Cranberry students show ‘a lot of giving of the heart’

Contributing writer

After handling a short list of routine business matters, the Cranberry School Board turned its attention to its top responsibility – kids – at a meeting Monday.

“Our students had a lot of giving of the heart this season,” said Robert Horner, elementary school principal.

While aware some elementary students were opting to forgo gift exchanges and instead provide donations to various organizations for the holidays, Horner said he learned in conversations with staff members that the inclination was more pervasive than he thought.

“They believed in it’s better to give than receive so instead of the gift exchange, they decided to donate to local organizations,” said Horner. “And they are just as happy doing that as getting gifts.”

Students at Cranberry Elementary gathered gifts, food treats and money for a variety of groups, including first responders, the Shriners Hospital, Humane Society and more.

His observations were echoed by Ritt Smith, high school principal, who told the board his students also pitched in to help for the holidays.

A Christmas jar promotion that featured change collected in jars throughout the classrooms will be used to help a variety of individuals and organizations, he said. They also collected items for food banks, provided cookies to third-shift workers, and purchased hats and coats.

“We started comparing notes and found out they were doing all these things,” said Smith. “It speaks volumes for the Cranberry district, grades kindergarten through 12th.”

Students honored

The school board also presented certificates of achievement to numerous students for academic and athletic accomplishments during the fall term.

“It’s great to see our kids achieve on this level,” said Smith.

The recipients included:


Boys cross country: Daniel Fisher, KSAC all-conference first team and PIAA state qualifier; Brandon Forrest and Hunter O’Neil, KSAC all-conference second team.

Football: Timothy McCauley, District 10/Region 5, first team defensive line.

Girls cross country: Laurel Ecklund, KSAC champion, District 9 Class A champion, PIAA state qualifier; Chelsea McKissick, Kalynne Ziegler, Lauren Varsek, Tifany Berry, KASC champions, District 9 Class A champions, PIAA state qualifier, KSAC all-conference girls cross country first team; Ashley Finch, Carley Schreck, Miranda Beichner, KSAC champions, PIAA state qualifier, KSAC all-conference girls cross country second team.

Soccer: Matt Mehan, District 10/Region 6 first team; Daniel McQuaide, District 10/Region 6 second team.

Volleyball: Lauren Conkle, Malliah Schreck, KSAC all-conference volleyball third team; Erin Merryman, KSAC all-conference volleyball first team, District 9 Class A all-stars third team.


Seventh Grade, Interscholastic Reading Competition: Adysson Carter, Alaina Hogue, Brooke Whitling, Colin Zerbe, Devin Zerbe, Ellabay Perry, Jeremy Hacherl, Jocelyn Irwin, Loralei Keith, Noel Bunyak, Ryan Hanna, first place.

United Nations Conference/Pennsylvania High Schools: Ali Shepard, Evan Hepler, Ian Hepler, Jenna Seigworth, Joe Gunn, Michael Gunn, Sam Weaver, Shay Harry, Trevin Chittester, outstanding small delegation; Elizabeth Dailey, outstanding small delegation honorable mention; Dylan Lu, Mikayla Walker, outstanding small delegation verbal communication.