Saturday, February 11, 2012

Clairton's Week in Review

More Catching Up Clairton

RINGS AND THINGS: So much has happened in Bear Country since we last met. But first let me remind you that the fundraiser for Championship Rings is still going on. We are asking all of the CHS Alumni, fans, friends, and family to help raise the money for the Championship Rings for the Clairton Bears as we did last year. Please send your donations to: Sue Wessel, 512 N. 6th Street, Clairton, Pa 15025. Please make your checks payable to the Clairton Athletic Champions Club.”

RUN TYLER, RUN: Tyler Boyd, a running back/receiver/defensive back for the Clairton Bears has received scholarship offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Arizona, Arizona State and others. Once we learn where other Bears will attend college we’ll share that information.

HINES FROM HEINZ (field): With permission from Pop City, I share the following with you: “Just before Hines Ward joined students at Clairton High School to mentor one of them as part of an NFL program (aired on USA Network), the students spoke their minds to Hear Me.

Hear Me, a project of Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab (Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment), has collected thousands of stories from area students about their neighborhoods and their futures. The Clairton kids spoke out about their "desire to raise their community up, become role models and to be seen and heard as positive people," according to Hear Me Project Director Ryan Hoffman.

They were participating in Hear Me 101, a year-long video advocacy program during which students focus on changes they want to create in their communities or schools, creating video projects on community service and profiles of local change-makers. The students finished a production workshop hosted by Pittsburgh Filmmakers on Feb. 4 and will begin shooting this week to complete their projects by April 23, according to Jessica Pachuta, project manager. Steel Valley, McKeesport and Woodland Hills are also in the program.

Listen to some of the Clairton students and their stories now. As 10th-grader Marcaysia says, “We want to show that we have more to offer than just football”:

Carlton, in 11th grade, who was mentored by Hines Ward, wants to see more programs for kids and discusses the need for older kids to be positive role models;

Markea, in 12th grade, talks about the lack of activities in Clairton and the power of media to inspire positive change in the community;

Chelsea, in 12th grade, discusses the value of kids speaking out about what matters to them;

Nicole, in 12th grade, addresses violence and her desire for a safer community; and

Marcaysia, in 10th grade, wants students to improve themselves and help each other, hoping to see more activities in the area and more help from adults.

Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Ryan Hoffman, Hear Me
Audio recorded and edited by The Consortium for Public Education”

MORE HINES FROM HEINZ: Rob Owen of the PG wrote: USA Network's public service campaign created to address social injustice and cultural divides, visited Clairton High School in November with Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward for its latest special, "NFL Characters Unite," which will aired on USA.

Steeler great Hines Ward met Carlton Dennis, a Clairton junior originally from Trinidad who faces discrimination similar to what Hines Ward experienced growing up. Ward and Carlton work with other students from the Hear Me Project, a nonprofit organization from Carnegie Mellon University's Create Lab, to write an anti-discrimination rap for a school pep rally.

"This film is a powerful and eye-opening journey into the most guarded corners of four football heroes' lives as they are brought back to their most difficult childhood memories by four incredible boys and girls who are currently living through those same challenges," said Charlie Ebersol, the film's executive producer, in a press release.

CARLTON ON THE TODAY SHOW: In addition to appearing on the USA Network special, CHS student Carlton Dennis and Steeler great Hines Ward appeared on the Today Show Friday. Here's video clip of that show:

THE VIDEO THEY’RE ALL TALKING ABOUT: The link below is to "The theme from USA Network's "NFL Characters Unite" by The Ontic, featuring Clairton students Carlton Dennis and Heidi Rojas." It was used as the theme song for the program broadcast on USA.

FROM THE OUTHOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE: Every state is struggling to balance the budget. PA Governor Corbett decided to slash several items from the state budget including summer school funding for CHS students who needed additional help outside the regular school year. But representatives for the Heinz Endowments toured Clairton schools recently and reviewed the progress students had made during the years the program was in place. They decided it was significant enough to provide a $50,000 Equity in Education grant. The tutoring program had been in place for the past decade and helped Clairton schools make AYP for the past four years. The Heinz funding will be used to restart the after-school program as soon as tutors can be hired and to operate a summer program in June. From 2002-2003 until the current school year, the district -- like a number of poor districts across the state-- operated the program with state grant funding. During that time there was a marked improvement in students academic achievement in Clairton. Heinz Endowments will also provide $15,000 grant to the Clairton schools for teacher empowerment. The grant was submitted by Assistant Superintendent Elisabeth Erlich.

Ms. Ehrlich said the district got the idea for the program by working with student leaders and that all students in grades 7-12 have been placed into groups that are assigned an adult staff member as their mentor.

Two Wednesdays a month, each academic period is shortened by three minutes in order to create an extra period during which the mentors and students interact.

During those periods students will be encouraged to discuss their plans for the future and as part of the program, professionals and alumni will be brought in to talk about careers and their paths to success in adulthood.

A little blogging music Maestro… See the song above written and performed by CHS students.

Dr. Forgot

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