Top left: Ben Gabelman is pictured with Walnut Springs Middle School Principal Rebecca Yanni. Top center: Juls Rathje and her family. Top right: Blendon Middle School was represented by Fred Tombaugh, Beth Wiand, and Cynthia Shimovetz (top row), along with Kendall Harris, Bobb Woodruff, and Yolanda Fett (front row). Bottom left: Accepting a resolution for Heritage Middle School were Anne Bates, Dru Tomlin, and Sue Hoelscher (front row), plus eight grade students Emily and Nick Hoelscher (back row). Bottom center: Mike Porretta, Assistant Director of the Westerville South High School marching band, is pictured with field commander Cassie Cotter and trumpet section leader Mattie Cotter. Bottom right: Departing Board of Education member Gerrie Cotter, along with her children, share a laugh with Vice President Rick Vilardo.
A number of recognitions took place at the Westerville City Schools Board of Education meeting held on Monday evening, December 9.
Ben Gabelman, an eighth grade student at Walnut Springs, was honored for winning first place in the boys’ Two-Mile Race at the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s 7th and 8th grade State Meet, which took place at Ohio University in Lancaster on October 19. His time was 10:56.9.
Juls Rathje, an art teacher at Emerson and Hanby elementary schools, was lauded for having received the 2019 Central Region Outstanding Art Teacher Award from the Ohio Art Education Association. She was recognized for her long-term commitment to supporting the visual arts and for having impacted arts education in Ohio in a positive way.
Blendon Middle School received a Resolution of Commendation in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. The school hosted a party on November 6 that attracted hundreds of current and former students, administrators and staff, who gathered to reminisce and celebrate. Blendon was cited for 50 years of providing a quality education for pupils and for cementing its legacy in Westerville as a “beloved institution of learning, growth and guidance.”
Heritage Middle School organized a 5K and building celebration on Saturday, October 12, in recognition of its 30th birthday. The Board honored the school, which currently houses approximately 100 staff members and 900 students, for providing three decades of “outstanding opportunities for youth in our community.”
A Resolution of Commendation was presented to representatives of the Westerville South High School marching band, directed by John Laswell, for having received a Superior rating at the Ohio Music Education Association State Marching Band Contest held at Hilliard Bradley High School on November 2. This marks the third year in a row the band has received a Superior rating, a distinction it earned five times in the past seven seasons.
Finally, Board Member Gerrie Cotter, whose four-year term of office ends the last day of this year, was bid a fond farewell. Cotter, who was President of the Board in 2018, also served as Policy, Finance and Human Resources liaison. During her time in office, she was influential in developing a plan for renovating Westerville South High School by leveraging existing resources. She also worked with other Board members and the administration team to develop a long-term Facilities Plan to improve school safety and add schools to the southern end of the district, which was made possible by the passage of a ballot issue to cover associated costs.