Plays in Fox Chapel and Mars Area, budget approved in Quaker Valley, and Seneca Valley student musicians back from music festival

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Janet Gaffney who was hired May 12 as director of food services has declined the position.

Fox Chapel

High school students will hold their 16th Young Playwrights Festival from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in room 102 of the high school, 611 Field Club Road, O’Hara. The festival is open to the public.

Eight original plays written by students will be performed — junior Samuel Morrison’s “Red Skies;” junior Caitlin Murray’s “Dreaded;” freshman Thomas Swigon’s “Absolutely Brilliant;” freshman Katherine Kauma’s,  “Maybe Not Perfect;” freshmen Mary Clare O'Connor & Brooke Echnat’s, “Breaking Through;” freshman Nadia Dandashi’s “Subway Stranger;” freshman Caitlyn Cupps’ “What You Don't Know;” and freshman Ellin Fetting’s “Lucy.”

Readings of the plays of these students will be presented: sophomore Angela Cuda, playwright of “The Way She Feels” and freshman Elaina Graca, playwright of “The Weed.”

Visitors should enter through the main office to obtain a visitor's badge.

Mars Area

The school board has awarded a contract for musical instrument lockers for the middle school to Wenger Corp. for $23,824.

■ High school students will present “Seussical the Musical,” by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the auditorium.

Tickets are $5. Proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania & West Virginia.

Information: 724-625-1581.


Applications are being accepted to fill the Region 1 seat of director Katie Shogan, who is moving out of the district.

Applicants must be at least 18 year old and have lived at least one year in Region 1, which covers Pine west of Pierce Mill Road, plus the Heights of North Park and Karrington Woods. The appointee will serve until December 2015.

For an application, go to

Applications can be emailed to board secretary Tara Bennett,, or delivered to the school district office, 702 Warrendale Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044, by June 12.


Quaker Valley

School directors have approved a $43.6 million preliminary budget that would raise property taxes from 16.93 to 17.1548 mills. A resident with a median home value of $160,000 will see an annual tax increase of $35.97 or $3 per month, according to district calculations.

Expenditures are budgeted to increase by 3.48 percent. More than half of the increase is attributed to the state-mandated increase in the Public School Employees’ Retirement System contributions, according to the district. Total non-PSERS expenditures are budgeted to increase by 1.51 percent.

Among the proposed budget highlights:

• The middle school library will undergo physical and program changes, thanks in part to a a $116,000 grant from the Grable Foundation.

• The elementary literacy coach position has been extended for another year. The coach works with teachers and administrators on literacy instruction for elementary students.

• Mandarin Chinese instruction will expand to include the exploratory class in grade 6 as well as a language elective for students in grade 7.

• eLearning courses will be expanded to provide additional electives for high school students.

• Teachers will receive additional professional development training in mathematics and technology.

• STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum and programming at all levels will be expanded.

• Students will have the opportunity to enroll in Advanced Placement Environmental Science at the high school.

• The district’s contribution will remain $497,000 for the Sewickley Public Library.

The proposed budget can be viewed at,; the administrative offices, 100 Leetsdale Industrial Drive, Leetsdale; or the Sewickley Public Library.

Seneca Valley

Student musicians recently returned from Virginia International Music Festival, where they earned several top awards.

Competing at the April 26 event were the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Ensemble II. Each of these ensembles received a superior rating, which placed them first in the competition with a gold medal. In addition, Jazz Ensemble I received the grand champion award, which represented the highest score of all competing jazz bands.

The “Roaring Raider” marching band also competed during this time in the Norfolk NATO Festival Parade, in which it also earned several top awards — a superior rating with a first place finish and a gold medal; best overall score in music; best overall score for drumline; and grand champion award, which represented the highest overall score of all bands.

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