On December 8, 2016, the fourth grade students of Shanksville-Stonycreek Elementary School participated in their annual tradition of celebrating the state of Pennsylvania by assuming the role of and presenting about a Pennsylvania person, player, or thing, sampling Pennsylvania-inspired foods, and competing in a PA facts contest.
The man in charge of running Shanksville PA Days is fourth grade teacher Mr. J.P. O’ Connor. Mr. O'Connor begins to plan for the event in September. That is when the fourth graders begin to learn 100 PA facts that they will practice for the next four months by having exciting competitions between the classes. This all leads up to actual PA Day around the second week in December.
On PA Day, the fourth graders come to the event dressed in authentic Pennsylvania attire, whether it be an old historical character or an item that represents the state’s heritage. Students also are encouraged to bring in foods that people from Pennsylvania would consume.
Later that day, students compete in a final competition to see who learned the PA facts the best. Kai Petrosky came away with the win in the facts contest. Petrosky also won a prize for best presentation in the costume contest by playing the role of Arnold Palmer. Lauren Mostoller, dressed as a natural gas worker, also took home an award for best presentation
Additional winners came from three other categories that judges Ms. Denise Temple, Mr. Chris Brant, and Mr. Sidney Clark determined. The most creative costume awards went to Haylee Critchfield, dressed as a mountain laurel and Florence Hufford and Deborah Bozovich dressed as blue jays. The most authentic outfits went to James Flick as Benjamin West and Joey Comfont, who suited up as Benjamin Franklin. The winner of best overall was Teegan Pugh assuming the identity of Patty Labell and Ty Hohman sporting the three rivers of Pittsburgh. Pugh even added an impromptu singing session to her presentation.
Mr. O'Connor was very satisfied with what his students showed on PA Day.
He exclaimed, “I’m just very proud of the way that the kids were speaking in the microphone, and also how well each of them spoke in front of an audience. I enjoy everything about PA Day, including the PA trivia games between Mrs. Lappi’s class and my own.”
The students were really excited with the whole event as well.
Florence Hufford stated, “I really like bluejays, and I thought it would be a great idea for PA Day. My favorite part of the whole thing was dressing up in our costumes and reading our paragraph in front of everyone.”
An extremely eager and anxious James Flick added, “Benjamin West was really fun to dress up as. He was a painter and a teacher. I also really enjoyed the game we played with the PA facts on stage.”
The fourth grade PA Day is a long standing tradition at Shanksville-Stonycreek Elementary School. It is a fun day for the students to celebrate PA’s heritage as well as an educational tool to teach them all about the state they reside. Mr. O’Connor plans to continue to make this a permanent part of the Shanksville Elementary School curriculum.