The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 31, 2013

St. John continues to expand, not only building but new programs, staff

For the Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — With the location of St. John School being recently changed, the school has made many positive additions to help make a smooth transition. St. John has been very active in the arts, enhancing programs such as the Art Club and Drama Club. Last year, the Drama Club performed “Godspell Junior,” which included students from grades kindergarten to 12. In the past, Art Club has worked on projects for the Ashtabula Arts Center and Festival of Trees and has plans to do so again this year.

The art students are currently working on a mural in the band room. Since last year, a kiln has been added to the art room, expanding the opportunities to express their creativity through different mediums.

“Art Club is very active in our school community and the kiln will be a great addition to our program,” said Mike Zullo, Art Club president.

Accordingly, the Drama Club is very eager to start the year. Brand new stage curtains make for exciting times for theater at St. John. Kindergarten through sixth grade students are performing “Yes, Virginia.” The high school is still unsure of their show, but is ecstatic about the new program.

Not only have clubs been enhanced, but the school has welcomed new Heralds. New this year to St. John's staff is English teacher Mark Saylor. His unorthodox style of teaching keeps his students on their toes and make them excited and interested in literature.

Saylor, 23, is from West Middlesex, Pa., and attended Westminster College. Always having a passion for teaching, he prefers to add a bit of flair and non-traditional teaching styles to his classroom, such as standing on top of his desk during lessons.

“I'm very passionate about teaching, and I think it really comes through during my lessons. Whether I am frantically writing on the board or pointing at my students I am energetic and positive,” said Saylor as he teaches authors including Whitman, Shakespeare and Twain.

Saylor has received nothing but positive feedback from students and staff. Math teacher Sister Sally Huston said, “I've heard that Mr. Saylor brings many gifts to our school. Although he's much different from our previous English teacher Jennifer Allan, Mr. Saylor is a great addition to our school!”

As 10th-grade student Jacob Emerson walked to class he said, “He is a great teacher. I really enjoy his class.”

In the spring of 2013, students had their first lunch in the new cafeteria. Students said leaving the basement, where they had previously been having lunch while the addition was under construction, was bittersweet after having eaten there for almost a year. The Heralds were apprehensive about transitioning to the new space.

Junior Ben Czuchra said, “I think it's a major upgrade and advancement for our school, plus it’s air conditioned!”

Not only has the addition served as a great cafeteria, but it has held several other occasions such as the reception for the National Honor Society induction this year, a Mass before school began, and the 2013 prom. The school looks forward to getting more use from the new addition and continuing to enjoy pasta Wednesdays.

School president Sister Maureen Burke reiterates that St. John will continue to progress not only in student organizations, clubs and revitalizing the new St. John location, but in all facets.