"Snow All Over”
Written in response to Hockey on De Bullion Painting by Carole Spandau
Outside the frame, it is people
Kids playing hockey on the sidewalk
Stairs to the apartments
"Snow All Over”
Written in response to Hockey on De Bullion Painting by Carole Spandau
Outside the frame, it is people
Kids playing hockey on the sidewalk
Stairs to the apartments
Nathaniel Tisch was the featured senior soloist at the Heights High Instrumental Music Department's (IMD) Concert on Nov. 15. He captivated the audience, performing the violin solo for Beethoven’s Romance in F with the Heights High Symphony.
Tisch has been playing violin since the age of 5, and has been active in the school district’s music program since second grade, when he joined the Gearity school orchestra under Robert Adamson.
Tisch was one of three senior soloists selected to perform in the IMD’s concerts this year.
Daniel Heim, director of orchestras for Heights High, commented, “I first worked with Nathaniel during the 2016 Reaching Heights Summer Camp. It was then that I discovered our mutual love of the ‘Star Wars’ movie franchise in the form of funny movie-related T-shirts Nathaniel wore to camp.
A Singing and Songwriting Music Camp, open to all rising ninth- though 12th-grade students, is planned for June 5–16 at Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights.
The camp is free, and is open to all, regardless of previous musical experience or ability.
Space is limited to 15 students, and the short application is due no later than May 24. For more information, and to apply, visit www.discipleschristian.org.
During the two-week camp, students will explore songwriting components, including rhythm, melody writing, and storytelling through song. They will also be coached individually in vocal technique and diverse singing styles. Campers will also learn some basics of piano, guitar, and percussion instruments.
Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland (BBB) presented its Students of Integrity Awards on April 20 to four Greater Cleveland high school students including Taylor Evans, a Cleveland Heights High School senior.
The awards went to students who personify integrity through their leadership, community service, academics, and strong character ethics.
Evans received a $1,000 scholarship. She is a member of the Heights High Student Council, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Superintendent's Student Cadre, Principal's Partners, and Minority Student Achievement Network—all groups that discuss ongoing issues in the school and ways they can be resolved.
Get ready to run, Heights residents—it’s time for the inaugural Tiger 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, May 14.
At 9 a.m., at Cleveland Heights High School, the CH-UH elementary school PTAs will host a districtwide 5K run. For young runners, a Fun Run on the high school track will start at 10 a.m.
In past years, Roxboro Elementary School hosted the RoxEl Run to raise funds for the school’s PTA. This year the run is expanding. CH-UH elementary schools are working together to co-host the run, and the CH-UH PTA Council will distribute the proceeds equally among the district’s seven [elementary] schools.
Boy Scout Troop 22, hosted by Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, recently celebrated four of its Scouts achieving the rank of Eagle Scout—Bailey Fischer, Matthew Skubas, Michael J. Price and Anders Sorensen.
In earning this achievement, these young men have hiked and camped in all weather, learned valuable leadership skills, and given back to their communities for many years. They each earned 13 required merit badges along with at least eight additional badges—often more—and each worked hard to plan and organize their individual Eagle Scout projects. The projects are not tasks that Scouts complete on their own, but rather opportunities to demonstrate the organizational and leadership skills they have learned on the trail to Eagle, leading, but also working with, groups to complete projects that benefit their communities.
The Ron Register Scholarship Fund was created by the Black Caucus of Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights. It is designed to honor Ron Register’s leadership and commitment to the CH-UH schools, where he served on the board, and board president, for many years.The fund is supported by both members of the church and the community.
This year, the selection committee is pleased to present the 2021 Ron Register Scholarships to two outstanding Heights High graduates, Tait Manning and Asia’Lee Fair.
Manning graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average and will be attending Howard University in the fall.
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) awarded Elizabeth (Ellie) Costanzo, a Girl Scout Brownie, its Medal of Honor for saving the life of a family friend last year. The Girl Scout Medal of Honor is presented to Girl Scouts who have performed acts of heroism beyond the degree of maturity and training expected for their age.
Jane Christyson, CEO of Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) presented Costanzo with the award, along with a congratulatory letter from GSUSA, in a ceremony at Church of the Gesu in University Heights, on May 3.
While visiting her grandparents’ lake house last summer, Costanzo was standing on the dock with her siblings and two family friends. Her brother was fishing on the dock and had a bite on his line; but soon after the fish bit, it swam under the dock. One of the friends, who was 3 at the time, bent down to look at the fish and fell into the water.
The 2020–21 Cleveland Heights High School Swim Cadets, a 17-member synchronized swim club, will present its annual show May 6–8, 7 p.m., at the Heights High pool, 13263 Cedar Road. The theme of this year’s show is Swim Cadets Undercover.
The club, led by determined young women who sacrificed many of their high school traditions during this pandemic year, did everything in their power to persuade the administration that the show “must go on.”
To follow COVID safety protocols, and because seating is limited to maintain social distancing, only family members of the performers will be allowed to attend in person. Family members must purchase tickets directly from their cadet prior to the performance dates. Attendees must enter through the school’s west entrance for a brief health screening, and must wear a proper face mask to be admitted.
Other community members and students are welcome to view the show, for free, via YouTube livestream on Friday, May 7. Viewers watching from home are encouraged to make an online donation. Details on how to do so will be posted on the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
What is the value of a writing workshop for young people? Lake Erie Ink (LEI) believes it has the answer.
For 10 years, LEI has provided a writing space for young people across Northeast Ohio, to empower them and help them find their own voices. The initiative started more than 10 years ago, rooted in the many years that teachers Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen had offered creative writing programs for youth in communities on Cleveland’s east side. After learning about work done by 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing center in San Francisco, the two decided to co-found their own organization focused on providing a safe space for youth to share their stories, and LEI was launched.
“Having a supportive space gives kids the go-ahead to take creative risks,” Rosenbluth noted. “Youth need opportunities to express who they are and how they fit in their world.”
First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will hold a free online Easter egg hunt for young children at approximately 11 a.m., immediately following the scheduled Easter Sunday worship service, on April 4.
Modeled after "Blues Clues," the hunt is designed to be interactive and includes a visit from the Easter Bunny. With each clue, a First Baptist Church member will lead participants to a different part of the First Baptist Church facility and provide a fun fact about Easter. Topics to be addressed include why we have an Easter Bunny rather than an Easter Chicken, why we hunt for eggs, and why so many people are obsessed with marshmallow Peeps.
During this time of social distancing and staying at home, Lake Erie Ink is maintaining its identity as a writing “space” for youth though a free, virtual program series.
The series, Creative Communities Online, will use Zoom meetings to host workshops.
The series has something for everyone, regardless of age or interests, including a podcasting workshop, poetry challenge, collaborative comics, and a D&D campaign. Registration can be found here.
If you’re looking for an activity to absorb your child’s boundless energy, the Tiger Youth Track Club (TYTC) may be the answer. The Tigers are recruiting boys and girls, ages 4-18. Registration is Feb. 22 and 29, 1-4 p.m., at the Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd.
TYTC is part of the Cleveland Heights Tigers Youth Sports Association (CHTYSA), a nonprofit, community-based athletic and recreational program dedicated to the development of elementary school children in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. Since 2014, more than 300 children have participated in the track club.
“There were quite a few track clubs around the area, but none in the Heights,” said Derrick Fair, head coach and one of the founding members of the club, and a former assistant coach for Heights High's varsity men’s track and field.
Young people ages 8–18 will have the chance to attend workshops with experienced comic creators at Lake Erie Ink’s (LEI) eighth annual Kids’ Comic Con on Saturday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus. Last year’s event drew 150 kids and teens from across Northeast Ohio.
Workshops will cover the two aspects of comic creation—drawing and writing—and include the ever-popular “create your own comic character in clay.” New this year, a teens-only (grades 6–12) program will feature a “Make Change with Comics” panel. Teens will have the opportunity to learn about the difficult balance of making money through art while simultaneously making a positive difference in their community. The program will also feature a cosplay fashion show, and a Snack n’ Sketch ‘zine exchange.
The Coventry neighborhood bustles at night, and not just for adults. Lake Erie Ink (LEI), the nonprofit writing space for youth, provides a place where teens can hang out and explore their creativity in a variety of ways.
LEI has created various workshops for teens in grades 6–12 to help them express their unique visions and develop their literary style and form. These workshops, affectionately called Evening Ink, offer something for everyone.
The Teen Writers’ Workshop meets on Tuesday nights. Participants write, express themselves, and encourage one another in their literary pursuits. The workshop meets 6:30–8 p.m.
When 12-year-old Nate Ford arrived in Roatan, Honduras, in March, he was looking forward to a brief respite from the Cleveland winter. Ford, from Cleveland Heights, figured he’d spend a lot of time swimming, snorkeling and exploring this Caribbean island, about 40 miles off the coast of the mainland. Little did he know that a chance encounter in a remote Honduran village would spark an idea for philanthropy, close to his heart.
During a cultural tour of the island, Ford visited Crawfish Rock and was introduced to groups of Honduran children by Denise Mazu of Clearwater Adventures. He had the opportunity to see their school, share a meal in a local family’s home, and learn about the challenges many of these kids face.
April is National Poetry Month, and Lake Erie Ink is celebrating with a Pocket Poems workshop on Saturday, April 27, 10:30–12:30 a.m., at Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry.
Kids of all ages are invited to attend, and create and share their own pocket poems.
Parents are invited as well, and only need to pay a fee for participating children. Admission is $10 at the door. Reservations also can be made in advance online, at www.lakeerieink.org/register, where sibling discounts and scholarships are available for those eligible.
Early childhood educator Vivian Gussin Paley wrote that “we learn to know what we are thinking about by the ways in which we play.” Dramatic play and storytelling are important to children as they learn to make sense of the world and work with one another.
Lake Erie Ink, a nonprofit organization based at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, states the belief that creative writing is not only for kids and teens who already love writing, but also for those who have something to say, and feel that no one is listening.
Part of Lake Erie Ink's mission is to provide opportunities for children to tell stories.
While students were on break from school over the winter holidays, Lake Erie Ink was buzzing with creativity during its Hot/Cold Creative Play Days. Afternoons of outdoor play, creative writing and art fired up the kids’ love of learning. Skits were written and performed, snowmen and penguins were created, and many new friendships were formed.
Two Cleveland Heights teenagers have launched a new app that helps home-schooled students with the tedious task of logging their study hours to earn high school credits. High school junior Maya Serna and her eighth-grade sister, Nina, launched HomieSchooler in November through a website, and they've applied for a grant to expand operations.
Each high school credit comprises 120 hours of study, which must be tracked over time. Students usually experiment with methods of logging their hours. Maya tried coloring in graph paper squares, which became cumbersome. “It was very inefficient. I would forget,” she said, “then the squares would blend together and it would be hard to count.” Then she tried a spreadsheet, with pull-down tabs for each course, which wasn’t readily accessible and was also easy to forget.
Fall in the Heights is in full swing as schools and students are buzzing. Buses streak the streets with yellow, and parades of kids in backpacks have become a regular sight. Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is bursting with creativity and excitement for all that fall has to offer, which includes new creative writing program offerings for teens. This fall, LEI is expanding its after-school programming for those in grades 6-12. For youths eager to get their hands on a fresh notebook, daydream jumbles of words into stories and observe their world with open eyes, LEI has an array of programs available.
In addition to its longstanding "Evening Ink" drop-in creative writing workshop on Wednesday nights, youth writers have more exciting opportunities for creative expression. Among these, LEI’s "Stage Write: Comedy Club" takes place on Monday nights and allows youths to explore the funny side of theater. Creative arts teacher Nicole Rossa, who earned her living as a stand-up comedian and emcee before joining the LEI team, leads this fun-filled program that teaches students how to write a joke and deliver it through improv games, monologues, stand-up and sketch comedy.
Asked to describe Rebecca’s Gift, Heights eighth-grader Carolyn Meyer said, “It’s an organization that sends families on their first vacation after the death of a child.” Meyer and two classmates are currently doing an International Baccalaureate (IB) project to raise funds for Rebecca’s Gift. The project will culminate with an ice cream social fundraiser on Sunday, May 27, 5–8 p.m., at Ben & Jerry’s at Fairmount Circle, in University Heights.
This is not the first time that Meyer has raised funds for the nonprofit. In 2017, she raised $4,700 through her Bat Mitzvah project—enough money to pay for two bereaved families to reconnect through travel.
Rebecca’s Gift was inspired by the way Meyer and her brother, Josh, reconnected with their parents during a trip eight months after their sister Rebecca died.
It’s that time of year. Arctic temperatures. Black ice. Snow days. Vortex days. The trifecta of snow, ice and mud. Households get a little squirrelly after a few too many wintry weeks indoors. Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID), as part of its mission to make Coventry Village a wonderful place in which to live, work and play, has a plan to combat the stir-crazy nature of winter in Greater Cleveland. And it’s all free of charge.
On Sunday, March 11, noon to 4 p.m., the third annual Coventry Kids Day will create a party atmosphere throughout the district.
Jackalyn Fehrenbach, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC) staff member for eight years, has been named the new director of Heights Youth Club (HYC) in Cleveland Heights—the organization where her career began.
HYC is currently the only BGCC affiliate, of 15 clubs, located outside the city of Cleveland.
Fehrenbach, a 2004 graduate of the University of Toledo who is currently working on her master’s degree at Malone University, started her BGCC career at HYC, then moved on to Saint Luke’s Club in Cleveland when that location opened in 2013. Most recently, she served as director there.
Hope Lutheran Church, at 2222 North Taylor Road, will host its 16th annual day camp for children who have completed any grade from kindergarten through sixth grade this current (2015–16) school year. The camp runs from Monday, June 27, through Friday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. most days.
“The Jesus Way” is this year’s theme, as three trained counselors from Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Ohio will lead Bible study, discovery classes, singing, crafts and sports. Each day will center on an aspect of Jesus’ ministry, such as the feeding of the 5,000, forgiving the woman at the well, and washing his disciples’ feet while instructing them to serve one another likewise.
The National Merit Scholarship Program has announced that University School senior Henry Shapard, of Cleveland Heights, is a winner in its 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Shapard plans to attend Yale University, and study music and history.
Shapard, who started his University School education in kindergarten, is the recipient of the 2016 Phi Beta Kappa Award. He is a Davey Fellow, studying classical music criticism, and is student conductor of the University School Chamber Orchestra.
Outside of school, he is co-principal cellist with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, and principal cellist with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.
Spencer Waldeck and Grace Pindel, both of Cleveland Heights, are among several students from City Ballet of Cleveland who will attend the American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) “summer intensive” workshop this year.
Both Waldeck and Pindel will attend the program in New York City—one of several locations where it’s offered. The prestigious program “focuses on developing well-rounded dancers by exposure to a wide variety of disciplines with an emphasis on classical ballet technique and key elements of ABT’s National Training Curriculum,” according to ABT's website.
This will be the third time attending this program for Waldeck, a sophomore at Beaumont School. Pindel attends Roxboro Middle School, and this will be her first such experience.
On March 5, Rohan Bruce, a Roxboro Middle School eighth-grader, competed in the Cuyahoga County Spelling Bee.
Bruce finished as runner-up (second place) out of the 44 seventh- and eighth-graders who competed for the opportunity to represent Cuyahoga County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May. She won a trophy and $100.
Andrew France, a homeschooled student from Chagrin Falls, won—for the second year in a row—but not before Bruce showed him some serious competition. The two went head-to-head in the last 10 rounds.
In 24 rounds of spelling, Bruce correctly spelled fickle, tatami, filament, libretto, magnanimous, babka, charpoy, gauche, bezoar, ameliorate, pacifism, adrenal, dyspeptic, fulminating, histamine, malefactor, proletariat, submersible, sanguinary, epitaphs and nymphish.
If you’ve recently attended a Heights High hockey game, a AAA Pee Wee boys hockey game, or a 14U (age 14 and under) girls hockey game in Cleveland Heights, you may not have been able to identify who was beneath those massive helmets. Chances are good, however, that you were watching one of Charone and Robert Edwards' four children tearing up the ice.
For the Edwards family, hockey is a lifestyle. Robert, a local painting subcontractor, played for Heights High as a teen and has been involved with adult men’s hockey leagues. Bobby, 17, is a senior at Heights High and captain of the Heights High hockey team. Colson, 8, plays youth hockey. Chayla, 14, and Laila, 12, both started playing in the Cleveland Heights Youth ADM Hockey Program, based at the Cleveland Heights Recreation Center, before they were 8 years old.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights will begin its fourth year of Baby Gym on Nov. 14, with an added feature. Along with its indoor playroom, the church will have a Baby Shop, offering gently used baby items and children’s clothing, sizes newborn to 6x. All goods and activities are free.
Baby Gym is a place where parents can play with their children (up to age 5) in a relaxed atmosphere—especially useful during harsh Cleveland winter weather when outdoor activities are impractical or impossible.
Alex Gillooly, a rising sophomore at Cleveland Heights High School, attended the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders, held in Boston, June 28–30.
The congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Its purpose is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide resources to help them reach their goals.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, science director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, nominated Gillooly to represent Cleveland Heights High School, based on Gillooly's academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology. Gillooly enjoyed Aldrin's Q&A with congress participants.
During the three-day congress, Gillooly joined students from across the country and heard Nobel laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading scientific research. He was inspired by fellow teen science prodigies; and learned about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.
All Geared Up, a new community cycling event, will take place on Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. until noon, at Canterbury Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. The free event will include one- and two-mile family fun rides, a bike rodeo for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, safety demonstrations by bike police officers, a used bike sale, a father and child Big Wheel relay race, health and fitness displays, refreshments and giveaways.
While the City of Cleveland Heights offers a wide variety of youth sports activities, it does not offer some staple programs that many families look for, such as tackle football, cheerleading, wrestling, and track and field. The Cleveland Heights Tigers Youth Sports Association (CHTYSA), a 501(c)3 nonprofit community organization serving children within the CH-UH school district, will soon change that.
CHTYSA's mission is to serve as a feeder system to the local school district’s middle school and high school athletic programs by providing youth athletes an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of each sport in a safe, nurturing and fun environment.
e the City of Cleveland Heights offers a wide variety of youth sports activities, it does not offer some staple programs that many families look for, such as tackle football, cheerleading, wrestling, and track and field. The Cleveland Heights Tigers Youth Sports Association (CHTYSA), a 501(c)3 nonprofit community organization serving children within the CH-UH school district, will soon change that.
Competing in the National Indoor Soccer Championship Feb. 27 through March 1, in North Olmsted, the Eastside Kickers (ESK) U9 team had a fantastic run and finished in second place.
The all-boys team has 12 members, nine years old and younger, who live in Cleveland Heights (10 players), University Heights (one player) and South Euclid (one player).
Playing against top club teams, including teams from West Virginia and Illinois, the ESK boys finished first among the U9 teams in the group stage, with a 3-0 record. They eventually lost 3-6 in the finals, to the Juniors FC team from Chicago.
More than 450 student musicians from all of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools will have the rare opportunity to perform onstage at Severance Hall on February 24. Geoffrey Golden, a Heights High graduate and the recent seventh-season winner of "Sunday Best," a televised gospel soloist competition, will speak and perform.
Reaching Musical Heights, a quadrennial project of Reaching Heights, is also a gala benefit for the organization. The event brings student vocalists and instrumentalists from the CHUH elementary and middle schools and the high school to the Severance Hall stage. Remembering the 2007 and 2011 performances, John Hubbard, Reaching Heights board president, “Listening and watching our young people perform so well together in this amazing hall is overwhelming. This concert should not to be missed.”
Several Heights High students greeted voters in University Heights today, offering free hot chocolate and information—not about any issue on the ballot, but about themselves.
“We are explaining the current state of the [University Heights] Planning Commission and the issue of moving Heights High to Wiley,” explained Elijah Snow-Rackley, a junior at Heights High. He and several of his fellow students, representing the Student Union, a new student-initiated Heights High group, had stationed themselves inside the University Heights Library.
The CH-UH City School District has been seeking approval from the University Heights Planning Commission since February 2014, to move forward with its plan to use Wiley as transitional space for the high school.
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, beginning as an oral tradition and eventually bringing us to a digital age in which stories are consumed through every possible media outlet. After all, who can resist a good story?
Cleveland Heights's Lake Erie Ink (LEI) kicked off its fourth fall session with a creative writing workshop on the power of storytelling, featuring Cleveland resident and author Jack Ricchiuto. This workshop is one of many that will take place throughout the year as part of Lake Erie Ink’s Weekend Ink program.
On Sept. 22, five members of the Cumberland gardening team, of Cleveland Heights, participated in the Freshtoberfest Youth Garden Cook-Off. Dee Jay Doc Harrill, who runs the Fresh Camp youth garden program in Cleveland (http://fresh.deejaydoc.com/), planned the event, which took place at Dunham Tavern Museum on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.
The Cumberland gardeners, Kira Cicerchi, Maeve Ialacci, Bridget Katholi, Jackson Walker and Ella Watterson, made zucchini-corn fritters with the assistance of Chef Eric Wells. They enjoyed the chance to meet other young gardeners and taste their culinary creations. The Cumberland gardeners were excited to win the judges' prize for "Freshest Taste" and also "The Crowd Favorite" award.
This summer, six young choristers from the children’s and youth choirs of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights traveled to England to sing in a medieval cathedral.
Maddie Gillooly, Sam Mitchell, Cecilia Payne, Erin Ptacek, Faith Shook and Anna Turner joined choir members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Akron, to sing at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire from July 28 to Aug. 3. Four of the choristers—Gillooly, Mitchell, Payne and Turner—are Cleveland Heights residents. Ptacek lives in Lakewood, and Shook resides in South Euclid.
Daniel Fortune, organist and choirmaster at St. Paul’s, Akron, extended an invitation to Richard Nelson, organist and children’s and youth choir director at St. Paul’s, Cleveland Heights, asking Nelson to identify young singers to help fill in treble voices for Akron’s men’s and youth choir trip.
On June 19, Heights Youth Club (HYC) seniors and teen leaders Olivia Morgan and Cameron Steele kicked off the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens event, which included special guest Tristan Thompson from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thompson spoke to the 150 teens in attendance. He congratulated all of the high school graduates and emphasized the importance of education and graduation. Prizes, including autographed basketballs and a bicycle, were awarded for outstanding achievements. Thompson signed autographs, handed out T-shirts to graduates and took a “selfie” photograph with the teens. Taco Bell provided food and gift certificates to attendees.
Do you have a child who will be attending a Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District kindergarten this fall?
Family Connections and the CH-UH City School District invite you and your child to attend Kindergarten Kickoff, where your child can get a jumpstart on kindergarten at the elementary school he or she will attend.
Families will have the opportunity to meet with school staff, tour the school building, make ice cream sundaes and meet new kindergarten friends.
The City of Cleveland Heights hosted a Fun with Trucks Day at City Hall on June 21. Residents could interact with police officers, fire fighters and sanitary workers—and their vehicles.
Irene, known as Renie, and Dave Smith have made an indelible and lasting contribution to the Cleveland Heights and University Heights community. The Smiths were two of the visionaries who, in 2004, decided that young people in the community needed a place to not only hang out and socialize but also to learn, and take school and themselves seriously, in a safe and nourishing atmosphere.
Such a venture didn’t just happen. Louise Westfall, the former minister of Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights and co-founder of the Heights Youth Club (HYC), and Louisa and Bob Matthias, members of the church and co-founders of the club, had dreams for Cleveland Heights children and teens.
The City of Cleveland Heights, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Lake Erie Ink, is creating the Office of Teen Poet Laureate in order to elevate the art form of creative writing among the youth of the community. The Teen Laureate will serve for a 12-month period, beginning at the end of June and concluding at the end of May the following year.
Any Cleveland Heights resident, aged 13–18 may apply. Applicants must be in residence in Cleveland Heights through the full-year term of service, if selected for the office.
In his third-grade class at Fairfax Elementary School, student Kenji Sakaie had been learning about community and government. When invited to embrace his role in the democratic process with his mother, Joan Spoerl, at the Mama Summit in Columbus, he jumped at the chance. Organized by Moms Clean Air Force with various partners, the Mama Summit brought together 50 Ohioans to advocate for a safer and healthier future for the state’s children.
Sakaie made posters to give to his state representative, state senator, and the governor, and was even able to send posters for U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, to be delivered in person by a Moms Clean Air Force representative based in Washington, D.C.
Starting its fourth summer of creative programming, Lake Erie Ink is excited to be flourishing in the Heights. Co-founders Cynthia Larsen and Amy Rosenbluth started Lake Erie Ink three years ago to create a safe space to remind young writers of the power of expression, and enable them to collaborate with youths throughout Greater Cleveland.
Ink Spot, Lake Erie Ink’s popular after-school program, encourages students in grades four and up to participate in a variety of creative projects, including poetry composition, fiction writing, comic strip creation, playwriting and song writing.
Ten-year-old Xavier Harris, a member of the Heights Youth Club, has been chosen to participate in the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland “Save our Kids” capital campaign. He is one of three new spokespersons who will appear on billboards and leaflets throughout Cleveland to raise funds for the clubs.
Harris was chosen because of his commitment, participation and dedication to the Heights Youth Club, where he has regularly attended and participated in activities during the past four years. He is a member of the Torch Club, a youth leadership program which encourages volunteering that benefits local residents in Cleveland Heights, such as delivering the Heights Observer. He was captain of the flag football team, played shooting guard on the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland’s championship basketball team and is a member of the Young Gentleman’s Club at Boulevard Elementary School, which he attends.
Justin Woodbridge, a senior at Montessori High School in University Circle and lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, recently created a Web application for nonprofits to fundraise through raffle ticket sales.
His product is called Raffle Creator (www.rafflecreator.com), and it enables fundraising groups to sell raffle tickets online along with in-person sales. “Raffle Creator lets fundraisers create a webpage, accept payments, and manage all the information they collect,” said Woodbridge, whose website has been operational since 2012.
The young company got its start during Montessori High School’s annual X-term, a two-week, student-led intensive course that encourages students to explore an area of study of their choice. Woodbridge and his peers wanted to study entrepreneurship and technology in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, but they needed to raise money for the trip.
On April 3, students from Cleveland Heights High School students and Shaker Heights High School students traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The one-day field trip was funded by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) through a program called The Holocaust as a Human Experience.
The students left Heights High at 3:30 a.m. and arrived in Washington, D.C. around 10 a.m. The experience at the museum included a special session with a Holocaust survivor who, as a teenager, was able to survive the notorious Nazi death camp Auschwitz because of his language skills. He was an interpreter for the Nazis and their collaborators and this allowed him to avoid being sent to the gas chambers.
The students at St. Paul’s Cooperative Preschool are bopping to a new beat and singing in a new language thanks to new programs added to the curriculum this year. There are not many formats in which young children can engage in a musical ensemble, but drumming fills the bill, and the new hands-on music class—a drum circle—is a huge success. Add to this the new Spanish class, the long-standing yoga program and last month’s art show and concert, and little minds are blossoming this spring.
The benefits of learning multiple languages are widely known, but the benefits of music instruction are less so. There is much going on in young brains while they are beating drums and playing other percussion instruments.
The Keystone Tigers, the leadership arm of the Heights Youth Club (HYC), addressed depression and suicide at the Saving Us Youth Awareness Fair on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Several organizations serving Heights communities were present to introduce fair attendees to their programs. Participating organizations included: Avenues for Positive Changes, empowering girls and strengthening self-image; C.H.O.I.C.E.S., specializing in treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health; Jewish Family Services; Northern Ohio Recovery Association, offering adolescent substance use treatment; Ohio Guidestone, providing solutions for children, families and communities; Suicide Prevention Education Alliance (SPEA); and University Hospitals Discovery and Wellness Center for Children.
Three speakers addressed the audience of teens and parents.
According to Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, organizer of the Cleveland Heights St. Baldrick’s event, the Heights community banded together to raise nearly $109,000 for this volunteer-driven charity, far exceeding the original goal of $60,000. St. Baldrick’s funds the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.
Gallagher encouraged students and teachers to participate as teams for the head-shaving event which took place on Sunday, March 16, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. Boys and girls of all ages from CH-UH and Shaker Heights public and parochial schools joined the effort. Gallagher's son Austin, a two-time cancer survivor and a first-grader at Fairfax Elementary School, helped garner support for the Fairfax team, which led the pack in fundraising, with $25,495.
The Heights Youth Club (HYC), in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, proudly contributed to the world of art in December and January in an educational exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
"The exhibition was a total success and the room was packed the day I visited on Dec. 27," said Roscoe Morgan, HYC director.
Youths aged 7–18 years submitted their artwork for display. "In total there were 30 pieces of art selected from across seven local Boys and Girls Clubs, and of that 30, the Heights Youth Club was responsible for nearly half, with 13 pieces in total," said Julie Rainey, the club's arts and culture instructor.
Discarded plastic bottles, cans and litter on Washington Boulevard between Lee and Grosvenor roads will be harder to spot in 2014, thanks to an initiative planned by the Heights Youth Club (HYC).
The Keystone Tigers, an HYC teen service group, plans to go green and clear trash from the curbs and tree lawns along that stretch of road, weekly, bi-weekly, or as often as needed.
Heights High senior Chance Zurub won three gold medals at the World Kickboxing Council’s World Championships in Taranto, Italy, held Oct. 14–19.
Zurub won individual events for sparring and continuous sparring, and the three-person team sparring competition.
“It was great to win the individual events for sure,” said Zurub. “But there is no greater feeling than hearing your national anthem after a team win, in front of a huge crowd.”
This fall at Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth (LEI), students in the Ink Spot after-school program explored different perspectives and the two sides of a story through the creation of two-voiced poems.
Ink Spot participants worked individually or in partners to create poetry that illustrates contrasting perspectives on a particular subject.
Most participants chose to work with a partner in creating their two-voiced poems. The process brought students together to discuss their different perspectives on a topic, and to consider their own ideas in relation to those of another person.
On Friday, Oct. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m., more than 35 merchants along Lee Road will be must-visit stops for candy-seeking kids in costumes. The Cedar Lee Candy Crawl, now in its third year, is organized by Cedar Lee Business District merchants. Kids must be accompanied by an adult to participate in the crawl.
This year’s stops include Simply Charming, Revive Fair Trade, Heights Arts, Phoenix Coffee, Mitchell’s Candies, Myron’s Beverage, Bussey’s Upholstery, Janea H Boutique, All Makes Vacuum, ATMA Center, Brennan’s Colony, Sweetie Fry, Bryan’s Marathon, Anatolia Café, The Wine Spot, Tavern Company, Cuttn Zone, Mama Joyce’s Soul Food, SOFE Whole foods Café, Christian Science Reading Room, Best Gyro, Stone Oven Bakery, Marotta’s, Cedar Lee Pub, Lopez on Lee, Unique Melodies, Shawn Paul Salon, Sanctuary by Joyce, Hessler on the Heights, Parnell’s Pub, HerbCo, New Heights Grill, US Bank and Dewey’s Pizza.
This year, several pop-up candy locations have been added to the crawl.
Cornelia Spelman, author of the popular children’s book series “The Way I Feel,” will give a talk titled "Taking Care of Our Emotions—So Kids Can Take Care of Theirs" at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21 at The Hanna Perkins Center For Child Development, 19910 Malvern Road, Shaker Heights.
The free talk, offered in cooperation with Cleveland Heights's Appletree Books, will be followed by an informal discussion and book signing.
Spelman, a clinical social worker and therapist for children and families, will discuss how a child's ability to manage emotions is influenced by the way his or her parents learned to manage their own emotions.“How does what we learned from our parents—our emotional legacy—continue to affect us today?” asks Spelman, whose goal is to empower attendees to decide if what they learned is what they want to pass on to their children.
For the 15th consecutive year, Hospice of the Western Reserve will host Together We Can, a bereavement day camp for children, at Red Oak Camp, 9057 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland. Transportation to the camp from the Heights will be provided from the nonprofit agency's office at 4670 Richmond Rd. in Warrensville Heights. This year’s camp is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6–8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Space is limited, and registration is required by July 1.
Each year, up to 60 campers, between the ages of 6 and 14, who have experienced the death of a loved one spend three days in this beautiful natural setting interacting with other children who have also lost someone they were close to. Children have the opportunity to share their feelings and ask questions in a safe, supportive environment. Activities to encourage memories, cope with and express feelings, along with recreational activities are led by trained professionals who are experienced in working with children and grief. Cost for the camp is $25 per camper; scholarships are available.
From March 20–22, the Heights Tigers Keystone Club of the Heights Youth Club (HYC) participated in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America National Keystone Conference held in Atlanta, GA. Members of the club earned participation in the All Teens Lead conference, along with 1,800 other teens, by performing community service projects and by taking part in career prep and college tour activities. The teens reported that it was a great opportunity to meet new people from all over the United States and build new friendships.
Vivian Porter takes a book from the Little Free Library near the cinder path in the Canterbury Elementary School neighborhood. Vivian says she loves to stop to find a new book on her way home from school. The Heights Libraries Little Free Library project inspired Cleveland Heights resident, Bob Cheshier, who died recently, to build Little Free Libraries in the City of Cleveland.