Kutztown University orchestra concert slated for Oct. 21

Dr. Peter Isaacson directs the Kutztown University Orchestra.

The Kutztown University Orchestra will present their first performance of fall semester Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Schaeffer Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert is dedicated entirely to American music and will feature Libby Larsen’s “Overture for the End of a Century,” Alan Hovhanness’s “And God Created Great Whales,” Michael Daugherty’s “Route 66” and Samuel Barber’s “First Essay for Orchestra Op. 12.”

The concert will also include excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s Westside Story.

Lead by Dr. Peter Isaacson, the Kutztown University Orchestra has a reputation for musical excellence and sold out performances. Performing standard and contemporary repertoire, the KUO has featured soloists such as Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medal winner Sandra Rivers. KUO members also train with notable instrumentalists from Philadelphia, New York and the Lehigh Valley.

The orchestra holds an annual concerto competition with a college and high school division.

Tyler Readinger-Angstadt awarded conducting fellowship with Allentown Symphony Orchestra

Tyler Readinger conducts the Chamber Players at Kutztown University.

Tyler Readinger-Angstadt, a senior music major from Birdsboro, Pa., has been awarded a conducting fellowship with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

The Conducting Fellows Program supports the opportunity for promising conductors to hone their craft and enrich their musical experience through mentorship and participation in the Allentown Symphony Association’s orchestral and community programs.

The Conducting Fellows travel to the Lehigh Valley to work side by side with Allentown Symphony Music Director and Conductor Diane Wittry, in advance of and during the production of a Classical Series Concert. Along the way, they learn intricacies involved in assembling and leading a regional symphony.

Fellows also meet with Association staff in order to learn the range of activities necessary to operate a symphony orchestra. Their visit includes a stop at the exemplary community-based program, El Sistema Lehigh Valley.

Readinger is the assistant conductor of the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor of the Kutztown University Chamber Players. He began conducting in high school and has since been invited to conduct throughout the community, regionally and nationally.

Currently a student of Dr. Peter Isaacson at Kutztown University, he has also studied with Christian Capocaccia, Georgios Vranos, Gavriel Heine, Willis Rapp and others. He has been invited to guest conduct groups such as the Reading Pops Orchestra and the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic.

Readinger was a fellow of the Conductors Institute of South Carolina, where he worked with conductors Donald Portoy, Jorge Mester, Peter Jaffe, and Victoria Bond. He was also a participant in Diane Wittry’s Beyond the Baton conducting seminar, and has been invited to numerous other conducting institutions. He has collaborated with world class artists such as NYC Ballet concertmaster Kurt Nikkanen, pianist Maria Asteriadou, flautist Susanna Loewy, as well as students from The Curtis Institute, The Manhattan School of Music and Kutztown University.

As a clarinetist, he performs regularly as an ensemble, chamber and solo musician regionally, nationally, and internationally. He has appeared with the Reading Pops Orchestra, Penn Symphony Orchestra, Northern Lights Festival Orchestra, and in festivals across the country. A current student of Dr. Soo Goh, he has performed in master classes for Mark Nuccio, Kevin Schempf, and Michele Gingras to name a few, and studied briefly with Miltos Mumulides, Rie Suzuki and Julie Beth Drey.

Twin Valley Elementary Center hosts White Cane Day

Students at TVEC get a feel for the challenges of visual impairment during White Cane Day activities Oct. 16.

Twin Valley Elementary Center hosted White Cane Day Monday, Oct. 16. The nationally recognized event brings attention to the need for greater awareness of individuals with visual impairments or blindness who live in our communities.

Fourth-grade student Morgan Roy in Susan Sanger’s classroom is functionally blind; White Cane Day shirts were worn and students in her homeroom participated in “blindness” activities from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday.

Loyola University Maryland welcomes class of 2021

As first-year students embark on their college experience, they will all take part in Loyola’s living-learning program, Messina.

The common text for Messina is Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. The book, a compelling first-hand account of a lawyer who defends the poor and wrongly condemned, speaks to the inequality in the justice system.

The following local students are Loyola’s newest greyhounds and indicated that Loyola can release their directory information:

  • Devon Garner from Birdsboro
  • Sarah Thompson from Douglassville
  • Gianna Walker from Douglassville

Class of 2021 by the numbers:

  • 8%: students who attended Jesuit high schools
  • 10%: legacy students
  • 16%: first-generation college students
  • 21%: students of color
  • 29%: students who enrolled test optional
  • 1,031: total students enrolled

Shiloh Hills Elementary named 2017 Blue Ribbon School

WEST LAWN—The Wilson School District is pleased to announce that Shiloh Hills Elementary School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School -Exemplary High Performing Schools for 2017 by U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Shiloh Hills is one of 342 schools in the nation and one of 18 schools from Pennsylvania to be recognized in 2017.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. To be named an Exemplary High Performing School, Shiloh Hills is among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments.

“The Wilson School District has a longstanding commitment to educational excellence,” said Dr. Richard Faidley, superintendent. “Receiving the National Blue Ribbon School-Exemplary High Performing Schools Award is a tremendous honor.  The students, parents, staff, and administration should be extremely proud of their collective efforts deserving of this highly prestigious recognition.”

“This coveted award affirms the hard work of our entire staff of educators, our Shiloh Hills students and their families and the Wilson community in creating a safe and welcoming school environment where students are able to master challenging and engaging programs of study,” said Dr. Matthew Flannery, assistant superintendent of the Wilson School District and principal of Shiloh Hills Elementary School.

Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 6 and 7, Flannery will attend the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. , where Shiloh Hills’ achievement will be celebrated by the Secretary and the Department of Education.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Wilson School District we could not be more proud of the incredible work by the staff, students and community at Shiloh Hills Elementary School,” said Board President Steve Ehrlich. “This is an extraordinary achievement and we commend them for receiving this national recognition.”

Shiloh Hills Elementary School is one of five elementary schools in the Wilson School District and is ranked as the 20th best elementary school (out of 1,551 schools) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

With a School Performance Profile score of 94.3, Shiloh Hills was the highest scoring school (K-12) in the county in 2016. Their SPP score and PSSA results have earned Shiloh Hills the distinction of “Title One Distinguished School” in 2014 and 2015. As a result of these honors, Shiloh Hills received an Innovation Grant Award from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for $47,000.

Connor Kilgore presents as Solar Ambassador at CCU

Coastal Carolina University’s Solar Ambassadors, from left, Anthony Hess, Daniel Hallock, Jacob Doty, Catherine Sweeney and Connor Kilgore. They recently presented their research on renewable energy projects at the recent South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance conference in Columbia, S.C.

Connor Kilgore, an intelligence and national security studies major from Leesport, was among five Coastal Carolina University students known as the CCU Solar Ambassadors who presented their research on renewable energy projects at the recent South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance conference, held Sept. 21 in Columbia, S.C.

The Solar Ambassadors at CCU have teamed up with Re-Volv, a solar energy nonprofit based in San Francisco, in a project to bring solar power to a nonprofit organization in the Myrtle Beach area that CCU serves. CCU is one of seven universities selected to participate in the nationally recognized Solar Ambassador program, which is co-sponsored by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

The ambassadors are working with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) group in Little River, S.C., to fund solar panels for its post headquarters, with the aim of lowering energy costs and decreasing its carbon footprint.

“Working with Re-Volv, our Solar Ambassadors group is helping to fill the funding void for renewable energy for nonprofits, which can’t take advantage of state and federal tax credits that significantly lower the cost of solar energy installation,” said Kilgore. “Our team has a unique opportunity to benefit the Grand Strand community and contribute to cleaner energy forms in our country.”

The group hopes to complete its project in the spring of 2018.

Daniel Scheese of Birdsboro participates in Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine student-led ‘Day of Service’

Daniel Scheese of Birdsboro and other student leaders representing Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (Geisinger Commonwealth) MD Class of 2020 recently organized a multi-site “Day of Service.” On Sept. 18, second-year medical students fanned out across Lackawanna County to clean parks, stock food pantry shelves and help care for youth, elderly and the homeless population in the region.

Members of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2020 recently participated in a student-organized ‘Day of Service’ in Lackawanna County. Students working at Nay Park in Scranton included, in the foreground working in vegetable boxes: Rosa Roman, in front, at left; Yasmeen Daraz, bending over box at right; and Sonya Malashanka, at box, standing.

Briana O’Donnell, of Merrimack, community service chair of the MD Class of 2020, conceived of and planned the event with the help of class president, Cindy Ciccotelli of Yardley. “I think it important for us, as a class, to get out and show the community that we all want to serve,” said Ms. O’Donnell. “Sometimes we get so caught up in studying, it’s important that we step back and realize the reason we are here is for other people. The Day of Service supports our person-centered curriculum.”

Ms. Ciccotelli, who spent the day helping to stock St. Francis of Assisi’s food pantry, said her group had lunch with patrons of the St. Francis soup kitchen. “We talked about football, mostly. It was incredible to form relationships with these people and appreciate them and to gain insight into their hardships,” she said. She said class leadership plans to hold another Day of Service soon and will pass the event off to the Class of 2021 with the hope that class-wide “days of service” become regularly occurring events in the academic year.

As part of the Day of Service, five groups of between 15 to 20 second-year medical students volunteered at the Carbondale YMCA; Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s River Heritage trail; Nay Aug Park; the Waverly Community House; and St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen.

Governor Mifflin hosts traveling Holocaust exhibit for students and public

Who:  Governor Mifflin High School and the Jewish Federation of Allentown

What: Dozens of World War II-era artifacts are currently on display in the Governor Mifflin High School Library as part of a traveling exhibit. “The Legacy Exhibit” is on loan through the Jewish Federation of Allentown and curators Marylou Lordi and Shari Sparks. The vast display includes personal accounts and artifacts donated by survivors, soldiers, and citizens with ties to the local region. This is the first time The Legacy Exhibit has been on display in Berks County.

The display is part of a new course offering at Governor Mifflin High School. The Genocide and Holocaust Studies elective is offered to Governor Mifflin seniors and gives students an opportunity to learn more about the history of genocide. The course has a focus on the Holocaust to develop key concepts and knowledge before expanding into other examples of genocide in the 20th century. Students in the elective will have an opportunity to study the exhibit closely and use some of the resources to further their research. The exhibit is open to all Governor Mifflin students as well as the general public.

Where: Governor Mifflin High School Library
101 S. Waverly Street, Shillington

When: Now through Nov. 3

Public viewing hours are during evening library hours (Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00-9:00 p.m.)

Wilkes University Student Pharmacist Alex Ponce Wins Achieving Independence Competition at Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Annual Conference

Wilkes University student pharmacist Alex Ponce of Oley, Pa., 19547 was one of three students on the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy team which won the Achieving Independence Competition at the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Annual Conference on Sept. 23. The team was honored with a $1,000 cash prize for their student organization. The conference was held at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Pocono Manor.

The competition is designed to encourage entrepreneurial pharmacy students to one day own their own pharmacy. Students create a business plan based on either starting up a brand new pharmacy in Pennsylvania or purchasing an existing pharmacy. The business plan is then developed into a poster and the students deliver an oral, ten-minute overview presentation followed by up to five minutes of questioning by the judges.

The faculty advisor was Julie Olenak, assistant dean and associate professor in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, and their independent coach was Wilkes alumna Stephanie Smith Cooney who earned her doctor of pharmacy degree in 2004.

Following the delivery of all presentations, the five judge panel critiques the presentations and assigns point values in areas such as innovative concepts and creativity, feasibility, and format to determine a winner.

The Wilkes students competed against teams from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and University of Pittsburgh.