th at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.Tickets are $18.00. To purchase, you can contact any of the six participants.

Will You Escape from the Science Lab?

By: Chaslin Hoover and Addison George

The junior high softball team has not only been busy preparing for the season, they have also been working on a project unlike any Shenango has ever seen. The girls, along with their coaches, are diligently working at putting together an escape room at the high school as a fundraiser for the team. The escape room will take place on Saturday, April 14 at Shenango HIgh School from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..

Head coach Rob Heath and assistant coach Allisyn Shields are the masterminds behind making the event a success. One of the teams 8th graders, Leyna Mason, has taken the lead in getting the rooms organized. A group of 7th graders consisting of Madi Iwanejko, Janie Natale, Ashley Decarbo, and Angelina Melillo have also been brainstorming and learning how to get the rooms set up.  

On the day of the fundraiser, “It’s going to take all morning to the get all the rooms ready,” noted Mr. Heath, “but then it should only take about 10 minutes in between groups to reset the puzzles.”

Being that this idea was the “most unique,” according to head coach Heath, the team expects a good turn out. They are hoping to have at least 20 different groups consisting of four to eight people. For each group, the cost will be $25.

“All proceeds go to the junior high girls softball program and will be used for purchasing pullovers for the girls,” said assistant coach Shields.

“The different rooms will consist of the same difficulty level,” Heath explained.  The softball team and coaches had a group of seniors and Mr. Vecenie run through the puzzles to ensure everything runs smoothly.  With a lot of difficulty, they needed hints to get to the end, so “I can tell you it won’t be easy,” said Mr. Heath. The puzzles should take about 45 minutes to complete.

Teamwork with this event will be the key to escape. “It is a team building experience and no one can escape the room easily by themselves, so you need to work together,” advised Heath.

Nearing the Finish Line

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By Michaela Unrue & Brooke-Ellynne Waters

Each senior class is required to develop a senior project portfolio and complete an exit interview as part of their graduation requirements.  As juniors, students compose a letter outlining their future goals and proposing job shadowing and community service ideas. Once approved, students take action, and their final portfolio reflects community service, job shadowing experiences, several career and personality assessments, and a political ideology reflection.

“We continue to consistently hear from recent graduates how valuable the job shadowing experiences are in shaping their post-secondary plans in positive ways,” Dr. McCormick said. “The senior projects are also valuable in continuing to develop graduates’ presentation and interviewing skills. They provide a unique opportunity for students to merge their academic achievements with career pathway pursuits and other community service based qualities.”

“The most valuable thing I took from my service experience was giving back because it was a great feeling and it meant a lot to me to help others,” noted Maxwell Reamer.  Maxwell, along with multiple seniors like Jaret Alexander who “liked helping the community out for the greater good,” took advantage of the summer to begin work on this year-long project.  

The job shadowing piece of the project is meant to help students determine whether a career they may be considering for their future is a good fit for them.  Andrew Handley embraced this opportunity, noting that “the ability to explore my passion in depth through job shadowing increased my interest in my chosen career path.”

Patrick Othites agreed.  “Before my job shadowing, I really didn’t know what an average day was like for an architect.  It gave me something I could never find online.”

Many members of the class of 2018 confessed that the most nerve racking part of the project was the anticipation of the exit interview. The interviews are facilitated by a committee of teachers from both the elementary and high schools. During the interview, the students recap their community service and job shadowing, discuss their future plans, and address questions posed to them by the interview team.

High school and elementary teachers alike were extremely impressed with the work ethic and professionalism shown in the interviews. Second grade teacher, Mrs. Piper stated, “I was very impressed by the genuine responses made by the students.  It was evident they prepared and thought about not only what Shenango has done for their educational career, but how they could give back to the community in the future.”

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Cox shared her sentiments, especially “the quality of the senior project presentations given by the students.  Not only was I overwhelmed with the amount of hours the students gave back to the community, but I was also inspired by their motivation to change the world for the better.”

Izzabel Champ offers this advice to the class of 2019 as they begin preparing for their project.  “It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life.” One of the goals of the senior project is just that, to help students plan for the future.  


An Eggs-celent Easter

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By Haley Earl and Nadine Buckley

On  Saturday, March 31st, the sun was shining warmly despite the chilly wind. It would have been perfect weather for an Easter Egg hunt, if only it hadn’t rained for days before, soaking the ground. That didn’t dampen the spirits of egg hunters who moved indoors to look for plastic eggs instead.

The idea for the egg hunt was first proposed to Student Council in the fall by Student Council leader, Mrs. Othites, simply because of her love for the holiday. Then around mid-winter, it was discovered that Shenango Township was also planning a similar egg hunt. Plans were made to combine the two events into one fun-filled day.

Student Council and members of Shenango Volunteer Fire Department hid the eggs in places around the school: the auditorium, room 100, the courtyard, and the hallways.  Sophomore Student Council member Caitlyn Ollinger said “Once we found out that there was no way we were going to be able to hide all of the eggs in the courtyard and room 100 alone, we just started scattering them in the hallway,” she said. “It looked a bit like a little ball-pit. The kids didn’t mind at all. They loved it.”

“Student Council bought eggs and so did the township,” said Mrs. Othites. “The township also provided candy to fill them. There were a total of 3,020 eggs and they were all filled!”To ensure each kid got a fair share, egg hunters were limited to 25 eggs each.

Aside from the egg hunt itself, there was plenty more to make the kids’ day enjoyable, including a fire truck for them to sit in. Chalk of every color was supplied for them to create their own works of art on the sidewalk outside, or they could be works of art themselves and have their faces painted. Raffle drawings were held for various prizes, and the Easter Bunny himself made an appearance! Mrs. Othites said that her favorite part was seeing the kids get excited and have fun while hunting the eggs, and she looks forward to making this a Shenango tradition.

A Test for the Band Students

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By Zoey Angelucci and Carlie Cardella

The concert band students were recently tested on their abilities. Every year, the senior high concert band attends an adjudication to be judged on their performance. This year, the junior high concert band joined.  

“Adjudication is an event where the band performs and they are judged, usually by a panel of three judges,” director Mr. Butchy explained.  “They are judged on things like intonation, tone quality, rhythmic accuracy, musicality, things like that. Then they are usually given a rating. This year we did an adjudication without a rating. We got judged on our playing, but then the judges had a chance to work with us. They tried some different concepts with us.”

Mr. Butchy and the bands attended Thiel College a few weeks ago to be judged on two pieces of their choice. “We took the Junior High and Senior High bands this year. It was the first time the Junior High band has gone,” noted Mr. Butchy.  “Each group played two pieces and then the head judge, Andy Erb, the band director at Thiel, spent about 40 minutes working with the group on some musical concepts and other things that he heard. The other two judges also shared their comments with the group and gave them some suggestions for improvement,” said Butchy.

This is Mr. Butchy’s 7th year taking students to be adjudicated. In previous years, the students have gotten a number score on their performance. This year, they received extra personal help with one of the judges and comments on how to improve.

Junior Anna Bupp appreciated this change.  “It helped us entirely as a band, especially with dynamics. It was nice playing for different judges and having them help us become better musicians.”

Mr. Butchy agreed.  “It is a good experience for them to have some other people listen to them that are also music teachers. To get some feedback from them, I think, is really important. Plus it’s kind of nice to go somewhere else and perform besides here at our home building.”


A Taste of Reality

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By: Dominique DeVivo, Danielle Groves, and Taylor Reed

A Reality Fair took place on March 23 for both juniors and seniors. The purpose of this activity was to learn to properly manage money with a budget that students were presented with at the beginning of the task. Several stations were set up around the gymnasium that gathered the student’s money for certain necessities crucial for living. Every student had a different occupation with a monthly different starting rate.

With this initial money, each student had to save wisely and efficiently.  With limited time, the students went to every station and further decided what was the best option for them financially. Keep in mind everyone had different decisions that stemmed around the money presented at the beginning of the task, their credit score, and their family composition. By the end of the reality fair, some had extra funds while others had none. This put financial reality into perspective for the students, such as when to know a good stopping point for purchasing items.

Junior Chaslin Hoover noted that, “It was very helpful, especially since some of us did not know how to properly go about spending our money wisely.” Even though everyone had to participate in this event, some kids had a prior knowledge regarding money management. These students were able to give advice to others that may struggle with knowing where to start.

“I learned that maybe I should put off having kids for awhile,” laughed Alex Pherson.  

School counselors Ms.Garda and Mrs.Othites were two major influencers in arranging this exercise. They brought in several different stations from Utilities to Banking, Insurance, Food and Grocery, and many more, all of which raised students’ financial awareness.

“I think the program is great and also an eye-opening experience to the students,” said Mrs. Othites. “As I was talking to the students, it was interesting to see how they handled situations like an additional child, a refrigerator that broke, or a tax refund. It was much like ‘real life’ and all unexpected things that come your way. It seemed to me that the students also enjoyed this experience.”

“I thought that it was a great interactive way for students to put their knowledge into practice as they worked through a monthly budget, complete with ‘curve balls’ that life can throw at you,” concluded Ms. Garda.