• Stetson Students Win Big at Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition

    Congratulations to Stetson Middle School for their impressive showing in the 2020 Mordechai Anielewicz Holocaust Creative Arts Competition. Seven students submitted winning entries in the 7-8 prose category and the 7-8-poetry category. This year marks the first year a Stetson student entered a submission into the poetry category; the fourth year in a row that a Stetson student placed first in the 7-8 prose category; and the third year in a row Stetson has swept the 7-8 prose category.

    The winners are: 

    Jacqueline Aleardi Annika Franson Jennifer Ely Anna Barrett Finnian Martino Naomi Johannesen Ava Laffey

    1st Place, 7-8 Prose

    2nd Place, 7-8 Prose

    3rd Place, 7-8 Prose

    Honorable Mention
    7-8- Prose
    Honorable Mention
    7-8 Prose

    1st Place, 7-8 Poetry

    Honorable Mention,
    7-8 Prose
    Jacqueline Aleardi  Annika Franson  Jennifer Ely  Anna Barrett  Finn Martino  Naomi Johannesen  Ava Laffey

    Please click on the student's picture to read their winning submission.

    The winning students all received Barnes & Noble gift cards and certificates.

    The Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Jewish Community Relations Council. The annual event encourages all Philadelphia-area middle school and high school students to learn about and reflect upon the history of the Holocaust. Students are invited to submit Holocaust themes and lessons through essays, poems, short works of fiction, two-and three-dimensional, as well as multimedia works of art, original songs, musical compositions, and dance. The contest is named in memory of the young leader who led the Jewish revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.


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  • Guests Speakers Offer Advice on Different Pathways to Career Success

    Local entrepreneurs recently paid a visit to Stetson Middle School's family and consumer science and technology education classes to teach students about the different pathways to career success.

    Speakers included Captain Brian Burlingame, who spent 20 years as a pilot for the United States Navy, with combat missions in Kosovo and Desert Storm. He was also the commanding officer for Patrol Squadron ONE at Whidbey Island, Washington, leading a diverse workforce of over 300 personnel with worldwide national security responsibilities; and worked as the chief operating officer for the United States Naval Academy. Captain Burlingame is the founder of BlueStar Ventures, a federal- and state-recognized Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business. BlueStar Ventures offers expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including business consulting, computer programming, general contracting - - electrical, energy efficiency assessments, change management, corporate sustainability and responsibility, communications, and diversity training.

    Students also heard from Eric Seamen, a West Chester East graduate, who played football for the University of Pittsburgh, and Dominic D'Ambro. Mr. Seamen taught in the WCASD for ten years in addition to serving as a coach. He regularly volunteers his time helping student-athletes and teaching students about his business, Riggtown Pizza in West Chester.

    Mr. D'Ambro is the owner of Dine Aglow Diablo- Food Service Fuels, located in Phoenixville, Pa. He spoke to students as part of the entrepreneur/personal financial growth unit in Family and Consumer Science. He shared examples of the company's products, as well as advertising and marketing strategies. He also discussed the importance of having a competitive edge to set your business apart from the competition.


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  • Stetson Middle School Embarks on a Kindness Journey

    Author Lisa Barrickman talks to students about acts of kindness Author Lisa Barrickman talks to students about acts of kindness


    September 2, 2019

    Students at Stetson Middle School are embarking on a kindness journey. For the next 40 days, students and staff members have been challenged to carry out acts of kindness throughout their day.

    When students head back to school on Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday, they will find a Kindness Calendar hanging in each classroom. The calendar will be filled with weekly themes and daily kindness challenges. Some of the ideas include - leave a note of encouragement in the locker of someone who is struggling; ask a senior citizen to tell you their life story; tell a parent or sibling why they matter to you.

    School administration decided to launch "40 Days of Kindness" after staff members read the book "The Case of Kindness - 40 Ways to Love and Inspire Others" by West Chester licensed professional counselor, certified secondary school counselor, and author Lisa Barrickman.

    "Heather Selgrath, one of our guidance counselors introduced us to the book," says Dr. Charles Cognato, principal of Stetson.

    "This initiative is an extension of our Upstander Program. There is a lot of conflict in the world, and we want to ensure our Stetson family is filled with kindness."

    To kick off the kindness challenge, Dr. Cognato invited Barrickman to come to the school on August 29 and speak to all 870 students.

    "When you think about kindness, think about the ABC's," encouraged Barrickman.

    "'A' stands for all. Kindness is for all.  'B' stands for big. Even a small act of kindness makes a big difference. The 'C' is for choice and contagious. Kindness is a choice. It is something that we intentionally do. Once we do it, it spreads like mad. Kindness is contagious."

    During the assembly, Barrickman asked students how they could be kind. Students responded with helping someone find their classroom and open their locker, and reaching out to new students to make them feel more comfortable.

    Throughout the 40 days, students will write down acts of kindness that they received or performed for each week on post-it notes. The notes will be displayed in the hallways of each wing of the school.

    Barrickman says the 40-day initiative is just the beginning of the kindness journey for most students.

    "I've been to some schools at the end of their kindness initiative, and some of them have expressed sadness that it was ending. I tell them, it's not over, this is now the beginning. I think if kids do something kind every day and really try to build that habit, I do feel like it can have a lasting impact. Kindness initiatives are really almost a kindness training, where they are building up their 'kindness muscle.' It changes the way that they view things."


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  • Stetson Raises School Record Amount for American Heart Association

    Hoops for Heart fundraiser Hoops for Heart fundraiser

    Stetson Middle School set a school record for the amount of money raised through the annual Hoops for Heart fundraiser. Students and teachers collected $6781.00 benefitting the American Heart Association (AHA.) Donations total $67,042.25 since the school began raising money for the AHA 13 years ago. Most of the funds raised were generated by the student entrance fee for the 32-team co-ed basketball tournament. The tournament consisted of five rounds of single elimination games.

    "It was a total team effort," said Erin Listrani, Stetson physical education teacher, and Hoops for Heart coordinator. "Our students showed tremendous school spirit and competition in their grade level basketball tournaments and were responsible for the majority of our fundraising. Our staff raised $465.00 in a staff raffle. Student Council was a huge help throughout and raised $300 at the 6th-grade dance. Rustin student-athletes volunteered as referees, and the PTO supported this fundraiser by providing funds for the DJ and prizes."

    Listrani gave a special thanks to 6th-grade geography teacher Gerald Busz who raised an additional $122.00 with his "Buzz Busz" contest. For $1.00 per chance, students were able to enter for the opportunity to cut the teacher's hair. 

    Hoops for Heart is designed to teach young adults about teamwork and the spirit of volunteerism while educating them about the importance of exercising regularly to keep physically fit. All proceeds will benefit medical research education and community service programs of the AHA in the Pennsylvania region.

    Hoops for Heart Fundraiser Hoops for Heart fundraiser

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  • Stetson Basketball Teams Raise Money For Pancreatic Cancer Research

    Stetson Boys and Girls Basketball Teams  Check Presentation for Pancreatic Cancer Research

                     Stetson players and coaches gather for a postgame photo                           (L-R) Gianna Mayoros; Raelyn Loper; Chester County Hospital Representatives                                                                                                                                                            Karen DeStefano and Ashley Kopp; Jaysin Huynh; Ian Schlesinger

    Members of Stetson Middle School's boys and girls basketball teams joined forces during the 2018-19 school year to raise money in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

    Students sold refreshments, snacks, and purple pancreatic cancer awareness bracelets at various Stetson winter sporting events and raised additional funds during a mixed intrasquad friendly "Purple Game" played in front of students, staff, and parents.

    The two teams raised over $1,000 which was presented to the Chester County Hosptial Foundation.

    "A big shout out to your school community for your outstanding efforts! We are very appreciative of your support," said Lara J. Connolly, director of development for the Chester County Hospital Foundation.

    According to the Hirshberg Foundation for pancreatic cancer research, pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. The disease is often diagnosed in its later stages, lowering survival rates.


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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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  • Stetson Students Win First Place in WCASD Middle School Wind Turbine Competition

    Stetson Middle School wins first place in the WCASD Middle School Wind Turbine Competition Mr. Kelly (left,) Paulina Ulyanova, Cacilia Rollet, Alex Welter, CJ McCune, Kyleigh Blohm, Emma Dredge, Mr. Paris.

     Stetson Middle School students Paulina Ulyanova, Cacilia Rollet, Alex Welter, CJ McCune, Kyleigh Blohm, and Emma Dredge won first place in the West Chester Area School District's annual Middle School Wind Turbine competition. The competition is designed to help students learn about the effectiveness and limitations of wind energy technology while competing against their fellow students in an environment that is encouraging and supportive.

    Students worked together in teams to design, build and test a functional creative wind turbine. The entries were judged on the efficiency of the wind turbine, innovative design, and the quality of construction in comparison to other teams.

    According to the American Wind Energy Association, 20 percent of the country's electricity could be produced by wind by 2030.


    Students test the efficiency of their wind turbine.  Students build their wind turbine.  Students submit their wind turbine data to see where it rates on the efficiency scale.


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  • Stetson Students Sweep Holocaust Writing Competition

    8th-grade students display their certificates after winning Holocaust writing competition. Michael Vitullo (left), Maria Hromcenco, Abigail Gallo, Davis Patel

    8th-grade students from Stetson Middle School made a strong showing at this year's Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition, sweeping the 7th/8th-grade prose writing category. Awards were handed out at a ceremony at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia on June 4.

    -Michael Vitullo won first place for his short story titled "Pathway to Freedom." Click here to read this essay.

    -Maria Hromcenco won second place for her short story titled “Swift Deer.” Click here to read this essay.

    -Abigail Gallo won third place for her short story titled “Corrupted Innocence.” Click here to read this essay. 

    -Davis Patel won an honorable mention, for his short story titled “Liberation.” Click here to read this essay.

    All four students received a certificate and gift cards to Barnes & Noble for their winning entries. A total of 13 students from Stetson Middle School submitted entries to the competition.

    The Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Jewish Community Relations Council. The annual event encourages all Philadelphia-area middle school and high school students to learn about and reflect upon the history of the Holocaust. Students are invited to submit Holocaust themes and lessons through essays, poems, short works of fiction, two-and three-dimensional as well as multimedia works of art, original songs, musical compositions, and dance. The contest is named in memory of the young leader who led the Jewish revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.


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  • Stetson Middle School Annual Hoops for Heart Fundraiser

    Stetson Hoops for Heart participants jump for the ball  Stetson Hoops for Heart players battle for control of the ball  Hoops for Heart players drive for the net  


    Students and staff at Stetson Middle School raised over $6500 for the American Heart Association (AHA) during the annual Hoops for Heart fundraiser. This year's donation is the highest to date and brings the total amount raised over the past 12 years to $60,261.25.

    Hoops for Heart is designed to teach young adults about teamwork and the spirit of volunteerism.

    "The fundraiser allows us to reinforce parts of our health and physical education curriculum with the goals of the American Heart Association," said Erin Listrani, Stetson physical education teacher, and Hoops for Heart coordinator. Disco Ballers vs. the Underdogs

    "It's an amazing feeling to see our students support such a great cause while having fun and getting exercise. Many of students really go above and beyond to make this fundraiser so special, year after year."

    Eighty-eight student teams, grades 6-8, entered the round-robin style tournament. The co-ed teams consisted of four players. Each student donated a minimum of $10 to participate.

    Many students led fundraising efforts of their own leading up to the event which was held on May 18. "The Disco Ballers" held a bake sale with items donated by 8th-grader Ella Harrison, who owns her own cupcake business - Sprinkles & Sparkles. Her teammates Chris Canterino, Kurt Fails, Abby Gallo, Kate Lockhart, and Brienna Spano also provided baked goods for the sale. The raised an additional $201.00 for AHA.

    Another team, "The Underdogs," (Maddie D’Ambro, Alexys McClain, Ally Black, Brendan Duffy, Nick Burdumy, and Justin Liu) raised an extra $170.00 for the AHA by collecting money from family and friends. The funds were matched by a corporate donation from Dine-Aglow Diablo. Listrani said many other students contributed donations from family members in honor of loved ones affected by heart disease.

    In addition, students were able to purchase basketball hearts through Stetson's student council to show their support. Student Council donated the money they made to the fundraiser. Money was also raised through a staff raffle.

    "Everyone at Stetson is very supportive of this annual event, especially our administrators Dr. Cognato, Mrs. Puchalla, and Mr. DeWitt," said Listrani. "We couldn't do it without the help of the Stetson PTO which provided money for student prizes and the DJ. The Stetson Unified Arts teachers are an integral part of the day, along with the 8th-graders who referee the 6th and 7th-grade tournaments. Rustin students also volunteer their time to referee with the help of Rustin Athletic Director Chris Lunardi. It really is a team effort!"

    Dr. Cognato tosses t-shirts into the crowd  The man behind the minion takes a break!  The Dunkin' Dinos mascot hypes up the crowd


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  • Stetson MS 7th-Graders Create Winning Wind Turbine

    Emma Dredge and Kyleigh Blohm display their winning wind turbine.

    Emma Dredge and Kyleigh Blohm display the rotor blades of their winning wind turbine

    Congratulations to Stetson Middle School 7th-graders Kyleigh Blohm and Emma Dredge on winning April's Kidwind challenge. The monthly national contest challenges students to build a device that converts moving wind into electricity. To be successful with their design, students must utilize the engineering design process. The process is a series of steps that engineers follow to come up with a solution to a problem. It involves testing, modifying and redesigning.

    Blohm and Dredge's technology education class was learning about alternative energy and sustainable design, so they used compact discs as rotor blades. Their wind turbine had a 20 percent efficiency rating.

    The KidWind Challenge is designed to get students excited about the promise and opportunities of renewable energy (specifically wind power) and its relationship to global climate change.


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  • Stetson Basketball Teams Raise Money to Help Fight Prostate Cancer

    Stetson Middle School Donates Money to the Chester County Hosptial Foundation in support of the fight against prostate cancer Jake Jaszcz (left), Argel Pettit, Ashley Kopp (CCHF), Karen DiStefano (CCHF), Ella Harrison, Laney Costin, Marissa White

    The Stetson Middle School boys’ and girls’ basketball programs, with help from the entire Stetson community, raised nearly $730 for the fight against prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men after skin cancer, but it can often be treated successfully. The money was raised through sales of soft pretzels, bottled water, and multicolored cancer awareness wristbands during games. Also, the teams engaged in a mixed, intrasquad “Blue Game” with all players sporting blue socks and temporary blue ribbon tattoos to show their support.

    The money was presented to Ashley Kopp and Karen DiStefano of the Chester County Hospital Foundation at the Stetson 8th-Grade Winter Sports Assembly on March 13. The funds will be used in the local community to increase prostate cancer awareness and help those suffering from the disease.


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  • Peirce - Stetson Annual Pink Game Benefits Unite for HERPeirce - Stetson Pink Game  

    Fundraising efforts for Unite for HER remain strong at Peirce and Stetson Middle Schools. This past November marked the 7th annual Pink Game which is the culmination of a two-week-long fundraising campaign for the organization. Students at both middle schools raised over $14,000 through pink t-shirt sales, restaurant dine-in donations, and raffles. The fundraising efforts led to a friendly game of football between the two schools complete with players, coaches, and spectators awash in pink. All proceeds were donated to Unite for HER.

    This year's game carried special meaning for the Peirce community as one of their own battles breast cancer. Guidance counselor Carol DeMarco was on-hand for the coin toss at the beginning of the game. Mrs. DeMarco was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the start of the school year.

    The Chester County-based Unite for HER helps fund and deliver complementary therapies that support the physical and emotional needs of those with breast cancer during their treatments and beyond.

    “Stetson Middle School and Peirce Middle School are two of 64 schools that raise money for our organization," said Unite for HER Special Events Manager Cameron Cotrufello. "We're honored to be an annual part of their school events and look forward to the spirited rivalry at the football game each year."

    Since its inception, Unite for HER has grown from helping 24 women through one hospital affiliation to helping nearly 1,200 women and partnering with a total of 36 cancer centers and hospitals.Carol DeMarco Coin Toss


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  • Stetson Middle School Gets New Scoreboard

    Stetson Middle School Scoreboard Ribbon Cutting Michael Wagman (left) WCASD Dir. of Technology, Assist. Superintendent Dr. Bob Sokolowski, Stetson Assist. Vice Principal Mrs. Mary Kay Puchalla, Superintendent Dr. Jim Scanlon, Avery Wetzel, Curtis Wetzel, Amanda Wetzel, Jackson Wetzel, Stetson Assist. Vice Principal James DeWitt, Dir. of Secondary Education Dr. Sara Missett, Dir. of Elementary Education Dr. Tammi Florio, Dir. of Pupil Services Dr. Leigh Ann Ranieri, Stetson Principal Dr. Charles Cognato, Assist. Director of Facilities & Operations James Whitesel


    Thanks to a generous donation from the Wetzel Family and Garnet Ford of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Stetson Middle School has a brand new high tech scoreboard. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday, November 10, 2017. The project began two years ago when Mr. Wetzel and other parents asked school officials about the possibility of installing a scoreboard so they would know the score of a game without asking the coach or referee. After many discussions, everyone agreed that it would be nice to have a scoreboard, but due to the cost of the project, it wasn't feasible. Mr. Wetzel generously offered to pay for two scoreboards. The main scoreboard rotates 360 degrees to accommodate Stetson's baseball, field hockey, and lacrosse games. There is a second scoreboard that is angled for viewing from the football field and lower soccer field.


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  • East and Stetson Students Participate in TasteBuds Philadelphia

    East High School freshman Grayson Norbury has a passion for cooking, and that passion has led her to TasteBuds, a unique signature event run by Best Buddies International. Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that pairs volunteers with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities to form lasting friendships and provide employment and leadership development opportunities.

    This year marked the first year for TasteBuds Philadelphia, which was held on November 7th at Sugar House Casino. The event matched talented chefs from the Greater Philade;phia region with a "buddy" from various Best Buddies chapters in the area who served as "sous chefs" for the evening. Attendees had the opportunity to sample the chefs' creations. Grayson was paired with Chef Ryan Bloome from Terrain in Glen Mills.Grayson Norbury prepares pizza dough

    Their dish? “Flatbread pizza with a soft, whipped cheese, wilted kale, and squash." said Bloome.

    Grayson and Chef Bloom met this past Monday at Terrain to prep for the event. It was the second meeting between the pair, and Grayson’s eyes lit up with excitement as Bloom led her to the kitchen. Within moments of coming up with a game plan, Grayson began to move around the kitchen and prepare the ingredients with the concentration, confidence, and ease of a seasoned chef well beyond her 15 years.

    Grayson, who was diagnosed with autism when she was 18 months old, has been baking since kindergarten. "It started with simple, store bought cookies that you just slice and bake," said Grayson's mom, Carrie Norbury. "She loves to bake. It has become very routine for her. Grayson is a routine girl, so we bake every day after school."

    Grayson's favorite recipe is chocolate chip cookies, but she also loves to make cakes and cupcakes. Her red velvet cupcakes were a fan favorite at Stetson Middle School where her baked goods were offered on the school's coffee cart.

    "Nothing made your day more than Grayson's red velvet cupcakes," said Stetson Middle School Special Education teacher Patti Smith.

    Smith spent three years as Grayson's teacher, and when she learned about TasteBuds, she knew she had to get Grayson involved.

    Grayson and Josh Norbury "I can't think of anyone more appropriate for TasteBuds than Grayson," said Smith. "She is such an individual. She has so many strengths. She loves cooking; she loves her family; she loves adventure. She is quite an amazing young lady with no fear."

    In addition to her love of cooking, Carrie Norbury said her daughter has an adventurous spirit.

    "She is very physical. She loves to swim and climb. She repelled down a waterfall in Costa Rica. She is artistic and very creative. She has an incredible patience for the things that she is interested in. She is still working on her communication pieces and can't always tell us what she is thinking, but we really get a glimpse of what is happening inside her by watching her create in various ways. It’s really neat to see through that window.”

    Chef Bloome enjoyed working with Grayson. His father has taught special education for the last 20 years, and Bloome said he was raised to be an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When he first met Grayson, he was struck by her love for cooking.

    "This (TasteBuds) is the perfect event for her to do. She’s comfortable in the kitchen, which is great."

    Mrs. Norbury acknowledges that Grayson has her challenges and is always appreciative when people are patient with her.

    "She’s not the easiest person to get to know. She has a hard time socially and with communication. She’s a sweetheart, and she's a really neat kid, but it does take some patience to get to know her.”

    “I hope that she is always a happy and well-adjusted person," Mrs. Norbury added.  "I feel that in our situation, in our family, a diagnosis of autism has been less traumatic because she’s a happy kid. She has her challenges and her struggles, but she is happy, and she does well. It is my hope that she can be independent and always surrounded by people who love and care for her and that she just continues to enjoy life.”

    Stetson Middle School student Emma Dredge was also at Tuesday night’s event. Emma was nominated for Best Buddies Champion of the Year for 2017. The 12-year-old is an officer of the Stetson Middle School Best Buddies Chapter and the youngest person to be nominated for Champion of the Year. With a strong dedication to raising money for Best Buddies, Emma was recognized as one of the top fundraisers for the organization.Emma and Jennifer Dredge

    Emma first learned about Best Buddies through Annie Seagraves, her 5th-grade art teacher at Penn Wood Elementary School. She loves being involved with Best Buddies.

    “It makes me happy to see them laugh and have fun,” said Dredge. “Sometimes it is difficult for people with disabilities to make friends, but when you look at them, you know what’s in their heart. They care for everyone. They might be shy at first, but just talk to them and interact with them.”

    Emma’s mother, Jennifer Dredge, was glowing with pride over her daughter's accomplishments.

    “I’m so proud of her. She has such a passion for wanting to help others, despite having health problems of her own,” said Dredge.

    Dredge said Emma suffers from extreme allergies and autoimmune issues, and as a result, they make regular trips to the Children’s HosRyan Bloome, Grayson Norbury, and Emma Dredge pital of Philadelphia for treatment.

    “She constantly thinks of others and puts their needs before her own.”

    Emma’s generous spirit is infectious. Her older sister Jenna joined the Best Buddies chapter at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where she is currently enrolled. In addition, plans are in the works to start a  chapter at Rustin High School where Jennifer Dredge’s other daughter, Kayla is a freshman. There are five Best Buddies chapters in the West Chester Area School District – East High School, Henderson High School, Fugett Middle School, Peirce Middle School, and Stetson Middle School.

    “I have always taught my daughters the importance of community service,” said Dredge.

    The money raised through TasteBuds will help sustain the 55 eastern Pennsylvania Best Buddies chapters in addition to supporting the development of the organization’s new Citizens Program that matches adults with disabilities in one to one friendships with community volunteers.

    “The Citizens Program is so important because these kids need support once they graduate,” said Jennifer Dredge.

    To learn more about Best Buddies, log on to www.bestbuddies.org.


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  • Stetson MS Student Stars in People’s Light Production of Lights Out

    Dayshawn Jacobs

    Dayshawn Jacobs

    It can take years of soul searching before one discovers what they want to be when they grow up, but Stetson Middle School student, Dayshawn Jacobs already knows.  He has his sights set on Broadway, and he is on his way. The 8th grader is currently starring in People's Light production of Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole.

    Jacobs, who plays a young Nat King Cole and Billy Preston in the production, got wind of the part last summer when he participated in Summer Stage. He said the audition process was "nerve-wracking" but he is happy he got the part.

    "It's really exciting to be part of the production and work with big-time actors," said Jacobs. The production also features Dulé Hill as Cole and Daniel J. Watts as Sammy Davis Jr.

    Jacobs has been singing for a while and made his theatrical debut last year in Stetson Middle School's production of Aladdin.

    Jacobs said he would sing around his home for fun and his mother would record him and post his performances to Facebook. After receiving a lot of encouragement from friends and family, Jacobs's mother signed him up for weekly voice lessons.

    Always on the go, Jacobs devotes his time to his education and his passion for performing. In his spare time, he likes to play basketball, football, lacrosse, wrestling, and run track.

    According to peopleslight.org,  Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole tells the story of what Cole faced "after his groundbreaking NBC variety show failed to attract a national sponsor, and he famously declared that “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.” In this theatrical exploration into the soul of an American icon, Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor imagine Nat as he faces his final Christmastime broadcast, and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” This world premiere, replete with hits and holiday standards like “Nature Boy,” “It’s A Good Day,” “Unforgettable,” and “Joy to the World,” also features appearances by Eartha Kitt and Peggy Lee."

    Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole runs until December 3rd. For more information and tickets, log on to www.peopleslight.org.


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  • Stetson Student Wins Holocaust Arts Competition

                  Sarah Jewett and Grace McCabe                             Grace McCabe and family

                          Sarah Jewett, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (left)                                                     Sarah Jewett (left), Grace McCabe and family

                          Grace McCabe, Peter Stolzer


    Eagerness and persistence paid off for Stetson Middle School student Grace McCabe. McCabe, who will enter 9th grade at Rustin High School this year, recently won first place in her age group in the Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Jewish Community Relations Council.

    The competition is an annual event designed to encourage all Philadelphia-area middle school and high school students to learn about and reflect upon the history of the Holocaust. According to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, students are invited to submit Holocaust themes and lessons through essays, poems, short works of fiction, two-and three-dimensional as well as multimedia works of art, original songs, musical compositions, and dance. The contest is named in memory of the young leader of the Jewish revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    McCabe's story entitled, “Lebensborn Redemption” fell under the theme of Experiences of Children and won first place in the 7th/8th-grade prose writing category. In 1935, faced with a declining birthrate in Germany, Heinrich Himmler, a leading member of the Nazi party, created the Lebensborn program to further the Aryan race by whatever means possible. Young children with Aryan features were kidnapped from families living in German-occupied areas.  After they were “Germanized,” the children were placed with pre-approved German couples who would raise them as their own. The program also provided the opportunity for German women deemed “racially pure” to meet and have children with SS officers to create a "super-race."

    McCabe entered the competition after hearing about it in her 8th grade accelerated English class.

    “When brainstorming topics, I decided to think outside the box, said McCabe. “I wanted to shed light on an aspect of the Holocaust that people might not have known about, so I wrote about the Lebensborn program. I read about the program in a book called “Someone Named Eva.” I was fascinated by the story, and thought it would make a good topic for the essay contest. I worked really hard on the essay with my teacher, Mr. Stolzer, and I was very proud to accept the award at the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. I especially felt honored because there were Holocaust survivors in attendance who were very emotional in recalling details of the ordeal most of us could never imagine.”

     “I feel it is so important to know about the Holocaust because we need to make sure it never happens again,” added McCabe. “Innocent people were treated horribly just because of who they were. We all need to celebrate our differences and accept others for who they are.” 

    McCabe received a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble and a certificate that was handed out at an awards ceremony at the Moore College of Art and Design on June 5th honoring all of the contest winners.

    "I was ecstatic about Grace's award, but I would have been proud of her effort had she finished in 100th place," said 8th grade Stetson English teacher Peter Stolzer.  "She earnestly and persistently labored through hours of drafts and revisions, conducting painstaking research along the way, to craft a short story true to history and worthy of the topic."

    McCabe has enjoyed writing since she was a little girl and plans to continue to develop her writing skills on a personal and academic scale.  She intends on entering the Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition again next year.

    For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator at 484-266-1171 or jneill@wcasd.net.


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  • Stetson Middle School Holds 11th Annual Hoops for Heart

        Stetson Hoops For Heart                                  Stetson Hoops For Heart                                                                     


    Students and staff members at Stetson Middle School continue to do their part to help out the American Heart Association through their annual “Hoops for Heart” fundraiser. The spring fundraiser garnered $6,000.00 for the American Heart Association. In the past 11 years, the school has collected nearly $54,000.00 for the American Heart Association. All proceeds benefit medical research, education, and community service programs through the America Heart Association in the Pennsylvania region. 

    Hoops for Heart is designed to teach students about teamwork while highlighting the importance of volunteerism.  The program also emphasizes the need for physical activity to maintain good health. Students formed 32 coed teams, consisting of two boys and two girls. The teams played five rounds of single elimination style games. Each team member must meet a minimum $10 donation to play. 

    The event is co-sponsored by Stetson’s Health and Physical Education Department and the Stetson PTO. 

    For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator at 484-266-1171 or jneill@wcasd.net.


    Stetson Hoops For Heart                                       Basketballs


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  • Daily Local News - Stetson Robotics


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  • Stetson & Henderson Presented with Sportsmanship Awards

    Henderson High School

    Henderson High School student athletes proudly stand in front of the banner recognizing the school as the recipient of the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Sportsmanship Award.

    Henderson High School and Stetson Middle School have been named the recipients of the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Sportsmanship Award by members of the Ches-Mont League.

    This marks the seventh time in the past eight years that Henderson has received this award. Stetson Middle School was also presented with the award six years ago.

    The Ches-Mont League was created in 1950 and consists of fourteen high schools and fifteen middle schools in Chester and Delaware Counties. High schools students compete in varsity sports in the PIAA’s District One at the AAAA, AAA, and AA levels.

    All head coaches in the league are given one vote at the conclusion of their season, and use the following criteria when evaluating member schools for the award:

    • Spirit: Degree and quality of genuine spirit shown by opposing team personnel and spectators

    • Attitude: Maintained proper attitude and self-control before, during, and after the contest

    • Arrival: Manner of welcome; professional and informative

    • Conduct: Conduct of opposing players and coaches before, during, and after the contest

    • Facility: Care given to the facility and equipment by visiting team before, during, and after the contest

    • Accommodations: Home team provides an appropriate and clean facility before, during, and after the contest

    “Credit for Stetson’s Sportsmanship Award goes to our Athletic Director, Mr. Corcoran, who sets an excellent example for our talented coaches and students of how competitive play, coupled with sportsmanship, earns the respect of other schools,” said Chas Cognato, principal of Stetson Middle School.

    “I am very proud of this honor, which was earned by all of Henderson High School’s coaches, student athletes, maintenance personnel, and parents of students who conduct themselves in the finest manner, always appropriately, and who help maintain our first class facility for all Ches-Mont League members to enjoy,” said Ken McCormick, Henderson High School’s Athletic Director. “Receiving this award is all the more prestigious because the winner is chosen by our competitors. These are individuals whom we compete against on athletic fields, courts, tracks, and in pools. All coaches in the league have done a great job and have my sincere thanks and congratulations on a successful year in sports.”

    The PIAA’s Executive Director, Robert Lombardi, presented representatives from both schools with each award on September 14.

    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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  • Stetson Mannequin Challenge

    Benefiting Bringing Hope Home



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  • Stetson Middle School Robotics Team Win

    Teams ""K-9 Einsteins"" and ""Robocalypse"" competed Saturday at the FLL Robotics competition at Patton Middle School.  The teams competed against 25 other teams from around Southeastern PA and did a great job.  

    The K-9 Einsteins won the gracious professionalism award and the Robocalypse won the Champions Award, which is the most prestigious prize at the qualifier.  Robocalypse will be moving on to the state championships at the University of Pennsylvania on February 4th.


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  • Stetson Middle School Teacher Recognized for Excellence in Energy

    The NEED Project is pleased to announce that Joseph Paris of Stetson Middle School is the 2016 recipient of the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award.

    Joe ParisThe Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award was created by NEED in memory of long-time NEED teacher and staff member Bob Thompson. Bob was a dedicated teacher, friend, and proponent of science and energy education. His time at NEED enriched many, encouraged all, and improved the way we present and teach about energy in our curriculum and training workshops. Bob was a good friend to many here at NEED and he and his spirit live on in our work. Because of this, NEED established the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award that is given each year to a teacher who exemplifies Bob’s childlike wonder of science, technology and energy.

    The award includes a $1,000 cash grant to the teacher to use as he/she chooses in the classroom as well as a trip to the NEED Energy Conference for Educators hosted in Washington, D.C. in July.

    The award will be presented at the 36th Annual NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement in Washington, D.C. on June 27.

    Joseph’s nomination by his colleague David Kelly detailed all of the reasons that Joseph deserves the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award, including his commitment and dedication to students and his encouragement of students to work harder, think deeper, and collaborate to find solutions. He has taken career and technology education to a new level – bringing engineering to the forefront and bringing real-world applications of science and technology to his students and his peers. He is always looking for an opportunity to learn and to teach, and he always is willing to answer a question, encourage exploration, and assist students and fellow teachers alike.

    Joseph develops relationships that bring good things to his students, his school, and the West Chester School District. As a key leader in NEED’s partnership in the PECO Energizing Education Program in Philadelphia, Joseph has mentored teachers new to the program and helped them find ways to bring energy to life in the classroom. He encourages and engages in learning at all levels, at all times. As his colleague David Kelly said, “We enter our office in the morning and rather than say hello, we say ‘As I was saying…’ and head back into a thoughtful discussion of how to make technology education real and authentic for students.”

    “Joe Paris is a fine gentleman and an excellent educator," said Paul Joyce, the District’s Supervisor of Science, Technology Education, and Family and Consumer Science. "His dedication to energy education for the students of WCASD in teaching and learning along with his own professional growth have been instrumental in changing the direction of Technology Education in our District and in many other districts, too.”

    Congratulations to this great energy educator and wonderful friend of NEED. All of the finalists for the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award are extraordinary educators and dedicated, passionate energy educators. The 2016 finalists include:

    • Kevin Crosby, AIM Center, California
    • Shannon Donovan, Scituate High School, Rhode Island
    • Shirley Holston, Richmond County Technical Career Magnet High School, Georgia
    • Kris Hughes, Piedra Vista High School, New Mexico
    • Emilee O’Brien, West Hardin Middle School, Kentucky

    For more information about the NEED Project and the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award, please contact Mary E. Spruill at (703) 257-1117 or mspruill@need.org.

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

    Photo Caption: Joe Paris helps coordinate the West Chester Area School District’s first-ever Middle School Wind Turbine Competition.


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  • Stetson Middle School Student Inspires Philadelphia Eagles


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  • Stetson Middle School Students Win Global Wind Turbine Challenge

    Stetson Middle School KidWind

    Stetson Middle School students Brooke Pettrone, Ava Petillo, and Grace Bobrowski won a monthly global competition coordinated by the KidWind Project. The seventh graders created a power-generating wind turbine using materials from their technology education classroom. The students were inspired by the unique shapes of food, and based their turbine design off of a lollipop after considering cashews and bananas. The trio name themselves “The Lollipop Queens” and spent a week constructing their winning turbine.

    KidWind Project participants submit data associated with their turbine’s best trial, information on their turbine design, a research statement, and a photo of the turbine. KidWind judges the entries received based on the efficiency of the wind turbine, innovative design, and the quality of construction in comparison to other teams. The students have been invited to compete in a regional competition in Washington, D.C. this spring.

    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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  • Stetson Student an Inspiration On & Off the Football Field

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