A Mason High School sophomore, who periodically wears a belt buckle depicting the confederate flag, has been warned he faces suspension should he continue to wear it to school.
The male student has attracted attention in the school by wearing the Civil War symbol, which is often considered controversial and by some racist. School officials in the Warren County district said it violates the district’s student dress code.
Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason Schools, said “we are committed to making sure that each one of our students feels safe and eager to come to school. For that reason, we have a code that outlines the way that students and staff should dress so that distractions are minimized and we have a positive learning environment.”
“We try to handle discipline on an individual basis,” said Carson, who said no action has yet been taken against the student.
According to Mason School’s dress code “no clothing or accessories that could be interpreted as promoting hate or communicating a negative, profane or vulgar message; i.e., rebel flags, swastikas.”
There is no other piece of school playground equipment like it among Southwest Ohio schools.
While other area students might spend their outside recess playing old-fashioned kick ball or other games, grade-schoolers in Mason can give their brains a fresh air workout.
Daniel Eichler’s Eagle Scout project has students at Mason Intermediate on their feet and using their brains. Share/Mason City Schools
Two giant, brick chess sets – the boards are 9 feet by 9 feet – are now part of Mason Intermediate School’s recess play area. The giant chess playing surfaces are adorned with large, black and white plastic game pieces, each about two-feet high.
It’s an oversized and more tactile version of the mentally challenging game, and each school day when the thermometer is above freezing, dozens of fifth- and sixth-grade boys and girls huddle around the games.
“Since the chess pieces are larger – instead of sitting at a table – it lets them walk around with the chess pieces, and they really enjoy having fun with it,” said Stephanie Meyer, a playground assistant for the Warren County school.
“It’s wonderful to have it, and the kids enjoy it. It’s a full group activity so other kids can watch while other ones play,” said Meyer.
Nearby, about a dozen boys and girls watch students ponder their next chess moves.
Among them is Araz Bhatt, a fifth grader and regular player of the “sport of kings.”
“It’s really fun to play. And I enjoy playing with my friends,” said Araz. “And it exercises my brain more.”
Greg Sears, principal of Mason Intermediate, praised both the recent additions to his school’s playground and the school’s former student who made them possible.
“It’s a great opportunity to expand their options at recess and not only exercise their bodies but also exercise their minds as well. And so it’s a great way to engage the kids into thinking during a fun time of the day,” said Sears.
On any scale, indoors or out, the ancient board game teaches critical thinking, strategy and decision-making.
Sears said Daniel Eichler, who is now a junior at Mason High School, deserves the credit for novel recess game.
Done as part of his Eagle Scout project requirement, the 16-year-old Daniel spent the early summer raising about $800 and then constructing the two game sets using 64 multi-colored brick pavers, gravel and sand.
“Daniel had a vision for helping the recess options,” said Sears. “He is a great kid who worked extremely hard and did an outstanding job on the project.”
Daniel said “I decided I’d do something to improve the playground.”
“Chess is a great sport of the mind. I’m really happy with the way it turned out,” said Daniel, who has visited his old school – across the street from Mason High School – during recess to check out his invention.
“When I’ve been over there during recess they were a lot of kids playing and watching. That was good to see.”
The North Cincinnati Youth Orchestras will be performing at this year’s Christmas in Warren County concert. Provided photo
The Mason High School NoteOrious Acapella choir is joining this year’s Christmas in Warren County holiday concert.
Sunday’s free concert features seven groups performing Christmas music under the direction of Cheri Brinkman. This is the ninth year for the concert.
Everywhere Christmas Tonight is the theme for the show, which features a variety of international and American Christmas favorites. It begins at 7 p.m., at the Mason United Methodist Church, 6315 S. Mason-Montgomery Road.
“This concert is based on the Swiss/German festival concept of local musical groups performing Christmas music and similar to the festival seen in such films as the Sound of Music,’’ Brinkman said.
“It is an acoustic instrument and vocal concert. Performers are from schools, churches and the community.”
Working on the concert with Brainkman were Natalie Woodrow, church coordinator; and Chris Dorsch, tech director.
Those who will be performing are:
North Cincinnati Youth Orchestras, Cadet and Seniors
Kings High School Sax Quartet
NoteOrious Acappella Choir, from Mason High School
Mars Hill Academy third graders, from left, Curtis Rempe, of Cincinnati; Carter Woollard, of West Chester Township; Calvin Sitterlet, of Maineville; Oliver Zimmerman, of Mason; and Charlie Michener, of Waynesville; celebrated Prairie Day, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Little House on the Prairie. Provided photo
Third graders at Mars Hill Academy went back in time after reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.
As part of their study, the students recently participated in a Prairie Day celebration. They dressed up in period costumes and visited a frontier cabin at West Chester Township’s Keehner Park.
Mars Hill Academy third grader Elise Lockett, of Mason, practices writing on a slate during the school’s Prairie Day, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Little House on the Prairie. Provided photo
“Prairie Day is one of our students’ favorite days of the year,” said third grade teacher Traci DeBra. “We immerse them in the period and let their imaginations run with hands-on crafts, activities, music and authentic food.”
The students participated in bread and butter making, played 19th century games, did crafts, and saw a replica prairie school room.
Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, Mars Hill Academy third graders celebrate Prairie Day by dressing in period costumes and participating in activities reminiscent of the mid-west around the 1870’s. Provided photo
First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a high-place finish in the “Super Bowl” of high school marching band competitions.
That’s how the story went for the Mason High School marching band, whose performance of a slapstick comedy about marriage called “‘Till Death Do Us Part” earned the band a sixth place finish at Bands of America Grand National Championships.
The wedding-themed show featured color guard members dressed as brides toting 50 life-sized inflatable grooms in tuxedos and choreography that included hearts, bells and wedding rings, along with the words, “Just Married” and “I Love You.”
“Our show was about the ups and downs of marriage,” explained senior field commander Allie Kenneally.
“The first movement started out with just married, the second is all about the love and the third movement is almost to a funny level where things are being thrown. I could hear the whole crowd cracking up and laughing,” she said.
The light-hearted number proved to be technically challenging for band members, said Kenneally.
After consulting with experts, the band changed significant parts of its show in the two weeks before competition — all while students prepared for final exams.
“This was the most difficult show partly because we learned so much drill in such a short amount of time,” said Kenneally. “We used forms that were hard to get to physically and the music was in two different time signatures.”
While the band doesn’t set competitive goals, Mason band director Bob Bass said members were hopeful for repeat success.
The band, which has held the title of the top-placing Ohio band for the past three years, finished in eighth place last year and in tenth place in 2011.
“The show was slow in development and it all came together in the last two weeks,” he said. “When we got to Grand Nationals, we were stunned at how good it was.”
“It was so much fun watching the kids work so hard and then see what happens when you work that hard,” he said. “It made the show come alive and I could not have been happier.”
The Mason City Schools received the 2013 SOAR Award for High Progress in two categories.
It was one of only 14 districts statewide and 16 individual schools to win an award from Battelle for Kids in one of four categories.
The district received the SOAR awards in the significant progress district, and most improved district categories, based on data from the 2012-13 school year.
“It is an honor to recognize these schools and districts for their extraordinary progress with students,’’ said Jim Mahoney, Battelle’s executive director.
“The exceptional growth these educators have made with students is a testament to the hard work they’ve put forth to improve their schools and districts. The award recipients are to be applauded for their efforts to advance student learning.”
The 11-year-old, non-profit group has become a school improvement collaborative that offers services, professional development and benefits to its 110 Ohio school district members.
Other local recipients were:
Lakota Local School District, significant progress district
Mariemont City School District, most improved district
Monroe Local School District, significant progress district; and Monroe Elementary School, high progress school
MECC first grader Jonathan Whitlock licks the super bowl ring pop he earned for tackling reading. Provided
Students at Mason Early Childhood Center recently received an encouraging message from beyond the classroom.
Cincinnati Bengals’ special team members Clark Harris, Kevin Huber and Mike Nugent delivered a personal video message from the gridiron congratulating first grade students on their reading accomplishments.
“Keep up the great work, readers,” Nugent told students. “I’ll be thinking of all you word-tacklers the next time I make a tackle on the field.”
MECC teachers use the Reader’s Workshop approach, a program developed at Columbia University that gives students additional reading time, promotes critical thinking and boosts opportunities to discuss literature.
Students ended the reading celebration with a “Football Frenzy” party on Friday in which they they dressed up in their favorite football jerseys, participated in a (lollipop) ring ceremony and demonstrated their reading skills to friends and family.
Mason Marching Band performs a slapstick comedy show about marriage called ‘Till Death Do us Part.’ The show features popular musical selections and choreography that includes hearts, bells and wedding rings, along with the words, “Just Married” and “I Love You.” Provided/Mason Schools
Mason High School’s marching band is hoping to for repeat success at the annual Bands of America Grand National Championships.
Mason will be among more than 90 bands from across the country to compete in the event, considered to be the “Super Bowl” of competitions for high school marching bands, Nov. 14-16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
The band has competed in the prestigious competition since 2000, but did not break through to be among the top 12 bands to compete in Grand National finals until 2011.
The marching Comets finished as the top-placing Ohio band and tenth in the nation that year. In 2012, they topped that record by finishing eighth in the nation.
Band members are hoping to make an even higher cut this year.
“We all live and breathe marching band,” Band Director Bob Bass. “(Band members) become emotionally attached to the show and their performance is heightened.”
The 311-member band began working on this year’s show, a slapstick comedy about marriage called ‘Till Death Do us Part,’ in June. The show features popular musical selections and choreography that includes hearts, bells and wedding rings, along with the words, “Just Married” and “I Love You.”
The band is set to perform at 11:15 p.m. Thursday. The top 12 bands will perform Saturday evening.