Bowling Green High School

BG High, Owens theater productions school audiences in teen drama

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Local theater companies seem intent on returning this aging writer to high school. In February Bowling Green State University staged  “The Wolves” about a teenagers on a female indoor soccer team. Now, on the same weekend, Bowling Green High is staging as its all-school music, “High School Musical: On Stage,” and the Owens Community College is producing the dramatic comedy “She Kills Monsters.” (See times and ticket information below.)  And, no, it doesn’t help that BGSU opened its season with the play “You Got Older.” The high school setting brings together the coming-off age story and clash of the individual against hierarchy, and high schools have those aplenty, with the bureaucratic administration and the  cliques based on popularity and spheres of interest. What’s a kid to do? Maddy Depinet performs during “Stick to the Status Quo.” “High School Musical” Well, in “High School Musical: On Stage,” one kid  Kelsi (Emma Matney) writes a show about those early models of teenage angst Romeo and Juliet. She reimagines the play as “Juliet and Romeo” with the title characters surviving. This imaginary script provides the conflict on which “High School Musical,” also loosely based on Shakespeare’s tragedy, will revolve. At East High home of the Wildcats, the twins Sharpay, drama club president, and Ryan Evans (Sarah Kelly and Ethan Brown) would be expected to assume the lead roles. But they have competition in the wings. Troy (Hudson Pendleton), the star and captain of the basketball team, discovers a knack for singing while on vacation when he is thrust into the karaoke spotlight with a total stranger Gabriella (Terra Sloane). They hit it off on the duet “Start of Something New,” and go their separate ways. For Gabriella, that’s East High.  So here she is, a bright young woman gifted at math and science, reunited with this hunk of a sensitive jock. She falls in with the nerdy crowd and finds a new best friend in Taylor (Olivia Strang) the head of the Brainiacs. Taylor enlists Gabriella to the competitive math team while Troy has the team, coached by his over-bearing father (Isaac Douglass), counting on him to win the championship. But can they do that and still find time to reignite their…


Iler turns mistakes into learning moments for his students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Biology teacher Josh Iler isn’t bashful about his failures. “Failure is the best thing on the planet,” Iler said with a grin. So he teaches his students at Bowling Green High School to not be afraid of making mistakes. “Embrace failure. You will screw up way more than you will ever succeed,” Iler said as he spoke to the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club after being named one of the district’s inspiring educators of the year. Not one for public recognition, he titled his talk “Mr. Iler – an inspirational educator or just a guy doing his job?” To Iler, that means showing students how much can be learned from mistakes. Some of those mistakes he shared with Kiwanis – like the photo of him in the crawl space after neglecting to turn on the sump pump. “You will learn to never do that again,” he said. Or the photo of the deer that he missed because he left his rangefinder at home. “I’ll never do that again.” Or the video of the deer lungs that he inflated in his classroom by blowing into a tube – allowing students to see them expand and retract. “You may ask, ‘why is this on the failure page, Mr. Iler,’” he said to the Kiwanis. That would be because he made the mistake of inhaling through the tube, causing many in his audience to cringe. That’s part of what makes Iler an unconventional teacher. He has a natural talent with students, according to Jodi Anderson, secondary curriculum coordinator for Bowling Green City Schools. He excels at creating meaningful relationships with students, she said. That was evidenced when Iler enlisted the help of students in taming the overgrown courtyard area at the high school – building a koi pond and planting landscaping beds. Superintendent Francis Scruci said seniors came in on weekends and during their spring break to help with the project. “That’s a testament to what you do in the classroom,” Scruci said. Iler’s response was, “I don’t know any other way.” Though he’s been teaching biology and anatomy for 13 years at the high school, his lessons go well beyond textbook science. His unconventional approach includes philosophical advice from his hero,…


Parent calls out high school soccer coach for ‘verbally and emotionally abusing our children’

“You’ll notice some teammates from last year aren’t here.  It’s because of their grades.  I don’t want a bunch of dummies playing for me anyway!”  “You losers obviously don’t want it enough.”  “You’re all a bunch a wusses.  Now don’t go telling your parents I said that.” Do you think that this is acceptable “constructive criticism” from a high school soccer coach to the players?   As a parent, would you stand idle if you knew someone was speaking to your child like this on a regular basis?  If your child came to you and explained that they felt bullied and intimidated by their soccer coach but they were too afraid to talk to the soccer coach for fear of retribution, would you feel that it was your responsibility as a parent to approach the soccer coach instead? If you did decide to approach the soccer coach and were met with a raised voice, harsh words and denial, who would you turn to next?  The AD? Administration?  Who do you go to after administration ignores your plea for solutions? This is happening right here in our home town which is a close knit community that lives with a mantra of “Not in our Town.” The soccer coach is verbally and emotionally abusing our children. The soccer coach is being protected by administration while coach continues to victimize our impressionable youth on a regular basis. Parents have raised legitimate concern for seasons now and yet a blind eye keeps being turned.   Our local soccer community has become a hostile and abusive culture.   Our children are being groomed to tolerate being bullied into submission by the adults that are supposed to protect them. A senior student quit the soccer team this year several weeks in because that student felt the only way to defend himself was to walk away. His parents demand for an explanation from the coach, AD and administration went unanswered. One junior that had the nerve to start speaking up for himself and his teammates was abruptly dismissed from the soccer team via a cold and impersonal text message.  “Your attitude and behavior toward your coaches and teammates is not in line with what we are trying to accomplish as a soccer program.  Therefore, you are…


BGHS gets good grade for preparing students for future

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green High School has been recognized by a national organization for preparing its students for life after high school graduation. “It was good news this morning,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said of the award from GreatSchools, a national nonprofit organization that provides parents with information about pre-kindergarten-12 schools and education. The website provides ratings based on test scores and a variety of other factors for schools in all 50 states. The recognition was based on college-readiness and how well the students do once they are in college. “They follow that data,” Scruci said of the information collected for the awards. “I think it speaks to the things going on in Bowling Green High School and the Middle School,” Scruci said. A total of 814 schools in nine states were recognized. “It’s a nice feature in the district’s cap to be included,” the superintendent said. Other area schools to make the list are Ottawa Hills, Perrysburg, Sylvania Northview, Sylvania Southview, and Toledo School for the Arts. “That’s a pretty good group to be a part of,” Scruci said. All were honored for having a successful track record of helping their graduating students succeed in college. GreatSchools reported it selected high schools based on college preparation, enrollment and performance. The award-winning high schools stood out based on school-level post-secondary data collected and shared by each state. The organization compiled data including college entrance exam scores and participation rates, college enrollment rates, the percentage of students enrolled in remedial courses in college, and college persistence rates. “We’ve put more emphasis on college-prep curriculum,” with more classes added, Scruci said. “We want to get them as well prepared for their futures, whatever that might be,” he said. As of July 2017, the GreatSchools database contained information on more than 138,000 public, private, and charter schools in the U.S. With the list of College Success Award winners, GreatSchools had the following statement: “A high-quality public education should empower today’s young people with the skills they need to forge a path to bright futures. With this in mind, GreatSchools is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 College Success Award. This honor recognizes 814 high schools across nine states that have…


Graduating BGHS art students showcase their work in Senior Studio Show

Submitted by BGHS ART The 22nd Annual Bowling Green High School  Senior Studio Show featured 23 students displaying their work in the Four Corners Center Gallery on May 10. Award winners are: Best 3D award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival: MEGAN CARMEN for her horseshoe crab sculpture Best 2D award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival: IAN BRACKENBURY for his colored pencil salamander Judge Reger Award courtesy of Judge Matt Reger: TRISHA STICHLER for her river painting Technical Merit Award courtesy of Waddington Jewelers: ELIZABETH MCCONNELL for her deer pin PTO Award courtesy of BGHS PTO: KELLY HAYDEN for her bubbles painting and DANA KLEMAN for her ceramic branch bowls Superintendent Award courtesy of Mr. Francis Scruci, BGCS Superintendent: NATALIE AVERY for her Finder’s painting. (This piece will be displayed permanently in the Central Administration.) The Board of Education Award courtesy of the BGCS Board of Education: ABBY FOX for her Wintergarden Woods painting (This piece will be displayed permanently in the BGHS Conference room). People’s Choice Award courtesy of Mr. Craft, Ben Franklin: NOVA CULLISON for his plastic bag chandelier. This award was voted on by those attending the show. Also exhibiting work were: Chloe Beeker, Nicholas Breen, Angel Chapman, Jordan Ely, Krista Evans, Ethan Fletcher, Sara Foster, Dea Kukeli, Lucie Moore, Rebecca O’Hare, Alex Peterson, Skye Sloane Kayla Schrader, and  Margo Utz. A string quartet from the high school orchestra entertained.  


School tours – some see obsolete, some see opportunity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than 60 years, Conneaut and Kenwood elementaries have educated young minds. They continue to do so – but under some challenging conditions. The heat at both elementaries leaves some students sweltering while others have to be bundled in their coats.  The gym floor at Kenwood is buckled, and the microwave in the kitchen has to be moved around to open outlets. Lack of storage space in both schools has led to some items sitting in the halls. Asbestos contained in the ceilings means nothing – not even a staple – can but put in the tiles. Conneaut’s art teacher’s classroom is sometimes a cart, since some years there is no extra room for her class. Residents of the school district were invited into the two elementaries and the high school for tours on Saturday. The district is trying to pass a 5.7-mill levy to construct a centralized elementary, plus renovate and add onto the high school. The tours were in response to criticism by levy opponents, who would rather see the elementaries renovated, costing the district $30 million less than the $72 million price tag for the high school and new consolidated elementary. It seemed few minds were swayed by the school tours. Those against the levy questioned why the district would build a new building, when the 60-plus-year-old elementaries can be renovated. Those for the levy asked why the district would put a band-aid on big problems and delay constructing new buildings as the costs continue to grow. Both sides seemed to dig in during Saturday’s tours. Some parents on the tours expressed disappointment in efforts to “attack the integrity” of the school board and administration. “That’s what’s driving me nuts about this,” one father said. Getting lost in the verbal battles are the children, Superintendent Francis Scruci said at the end of the Kenwood tour. “It’s the best thing for kids,” he said of the building plan. That message was drowned out by David Apple, who is opposed to the levy. The district will be saddled with the bond issue for 37 years, but Scruci won’t last 10 years here before he is “run out of town,” Apple said. Following are some of…


Composer Ben Taylor brings together music & entrepreneurship to create a ‘blessed’ life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Benjamin Dean Taylor has been making up his own music since he was a young child. He would play his original songs on the family piano. His mother was impressed, and, as mothers are wont to do, she’d ask him to play that song she’d heard a few days ago for his grandmother. “And I couldn’t remember them,” the now grown composer said. When he was 8, she started having him take piano lessons “so I could write down songs so I could play them for grandma.” Now his music entertains grandmas, mothers, and listeners of all ages. Taylor spent a couple days this week in the Bowling Green High and Middle schools, working with students who were preparing to perform his music in concert. The residency culminated with a Thursday night show with the eighth grade, concert and symphonic bands each playing one of his pieces. A saxophone quartet from Bowling Green State University were guests at the concert playing another of Taylor’s compositions. He went on to learn other instruments, including trumpet. “In college I loved playing,” he said, “but the thrill of writing and having all those sounds in my head come to fruition was the real kicker. That’s what got me started.” Devoting himself to composition meant graduate school. He came to BGSU for his masters where he studied with Marilyn Shrude and Elainie Lillios, graduating 2011. After BGSU he earned a doctorate at the University of Indiana in Bloomington where he and his wife, Allyson, and their five sons, one month to 9 years old, still live. It’s where he makes his living as a freelance composer.  He works by commission only, and has a year’s worth of commitments on the books. The demand for his work grew at first from friends, then others he knew through conferences and other encounters. Just recently, he said, he was approached by two strangers who asked him to write a piece for them. That was a first.  Taylor said he’ll accept after they talk for a bit. He wants some familiarity with the performer. The Brigham Young University graduate says that the life of the freelance composer has its challenges, but he wouldn’t have it any other…


BG student walkout draws hundreds against gun violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Armed with a megaphone and youthful optimism, Alyson Baker and Luther Shinew climbed atop the Bowling Green High School spirit rock this morning to take on the NRA and unresponsive politicians. They watched as an estimated 300 students streamed out of the high school and middle school to stand by them in protesting gun violence in schools. “Every student has the right to go to school and come home at the end of the day,” Baker, a BGHS senior, said to her fellow students. And the same goes for their parents, Baker said, shouting out to the 100 or so citizen supporters gathered on the sidewalk in front of the school. “These kids are about to change the world,” she said. This morning’s walkout at BGHS lasted 17 minutes – one minute for each of the students and teachers killed one month ago in the Parkland school shootings. “I am doing this because I think it’s time for a change,” Shinew, a BGHS senior, said. “It’s been 20 years since Columbine” yet gun laws are more lenient now than two decades ago. “We need to stop killing our children,” Shinew said. Baker and Shinew thought they might get 30 to 50 kids to join them in the walkout. They were stunned by the hundreds that came not only from the high school, but also the middle school. “I was in shock. I was in awe,” Baker said. “It makes me so happy to know that this many people have our backs. I was filled with hope.” Baker decided to organize the walkout when she saw footage of the Parkland shootings. At that point she wasn’t sure if the district would allow the show of protest. “Whether there were going to be repercussions or not, I’m doing it,” she said. Once the walkout was announced, the organizers received kudos and criticisms on Facebook for their efforts. Baker said she disregarded the naysayers. “We ignored them. It motivated me more,” she said. Unlike some other school districts, Bowling Green officials supported the rights of the students to hold a walkout. “It’s about their First Amendment rights,” high school principal Jeff Dever said as he stood outside the school before…


Hundreds walk out of BG High to protest gun violence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hundreds of Bowling Green High School students walked out of school this morning (March 14) at 10:00 to protest gun violence. The student-led protests against gun violence come a month after the Valentine’s Day attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and teachers. The BGHS walkout was to last 17 minutes in their honor. Jacob Fausnaugh likened it to the protests against the Vietnam War. In the 20 years since the shootings at Columbine more people have died from gun violence than American troops died in the Vietnam War, he said. “They walked out for that, we walked out for this.” Alyson Baker, one of the organizers of the walkout, said shortly before the protest was scheduled to begin that she expected about 100 students to take part. When students started streaming out of the school it was clear participation was much greater. The crowd that gathered near the spirit rock in front of the school appeared to be several hundred strong. Baker said the response from fellow students had been mixed. “Some people think it won’t do anything.” Still she said she expected to see many students coming out to say otherwise. Gun violence is “essentially an epidemic,” she said. Baker also noted the crowd of about 100 supportive community members lining the sidewalk near the school. School administrators and Bowling Green police kept the community members and media off school property. Baker said the school administration “has supported us the entire way.” “They’ve been a tremendous help.” (This story will be updated.)  


BG students to join National School Walkout against gun violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Alyson Baker is sick of hearing about students being slaughtered in their schools. She’s not alone, so Baker and other students at Bowling Green High School are organizing a walkout to coincide with the National School Walkout on March 14. “It has a lot of us really shaken,” Baker said last week. “We’re scared and we’re fed up. We don’t want to see anybody in schools hurt because of gun violence.” The National School Walkout is planned for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on March 14, to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than Tweet thoughts and prayers in response to gun violence in schools and neighborhoods. The walkouts are based on the following beliefs: Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school. Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence. Students want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of them will vote this November and many others will join in 2020. Bowling Green’s walkout will be held on the front lawn of the high school. The public will be able to join in the event. Organizing the Bowling Green High School walkout are seniors Alyson Baker and Luther Shinew, and sophomores Keanu McClellan and Jadyn Lundquest. The local youth are being inspired by their fellow students in Parkland, Florida, who have responded to the shootings at their school with eloquence and ideas. “I’ve been to protests before, but I’ve never really led a protest,” Baker said. “It’s just so important. Now’s the time to talk about gun control.” The National School Walkout makes the following demands of Congress: Ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Expand background checks to all gun sales. Pass federal gun violence restraining order law. Fund government research on gun violence. Promote safe storage. Though young, the students are feeling empowered by their numbers. “I think this…


BG teacher helps sculpt students into young artists

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nikki Myers is not above using puns to get students excited about art. One pottery team was deemed the “Harry Potters.” Some projects create so much mess, “it looked like a unicorn threw up in my room.” Myers, art teacher at Bowling Green High School, was recognized Thursday by the Kiwanis Club as this year’s high school inspirational educator. As she was being honored, Myers gave the Kiwanis members a taste of what it is like being in her classroom. The assignment had grownups teaming up to draw bizarre creatures. The result in one case was a nerdy geek head, sitting atop a winding intestines torso, complete with duck feet as the final touch. “It’s a great way to open up,” Myers explained of the art exercise. “It’s a great way to get them to work together.” Myers likes to combine problem solving with art. Like when she has students take off their shoes and work together to create the tallest shoe sculpture. First comes the frustration as the shoes keep falling over. Then comes the light bulb. “They start to figure it out. They get geeked out,” she said. “The kids are pushed beyond what they think they can do to make great art,” Myers said. Students see what they can create from a cup or a plain white T-shirt. “Then we have a fashion show.” The students visit a local farm to experiment with photography. “They get all geeked out hanging with the cows,” she said. They go to the Toledo Museum of Art, and play with the interactive art. “They sounded like they were in second grade,” she said of the high school juniors and seniors. Students learn how to make moveable metal art – like a metal armadillo that squirms and a decorative pair of scissors that make a cutting motion. Myers is also big on making mistakes. “You’ve got to fail to succeed,” she said. She is also big on community, and getting her students involved by creating posters for the school musical, designing T-shirts for the “Zombie Mud Run,” drawing illustrations for a book, doing window painting at local businesses, creating designs for Grounds for Thought coffee bags, and cookie boxes…


BG high students breaking in ‘Newsies’ musical for school productions

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The young thespians and their adult mentors at Bowling Green High School are ready to set the pace for their peers across the country by piloting the Broadway musical, “Newsies.” Their mission, shared by about a half dozen other schools, is to stage the popular show. Director Jo Beth Gonzalez and the rest of the staff will then share their insights into what it takes to produce the musical with a high school cast. That could result in the production company, Musical Theater International, tweaking certain aspects that prove too difficult for young actors and crews. Their input will also be shared in production notes that will be included when other high schools rent the script. The Bowling Green High School theater is no stranger to this process. They did their first pilot production with “Mary Poppins” in 2014, followed by “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Those projects gave choreographer Bob Marzola an idea. He loved the musical “Newsies.” He became a fan of the original 1992 film starring Christian Bale when he saw it on television. Hat film was a flop at the time of its release, but became a cult classic when it was added to the Nickelodeon rotation and was released on video. Later as a fourth grade teacher at Conneaut Elementary, Marzola used the film and its story about a strike by young newspaper peddlers to talk about labor and the Industrial Revolution. “I got my students hooked on the movie,” he said. Disney turned the movie into a Broadway musical where it was a Tony Award-winning hit. Marzola wondered when Disney would release the performance rights for high schools and if Bowling Green could pilot it. He asked Gonzalez, and she asked MTI, the umbrella organization for Disney musicals. Not yet, she was told. He asked again. She asked again. Not yet. Then last spring, just as the musical theater team at the high school was starting to discuss what musical to stage in spring 2018, Gonzalez was offered the script. They jumped at the chance. MTI, though, said they wanted it staged in February “because they want to get licensing deals out in the spring,” Gonzalez said. The show will run in the Performing…


Anti-abortion protesters picket outside BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As students left Bowling Green High School on Wednesday afternoon, they were met by anti-abortion protesters with graphic photos of aborted fetuses. Principal Jeff Dever said the protesters showed up with no notice to the school district. “I didn’t want those people there, especially with the kids,” Dever said this morning. “Some kids were afraid to go past them.” However, the six protesters stayed on the sidewalk along West Poe Road – “which is a public space,” he said. Bowling Green police responded, and along with Dever, talked with the protesters and advised them to stay off school property and not go past the public sidewalk. Dever said he asked one of the protesters why they would want juveniles to see the graphic images. The protester reportedly told Dever that he first saw such photographs of abortions when he was 6 years old. “Shame on your parents,” the principal said he responded to the protester. The anti-abortion group was reportedly at Bowling Green State University earlier in the day, then moved over to the high school in time for school dismissal. There remained there from about 2:15 to 3 p.m. “The bad thing was it scared the kids. They were spooked about walking through,” Dever said. “It kind of stunk. They shouldn’t do that.” Some other students were angered by the protesters, the principal said. “We had kids who wanted to argue with them.” According to Dever, this is the first time anti-abortion protesters have taken up space in front of the school. He’s hoping it’s the last. “I don’t want schools to become battle grounds for national issues,” he said. “It wasn’t healthy yesterday.” The anti-abortion group outside the school Wednesday is reportedly going across the country, visiting university campuses and public schools. “Unfortunately, we became their target,” Dever said.


BGHS dress code patience running short … just like the clothing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Parents with high school daughters know the drill. Before the teens leave for school, they have to pass the fingertips test. “I check every morning,” said Shari Beeker, who has two daughters at Bowling Green High School. “Do your fingers go below your shorts?” So far, Beeker’s daughters haven’t had a problem. But others have not fared so well. As is customary for the beginning of the school year, some students are testing the boundaries of the high school dress code. And this year, some parents are suggesting that it’s difficult to find teenage clothing that meets the dress code criteria. So Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci is looking for 20 high school staff, parents and students to be part of a Dress Code Task Force, to review, discuss and perhaps make changes to the current policy. Scruci sent out emails to all high school parents asking those interested to contact him. Part of the problem may be that the high school is not air conditioned – so some students wear as little clothing as possible. But Scruci suggested some common sense is needed. “Everybody is still dressing like it’s summer,” Scruci said last week. “It’s got to become common sense.” High school principal Jeff Dever said the dress code may need some tweaking. But overall, it’s reasonable. “No one should see bra straps and parts of rear ends,” Dever said. “I don’t think it’s outdated. Some of the parents think they can’t find clothes that meet the dress code,” he said. “I just think we have to set expectations. We’re getting kids ready for the workplace.” Dever expects the issue to cool down once the weather cools down and students become familiar with the expectations. Dever, who has been principal at Bowling Green High School for 19 years, said it used to be the boys’ clothing that was a problem. Boys wearing shirts with beer labels or other inappropriate language were required to change clothes or were sent home. Now it’s primarily the girls’ clothing that is the issue. “When I see underwear, we’ve got to do something about it,” Dever said. “Those are in vogue now,” he said about short shorts. But they aren’t appropriate…


BG high science teacher Gloria Gajewicz finalist for national honor

Bowling Green High School teacher Gloria Kreischer Gajewicz is in the running for the Presidential Awards in Mathematics and Science Teaching.   Gajewicz, who teaches physics and geoscience, is one of four Ohio science teachers of grades 7-12 named finalists in science. Two Ohio teachers are finalists in math. All will move forward to the national competition. In the coming academic year, a panel will choose 108 teachers to receive national honors. For more information, visit: http://education.ohio.gov/Media/Ed-Connection/June-26-2017/Finalists-selected-for-presidential-award-in-mathe#.WWF6ixPNEVc.facebook