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Music, Culinary Art, Robotics Take Center Stage at Hazelwood School Board Meeting

By Jeremy Thomas

Last week’s Hazelwood School board meeting had a rather different agenda as a musical performance headlined the start of the meeting. In a presentation called “Music in Our School” a passionate group of about 25 kids displayed their musical talents with several songs they performed in front of parents, patrons and the Hazelwood School Board.

The band was led by Liz Tabaka, who is the band instructor at Russell, Armstrong, Garrett and McNair elementary, and Christie Berger,  band instructor at McCurdy, Lawson, Lusher and Barrington schools.

“Our students were extremely excited to play in front of their parents and play in public, they all do a tremendous job in practice, and we are just happy everyone at the meeting had the chance to see them play,”  Berger said.

One of the more interesting items discussed during the meeting was actually a video presentation from Diana Gulotta, assistant superintendent for communications. The video  provided an inside look into the culinary arts classes at all three Hazelwood high school’s.  In the video students were showcasing their skills in making pies, homemade marina sauce, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken, cookies and several different juices.

“Usually the students in my Culinary art classes pick the class so they can just eat.  But once they learn how fun and creative cooking is they really dedicate themselves to the program and most of them end up wanting to pursue a career in culinary arts,” Hazelwood West High instructor Nancy Firasek said.

The meeting also had several Mid-Year reports from area middle schools along with a presentation from the principal of Hazelwood Central High School. Most of the principals stressed the same central concern,  which was to either increase or continue their efforts to improving learning scores in their respective school to meet the state average. Strategies the principals mention were more one-to-one peer mentoring, more interactive learning activities, and more walk through from principals.

Lawson elementary is actually taking a more modern day approach to curb interactive learning by using a few iPads in several classrooms.

“We received the iPads in mid-January so teachers and I are still getting use to using them in a school setting, but already students are more engaged in class activities along with learning more about school subjects in a unique interactive way,” Lawson Principal Betty Scheller said.

One patron  wanted to know if any of the board members would donate money to any of the Hazelwood School’s Project Graduation.

Central, West Advance in Robotics

At the end of the meeting Supt. Grayling Tobias congratulated the Hazelwood East robotics team for advancing to the final round in an area robotics tournament and Hazelwood Central robotics team for advancing to the semi-finals in the same tournament.

It was announced two days later that Hazelwood West High School and Hazelwood Central High School robotics teams have advanced to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship competition in April 24-27 at the Edward Jones Dome. Competing with 128 teams from  around the world bringing over 30,000 competitors to the Dome.

The Shrapnel Sergeants, Hazelwood West High, advanced from the FRC St. Louis regional competition held at Chaifetz Arena on March 15 and 16. The RoboHawks, Hazelwood Central High, advanced from FRC Cincinnati regional competition on March 24.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is a national program founded in 1992 in New Hampshire. FRC is designed for head-to-head competition using a sport themed activity.




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