Ottawa Hills Local Schools District Newsletter
3600 Indian Rd., Toledo, Ohio  43606

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
March 7, 2014

Superintendent's Message
Choraliers Experience the Windy City

I’ve always said that not all education takes place in the classroom. Our job as educators is to provide experiences for our students, both inside and outside the classroom, which give them the opportunity to understand the world in new and different ways. Recently, our Choraliers took a trip to Chicago, which perfectly exemplifies how education happens beyond the four walls of a classroom.
The Choraliers are an Ottawa Hills tradition. Students audition for the Choraliers, knowing that their practices will be taking place for two hours practically every Sunday. They will not receive high school course credit for their involvement. There will be no Varsity letter awarded. It will not be on their transcripts. But they make a commitment to this group because they love singing.
To recognize this level of dedication and hard work, Choraliers director Donna Wipfli wanted to do something special to reward the students. “I wanted to reward them,” shares Mrs. Wipfli, “but I wanted to do so in a way that would benefit them as individuals and as an ensemble and in a way that would benefit the program.”
And so was born the idea of a road trip to Chicago.
Mrs. Wipfli worked with the Bob Rogers Travel Company which specializes in arranging trips and performances for musical groups. Together, they lined up two days of great memories—great educational experiences.
The group left early on the morning of Friday, February 21. It did not take them long to get to their first stop in Pettisville, Ohio. Mrs. Wipfli wanted our students to have a chance to work with students from a similar school. Because she is good friends with Pettisville’s choral director, Duane Beck, and because their school was “right on the way,” they made a stop in Pettisville to work with their peers there. Pettisville’s select choral group practices two hours a week before school. The two groups ran out of time before they had a chance to sing together, but they did have the chance to interact and sing for one another.
From Pettisville, it was on to Chicago, where their first stop was the Willis Tower. There, the students experienced Chicago 102 floors up, peering down through the tower’s glass ledge. Stop number two was the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue. The plan was to sing in the sanctuary, which is 100 years old this year, but set-up for an evening performance altered the plan. Instead, they sang in one of the church’s smaller sanctuaries. Mrs. Wipfli shares, “The acoustics were spectacular. The students had never sung in a space like that. The church has a program every Friday at 4:00 p.m., so people will saunter in to enjoy that day’s performance. Sometimes there is no audience. We had an audience of 7 or 8 people, including the cousin of Noah Johnson, one of our Choraliers. Most of those there were former choral directors, and they were very complimentary of our group.”
The evening’s activities included pizza at Giordano’s and a trip to the Apollo Theater for a production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” It’s the story of December 4, 1956, a day when Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Mrs. Wipfli notes, “I wasn’t sure the kids would buy into this, but they came out of the production very excited.” I’m sure that songs like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right, “Sixteen Tons,” and “Great Balls of Fire” had the students tapping their feet and singing along.   
Saturday morning, the Choraliers enjoyed a ninety-minute clinic with choral director Dr. Robert Sinclair of the Vandercook College of Music. Mrs. Wipfli describes it as “just our kids, me, Steve (Mr. Wipfli, who traveled with the group as accompanist), the clinician, and a couple of graduate students. It was not a performance, it was all about an opportunity to grow as musicians. And they did—right there in front of us. Everyone would have been proud of our kids.”   
From there, the group headed to the Field Museum, where they had lunch and sang in the Grand Hall. If you’ve been to the Field, you know that that our Choraliers were sharing their performance space with Sue, the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered. Mrs. Wipfli shares that they sang their first four pieces from memory, which is a rather new approach for the singers. Our Choraliers drew quite a crowd—donned in their concert dress. Forget the T-Rex, who wouldn’t pause to appreciate great kids doing great things?
After a quick change, the group headed to Millennium Park, where they enjoyed the “Bean,” a popular work of art by Anish Kapoor. They shared more songs with visitors to the park on a “beautiful but cold” afternoon, after which they enjoyed a couple hours to themselves on Michigan Avenue. Following an enjoyable meal of insults and burgers at Ed Debeviks, they boarded their bus for the last time to head back to Ottawa Hills, arriving home at midnight on Saturday. 
Recently, the Choraliers raised $1,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation with their Singing Valentines—the most ever. It was a good example of how our students give back to the greater Toledo community. Being able to give them a trip to Chicago was a way to return their goodness several times over. Mrs. Wipfli emphasizes the importance of the support of the Ottawa Hills Music and Theatre Association and the Ottawa Hills Schools Parent Association. “Their financial support helped to decrease the cost to the students by half,” she shares. Because of the generosity of OHMTA and OHSPA, 28 of our students had the chance to experience education beyond the classroom.
Choralier Maddie Freeman summed it up well in a note to Mr. McMurray. She shared, “The Chicago trip was fantastic and by far the best weekend I've had so far in high school.  I think this trip gave every member of the group more confidence in themselves after our session at Vandercook and reflecting on our performance with the Pettisville choir. The group learned a lot from both of these experiences that will enhance our future performances.  Additionally, hearing ourselves sing at Buchanan Chapel was beneficial because we got to experience great acoustics that added to our sound, giving us more confidence because we could hear that we sounded good.  Personally, I thought this experience was amazing because we got to bond with each other even more.  The group is full of a wonderful set of students from our school, and it was really nice to get to know them better through this experience. Finally, it was nice to be able to perform and see that our hard work throughout the year has paid off.  We were able to share our music with various audiences, and it was very rewarding to see their enjoyment of our performances.  I will never forget the two days we spent in Chicago, and I am so thankful that Mrs. Wipfli organized this trip and to have been able to be a part of the experience.”
What’s that called? It’s called a great educational experience beyond our school walls.
Thank you, Mrs. Wipfli, for going over and beyond to make this experience possible for our students. Thank you, Mr. Wipfli, for accompanying the group. Thank you, OHMTA and OHSPA for making this trip possible. And thank you, Choraliers, for representing your school and your community in such fine fashion. Chicago was blessed to have you. 

Cast Your Vote for O.H. as "Team of the Year"

The Ottawa Hills boys' basketball team has been nominated to receive the Ohio National Guard/JJHuddle "Team of the Year" Award. O.H. joins 18 other teams who have been chosen for this honor. The winning team will be determined by fan-generated votes which are cast by clicking here. Once you get to the JJHuddle page, scroll down to the bottom and click on the word "vote" next to Ottawa Hills' name.

Next, you will see a page with all the schools in our voting division listed. Follow these three steps to cast your vote:
1. Click on "Ottawa Hills;"
2. Answer a simple question at the bottom of the page (to verify your response isn't being computer generated);
3. Click on "vote now."

Your vote is cast! You can cast as many votes as you want for Ottawa Hills, so bookmark the voting page and make voting a daily habit.

JJHuddle is a website which follows Ohio high school sports and allows posters to share their insights and opinions on various teams, players, and match-ups.

Voting continues to March 23. The winning team will receive a trophy from the National Guard. Begin voting today by visiting the voting page!

A Learning Experience Not to be Missed: The Titanic at the Imagination Station

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition takes you on a journey back in time to experience the legend of Titanic like never before. The galleries in this fascinating Exhibition feature over 150 real artifacts recovered from the ocean floor along with room re-creations and personal stories. Engineering, physics and social studies are all addressed as you explore the science of Titanic.

Toledo's Imagination Station is hosting the Titanic exhibit through June 15, 2014. The Imagination Station is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 5:00 p.m. More information about the Imagination Station and the exhibit can be found at Many special events are planned in coordination with this great event. To see more about the various events, click here.

Each visitor receives a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger aboard Titanic. They then begin their chronological journey through Titanic‘s life, moving through the Ship’s construction, to life on board, to the ill-fated sinking and amazing artifact rescue efforts. They will marvel at the re-created First and Third class cabins, and press their palms against an iceberg while learning of countless stories of heroism and humanity. In the “Memorial Gallery” guests will take their boarding pass to the memorial wall and discover whether their passenger and traveling companions survived or perished.

Take advantage of this opportunity to visit the Imagination Station, one of Toledo's premier resources, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience one of America's most tragic events: The Titanic.   

Greg Neuendorf Named as New P.E./Health Teacher and Head Football Coach

At their meeting on Thursday, the members of the Board of Education hired Mr. Greg Neuendorf as Ottawa Hills' new Physical Education and Health teacher to replace Chris Hardman, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. Mr. Neuendorf has also been tabbed to take over the reins of the O.H. football program. He becomes the twelfth coach in the history of the Ottawa Hills football program.

Mr. Neuendrorf is originally from Sylvania, where he attended Southview High School. He was the quarterback while at Southview, leading the Cougars to the Regional Finals his senior year. He then went on to play football at Denison University. He earned a B.S. in Human Ecology and a Masters of Middle Childhood Education in math and science from the Ohio State University. He began his football coaching career as a varsity assistant at Hilliard Davidson High School in Columbus. Most recently, he was football coach at Porter Ridge High School in Indian Trail, North Carolina. 

Mr. Neuendorf and his wife, Amanda, are parents to six-year-old Jace and two-year-old Quinn. He enjoys spending time with his family and golfing. He shares, "My wife and I grew up in the Toledo area and have a great respect for the Ottawa Hills community. I am excited to have the opportunity to work in a great school with such a professional group of educators. We are excited to be moving back home and giving our boys the opportunity to grow up in the Ottawa Hills community."

We welcome the Neuendorf Family to Ottawa Hills! 


Green Bears Playing in District Finals Tonight

The Ottawa Hills Green Bears dominated Tiffin Calvert, 55 to 15 in district semi-final action on Tuesday night to earn the right to advance to the District finals against TAAC foe Toledo Christian tonight at Lakota High school. The game will be played at 7:00 p.m. Toledo Christian defeated Old Fort on a last-second shot in the semi-finals.

Tickets remain on sale today until 12:15 p.m. in the athletic director's office. Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for adults. All tickets at the door are $6. Let's see a great turnout from Green Bear Nation as our Green Bears vie for a berth in the Sweet 16 and regional competition next week at BGSU's Stroh Center. Go Bears! 

American Legion Announces Americanism Awards

The Social Studies Department is pleased to announce the winners of this year's Americanism test. Given annually in conjunction with American Legion Post #553 to students in grades 10 through 12, the questions focus on three levels of government: local, state and national. Additionally, there is an essay question that focuses on the students' opinions on critical issues currently facing America. The grade level winners are automatically entered in county and state-wide competitions, with an escorted trip to Washington, D.C. for state level winners. This year's winners are seniors Michael Geisler and Kelly Rudolph, juniors Robbie Gilmore and Darcy Davis, and sophomores Jack Wolff and Kirsten Cousins. All winners received a certificate and a cash award at the ceremony held at the American Legion. Congratulations!

Great Season for Green Bears 

The girls’ basketball season came to an end with a loss to Delta during the district semi-final game at Anthony Wayne last Thursday evening. The girls played their hearts out and were narrowly defeated 53-52 in front of an impressive crowd filled with Green Bear fans.  Despite the loss, the girls finished as TAAC co-champs with an overall record of 18-5, and Coach Mercer moved his career total to 199 wins. The team says good-bye to seniors Gaby Guilliod and Abigale Lyon. Coach Mercer says, “We return eight of our top ten players, so expectations are high!” Congratulations to the girls and to coaches Sean Mercer, Bill Garber, Jacquelyn Litle, and Jon Corbett.  Many thanks to team manager Alex Scott for volunteering his time to support the team. We look forward to next season and coach Mercer’s 200th win!

Gliding Stars Features O.H. Student Andrew Prince

Gliding Stars of Greater Toledo is an adaptive ice-skating program for children and adults with disabilities. It is a national program founded by Elizabeth O'Donnell in 1994 in New York that is comprised of individual chapters that are responsible for all management and costs of the individual programs. 
Through the help of parents of children and adults with disabilities, a Toledo Chapter was created in 2008.  The program starts in September and the 40 skaters who are known as "Stars" meet each Sunday for one to one and half hours to skate with assistance from on ice volunteers and skating instructors. The program lasts six months and at the end of the program, the Stars, along with their ice volunteers and instructors, perform a grand finale ice spectacular. There are group performances and solo skate performances by the Stars.
This year the show will be on Sunday, March 23 at 2:30pm at Tam O’Shanter in Sylvania. Five years ago, Andrew Prince was introduced to this program by Derek Helmke, OH Hockey coach. On any given Sunday you can see Andrew skating along side other OH students, both Stars and volunteers.  Plan to attend the “Stars in the Night” show and support Gliding Stars of Toledo. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the show or by contacting Andrew Prince at
The cost for a skater to participate in the program averages $1500. However, Gliding Stars of Toledo only charges each skater $125. This allows many families to participate in the program at an affordable rate. In order to do this, Gliding Stars of Toledo must raise funds to make up the discount and also afford costs involved at the end of the program ice show. For more information, visit

Glass City Steel Shares Sounds of Trinidad and Tobago

Glass City Steel, the steel drum band from Toledo School for the Arts performed for junior high students Friday, February 28 as part of the ArtsAlive! series for junior high students. Steel drum bands originated in Trinidad and Tobago and use pitched instruments fabricated from the tops of 55 gallon oil drums. Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School is a proud ARTner with Toledo School for the Arts, sharing resources and expertise and creating opportunities for collaboration. Many thanks to Steve Wipfli for organizing this event. Thanks to OHSPA for sponsoring the ArtsAlive! series.

Students From Around the World Come to O.H.

The Ottawa Hills International Student Exchange Association and AFS Club welcomed students from American Field Service (AFS) for its annual Diversity Weekend this past weekend. This year AFS students came from Thailand, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, India, Sweden, Columbia, and the Philippines. The international students spent Friday morning visiting classrooms at the elementary and junior/senior high school sharing information about themselves and their countries.  After a beautiful luncheon in the Scout House, students enjoyed a full schedule of activities beginning with a stop at the Imagination Station and the UT Rec Center. Jim Callahan and Carol Stepien hosted a delicious dinner of Indian cuisine, and Ed and Tima Simon hosted the after-party.
Thanks to club advisor, Kate Hunyor, and volunteers, Linda Sherry, Edwina Ledgard, Karen Fruth, Ilanit Avidor-Reese, Heidi Glosser, Kirsten Robinson, Tima Simon, Mary Wahl, Karen Berry, and Paramita Mukherjee for organizing the events. Thanks to the following families for hosting the exchange students during Diversity Weekend: Heckler, Martinez, Callahan, Hanlon-McMurray, Dewhirst, Simon, Mukherjee, Robinson, Avidor-Reese, Riepenhoff, Navarre, Fruth, and Berry.
AFS, a non-profit organization, is recognized as the leading international student exchange program in the United States.  Our local association has recruited Ottawa Hills families to host AFS international students and has sent our Ottawa Hills students to AFS programs in countries all over the world for more than 45 years. Anyone interested in hosting an exchange student should email Linda Sherry at


International Exchange Students Give Elementary Students an Experience to Remember

Last Friday, 14 International Exchange Students from all over the world came to the elementary school to speak to 10 classes about their home country.  Elementary students were especially curious about food and transportation in the other countries. The exchange students did a wonderful job answering questions like, “Do you have regular hospitals in Switzerland?” and “Are there cars in Thailand?” Students were exploring globes and maps, and were able to see photos of life in other countries. The event was planned by Linda Sherry, who coordinated events with the JH/HS and the OH community.

Kindergarten Kaleidoscope Brings Music and Smiles

OHES kindergarteners have been working hard over the past month to practice songs that demonstrate their knowledge of the Common Core State Standards. From the Pledge of Allegiance, to beginning letter sounds, to counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s, students confidently sang their skills. The bleachers were filled with parents snapping pictures and showing pride in their children. Great job, kindergarten!

Students Show Character Through Creativity in February

Through the month of February, students focused on using their creativity to make OHES a better place.  They used creativity in problem solving, academic tasks, and as you saw last week at the art fair, their art work. Students recognized for their exceptional creativity last month include…
Sahil Parikh, Emily Timmerman, Joey Flanigan, Katie Milam, Ella Olah, Audrey Nixon, Matthew Cole, Ronnie Root, Connor Marshall, Griffin Best, Lila Smith, Will Fields, Megan Allen, Caroline Durfee, Jenna Halbig-Sanchez, Noah Tubeileh, Ayrianna Franklin, Gabriel Allos, Will Swigart, Norhan Abdel-Halim, Olivia Bridges, Ryaan Bhuiyan, Matthew Zheng, and Andrew Sturtz.
Other students are Ben Berschbeck, Kaija Wallin, Hailey Johnson, Lauren Schmidt, Joseph Cohn, Aric Fritts, Mattie Wilson, Alistair Rand, Meg Bode, Owen Krupp, Samuel Smithberger, Elena Allred, Riley Cummins, Guillermo Guardia, Danny Assi, Niki Malekpour, Lily Richardson, Sam McCaffery, Rya Mulkey, Claudia Mancy, Lydia Prince, Nikolas Boshop, Carter Rybarczyk, Eli DeWalt, Ella Langenderfer, Max Bishop, Daniel Durst, Autumn Richard, Ariana Pourazady, Alyssa Rosenberg, Faith Seo, Maggie Summers, Kirill Dollman, Stephen Souder, Margi Mancy

Father-Daughter Dance March 14

Don’t miss this year’s OHES Father-Daughter Dance, hosted by the elementary Girl Scout troops. The “Beach Party” dance will take place from 7:00-9:00 on March 14 in the elementary new gym. The cost of the dance is $10 per family.  Girl Scouts will also be taking donations at the event for the Beach House, a goal directed living program. Forms were sent home early this week, and more forms are available in the elementary main office.

Kindergarten Packets Going Home Now

Kindergarten screening is scheduled for June 10, 11 and 12. Packets with forms and information needed for screening are in the process of being mailed to all families that contacted Ottawa Hills Elementary School. If your child will be five before August 1, 2014 and you would like to have him or her screened, you should contact the elementary office. If you have not done so, please do as soon as possible in order to begin the process.

Pinewood Derby Winners Announced by Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts recently held their Pinewood Derby for Scouts of all ages. Each Scout created a car to race the Derby, with awards being give in each division for speed and for design. Award winners at this year's Pinewood Derby included the following:

Tiger (1st grade): Speed: 1st place: Breckin Miller, 2nd place: Chinmay Khare, 3rd place: Grant Croy. Design: 1st place: Grant Croy, 2nd place: Collin Potts.

Wolf (2nd grade): Speed: 1st place: Andrew Sturtz, 2nd place: Graydon Begeman, 3rd place: Caleb Robinson. Design: 1st place: Caleb Robinson, 2nd place: Ryan Mather.

Bear (3rd grade): Speed: 1st place: Zane Gerlach, 2nd place: Tyler Wood, 3rd place: Collin Miller. Design: 1st place: Miles Jacob, 2nd place: Darin Croy.

Webelos I (4th grade): Speed: 1st place: Liam McCullough-Campbell, 2nd place: William Peseckis, 3rd place: Gabriel Begeman. Design: 1st place: Gabriel Begeman, 2nd place: Bazil Frueh.

Webelos II (5th grade): Speed: 1st place: Carter Rybarczyk, 2nd place: Kyler Charles, 3rd place: Jon Dolsey. Design: 1st place: Gabriel Robinson, 2nd place: Jon Dolsey.

The top two finishers in each category will be competing in district competition at St. Francis High School tomorrow. Good luck, Scouts!

OH Happenings

3/7/14 Friday
7:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball vs Toledo Christian Schools – OHSSA District Championship
Lakota HS
3/8/14 Saturday
8:30 AM World Cube Association Cubing Tournament
HS LMC Library
3/11/14 Tuesday
8:15 AM OHSPA Meeting
Community Room
8:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball vs Crestview or Miller City
OHSSA Regional Semi-final
(with win on 3/7/14)
3/13/14 Thursday
7:00 PM OHMTA Meeting HS LMC
Village of Ottawa Hills:

Ottawa Hills Parent Association:
In partnership with our community,
Ottawa Hills Local Schools
will challenge and inspire each student
to realize his or her unique potential;
to embrace learning as a lifelong process;

and to become an active, responsible citizen.

It is not length of life,
but depth of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Copyright © 2014 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Ottawa Hills, OH  43606