VARDEN—The Western Wayne School District (WWSD) Board of Directors honored a brace of burgeoning artists at their recent meeting held Thursday January 18.

Seniors John Kear and Desiree Counterman were recently hailed as WVIA's Artists of the Week from January 7 – 13.

According to a release from Western Wayne High School, Counterman's visual artistry contains works of diverse materials including acrylic, watercolor and colored pencils.

She was unable to make it to the board meeting.

Kear's aptitudes lie in performance art including musical performance with the saxophone and clarinet, as well as theatrical performance.

He is set to play the role of Cookie McGee, famed bootlegger in the production Nice Work If You Can Get It.

The production is poised to premiere the last week of April.

Introducing Kear at the meeting, High School principal Paul Gregorski noted he is the son of Arlene and Glynn Kasper of Lake Ariel and John Kear of New York.

Outlining his musical resume, Kear stated he participated in Western Wayne's middle school band for three years, and concert and marching bands for four years each, rising to the rank of marching band drum major this year.

He has also participated in the jazz and pit bands for three years each and chorus for one year.

For his musical mastery, Kear has won seats to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) district band and chorus.

Kear has made district band three years in a row, moving on to regionals this year after achieving first place in clarinet performance.

This is his first year in PMEA district chorus.

Outside of the concert hall, Kear has excelled in numerous honors and advanced placement courses.

He has also participated in the school's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club for one year.

Kear's community achievements include volunteering at local veterans breakfasts, playing pit band for community theatre and starting a fife and drum corps.

He plans to earn his Bachelor's degree studying music education at either Westchester or Marywood.

“...I would personally like to thank the board and my parents for shaping me to be the individual I am today,” said Kear.

Both Kear and Counterman's work will be displayed in their Artist of the Week vignettes, available for one year on

Both young artists are now in the running to win the broadcasting station's Artist of the Year award which will be announced in May.

Those interested will have the opportunity in the spring to vote for Counterman, Kear and other local students to win the Viewer's Choice Artist of the Week award.

“Congratulations,” said Board President Bernice Fiorella. “That's pretty impressive.

Students' recognition

Later that night, Student Body President Jason Telese and Senior Class Vice President Ben Burkhardt presented the board with thanks and praise from the students at Western Wayne.

“Tonight we'd like to come here to recognize our school board for all that they do,” said Telese. “I feel like they do a lot of unpaid, hard work that sometimes goes without recognition.

“And so, on behalf of the student council and all of Western Wayne, we have a gift...for our school board members.”

The pair passed around tokens of their peers' appreciation, lidded water tumblers bearing the district's insignia.