The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 13, 2012

Geneva students spreading holiday cheer

Star Beacon

GENEVA — Geneva High School juniors and seniors are about to see if practice really does make perfect when it comes to performing well on college entrance exams. GHS is getting students to think ahead to getting into college and the standardized tests that go with that process. Teachers of core classes, English, math, social studies and science, will devote a little time each week to looking at and exploring sample questions from the American College Test (ACT). Since colleges and universities look closely at standardized test scores, teachers and administrators hope that all of our students will improve their own scores. Both students and teachers value this practice.

“I think the ACT preparation in the classroom is an integral part in student success on the ACT,” said math teacher Walter Lininger. “Math in particular requires practice in order to be successful.”

Math student Alyx Lynham said, “I remember freshman year, every day, in history we would go over sample questions, and I saw them on the ACT when I took it. I believe classroom time really helps.”

Congratulations to GHS students who have won distinctions for themselves and for Geneva High School. Senior David Smalley took first place in the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Speech Contest. He will represent the Geneva VFW in the district competition. This is not Smalley’s first year participating in the VFW speech contest.

“I got involved in the VFW speech contest because I felt it was a good opportunity to participate in something outside of school,” Smalley said. “The VFW contest gave me the opportunity to write and speak about topics I have a lot of interest in, like our nation’s military and Constitution.”

Smalley is not the only one representing GHS well. Sophomore Haley Dodge has been selected as GHS representative to the prestigious Hugh O’Brian Leadership Conference to be held May 31 through June 2 at The University of Mount Union.

This year Ashtabula County Continued Education Support Services (ACCESS) representative at GHS is Bob Josson. According to Mr. Josson, his immediate task is to focus the seniors’ attention on their post high school plans. For example when a student meets with him, they discuss whether or not the student has specified where he would like to do after graduation. Also, he encourages the students to take the ACT until they have reached the absolute best score they can attain. Mr. Josson has a message for all: “It’s not too late to dream big!”

Holiday cheer is ever present at Geneva High School, especially in David Yost’s Principles of Democracy classroom. Each senior will be doing a service project for which he will select a charity that he feels passionate about supporting, like the local Animal Protective League or the Susan G. Komen Research Foundation. The seniors will research the charity and report their findings in class to raise awareness and persuade their classmates to raise money for their specific charity. Students will then vote on the project they will support for the remainder of the school year.

“I think it is important for young people to understand the importance of being charitable, donating and giving back,” Mr. Yost said.

In addition to these special projects, GHS will again participate in the county Holiday Angels Loving Others (HALO) project. Local families will be selected through Catholic Charities in Ashtabula, and at least 20 families will have a Christmas they may never have imagined thanks to the generosity of GHS students. Nearly every first period class will be collecting toys, gift cards and other necessities to give to these families in need. Some students will pay to participate in a “hat day” and a “pajama day,” with all funds going to HALO to buy more gifts. One exciting addition this year is the Penny War, which gives students a caring way to spend their spare change and also brings on some friendly competition among the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Each grade gives pennies to their specific bucket, and sabotages the others by placing other coins or dollar bills in the opponent’s buckets. All gifts will be given to the families Dec. 21.

Members of the GHS Vocal Department will spread their cheer and love for the season throughout the community, offering not only performances, but smiles and beautiful music to brighten the winter months. Geneva’s Image Show Choir (GI’s) consists of 25 incredibly talented performers. These singers and musicians warm the hearts of many in about 20 locations during the holiday season. They will perform many classic Christmas songs, like “Carol of the Bells,” “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Let it Snow.”

One ensemble member, Christine Perko, really values the experience and when asked how she feels about the Christmas performances she said, “The most amazing part for me is being able to watch exactly how the vocalists pull in individual members of the audience and make connections with everyone present. The moment the first song starts, the whole energy of the room comes alive; people’s eyes light up, they sway to the beat, or even sing along to songs they know.”

The Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale will also be singing alongside the GI’s at the Holiday Choir Concert, to be held 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. They will be performing popular holiday songs and will end with the traditional “White Christmas,” where the alumni are asked to join the choir on stage to sing as one collective group. Geneva Eagle Christmas ornaments will be on sale for $10 each before and after the performance, and the profits will be used to help fund the spring competition trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Admission to this annual concert is free and open to the public.

Everyone here at Geneva High School wishes all of community, friends and neighbors a joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year.