Johnstown Board of Education praises students

Members of the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education watch an Odyssey of the Mind performance Wednesday night at Knox Junior High School. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Two successful Greater Johnstown School District extracurricular activities — Odyssey of the Mind and Winter Guard — were in the spotlight at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday night at Knox Junior High School.

An Odyssey of the Mind team gave a performance and were recognized. Johnstown High School’s Amethyst Gold varsity Winter Guard also received a special recognition from the board.

“There’s a lot to celebrate,” Superintendent Patricia Kilburn said.

Kilburn recognized Johnstown’s Odyssey of the Mind team for the “great” presentations they gave this school year. She said that in the program’s second year, three Warren Street Odyssey teams advanced to state finals and competed April 8 at SUNY Binghamton.

“We had a tremendous year,” Odyssey of the Mind advisor Kristin Meashaw told the board.

The Energetic Engineers team from Warren, which the fourth grade teacher said “embodies” the program, gave their creative problem-solving presentation through a skit before the board.

With a Greek mythology theme, the students gave a program titled, “Catch Us If You Can.”

Meashaw said the team often served as “ambassadors” for the local program.

“I have talked about expanding the program,” she said, mentioning JHS and Glebe Street Elementary School.

Board member Kathy Dougherty said the Odyssey of the Mind teams have “some of the nicest kids” in the district.

The board also passed what Superintendent Patricia Kilburn called a “formal” resolution to recognize varsity Winter Guard. The team made World Guard International’s World Championship finals held in Dayton, Ohio. The team finished with a score of 94.585 and a seventh place win out of 128 Scholastic A schools – a record for both scoring and placement for Johnstown.

Board Vice President Evamarie Mraz read a resolution approved by the board that states the local Winter Guard team had “come together to perform powerful dancing, with breathtaking equipment choreography featuring flags, rifles and sabres.”

Individual members were cited because they “reflect positively upon themselves, their families, and the entire Greater Johnstown School District.”

Ten members of the 17-member team present received recognition onstage at Knox.

“I’ve been so impressed with this group of kids,” Winter Guard adviser Christine VanValkenburgh. “I can’t tell you what a great student body Johnstown has this year.”

She said the Johnstown team received a sportsmanship Award out of 52 Winter Guards in New York state.

By Patricia Older

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