The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 17, 2013

Geneva's new band uniform design unveiled

Star Beacon

GENEVA — January marks the beginning of a new year, and the students at Geneva High School are keeping as busy as ever. This month will provide an opportunity for everyone to use their brains, their talents, but most importantly, their “joie de vivre.”

Geneva’s best and brightest will have plenty to do. Starting this month, GHS is once again partnering with the Ashtabula Campus of Kent State University to offer ambitious juniors and seniors the opportunity to participate in dual credit classes. These students were able to choose from three different classes: College Physics I, Elementary Probability and Statistics and College Writing I. GHS will have 15 physics students, 27 statistics students and 22 English students participating in the courses.

Kyle Turk, a senior who took the dual credit English class in his junior year, believes the program is very beneficial. “For me, the class was a really positive experience. I learned writing in-depth, sentence structure and details, concepts I could not learn in any high school class. I would encourage other students to challenge themselves and participate in a dual credit class.”

For those students whose “forte” is not math or English, Geneva High School’s Annual Science Fair is quickly approaching. This event will be Feb. 6 at Geneva High School. If there is inclement weather, it will be rescheduled for Feb. 7. The Science Fair is open to the public from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.; judging will begin at 5:30 p.m. There will be about 160 participants, including students from the junior high and the high school. Students will be judged on several categories: knowledge achieved, thoroughness, use of scientific method, clarity of expression (presentation), and originality and creativity.

Students are required to fill out several forms to participate. The Institutional Review Board, consisting of school principal, Douglas Wetherholt; school nurse, Cindy Anderson; and science teacher, John Barbo; checks over submitted forms. Projects that deal with human subjects, bacteria, and dangerous chemicals and/or procedures are reviewed by the Scientific Review Committee. Members include: John Barbo, Mike Brennan and Rick Trice.

“Most of the projects we review have to do with bacteria. Most are not dangerous, but you never know, and that’s why we check. All of the projects we review are very interesting though. Every year we get very creative, very real-world projects and it’s encouraging to see students branching out,” said Barbo.

The maximum amount of points a student may earn is 40 points for an individual project or 50 points for a group project. Those students who receive top scores each year qualify to go to district competition. One such student is Mary Wessell. She has gone to both district and state competitions every year since she was in the seventh grade and has won numerous scholarships and awards. To her, the experience is worth far more.

“Science Fair is just a great experience,” Wessell said. “You get to practice important life skills like organization and presentation, and you really learn a lot about the field of science.”

This year, Wessell is as ambitious as ever, planning on completing a project about electricity. Perhaps she will get the chance to go to district competition again, which will be March 9 at Youngstown State, or state competition May 11 at Ohio State University. Good luck to all of the Science Fair participants this year.

Students who are involved in the fine arts have several things to be excited about this month, as well. Geneva High School Drama Department will be presenting their spring musical, “Happy Days.” The musical is based on the hit television series by the same name. The actors involved began practices on Jan. 7 and the technical crew will meet for the first time on Jan. 11. The Art Department will be assisting by making posters to advertise the show. Including the actors, technical crew and Art Department, there are more than 100 students involved in the production. The musical will be presented 7 p.m. March 8 and 9 and 2 p.m. March 10. Tickets will be $5 for students under 18, $7 dollars for adults, and will be sold at the door one hour prior to each performance.

Marching Geneva members are also going through an exciting time. As many alumni know, Marching Geneva has had the same uniforms for a very long time. About five years ago, members of Geneva Area Music Boosters Association decided it was time for a change, and began working very hard raising funds for new uniforms. Finally, there is enough money to buy 100 new uniforms, which will cost approximately $45,000. School custodian, Paul Dombrowski created the eagle design on the uniforms, so they are especially meaningful to the band members. On behalf of Marching Geneva, we would like to thank the community for their continued support of the program. Congratulations, Marching Geneva!

Community minded members of GHS Key Club will once again be participating in the 2013 Law Enforcement Polar Bear Plunge. The Plunge will take place at noon Feb. 9 at Breakwater Beach, Lake Road West, in Geneva State Park. Students will be accepting donations from sponsors and all proceeds benefit the Special Olympics program. In the past, about 40 students have participated, and Key Club adviser Kim Debacker is hoping that number will be even higher this year.

“A trophy is awarded to the school with the most participants, and even though the event is for a good cause, it would be nice to bring the trophy back to Geneva,” said Mrs. DeBacker. “It really is for a good cause. The students seem to really enjoy it and it’s a fun, positive experience.”

Eric Hagenbaugh, a 2012 participant, agrees. “The money raised is for Special Olympics, but it’s a lot of fun too. I’m excited to participate this year,” he said. If anyone would like to donate to support this event, please contact Kim Debacker. Her phone number is 440-466-4831, extension 4010, and her email address is

Finally, a reminder to all students and parents that counselors will be in all English classes during the first week in February to help students schedule their classes for the 2013-2014 school year. Also, Parent-Teacher Conferences will be 4:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25 and Feb. 27.