High School Students Participate in WAHS Engineering Competition

This past October Western Wayne High School science students participated in the WAHS Engineering Competition held at Wallenpaupack Area High School and hosted by the WAHS Technology Club Kiley and Associates.

It was a one-day engineering and design contest for local high schools. Teams were presented with a challenge at the start of the event.  This year’s challenge was to make a marble move from one end of a board to the other in a certain timeframe.  The marble had to move from one corner of the space to the other and couldn’t go off of it.

Students were given specific materials to use for the challenge which included: pipe cleaners, tape, uncooked pasta, rope, chain, silly puddy, wood blocks, etc.

Two groups of Western Wayne High Schoolers participated and competed against groups of students from other local schools.  One of the Western Wayne groups won the award for the Most Ingenious Use of Materials.  This winning group included: Makayla Walton, Julia Wehrmann, Colette Schmitt, Kallie Wehrmann, and Lia Hartman.  A second group of Western Wayne students also participated and had a great learning experience:  Anita Vanyo, Stephanie Mildner, Sean Owens, Jacob Dietrich, and Jacob Schott.

Lia Hartman, Western Wayne junior, who plans to attend medical school and study pathology in the future, explained how her group used their materials “ingeniously” for the challenge.

“Instead of having it all one dimension, we created a wall and along the wall funnels to slow down the marble,” she explained.  ‘We also included a maze at the bottom of our project.”

All of Lia’s teammates were excited to be recognized for their work in the competition.

“I thought I was going to feel a lot more pressure,” Makayla Walton, a Western Wayne junior who wishes to attend a four-year college after graduation to study psychology and also wants to pursue a doctorate in the same field, said.  “But I realized that everyone had the same task to accomplish and that we needed to have confidence in ourselves and each other.”

Another one of their teammates, Julia Wehrmann, a Western Wayne junior, who would like to study science and medicine after graduation, explained how she learned a lot about adapting to unexpected situations from the competition.

“When we practiced ahead of time for the event, we didn’t know exactly how difficult it would be,” she explained.  “At the actual competition, the scenario was harder than we anticipated, and we had to work together to meet the challenge.”

All of the Western Wayne students who attended the event felt like they learned a lot and those who are not seniors look forward to participating in the competition again next year.

Semi-Formal Princess and Prince Crowned

This past Saturday, Dec. 2, Western Wayne hosted their annual Semi Formal which took place at Ladore Camp in Waymart from 4 to 9 p.m. About 300 people were in attendance that included students, faculty, and security members. The theme was Hollywood and the student body voted sophomores Khloe Mistishin and Paul Borowski to be crowned as Semi Princess and Semi Prince.

Western Wayne Drama Club Visits Broadway

The Western Wayne Drama Club recently had its first-ever Broadway trip on November 8 to see the musical Wicked which is celebrating 20 years on Broadway this year. The students enjoyed a fun-filled day which also included a stop at the well-known Ellen’s Stardust Diner where they were entertained by their “world famous” singing wait staff while they enjoyed lunch. The students felt inspired by all of the incredibly talented performers they encountered on their trip and are set to begin working on their upcoming spring musical at Western Wayne, The Addams Family School Edition, with performances to be held on Friday, April 12; Saturday, April 13; and Sunday, April 14.

Western Wayne Girls on the Run Has Successful First Season

The first season of Girls on the Run at Western Wayne Middle School has been declared a success by students, coaches, and parents! Sixteen of our students joined hundreds of girls at Keystone College for a celebratory 5k event on November 15th.

Girls on the Run/Heart and Sole is a nationwide after school activity which offers a 10 week curriculum based program based around running. Western Wayne has been awarded full scholarships to make the program accessible to all. Each week’s activities have a different theme, like friendships, emotions and building connections in our community. The students play games, have discussions and then tackle a strength training and running workout as a team.

Coach Rachel Fitzmorris said, “We are grateful for the support of parents in our District, and also to the coaches, Rachel Dennis, Amanda Steinmetz, and Bernadette Metschulat for their time. We are already planning a Spring season, this time on a Saturday morning. We are also planning to offer the program to the Elementary grades 3-5. Parents have reached out to tell us the program helped their students develop confidence and make friends, as well as becoming more interested in fitness.”

For more information, or to volunteer as a coach, please email rachelcartland@yahoo.com.

Western Wayne Students to Attend District Chorus

From left:  Vallita Belinova, Stephanie Maxwell, Emily Lescinski, and Owen Obloshny

Western Wayne chorus students have qualified to participate in the  PMEA District 9 Chorus Festival at Dallas High School this coming January.  Students were chosen from recorded video auditions that were submitted in October.  The Western Wayne Chorus students selected to attend this year are Vallita Belinova, 11th Grade, 17th on Soprano 1; Stephanie Maxwell, 11th Grade, 2nd Alternate on Soprano 1; Emily Lescinski, 12th Grade, 16th on Soprano 1; and Owen Obloshny, 10th Grade, 12th on Tenor 1.  All of the students are eager to have the opportunity to attend districts.

“I’m really excited to work with students from other districts and learn more about music,” senior Emily Lescinski said.

Band Director Enjoys Macy’s Day Parade Experience

“Mrs. Ort, your band is ready for you,” junior Western Wayne Drama Club vice president, Bobby Scramuzza, announced over the loudspeaker to the faculty and staff of the Western Wayne High School and Middle School, as part of a special surprise tribute to the district’s beloved band director on Friday, Nov. 17. Ort represented Western Wayne at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a part of the project Saluting America’s Band Directors.
Students in the Western Wayne high school marching band, color guard, drama club, and middle school band along with faculty and staff paid tribute to Mrs. Ort with a special parade through the hallways of the high school and middle school. The procession was led by drum major junior Lia Hartman and, of course, Mrs. Ort herself. Hartman and senior drum major Caden Wilson conducted the musical selections for the traveling tribute played by the high school marching band with members of the color guard and drama club in tow.
The procession ended at the middle school gym where Ort was surprised to see her 7th and 8th grade students ready to play “Let’s Go, Cats!” with the high schoolers as a special send off for the closing number. But first Ort was treated to a unique rendition of “Hey, Baby!” played by the high school marching band featuring new lyrics for her send off and sung by everyone in attendance, “Hey, Mrs. Ort! Oo! Ah! You’re gonna go to New York City!”
Before embarking for the Big Apple on Sunday, Nov. 19, Ort was interviewed and featured on WBRE-TV news with her high school band students. In addition, she did an interview with local radio host Rocky Rhodes in which Rhodes promoted her feature by calling her a “superstar.”
Ort is humbled by all of the attention and felt extremely proud to represent the district at Macy’s. In addition, she did a playing spot on the Fox & Friends morning show on Tuesday, Nov. 21, to promote the upcoming performance of Saluting America’s Band Director’s in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“I was so honored to represent Western Wayne and all of my music students in NYC!” Ort said.
Ort had an amazing experience at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade playing with the America’s Band Director’s Band and can’t wait to see what event they may play at next.
On Monday, Nov. 27, Ort did a follow-up interview on WBRE’s PA Live to discuss her performance experience in detail. See link below


RDW Principal to Receive 2023 Administrator Appreciation Award

Mrs. Maria Miller has been chosen to receive the 2023 Administrator Appreciation Award from the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association (PSCA). This rare distinction “acknowledges administrators who demonstrate an understanding and support of, commitment to and belief in the role of school counselors and comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs.”
Miller will be formally recognized at the PSCA annual conference on December 7th at Kalahari Resorts and Conference Center.
She has been an avid supporter of the school counseling program at RDW since they started working together in June of 2012. She is the reason the program has received national and state recognition; and she is a true champion of the school’s comprehensive school counseling program.
Miller was born and raised in Waymart and has lived there her whole life. She graduated from Western Wayne School District in 1986. She then attended Marywood University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Early Childhood (1990) and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood (1992). Later, she received her Principal Certification in 1997 from The University of Scranton.
Miller has worked at R.D. Wilson for the past 33 years. She was a classroom teacher for 10 years, serving students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Fourth Grade before entering her current role as principal. Miller is a champion of her community and has devoted her career to bettering the lives of the students and families in this area that she calls home.

Mrs. Miller spear-headed the efforts to bring the PROSPER Program to the Western Wayne School District. Based out of Penn State, this program trains local teams to lead family-based and school-based prevention program efforts on the ground in their communities.
In addition to her many roles at school, Miller is Waymart Historical Society: Vice President; has her RAMP-Certification: Principal of a RAMP-Certified school (2019-2024), currently supporting the counselor in applying for Re-RAMP and the PA Black Diamond Program award.
Also, R.D. Wilson received the Adequate Yearly Progress PDE achievement recognition every year from 2002 until 2011 (when PA stopped awarding this to schools) under Miller’s leadership.
Miller is thrilled to represent Western Wayne at the awards ceremony to receive her great honor in early December.

Western Wayne Celebrates Veterans Day 

As a tradition for many years, Western Wayne administration, faculty, staff, and students joined together on Thursday, Nov. 9, to celebrate veterans in the community with a special in-school event that featured music from the high school band and chorus, a video presentation about Veterans Day, and a question and answer session with the veterans.
Many local veterans attended the presentation at Western Wayne, some of which had special connections to district faculty and students.
One such veteran at the assembly who has a connection was James English who served in the Marine Corps. English served with Major, USMA retired, Shane Grodack’s father, Sergeant Chester J. Grodack, USMC United States Marine Corp.
Major Grodack, a Western Wayne Middle School history teacher, organizes the Veterans Day assembly each year and was glad that an old friend of his father’s could participate.
English recalled that his best duty in the service was flying helicopters for the White House under presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.
He fondly remembers traveling for this assignment to places like South America, Camp David, and Venezuela.
“At times we would go by sea and take the planes on ships,” he recalled. “It was amazing to get to see the world.”
English is now the Deputy Commander of the American Legion 15th District.
“I hope that the veterans presence at today’s assembly inspires others to go in the service and do good for others,” he said.
Fellow veteran Frank DiRosa had ties to two special students at the assembly. He had the pleasure of having his granddaughter sophomore Sydney Sosa help escort him. Sydney is a member of the Western Wayne Student Ambassador Program that helps to facilitate events of this nature at the school. His granddaughter Sophie Burian, 8th grade, was also at the assembly.
DiRosa left his senior year of high school early to become a Marine. He earned his GED while in the service which he spent six years in.
DiRosa hopes the middle and high school students who attended the event learned something from seeing the veterans there.
“Commitment is something that I think young people can learn from veterans,” he explained. “Too many times nowadays people start something and give up.”
Sydney is proud of her grandfather’s commitment to the service.
“I want him to be appreciated,” she explained. “I am glad that his friends who are veterans are here this morning, and I hope they all feel some joy.”
Sydney really enjoys spending time with her grandfather and learning from him.
“We play chess and golf together,” she said. “He loves history, and, sometimes, we just sit and talk about it.”
Fellow veteran and friend of DiRosa, Bryan Strubel also wished for the students at the assembly to feel inspired by the program.
“Patriotism is what I think they should gain from today,” he explained.
Strubel spent six years total in the Navy; four years active and two years reserve. He worked in a training squadron with trainer pilots. He also worked with F9s and FA4s. His job was being a jet mechanic working with A frames and quality control, among many other things.
He is originally from New York and later moved to Waymart. Currently he is a member of the American Legion 889 in Waymart.
His friend George Schaffer, an Air Force member, was also in attendance. Schaffer spent four years in the Air Force. He was also a part of the National Guard. In the service, his duty was a cook. Later he worked for 35 years as a Tobyhanna Army civilian doing electrical/ mechanical work. He is also a member of the 899 Legion in Waymart.
“I hope that students gain a respect for service people from the presentation,” he explained. “Maybe some will go into the Marines or the guard.”
DiRosa, Strubel, and Schaffer are grateful to still be friends and active in their American Legion years after their time in active service.
In comparison, Western Wayne Alumni from the class of 2023 Nathaniel Swingle and Luke Janiszewski are equally grateful for their friendship that blossomed at Western Wayne and led them to joining the service as a part of the buddy system. The two recent Marine Corps enlistees completed their first round of basic training together and will go on to join a fleet at an undisclosed location some time in the near future after additional training. The two served as squad leaders at their boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina.
Swingle and Janiszewski became friends with North Pocono graduate Kariem Withers after bootcamp. The three servicemen currently are working for the Scranton Recruiting Office. They go to local high schools and interact with students to inspire them to sign-up for military service.
“I joined the military to improve myself,” Withers explained. “I feel a lot more disciplined now even just having a short time in so far.”
Withers explained that he really enjoyed working with Swingle and Janiszewski. “They are motivators,” he said.
Janiszewski aspires to attend college after his time in the service and become a secondary social studies teacher. Swingle can see himself studying business in college and aspires to open a sporting goods store one day.
A veteran at the event whose service is inspiring to all there was Elwood Merring. Merring earned the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts for what he did in combat in his service to the Army in Vietnam.
Merring is a member of the American Legion 807 in Hamlin. He is an extremely humble, decorated serviceman.
“I hope the students learn about the history of what veterans went through,” he explained.
The Western Wayne School District is proud to host veterans on their campus in remembrance of Veterans Day as a yearly tradition since 1982. The entire District thanks all of the veterans who took the time to attend the assembly and especially sends well wishes to all Western Wayne alumni who have served or are currently serving.

Drama Club to Host Family Movie Night Dec. 8

Come and join the Western Wayne Drama Club at the Western Wayne High School Cafeteria on the evening of Friday, Dec. 8, to enjoy a holiday movie, refreshments, and basket raffles.  We encourage you to wear school-appropriate holiday attire such as holiday sweaters and or pajamas.  Doors for the event open at 6:30 p.m. with the movie beginning at 7 p.m. Cost is only $1 per person.  We welcome families to attend!  All elementary students must be accompanied by an adult.  No advance tickets needed.  Hope to see you on December 9 to celebrate the holiday early with the Western Wayne Drama Club. Alumni are also encouraged to attend!

Guiding Good Choices

Guiding Good Choices for 4th-6th grade parents and caregivers. Attend this
FREE VIRTUAL five-session program to help your youth navigate the
pressures and expectations of life during their teen years to succeed and
achieve a brighter future.

Parents and caregivers can enhance their parenting skills by learning how to:

  • Promote health and well-being during the teen years.
  • Develop health beliefs and clear standards for behavior.
  • Deal with anger in a positive way and manage family conflict to strengthen
    bonds with youth.
  • Protect their children from substance abuse and other problematic behaviors.
  • Strengthen family bonds and increase youth’s involvement in the family through
    the teen years.

Youth attend session 4 with their parents and caregivers.
The program will be held on five Tuesdays: February 6, 13, 20, 27 and March 6
from 6 to 8 PM via Zoom.
For more information or to register, e-mail or call Karen Thomas at kat1@psu.edu
or 570-878-2385