Category: Armstrong School District

High School Students Attend Leadership Training at Westminster

From left to right, Kristin Robertucci, Rotary member and RYLA chairperson; Ashton Callipare, Ford City; Morgan McCaslin, West Shamokin; Lizzy Cornish, West Shamokin; and Michael McElhaney, President of Kittanning Rotary Club

By Ryan McLaughlin

Four local high school students attended a week of training at Westminster College through the Rotary Youth Leadership Award June 8-13.

Ashton Callipare from Ford City High School, and Morgan McCaslin, Lizzy Cornish, and Austin Porter from West Shamokin High School were selected, along with 124 other students from Pennsylvania, to attend the training event.

The event was designed to help train these students on better leadership abilities, as well as reinforce their naturally existing leadership talents.

Kittanning Rotary Club RYLA Chairperson Kristin Robertucci helped explain why these particular students were selected from the Armstrong School District.

“These students are all high achievers,” she said.  “Very high grade point averages or are very involved in different leadership groups within the school, like KEY club, LEO club, or class president, Robertucci said. “They all displayed certain leadership qualities that I thought they would benefit from more intense type leadership training.”

She sent out flyers to all the guidance counselors, to pick three or four students with these leadership abilities. Students had to be in their junior year, and they had to have leadership qualities. From those candidates, Robertucci then picked the ones that she thought would be best.

While at the event, the students stayed in the campus dorm rooms in Shaw Hall.  This helped the students mingle together, since they were living together for the duration of the conference.

The main feature of the conference were the different meetings and presentations about bettering one’s self, as well as the discussion groups.  Callipare went in-depth about the activities at the conference.

“We just talked to people and went into a deeper level with them,” she said.  “We learned that there’s so much more to people than meets the eye.”

Callipare said that she met many good people and had fun with the other students from across the state.  She also explained that students took part in a movie night, a karaoke night, and even a concert to help bring everyone together to have a good time. They helped to break the ice between all of the students and let them have fun together.

“It was life-changing – I loved it,” Callipare said.

After the event, Callipare and the others from West Shamokin were invited to meet with the Kittanning Rotary Club to discuss the week.  This gave the students the chance to explain the event from their perspective, so the rotary could know that the event was a worthwhile experience.

Callipare said she was happy to see McCasliln and Cornish again.  Porter was unable to attend.

“The rotary was really open to listening to what you wanted to say,” Callipare said.  “They wanted to know what it was like from our perspective and be reassured giving us the scholarship to go there was the right decision, and if they should continue to do that.”

Callipare said the conference did indeed help enhance leadership skills.

Fundraising for School Athletic Facilities Begins

Funding for the proposed Armstrong Junior-Senior High School athletic complex in Manor Township is being sought for through a Armstrong School District Foundation capital campaign (KP File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District Foundation members met with community leaders yesterday afternoon to solicit interest in helping build the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School athletic fields.

Not through hammers and nails, but through cash or checks.

In August, Armstrong School District Foundation Vice-President Kirk Lorgan first said the foundation would be willing to coordinate the capital campaign to alleviate the burden from school directors during the school construction.

Along the new Route 422 access road will be a 3,500-seat, artificial turf football/soccer stadium with an eight-lane running track and pole vault area, a practice soccer field, grass softball and baseball fields, javelin throw and six tennis courts.

Only the football stadium, track and field events, home grandstands, concession building and field house are in the base bid in order to control cost based on donations received through an Armstrong School District foundation capital campaign. The other sports facilities are an alternate bid and can be added on at a later time, even though district officials would rather have them all available at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year when the school opens.

General Contractor Hudson Group. Inc of Hermitage, Pa. has also provided prices for additional grading near the sports complex. That work could be completed this summer for an estimated $400,000 out of the project contingency fund.

Bidding documents for the facilities were sent out May 19. A special meeting with school board directors was to be held last night, but was canceled earlier in the day due to additional work needing completed.

School Board President Joseph Close said in May during discussion on the topic that there were no donations received at that time.

Last night, the scheduled notice also called for discussion of construction change orders.

At the June 16 regular board meeting, school directors voted 8-0 on 13 construction items, including nine change orders and the purchase of furniture.

Three of those change orders were more than $10,000 each– one to Lugaila Mechanical, Inc. of Pittsburgh (nearly $13,400) for fire dampers, one to Vern’s Electric, Inc of Pittsburgh (more than $14,300) for emergency lighting in mechanical rooms and one to Independence Excavating of Cheswick, Pa. ($18,000 – with $6,000 of that being eventually reimbursed) for a change order with the new Manor Township pump station.

The nine change orders came to a total of nearly $87,250, and also included upgrading electrical capacity, electricity to bleachers in the auxiliary gymnasium and upgrading wire and breaker boxes for ovens in the Family and Consumer Sciences classrooms.

Two weeks ago, Reynolds Construction Management Project Manager Roshelle Fennell said change orders are to be expected.

“This is a very large project, and every project has change orders – that is what the contingency is for,” Fennell said. “I know it’s a lot that you’re seeing, but as I’ve told (School Superintendent Stan) Chapp and administration, the gentlemen that is there for electrical contractor is very good, very detailed and has caught a lot and helped us along the way.”

She added that local residents are beginning to ask more questions about the building construction, likely due to more activity being witnessed while traveling along the Judge Graff Bridge in Ford City.

“You’re starting to see the big picture now, and when you drive past there, you are really seeing how massive your building really is,” Fennell said.

Masonry work was expected to be completed on the third floor of the high school by mid-June, as well on the second floor of the junior-high side of the building. That would also mean that steel work could begin and brick work shortly after.