High School Hosts Graduation for Class of 2024

Wildcat Pride was bursting from the audience at Western Wayne’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium on the evening of Thursday, June 6, for the graduation of the class of 2024. This is a class with a high school experience unique in many ways having had to do some of their time in school virtually for the end of their 8th grade year and in masks for their freshman and part of their sophomore years. They have learned to persevere through uncertain times and are ready for the next steps of their lives. Student speakers at graduation gave their classmates advice for the exciting, new journey that lies ahead of them.
Senior Taylor Maiocco, president of the class of 2024, gave the welcome address.
She left her classmates with some advice about not fearing change, “Life isn’t long enough to do something you don’t love. So don’t be afraid to change your mind or actions because your options are limitless. Live life to the fullest; be as present as you can be; and do what makes you truly happy.”
Later, Taylor presented the Class Mantel to Lillian Maros, junior class president.
Following the presentation of the mantle, the class salutatorian and valedictorian gave speeches.
Senior Jacob Schott, Waymart, was named the salutatorian of the class of 2024 with a final overall GPA of 101.78.
Jacob is the son of Daniel and Denise Schott.
Along with being an excellent academic student, Jacob was involved in Western Wayne clubs and activities. He was extremely dedicated to the Robotics Club, FRC Team 4285 the Camo-Bots for four years, and served as the co-team captain. In addition, he was a member of the National Honor Society.

In the future, he plans to attend Pennsylvania College of Technology to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Automation Engineering Technology: Robotics and Automation.

“My favorite high school memory is qualifying for and competing at the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship in Houston, Texas, and finishing in the top 25% overall,” Jacob said.

“ I believe that it was through my participation on the robotics team that I have become most prepared for my chosen career field of automation engineering. This club taught me all about the world of robotics, but also challenged my engineering and design process skills. I learned valuable life lessons, such as public speaking, and trade skills through this club. I also believe my advanced classes, such as AP Language and Composition, AP Calculus, and AP Physics have helped me, by allowing me to earn college credit while in high school.”
In his salutatorian speech, Jacob summed up the evening with a quote from Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
He then discussed the many seemingly impossible achievements that his classmates have achieved both academically and in their various extra-curricular activities throughout their time in high school.
Jacob’ seemingly impossible achievement was helping to lead the robotics team to their great success at worlds this year which put Western Waye on the map in the world of robotics.
“Four years later, here we are. We did what seemed impossible,” Jacob said. “The ball is in your court now. I challenge each and every one of you to leave here tonight doing what Nelson Mandela said. Try something new. Take a risk. You never know what kind of an outcome it could have. Leave these four walls and make a name for yourself. Change the world for the better. I know you are all capable of doing so.”
Fellow classmate Adrian Agnello, Waymart, was named valedictorian of the class of 2024 with a GPA of 102.13.
Adrian is the son of Jessica and Joseph Agnello.
Adrian also has done numerous activities both inside and outside of the classroom at Western Wayne. He has participated in FBLA, PJAS, Student Council, Student Ambassador, Scholastic Team, Varsity Soccer and Swimming.
In the future, he plans to attend The University of Scranton to attain a degree in BioChemistry and then attend medical school with hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist.

“My favorite high school memory is making it to nationals for FBLA twice and getting to visit Chicago and Atlanta,” he said. “At Western Wayne, I was taught to not fear failure, and this will help me be even more successful in my future.”
In his valedictorian speech, Adrian quoted successful businessman and author Robert T. Kiyosaki, “Winners are not afraid of losing, but losers are. Failure is simply a part of the process of success.”
Adrian continued, “Failure can be a reminder that success is not always easy, but with hard work and perseverance it is possible.”
He then asked his classmates to reflect on some of the failures they encountered in high school and what they learned from them.
“High school is filled with failure and so is life,” Adrian said. “However, if these failures are taken as learning experiences, our lives can be filled with even more successes than failures. It is what you choose to take out of it that determines your outcome.”
He gave his classmates more advice, “We must learn to view every mistake or failure as an opportunity to learn and to improve.”
Adrian ended his speech by saying, “High school has been an incredible journey, however, the best is yet to come. Remember to never fear failure.”
Following the speeches, all graduates received their diplomas and were presented as the Class of 2024 to the audience. They then sang the school’s alma mater one last time as a class on stage. The Western Wayne School District wishes all the graduates the best in their bright futures.

Western Wayne Hosts Annual Prom Night Festivities

Western Wayne High School’s Junior Class hosted this year’s Junior/Senior prom, “Casino Night,” on Saturday, May 18, at the Hotel Anthracite in Carbondale. Approximately 240 students, faculty, and security were in attendance. Principal Mr. Paul B. Gregorski II and Vice Principal Mr. Robert Black Jr. announced the Prom Court winners after students enjoyed a meal and dancing. Students nominated senior Carter Mistishin as Prom King and senior Taylor Maiocco as Prom Queen as well as juniors Lilly Maros and Raegan Palmer as the evening’s Junior Attendants and Izzy Azzato and Emily Lescinski as the Senior Attendants.

High School Receives 2024 ExxonMobil Grant

The Western Wayne High School received a 500 dollar 2024 ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant to support STEM education. ExxonMobil and Onvo present these grants to various area schools each year. The check was awarded to Western Wayne recently. Western Wayne Administration and staff are excited to use these funds to better the educational experiences of their students. The District intends to use these funds to enhance students’ experiences in STEM related studies especially in their science and math departments.

Western Wayne Annual Art Show a Success

Western Wayne hosted their annual spring Art Show on Saturday, May 11, for the community. The show featured art from students in grades 8 through 12 and art from graduating seniors. In addition, high school students in the creative writing class also had their written pieces displayed in an artistic manner. The following list of seven seniors exhibited their portfolios at the art show: Melinda Kopcza, Kiersten McDonald, Jocilyn Brungard, Aurora Morris, Carly Schott, Lila Rusin, and Peyton Cook. Their displays represented an accumulation of up to four years of artwork.
Senior Melinda Kopcza’s display centered around fantasy.
“My biggest inspiration is Alice in Wonderland. I love art because it brings my dreams of being a Disney princess to life, as well as my dream to live in a fantasy world,” Melinda said. She is also especially glad that her family enjoys her artwork.
Melinda plans to attend Millersville University to study psychology and criminology or social work.
Fellow senior Kiersten McDonald’s display had a dreamscape theme.
“I picked this theme because it represents loss of identity and always wanting to get away. The majority of my art follows the same theme of space, dreams, and illusions,” Kiersten said. She is also especially proud of having won first and second place in the same category of mixed media at the Western Wayne Art Show her sophomore year.
Kiersten plans to attend Millersville University as well with her best friend Melinda where she plans to study anthropology in the hope of becoming a forensic anthropologist, as well as continuing art as a hobby.
Another featured artist is Jocilyn Brungard who centered her display around skeletal animals.
“I chose this theme because my first pen and ink was a skeleton crow, and it’s a piece of artwork that has stuck with me ever since. Music greatly influences my art as well and is the inspiration for some of my other works of art,” Jocilyn said.
Jocilyn’s favorite artists include Vincent Van Gogh and Florence and the Machine.
Although Jocilyn’s future plans are undecided, she is interested in joining the Air Force and would like to continue art in her future as well.
Another featured artist is Aurora Morris who created her art in mostly a whimsical style. Her favorite medium is colored pencils.
“I think the art I create looks like a person would see it in some odd planet or alternate reality. I also love to create 3D mixed media art, using wire as one of my favorite things to add to my sculptures,” Aurora said.
In her free time, Aurora loves to read and write poetry.
She plans to attend Mercyhurst University to earn a degree in art education and a minor in special education.
Fellow senior Carly Schott’s display has a focus on nature.
“The state of our environment has always been important to me, and is an issue I hope to bring to light through my artwork,” Carly said. “In addition, art has given me confidence and purpose. To me, creating art is a way for me to express myself. As a typically shy and quiet person, my artwork has become an outlet for me to share my thoughts, feeling, and personality with others while still being able to hide behind a page.”
Carly is most proud of how much she has improved since she began drawing.
After high school, she plans to pursue a career in the art field.
Another featured artist is Lila Rusin whose work is done primarily in black and white, which she feels simplifies her pieces, putting more of a focus on her compositions. Her biggest inspiration is Japanese artist Junji Ito, who has influenced some of her art style and ideas.
“Through my art, I want to convey the struggles and stereotypes of being a woman in today’s society. I want to use art to speak against gender norms created by society,” Lila explained.
Lila’s hobbies include drawing, digitally and traditionally, writing and playing video games.
Her future plans include going to a college to pursue a writing career.
Finally, Peyton Cook’s senior display was inspired by her development as an artist in scrapbook form.
“I wanted to convey to my viewers how I have grown as an artist, and the phases of my life displayed through my art at the time. Through my display, I want to give the message of how important pushing myself as a creator is,” Peyton said.
Peyton is mostly inspired by her father, who always enjoyed doing crafts and new projects with her and her brother as kids.
While Peyton isn’t pursuing a career in the art field, she plans to attend Penn State Scranton for nursing and continue to create art as a stress reliever and an expression of her new chapter in life after high school.
Many of the seniors plan to do as Peyton is and pursue art as a hobby if it is not part of their chosen career field. They are grateful for the experiences they had at Western Wayne in their art classes.
The District wishes them the best on their future endeavors and congratulates the Art Department on another successful Art Show.

Students Present Research at the PJAS State Meeting at Penn State Main Campus

From left:  Audrey Agnello, Madelyn McClure, Cassidy Zeiler, and Mackenzie Adams.

Congratulations to the following students who presented scientific research at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science State Competition on May 20th at Penn State University Main Campus. These students investigated a scientific question, carried out controlled scientific research and presented their findings to a panel of professionals in the scientific fields. The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) is a statewide organization of middle and high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science among its members through the development of research projects and investigations. 

      “Students learn valuable skills in their completion and presentation of these projects. In each case their presentations were judged by professors, graduate students, researchers working in the field, and teachers from area school districts. As advisors we are very proud of their accomplishments,” said Mrs. Christine McClure, one of the Western Wayne advisors. Below is a list of the results for Western Wayne.

       Mackenzie Adams won 2nd award for her research in Biology studying the Effects of Steroids on Mammalian Bone Tissue.
      Cassidy Zeiler won 1st award for her research in Microbiology studying the Effects of Essential Oils on the Inhibition of Bacteria.
      Audrey Agnello won 2nd award for her research in Behavioral Science studying the Effects of Color on Memory of Students.
      Madelyn McClure won 2nd award for her research in Zoology studying the Effects of Essential Oils on the Heart Rate of Daphnia magna.
Advisors are Christine McClure and Maria Masankay.

Western Wayne Presents at Community Connections to Our Watershed Forum

Community Connections to Our Watershed began over twenty years ago. Each year the education staff from Lackawanna and Nescopeck State Parks coordinate groups of five students and one teacher from local schools to participate in this environmental forum. Learners visit their local parks and other public lands while meeting conservation professionals doing the unending work to ensure our communities have equitable access to the clean waters that are essential for us and our ecosystems to survive and thrive.  An overview of the program with information, pictures, and highlights from the field trips can be found at https://tinyurl.com/CCTW2024

The Lackawanna County Teams included: Carbondale, Forest City, Lackawanna Trail, Lakeland, Mountain View, Old Forge, Riverside, Western Wayne, and Wayne Highlands.  The Luzerne County Teams included: Crestwood, Hanover, HAAS, HACC, Hazleton, Northwest, Tunkhannock, and Wyoming Area.

This year Western Wayne students attended field trips to Keystone College, the Old Forge borehole, Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center, Sweeney’s Beach in Scranton, and Frances Slocum State Park.  On these excursions students learned about what makes a healthy watershed, how we monitor a watershed, and finally solutions being made to keep our watershed clean.

On May 7, 2024 these trips culminated in a student presentation banquet at Montage Mountain.  Western Wayne presented their project titled, “Little Fish, Big World to the other participating schools.  The students used what they learned on their field trips to create a video project with interactive questions that will be used for future classes of Western Wayne High School.  The project can be found at https://tinyurl.com/Little-Fish-Big-World

            These trips and experiences were made possible by Pennsylvania American Water Company, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and The Watershed Education Program designed by DCNR.

High School Students Explore Varden Conservation Area

On May 8, 2024, Western Wayne 9th grade High School Students visited the Varden Conservation Area and participated in ecology activities presented by Lacawac Sanctuary, DCNR, and Trout Unlimited.  Students participated in three different activities, which involved the topics of macroinvertebrates in a pond environment, a fishing demonstration with practice casting, and chemical water testing and pollution. 

Students also released rainbow trout as a conclusion of the Pennsylvania Trout in the classroom (PA-TIC) program.  The Pennsylvania Fish Commission provided rainbow trout eggs that were hatched and raised by Dr. Mark Nebzydoski and his classes this school year.  The trout release was assisted by the Pike – Wayne Chapter #462 Trout Unlimited, President, Paul Ranello and Youth Advisor, Pat Guinnane.

Lacawac Sanctuary instructors included Natalie Wasilchek, Asst. Director of Environmental Education/Camp Director, who explained chemical testing and water quality at the stream, Nicole Seul, assistant director of school programs, Maria Hutchins and Merrilee Ulisny, Environmental Educators, who explained water quality health through identification of macroinvertebrates found at the pond.

Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) Environmental Education Specialist, Josh Heath, explained fishing techniques which included casting a rod and bait type based on the environmental conditions as well as fish identification.

Prior to the field trip students engaged in a classroom presentation on water quality and the environment.  Students participated in activities that model groundwater and surface water and how they fit into a concept of a watershed.  These activities lead to discussions about the local area and incorporate the concept of a water table and common water resources shared by all.

Funding for the Varden classroom education as well the field trip was provided through an Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) grant from the nonprofit Western Wayne Education Foundation. Christine McClure, President, 1970C Easton Turnpike, Western Wayne School District, Lake Ariel, PA 18436

Accompanying the students were instructors Dr. Mark Nebzydoski and Maria Phillips, Helene Tscheschlog, and Michael Bershefsky.  For more information on

Varden Conservation area

http://www.vardenconservationarea.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofVCA

http://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/VardenConservationArea/Pages/default.aspx

– Lacawac Sanctuary

https://www.lacawac.org

https://www.facebook.com/Lacawac

– Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom (PA-TIC)

https://www.patroutintheclassroom.org

Pike – Wayne Chapter #462 Trout Unlimited

https://pwtu.org

RDW’s Kindness Club creates “Kind Westie”

RDW’s Kindness Club students came up with a neat project to end the year. A spin-off of “Flat Stanley,” students created a character called “Kind Westie” who has been traveling to different classrooms. When he arrives, students read a letter from Westie which explains that he is watching to see if they do kind things for one another. When they do, they are allowed to take a picture with Westie. Since launching the project last week, the Kindness Club has received numerous pictures of Westie with kind students. They can’t wait to see how many more photos they get and are excited about the impact that his project is having.
Kindness Club members, left to right: Aaedyn Hillemann, Rachel Enslin, Jasmine Piacentino, Cami French, Aubrey Hendricks, and Jakob Vinton

Fashion is Haunting: CATWALK 2024

Featuring senior collections, underclassmen projects + competitive pieces.

MAY 21,2024
VETERANS MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM
DOORS OPEN AT 6
SHOW STARTS AT 6:30PM