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Johnstown school board honors students

November 24, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education last week recognized accomplishments of students in academic and music competitions.

The board noted the accomplishments of several district students involved in this school year's MasterMinds academic competition.

Also cited by the board were JHS music students Kevin Ammann and Helaina Stergas, who earned New York State School Music Association Conference All-State recognition.

The board recognized the new MasterMinds academic team. The team competes in the Capital Region and is co-advised by JHS English teacher Rebecca Bacon and science teacher Heather Buskirk. According to its website, MasterMinds was started in 1993 in New York state and competitions.

In MasterMinds, students are asked a variety of questions covering a broad range of subjects such as: art, biology, chemistry, current events, geography, history, literature, music, political science, pop culture, religion and sports.

"We would like to thank you for the opportunity to start this team," Bacon told the board during its session at JHS.

She said the high school has a 15-member team that has been competing in MasterMinds and won its last two events.

"I'm very proud of them," Bacon said. "They're very hardworking."

Bacon said the next MasterMinds competition for Johnstown was slated for Dec. 4. She said JHS also might host a competition in February.

"It's been really nice to see the kids get excited," said Buskirk.

A few of the team members attended the session and were given an ovation by the board.

During the public-speaker portion of the meeting, Dick Baker of Route 67 said Bacon and Buskirk "stepped up" as unpaid advisers for the team. He asked whether the board could consider issuing stipends for them.

"That's what we're here for; we're here for education," Baker said.

Also honored with the passage of board resolutions celebrating their accomplishments were Ammann and Stergas. They were recognized for their singing achievements, which resolutions said are a "positive reflection" upon them, their families and the Johnstown school district community.

Ammann was selected to the New York State School Music Association Conference All-State Mixed Chorus, and Stergas was selected as an alternate.

The resolution for Ammann said he "met the musical and technical requirements at the highest level of difficulty" and is part of an "elite ensemble comprised of the top high school vocalists" in the state.

He will travel to the 77th Annual New York State School Music Association Conference in Rochester to participate in four days of intensive rehearsals and a performance Dec. 2 at the Eastman Theatre.

Both students auditioned at a New York State School Music Association Spring Solo Festival at Level VI, "the most challenging level of performance," their resolutions stated.

Both students told the board they sang arias for their performances.



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