Monday, September 30, 2013

OJR Team Helps Rejuvenate Home and Family

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, High School Principal Richard Marchini worked with students from the Robotics Club on an exciting project through a local organization called Designing 4 Hope. Although the volunteers did not know him prior to arriving for work on Saturday, they were excited to meet 8 year-old Branden, who attends East Coventry Elementary in the Owen J. Roberts School District. Branden was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in April 2012, and will be receiving chemotherapy treatments every day until April of 2014.

 Photos courtesy of Stephanie Adrian

Designing4Hope has a dedicated core team ( and an amazing volunteer base which works to design and renovate rooms that provide critically ill children with a special place to rest, recover, heal and dream. The organization works to help young patients forget about hospitals, treatments and needles for just a little while.

 Tri-County Area Federal Credit Union funded the work to Branden’s Spring City home, which turned out to be broader in scope than just his Halo-game-themed bedroom. The project also included work on a room where he could unwind and play the drums. When Dr. Marchini learned that Designing4Hope wanted to refurbish an outdoor patio as well, he knew he could put his skills to work to make it happen and a group of students quickly volunteered to lend a hand. Dr. Marchini's family along with Mr. Fogwell and several students from the Robotics team for which he leads, pitched in to create the outdoor space.

Students dismantled the existing patio, power-washed all the pavers and replaced them and finished the area with sand. Robotics club members designed the brick laying scheme, which allows for proper water drainage and level surface. The finished patio (pictured above) will give the family bonus space to find some peace in the outdoors, which they all enjoy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Middle School Students Making a Difference

 Owen J. Roberts Middle School students, Megan Kirkbride, Kyle Malmstrom and Andrew Malmstrom
Owen J. Roberts Middle School student, Kyle Malmstrom, along with his family and friends, has been working since 2011 to bring “komfort” to children coping with a life changing event.
Kyle’s Quillows has donated more than 1100 of the fleece quilt/pillow blankets to bone marrow transplant and other children battling illness. Keeping up with demand is one of the difficult challenges for such a charity. There is a never an empty bed on the Bone Marrow Transplant floor at CHOP and, in fact, the fifteen beds on the floor often require overflow space into the Cancer Unit. Bone marrow transplant patients need more than one Quillow as it is necessary to launder everything for which they come in contact every day. As word about the charity spreads, requests for donations have come as far as Scotland and Australia.
Kyle’s grandmother sewed the first Quillow when he was in the hospital. After hearing the cries of a patient in the next room, he wanted to share the comfort he received and asked his grandmother if she would sew one for that child. When the time was right, Kyle and Andrew learned to make the Quillow blankets and continue to work toward a goal to serve every child in need.
Kyle is a survivor of aplastic anemia. His twin brother, Andrew, was Kyle’s bone marrow donor—one of only 2 sets of compatible twins in CHOP’s history. Andrew embroiders the letter “A” on a corner of each blanket as a tribute to donors. It is especially meaningful for patients to receive a gift from a survivor.
The Malmstrom brothers have many friends who like to help. Middle School student and girl scout, Megan Kirkbride, is helping to market the charity with the website, how-to-videos and Instagram. She hopes that this will assure that those who need the comforting blankets will know how to receive them.
Kyle’s Quillows accepts donations of fleece—2 yards will make a quillow. They say, “if you love the print, someone else will too”. You can also help craft a quillow by attending a sewing event. The next sewing event is October 6 at Pottstown Sewing, 142 Shoemaker Road from 12-3:30. Fleece donations may be dropped off at that time.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Student Leadership and Unity at East Coventry

Thom Stecher and Associates visited East Coventry on September 18, 2013 to spend the day with grade 6 students.  Unity Day is meant to encourage students to recognize the differences in others while solving problems collaboratively.  

 The day includes activities that build community with respect, responsibility and relationships.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Letter About Band Performance

The following letter was sent to the High School Principal following The Parade of Shoes, Miss America Parade in Atlantic City on September 15, 2013:

Dear Dr. Marchini,

The Miss America Parade was a wonderful event for us, but your high school band was the high point of the parade. The parade stalled in front of us for 20 minutes and your students were both patient and entertaining. At first the students with the banner were in front of us and behind the Margaritaville float. They remained in place, but began to sway and dance to the music coming from the float. Next the band moved and was directly in front of us. A group of men began shouting, "Play Louie, Louie." The band members smiled but remained at attention. After 10 minutes the band director heard the shouts. He said to the band, "We have to give our audience what they want." He had the band turn to face us and the students played the best rendition of Louie, Louie we have ever heard.

We want to thank your band for the wonderful music and thank your band instructor for thinking outside the box and allowing the band to entertain us. It is obvious that he is an outstanding educator and that your school band is not only well disciplined, but they are excellent musicians. As principal, you have much to be proud of. Please pass this letter on to your band director and the board of education. We'd like to thank them for sharing their students with us and for a memorable impromptu show that we will never forget.


Donna and Albert Brown
Hammonton, NJ 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Senior Rachel Bloemker Chosen from Among Nation's Most Musically Talented

Pottstown, PA Owen J. Roberts Senior to Perform with the 2013 NAfME All-National Honors Ensembles at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville

October 27-30, 2013, Nashville, TN:  Rachel Bloemker from Owen J. Roberts High School,  has been selected as a member of the 2013 NAfME All-National Honor ensemble sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Rachel will join more than 670 of the most musically talented and skilled high school students in the United States to perform at a gala concert on October 30, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.

These exceptional students will prepare remarkably challenging music that they will perform under the baton of four of the most prominent conductors in the United States:   Dr. Peter Boonshaft, Miriam Burns, Rollo Dilworth, and Rodney Whitaker.

“I am so excited to meet Rollo Dilworth and the other conductors,” Rachel said. Ms. Bloemker, an Alto 1, is performing with about 350 students from across the country in the mixed choir. She auditioned after the winning state recognition and found out in late July she had been chosen for this national honor.

The NAfME All-National Honors Ensembles, consisting of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed chorus,  and jazz ensemble, are organized by members of the National Association for Music Education. The concert band and symphony orchestra will each have approximately 150 instrumentalists, the jazz ensemble will have 20 instrumentalists, and the mixed chorus will have approximately 350 vocalists. Eligible students have qualified for their state-level honor ensemble program and competed against top students for a spot in these national honor ensembles.

The 2013 NAfME All-National Honors Ensembles will perform for an audience of thousands on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, in the Presidential Ballroom of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, in Nashville, TN. For program and ticket information please visit

National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century.