The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

School Columnists

April 19, 2012

Jefferson teacher wears many hats, but organizing the talent show one of his favorite acts

JEFFERSON — The excitement is palpable as the stage lights brighten and the curtain rises to introduce Jefferson’s annual High School Talent Show and the commonly acknowledged senior class clowns that have dutifully volunteered to host it. The show begins, smoothly without a hitch. Multiple acts grace the stage, mostly musically, some comical, all entertaining. As the night commences most remark on the memorable moments and endless entertainment, but behind the school’s most coveted tradition is a man who feels the gratifying sensation of relief.

Michael Barney seems to be at the center of every school function at Jefferson Area High School, and the annual talent show is no exception. Barney, once just a judge, is the adviser of the talent show. Long before the main event he must acquire the funds for prizes and review all potential acts, as well as promote the show.

“I am in charge of planning and organizing all acts. I am behind the stage during the show making sure all students are prepared and ready to perform on stage,” said Barney.

Like many, Barney anxiously awaits spring, not only for the hopefully warmer weather, but to see Jefferson students showcase their many unique talents. Barney is especially fond of the music acts, whether a student boldly takes on a solo, or a band displays their hours of practice in their garage.

“I love it. I look forward to it every year. Prior to becoming the adviser and in charge I made sure I was a member of the judges every year,” said Barney.

While Barney is obliged to present an annual talent show, he also understands that the students, as well as many members of the community, look forward to the yearly event. Barney describes the talent show as an opportunity to let  Jefferson High School students share their vocal, instrumental and comedy talent with their peers and community. The majority of Jefferson residents and students attend the show, after paying their $6 ticket, of course. Many teachers strive to become a judge and decide which acts should receive one of the four money prizes, ranging from $25 to $100.

Five judges are chosen from the Jefferson Area High School staff. The first is principal John Montanaro. The next, a former theater arts teacher and current English teacher, Rebecca Reese. The third judge is the school’s vocal music teacher, Kelli Olesky. The fourth prestigious judge is a Falcon Follies board member, drama adviser and director of the spring play, Seanna Butler. The last judge is Student Council director, Green Team adviser and Spanish teacher,  Stacey Hinkle.

While the talent show is no doubt a stress to bear, Barney is also involved with many other school activities, clubs and publishings. Barney teaches the most diverse and modern classes offered at Jefferson Area High School. His courses range from Digital Imaging, Web Design, Keyboarding, Accounting and Computer Applications. Barney is very involved in all of his classes and with the help of his projector, is a very hands-on teacher. Also, to further education outside of the classroom, Barney conducts many field trips in a year to match the criteria of the certain class.

Besides his expansive workload in the classroom, Barney takes on other tasks. Barney is the yearbook adviser, which is arguably his most important and demanding duty. With a team of very few upperclassmen, Barney is challenged with the task of creating Jefferson’s high school yearbook. Although, it does not seem that demanding, Barney must tirelessly be accurate and organized, like coaxing seniors to turn in their adorable, yet embarrassing baby pictures as well as their “senior” pictures. Barney is also the adviser for the Senior Leadership Club. SLC includes high school seniors and encourages philanthropy. SLC does various activities, such as the Big Brother/Sister Program, as well as fund-raising the school’s Powder Puff Game and Talent Show, among other things.

Seniors especially admire Barney as he is their class adviser. He also helps plan prom, the dance and the long-awaited graduation. Regarding graduation, Barney is responsible for ordering all caps and gowns, as well as decorating the gymnasium. Barney also oversees the senior class selections, such as song, flower and motto.

Considering all he does for the school, students and community, many regard Barney as indispensible to the district.


Text Only
School Columnists
  • Grand River Academy reporter GRA graduates offered thousands of dollars in college scholarships

    With the class of 2014’s graduation on May 24, seniors at Grand River Academy celebrated a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Students from many different backgrounds have had a year full of college applications, standardized testing, and periods filled with anxious waiting for college and university acceptances. Some may have applied to as few as two schools, others applied to as many as 16. Ranges of colleges include small liberal arts schools to large state schools, highly ranked universities to community colleges. While students may choose different paths to reach their goals, all have the opportunity to begin that path by attending college.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lakeside High School reporters Lakeside fund-raiser for cancer research has personal impact on those who have loved ones with the disease

    Every color of the rainbow was seen at Lakeside High School this month. The first Lakeside Loop, “Color for Cancer” took place on May 9 in honor of many special causes. Students could be seen racing around the campus, covered in various shades of powdered paint. Each participant possessed a personal story regarding his decision to take part in the event.

    May 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Jefferson High School reporters Jefferson High School students join with elementary classes for Friendship Walk activities to teach healthy eating, fitness

    The second week of May marks Wellness Week for the elementary schools of Jefferson Area School District. For an entire week the elementary students put a special focus on eating healthy and getting active during the school day. The students participated in a plethora of events including walks to the high school football stadium, games and outdoor activities, and listening to speakers from the Ashtabula County Health Department, as well as a physical therapist, on nutrition and taking care of the body. To make this week even more fun, district nurse Peggy Savarese, along with the faculty of Jefferson high school and Jefferson elementary school worked together to plan an event called the Friendship Walk.

    May 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • A-Tech A-Tech students learn practical tips on managing their personal finances

    The Social Studies Department at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus held their annual “Personal Finance Week” May 5 through 9. The week is designed to give students real-world experience in finance including their credit reports and credit score, checking and savings accounts, investment accounts and retirement savings, purchasing an automobile and obtaining a loan, the advantages and disadvantages of renting and buying a home, and obtaining a mortgage loan.

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pymatuning Valley High School Academic Boosters host breakfast for PV honors students

    Principal Dan Jackson in accordance with the Pymatuning Valley Academic Boosters hosted an annual Principal’s Breakfast to honor high academic achievement. Qualifications include being on the honor roll for the first three nine weeks, which means students must have a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average. Students must also have at least a 95 percent attendance record along with maintaining a clean discipline record. Students who meet the requirements then receive an invitation for both themselves and their parents in the mail.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. John School St. John seniors enjoying final days of high school

    Senior year is such a bittersweet time in one’s life. It is a huge milestone as well as a great accomplishment. There are so many things going on. As the end of the year is rapidly coming to a close, it is finally becoming surreal. The last month at school at St. John is all about the seniors.

    May 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Geneva High School Save lives by donating blood at GHS drive

    Geneva High School is giving its students and the community a chance to make a difference by giving blood today. Every two seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion, and just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Geneva High School’s blood drives have earned it second place out of the high schools in northern Ohio for donations. This year, adviser Jessica George hopes to finally beat Sandusky High School, which has been number one for the past 10 years.

    May 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edgewood Senior High School Edgewood introduces new STEM program

    Edgewood Senior High School conducted its first ever STEM Fest on Wednesday in the Edgewood cafeteria. This “science-fair” based activity was held to introduce the new academy program that will be in effect next year. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The science and math departments conducted projects and experiments to take part in the fest.

    May 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand Valley High School reporters State-mandated evaluations a new way for teachers to set goals, review their students' progress

    Among the several other new additions to the Grand Valley High School this year are the Student Learning Objectives, otherwise known as SLOs. Student Learning Objectives are state-mandated evaluations to determine the proficiency with which students learn the material of the course. Essentially, they are goals teachers set for their students, and at the end of the school year, they reflect how well each teacher accomplished these goals.

    May 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Conneaut High School reporters Conneaut National Honor Society members celebrate spring with trip to the 'windy city'

    On April 25 Conneaut High School National Honor Society students ventured to Chicago. The trip was organized by NHS adviser Emily Wacker. Students returned home early in the morning on April 28. Despite the students being exhausted from the trip, they enjoyed many unique activities. Those who were not afraid of heights rode the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier and saw a spectacular view of Chicago from high in the sky. The John Hancock Observatory also provided one of the best views of Chicago and its skyline. A boat ride on Lake Michigan was also a highlight of the tour.

    May 8, 2014 2 Photos

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video