Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Food Drive Efforts Win Big

For the second year, Owen J. High School students directed a hunger relief campaign competing with other area school districts to gather much needed supplies for food banks in our region. For the second year they also brought home the big prize--$10,000! Shire’s Great Food Fight! is organized by regional high school students, sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals, and benefits Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization. Beneficiaries of the drive include the Pottstown Cluster, which serves families living in the district. This year’s food fight ran from February 25th through March 8th. Student ambassador, Shannon Kolb, was interviewed on KYW radio and all involved students reached out to the community to create awareness for the issue of hunger. Owen J. Roberts collected over 33,000 pounds of food and supplies this year! Photos below were taken at the Philabundance warehouse on Tuesday, April 30, when top winners came to work and learn who won the grand prize.

GIRLS LACROSSE: OJR edges Spring-Ford in OT

GIRLS LACROSSE: OJR edges Spring-Ford in OT: GIRLS LACROSSE: OJR edges Spring-Ford in OT

Monday, April 29, 2013


Owen J. Roberts DECA won the following awards at the DECA International Conference/Competition in Anaheim, California.  There were an estimated 16,000 DECA members in competition with approximately 200 competitors/projects per event.    

TOP TEN (International Finalist)  Kayla Oliver and Madeline Sell in Financial Operations Research

TOP TEN (International Finalist)  Zach Matarazzo and Aaron Grey in Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan

Friday, April 26, 2013

High School Wins Foreign Language Distinction

We are pleased to announce that our high school's World Language department is the recipient of a 2013 PEP Golden Globe Award.  In addition to the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Award (PSMLA) they received $250, to be used for the benefit of our foreign language program.

In honor of the national “2005 Year of Languages”, Pennsylvania State Modern Language Award (PSMLA) began showcasing Exemplary Pennsylvania high school foreign language Programs (PEP).  PEP schools are required to submit evidence to document that they meet the rigorous criteria established by PSMLA.  The evidence demonstrated included high standards for professional development, a rigorous curriculum, compelling students to use the target language for the majority of the classroom period, and best practice in promoting world languages. The goal of PEP is to provide a blueprint so that all Pennsylvania high school world language programs become PEP Award programs. The two-year PEP awards are awarded in four categories:  Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Globe Awards. 
Congratulations to our World Language teachers and Adrienne Andres, Department Chair, for their time and effort in support of this award. A full description of the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association can be found at www.psmla.org.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Student Essay Wins for Phillies All Star Teacher

High School Senior, Mary Grace Keller, entered an essay nominating Miss Megan Bonner to the Phillies Teacher All-Star program. A panel of former teachers selected her essay as a honorable mention for the Phillies Teacher Appreciation Night on May 3rd.  Both Mary Grace and Miss Bonner will receive tickets to the May 3 game and pre-game tent party. The award will be included in the Teacher All-Star supplement handed out to all fans that night.

           Allow me to give you a tour of room 168. Yearbook club applications are located outside the door and inside there are brightly-lit computers waiting to be put to use. Yearbook posters adorn the walls and expressions of graphic art are pinned to the cork board. Students who have taken visual arts classes have become familiar with this room, but more so with the teacher sitting behind the desk. She’s a woman of many skills --she can teach any technologically-inept student how to create a masterpiece in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. This teacher helps students discover talents they never realized they possessed. If you’re that kid struggling to keep up, like I was, she’ll invite you to come work one-on-one after school. This teacher doesn’t hold back her critiques, but she speaks in such a way that students want to perform better. One door down the hallway, that same guidance is bestowed in her ceramics class.
     At the end of the day when the kiln has been turned off and the computers have been shut down, a whole new machine starts running. Yearbook club members gather to create pages that immortalize the moments that have made each day unique. When I first joined yearbook during sophomore year, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned how to use a DSLR camera, write photo captions, and design a page spread that is appealing to the eye. Through yearbook I’ve gone from a novice to an editor --someone who makes decisions and helps to steer the club in the right direction. This club advisor taught me how to be a leader, how to cope with tough deadlines, look for creative answers to problems, and to never give up. She knows how to get the editors focused when it really counts, but she’s rarely hesitant to crack a joke or surprise students with a box of Tasty Cakes and pizza on late nights after school.
     It hardly seems fair that an educator like this one should go unnoticed by the community. She spends more time at work than she does at home because she is completely devoted to her students. Those struggling with personal issues can ask her for advice, and trust this teacher like a family member. When I walk into room 168, I know it is a safe place. I know it is a room where ideas are spun and laughs bounce off the walls. One teacher can make all the difference. Famous athletes like the Phillies are recognized for their hard work every day when fans watch them play on screen. The world is able to see the players’ dedication and applaud them for it, but what about the All-Stars that hit a grand slam in the classroom? Owen J. Roberts High School is fortunate enough to have a real MVP amongst its staff, and she goes by many names. Bon, Bon-tron, Bon bon, Bonzilla, Momma Bon, the leader, the advisor, Miss Megan Bonner.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Green practices have been a focus of the Owen J. Roberts School District this year with the District establishing a variety of energy conservation measures and building efficiency programs. On November 14, 2012, student representatives from all OJR schools participated in an event which marked the official capturing of solar energy by the 525 kW solar photovoltaic array installed at the High School & Middle School – more than 2,200 solar panels mounted on building rooftops! Since that time, students have continued to support green efforts with their own unique work and exceptional projects.

Gavin Brown, Audrey Farnham, and Sam Smith, 6th grade students from French Creek Elementary School, were recently awarded 2nd place for 6th grade in the state of Pennsylvania for the U.S. Army eCybermission Challenge, a web-based, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition. This group of French Creek students aptly applied what they have learned in the classroom to a real-life problem in their community by developing a plan to help students remember to close the exterior doors when entering and exiting the building as a group.  Students learned about a simple way they can take responsibility to help reduce energy costs and keep their school a safe place to learn and play. The students acquired and put to use a variety of technology, research, and communication skills to effectively carry out their plan. 

Another award winning group of students are the Owen J. Roberts High School Animal Studies Club, which ranked as a “top 5 high school finalist” for the Philadelphia Zoo’s UNLESS Contest 2013 competing against schools from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The grand prize winner will be announced on May 29. The UNLESS contest project involved multiple forms of energy conservation and community outreach. Students focused on digital, print, and interpersonal outreach and included classroom frogs as method for directly connecting people to the animals endangered by energy consumption. Club members procured a recycling bin and successfully encouraged animal studies students to stop putting recyclables in the trash. Next, the club designed a pledge poster where students and staff could pledge to do something that would help save wildlife. Students secured over 90 signatures from people pledging to make changes to help conserve energy and save wildlife. Club members also wrote letters to encourage local businesses to adopt environmentally friendly procedures. The sale of reusable water bottles funded the ability to grow lettuce to feed classroom animals, secure a rain water barrel, and also serve as a way for students to encourage others to cut back on the waste they create every day in the form of disposable beverage containers.

 A new link on www.ojrsd.com features a real-time look at the Owen J. Roberts sustainable energy project. Check the green@ojr link for info-graphics which represent an estimated environmental impact of the solar project. An estimated 30% of the energy needs on Owen J. Roberts’ main campus are being generated with solar.
Congratulations to our hard working students for their green efforts! It is hoped that district renewable energy and energy conservation efforts—especially those of students—will help the greater community reduce its carbon footprint and inspire even more green practices.

Chief of Security and Safety Mr. Larry Mauger and teacher Mrs. Jessica Stone review the eCybermission project with students.

Logo developed by the Animal Studies Club.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mock Crash Event at Owen J. Roberts High School

Pottstown, PA: Owen J. Roberts High School hosted the 2013 Mock Crash Event on Friday, April 19th at 8:00 am. Owen J. Roberts High School sophomore, junior and senior classes witnessed a simulated crash and rescue in the OJR main campus band parking lot. The staged automobile crash scene became live theatre which created a realistic demonstration of what happens at an accident scene when drivers may have been distracted or impaired. 

 The Mock Crash Event featured professional actors from the Media Theatre as well as Owen J. Roberts student actors. The event was sponsored by State Farm insurance in cooperation with Paoli Hospital and the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s Cruisin’ Not Boozin’ Program.  The OJRSD Security Department, Goodwill Ambulance, Ridge Fire Company, Pennsylvania State Police, the Chester County Coroner and local municipal police have been working together over the past months to plan this event to encourage responsible driving behaviors among the community’s youth.

 Following the outdoor presentation, the students returned to the high school auditorium for the “Cruisin Not Boozin” assembly. Owen J. Roberts School Board of Directors President Douglas Hughes gave students a perspective of the set of events which may occur after such an accident. “Our goal is that none of you is ever involved in a preventable accident,” he told students. He also thanked more than 100 volunteers who gave their time to organize and deliver the program, “to show they care”.

A representative from Bryn Mawr Rehab introduced the a traumatic brain injury survivor and keynote speaker who captivated the attention of the audience with his story, “My name is Bobby. This is the dream I never woke up from. My accident occurred on March 5, 2006, the night that changed my life forever.”

State Farm Insurance Agent Mr. Michael Graham shared post-accident situations he has encountered over the years. He also reported the good news that there are less accidents involving teen drivers than in previous years.

The mock crash and assembly are used in conjunction with a comprehensive education and prevention plan for Owen J. Roberts High School students including mandatory driver training class and optional behind-the-wheel driver training.

Student actors and rescue personnel gave amazing performances creating a realistic accident scene. Also on the scene were the high school newspaper and television crew.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

East Coventry Reaches Out

Staff from East Coventry Elementary worked together to feed the homeless in Pottstown on April 15 for Ministries at Main Street.  It was truly a building wide effort. Some staff worked in the kitchen at the ministry while others donated money, desserts and drinks.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Great News from Mount Pocono

This past weekend 7 teams of our Owen J. Roberts students competed in the Odyssey of the Mind state finals tournament which was held at Pocono Mountain High School.  Of our seven competing teams, six are moving on to world finals competition.   Our district took home four first place trophies.  Elementary teams from both East Coventry and East Vincent were first place winners along with 2 of our high school teams.  One of our competing middle school teams will move on to world finals by posting a second place finish, and our third high school team was awarded a special creativity award earning them a place in world finals competition.

High School Winners:

Problem 5 First Place

Eva Bove, Maggie Duffy, Liza Fitch, Christina Fluharty, Petra Hester, Conner Loomis, Danielle Wood, Coach Rose Vey

Problem 4 First Place

Zach Matarazzo, Caroline Rajtik, Collin Sager, Cassidy Hart, Mackenzie Briglia, Madison Matarazzo, and Ethan Conway.

Rantara Creativity Award Recipients:

Kelsey Bright, Christohper Bove, Kevin Bukay, Caitlin McLaughlin, Alyssa Ott, Eric McKay, Fiona McLaughlin, Coach Patty Janda

Middle School Second Place Winners:

Liam Conway, George Kullen, Gretchen Harken Sydney Baker, Kasey Fitch Robin Mailum, and Alex Glasier.

East Coventry First Place Winners:

Seth Bradley, Sarah DeFusco, Ryan Duske, Kennedy Kollar, Haley O'Donnell, Jessica Taney, Emma Venanzi, Coach Rose Vey

East Vincent First Place Winners:

Annie Arditi, Sean Zubey, Meghan Parker, Hannah Clay, Olivia DeVol, Lauren McLaughlin, and Connor Simeon.
      Congratulations  to all of our Owen J. Roberts Odyssey Students!!!!!!!

ROUNDUP: Boone’s Smith, OJR’s Sullivan, PV’s Tanseco lead locals at Viking Invitational

ROUNDUP: Boone’s Smith, OJR’s Sullivan, PV’s Tanseco lead locals at Viking Invitational: ROUNDUP: Boone’s Smith, OJR’s Sullivan, PV’s Tanseco lead locals at Viking Invitational

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fly Fishing Enthusiasts

Middle School students have many opportunities to learn new skills. On April 9, Mr. Steve DeRafelo instructed students in fly fishing 101. Students learned to tie several kinds of flies and practiced casting. The are learning how to assemble gear, tie common knots, choose which flies to use for different trout species, and basic fly fishing practice and etiquette. In upcoming weeks, and at Owen J. camps this summer, students will have the opportunity to go to French Creek to practice. A recent L.L. Bean Outdoor Experience Mini-Grant (administered through the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation) will help pay for supplies and trips that engage young people in outdoor recreation, both to inspire them to lead healthy lifestyles and to encourage them to become stewards of the outdoors.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Student Recognitions

On Monday, April 8, 2013, at the Owen J. Roberts Board of School Directors Regular Business Meeting, the Middle School Jazz Band perfomed one of their favorite improv numbers. In addition, at that meeting, many students were recognized for their achievements in music and athletics. Below are photos:
Mr. Jason Hess and Dr. Robert Salladino are pictured above with middle school and ninth grade students who participated in the InterCounty Band Festival.

Congratulations to high school students who qualified for the very prestigious PMEA District 12 Band Festival.
Amanda Ficca received recognition for PMEA District 12 Band and PMEA District 12 Chorus, also qualifying for Region 6 Choir. She also earned first chair for playing the trumpet in PMEA District 12 Orchestra advancing to PMEA Region 6 Orchestra.
Zach Matarazzo qualified and participated in District 12 Chorus and Region 6 Choir advancing to the highly competitive All-Eastern Chorus.
The High School Wrestling team were honored for their third consecutive undefeated PAC 10 season and for earning District 1 Dual Team Champions and District 1 West Regional Champions.
Congratulations to the High School Swimming and Diving Team for qualifying for the State Championships. Go Wildcats!!!!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Owen J. Indoor Guard

Pictured is the Owen J. Roberts High School Indoor Guard at their championships.  They finished their year with two second places, two first places and an overall ranking of second at finals.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sale to Benefit School Programs

Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation

Children's Consignment Sale with Teen Clothes and
New Prom Dresses for $75

All proceeds benefit

educational programs


Saturday, April 13, 2012

8:00am to 12:30pm

Owen J. Roberts Middle School

Next sale: Sept. 14, 2013

They grow so fast! Earn money for gently-used clothing while benefiting classrooms through the

Education Foundation! Save money by purchasing great designer fashions, toys, and more at a fraction of retail cost.


Visit ojref.org for more information and consignor registration or to volunteer for the event.

Questions? contact khocker@ojref.org or 610-469-5333.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nationally Recognized Middle School Student

Middle School student Eric Hughes recently won the American Birding Association's 2013 Young Birder of the Year contest. This national recognition in part included a conservation project involving Ellis Woods Park nature trail in East Coventry Township, where he helped the Ellis Woods Park earn certifacation as a Wildlife Habitat, meeting the criteria on food, water and shelter for wildlife.  According to an article in the township newsletter, Eric's future plans include attending Cornell Universities College of Architecture and Life Sciences to major in Birding.

This was the second year that the 8th grade student entered the Young Birder contest. Last year he did well, placing in writing and photography. This year he recieved first place in all 3 categories - writing, photography and conservation paving the way for the national grand prize.

The following is the link to the American Birding Association's announcement: http://birding.typepad.com/youngbirders/2013/03/announcing-the-2013-young-birders-of-the-year.html

Eric has received recognition in several areas of science over the past few years.  At the Chester County Science Fairs, he earned high honors as a 4th grader and distinguished honors in 5th grade.   He has placed at the secondary County level for the last 3 years, giving him the honor of representing our district at the Delaware Valley Science Fairs.  Last year he won 2nd place there and earned the Broadcom MASTERS Middle School Award.  This year he was the first place winner at Chester County and also earned the Bright Ideas in Botany Award.  He will compete at the Del Val Fair in April.

Boys Lacrosse: Owen J. Roberts rallies past Spring-Ford

Boys Lacrosse: Owen J. Roberts rallies past Spring-Ford: Boys Lacrosse: Owen J. Roberts rallies past Spring-Ford