Honor students plan D.C. trip

Community expertise sought for Chester Elementary's STEAM program

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  • National Honor Society students Michael Moore and Jolena Podolsky with Cathy Nelting, National Honor Society advisor, and Principal Denis Petrilak (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

  • Chester Elementary School Principal Cindy Walsh (left) with Cathy O’Hara, STEAM coordinator K-5 and math 4 and 5 (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

  • Athletic Director and Assistant Principal, Rolando Aguilar; Head of Guidance and Counseling, Francesco Accetta; retiring Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Richard Corrigan; Academy Principal, Denis Petrilak (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

In other school news

Box Tops for Education — Elementary Principal Cindy Walsh wants everyone with a ShopRite Price Plus Club card to register at shopriteformyschool.com, where dollars will be automatically credited to the elementary. Last year Chester Elementary earned $4,000 through the program, and Walsh hopes to repeat last year’s great record. School supporters should also save box tops: “Just give the Box Tops for Education to any elementary student," said Walsh. "The students like to bring them in.”
NBC coming to Chester Academy — Kevin Tibbles of NBC News will come to the Chester Academy Dec. 16 and 17 to do interviews at the school for the network's "America's Correspondent" series. “Chester has a great story to tell and they want to be in on it," said Cheser Academy Principal Denis Petrilak.
A talk with every student — Chester Academy's new guidance counselor Francesco Accetta said he's been in touch with every student and is building a base with students and their families, focusing on career opportunities and college visits. Accetta talked about the moving pieces of the college process as students transition through grades 6 through 12. The Chester guidance department posts events on the school’s interactive calendar. School Board President Frank Sambets said he likes “more attention to detail to hit every kid." Accetta said, “Kids need to know we care, that we are interested.”
Buildings Supervisor Richard Corrigan retires — Sambets and all his fellow board members lauded the retiring buildings and grounds supervisor, Richard Corrigan. Sambets said Corrigan was a great addition to the district: “He’s one of the family at Chester.” The board thanked Corrigan for his dedication and good work as they wished him the best during retirement.
School enrollment — Superintendent Sean Michel announced a total district enrollment of 1,068 students, with 120 of the students from Greenwood Lake. Michel said Greenwood Lake has countered Chester’s previously declining enrollment. “The addition of the Greenwood Lake students is certainly important," he said.
Personnel — The school board approved Frank Nardi as home instructor/tutor and Edwin Diaz for an extracurricular appointment for the current school year.

By Frances Ruth Harris

— The trip that Michael Moore, Jolena Podolsky, and other members of the National Honor Society will take to Washington, D.C., next year was discussed at the Nov. 12 school board meeting in Chester.

The students will be chaperoned by Cathy Nelting, honor society advisor, and Denis Petrilak, Chester Academy principal, from Jan. 28 to 31.

The honor society's Leadership Conference begins on Friday, Jan. 29, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City and includes sightseeing at the White House, the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Smithsonian.

On Jan. 30, students will attend a general session leading to workshops, seminars, and an idea exchange with dinner and more sightseeing.

The closing session on Jan. 31 includes breakfast and a general session. The bus leaves Union Station at 12:30 p.m. and arrives back at the Chester Academy at 7 p.m.

Of 24 honor society members, 15 showed a strong interest in the trip. The approximate cost is $400 per student, which may be defrayed by fundraising. The final payment is due on Jan. 16.

Learning gathers STEAMWhen preparing students for the new world of science and technology, you have to start young.

Cathy O'Hara, coordinator of Chester's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) program, said the target K-12 initiative begins in the elementary school.

O'Hara trained at the Boston Museum of Science and brings the museum's hands-on program, Engineering in Elementary, to students in Chester. The students also participate in an after-school coding club, where they learn computer programming. LEGO robotics is another popular program.

Anyone in the community who wants to share their STEAM career experience with students are encouraged to email O'Hara at cohara@chesterufsd.org.

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