Category Archives: News

District mourns the loss of bus driver Amy Smith

The Stow and Munroe Falls communities mourn over the loss of beloved bus driver, Amy Smith. On Jan. 27, Smith passed unexpectedly in her home.
She was a devoted bus driver and was with the school system for 15 years. She drove both high school and elementary routes.
She will be missed dearly by her friends in the school system.
“She was a very caring woman and always came to work with a smile on her face,” fellow bus driver Shani Jamieson said.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 27 years, Douglas Smith and her two daughters who attend Kent City Schools.
Family and friends gathered Jan. 31st at the First Christian Church in Kent.
Memorial contributions may be made to Rose’s Rescue, P.O. Box 33, Rootstown, 44272 or The Coleman Foundation, 5982 Rhodes Rd, Kent 44240.

First annual Mr. Universe pageant raises money for Water Project

Click here to view photos of the pageant by Megan Fragola

The first annual Mr. Universe pageant put on by Student Council puts a spin on the traditional beauty pageant.

Normally, pageants consist of women in various outfits including fashion, sport or swim and performing a special talent before handling a difficult question and answer session.

On Jan. 30, a slight change was made to the typical pageant. The switch from female contestants to male contestants was the change.

Ten boys participated in the event including seniors Donovan Minger, AJ Lundstrom, Marcus Summerlin, Yadin Gloi, Jalen Hooks, Lane Helder and Tyler Hallam and juniors Monte Board, Joe Reitz and Jonathan Cameron.

The first round consisted of the contestants working the runway in their formal apparel.

In the second round, the boys showed off their athletic side in sports wear.

During the third round, the participants had a chance to show off their special talents.

Minger performed a handwritten rap, Lundstrom and Summerlin read a piece of poetry, Gloi attempted to impress the crowd with his karate skills, Hooks sang a cover of “Nothing Really Matters” by Mr. Probz, Hedler performed a magic show with a twist, Hallam did a juggling act, Board stuffed pencils and pens into his afro, Reitz danced to MIA’s “Yala” and Cameron dramatically read “Sam I Am” by Dr. Suess.

“I liked [the pageant] a lot,” sophomore Sarah Kirmeyer said. “I thought the acts were really funny and I liked the amount of contestants.”

The fourth round was a question and answer where each contestant had to answer one mildly difficult question.

After the rounds were over, each member of the audience placed a bid on the boys they thought should win. The bids were used as donations to the charity of the winner’s choice.

Members of Student Council counted the total of each boys’ cash and the crowned winner of the Mr. Universe pageant.

Lane Hedler took first place with $85.98 raised and 124 points earned. Jonathan Cameron took second place, and Marcus Summerlin followed in third place.

“I was happy I was able to raise so much money for the Water Project, the charity that I was competing for,” Hedler said. “They build wells in Africa, it’s kind of like a coalition of water initiatives, so I’m just really happy I could support [the charity]. It was really meaningful to me.”

The audience members considered the first male pageant a success.

“I thought it was a really good event and since it was new I did not know what to expect,” Sophomore Gabby Kingston said. “I really enjoyed it and the contestants did a very good job showing their outfits, talents and answers to the questions.”

Superintendent Dr. Jones makes room for new leadership

With the new semester beginning, Dr. Russ Jones has decided to step down from his position as superintendent, which he announced on Sept. 8 at a special Board of Education meeting.

Jones grew up in Kent, Ohio and attended Kent Roosevelt schools. He was immediately drawn to his US History and Public Speaking classes. History was his favorite because people are able to understand the present by studying the past, he says.

After graduating from Kent Roosevelt high school, Jones attended Kent State University for four years. He graduated with a degree in Educational Administration.

“My father instilled in me the importance of school at a very early age,” Jones said. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and have always appreciated the importance of education in our society.”

Jones began his educational career by teaching social studies and summer classes at Kent Roosevelt. He then moved into the position of Assistant Principal at Tallmadge High School and later became principal at Tallmadge. Soon after, he became principal at Aurora High School. He then finished with nine years as superintendent of Stow’s public district.

“When I was a teacher, our principal at Kent Roosevelt, Marty Kane, inspired me,” Jones said. “He had a tremendous influence [with] leading the teachers of the building, and I saw the positive impact it had for the students.”

Jones lists John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Theodore Roosevelt as his inspirations.

“I’m inspired [by] people who dream, people who believe, people who make it happen,” Jones said.

Outside of work, Jones enjoys cooking, working out, playing with his dogs and sports.

Jones is married with two children. They spend time together by watching TV, eating, traveling and chasing their rescue dogs, Senor and Jackson, around.

Jones enjoys watching MLB, NFL and NCAA sports. He follows the Indians, Browns, Buckeyes and of course, the Bulldogs.

Basketball and baseball used to be part of Jones’ activities, but he does not play them as much as he used to. He also spent much of his time playing mens fast pitch softball.

Perseverance, communication, consistency and a sense of humor are included in Jones’ list of leadership qualities he believes a person has to have in order to run a district.

“A clear understanding that the interest of the students comes first [is important],” Jones said.

The new superintendent, Thomas Bratten, will begin his contract on Feb. 1, 2015, after Jones’ retirement on Jan. 31, 2015.

“I am fully confident Mr. Bratten will be an outstanding leader for our school district,” Jones said. “I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with him the last few weeks during the transition phase, and he is a fine man, great educator and is interested in what’s best for kids.”

After retirement, Jones plans to spend his time “watching the Price is Right and sleeping.”

Jones does not currently have any long term plans, such as moving houses or vacation, but he says he will still be involved with education.

Jones said, “I will likely stay in the field of education, which is where my heart is.”

District welcomes Thomas Bratten as new superintendent

By Madelyn Williams and Ashley Sager

The district welcomes new superintendent, Thomas Bratten. On Jan. 26, Stohion members Madelyn Williams and Ashley Sager interviewed Bratten in the journalism office.

On Dec. 5,  2014, the Board of Education offered Thomas Bratten an opportunity to fill the position of former superintendent Dr. Russ Jones. Throughout the month of January, Bratten overlapped with Jones to help ensure a smooth transition for the District.

“I consider myself to be extremely blessed and grateful to be working in a school district whose expectations for excellence are so high and apparent,” Bratten said.

Bratten explained how the interview process was more of a scenario type for him, and he explained the fears he had to overcome during these interviews.

“You do as much research as you can, but you don’t the board members names yet,” Bratten said. “You don’t even know where the office is located when you go to the interview.”

“The Board interviewed 10 excellent applicants for the Superintendent’s position over the last three weeks and felt that Tom was the perfect fit for our District,” President of the Board, Fred Bonacci stated in a press release from the district. “We are confident with Tom’s background and experience, knowing that he will be able to lead our District well for many years to come. We are all very excited that he accepted our offer.”

Bratten attended the University of North Carolina where he played football, then he went to Miami University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education. He has also earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Xavier University, his principal’s license from the University of Akron and his superintendent’s license from Ashland University.

Bratten entered the classroom in 1991 as an English teacher at Cincinnati Moeller High School in Cincinnati and has also taught in various other school districts. With this experience, he has a lot of  knowledge to put forth in and out of the classrooms.

Most recently, he has served as Superintendent of Salem City Schools from 2009 to 2014. Right before that he was an Assistant Principal, High School Principal and Director of Career and Technical Education for Canton Local Schools from 2000 to 2009. Over the years, Bratten has also served at Cincinnati Moeller High School, Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida, Marlington Local Schools and Louisville City Schools in a variety of positions, including English teacher, coach, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

Bratten is a strong advocate for kids, as well as a community leader and has a history as an outstanding educator and administrator.

“We’re going to be here unless it’s too dangerous to be,” Bratten said about snow days. “You know, there are a lot of people we talk to in the mornings. My philosophy is you always take the worst roads, and you drive those, and you base things on those because anyone can drive down Graham and be fine, but if you live on a road that has nothing but curves…and it’s nothing but ice, those are the one’s I’m concerned about.”

Bratten has a sophomore son at Missouri University who is working on a double major in materials engineering and ceramics engineering, as well as a nine year old son who attends Washington Elementary. His wife is a technology teacher in the Alliance school district where she has taught for the past 17 years.

Family time for the Bratten’s usually includes anything to do with athletics

“The nine year old keeps us plenty busy with his sports right now,” Bratten said. “I help coach his baseball team, and he plays basketball as well.”

Bratten also enjoys golfing.

“I love to golf. It is my favorite thing,” Bratten said.

Bratten roots for any teams who come from Ohio. He was raised in Cincinnati, but learned to adopt Cleveland teams when he moved up to Northeast Ohio in 1993.

“It’s a lot of heartbreak being a Cleveland fan,” Bratten jokes.

Bratten said, “I am confident that we will continue to do great things, and I cannot wait to get started. I couldn’t be prouder or happier to be a bulldog.”