Tellez leads international extempers at OHS

Siobhan Tellez (seated center), president of this year’s OHS speech team with other 2008-09 team members, standing (L to R): Freshman Steven Hix; Sophomore Tim Judge (2nd Place at Kettering/Fairmont, 4th Place at Princeton); Freshman Andy Ross; and Sophomore Alex Tatham (3rd Place at Princeton).

Oakwood senior Siobhan Tellez has most recently won first place at Northeastern, second Place at Wake Forest in North Carolina and first place at Princeton’s Barton Classic (for the second year in a row), and first place this past weekend at the Kettering/Fairmont speech tournament. She is a competitor in the National Forensic League International Extemporaneous category. Tellez, the only woman and only senior on the team, is a multiple winner who has been a speech competitor at the state and national level for the past four years. She shares her knowledge and experience as a coach and mentor for the young team.

International Extemp is a difficult category where a contestant draws three questions on a foreign topic, selects one, then has 30 minutes to prepare an answer to the question. The contestant utilizes a set of files that has been built as a resource for answering the question. The team meets weekly to collect and file research. Only published materials may be used as resources (books, magazines, newspaper, and on-line resources). At the completion of the 30 minute preparation time, the stu dent speaks without notes for seven minutes.

They are judged on clear speech and fluency, synthesis of thought, citations, expressiveness, poise and ability to hold the interest of the audience/judges.
The National Forensic League (NFL), a rich tradition of training youth for leadership, was founded in 1925. It is a non-partisan, not for profit educational honor societyestablished to encourage and motivate high school students to participate in and become proficient in the forensic arts.  OHS has participated in Speech and Debate since 1934 and currently has a total of 49 members. Along with the NFL, the team, is affiliated with Ohio High School Speech League and also has ties to the local Rotary club.

OHS 7th in state by U.S. News & World Report

The Dec. 5, 2008 issue of the national magazine U.S. News and World Report gave out rankings of U.S. high schools both nationally and by state. Oakwood High School received a Silver ranking and was rated seventh in the state.

Oakwood High School did not rate in the top 100 in the nation according to the report.  

The results for the top 10 high schools in Ohio Ranked by Award Gold, then Silver are as follows:

1.  Walnut Hills Cincinnati 81.6  Gold
2.  Wyoming Wyoming 74.1  Gold
3.  Ottawa Hills Toledo 62.8  Gold
4.  Chagrin Falls Chagrin Falls 61.4  Gold
5.  Indian Hill Cincinnati 60.3  Silver
6.  Solon Solon 53.5  Silver
7.  Oakwood Dayton 49.1  Silver
8.  Bexley Bexley 48.5  Silver
9.  Olentangy Liberty Powell 47.4  Silver
10. Dublin Jerome Dublin 47.0  Silver

Source:  U.S. News and World Report – 5 December 2008
(Associated web site at

Elementary school intervention pays dividends

Science Daily recently reported details on a new longitudinal study lasting from as early as grade one into adulthood at ages 24 and 27.  The headline read, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL INTERVENTION INCREASES MENTAL, SEXUAL HEALTH, ECONOMIC STATUS.  While the study will continue much further into adulthood, the findings even at this early adulthood level are promising.

Almost 600 Seattle Public School students (46 percent white, 26 percent black, 22 percent Asian and six percent Native American) were in three groups. Group 1 (146) received the intervention which involved teachers, the students, and their parents from grades one through six.  Group 2 (251 students) were involved in just grades five and six.  Group 3 (201 children) did NOT receive any such formal intervention within the study.

The actual intervention involved specific professional development for teachers in classroom management and strategies for instruction to enhance student success. Children were taught impulse control, recognizing the feelings of others, and how to stay out of trouble while also having a good time.  Parents were taught family management skills, ways to involve children in setting family rules, the use and value of positive reinforcement, and ways to monitor their children for mutual satisfaction.

The results of working with children in their elementary years began to show up in their teen years “as their rates of violence, heavy alcohol use and dropping out of school were reduced.”  By the age of 21 “more of them had completed school and had better jobs.”  Finally, “by ages 24 and 27 they are above the median in socio-economic status and education and they were having less mental health and sexual health problems.”

By focusing on the early adult ages the study concluded, “we get a clearer picture of patterns that are starting to emerge. This is particularly true of mental health where at both ages those who received the full (grades 1 thru 6) intervention… have fewer symptoms and lower rates of anxiety, social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder or a major depressive episode.” The study also found those with the full elementary attention “reported higher incomes, increased responsibilities at work, and more community involvement.”

While all of those involved in this study over the years were initially at least residents of an urban school system, the basic findings are also applicable to suburban districts such as Oakwood.  The types of strategies involved in the interventions are just as helpful for the children living “under the Dome” and are concepts for all of us to develop!  We can be proud of how well our children have done in the past, but we should never become complacent and ignore opportunities to improve!

Entries sought for MLK community contest

Entries are now being accepted for the sixth annual MLK Breakfast Celebration Community Group Contest.  Youth in Kettering and Oakwood are encouraged to submit original entries in a variety of categories including:  Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Written Expression and Community Service.  Deadline for entries is Dec. 17.

The contest makes the Kettering Oakwood MLK Breakfast unique because it engages the youth of both communities.  Winners are asked to attend the breakfast, and some are asked to share their entries with the audience.  Cash awards are given to grade group winners at the breakfast scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19.

Students may submit entries at their school, at the Kettering Government Center and at the Oakwood Community Center.  Specific contest guidelines can be found at  For more information about the contest, contact Shawn Fry at

Folktales for homeschoolers

Wright Library has been offering a series of programs of “Folktales around the World” for homeschoolers grades 1-6 on consecutive Mondays at 1 p.m. The last meeting will be Dec. 15.

Activities including folktales being read to the group, a craft, and a snack based on seven different countries and regions including Australia, Russia, the West Indies, Iran, Vietnam, Japan, and Brazil. Books related to that day’s topic will be available for check-out. Children do not need to live in Oakwood to participate, and parents are welcome to stay. All programs will meet in the Library Meeting Room

Hosts sought for neighborhood meetings

The Oakwood Board of Education is committed to staying in touch with our citizens. As part of that goal, the school district holds two neighborhood meetings per month. The main purpose of the meeting is to engage in conversation about our schools with our community members. Neighborhood meetings are a unique chance for residents to meet in a comfortable setting with Dr. Mary Jo Scalzo, Superintendent of the Oakwood Schools, and board members. Dr. Scalzo usually asks one question for community input, but the focus of the rest of the meeting is an open discussion about our schools. We are looking for Oakwood citizens to host neighborhood meetings in their homes. There is minimal work involved.

Your task is to invite your friends and neighbors to attend the meeting and put out a plate of cookies. We do the rest! The available meeting dates and times follow. If you are interested in one of these dates, please contact Sandy Maresh at the Oakwood Board of Education Office (937) 297-5332.

Neighborhood Meeting dates for the new year:

1/8 at 7 p.m.
1/27 at 7 p.m.
2/3 at 7 p.m.
2/27 at 9:30 a.m.
3/24 at 7 p.m.
4/21 at 7 p.m.
4/27 at 7 p.m.
5/4 at 7 p.m.

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December 9, 2008
Volume 17, No. 50

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