Twenty Westerville City Schools Students Place at State Reflections Competition

Achieving State-level accolades in Dance Choreography were Claire Hageman, Mark Twain, Award of Outstanding Achievement; Gracen Hunley, Mark Twain, Award of Merit; Alicia Keenan, Emerson, Honorable Mention; and Adelaide Aultman, Emerson, Honorable Mention.

Film production honorees were Asher Conklin, Cherrington, Honorable Mention; Ben Cardoza, Mark Twain, Honorable Mention; James Scarbrough, Mark Twain, Award of Merit; and Ambar Loya Sotomayor, Emerson, Honorable Mention.

In the Literature category, State accolades went to Belise Brown, Wilder, Honorable Mention; Sammy Gurgiolo, Emerson, Award of Outstanding Achievement; and Kimberlee Welch, Heritage, Honorable Mention.

Music composition honors were earned by Tessa Aultman, Hanby, Award of Outstanding Achievement; Evie Lahoda, Whittier, Honorable Mention; and Daniel Hager, Walnut Springs, Award of Outstanding Achievement.

In the Photography category, Lily Vennemeyer, Robert Frost, earned an Award of Merit; and Milla Wright, Whittier, received Honorable Mention.

Alaina McComb, Robert Frost, walked away with an Award of Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts category.

This year, 182 students from 13 Westerville schools participated in Reflections, with? 139 entries advancing to the district competition.  From that pool, 79 district level winners were honored – 27 from the primary division (grades K-2); 32 from the intermediate division (grades 3-5); and 20 from the middle division (grades 6-8).  Fifty-?eight district winners advanced to the State competition.  Program chair Jill French organized the event for Westerville Parent Council, which serves as the sponsor for Reflections at the district level.


Sponsors Westerville Parent Council and Roush Honda are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s GEM Awards.  Now in its fourteenth year, the GEM Awards program, which stands for Great Educator Mentor, recognizes volunteers and district staff who go above and beyond for students in Westerville schools.

Each building solicits nominations and a committee comprised of staff and parents/caregivers selects an honoree.  In addition, a committee with district-wide representation selects one business recipient and four individuals for contributions that impact more than one building or the district as a whole.
GEM Award recipients will be recognized during a special session of the Westerville Board of Education on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 7:00pm in the Westerville North High School auditorium, located at 950 County Line Road.  This special session is open to the public, who are encouraged to attend and help celebrate those who do so much for so many.
The 2016-2017 GEM Award recipients are:


Early Learning Center…….Lou Ann Kowaleski
Elementary Schools
Alcott……………………Esther Manoharan
Annehurst……………Tricia Hall
Cherrington………… Aaron Pinion
Emerson……………….Kate Mantenieks
Fouse…………………….Amy Emler
Hanby……………………Michelle Andears
Hawthorne……………Chris Poynter
Huber Ridge………….Nichole Thomas
Longfellow…………….Kim Strapp
Mark Twain…………..Shelley Seabury
McVay…………………….Lori Hause
Pointview………………Bill Goldner
Robert Frost………….Amy Kelly
Whittier…………………Stacey & Bob McIntyre
Wilder……………………Jennifer Hubble
Middle Schools
Blendon…………………Joyce Lee
Genoa……………………Mike Denney
Heritage………………..Anne Bates
Walnut Springs……..Randy Gabel
High Schools
Westerville Central…..Ali Price
Westerville North……..Dr. Ben Hartnell
Westerville South……..Matthew Wolfe
Vaughn Bell
Jack Brown
Gail Walter
Linda Weiler
Terry Gordon Business Award
BD Mongolian Grill – Easton Location
Aaron Heck, Assistant Manager

Summer Camp & Activities Expo Coming March 8 

The 2017 Summer Camp & Activities Expo will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at Westerville North High School, located at 950 County Line Road.  The event is sponsored by the Westerville Parent Council PTA.

Families will be able to meet one-on-one with representatives from more than 70 organizations around Ohio and beyond that offer exciting summer opportunities for children of all ages.  Registration for many camps will be available on-site.

For more information, including a list of participating vendors, please visit


Operation Street Smart Returns Feb. 8

Based on the positive feedback from last year’s event and a desire to reach more families and community members, Operation: Street Smart returns to Westerville next month on February 8, 2017, 6:00pm at Westerville South High School, 303 S. Otterbein Avenue, 43081
Presented by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and sponsored by Westerville Parent Council, this eye-opening event for ADULTS only provides the awareness and knowledge to help you keep your family safe.

Operation: Street Smart provides up-to-date narcotics information to families, schools and others who work with today’s youth on a daily basis. The presentation includes discussion of trends, terminology, paraphernalia and physiological effects of the substances being abused in our community.

The program is conducted by undercover detectives, who possess over fifty years of combined narcotics experience.

● Presentation will include actual examples of real street drugs so you can learn how to recognize them (marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamines)

● Examples of common drug paraphernalia will be shown to illustrate the ease in camouflaging drug use

● Strong emphasis will be placed on the physiological effects of drugs as well indicators to look for

● Prescription medications will also be addressed, due to easy access in most households

This is a FREE event – no registration needed.  Due to the mature subject matter, no youth will be permitted entry and childcare is not available.

Reading, Writing and Spelling Challenges to be Explored at November 16 Meeting

Does your child struggle with reading, writing and spelling?  Do you read textbooks to your son or daughter?  Do you find you and your child spending hours working on homework?  On November 16, Westerville Parent Council will host a documentary movie and audience question-and-answer session with a panel of experts (including a parent participant) to discuss the “science of reading,” the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling challenges and how families can support their children at all grade levels.

The brain is a complex organ and has areas in which it both excels and struggles.  Difficulty reading, spelling and writing are challenges faced by many, and the most common cause of these challenges is a learning difference called dyslexia.  Dyslexia is not the reversal of letters or reading backwards – a common myth.  It is a specific, neurologically based inability to quickly and effectively, as compared to a standard learner, decode and obtain meaning from the printed word.

Of the American public school children diagnosed with a learning difference, 85% of the diagnoses are dyslexia-related.  Studies indicate that up to 20% of the entire population has some degree of dyslexia.  With one in five having dyslexia challenges, it is important that students are taught the way their brain is wired and that families are equipped with ways to support their children at home as well.

This free event will take place on Wednesday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Westerville Central High School, located at 7118 Mount Royal Avenue.  For more information, please contact  To learn more about dyslexia, contact the event co-sponsor, the International Dyslexia Association-Central Ohio, at

Westerville Parent Council announces its support for Issue 59, the Substitute Emergency Levy on the ballot November 8.  

Issue 59 is a zero new tax levy that actually extends the life of the current five year emergency levy.  Westerville Parent Council believes that school district administration and staff have done a good job of managing funds and planning for our future.  With the current levy, Westerville schools have been able to

  • restore needed busing routes
  • substantially reduce pay to participate fees
  • introduce All Day Kindergarten to Westerville families
  • accomplish a 2:1 student to device ratio for classroom technology
  • provide facilities upgrades

The 2012 emergency levy originally was projected to maintain a positive cash balance for only three years. Due to changing past business practices, salary and benefit concessions from all employees, and additional state funding, WCSD has been able to stretch those dollars to maintain a cash balance for at least eight years.

Additionally, the district’s primary financial goal since passing the March 2012 emergency levy has been to delay the need for a new levy as long as possible. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, approval of a substitute emergency levy means the district may not need a new operating levy for at least another five or six years.

Providing enriching experiences for all of our students is one of the goals of all Westerville Parent Council member groups across the district.  Securing passage of this levy will allow progress in this area to continue while affording the district the opportunity to implement improvements and growth where needed.  Westerville Parent Council encourages all booster, PTA and PTO groups to consider their endorsement and support of the passage of this important levy.

Not renewing the levy will amount to a loss of $16.7 million in annual revenue to the district plus the loss of the state’s contribution of the first 10 – 12% of each property owner’s portion.

For more information on Issue 59, please visit Our Community, Our Schools Westerville at:

If you would like the OCOS Outreach Team to speak to your PTA, PTO, Booster or Community Group, please contact Westerville Parent Council at: