February 2012 Archives

Good Evening Stone Bridge Family!
It is with great pleasure that we share with you the 2011-2012 SBMS Teacher of the Year Nominees. We have 10 nominees this year, and they all bring unique and treasured talents to their classrooms.
Each one of our nominees is deserving of this honor, and their nomination is an indication of the immense respect that we (parents, teachers, students and administrators) have for them. 
Today, we congratulate Meg Gleason, Arlene Goldstein, Beth Hansen, Sharon Moots, Jackie Schappell, Christina Staley, Dana Thompson, Barb Tusay, Debbie Van Wieren and Jessica Zukus.
We are all so proud of you! Well deserved.

Signing Up for Spring Conferences!

February 15, 2012


Dear Stone Bridge Parents,


Our Parent/Teacher Conferences will be taking place on February 29th and March 1st. Conferences allow for meaningful conversations focused on the most important part of the Stone Bridge family, our students. We look forward to this dialogue in an effort to be partners in the education of our kids.


After much success in the fall, we are continuing to use a more user-friendly system for conference sign-ups. Conference sign-ups will occur electronically through our website. Parents can either use the link on the SBMS website or "cut and paste" this web address: http://www.ptcfast.com/schools/_76.  Once you get to this website, very clear directions will be given to you with each click of your mouse. You will be able to sign up for each of your child's teachers using this system. The link will be accessible when you receive this letter.


As a result of the time available for conferences (only two days), teacher schedules will fill up quickly. If the teacher that you would like to meet with has no available time to meet during conferences, please email the teacher directly to find another time to have a conference. As you know, we are happy to meet with you!


If you don't have internet access, we ask that you call our main office to schedule a conference with a specific teacher.    


Our conference days and times are as follows:


  • Wednesday, February 29th - 1:10-3:10 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 1st - 1:10 - 3:10 p.m.


Each conference with teachers will be 10 minutes.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email us.


Our best,

Mark Guterl                           Stefanie Negro

Principal                                 Vice Principal                                    

NEW Morning Drop-Off Procedure

Beginning next Tuesday, February 21, the side doors to the building will be locked in the morning before school. All non-bus students being dropped off at school in the morning (no earlier than 7:45 a.m., please) must enter the building through the front doors - main entrance. Parents are not to use the lanes along the side of the building. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation and support. 



Packed house expected for 'Bye Bye Birdie'

Students, director don't have to 'put on a happy face' to show enthusiasm for show
Staff Writer  PHOTOS BY Eric Sugar

Actors and actresses dance across the stage during a dress rehearsal for this weekend’s opening of “Bye Bye Birdie” at the Stone Bridge Middle School in Allentown. 

Actors and actresses dance across the stage during a dress rehearsal for this weekend's opening of "Bye Bye Birdie" at the Stone Bridge Middle School in Allentown. PHOTO BY ERIC SUGAR


Those hoping to catch a performance of "Bye Bye Birdie" this weekend at Stone Bridge Middle School may want to stop reading and get tickets now. Like tickets to see the musical's namesake character, they may sell out quickly.

"Last year we sold out all three nights," director Tara Bartlett, who teaches theater and chorus at the school, said.

Budding thespians at the middle school are ready to hit the stage for the opening of the school's first full-length musical.

"The students have really amazed me in their work ethic and how well they work together," Bartlett said. "The kids have really just embraced it, and they're enjoying learning about the 1950s and stuff. I think people really underestimate what middle school students can do."

Eighth-grader John Jones sings in his role as Albert Peterson during a dress rehearsal for “Bye Bye Birdie” at Stone Bridge Middle School.

 Eighth-grader John Jones sings in his role as Albert Peterson during a dress rehearsal for "Bye Bye Birdie" at Stone Bridge Middle School. PHOTO BY ERIC SUGAR


If the cast and crew of more than 60 students are any indication, they can do quite a bit. The show, set in 1958 and based loosely on Elvis Presley's military draft at that time, involves numerous costume and set changes, not to mention the work of learning lines, songs and choreography amid many hours of rehearsal that started in November. The students, however, seem to see it as no sweat. Casey O'Neill, who plays teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie, said being cast in his first leading role was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but now he feels more confident.

"Now I'm just having a ball here, it's so much fun," the eighthgrader said.

Stone Bridge Middle School thespians run through a musical number during a dress rehearsal for this weekend’s performances of “Bye Bye Birdie” in the school’s theater. 

 Stone Bridge Middle School thespians run through a musical number during a dress rehearsal for this weekend's performances of "Bye Bye Birdie" in the school's theater. PHOTO BY ERIC SUGAR


One might be hard-pressed to find another guy his age who wouldn't covet the role, which has him being swooned over by throngs of teenage girls.

"It feels pretty good," he said.

Assistant stage manager Lauren Semanchick, also an eighth-grader, summed it up in current pop-culture terms.

"It's the 1950s version of Justin Bieber," she said.


Lauren said she is enjoying her first year on stage crew, and will likely pursue it further in high school. The most demanding part of being on the crew is remembering cues throughout the performance. Stage manager Nicole Amato said she joined the crew to be a part of something, and it has proved to be a lot of fun.

Morgan Gale, an eighth-grade student who sings and dances throughout the show as leading lady Rosie Alvarez, said she knew she was interested in landing a part in the play after doing last year's show, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

As the first performance in the new middle school's 600-plus capacity theater, the production gave students more of a chance to spread their theatrical wings.

"There are so many more possibilities in this theater," Bartlett said.

In the play, Rosie is the secretary and love interest of Albert Peterson, Conrad Birdie's manager. The two endure some relationship ups and downs as the story progresses.

"I was really happy to get the part," Morgan said.

Although he is no stranger to the stage, having held a leading role in Bartlett's Rising Star Summer Theater this past summer, eighth-grader John Jones said playing Albert didn't make him nervous until dress rehearsal, when the costumes gave everything a much more official feel. Still, he does not plan to let a touch of stage fright stop him from pursuing acting in the future.

Casey and some of the other cast members agreed that they would like to go after a future in acting.

"As a career, I think it would be hard to make money off that," Morgan said-- perhaps to the relief of her parents -- although she does plan to go after more roles in high school.

Kim MacAfee, a teenage girl who becomes the lucky winner of one last kiss from Birdie on national television before he goes off to war, is played by Ashley Mruk, also an eighth-grader. She said the biggest challenge of the role was memorizing all of her lines.

"I've worked on them every night," she said.

Tori McGovern, who plays Kim's wacky best friend Ursula, said she hasn't had a hard time with her lines at all.

"I have fun with my lines," the eighth-grader said. "That's why they're easy for me."

She added that she attributes her easewith the script to being kindred spirits with her character -- she is "crazy like Ursula," she said.

Ashley said it was watching her older sister get excited to perform in previous years' shows that piqued her interest in being on stage.

According to Bartlett, most of the cast members have older siblings who have taken part in past performances.

The show is the eighth annual production under Bartlett's belt, and, like her cast, she could hardly contain her excitement about it.

"This is probably one of my favorite shows," she said. "I've wanted to do this for a really long time. I just like it because it's so happy. I think it's nice to do something that's so wholesome, goodnatured and just happy."

Bartlett said she had to wait for the right time and the right group of kids to do "Bye Bye Birdie," and nowshe is confident that everything is aligned to make it right.

The former middle school's stage was much smaller and allowed only for Broadway junior musicals, which are shorter and come with a CD soundtrack with which the show is performed, she said .

Although "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was a full-length show, it was still much shorter than this year's production, Bartlett said.

Also gone are the dayswhen the young actors performed along with prerecordedmusic. This weekend's shows will be accompanied by a 17-piece pit orchestra, consisting of students fromStone Bridge andAllentown High School, along with professionalmusicians. Bartlettwill play keyboard and conduct them.

According to Bartlett, it is easy to get carried away with artistic vision for the production, but she is thankful to have the students and volunteers who are more than willing to help bring her visions to life on stage.

"[The students] are basically running everything," she said. "This is their show. They really have embraced that, and they take ownership of it, and I can tell they feel proud when something goes right."

Bartlett said working with the students has been a pleasure, and is the least stressful part of putting on the production.

"The kids really want to be here," she said. "They're all very supportive of each other, and that's nice. The kids here are just very welcoming ... they're very friendly and kind." She also could not say enough about the generosity of volunteers who contributed so much to the show.

Allentown High School students Leanne Powdermaker, Katie Cann, Mikayla Storey and Olivia Sznaza all gave of their time to provide everything from help during auditions to assisting with makeup and costumes and helping actors run lines.

JanetteWilliams, mother of stage crew member Jaret Williams, made costumes, and Joanne Hoffman did all of the set painting, despite not having a child involved in the show. Bartlett's husband, Michael, a teacher in Spotswood, is serving as the sound technician.

Mother-and-daughter team Sharon and Victoria Moots -- both Stone Bridge Middle School teachers -- have provided allaround help with the production.

"Bye Bye Birdie" is produced with arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc.

Performances are scheduled for Feb. 9-11, all at 7 p.m., at the Stone Bridge Theater, 1252 Yardville-Allentown Road. Tickets to the show are $3 and can be purchased in advance or at the door, if still available. The house opens at 6:40 p.m. Refreshments will be available during intermission.

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