Kennett High School Named One of Nation’s Best and Most Challenging High Schools

The Kennett Consolidated School District is proud to announce that U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post have named Kennett High School one of America’s Best High Schools and one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, respectively.

To produce the 2016 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News & World Report teamed up with North Carolina–based RTI International, a global nonprofit social-science research firm. The comprehensive rankings methodology is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

In order to name its Most Challenging High Schools, the Washington Post uses a “Challenge Index.” This index is based on the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge tests given at the school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June. Schools that had as many tests in 2015 as they had graduates and received a ratio of at least 1.00 earned a spot on the national list. Kennett High School was ranked 17th out of 39 schools that made the national list.

“These awards are meaningful because they are a reflection of the growth in academic achievement realized by our students. I congratulate our parents for their influence on our students’ efforts to work to their potential, our teachers and principals who teach and give of their time to our students each and every day with the expectation that they all succeed, and the students themselves for their desire to do their best,” says Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti. “These types of high school recognitions are a credit to all of our teachers, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, as each teacher has a hand in molding our students for a successful future.”

Kennett High School principal Mr. Jeremy Hritz says, “These recent recognitions from U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post are the result of the hard work of our committed and dedicated students and staff. Teachers expect academic excellence and our students deliver. We are all tremendously proud of this accomplishment.”

For more information on the U.S. News & World Report’s and the Washington Post’s ranking processes and details on Kennett High School’s rankings, please visit and

Read More

Kennett High School Artists Win Big at Chester County Show

Two Kennett High School seniors, Olivia Avedisian and Bailey Reigel, were recognized for their exceptional talent at the 42nd annual Area High School Show. The juried exhibition was held at the Chester County Art Association in West Chester from April 23 to 30.Olivia Avedisian art award

Olivia Avedisian earned a First Place Award/Chester County Art Association Board Excellence Award for her untitled charcoal work. Olivia is a student in Mr. Tom Hironimus’s Advanced Art III class. She carries on a proud tradition, as this is the same award Amelia Pagliaro won in 2012, and Noelle Raezer won in 2014.

When describing why she selected the photograph on which she based her drawing, Olivia said, “What I loved most about the piece was the emotion in her face. You could see the happiness in her eyes.”

“Winning was a big surprise. It’s an honor that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s really special, since it’s my senior year,” she added.

Senior Bailey Reigel, a student in Mr. Hironimus’s Advanced Art II course, won a Chester County Art Association Board Honorable Mention for “Buffalo,” an acrylic painting.Bailey Reigel art award

“Art makes me feel peaceful. I’m a high energy person, and art makes me feel calm. The reason I chose to do the buffalo is because I just liked the picture I based it on. I took the picture myself when my family was in Yellowstone last summer,” explained Bailey.

“I owe a lot to Mr. Hironimus. He’s a great teacher. An inspiration. Everybody likes him. Everybody respects him. Everybody listens to him. He’s amazing,” she added.

The exhibition displayed over five hundred pieces of artwork from all Chester County high schools brought together by the Chester County Intermediate Unit, including over twenty-five works by Kennett High School artists. Everything from drawing and painting to computer generated art, to found object sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, and more showcased the talents of area students.

Read More

A Spotlight on Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s Mrs. Marie Lawson

Mrs. Marie Lawson always knew she would pursue a career in education. Her love of learning and passion for education was awakened at an early age by equally passionate and dedicated teachers. Inspired, Mrs. Lawson embarked on a journey to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.

Mrs. Lawson started by attending West Chester University, where she studied elementary education. Upon graduation, Mrs. Lawson then began teaching in the Kennett Consolidated School District. Since then, she earned her certification in English as a Second Language from Immaculata University and her master’s degree in reading from West Chester University. Now, with 13 years in the District, she teaches kindergarten at Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.

If there is one thing Mrs. Lawson enjoys more than teaching kindergarten, it is inspiring her students to become lifelong learners. Kindergarten is an important school year, and she works to build a strong foundation of social, emotional, and character development skills in each of her students.

“Each year I have the pleasure of working with a new group of students who are at the beginning of their educational career, which is a very crucial time in their lives,” Mrs. Lawson says. “I look forward to watching my students grow and explore new concepts while engaging their imagination. Over the course of 182 days, it is amazing to see how each individual student grows and matures.”

Throughout the building and the District, Mrs. Lawson is known as a warm, enthusiastic, and creative teacher who always goes the extra mile for her students. Her compassion and dedication is apparent from the moment she enters a room.

“Mrs. Lawson is an extremely creative teacher. She designs monthly displays in our office hallway that are not only eye-catching but educational for our students,” explains Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s principal, Mrs. April Reynolds. “In addition to all the displays, Mrs. Lawson finds innovative ways to incorporate curriculum into our students’ everyday environment.  For example, on sunny days, she writes sight words on the outside pavers so that students can practice reading as they enter and exit our school.”

Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Lawson is active within the District and the community. She contributes to Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s webpage, keeping parents and the community updated on all of the exciting activities there. Mrs. Lawson also serves on the Kennett Consolidated School District’s Technology Committee and the student success team. In her community, she is an active volunteer, dedicating her time to various committees and boards as well as serving as vice president of the Coatesville City Council.

Mrs. Lawson loves spending time with her husband, their two daughters, and their two dogs. She can usually be found outdoors fishing, hunting, and enjoys arts and crafts.

Read More

Seven Kennett High School Students Recognized for Achievements in Broadcast News and Television Production

On Wednesday, May 4, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) presented awards to seven Kennett High School students. SinceKHS Emmy 2016 2002, the NATAS awards have recognized outstanding cultural, educational, technological, entertainment, news, and informational achievements by high school students who are pursuing careers in media and journalism. More than 150 students from more than a dozen high schools throughout the Greater Philadelphia region attended the event held at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Kennett High School students were accompanied by Mr. Frank Vanderslice, video production teacher.

Kennett High School senior Giovanna Ruggio garnered her category’s top prize, an Arts and Entertainment Emmy, for her production of “Practice Makes Perfect.” The film documents the life of a tap dancer as she choreographs, practices, and performs. The featured tap dancer is Giovanna’s best friend, so it was important to Giovanna that she portray the story well.

“I really wanted to give her a ‘pedestal’ moment,” she said.

“Going to the Emmys, I was nervous. I’d never gone to a competition like this before. I was afraid that, if I didn’t do well, I should reconsider my major. But, I won, so it made me even more excited for next year and the future,” Giovanna explained.

Giovanna’s award represents the third Emmy won by a Kennett High School student in recent years. Mr. Vanderslice commented that Giovanna “Just has an eye for editing. She’s so precise. People don’t realize the skill that it takes, timing each cut.” Giovanna will attend Temple University in the fall, majoring in Film and Media Studies.

Other Kennett High School students receiving Awards of Excellence include Madison Brown and Nijia Walls, who were honored in the Outstanding Music Video category for their film, “Kennett Pride;” Sean Rodgers, Luciano Spera, Michael Bellino, and Giovanna Ruggio who were honored in the Long Form – Fiction category for their work, “The Inevitable;” and Jack Ryder, who was honored in the Writing category for his film “Project Vigilante.” Additionally, Giovanna Ruggio was recognized in the Long Form – Fiction category for “Try.” Maggie O’Sullivan and Kyle Sheridan also entered their production work into the competition.

Junior Jack Ryder’s entry, “Project Vigilante,” took him three months to complete. With a plot Jack describes as being similar to Rolling Thunder, the film chronicles the adventures of a hit man targeting Russians as he avenges the death of his friend. He filmed the project in locations all over Kennett Square.

“The project taught me a lot more about the process of film making, directing, scheduling, and troubleshooting editing software,” observed Jack.

Mr. Vanderslice is extremely proud of his students and the quality of their work.

“I think this was our most successful year in terms of the number of entries we had and the number of awards received. I could see how dedicated the students were to putting in the time and effort to produce quality work. Each year the competition grows more intense as more schools participate. I think the number of schools competing has doubled in recent years,” said Mr. Vanderslice.

“This year, students got a chance to meet professionals in the field and talk to college students about their experiences and how much time they put in,” Mr. Vanderslice added.

Ms. Tara Faccenda, Executive Director of NATAS, asserted, “We are delighted to recognize the work of these individuals who represent the future of broadcast journalism . . . It’s amazing to see the growth of the student awards program in our region as well. This year we received the highest number of entries from twenty-five different high schools. The level of competition is a true testament to the tremendous talent that these students display.”

Read More

Kennett High School Future Business Leaders Head for Nationals

Kennett High School’s FBLA E-Business Team and individual competitors in Business Law, Securities and Investments, and Impromptu Speaking advanced out of staFBLA large groupte competition to the Future Business Leaders of America National Conference and Competition to be held in Atlanta, June 29 through July 2. According to the FBLA website, “competitive events at the National Leadership Conference . . . prepare students for successful careers in business by providing opportunities to apply classroom concepts in a workforce-simulated competitive environment.”

The E-Business Team of Anna Colamarino, Kelsey Jernegan, and Alena Rybarczyk (all sophomores) placed second in the state level competition held April 11 through 13 in Hershey. At the national level, the team will have to present a “slightly tweaked version” of their prize-winning E-business website. The event requires students to “create a website for a banquet hall (to be used for wedding receptions, engagement parties, and any type of celebrations or business presentation meetings).” The website must include an interactive calendar, photo gallery, and contact page with the ability to reserve the hall and pay online. The team decided to create their banquet hall inside world-renowned Longwood Gardens.

Anna said, “We decided it would be cool. Longwood is a great landmark in our town. We’re all from Kennett, so we can bring a little of Kennett into our presentation.”

“The state leadership conference was a very cool experience, so I expect Nationals to be just as great,” added Alena.

And, Kelsey asserted, “I thought FBLA was going to be more ‘academic,’ but it turned out to be social. We’ve met a lot of fun and inspiring people.”Anna Alena and Kelsey FBLA

The team has a great deal of experience working together: Anna and Alena play on Kennett High School’s tennis team together, Kelsey and Alena run track, and Kelsey and Anna are both on the swim team. And, all three are also involved in a wide range of other extra-curricular activities.

Sophomore Jake Kalscheur qualified for the national competition by placing third at the state level in Business Law. Jake will have to demonstrate his expertise on a sixty-minute test evaluating his knowledge of contracts and sales; property law; business organization; agency and employment law; domestic/personal law; negotiable investments, insurance, secured transactions, and bankruptcy; consumer protection; product/personal liability; computer law; and the legal system.

Jake remarked, “I was inspired to enter the Business Law event, at least in part, based on my interest in the law. It has been a great experience, and I’m looking forward to Nationals.”

Besides being involved in FBLA, Jake also plays on the golf team and participates in mock trial. He is interested in pursuing a career in either engineering or law.

Junior Zachary Hrenko earned his trip to Nationals by placing fourth in Securities and Investments in Hershey. Like Jake, Zach will have to demonstrate his understanding on a sixty-minute test covering topics in investment fundamentals, personal investing, retirement and estate planning, the financial services industry, financial assets and marketing, financial services regulation, the stock market, and mutual funds.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity. The club provides an excellent way to break into the world of business and finance. I’m excited to compete and represent Kennett High School at the national level,” said Zach.

Zach will be the senior drum major of Kennett High School’s marching band this fall. He also participates in a wide variety of activities, including Model UN, Academic Team, and GSA.

And, finally, Casey Bruno, a graduating senior, gained his spot at Nationals by placing fifth in Impromptu Speaking. When he competes in Atlanta, Casey will be given only ten minutes to prepare a four-minute speech on one or more FBLA goals. He will not be permitted to use electronic devices to prepare or present; his only support materials will be two 4 X 6 index cards provided to him by event judges. His speech will be evaluated on content, organization, and delivery.

Casey explained, “I’m proud to be able to represent my school, joining my fellow competitors. I’d like to thank my lit. teachers and Mr. Duane Kotz for giving me the tools and the confidence to display my speaking ability at the national level.”

Casey also participates in several activities, marching band, the musicals, and the robotics club among them. He will head to Temple University this fall, potentially majoring in bioengineering.

The Kennett High School Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America is co-advised by business teacher Mr. Bill Fritsch and social studies teacher Mr. Joe O’Sullivan, who accompanied the students to the conference in Hershey. School librarian Ms. Lisa Teixeira also served as chaperone for the more than thirty KHS FBLA members who qualified for state competition from the regional level. In addition to those named above, regional qualifiers included Saarang Karandikar, Sean Huezo, Michael Yue, Luke Beeson, David McVey, Edwin Casteneda, Joe Schlitz, Aliyah Asel, Ben Skross, Delaney Chaffin, Evan Brown, Rhea Jiang, Becca Shoemaker, Amanda Haid, Lauren Hauptschein, Ben Jordan, Nate Dight, Zach Zamorski, Ryan Salameda, Laurel Peterson, Austin Maxwell, Merritt Connolly, Michael Crognale, Steven Holladay, Matt Hauptschein, Jonathan Bell, Davis Piercy, Henry Shattuck, Jayna Bruno, and Aidan Schmidt.

The students moving on to the national competition will be accompanied to Atlanta by Ms. Teixeira.

Read More

Demon Robotics Completes Impressive Season

Kennett High School Demon Robotics completed its fifth season with an impressive finish at the District competition held in Bethlehem, PA, from April 14 to 16.Ernie and Katie

This year’s competition, FIRST Stronghold, featured “two alliances of three robots . . . on a quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower with boulders, and capture the opposing tower. Robots [could] score points by breaching opponents’ defenses and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower. During the final twenty seconds of the quest, robots [could] surround and scale the opposing tower to capture it.”

The team’s robot, Demonator V, was completed on the “stop build” date of February 23, at 11:59 p.m. Demonator V was then taken to the Springside-Chestnut Hill competition in March, the Westtown event in early April, and, finally, the First Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship in Bethlehem, PA. The team placed 34th out of 60 teams in this event and 47th out of the 121 teams in the region. And, though Demon Robotics did not advance to the FRC Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, the season represented a significant upturn in final standings for Kennett High School.

According to senior team member Ernie Wilson, “Through the synergy of the dedication of both students and mentors, this year represented an astonishing improvement. We worked harder and longer than ever before, and we’ve proven our potential.”

Team adviser and Kennett High School physics teacher Mr. Dan Folmar concurred: “I feel that 2016 represented a turning point. After two years of mediocre performance, we’re back in the game again.”

Founded in 2010, Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) is a non-profit corporation that spans all of Delaware, New Jersey, and counties in Pennsylvania from Harrisburg eastward. MAR is affiliated with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989, that aims to inspire youth and promote interest in science and technology through robotic competitions that involve 2,500 teams and 58,000 students in the U.S. and around the world.

“The Varsity Sport for the Mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.robotics team strategizing

Demon Robotics was founded as a new club at Kennett High School in 2011. Membership has more than doubled since that time, and the club now boasts more than thirty students participating, along with eleven adult mentors. This year’s team was led by club president Magnus Murray and included members Wyatt Anderson, Chris Appleton, Luke Baker, Leo Battalora, Thomas Bish, Casey Bruno, Brice Chapman, Shakti Das, Scott Dreisbach, Payton DuLong, Aodhan Gorman, Dennon Hoernig, Molly Hohner, Caleb Hopper, Sean Huezo, Javier Juarez Mendez, Katie Judge, Emils Jurcik, Saarang Karandikar, Andrew Kim, Sarah Ploener, Nate Presnell, Christian Samulewicz, Katie Schuetz, Alex Starr, Sarah Stephens, Matt Stralkowski, Megan Tandarich., Justin Vipperman, Grey Wertman, Ernie Wilson, and Michael Yue.

The Blue Demon Robotics team was assisted by adult mentors Ms. Paula Appleton, Mr. Steve Baker, Mr. Steve Chapman, Mr Jeff Feit, Mr. Dan Folmar, Ms. Christina Gorman, Mr. Brian Lucas, Mr. Dominic Perna, Mr. Jose Roman, Mr. Chris Schuetz, and Mr. Mark Tandarich.

The annual budget for Demon Robotics is approximately $15,000. This season’s funding was generously provided by many supporters, including the Kennett Education Foundation, Labware, Exelon, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Sandler Training, Manfredi Logistics Service, Bentley, Cari Orthodontics, and Sinton Heating & Air Conditioning.

Anyone interested in volunteering time, talent, or funding for the 2016-17 competition season can contact club adviser Mr. Folmar at Kennett High School. Or, see the team’s website for more information. (

Read More