On Centre: Bald Eagle Area | Music education program hits high note

April 1, 2014 

When it comes to music education, Bald Eagle Area Middle-High School is truly noteworthy.

BEA recently received a 2014 Support Music Merit Award for its band program from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation — one of 96 schools recognized nationwide.

In addition to the Merit Awards to schools, the nonprofit NAMM Foundation designated 376 districts as “Best Communities for Music Education.” According to the foundation’s website, the districts and schools “set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education.”

“This is thanks to the hard work and dedication of current students and alumni, current band parents, past band parents, current administrators and school board members, past administrators and past school board members, and the entire Bald Eagle community that truly understands and believes that our children deserve a quality music education,” BEA band director Kellie Long wrote in an email.

“What a blessing it is to come to work every day and enjoy making music with my students!”

Other Pennsylvania schools selected for Support Music Merit Awards were DuBois Area Middle School, Eisenhower Middle School in Norristown, North Hills High School in Pittsburgh, Northwestern Lehigh Elementary School in Tripoli, Old Forge Elementary School, Susquenita High School in Duncannon and Westlake Middle School in Erie.

Bandits become champions

Read all about it: A few Howard Elementary School pupils are more than champion bookworms.

They’re grand champions.

The 10 members of the Bookmark Bandits team notched the top score at the recent Central Intermediate Unit 10 Reading Competition, held at Bellefonte Area High School.

They’re the school’s first grand champions in the 14-year-old competition, and only the Bald Eagle Area School District’s second. Wingate Elementary School took the honor in 2009.

Thirty-five teams from CIU 10, which covers public and private schools in Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties, competed. Howard Principal Skip Pighetti said the Bookmark Bandits’ accomplishment was even more notable considering their school has just 84 students.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Kudos to the kids and the time they spent.”

Team members were Jayden Bechdel, Thomas Beck, Brayden Comly, Noah Geidroc, Elyssa Greene, Mikalya Irvin, Olivia Reed, Carter Rhoades, Mia Simoncek and Hannah Tement. Teachers Amber Buchanan and Jalynn Woleslagle served as coaches.

From September to March, teams tackled a reading list of 41 books. Then at the competition, they squared off against each other for three rounds of 20 questions about the stories, earning a point for each correct answer.

Points could also be earned for correcting their opponent’s wrong responses. Howard scored 68 points to lead the field.

Each Bookmark Bandit had to read a minimum number of books to participate, but two went far beyond the call of duty. Hannah read 40 books, one more than Mia.

Regardless of their individual totals, they’re all the toast of their school now. Their trophy, appropriately, is on display in the library. They’ve already enjoyed a sundae party, and soon, their story will have another happy ending.

Pighetti said the school is planning a celebration ceremony to honor its grand champions.

“They put a lot of work and effort into it,” he said.

Milesburg seeks baseball funds

Milesburg Youth Baseball officials hope fans will step up to the plate and help the league raise money for its fields and facilities.

On Friday, the league will hold a Thirty-One Bingo fundraiser event at Bald Eagle Area High School. Games start at 7 p.m., two hours after the doors open, and prizes include Thirty-One products and cash awards up to $1,000. There also will be a 50/50 drawing, silent auction and rip-off tickets.

Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased by calling 571-2011 or 574-6153. Admission is $5 more at the door.

Funds raised will go toward maintaining fields and renovating the league’s press box and storage sheds.

Chris Rosenblum writes a weekly column about news in the Upper and Lower Bald Eagle valleys. If you have news to share, email crosenbl@centredaily.com or call 231-4620.

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