Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of the Derry Diary.

This week’s column will focus mainly on topics surrounding the Derry Area School District.

Derry Area High School Principal Casey Long has been working hard as of late, putting together the finishing touches on the senior class of 2020 celebration schedule.

“Student leaders, teachers, administrators, and board members are all working together to develop and execute a year end schedule that best honors the senior class of 2020 under COVID-19 safety guidelines,” Long said.

The senior year-end activities kick off Friday, May 15, with senior yard signs to be distributed throughout the district by high school teacher volunteers.

The district has also scheduled a cafeteria senior send-off, senior parade and virtual senior awards night beginning at 11 a.m. May 22 with a special meal provided.

According to Long, senior vehicles will follow a distributed event map and participants will park in a lineup along Recreation Road on the school campus.

A parade for seniors is scheduled to depart from the high school at 12:30 p.m. the same day.

The day long events will conclude with a virtual senior awards night starting at 6 p.m. on Zoom. The awards event will be pre-recorded and shared as a link prior to the event date.

A drive-thru diploma distribution is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. May 29. Seniors and families will follow a drive-thru graduation map, which will be provided at a later date.

During the distribution, students will receive an empty diploma case, while diplomas will be mailed to their homes after June 10.

June 1 is the last day of instruction for seniors. The following days leading up to June 5 will be used to prepare seniors for graduation.

Additionally, Long indicated that yearbooks will be distributed in the summer or fall. He attributed the delay to the yearbook factory shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A virtual graduation ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 10 via the Zoom platform.

The graduation ceremony will be pre-recorded, and a link will be shared prior to June 10. Directions for downloading the virtual graduation ceremony will be shared at a later date. A universal “cap throw” is set to take place at the seniors’ own residence at 8 p.m.

An In-person graduation is tentatively scheduled to be held at the high school stadium or auditorium July 23 (rain date of July 24) if approval is granted regarding the state’s guidelines for the coronavirus.

For more information, visit the Derry Area School District website or Facebook page.

I will have further information in the weeks to follow. Stay tuned!

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Congratulations to Sophia Doherty, a Derry Area Middle School student, who received the 8th Grade DAR Good History Essay Award for the 2019-20 school year. Her award winning essay was honored by the William Kenley Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter.

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Brooke Nixon wrote to the Diary earlier this week on behalf of Hillside United Methodist Church. Nixon explained that the church is in need of money donations or volunteered services to ensure the continuing existence of the cemetery. Donations may be sent to Hillside UMC, 279 Old Route 217, Derry, PA 15627. Anyone interested may call 724-694-5446.

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The Derry Area School District Trojan Greenhouse will be selling plants to the public weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday through May 22.

Because of COVID-19, only four adults will be permitted in the greenhouse at one time and will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Customers must enter at the rear door near the barn. Children are not permitted to attend.

Customers are asked to make their selections in a timely manner, preferably within a half hour.

Orders may be placed in advance for curbside pick-up by emailing Carly Jean Rippole at crippole@dasd.us. Payment must be by checks only and made payable to The Trojan Florist.

A complete list of available plants can be viewed on the Derry Area School District website and Facebook page.

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Derry Township tax collector Debby Zello informed the Diary last week with an important updated announcement:

“The 2020 county/township real estate tax deadline has been extended from April 30 to Aug. 31. Taxpayers will have until Dec. 31 to pay their county/township real estate taxes without penalty.

“The Derry Township tax office still remains closed until further notice, so tax payers need to mail their payment in. If a receipt is requested, you MUST send ENTIRE statement and include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have a paid receipt returned. The address to mail payments is: 978 N. Chestnut St. Ext., Derry, PA 15627. Everyone stay safe and healthy.”

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The COVID-19 Avengers of Westmoreland County is a group comprised of teachers, students, librarians and community members joining forces with their 3D Printers to make personal protective equipment for local health care workers.

Tracey Smeltzer, Derry Area High School librarian, is one member who is using her district 3D printer to assist local medical professionals during the pandemic. The group has been busy making 500 face shields for Excela Health, along with mask clips. The group includes Smeltzer, Adams Memorial Library’s Mandy Seigel and more than 150 others pitching in to help with the printing process.

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Barbie Jones, early childhood liaison for the Derry Area School District, has provided important information regarding kindergarten registration:

If your child will be attending kindergarten in the fall of 2020, online registration is now open. To register your child, go to bit.ly/gvearlykregistration. For additional information, assistance or questions regarding registration, call 724-694-2400 ext. 1103 or email wciocco@dasd.us.

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Mr. David Vinopal, Derry Area Middle/High School STEM & Technology Education teacher, has been working cooperatively with the support of Derry Area School District Administration.

Vinopal has been making 3D-printed masks with the district’s 3D printers for the last two weeks from home. Each mask takes approximately four-and-a-half hours to produce.

To date, Vinopal has made 65 masks that can be re-used. All that needs to be replaced is the square piece (filter) of the mask.

These masks have been given to the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit (WIU) as part of a community project. The WIU will apply elastic straps to the masks and weatherstripping to provide comfort around the edge. They will then distribute the masks to Westmoreland Emergency Management, who will coordinate further distribution to local medical professionals.

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Derry Area School District continues to offer no-cost meals during the coronavirus school closure.

The no-cost meals are available regardless of income level or school attendance to students and any other district residents under the age of 18.

The district offers a drive-thru service at Derry Area High School and provide delivery services to four locations throughout the district Monday through Friday.

A lunch for the current day and a breakfast for the next day, will be available throughout the duration of the school closure.

Drive-thru service will be offered at the high school cafeteria entrance in the school’s rear parking lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Please read revised drive-thru info for May 22 below).

Meal deliveries will be made Monday through Friday on the following schedule: 1116 Murtha Way from 10:30 to 10:45 a.m.; Holiday Acres at Scott Court by the playground from 11 to 11:15 a.m.; Derry Area Community Center (Germano Hall) from 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., and Dogwood Mobile Home Park on Earl Drive from 12 to 12:15 p.m. Delivery time frames are estimates and may require adjustments.

Those who can’t make it to one of the delivery sites or who have other specific questions should contact Derry Area food service director Gwen Kozar at 724-694-1401 ext. 1442 or 1476 or by email at gkozar@dasd.us.

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The drive-thru at the high school is being relocated to the A.V. Germano Hall (previously called Derry Community Center) on May 22. The time will still be 11 am to 1 p.m. It is being relocated to accommodate the seniors who will be attending the senior farewell luncheon on May 22.

The senior farewell luncheon will be held in the back parking lot at the high school starting at 11 a.m. On the menu is General Tso’s chicken and slushies.

Any senior that has money on their account and would like a refund must contact the cafeteria office no later than Monday May 11. If they have money on their account and would like it transferred to a siblings account, they are asked to call 724-694-1401 ext. 1476.

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Thelma Kline reminds us that Derry’s National Day of Prayer (NDP) observance will be held 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at Mossback Park in Derry Borough. NDP is an annual event for all Americans of all faiths to unite and pray for America and her leaders. Never has the need for prayer been so great.

The 2020 theme is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth.” Servants’ Call will lead worship music and prayers will be offered by the community for government, churches, military, media, education, business, family and first responders. So, save the date for Derry’s 22nd National Day of Prayer Observance.

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Idlewild & SoakZone is currently conducting virtual interview sessions for interested applicants to learn more about summer job opportunities and interview for a position for the upcoming 2020 season.

Idlewild & SoakZone has just announced new higher pay rates for all team members. Many positions pay more than $11 an hour.

In addition to competitive pay, you will enjoy flexible scheduling, gain valuable job experience, and make friends; all while having fun and enjoying great perks. There are many positions available in the following departments: rides and attractions, lifeguards, food service, retail and games, admissions and guest services, maintenance and grounds, public safety and more.

To schedule a virtual interview session, please apply online at www.idlewild.com/employment. Additional questions may be sent via email to idlewildHR@idlewild.com.

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The 5th annual DARCee Car Show will be held from noon until 4 p.m. Aug. 2 at Derry Community Park. Gates open at 10 a.m. Stay tuned for more information.

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The Derry Area High School Marching Band is preparing for the 2020-21 season despite the uncertainty in the world. If you plan to participate in marching band in the fall, you are asked to fill out the GoogleForm by clicking the link (forms.gle/RLSKrhJgzhq9o83h8) on the marching band website. The summer schedule is up in the air at this point but as soon as the staff is permitted to schedule rehearsals, they will let you know.

There is also a new remind for this upcoming season. Text “@dahsmb20” to 81010 to join the new remind. Messages will be sent out on the old and new remind until the end of May, so make sure you switch over before then.

In addition, band camp is tentatively schedule from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for the weeks of Aug. 10-17. The preview show and picnic is scheduled for 5 p.m. Aug. 21. All other summer practices are TBD at this point because of the pandemic.

Lastly, if you are interested in auditioning for drum major or applying for consideration as a section leader, join the Google Classroom with the code: ezhfylv. Auditions/interviews will be held virtually at the end of May. All dates and information about the process can be found on the Google Classroom.

Students entering at least their third year in marching band are eligible for leadership positions. Any student may “mock” the audition/interview for experience and feedback.

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Have a safe, happy and freezing weekend!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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