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PHS Theatre wows with ‘Sweeney Todd’


PICTURE THIS: George Nettels Elementary School students enjoyed a day at the Four Oaks Mini-Golf Course as part of a schoolwide reading celebration.

A Look Inside FROM THE COVER PHS Theatre scares, thrills, captivates with performance of ‘Sweeney Todd’

•PHS hosts Catapult Contest •Transportation Director continues annual tradition •PCMS class combines food, math

•District raises $10K+ for United Way •Halloween photos •WS hosts BINGO For Books


USD 250 raises more than $10,000 for The United Way

Some teachers took a pie to the face. Others let themselves be fastened to the wall with duct tape. Students collected hundreds of pounds of coins. And it was all for a wonderful cause. USD 250 students and staff combined to raise more than $10,000 for the 2012 United Way campaign, an effort that will help hundreds of local families. “This is one of our favorite times of the year,” Superintendent Destry Brown said. “Our staff and kids have a lot of

fun with this, and we love being able to give to the United Way. We stand behind its mission, and we are more than excited to help in any way we can.” Each school designated United Way captains who helped spearhead the fundraising effort. “The main thing, of course, is raising a lot of money for the United Way,” Sarah Dees, PCMS co-captain, said. “However, we also want the kids to have fun, and we want them to understand why it’s important that we raise the money.”

For the students, the campaign is a first-hand look at the value of giving. “It’s cool to know that the money we brought to school will end up

helping a lot of people,” Mikayla Kitchen, Meadowlark 5th-grader, said. “I think it’s good that our school is so active in helping in this way.”

PEA supports CRC The Pittsburg Education Association spearheaded a collection drive of paper goods and cleaning products for the Safe House Crisis Resource Center. Association Reps delivered the many boxes of items generously donated by the teachers and staff on Thursday, Nov. 8. Safe House staff were extremely happy to receive the large donation.

Service Learning Honored Elm Acres Service Learning Coordinator Jessi Brown represented Pittsburg High School recently at the National Promising Practices Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Brown was accompanied by PHS Asst. Principal Chris Garzone.

PHS HOSTS CATAPULT CONTEST Pittsburg High School British Literature students combined history lessons with physics for the 2012 Catapult Competition. The students built the medieval “weapons” themselves, and the teams were judged based on distance and accuracy. “It’s always interesting to see what the students come up with,” Brit. Lit. teacher Abbey Cummings said. “They have a blast with it, and it’s a great way to incorporate what they’re learning into a fun, engaging activity.”

Westside hosts BINGO For Books Getting books in the hands of students is one of the most important aspects of bolstering students’ love of reading. An annual event at Westside Elementary School has become a popular way of accomplishing just that. BINGO For Books combines the entertainment value of the popular numbers game with the promotion of reading. Instead of cash prizes, winners of BINGO games get to choose books to take home. The event is open to all Westside students and families. “We always talk about the importance of reading,” Ann Lee, Westside principal, said, “and what we want to do is give our students the opportunity to have more books to read and enjoy.” Westside teachers, many of whom participated in the event, said they enjoy seeing the students’ excitement when they’re picking out new books. “It’s such a neat experience,” Title Reading

teacher Kerstin Womble said. “I think the best part is that the students really win twice. Their eyes get big when they win the BINGO game, and then they get even bigger when they’re looking through all of the books.” Womble, who leads the BINGO games, said she appreciates all of the families who attend the event. “To see our school gymnasium fill up with students and their families is a wonderful sight,” she said. “If our students are going to continue to grow in their love of books and reading, they need their parents and families to encourage them and support them. “To see so many show up for an event like this shows us that our students’ families understand that,” Womble said. “It takes a village, as they say, so it’s really nice to see our BINGO For Books event so well-attended.”

Sweeney Todd

PHS Theatre rises to challenge of difficult musical Greg Shaw made no bones about it. “When we decided to take on ‘Sweeney Todd,’” Shaw said, “we knew we were taking on one of the most challeging musicals out there today.” From the sound of the ovation after each of the performances at Pittsburg High School, it was apparent that the PHS Theatre Department rose to the challenge.

The PHS new Music Repertory Theatre class chose “Sweeney Todd” as its first performance, and the students involved could not have had more fun. “I’m not sure words can express how amazing that was,” senior Kevin McNay, who played Sweeney Todd, said. “It was a challenging show, to be sure, but it was also one that taught us a lot and gave

us a chance to push ourselves. Most importantly, though, it was a ton of fun. The crowd seemed into it, and my fellow students and I were definitely into it.” The MRT class was designed for advanced theatre students and is taught by Shaw and Susan Laushman, PHS vocal music director. It is open to seniors and juniors. “I think you saw

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during ‘Sweeney Todd’ that PHS has some of the best high school peformers in the state,” Shaw said. “They all have a lot to learn and much room to grow, but I was very proud of the way they rose to tackle ‘Sweeney.’ They gave it their all, and I could not be more proud of the students’ dedication and effort.” Next up for PHS Theatre is “Dearly

‘Sweeney Todd’ to be performed in late October Beloved,” a hilarious comedy about a dysfunctional Texas family. PLOT: The Futrelle Sisters, Frankie, Honey Raye and Twink, are throwing a wedding. Frankie has almost made herself sick with elaborate preparations for her daughter Tina Jo’s antebelluminspired wedding, and the rumor mill in their small town of Fayro, Texas, is working overtime. No surprise there, the Futrelle Sisters have never been strangers to gossip. After all, they did survive the scandalous breakup of their almost-famous gospel singing trio, The Sermonettes. But Twink’s desperate attempts to get her boyfriend of fifteen-andone-half years down the aisle, Frankie’s ongoing

conversations with their dead mother, and Honey Raye’s tendency to race to the altar at every opportunity have kept tongues wagging for years. The hilarious conclusion to the wedding and other family situations will keep the audience laughing. “Dearly Beloved” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 inside the PHS auditorium. “This will probably be the funniest show we’ve done at PHS since I got here,” Shaw said. “It’s definitely a complete 180 from ‘Sweeney Todd’ and that is a good thing. That is just one more challenge for our students and another way they’ll continue to grow as performers.”

“It was a challenging show, to be sure, but it was also one that taught us a lot and gave us a chance to push ourselves. Most importantly, though, it was a ton of fun.” -- senior Kevin McNay

Thank you, Drivers!

Transportation Department enjoys annual Chili Feed As Transportation Director for USD 250, Fred Andrew is always outspoken in his support of his staff. “It’s important to me that they know how much I and the district appreciate what they do every day,” Andrew said. “Our drivers play a significant role in our students’ school days, and I think we have a one of the best group of drivers around.” Each year, Andrew shows just how much he appreciates the drivers’

work by treating them to a chili dinner during Bus Driver Appreciation Week. Andrew makes the chili himself, and it’s accompanied by a variety of toppings, chips, drinks and dessert. “It’s something I started doing years ago, and it is one of my most favorite times of the year,” Andrew said. “We all gather in the transportation building equipped with large appetites, eat a bunch of chili and just enjoy each others’ company.”

The annual lunch is attended by district bus drivers, as well as by various other district staff members. “It’s one of the most fun days of the year,” driver Kasey Zimmerman said. “Fred is such a great guy, and he’s a joy to work for. That he does this for us shows everyone just how much he cares, and I hope he knows that we care just as much about him.” Dr. Brian Biermann, USD 250 Asst. Superintendent, said he enjoys

taking part in the chili dinner. “For starters, Fred’s chili is delicious,” Biermann said. “I could probably eat a whole pot if he’d let me. What’s most important, though, is that our transportation staff knows how much we value their service to the district. They mean so much to our students and to our district as a whole, and I think it’s wonderful that Fred takes the time and effort to do this for them.”

Food for Thought

PCMS math class combines homework, desserts The Graveyard Cupcakes inside Shauna Rooks’ math classroom at Pittsburg Community Middle School maybe could have been explained by the impending Halloween holiday. In truth, however, they were just as big a part of the students’ math lesson as the textbooks, paper and pencils. Rooks recently combined math and tasty treats to help students learn to work with fractions. “The students were tasked with taking what they’ve learned in class and applying it to a recipe for goodies,” Rooks said. “Extra credit was offered to students who actually made the treats and brought them in to share with the class.” As part of the lesson, students were asked to develop a recipe that would feed the entire class,

while also being able to divide those amounts to feed just one person. They then had to present their recipes in front of their classmates. “Lessons like this are a lot of fun for the students,” Rooks said. “It’s not often that you get to combine the act of dividing fractions with sugary, delicious desserts. The kids seem to really enjoy things like this, and hopefully they’re learning a little bit, too.” Rooks said interactive activites such as the food lesson give students a new way of looking at math. “It gets them away from just pencil and paper,” she said. “Plus, it shows them a practical, realworld example of why what they’re learning every day important to their lives now and in the future.”



Dragon Tales - November 2012  

The November 2012 issue of Dragon Tales, the official newsletter of USD 250.

Dragon Tales - November 2012  

The November 2012 issue of Dragon Tales, the official newsletter of USD 250.