Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...

Oakwood homes during the
'teen' years -
1913 to 1919

OHS Academic Decathlon Team ranked 3rd in state

Pictured: Bottom Row (left to right): Erin Mooney, Tiantian Zhang, Kira Fenstermacher, Hayley Basnett, Sterre ter Haar, Stephanie Telek, and Coach Lori Kavanagh.  Top Row (left to right): Hunter Wilson, Chris Mudry, Jonathan Pearson, Jeremiah Johnson,  Colin Ward, David Holdren, Thomas Sherk, and Ethan Kissock.

The Oakwood High School Academic Decathlon team placed third overall in the state at the Ohio Academic Decathlon State Finals on March 7 and 12, 2008. The team achieved its highest score to date.

The students diligently prepared for the competition held at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio through extensive study in ten different subject areas, including mathematics, economics, art, music, history, language and literature, science, speech, interview, and essay. This year’s focus of study for these subject areas was the American Civil War. The nine-member team is uniquely composed of students from the “A”, “B”, and “C” G.P.A. category levels.

In addition to winning third overall in the state, the following students received individual medals for high scores in select subject areas: Kira Fenstermacher (speech, language and literature, music, essay, and super quiz), Chris Mudry (economics and mathematics), Colin Ward (speech), Hunter Wilson (mathematics), David Holdren (mathematics), Tiantian Zhang (mathematics), and Jonathan Pearson (mathematics). Additionally, Kira Fenstermacher earned a silver medal for achieving the second-highest overall individual score for the varsity division.

The following students competed on the OHS nine person team this year: Erin Mooney (12), Jonathan Pearson (10), Tiantian Zhang (9), Chris Mudry (11), David Holdren (10), Thomas Sherk (10), Kira Fenstermacher (12), Hunter Wilson (12), and Colin Ward (10). Competing at-large were Hayley Basnett (9), Jeremiah Johnson (9), Ethan Kissock (9), Stephanie Telek (9), and Sterre ter Haar (9).

Lori Kavanagh, an English teacher at Oakwood High School, coaches the team.  

School board, community, mull Developmental Assets Approach framework

Question: What do kids need to grow up in today’s world to be successful, contributing citizens who make healthy life choices? The answer lies in two important words – “developmental assets.” That was the message at a 2 ? hour meeting of more than 50 interested citizens held by the Oakwood Board of Education last Thursday at the Oakwood Community Center. The purpose of the meeting - to introduce the community to a program developed by the Search Institute, termed the 40 Developmental Assets Approach.

A “Developmental Asset,” as defined by the Search Institute, is a positive experience, relationship, opportunity and/or personal quality that young people need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible.. The framework is grounded in their research on child and adolescent development, risk prevention and resilience.

School Superintendent Mary Jo Scalzo hopes to incorporate the program in the Oakwood Schools. The challenge is to get everyone on board - teachers, Oakwood citizens, organizations – because the program relies on a unified effort by the whole community, inside and outside the school system.

To explain the program in detail, Scalzo introduced Peggy Holton, Oakwood High School drug and alcohol counselor, who, by her enthusiasm for the program’s positive effects, managed to electrify her audience with the positive results it has yielded in schools where it has been instituted.

She introduced her talk with some astounding facts about the world of information kids experience today. For example, the number of text messages sent per day, Holton said, now exceeds the entire population of the planet; one week of the New York Times contains more information than all the newspaper information written since thee 1800s. As a matter of fact, there is a horrific amount of information swirling about in the child’s growing-up environment. What effect does this have on children as they process all they see, read and hear, Holton asked? They are confronted with conflicting ideas, ethics, morals, together with a multitude of behavioral choices.

The 40 Developmental Assets Approach has identified the building blocks and dynamics that help young people grow up healthy, caring and responsible. The 40 Assets are relationship driven and grouped into eight separate, but interacting categories - Support, Empowerment, Boundaries & Expectations, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies and Positive Identity. Under the Support category, for example, you find the following “assets” - family support, positive family communication, other adult relations and caring neighborhood.

According to highly calibrated research, the more assets a child experiences, the more likely he/she will be as a successful member of his family, school and community. In addition, the more assets the child experiences, the less likely will he/she be to incorporate bad behavior. The national average number of assets children have is 18 out of 40. Oakwood’s goal is to raise the number of assets our children acquire to 31.

Holton stressed the fact that asset building is not new, simply an addition to what we already are doing. We need to reach out as a unified community to create a kinetic energy of positive action and relationships. “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship with one or more persons in the child’s world,” she said. “We can all be part of this relationship-building.”

West Carrollton and Miamisburg are two of four local school systems that have already incorporated this character-building program.

Look for more information on “The 40 Developmental Assets” program. To learn more go to the Search Institute website:

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