Just as a tiger shows off his stripes or a lion shows off his mane, the Wildcats of Western Wayne, as a focus for the 2017-18 school year, are displaying their school pride to inspire staff, students, and community members to strive for excellence in all ways.

Some of the school pride efforts at the district include involvement in the PROSPER Program, the re-opening of the school store at the high school, the promotion of Wildcat Wednesdays district wide, and the use of the motto: We can’t hide Our Wildcat Pride!

One of the ways the Western Wayne Middle School is promoting more community involvement with families in the district is by partnering with Penn State to host the PROSPER Program for seven weeks at the middle school starting on Wednesday, September 27 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

PROSPER is a free program for parents and caregivers and their 6th grade children. The program is focused on helping 6th graders transition to middle school successfully.

Parents will learn about setting limits and showing love, making house rules, encouraging good behavior, protecting their children from substance abuse, and handling stress. Students will learn about preparing for their teen years, communicating with parents, dealing with stress and peer pressure, and avoiding drug problems.

Along with learning new skills, participants will have a free weekly dinner for the entire family and childcare for younger family members as a part of this program.

Interested families can obtain a registration form by contacting the middle school office at 1-800-321-9973 option 2. Mrs. Kristen Donohue, Western Wayne Middle School principal, is leading the efforts for this program and she hopes that families take advantage of this unique opportunity.

“A few families have already registered and we are very excited to work with them and others to help their students with the challenging and exciting transition to their middle school years,” she said.

Western Wayne administration and staff believe that the PROSPER Program will help 6th graders to feel more Wildcat pride through their efforts in the classroom and at home as they journey through their first year of middle school.

The high school also is working toward helping their students show pride through the grand re-opening of the school store.

The store, located by the high school auditorium and cafeteria, features a line of Wildcat apparel by the local business, talk Shirty to me. Snacks and coffee are also available along with other miscellaneous Wildcat themed school supplies and other items like water bottles. All proceeds will benefit the district.

Jennifer DeNike, assistant director of special education at Western Wayne, explained that the students who will staff the store are a part of the special education program in both the middle and high schools.

“The program is focused on building transitional skills,” she said. “Their experiences working in the store are meant to help them be prepared for life after high school.”

Students will have a variety of tasks at the store to complete based on their individual needs. They could be helping with anything from working the register to performing janitorial duties.

Cheryl Lazorack, instructional aide, will be working with the special education students in the school store. She currently has been working to run the store along with DeNike while the student work schedules are created.

Lazorack describes a very busy atmosphere at the store a week into the school year. She explains that students are there right as the first bell rings looking for their coffee. Lunch is another time that the store is crowded.

However, Lazorack clarified that they are not underselling the cafeteria. Instead, the school store has a few extra items such as beef jerky that she explains has been a best seller.

DeNike and Lazorack explained that anyone in the community can buy apparel through the school store online at wetalkshirty.com/WWSD . Items can be sent to a home address or students can order and pick up items in the store.

DeNike says she aspires to have a Kiosk in store for ordering apparel and perhaps one at the football stadium as well in the future. In addition, once the students are working they will be bringing carts around the middle and high schools to promote more student interaction with customers and to generate more business.

“I’m really excited to start working with students in the store,” Lazorack said. “They will learn a lot of life lessons.”

Another way that teachers and students at all buildings in the district will show their Wildcat pride is through wearing black and gold to school on Wildcat Wednesdays.

Student leaders in the high school are at the forefront of the school wide pride effort. Along with dressing in black and gold on Wednesdays, these students are working to promote unity in the high school through a shared love and appreciation for students doing their best both in and outside of the classroom.

Western Wayne administration held a meeting with student leaders in August to discuss how both parties could work together this year to promote school pride and unity.

Senior Dan Boots attended this meeting. He plays football, volleyball, and basketball for Western Wayne and explains how he believes school pride involves being supportive of all athletics at the district.

“I show my pride for other sports I am not involved in by attending soccer games with some of my football teammates,” he said. “We have a student section to show our pride.”

Dan also explained how one of the ideas the students came up with at the summer meeting was for the student leaders to work together to get more students involved in sports and after-school activities. They discussed hanging up more posters to promote these activities and possibly having an activity fair in the gym.

Junior Krystal Tregaskis also attended the student leadership meeting this summer. Krystal is a proud member of the tennis team.

She also believes that getting more students involved in after-school activities will help to promote more school pride.

She especially enjoys participating in sports at Western Wayne because she feels the coaches and other students on the teams are always willing to help new members that are just learning a sport. Krystal acts as a student leader on the tennis team and tries her best to work with the younger students to help them develop their playing skills.

“If you are not the best at a sport, you’ll learn and someone will help you,” she explained.

A final effort to promote pride at the district involves the use of the motto: We can’t hide Our Wildcat Pride! Administration and faculty hope their students say this more and show it in their actions.

There are posters throughout the school promoting pride. Many of them have the motto along with what the letters of the word pride mean for Western Wayne Students: prepared, respect, integrity, dedicated, and extraordinary.

A group of students who always loudly show their pride are the Western Wayne Varsity Football Cheerleaders. Senior Becca Tomczyk is one of the captains this year and explains that over the past four years the team has grown in number to 24 and has greatly developed their skills.

Becca looks forward to working for the rest of the season to pass on the legacy of greatness in cheerleading to the younger members on the squad. She wants all of her teammates, fellow students, and community members who come out to watch them perform on Friday nights to understand why they are showing pride.

“It means showing pride for everything,” Becca said. “It’s not just for one team. Everyone at Western Wayne is working together as a community and we are showing our pride for all of them.”

In addition, leading the school pride efforts at Western Wayne are members of the football team who are as of Friday, September 8 are 3-0. Junior Eddie Sledzinski feels glad to be a part of the team.

“We have more confidence this season,” he explained.

Eddie uses this confidence both on and off the football field. He explained how he enjoys being a student leader and hopes to inspire other students to join sports or other after-school activities to show their pride for being a Western Wayne Wildcat.

Eddie feels inspired to do this because of the way the Western Wayne staff has always helped him to be the best version of himself.

“You have to strive to do your best here at Western Wayne,” Eddie said. “To be the best, you need someone to push you. The teachers, coaches, and staff here really make sure you get the job done properly."