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Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School December Highlights

A compilation of the school’s highlights from December.

The following highlights are submitted by Irene Policastro, the Secretary to Superintendent John J. Marciante of the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District.

Signora Ryan did a presentation on the culture of Sicily for the MEMS students of Italian on Friday, December 7th. The highlight of the presentation was learning about Sicily’s famous dessert, the cannoli. The students watched a video clip on how the cannoli shells are made and then had the opportunity to fill their own cannoli shell and enjoy the dessert.

On Wednesday, December 19th the Drama Club presented "Our Stories of Sandy", a dramatic storytelling performance to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The performance was created and written by the 7th Grade Drama Club at MEMS. The show incorporates music, monologues, and scenes that illustrate Superstorm Sandy through the eyes of a middle school student. At the door, tickets cost $4 for Adults and $2 for Students. All proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

On Tuesday, December 18th    MEMS held a school-wide Spelling Bee. There were 55 participants in the Scripps Spelling Bee which lasted a total of 20 rounds. The final 2 students, Jessica Viti and Chris Wraback fought a hard fight for more than 10 final rounds, with Jessica Viti being the victor in the end and Chris receiving the runner-up position. The winning word was stenographer. Congratulations to all of the participants and thanks go out to all of the school visitors as well as the parents that attended. Jessica will go on to represent MEMS on March 11 at Monmouth University for the Annual Asbury park Press/Home New Tribune Spelldown! Good luck Jessica and again, congratulations to all of the participants.

Counselors’ Corner A new group of 7th grade Peer Helpers were trained on Saturday December 1st . The training lasted 7 hours and they learned a lot of new information. They also had their first on-going training meeting where they learned about expressing their limits should someone come to them with an issue that is not within their ability to handle. The 8th grade Peer Helpers finished up their lessons on Refusal Skills and are now in the Chemical Dependency unit where Peer Helpers are learning about what signs to look for, as well as making them aware of enabling negative behaviors as friends. Teen Talk groups have started for both grades as well. Teacher recommendations for the FRHSD are due. MCVHSD applications have all been completed.

The National Junior Honor Society sold candygrams in school to raise money for the American Red Cross. Our school raised over $250 for Hurricane Sandy Relief.

Mrs. Mannarino’s language arts students analyzed graphic novels in conjunction with the Accelerated Reader Program. Students were taught the difference between reading a conventional novel vs. a graphic novel of the same text. Then they chose a graphic novel from the AR list within their specific zone of optimal reading performance. When they finished reading their novels, students wrote an explanatory essay based on their book's characters, setting, plot, colors, and symbolism. This tied into the parallel reading unit of A Christmas Carol because students were able to compare and contrast how Dickens' words were used to create visual images. Showing students the actual graphic novel of A Christmas Carol was also helpful in helping students visualize certain obscure scenes in the novel. A post lesson survey revealed that nearly 86% of students are now "hooked on graphic novels."

The Omega Community has been collecting items to aid those victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. They have put together Day/Night Bags with items they feel would be useful during this difficult time. Mrs. Maida has really taken this cause to heart and has delivered 24 bags just from the Omega Community alone to schools and shelters. We are proud of our students who have contributed to this worthy cause.

Mrs. Harris's 8th grade Language Arts classes have adopted soldiers stationed in Kuwait. It initially began with students writing letters in honor of 9/11 Day of Service and Remember to 'Any Soldier'. Several students received responses, and her classes decided to 'adopt' these soldiers. Two boxes of care packages including candy, fruit cups, and response letters have been sent out. More will be sent out in the New Year. We are so proud of the effort of these students to honor those defending our freedom abroad.

After the moment of silence on Friday, December 21, 2012, several communities created snowflakes to send to the Connecticut PTSA who is collecting them to use to decorate the new school that is being prepared for the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the students enter their new school, it will be like they are entering a winter wonderland. On Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 at 7pm, the MEMS 7th Grade Drama Club performed “Our Stories of Sandy”, a Hurricane Sandy Benefit Performance.

“Our Stories of Sandy” was a Dramatic Storytelling Performance created and written by 7th and 8th Grade students that participate in the Fall Drama Club at MEMS.The students worked together to devise their own theater piece that incorporated music, monologues, and scenes that illustrated Superstorm Sandy through the eyes of a middle school student. The performance featured 41 students from the 7th grade Drama Club and six 8th Grade students that wished to participate in the event hosted by the 7th Grade Group. The Drama Club donated $573.93, all of the proceeds from the event, to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

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