First Posted: 4/11/2012
CLARKS SUMMIT- Students, teachers and administrators gathered for a schoolwide celebration April 4 as Abington Heights Middle School was re-designated as a Pa. Don Eichhorn "School to Watch." The event was held in the auditorium, but also spilled out into the cafeteria where students watched the program on a big screen projector. Three years ago, the Middle School was first designated a "School to Watch."
Abington Heights Middle School was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels.
The program began with an opening message from Principal Michael Elia who commended the sense of togetherness that is present at the school.
"We have unity here at the Middle School," Elia said. "We care about the school and have a lot of pride. We wouldn't be successful without the best teachers and support staff in the state of Pennsylvania. They come in early and stay late."
Eighth grade students Ellie Sullum, Emily Fisher and Taya Kobrynich performed a rendition of the national anthem, the Abington Heights seventh and eight grade chorus sang the alma mater, and the eighth grade band performed the themes from "Mission Impossible" and "Fame."
Elia stressed that the success would not be possible without hard work and good communication from top to bottom.
"What makes our school special is that our teachers and administrators work as a team to give the students the best experience possible," he said. "As principal, I'm extremely proud of the students' motivation and their will to strive to be the best."
School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Mahon believes the multitude of activities and clubs at the school was a key factor in its selection.
"There are so many different things to do and so many different students who participate," Mahon said.
While he acknowledged the importance of success in the classroom, he gave another reason why he thinks the school is special.
"The students are kind to each other," he said. "The school is full of students who want to build each other up. We're here to celebrate the big things, but we're also here to celebrate the small things. I'm so proud of them."
State Senator John Blake put in perspective the significance of the school's accomplishment.
"You set the standard for the entire state of Pennsylvania," Blake said.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Jim Wansacz acknowledged the energy he felt from the students when he entered the school and praised them for their close bond.
"You care about each other and that is really special," Wansacz said.
Sullum was proud of the progress her classmates have made in the past few years.
"It's really fascinating to see how our school works and how we've all developed since 5th grade," she said.