One week into the 22-23 school year, over 550 students finished off their late August days adjusting to a number of new regulations.
Many students are not thrilled with the new rule of “Wake Up Wednesdays”. Students in 11th and 12th grade are now required to come into school every Wednesday for LEAD, the first time the district has set restrictions for upperclassmen since LEAD was introduced in 2017. Administration noted there needed to be more time for each class to meet both with staff and with each other, prompting this new practice.
Open Mods have also become more strict. Meetings were held on the first two days of school by Assistant Principal Remensky. No wandering in the halls, choosing between either cafeteria, the library, the HS lobby, or a teacher’s room with permission, and no leaving the school were the core rules for all students with an Open MOD. Any students unable to follow these rules will be assigned a supervised study hall. Teachers are stationed throughout the school now to direct late students and monitor those roaming the halls.
Study Halls for 9th grade students are now all held in the Lopes Lounge, unlike last year when they were spread out across different teacher’s classrooms.
Finally, all juniors, sophomores, and freshman selected their lockers on the first day by placing post it notes on the locker of their choice during LEAD.
Continuing from last year’s change, all students who drive will park in the new HS lot with no assigned spaces or designated spaces for seniors. Additionally, all students must enter through the HS lobby, and if they are late, there is a new procedure to sign in before entering the office. Middle School café entrance is locked and teachers are stationed during each MOD to prevent anyone from allowing late students to enter in the doors. Administration again stressed these changes are based on an increased emphasis for school safety, especially after the continued tragedies of school shootings like the over 20 victims in Uvalde, TX, last May.
Some of these new regulations come after two years of continued pandemic-related changes in attendance and supervision. CDC guidelines were cut back in August, and additional funding during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer provided by state and federal agencies. Students most see this with eating at school. Last year, due to COVID, items from the breakfast cart as well as the cafes during lunch were free. This year, students must now pay for these items unless they are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch benefit.
Students who wanted schedule changes had to wait a little to shift around courses – guidance was not available for scheduling Day 1. Freshman Mara Stetser and Reese Long were among a number of students satisfied with their schedules. “It was very nice how we had freedom to pick the classes we had for our schedule” said Stetser, while Long agreed that ” “We could make our schedules very flexible to what electives we liked.”
A final surprise at the start of the year was unexpected internet lag. This was not Avonworth specific though, as schools across Northern and Eastern Allegheny County all reported limited connectivity between 9:30 to 10:20 AM.
One aspect of student life that many were happy to continue is the high level of sports success that 21-22 held across all seasons. The first Friday home game for Football featured Avonworth running to a commanding win against 5th ranked team, Grove City. Scoring on the first drive, Avonworth looked unstoppable with senior running back Luke Hilyard scoring 4 touchdowns and rushing a total of 240 yards. Freshman and JV Offensive Lineman Tyler Hanny claimed, “Everyone underestimated us until we came out on top and dominated the football game.” With the excitement from this first win, other teams hope to bring the same energy and results with their first games.
Avonworth Hockey starts its season with just students from the district for the first time, instead of splitting with Ambridge. Golf continues its dominance from last season with additional record breaking individual performances along with an undefeated record through multiple matches in August. Boys and Girls Soccer are off to winning starts as well, though Girls Soccer had an eventful rain-out against North Catholic which delays a big matchup early in the season.
Finally, two new teachers started the year in the English Department. Ms. Shannon David took over Academic 12th and Creative Writing classes from Mrs. Ewell, who left after two years in Avonworth to teach US History at the Neighborhood Academy. Ms. Carly Cavaliere teaches 10th grade Integrated and Honors 11 courses as a first semester substitute while Mrs. Mesinere, who joined the staff in August 2021, is on maternity leave.
Reporting completed by students in Journalism 1: Colin Anderson, Aiden Dill, JD Engel, Lucy Ha, Tyler Hanny, Jase Klatzkin, Samuel Kline, Stefan Lash, Tea Loov-Olsen, Cooper Powell, Jameson Shields, Layne Shinsky, Mara Stetser, Matthew Szuba, Charles Tabano, Kristina Wissner