Bethel Park

• Ciera Erbrecht, a fourth-grade student at William Penn Elementary School, collected more than 100 nonperishable food and personal care items for the South Hills Interfaith Movement’s food pantry.

Each year Bethel Park elementary gifted teacher Lisa Yost challenges her students to conduct a community service project. Ciera coordinated this project because she wanted to do something that would positively impact her community.

• A team of five Independence Middle School students finished in second place in their division at the Southwest Pennsylvania Science Bowl, held on the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus.

Members of the team were eighth-graders Nick Allan (captain), Tyler Kramer, Hersh Kambli and Riswanth Sundaresh-Babu, and seventh-grader Lily Janus.

The students were prepared for the competition by Independence science teacher Jennifer Evans.

• A group of Independence Middle School students participated in the WQED Design Lives Here Challenge, competing against area schools in a variety of design and engineering challenges.

The students had the opportunity to pitch an invention idea to a panel of judges, with the team of eighth-graders Leo Devine, Ryan Tierney and Dalton Roth finishing in second place in the kitchen category for their invention “The Grease Stopper,” a pair of tongs with a clear shield to help prevent grease from splattering when cooking bacon.

The students were prepared for the competition by Independence science teacher Jennifer Evans.

• Five Bethel Park High School students received the Top of the Shop Award for the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year from the Steel Center for Career and Technical Education.

Receiving the award were seniors Samuel Delancey (building trades) and Robert Graves (collision repair and refinishing); juniors Riley McCann (cosmetology) and Anthony Pusateri (culinary arts); and sophomore Briauna Harris (baking/pastry arts).

The award is presented to students who demonstrate outstanding conduct, attendance, coursework proficiency and professionalism.

• Four Bethel Park High School students won two awards at the Science Olympiad competition, which was held in March at California University of Pennsylvania.

The competition engaged students in a variety of science, engineering and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) challenges.

Seniors Sarah Gilliam and Sarah Long finished in second place in the “Write It, Do It” event, and juniors Tanush Bahl and Tobias Roule placed third in the chemistry lab event.

The students were prepared for the competition by high school science teacher Randi Durmis.

• Three Bethel Park High School musicians successfully auditioned and were selected to play in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s Region Band Concert, which was scheduled to be held in March at Moon Area High School.

Selected were senior Roma Eisel (bassoon), junior Olivia Tabler (clarinet) and sophomore Becky Mack (oboe).

The students are taught by high School band director Chad Thompson.

• Five Bethel Park High School students were recognized for their outstanding scores on the National Latin Exams.

Sophomore Lily Gaston received a Magna Cum Laude certificate for her score on the Latin III exam.

Juniors Zack Rectenwald and Kate Wholey received Cum Laude certificates for their scores on the Latin III exam.

Freshman Lydia Blum earned a Cum Laude certificate on the Latin II exam, and freshman Joshua Clunan earned a Cum Laude certificate for his score on the Latin I exam.

The students are taught by Ellen Conrad.

Upper St. Clair

• Jennifer Kirk, Upper St. Clair High School counselor and curriculum leader, has been elected as the 66th president of the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association.

For the 2020-21 school year, Kirk will serve as PSCA’s president-elect. She will assume her presidency on July 1, 2021.

Kirk, who has served as an Upper St. Clair school counselor for 20 years, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently enrolled in Northeastern University’s Doctor of Education program, with a concentration in curriculum, teaching, learning and leadership.

Last spring,Kirk was honored through the 2019 College Board Counselor Recognition Program. She was previously honored with the 2018 Chi Sigma Iota, Delta Upsilon Chapter Outstanding Site Supervisor Award from the Duquesne University Counseling Program. In addition, she was named the 2014 Pennsylvania High School Counselor of Year by the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association.

She lives in Upper St. Clair with her husband, George, and their two children, Tyler and Annabelle.

• Boyce Middle School sixth-grader Ayan Amin was named among 100 semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee state-level competition for Pennsylvania.

In December, Ayan was crowned Boyce champion at the school-level competition. To determine each school champion, GeoBee competitions were held in schools throughout the commonwealth with students in the fourth through eighth grades.

School champions were administered an online qualifying test, which was submitted to the National Geographic Society. Up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each state were invited to compete in the State GeoBees.

The state-level competition was originally scheduled for March 27 and the 2020 National Championship was set for May 18-21. Both events were canceled because of safety concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

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