Schools & Education

Foundation, District Grants to Fund 'Seeds of Service'

A portable year-round greenhouse that will allow Magnificat High School students to expand on the school’s highly successful Seeds of Service project will be funded by a $5,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River and Rotary District 6630.

With construction of the “hoop house” greenhouse on Magnificat’s property, the project is slated to involve over 150 students and deliver about 200 pounds of produce to the Rocky River and Lakewood Food Banks. In addition to the greenhouse, funds from Rotary will be used for gardening equipment and a commercial-grade produce scale.

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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 1:32 PM, 03.04.2014

Happenings at Magnificat High School

•  MagnifiZoo Event for Girls in Grades 5-8

Saturday, March 29, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Magnificat Humility of Mary Center

A Day of Animal Appreciation

•  Spring Open House

Thursday, April 3, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Magnificat High School

The Magnificat High School Fathers' Club announces its Fish/Shrimp Fry dinners to be held Fridays, March 14 and 28, and April 11


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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 11:29 AM, 03.05.2014

Ruffing Montessori: Educating the Whole Child

Ruffing Montessori School in Rocky River has a student population just above 300, ages 3 to 14 years. The school strives to educate the whole child by addressing the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of children through Montessori principles that encourage children’s love of learning so they can reach their maximum potential.

About 100 years ago, the Montessori method of education was developed by an Italian physician, Dr. Maria Montessori. This philosophy emphasizes that all children carry within themselves the people they will become, and that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 4:06 PM, 02.05.2014

Westshore Young Leaders Ring in the New Year

 The Westshore Young Leaders along with Lakewood High School celebrated at a pre-New Year’s Skate Bash at Serpentini's in late December.  The skating event is becoming a winter break tradition of our leadership program.  This year’s theme involved celebrating a safe, drug- and alcohol-free pre-New Year’s Eve.  Our Lakewood Young Leaders came out in full fashion, furnishing students with party hats, beads, noise makers and prizes for the “Most Glamorous Outfits”.  A highlight of the evening was a delicious cake!!!

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 4:17 PM, 02.05.2014

Lutheran West Places First in MetroHealth Brain Health Video Contest

One award-winning program in Lutheran West’s college-prep curriculum is Video Production, taught by Lutheran West alumni Kurt Maechner. For a final class project, students film a music video and are required to sync it with a voice-over.  “I have a passion for seeing art in a Christian perspective, which is why each student’s projects must include some form of Christian spirituality in an artistic way,” said Maechner.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 10:59 AM, 02.06.2014

Magnificat Collects $7,000 for Humble Hands Advent Campaign

For 10 years, Magnificat has been organizing its Humble Hands Advent collection, a student-led initiative that continues to be a student-driven collection benefitting the many service organizations the school partners with throughout the school year, such as The Domestic Violence Center and St. Colman's.

In the picture, Magnificat Animal Lovers Club members pose with a representative from Lakewood Animal Shelter after dropping off their donations.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 11:05 AM, 02.06.2014

Congratulations Rocky River Scholastic Award Winners

Congratulations to Alex Lenhart and Emma Schmotzer and Emma McGorray of Rocky River High School, Gold Key winners in the Cuyahoga County Scholastic Awards competition. Alex and Emma were awarded in the Art competition, and Emma McGorray, in the Writing competition.  Emma Schmotzer was also a recipient of the Utrecht & Blick ArtSupplies Achievement Award.  These Gold Key winners will go on to the national competition in New York City.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 10:54 AM, 02.06.2014

Magnificat's Academic Challenge Team Wins!

Magnificat High School's Academic Challenge Team beat Buckeye and Northwest high schools to win the December 28 edition of the iconic academic game show seen on WEWS-TV 5 on Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.

The Magnificat team is shown in the picture with Academic Challenge Host Jason Nicholas. The Magnificat students, all seniors, are pictured left to right: Claire Miller, Michelle Hupp and Araceli Medina-Castillo.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 11:03 AM, 02.06.2014

School of Rock Rocks Mayer Middle School

Mayer Middle School’s English Department created an innovative way to teach seventh grade students to use persuasive writing and figurative language - by writing protest songs and holding a legendary rock concert.

The seventh grade English teachers wanted to do something other than assigning an essay to help their students improve their writing. One teacher, Don Britton, came up with an ingenious idea. He asked all his students to write a poem to raise awareness of a topic they felt passionately about.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:07 PM, 01.08.2014

Mayer Middle School Concert

Bam! Just like that, Lewis F. Mayer Middle School had a band in its auditorium blasting rock and reggae music!

This was because of the seventh-grade language arts teachers, Mr. Britton and Mrs. Dill, and their students. During the semester, seventh grade students had been working on persuasive writing. They studied songwriters who protested or tried to bring awareness to something that they felt needed to be changed in the world. That’s when the real test came.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:05 PM, 01.08.2014

Unfortunate One Poem

Some are born not like you and me

Ooh, we treat them wrong

And when they think "I don’t fit in"

Oh, that is so not true, say

I am me, I am me

And I am proud of that, yeah

I am me, I am me

I am a fortunate one, yeah

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:04 PM, 01.08.2014

Westlake | Bay Village Observer Editor Honored for Schools Coverage

Congratulations to Tara Wendell, founding editor of our sister newspaper, the Westlake | Bay Village Observer, for her recent recognition by the Ohio School Boards Association. Tara was awarded the OSBA Media Honor Roll last month for her work with the Bay Village City School District.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:35 PM, 01.08.2014

Magnificat Students Help St. Christopher Students Go Green

Magnificat's Sustainability Club, along with Science Teacher and Club Moderator Mrs. Heidi Paul, assisted St. Christopher School in Rocky River in starting a recycling program. Mother Earth (Mrs. Heidi Paul) and several Magnificat Sustainability Club members recently attended a Recycling Kick-Off Assembly at St. Christopher's, presenting a skit, PowerPoint and fun quizzes.

St. Christopher students won reusable sandwich bags and water bottles designed by a Magnificat student.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 4:23 PM, 01.08.2014

Happenings at Magnificat High School

•  Magnificat High School Alumnae & Friends Advent Retreat: The Light Shines Brighter in the Darkness -  Advent Preparation for True Christmas Joy

December 2, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sister Helen Jean Novy, H.M., Vice President of Mission, will lead a retreat December 2 in the Magnificat High School Chapel. Come at 6 p.m. for light fare and conversation. RSVP by November 29 to Abby Joyce at Good-will offerings will be accepted. All are welcome!

•  Breakfast with Santa and Toy Drive

December 7, 10 a.m. to Noon

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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 9:54 AM, 12.01.2013

Congratulations Champs!

Rocky River High School has captured the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II Girls Soccer Championship. The teammates have garnered praise for more than their athletic skills.

“I just can’t say enough about the unselfish nature of this team," said Head Coach Pat Hopkins. “These girls have worked every day to get better and accomplished something special as a team.”

Director of Athletics Mark Wagner agrees. “It’s been a long time since we have celebrated a state championship here, and this team deserves it,” said Wagner. “These girls represent the best in high school interscholastic athletics.  They are good students, athletes, teammates and citizens.” 

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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 12:55 PM, 11.27.2013

Robotics Are for Girls Too!

Middle-school girls from across Northeast Ohio spent a day learning robotics at Magnificat High School. The event proved that LEGOs and robots aren’t just for boys any more!  About 75 girls in grades 5-8 from public and private schools came together for Magnifibot 2.0, a LEGO Robotics Day just for girls put on by Magnificat and the Great Lakes Science Center. This is the second year that the two institutions have partnered for this event.

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Volume 1, Issue 4, Posted 4:45 PM, 10.03.2013

Rotary Interact Club Helps Romanian Farmer

Pictured are Ingrid and Irina Vatamanu and an elderly Romanian Farmer and her new cow which was purchased with money raised by the Lakewood High School Interact Club.  Interact is a program of Rotary International that promotes the ideals of Rotary with high school students, such as Service Above Self and fostering service to the community and internationally.   Interact Clubs are sponsored by local Rotary Clubs who provide support and guidance, but are self governed and self supporting.   There are over 200,000 Rotary Interact Club members in 10,700 clubs in109 countries around the world.

In June, Ingrid and Irina Vatamanu traveled to Romania and, among other things, bought a new cow for an elderly Romanian farmer.  Irina explained, “previous to our departure my grandmother told my mother about an elderly lady in her village, whose cow had recently died. She depended on this cow to get her milk and cheese to sell, in order to make a living. After giving it some thought, my mom, sister, and I decided that we would try to buy her a new one, even though the price of a cow came to about $650.” 

As the current president of the Interact Club of Lakewood High School, Irina as well as club members contacted their sponsoring Lakewood Rocky River Rotary clubs. Their members donated money. With help from the church of the young ladies, Michael Abraham and Maryann Hanson of Hanson Services, and Marty Harris, member of the Sunrise Club, the Interact Club was able to raise enough money to buy a cow.


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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 7:54 PM, 09.03.2013

Sunrise Rotary Welcomes New Exchange Students

Estelle Jollivet from France and Andres Mendoza from Ecuador arrived late this summer or a nearly one year as part of Rotary International’s Youth Exchange program.  For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs such as the Sunrise Club of Lakewood Rocky River.

Both Students will be at Lakewood High School attending regular classes and participating in student activities.  Estelle is living with the Ebner family in Lakewood and enjoys dancing.  Andres lives with Senger family also in Lakewood.  He is playing soccer at the school and enjoys playing the guitar.   Both Rotary Exchange Students are taking a full academic load of classes, but try to attend as many Sunrise Club meetingsas possible to share their experiences with the Club members.  Club members also tryto schedule outings with the students to sports and entertainment events with their families. 

There a total of eight Rotary Exchange Students Exchange students in the Rotary Districtwhich covers the northeast area of Ohio.  They get together every couple of months to talk about their experiences and just enjoy being together.  In addition to France and Ecuador there are students from Russia, Germany, Slovakia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico.

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 2:37 PM, 10.03.2012

Westshore Young Leaders + Y2Y Conference = Summer Fun!

In late June, more than 400 teens swarmed the campus of Capital University in Bexley. They came from all over Ohio and around the country, including Washington, D.C. and Georgia. Viktoria Paulic, a freshman at Rocky River High School, and Liz McIlwee, a senior at Lakewood High School - both members of the Westshore Young Leaders Network - attended the Youth to Youth International Conference. Y2Y's motto is "believing in the power of youth and the drug-free choice."

This year’s conference theme, "LIMITLESS", was aimed at making the teens and adults who work with them aware of the limitless potential for making positive change occur. The goal was to equip attendees with the tools necessary to make change - in themselves, in their schools and their communities.

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 7:54 AM, 08.02.2013

Rotary Club Sponsors Rachel's Challenge in Rocky River Schools

“I have this theory that if one person will go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” Rachel Joy Scott wrote this in a class essay a month before she was killed on April 20, 1999 at age 17 in the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. 

Rachel’s father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott, established Rachel’s Challenge “to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change…by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.” The Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River sponsored Rachel's Challenge on behalf of the Rocky River City schools. A $2,500 district simplified grant provided half the funding, with the club contributing the balance.

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 7:54 AM, 08.02.2013

Area students log 12,240 miles bicycling to school

Rocky River Bike To School Challenge successfully concluded its second year at Rocky River Middle School on Thursday, May 24, with a school-wide celebration of the students’ bicycling accomplishments by the city’s mayor, school administrators and program organizers and sponsors.

Rocky River Middle School students logged an incredible 12,240 miles on their bikes during the three-week program that began on May 7 and is sponsored by Century Cycles bicycle store. On average, 44% of Rocky River Middle School biked each day of the program. It was an effort that had a significant impact on the students, their community and the environment -- burning hundreds of thousands of calories, preventing a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions and saving their parents a lot of gas money. Prizes were also awarded to the students, their school and one of their teachers.

“Your choice to ride your bike to school and to other parts of Rocky River has made a significant difference in your health, the health of the environment, and the health of our city,” said Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst in her address to the students at the school-wide assembly on May 24. “Rocky River Bike To School Challenge has been so successful. For that, we thank you, we applaud you, we admire you, and you are inspiring our entire community.”

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 7:30 PM, 05.28.2012

Magnificat Student in Washington for Inauguration 2013

One of the most exciting moments of 2013 so far was President Obama’s second inauguration on January 21, 2013.  Though many predicted that this year’s inauguration would not live up to the historic day that occurred four years ago, President Obama’s passionate address which dealt with current topics will certainly be remembered for years to come.Hearing the President speak about modern issues was a highlight of the address. 

President Obama discussed popular and somewhat controversial topics from health care to gay rights to sustainable energy.  The President addressed the concerns and issues that are debated amongst twenty-first century citizens and talked about real issues our country is dealing with right now.  He emphasized the importance of working together and uniting as Americans to carry on the work of those men and women who molded the nation into what it is today.  President Obama challenged each citizen to embrace the duty to “carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.”

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 10:29 AM, 02.07.2013

Fairview High School Student State Qualifier for Science Project

Fairview High Schoolstudent, Grant Hom, was a state finalist for his exceptional science fair project. The title of his project this year was an “An in Vitro Model of Age-Related Cataract for Identification of Oxidation Sites in Lens Proteins and Development of Cataract Resistant Eye Lenses.”

In a nutshell, the first portion of my project involved creating a model of the eye disease known as cataracts with mouse lenses based on the idea that cataracts (a cloudiness of the lens) form as result of protein deformation. This model was then used to identify specific amino acid sites (of the deformed protein) that could be key to cataract formation. Future work with his project would be to determine if these amino acid sites, when mutated, significantly delay cataract formation. This knowledge could potentially lead to the development of an implantable biological cataract-resistant lens. This would be beneficial to society as over 20 million Americans, particularly the elderly population, suffer from cataracts.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 8:48 AM, 07.09.2013

Ann Brokaw Receives Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award Courtesy of Rocky River City Schools

Rocky River High School biology teacher Ann Brokaw has been selected as the recipient of the Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award.   Kim Foglia - for whom the award is named - was a generous, patient, humble, giving member of the national AP Biology online community.      

The Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award recognizes an AP Biology teacher who displays a willingness to share materials, serves as a mentor to both students and professional colleagues, creates an innovative and student centered classroom environment, and exemplifies a personal philosophy that encourages professional growth as an AP biology teacher and member of that community. Sponsored by Pearson and NABT, the Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award includes a $1000 honorarium, a recognition plaque to be presented at the NABT Professional Development Conference, and one year of complimentary membership to NABT.

Brokaw is one of 46 AP Biology Teachers from across the country participating in the NABT/BSCS AP Biology Leadership Academy, a two-year professional development program designed to develop a new generation of leaders in biology education.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 1:09 PM, 07.04.2013