• Peirce Best Buddies Club Names PA Best Buddies Chapter of the Year

    Peirce Best Buddies Holiday Shop    Peirce Middle School Best Buddies Club  Peirce Best Buddies Club


    Congratulations to the Peirce Middle School Best Buddies club on being named the Pennsylvania Best Buddies Middle School Chapter of the year for the 2019-20 school year!

    Best Buddies is an organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition to the Peirce chapter, there are five other chapters in the West Chester Area School District – East High School, Henderson High School, Rustin High School, Fugett Middle School, and Stetson Middle School.

    "Best Buddies is more than an extracurricular activity," said Meaghan Stolnis, Peirce Life Skills teacher, and Best Buddies advisor. "It is a program that changes lives for all involved and helps cultivate friendship, compassion, and kindness. It brings out the good in people and brings true meaning to each and every day. Our youth have so much to offer, such amazing hearts and such goodness from deep down within. Best Buddies gives them the opportunity to share these gifts.

    Each year, Best Buddies holds two major events - the Friendship Walk and Best Buddies Ball. Unfortunately, both events were canceled last year due to COVID-19. However, club members were able to participate in other activities, including the Thankful for Friends Feast, Best Buddies Holiday Shop, and sock decorating for Rock Your Socks Day for Down Syndrome Awareness.

    Mrs. Stolnis added that Best Buddies members also spent their homeroom and lunch periods with students in the Life Skills program, emphasizing the importance of creating inclusive communities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Peirce Best Buddies Club  Peirce Best Buddies Thankful for Friends Feast  Peirce Best Buddies Club


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  • Peirce Middle School Competes in Virtual Future Business Leaders of America Competition

    Peirce Middle School FBLA Chapter   Members of the Peirce Middle School FBLA Chapter


    The Peirce Middle School Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (FBLA-PBL) chapter made an impressive showing in their first year at the organization's 2020 National Leadership Online Experience.

    FBLA-PBL provides relevant career preparation and leadership experience to help middle school, high school, and college students become community-minded business leaders.

    The newly created chapter placed 2nd nationally for the Community Service Project, led by rising 9th-graders Foram Shah, Maia DePasquale, and Trisha Prasanna.

    Individually, rising 7th-grader Danica Hailey Hung placed 7th nationally for Digital Citizenship, and rising 9th-grader Eesha Jadhav placed 10th nationally in the Critical Thinking category. At the national level, FBLA-PBL recognizes students who place in the top 10.

    Peirce students also took home a variety of awards at the state level:

    Peirce Middle School - 1st Place, Community Service Project
    Alexander Cortes - 2nd Place, Career Exploration
    William Cortes - 3rd Place, Business Math & Financial Literacy
    Maia DePasquale - 3rd Place - Career Exploration
    Danielle Hung - 1st place, Career Exploration; 2nd Place FBLA Creed/Code of Ethics/Pledge
    Eesha Jadhav - 1st Place, Critical Thinking
    Trisha Prasanne - 3rd Place, Business Etiquette
    Wesley Pron - 1st Place, Introduction to Computer Science & Coding
    Foram Shah - 1st Place, Digitial Citizenship
    Marykate Stepchuk - 1st Place, Sports & Entertainment Management Concepts

    Due to COVID-19, this FBLA-PBL's National Awards Program was forced to go virtual. More than 8,300 students competed in the various tests and presentations at the national level.


    Future Business Leaders of America logo


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  • Eighth-Grader Fights for Himself & Others with Rare Genetic Syndrome

    Joe DiAntonio (left,) Nathanael Ogden, Tim Ogden Mr. Joe DiAntontio (left,) Nathanael Ogden, Tim Ogden

    Nathanael Ogden is your average 13-year-old. He has a younger brother, Jackson. He likes to read and play Dungeons & Dragons, enjoys board games and logic puzzles, and is running for vice president of his eighth-grade class at Peirce Middle School.

    He also has something the majority of his peers don’t have: a white cane. Nathanael has lost 95% of his vision over the last 10 years. But there’s one more important thing he has: the spirit of a fighter.

    Before he was born, Nathanael was diagnosed with Bardet Biedl Syndrome (BBS,) a rare genetic disorder. 

    Never heard of Bardet Biedl Syndrome? You're not alone. It is a rare syndrome that affects about 1 in 250,000 people in North America. According to bardetbiedl.org, people with BBS have a defect in the way their cells communicate with each other. It's a complex syndrome with a wide range of symptoms and a lot of variation from person-to-person. However, usually, people with BBS have low muscle tone, impaired kidney function, hampered senses, and vision loss.

    Nathanael's parents, Tim and Catherine Ogden, first became aware that something was wrong with their baby during a 26-week ultrasound. The scan revealed that his kidneys were three times larger than they should have been, which Tim says is also indicative of a fatal kidney disease.

    "We were told he wasn't going to live,' says Tim Ogden.

    The couple went to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for a follow-up and doctors concluded that the baby most likely had BBS.

    "They couldn't say definitively, but they were like 'Yeah, we think we know what this is.' Honestly, it was a huge blessing because most people will spend years trying to get a diagnosis for their child. It made a big difference."

    Enlarged kidneys weren't the only symptom of BBS for Nathanael.

    "Cilia are essentially the radio antennas of our cells. They are responsible for sending and receiving signals from cell to cell," explains Tim.

    "When they break down, messages get garbled, or they don't get passed and, his kidneys didn't stop developing. He was also born with 24 digits for the same reason. His body made a pinky but didn't receive the message to stop, so it made another one. He was born with six toes on each foot, and seven fingers on his left hand."

    Nathanael also had to deal with poor muscle development, speech problems, and dietary issues. All things he works on with pure grit and determination, and the aid of occupational, physical, and speech therapists. Nathanael has also learned to read braille and how to use a cane to help him navigate while walking.

    "You never find him feeling sorry for himself or discouraged. It's always just 'This is what I have to do. This is my next task.'" Tim says of Nathanael.

    And, preparing for the next task he is. On Sunday, September 29, Nathanael and Tim will tackle the third annual Rocky Ride for Bardet Biedl Syndrome. The trek begins at Uptown Worthington in Malvern and winds through the Chester Valley Trail to the Schuylkill River Trail concluding at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And, of course, the journey would not be complete without a triumphant run up the famous art museum steps.

    The money raised from the Rocky Ride goes to support the Clinical Registry Investigating Bardet Biedl Syndrome (CRIBBS.) The registry consists of slightly over 500 people in the world diagnosed with BBS and helps researchers to develop effective and targeted treatment for those with the syndrome.

    In the first year, the Rocky Ride raised $25,000. In year two, it raised nearly $35,000.

    Funds raised from the Rocky Ride also support gene therapy research at the University of Iowa.

    "Researchers have identified 23 genes associated with BBS. When research first began, there was only one. Four of them account for roughly 80 percent of people with symptoms of BBS. Those four genes are now part of a standard genetic testing panel which allows for a much earlier diagnosis. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier services can be secured, and a plan can be put in action," says Tim.

    "All of the research that has been done is exciting. When Nathanael was born, it felt like there was nothing and now, what we've been able to do over 13 years...It feels like there's a lot of hope for people now." Tim & Nathanael prepare for the first Rocky Ride in 2017.

    Preparing for the task of riding 30 plus miles is a challenge. Tim and Nathanael spent a good part of the summer in training. They use a tandem bike for each of their training rides, which last anywhere from 15 to 25 miles per trip. Physical activity is a crucial part of Nathanael's care. Another symptom of BBS is the body's inability to recognize when it is full from food, so his parents keep a close eye on his diet and physical activity. Nathanael takes medicine to control his appetite.

    "We've ridden a total of 165 miles since August in preparation for the Rocky Ride," says Tim.

    For Nathanael, he enjoys the time with his father and feels a strong sense of accomplishment. "I like being able to do the bike ride itself. It's nice to be able to do exercise such as this," says Nathanael.

    One hundred sixty-five miles is a lot of ground to cover. How does he find the energy?

    "I don't know," he laughs.

    All of Nathanael's senses are degenerating to some degree, with vision loss being the most severe. According to his father, in first grade, he could see. Nathanael is now legally blind. He does the majority of his schoolwork on a computer screen with assistive technology.

    "All of it has to be magnified and high contrast. It gets harder and harder, and then the question is - at what point is it more work to have him be able to see the screen as opposed to transitioning him to braille?" says Tim.

    The Ogdens are humbled by the community support they have received.

    "The biggest thing for anyone in the community to do is just to be there. A big part of having a child with a rare disease is the isolation. The feeling that no one knows about this, that no one understands," says Tim.

    Families from across the West Chester Area School District are joining them for the ride.

    "We're going to be barreling down the Schuykill River Trail - all 30 of us in red t-shirts to show that Nathanael doesn't have to do this alone. It's a big deal."

    One repeat rider is Joe DiAntonio, Nathanael's principal at Peirce Middle School. DiAntonio will be riding with his son, who is a seventh-grader at Stetson Middle School.

    "Nathanael is so special to our school," says DiAntonio. "He is everything that is right about Peirce. We want to support him in any way that we can. His attitude is so positive and the way he interacts with people. You just want to be around him."

    Despite Nathanael's positive attitude, do Tim and Catherine ever question why this happened to their child?

    "Absolutely. You can't get away from that. He lost the lottery. It was this totally bizarre thing that my wife and I had these genes that we didn't know we had. It's hard as a parent. You always want the best for your child."

    For Tim, it was important to find something that he could do with his son and for other families with BBS. He helped start and is currently the president of the Bardet Biedl Syndrome Foundation, which provides support for families affected by the syndrome in North America and around the world.

    "We're not really raising money for Nathanael. We are raising money that's going to benefit people in the future who have this syndrome and so he gets the feeling that there is something he can do. It's not about what he can't do, but what he can do to make the world a better place and help others," says Tim.

    Tim and Nathanael drew inspiration for the Rocky Ride from the Rocky movies. The main character's attitude of determination is ever-present in Nathanael.

    "Rocky doesn't win that first fight, but he still does it," says Tim. "That's the message that I want for Nathanael.

    Nathanael's moto? "Keep pushing through it and try to find ways to be happy."

    For more information on Bardet Biedl Syndrome, or to donate to the Rocky Ride, visit www.bardetbiedl.org/rockyride


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  • Peirce & Henderson Kids 4 Kids Club Prepare Meals for Safe Harbor

    Perice Kids 4 Kids Club  Henderson Kids 4 Kids Club

                         Peirce Kids 4 Kids Club                                                                                                Henderson Kids 4 Kids Club

    Students from Henderson High School and Peirce Middle School donated their time during the month of January preparing meals for Safe Harbor of West Chester.

    Safe Harbor is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to provide housing, food, and access to support services in a structured environment for homeless single men and homeless single women in Chester County.

    Student members of Henderson and Peirce's Kids "4" Kids service club students gathered on two separate occasions at The Kitchen Studio at Pine Street in West Goshen and spent the afternoon preparing chicken and potato casserole, chicken fajitas, salad, freshly baked rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. The food served approximately 40 people.

    In addition to preparing meals, the Peirce students also made Valentine’s Day cards which will be sent to sick children through Cards for Hospitalized Kids. Headquartered in Chicago, this international non-profit organization’s mission is to spread hope and joy to children undergoing medical treatment.

    Kids “4” Kids is a service club that plans events throughout the year to help others, including raising money for non-profit organizations that help children. Visit www.kids-4-kids.org for more information about the group.

    The Kitchen Studio at Pine Street opens up it showroom to local organizations and businesses for fundraisers, networking events, kitchen demonstrations, wine tastings, book groups, Bunco nights, and more. To inquire about hosting an event at The Kitchen Studio, call 610-430-3333.


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  • Middle School Students Learn About Developing a Digital Consciousness

    Richard Guerry talks to students at Stetson Middle School about developing a digital consciousness

    Every generation claims to have it tougher than the generation before them, but at least the current generation can learn from the mistakes of previous ones. The first digital generation, however, which is all of us, doesn't have that luxury. We are the digital pioneers, the digital trailblazers, the laboratory rats for the creators of digital technology. We make digital decisions every day, some good and some bad that will help to shape future generations and the choices they make in the digital world.

    That message was at the core of "Public and Permanent," an award-winning presentation delivered to West Chester Area School District middle school students by Richard Guerry, the executive director of the non-profit Institute for Responsible Online and Cell Phone Communication (IROC2).

    More than 2,300 students from Fugett, Peirce, and Stetson Middle Schools attentively listened as Guerry gave an eye-opening presentation about how useful and powerful digital tools, like smartphones, the internet, and social media can be when one develops and lives by a "digital consciousness." Abuse them and the chances of creating a self-inflicted, sometimes life-altering event spike significantly.

    "Every day, through all of our actions in a digital world, what we do when we turn these things on," said Guerry holding up a smartphone, "is create statistics. We create statistics of both promise and pitfalls for the next generation to learn from. The goal here today is to help all of us help the next generation to become one of the many statistics of promise, not pitfalls."

    Guerry calls "public and permanent" the Golden Rule of the 21st Century that evolved from a fundamental guideline we all learned as children, "playing with fire can burn." While it is not guaranteed that you will get burned if you play with fire, your chances increase if you do.

    Students heard about a series of digital missteps, such as the University of Iowa teaching assistant who was supposed to send test scores to her class, but instead sent nude photos of herself; a young athlete who ruined his chances of playing football for the University of Michigan because of a series of explicit tweets; a woman who accidentally sent nude photos of herself to her boss on Snapchat. The list didn't stop there.

    Guerry is not anti-technology, internet, or social media. He is quite the opposite, which is why, in 2009, he shut down his internet marketing firm and created IROC2. In 2009, Guerry gave a presentation on sexting to a middle school in New Jersey and that’s when his life changed.

    "I was asked to speak to middle schools students in New Jersey about sexting. After I left that school and saw how little everyone in the room knew about technology, I was petrified. I thought to myself, what is out there for kids? There was a lot of great stuff, but it was all reactionary. Why wait for people to get in trouble and then have an assembly about it? It doesn't make any sense. So, after about a week of research, I thought something has to change. We can't just keep going like this."

    From that moment on, Guerry was committed to sharing the golden rule of the 21st Century. He doesn't tell people to steer clear of digital tools; he advises them to use them responsibly.

    "Ask yourself, 'Am I okay with what I'm doing and saying in a world built for communication going public and permanent?'"

    Guerry says the "public and permanent" rule is not an absolute truth; rather it is more of a guideline. He suggests that users of digital technology perform a risk assessment that is available on the institute's website www.iroc2.org.

    "It's all about risk levels. When people start oversharing things (online), and the people they don't want (to see those things) take an interest, now you have a risk spike. You're basically raising your risk off the line of billions of people. It doesn't mean that something bad will happen to you, it's just that you are now raising your risk."

    "Risks go up when you abuse a powerful tool - any tool. Fool around with the most powerful tools on the planet that connect us to each other and a billion other people instantly, and risks go way up.  Use that powerful tool to your advantage."

    The digital space is all about "instant knowledge, communication, and permanence," which comes at a price. Guerry calls social privacy an oxymoron and says as speed and convenience in communication goes up, levels of privacy go down.

    Public and Permanent is far from just doom and gloom scenarios. Students did hear about some positive examples of responsible digital usage, such as the story of a high school student from Massachusetts who credits his creative Twitter campaign with helping him get accepted to UCLA.

    In addition to performing an online risk assessment, Guerry offered other tips during a special parent presentation. Guerry, who has a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter," says he uses the training wheels approach with his kids when it comes to technology.

    "My daughter is about to get a flip-phone. My son started with a flip-phone. They work their way up. Whenever they start something new, I ask them questions. Like gaming for instance, 'who would you talk to, what would you say?' Sometimes he got it right, and sometimes he got it wrong. It's a teachable moment. It's about constant communication and evaluating their maturity levels."

    For more tips and information about the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication, visit www.iroc2.org.

    Click here to access more information from Richard Guerry's presentation, Public & Permanent.


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  • Peirce Middle School Holds Annual Kids for a Cure Walk

    Peirce Middle School Holds Annual Kids for a Cure Walk

     Lori Fratinardo and Carol Demarco

    Students at Peirce Middle School recently held their annual Kids for a Cure Walk-a-Thon to raise money for cancer research. The funds raised are donated to the Abbey Rodkey Memorial Fund and the Susan G. Komen Foundation Breast Cancer Research Center.

    This year's walk was extra special due to the participation of guidance counselor Carol DeMarco and Life Skills teachers Lori Fratinardo. Both women are breast cancer survivors.

    Kids for a Cure Began in 2008 in honor of Abbey Rodkey, a Peirce 7th-grader who passed away from brain cancer in 2007. The money donated to the Abbey Rodkey fund is used to purchase gift cards that will be delivered to children fighting cancer at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Neuro-Oncology Unit where Abbey received treatment.

    Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a bold goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.


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  • Peirce & Henderson Hold 7th Annual runFar  Peirce & Henderson Fusion Clubs

     Fusion & Henderson Fusion Clubs

    The Fusion Clubs at Peirce Middle School and Henderson High School raised over $3500.00 for orphans in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia at this year's runFar event. The event was held on June 1st at Henderson and featured a one-mile run/walk, 4 x 400 coed relay, and a Best Buddies race. Awards were handed out to the fastest runners.

    This year marks the 7th-year students have raised money for runFar, bringing the total amount raised to over $30,000.

    RunFAR (Run For African Relief) is an initiative of Covenant Mercies, a PA-based nonprofit with programs in Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia that provide for the physical and educational needs of orphans living there.

    Boys Mile Run  Girls mile race Best Buddies Race


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  • Peirce's Kids 4 Kids Club Raises Money at Charity Yard Sale

    Peirce Middle School's Kids 4 Kids raises money with charity yard sale.

    Members of Peirce Middle School’s service club Kids “4” Kids held their 5th annual charity yard sale on May 5, raising nearly $3500 for five different non-profit organizations.

    For the past several months, members of the Kids “4” Kids club have been busy organizing the charity yard sale and collecting donations from family members, friends, neighbors and the school community. Hundreds of items were collected, and Saturday’s sale brought out lots of shoppers looking to score a deal – and support a great cause at the same time! Children were also treated to a bounce house and a bake sale during the event.

    This year’s sale raised $3498.21, the largest sale the group has had since it was founded in 2013. All funds raised will be donated to five charities chosen by the students: Best Buddies, the Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children, The Dax Locke Foundation, BBS Research, and Family Lives On.

    Since Kids “4” Kids was founded in 2013, the organization has raised close to $10,000 for non-profit organizations that help children.


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  • WCASD School Board Approves New Principal for Peirce Middle School

    The West Chester Area School District's Board of Directors approved the hiring of Joseph DiAntonio as principal of Peirce Middle School at their monthly meeting on April 23, 2018.

    DiAntonio replaces Dr. Geoffrey Mills who resigned from his position this past winter.Joe DiAntonio

    "This is a culmination of my educational career," said DiAntonio. "It is an unbelievable opportunity coupled with a great challenge. To be able to lead and serve a building like Peirce is incredibly important to me and I look forward to the challenge.”

    The extensive selection process involved nearly 80 candidates, both internal and external to the District and multiple rounds of interviews.

    DiAntonio has been in education for the past 20 years. He began his career in the Upper Darby School District and then spent time at Rose Media School District and Garnet Valley School District before coming to the West Chester Area School District.

    "Joe DiAntonio’s primary focus is on students and their well-being.  Every decision is made with student learning as the ultimate goal.  He will be an excellent leader for the Peirce students, staff, parents, and community," said Jim Scanlon, superintendent of the West Chester Area School District.

    DiAntonio has served as assistant principal at Rustin High School for the past five years.

    "I've been very fortunate to have worked with outstanding teachers and strong administrators and counselors at Rustin that have helped to broaden my experiences in terms of working with students and being effective in meeting their needs."                                                                                                                         

    DiAntonio and his wife, Christine reside in Westtown, with their three children who attend Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School. DiAntonio is very active in the community, volunteering his time with Eastside Little League, West Chester Lacrosse, and the West Chester Juniors Basketball League.

    DiAntonio will take over for interim principal Dr. Michael Lecker beginning July 1, 2018.


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  • Peirce Pride for Westside

    Peirce Middle School Students vs. Faculty basketball game.

    Peirce Middle School's 8th annual Students vs. Faculty basketball game was a big success, raising more than $1300 for the Westside Community Center of West Chester! Spectators packed the house and cheered loudly during the close game, which the faculty ultimately won by a score of 51-49.

    The money was raised through ticket sales, snacks and t-shirt purchases, a half-court shooting contest, and cash donations. 7th-grader Travis Hampton won the half-court shooting contest and earned a $50 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods.

    Meghan Greim was named game MVP.

    "This was the most successful charity basketball game we've had," said event sponsor and Peirce teacher Megan Hoopes-Myers. "This event could not have been possible without the support and dedication of the students, faculty, and administration!"


    Game MVP Meghan Greim    Students pose for a picture before the game  Game Refs


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  • Peirce English Language Development International Luncheon

    Peirce ELD International Luncheon   Peirce ELD International Luncheon

    Peirce ELD International Luncheon                                               Ivan Tellez and Mr. Zickler

    English Language Development (ELD) students at Peirce Middle School recently spent some quality time with teachers at the school's annual ELD International Luncheon. The gathering is a culmination of a weeks-long project where students selected a staff member to compare to a famous person that they read about in a biography of their choosing. Upon completion of the book, students had to write an essay, in English comparing and contrasting their selected teacher to the person featured in their book.

    "Writing the essay was a huge task for many of our students, but with scaffolding and support they were each able to do it," said ELD teacher Jenny Kinch.

    Kinch's classroom was festively decorated for the event. Dishes prepared by the students and their families lined the table offering a taste of the cuisine from the students' respective homelands. As students and staff sat side by side enjoying their meals, students quizzed the teachers about their essays. Prizes were awarded to the pair that correctly answered the most questions.

    6th-grader Ivan Tellez and Peirce Tech Ed teacher Cody Zickler were among the winners. Tellez was a student in Zickler's manufacturing class. He compared Zickler to Thomas Edison.

    "Thomas Edison was an inventor and liked to make stuff, and so does Mr. Zickler," said Tellez. "He taught me how to make pretty much anything. He's my favorite teacher."

    "I was very honored to be chosen for Ivan's project," said Zickler. "I'm almost as smart as Edison, right, Ivan? " Zickler joked.

    The goal of the ELD program is to develop English language proficiency and cognitive academic language proficiency in ELD students so that they can function independently in the mainstream classroom setting. ELD students in the West Chester Area School District represent over 40 different languages and countries.

    Peirce ELD International Luncheon   Peirce ELD International Luncheon


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  • ELL Students' Pumpkin Design Project

    English Language Development (ELD) students at Peirce Middle School worked on their pumpkin design projects with Mrs. Kinch on Halloween. Students decorated their pumpkins and then wrote a short narrative describing their pumpkins. There were three categories - funniest, scariest, and most creative. Staff members were invited later in the day to vote for their favorite pumpkin. The project was a great way for students to practice their writing skills and expand their vocabulary. They all did a fantastic job! 

     Funniest Pumpkin Most Creative Scariest Pumpkin Funniest Pumpkin
     Funniest Pumpkin  Most Creative  Scariest Pumpkin Funniest Pumpkin
     Anni Zhang  Saade Salaman Maclara  Ashley Leyva Angela Zamora Can



      ELD Pumpkin Design Contenst   Pumpkin Design Contest   Pumpkin Design Contest



    Pumpkin Design Contest   Pumpkin Design Contest   Pumpkin Design Contest


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  •  Peirce Teacher Nominated for Philly Mag's Best Teacher Award

                                                                   Meghan Stolnis and students

    Peirce Middle School teacher, Meghan Stolnis, has been named finalist for Philadelphia Magazine's Best Teacher Award.  The publication put out a call for nominations for outstanding teachers in the Greater Philadelphia area that go above and beyond their job descriptions. After receiving an overwhelming amount of submissions, the magazine's editors selected the Top 5 finalists.  The grand prize winner's school will receive $5,000 and a book donation.

    Voting is now open!  Please click on the link below and cast your vote for Mrs. Stolnis.

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  •  Peirce Middle School Teacher Wins Award                                                              Peirce Middle School Teacher Wins Award 

                                                                              From left - Dr. Jim Scanlon, Dr. Judy Maxwell, Mrs. Cindy Diffendall, Dr. Geoff Mills,

                                                                                       WCASD School Board Vice President Sue Tiernan, WCASD School Board member Dr. Karen Hermann

    Peirce Middle School social studies teacher Cindy Diffendall is the middle school recipient of the 2017 Citadel Heart of Learning Award.  The award recognizes teachers in Chester County who show excellence in the classroom and make a difference in the lives of their students, their families, and the community.  

    “I am so appreciative of receiving this year’s Citadel Heart of Learning Award for middle school,” said Diffendall.  And while I am this year’s recipient, I honor all the dedicated teachers, staff and administration who deserve recognition for the differences they make every day in their students. They continue to inspire not just students, but me as well!

    “Middle school is not easy for students and my goal has always been to make a safe, pleasant learning environment where students can take risks without the fear of failing, added Diffendall.  “Thank you to my current and former students for their laughter, energy, efforts and awe-inspiring thoughts and questions that enable us to learn together. I will continue to nominate my outstanding colleagues so they can experience this wonderful honor as I have.”

    Thousands of nominations are submitted each year by students, parents, and community members and 15 finalists are selected.  The finalists received $500 to use in their classroom.  Three winners are selected out of the 15 finalists - one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school teacher.  The winners received an additional $1,500 to use in their classroom.  

    “Mrs. Diffendall is a shining example of the fine teachers we have at Peirce Middle School and in the West Chester Area School District, said Peirce Principal Dr. Geoff Mills.  “It’s a pleasure to work with her every day and witness her tireless efforts to educate and inspire our students to achieve their personal best.  We are all incredibly proud of her!”

    The awards were handed out at a ceremony on May 9th at the Desmond Hotel.

    The Citadel Heart of Learning Award was created in 2001 by Citadel and the Chester County Intermediate Unit.


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  •  Peirce Holds Marathon Event, Benefits Dragonfly Forest Camp

    Peirce Middle School Dance Marathon 

    Peirce Middle School students and staff recently coordinated their first-ever dance marathon, which raised nearly two-thousand dollars for Dragonfly Forest Camp.

    Coordinated by Peirce’s Student Council, Wellness Team, and a newly established Dance Marathon Committee, students and staff could often be found after school creating marketing materials, preparing decorations, and even practicing their dance moves.

    Dance MarathonHeld inside the school’s cafeteria, more than 140 students participated in the four-hour long event, which featured a DJ, lots of music and dancing, healthy snacks, merchandise sales, a funny photo section, and the popular Penalty Box. Students could purchase a Penalty Box ticket, then deliver the ticket to a friend at the dance marathon. The ticket required the friend to go to a roped-off area in the cafeteria, put on funny hats or costumes, and remain there for 15 minutes - or pay four dollars to leave.

    Dragonfly Forest Camp is no stranger to Peirce Middle School – proceeds from a school fundraiser held the prior year benefitted the organization. “I attended Peirce’s Alley Oops for Autism Students versus Faculty Basketball Game last spring, and was incredibly impressed by the school spirit, energy, and enthusiasm displayed by all of the students and staff,” said Kristin McMaster, Director of Dragonfly Forest Camp. “We were excited and grateful to learn we would be the beneficiaries of the school’s first-ever dance marathon.”

    At the end of the marathon, students gathered to find out how much money had been raised. A grand total of $1,839.50 had been collected over the course of the event, all of which will directly support the camp.

    “I hope the students, faculty, and staff that participated felt a sense of community, and understood the importance of giving back,” said Megan Hoopes-Myers, a Peirce Middle School teacher who helped coordinated the dance marathon alongside teachers Denise Lorback and Tara Weaver.

    Dragonfly Forest Camp is a non-profit organization that provides summer camp opportunities at no cost to children with medical needs. To learn more about Dragonfly Forest Camp, visit dragonflyforest.org.

    For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or tdukert@wcasd.net.

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