Middle School “News and Notes” for November 2005
…From the Desks of Mrs. Labutta and Mr. Abdulovic
The Student Technology Club is back at the Middle School and stronger than
ever. The club, supervised by Mr. Kruth, meets three times a month and allows students
of various grade levels to explore different areas of technology. Students have started
projects in robotics, as well as design and woodworking. The club offers the opportunity
for students to delve into bigger, more in-depth projects that they could not normally
achieve in the time period of their Tech-Ed class. Soon the students will start to explore
the Middle School version of the T.S.A competitions to prepare them to compete in the
French Class Projects
French classes of all levels have been very busy with projects in November. The
eighth grade classes filmed an African folk tale called “Le Bras, la Jambe et le Ventre,”
in which a father allows his three sons to go out into the world. Two are selfish and
ungrateful, and even deny knowing their father when he later visits them. The third son
(Ventre) is very happy to see his father and arranges a huge feast in his honor. The father
makes the two ungrateful sons work for the third son. The moral of the story is that Bras
(Arm) and Jambe (Leg) must always toil and work to feed Ventre (Stomach).
Seventh grade finished retelling a historical tale of the exodus of the French from
Canada in 1755. Using small pictures as prompts, students told the story of Joseph
“Beausoleil” Broussard, a French Acadian who rose up against the English along with a
number of Acadian people, and escaped to southwestern Louisiana, where “Cajuns” still
live and flourish today.
Sixth grade finished retelling an animal story, “Le Chat et la Suisse,” in which a
chipmunk makes a narrow escape from both a cat and a dog. The story features opposites
in French, and students practiced retelling the story fluently by first telling their parents,
using small pictures as guides, and then retelling the story in class.
Fifth Grade Field Trip
Did you know that Native American tribes of the Northwest apologized to the fish
prior to killing it? Does the term “Three Sisters” mean more than a family reunion? Can
you tell whether a Hopi woman is married or unmarried by the way she wore her hair?
Students in the fifth grade learned these facts and many more during a recent field
trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland. The field trip on November
11 allowed our students to explore the culture of Native Americans through a series of
artifacts and exhibits. Guided by a docent from the museum, the students completed a
tour that allowed them to explore four different Native American tribes. Our students
took excellent notes which they will use along with classroom resources to write and
publish their own story about life with a Native American tribe. The field trip is directly
connected to both the social studies and science curriculum and certainly enhanced their
understanding of various aspects of the Native American culture.
The fifth grade teachers would like to extend their “thanks” to the 39 parent
chaperones whose assistance throughout the day helped to make this a safe and valuable
experience for all of our students! Finally, we extend a “pat on the back” to our students
whose good behavior and note-taking diligence impressed everyone at the museum, as
well as their teachers!!
French Club Dines Out
During the month of November, the French Club took two field trips to Crêpes
Parisiennes, a small restaurant in Shadyside, which makes authentic French crêpes with
either savory or sweet fillings. Owner and chef, David Handler, spent a number of years
as a chef in France and opened his own restaurant to showcase his culinary skills.
Students practiced using both knife and fork at the same time, as is culturally appropriate
in Europe, as they munched.
Eighth Grade’s November Report
(Submitted by the Eighth Grade Team)
Here’s a look at what is happening in the eighth grade during the month of
Language Arts: Students read Across Five Aprils, a novel set during the Civil War that
examines the conflicts faced by the Creighton family. Students continue to study the
parts of speech and created Prepositional Phrases posters.
History: Students concluded Western expansion and turned their attention to Secession
and the Pre-Civil War Era.
Science: Students started the unit on fluids, which includes demonstrations and labs.
Geometry: During the month of November, geometry students completed a unit on
geometric constructions and moved into a unit on discovering and proving various
triangle properties, including work with triangle similarities.
Algebra: Algebra students finished a unit on learning to solve equations and began a
unit on investigating the importance of proportions and proportional reasoning in every
Word: Students learned the necessary skills to format paragraphs. Then they produced
a book that applied both character and paragraph formatting techniques to their Tales of
the Strange and Mysterious Unit vignettes.
MATHCOUNTS: The MATHCOUNTS club is now in full swing and meeting every
Wednesday with Miss Balta and Mr. Keener.
Language Arts in Grade 7
Seventh grade students have been “as busy as bees” in their Language Arts
classes. They are improving their writing skills for the five paragraph essay by using
figurative language, writing with active voice “strong” verbs, using the thesaurus to
choose advanced vocabulary, and including transitions between details and paragraphs.
Additionally, the students have focused their attention on several short stories and poems
from their literature series that are centered around the theme of overcoming obstacles.
Such determined protagonists as Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki Tikki Tavi, Mildred Taylor’s
Logan family from Song of the Trees, and Anne McCaffrey’s Keevan from The Smallest
Dragonboy proved to students that diligence and self-pride can encourage people to reach
their goals. Seventh graders are also independently reading a novel of their choice for an
oral book report and will be encountering another strong-willed character in the
upcoming beloved tale, Where the Red Fern Grows.
6th Grade Earns Reward Party
As the first quarter ended, the 6th graders who had done well in completing all of
the required work in their core classes were treated to a pool and pizza party. The
students enjoyed this special opportunity to take a short break from their classes and to
socialize with their classmates. The entire class is now looking forward to doing a great
job on their work during the second quarter so that they can share in the next planned
Science You Can See
On November 1, 2005, students from several local school districts gathered at
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall to take part in the 2005 Faraday Lecture, sponsored
by the Spectroscopy Society. Dr. Clyde Clendaniel and Dr. Gregg Gould, with assistance
from select members of the middle school-aged audience, performed demonstrations
related to density, electricity, magnetism, and sound waves. Each hands-on experiment
visually represented the scientific concepts, and used common items, such as balloons,
hair dryers, bubbles, and dry ice (to name a few) to show the audience how science can
be seen. Two students from each school were given the opportunity to electronically
participate in the lecture by answering questions before and after the experiments were
completed to both introduce the topics and to informally assess what the students had
learned from the demonstrations. The following students attended the 2005 Faraday
Lecture: Keelen Collins, Dillon Haviland, Joe Vollmer, Kara Werkmeister, Marcus
Sherer, Josh Godwin, Jessica Barton, Andrea Berdusco, Tyler Manion, Aditya
Muralidharan, Jamie Bishop, Joelle Darby, Michael Fetchet, and Jessica Partyka.
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Annual Calcu-Solve competition was held on
November 8, 2005. Twenty-four teams of 7th and 8th grade students spent Election Day
solving challenging math problems both individually and in teams. Congratulations to
Adam Benton, Zach Fisher, Jason Hirsch, Richie Klimek, Eric Myers, Alex Speidel,
Keelen Collins, Dillon Haviland, and Joe Vollmer for representing South Fayette.
Special congratulations to Alex Aul, Andy Dobies, Tyler Houy, and Sean Jordan, who
finished the competition in second place.
The Middle School German Club held its annual Oktoberfest after school on
Thursday, October 20, 2005 in the food court and new center courtyard! This year’s fest
was bigger and better than ever! Club members planned many exciting activities.
• Essen und trinken (eating and drinking): Mr. Abdulovic grilled authentic
Bratwurst! Students enjoyed them with traditional Brötchen (hard rolls). They
toasted with fresh apple cider served up by Mrs. Hohn and high school German
student, Mike Grayburn.
• Kürbismalen (pumpkin painting): Students painted their own little pumpkins.
• Bretzelnmachen (pretzel making): Each student shaped his/her own pretzel and
sprinkled it with salt or cinnamon sugar. Mrs. Hannah and Mrs. Duff then
expertly baked them in time for students to eat before leaving. Thank you to the
generous volunteer parents who prepared the dough beforehand.
• Musikhören und Tanzen (listening to music and dancing): Students danced to
current German CD’s and their favorite selections. Mr. Young kindly served as
the official DJ.
German club members would also like to thank Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. Roseto, Mrs. Lally,
Mrs. Clayton and all of the parent volunteers who helped to make this event possible.
Social Studies “Guest Speaker”
A guest speaker attended Mrs. Andrew’s 6th grade Social Studies classes on
Monday, October 31st, and Tuesday, November 1st. The guest speaker was no stranger; it
was Mrs. Lepri, our sixth grade Language Arts and Instructional Support teacher! Mrs.
Lepri shared her experiences with the students after her return from Košice, Slovakia.
Mrs. Lepri will be moving to Slovakia in January and discussed the cultural similarities
and differences that she will encounter while living in another country. During the
presentation, students had the opportunity to convert currency, speak Slovak, and discuss
the importance of being tolerant of cultural differences. At the request of many of the
students, Mrs. Lepri will continue to share her overseas experiences with students after
her move via the internet.
Code Red Drill Conducted
On Tuesday, November 8, the middle school staff and students participated in a
lockdown drill known as a Code Red drill. Staff and students had prepared for this drill
in advance and did an excellent job responding to the announcement. All students and
staff remained silently sequestered in locked areas with lights off until the drill expired.
Although it was an uneasy feeling as Mrs. Labutta and Mr. Abdulovic walked through the
silent building to oversee the drill, it was good to see that the staff and students were well
prepared and reacted in an appropriate manner. As is the case with weather drills and fire
drills, this is a drill we hope never to need. However, we always want to be prepared.
Parent Advisory Council Meeting
The monthly meeting of the Parent Advisory Council was held in the middle
school LGI room on Wednesday, November 2. The featured topic discussed at this
meeting was the use of several forms of technology in the middle school. Mrs. Barb
Rickel and Mrs. Darcy Kotts, fifth grade math teachers, presented Homeroom.com and
demonstrated how it is used to differentiate math instruction in their classrooms. Eighth
grade teachers Mr. Mark Keener and Ms. Bethany Balta followed this with a
demonstration of Cognitive Tutor and how it is utilized in the 7th and 8th grade Algebra
classes. These comprehensive presentations were very informative, and our thanks go
out to these capable teachers for sharing this information with all in attendance.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 4, at 9:00 A.M. There is
no meeting in December due to the busy holiday season approaching.
Student Donates “Locks of Love”
It is not often that a student’s haircut becomes a part of the school newsletter!!
But an exception must be made in the case of 6th grade middle schooler Shelby Griffith.
Shelby really loved her long, blonde locks but when she heard of a way her hair could
actually be helpful to others, she decided it was time for her locks to be cut!
Shelby went on online and read about a program called “Locks of Love” and
decided she would like to be a part of it. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that
provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 18 years of age or younger
suffering from long-term medical hair loss. A donation form can be downloaded on line,
and Shelby even found out that Fantastic Sam’s will cut your hair and ship it all free of
charge. You must donate at least 10 inches of hair. Shelby’s donation was 12 inches!
Shelby says that she is “hoping Locks of Love will be able to give a needy child
her hair for Christmas.” She is now looking forward to growing her hair out so she can
Congratulations are in order for the following middle school band members who
were selected to perform in the PMEA Jr. High District Band, this February, at Trinity
Shannon Smith – Grade 8, Flute
Trent Kulus – Grade 8, Trumpet
County Meadows Volunteers
Saturday, November 12, was our monthly volunteer bowling day at Country
Meadows. We had a small but energetic group of middle schoolers helping out. In
attendance were: Grade 7: Johnny Fiumara, Jessi Greenwald, and Ryan Long
Grade 8: Alex Aul, Chris Muschar, and Jared Wilcox
Many thanks to Marie Long for staying and assisting. We appreciate all of
6th Grader Wins PA Fall State Wrestling Championships
South Fayette 6th grader Tyler Manion won the 2005 PAWF Fall Pennsylvania
State Wrestling Championships on November 13th at Lock Haven University. Tyler
wrestled in the Novice/80 pound class. The PAWF (Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling
Federation) is the Pennsylvania branch of USA Wrestling which is the governing body of
wrestling for the United States.
To qualify for the State Championships, Tyler entered the 2005 PAWF Butler
Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, October 8th and the 2005 PAWF Penn-Trafford
Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, November 5th. He took 1st place at both
tournaments. At the Penn-Trafford Tournament no other wrestler scored a point against
him. Congrats, Tyler!
Congratulations to Mrs. Andrew and her newspaper staff for producing our first
middle school newspaper of the 2005-2006 year. It arrived in our mailboxes and student
backpacks during the week of November 21. Great job!
Family Essay Winner Honored
Congratulations go out to Noel Burnisky, this year’s recipient of the Scottish
Rites Essay Contest. Noel’s essay reflected the importance of family in her life. Her
essay was selected from all entries in her class. Noel and her family were honored on
November 22, with a dinner at the Masonic Hall in Pittsburgh. Also in attendance were
Ms. McNally and Mr. Abdulovic to share the recognition with Noel’s parents. Noel was
presented with a certificate and a savings bond for her entry.
Students of the Month
Congratulations to the October Students of the Month. The theme for October
was “Most Courteous.”
FIRST NINE WEEKS HONOR ROLL
Congratulations to the following 7th/8th grade students who have attained honor roll status
for the first 9-week period of this school year. Students who achieve a 4.0 Grade Point
Average and above are placed on the Highest Honor Roll; students who achieve a 3.75
and above are placed on the High Honor Roll; and students who achieve a 3.25 and above
are placed on the Honor Roll.
Alex Aul Shae Rupinsky
Keelen Collins Katherine Terrell Brandt Schafer
Kara DeGrave Brooke Wise Bailey Seiner
Colleen Fleisner Aashil Shah
Jonathan Goodwill Honors Marcus Sherer
Dillon Haviland Brandon Bushmire Julia Snyder
Sarah Lander Shane Coyne Marissa Torre
Andrew Morelli Brandon Desmet Steven Torre
Shannon Powers Margot DiNicola Maura Vitelli
Lauren Sekelik Catherine Doane Stephanie Walsh
Shannon Smith Joshua Famularo Zoey Weiner
Brittany Venetti Alex Flynn Jennifer Welch
Kara Werkmeister Brianne Fontana Ashley Wilson
High Honors Elizabeth Gray
Angela Battistone Matthew Hardt
Emily Bishop Cory Hazy
Bailey Caffrey Tyler Houy
Alexis Carelle Hannah Iducovich
Sarah Casserly Emily Janocha
Andrea Clark Taylor Kerney
Briana D’Alesandro Casey Krivanek
Christopher Darby Michael Lamberti
Andrew Dobies Dustin Lunn
Amy Dunn Dominic Marasco
Chelsea Gaab Sara McElhinny
Ayla Gounder Steven McElhinny
Dustin Hancock Ryan McLuckie
Sean Jordan Bradley Oliver
John Krobot Katie Pruss
Trent Kulus Erica Quattro
Christian Mehok Caitlyn Rastetter
Jessica Segeleon Bridget Rosati
Maggie Mitchell Emily Rosati
GRADE 7 Honors
Highest Honors Caitlin Adair
Christine Aber Jonathan Albert
Allyson Becker Roger Antkowiak
Katlyn Becker Carly Anton
Adam Benton Tyler Bee
Christian Brumbaugh Ben Bryan
Nicholas Capozzoli Brandi Calhoun
Cameron Carlock Nicholas Carr
Tyler Chabalie Tyler Challingsworth
Nicholas Faraci Laken Cortese
Zachary Fisher Emma Dantry
Zachary Hannah Jeffrey Davis
Brian Harris Maria DeFelice
Dylan Kerney Geneva Fonzi
Richie Klimek Joshua Godwin
Bryan Meredith Nicole Grayburn
Eric Myers Jessica Greenwald
Cassandra Reid Laura Harper
Sayanti Saha Kevin Hickey
Amber Seibel Paige Hillen
Alex Speidel Nicole Hilton
Cody Stewart Heather Holeva
Steven Yuna Daniel Jenkins
High Honors Jessica Kountz
Jacob Belkin Chelsea Keehn
Albert Civitarese Bryan Kline
Natalie Davies Ben Meredith
Shane Davis Lucas Mortensen
Amanda DeFelice Brandon Nyswaner
Bobby Eichler Joshua Patterson
Nicholas Elder Athena Pikras
Jessica France Rebecca Radzik
Nicholas Frost Nicole Rodi
Sean Hart Alexis Rudisill
Jason Hirsch Amanda Schultz
Amanda Holmes Joshua Strothers
Stormy Hunter Paige Ullom
Kelly Kaupinis Taylor Uram
Ryan Long Alex Watson
Amber Morgan Elizabeth Waxter
South Fayette Aqua Club Competes at Bethel Park Meet
(information submitted by Kim Willis)
South Fayette has a swim club, in which there are over 50 kids ranging in age
from high school to elementary. Our season begins in early September and ends mid-
March, and is one of the longest sport seasons, and therefore, a large commitment is
made by those who chose swimming as their sport. Our team competes with more than
50 teams from Western Pennsylvania at swim meets that take place on weekends.
On November 12 and 13, the South Fayette Aqua Club competed in a weekend
meet held at Bethel Park High School pool. Thirty-two members of the South Fayette
Aqua Club attended this event along with over 200 swimmers from other clubs around
the area. We would like to congratulate all who participated in the meet. The following
is a list of those students who participated in this meet, and it is noted if they placed in the
top 6 next to their name:
Morgan Fink (3rd 100 Back and 6th 50 Back)
Sarah Glave (3rd 50 Fly, 5th 100 Free and 6th 100 IM)
Tia Graham (4th 100 Free)
Shawnie Jansen (1st 50 Breaststroke, 2nd 100 IM, and 4th 50 Free)
Kelly Kaupinis (1st 50 Free, 3rd 50 Breaststroke)
Gared Knight (2nd 100 Free)
Monte Lyons (6th 50 Free)
Jessi Partyka (4th 200 Free)
Shannon Potts (4th 50 Back)
Madison Raubaugh (2nd 100 IM, 3rd 50 Fly, and 4th 50 Breaststroke)
Mary Rosati (3rd 50 Breaststroke)
Sayanti Saha NO SHOW
Jessica Segeleon (1st 100 Breaststroke, 5th 200 Free and 6th 200 Back)
Steven Torre (1st 100 Free, 1st 100 Breaststroke, 1st 50 Free, 2nd 200 Free, 2nd 100
Back and 5th 200 Breaststroke)
Jonathan Walasik (4th 50 Breaststroke)
Mariah Wells (1st 100 Free and 3rd 100 IM)
Congratulations to all competitors for the effort they put forth to represent South Fayette
in this meet! Great job!
Parent Conference Day is December 12. Students will be bringing home the
Confirmation Form in their BACKPACKS. Please check the backpacks for your