The Future is Mine
Speaker in Science Classes: Students learn about Forensics and Careers
Sponsored by The Future is Mine club; Robert Opferman came in today to speak to both Mrs. Logan high school chemistry class and Mr. Hofbauer’s 8th grade science classes about Forensics and careers in Forensics periods 2 and 3. He also spoke about cases he has personally worked on locally and gave demonstrations on how to collect DNA and evidence.
Robert is retired from the Allegheny County Police Department but is the current lieutenant with the CMU police department. He has given numerous speeches to forensic classes at Mt. Lebanon High School and recently in Princeton, NJ.
Both Mrs. Logan and Mr. Hofbauer spoke highly of the presentation and the students really found the experience valuable!
Steel Valley TFIM (The Future is Mine) seniors, Cailyn Tomasic and Angela Martin job shadowed Lori Mehalik and Michelle Blasko today at Park Elementary School. As part of the club’s initiative to expose students to careers in high school, Ms. Dunmire and Mr. Goga set this up. Both students had a fabulous time and said that it was a great learning experience! Cailyn wishes to pursue Early Childhood Elementary Education while Angela is looking to dual major in Early Childhood Elementary Education and Special Education. A special thanks to Dr. Duval, Dr. Shaughnessy, Lori Mehalik, Michelle Blasko and Diana Borges for supporting the educational learning goals of our students and club!
Along with 350 other high schoolers, SV The Future is Mine attended the Consortium for Public Education’s Student Leadership conference downtown at the Pittsburgh Marriott. During their two day conference students had the opportunity to job shadow at various Pittsburgh businesses which included (not limited to) Google, Shell Games, Jefferson Regional Hospital and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank. From there, they attended a college/trade school networking event, attended a dance, and had several breakout sessions hosted by schools, local businesses and business leaders. Thank you to the Consortium for Public Education for this opportunity! Also, the team placed third in their video contest and were voted by their peers! Way to go!
Systems Design Lab
The Future is Mine club provided a workshop today for 22 Steel Valley’s Technology & Business students through the Green Building Alliance. The Systems Design Lab on Building and Climate Science was a huge success and ran by Teresa DeFlitch and CAPA student: Gigi Varlotta, in our Creating Value room. This lab introduced students to systems thinking through games and hands on design activities. Through adopting different lens, such as energy; resiliency; well-being; beauty; and accessibility participants in the lab learned about green building design and how buildings interact with larger forces, such as climate change. Students walked away with a new way of seeing the world and concrete examples of how they can use what they learned to address issues that are important to them. A special thanks to Denise Williams, Randy Zirkle, Al Lesutis and Dr. Duval for helping make this event a success!
Thanks to Teresa DeFlitch, Gigi Varlotta (CAPA student), Mandi from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Green Building Alliance for providing an amazing Systems Design Lab focusing on Systems, Building and Climate science for 22 of our 5th-8th grade students today! This lab introduced students to systems thinking through games and hands on design activities hosted in our Creating Value room. This opportunity made available through a relationship with The Consortium for Public Education, The Future is Mine Club and the Green Building Alliance.
During the lab, students worked collaboratively and focused on different lens, such as energy; resiliency; well-being; beauty; and accessibility while developing their buildings. While working; students learned about green building design and how buildings interact with larger forces such as climate change. They walked away with a new way of seeing the world and concrete examples of how they can use what they learned to address issues that are important to them. A special thanks to Mr. Macuga, Ryan Dunmire-Kuftic, Heather Clark, The Consortium for Public Education and Mr. Large for helping make this event a success!
HeLa project in High School
Mental Illness Awareness Health Fair
Steel Valley High School’s Stand Together team hosted a Mental Illness Awareness Health Fair and entitled it “Stop the Stigma, Start the Love, Love is Louder than ANY Mental illness” on Friday, February 24th in the high school gym during the lunch periods. The sixteen Stand Together students and Mrs. Kamnikar had 10 tables set up tables highlighting facts and information on various mental illnesses. Autism, Anxiety, suicide, self-harm, depression, OCD were all highlighted. Stand Together offered a de-stress coloring table and a table talk-opening the lines of communication between teens. Music and games were played which really brought the students and staff together. Students answered questions with sticky notes as their response to questions so they could see they weren’t alone in dealing problems. Additionally, some students in the high school stepped up and spoke to their peers about their 1st hand experiences with mental illness. It was a great success!
Earlier in the month, peers and teachers decorated their door in a door decorating contest. Congratulations to Mrs. Besh’s room who won a breakfast party for their room on PTSD.
Observing Heart Transplant at AGH
Reading about open heart surgery in a textbook is one thing, however experiencing it first-hand is quite different. On March 7, students from Steel Valley’s The Future is Mine (TFIM) Club visited Allegheny General Hospital to observe the area’s top cardiovascular transplant surgeons in action performing a heart transplant on a middle-aged male patient.
The Open Heart Surgery Observation Program is coordinated by the Allegheny General Hospital Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute.
“The program coordinator said that AGH performs approximately 75 transplants per year and a majority happen during the night hours so, this opportunity was a unique one altogether,” said TFIM Advisor Ryan Dunmire-Kuftic. “As the surgery was taking place, the program coordinator was in the room with the students explaining what was happening in the operating room below. The surgeon wore a head camera and the students were able to see the details up close via the television located in the room.”
Students were also apprised of the various positions needed to make the surgery possible. The program coordinator detailed each individual on the operating floor listing their job title, how much schooling they received, and their average salary.
Following the surgery, students asked questions and had a discussion with one of the surgeons Dr. Bailey.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students,” said Dunmire-Kuftic. “Allowing them to observe careers in action in a real-life scenario before they are in a post-secondary school is really amazing. You don’t see transplants often either so that was even more unique.”
Sophomore student Quy Dinh agreed, ““It was awesome! This opportunity exposed me to a variety of careers. It was so exciting when the donor heart started to beat in the patient! We all cheered!”
“Paint with a Purpose”
Steel Valley High School Student Government and the student group Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organized a field trip and service project the morning of March 8.
The two-hour event, “Painting with a Purpose,” was held at the Painting With a Twist Studio in the Southside. The Painting with a Twist Studio owner donated $300 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Steel Valley visited Thomas Jefferson
The Future is Mine Club had come up with a School SWAP project in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson High School’s TFIM. Through the high school SWAP program, students from Steel Valley’s The Future is Mine and Thomas Jefferson’s The Future is Mine club swapped places and shadowed the other member for the entire day.
Both teams felt that visiting the other school and following a peers schedule would be a valuable experience. The officers approached the administration and proposed the idea and they were both on board.
Today, March 1st, Steel Valley visited Thomas Jefferson. Here, fourteen of our TFIM members shadowed members of Thomas Jefferson’s TFIM. Thomas Jefferson sent their TFIM students to Steel Valley on February 23rd to shadow our TFIM Steel Valley students using the schedules already assigned and following our school rules/policies.
Through this experience, students hoped to gain:
- Respect for other schools and cultures
- Ideas to better their school and community
- Understanding of how other schools operate
Our last event will be at the Annual TFIM Conference on April 21-22nd . Here, students will come together and discuss how they can make positive changes within their districts to better effect student learning.
“This swap really made me appreciate the technology that we have available and how fortunate we are to have a great, caring staff here at SV. We often take these things for granted and this was a big eye opener for me.” Said sophomore Kelsey McCafferty.
Future is Mine School SWAP
Today, fourteen Thomas Jefferson High School students came to visit Steel Valley through The Future is Mine School SWAP program. During their visit, the Thomas Jefferson students shadowed our Steel Valley The Future is Mine members and they were amazed by the amount of technology that Steel Valley had to offer. They were also impressed by the small class sizes and the ability for students to have more interaction with the teachers. Last, they had mentioned that they liked the various classes we offered at Steel Valley such as Forensics.
At the conclusion of the SWAP High School Principal, Mrs. Lisa Duval, met with the high school students from Thomas Jefferson. Here, she questioned the students about what they liked, what they thought was interesting or different, and areas that they can improve upon along side of Mrs. Ryan Dunmire – Steel Valley TFIM Advisor. It was a really conversation by all parties. Overall, this SWAP was a great success and we are looking forward to continue this project on March 1st when Steel Valley travels to Thomas Jefferson.
Chaz Kellem visited Steel Valley Middle School
On January 7, 2016, the Future is Mine Club invited the Senior Director for Race and Gender Equity from the YWCA, Chaz Kellem, to visit with Steel Valley Middle School students. Chaz discussed overcoming obstacles and “never quitting”. Chaz has always been in a wheel chair but has never let his disability stand in the way of his success. In fact, Chaz Kellem has been recognized as ³40 under 40² making an impact on the Pittsburgh region. Chaz spoke to students in grades 6-8 and delivered an inspiring message and his life story. Chaz showed the students at Steel Valley Middle School that no matter who you are, where you are from, or what your disability; you can achieve great success with determination and by never giving up!
“Chaz was an inspiration to the students at Steel Valley and his story really hit home for a lot of them. It was a great assembly!” said Senior, Brittany Connors, who introduced Chaz to the Middle School on behalf of TFIM.
Stand Together Synopsis Day 1
The Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health is partnering with Steel Valley High School’s The Future is Mine and Middle School students for its Stand Together initiative. The objectives of Stand Together are to decrease negative attitudes and beliefs among adolescents towards peers and adults with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, decrease social distance between adolescents and their peers who have mental illness and/or substance use disorder, and encourage adolescents to make positive change .
Steel Valley chose to bring Stand Together to our school to reduce negative beliefs and attitudes towards youth who have a mental illness in our communities by promoting a healthy, caring atmosphere in our schools. Stigma causes shame and embarrassment for youth and they experience its impact through ostracism, social isolation, depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. Our goal is to support ALL students and community members and bring students together promoting healthy and happy relationships.
On November 13, 2015, TFIM and Middle School students were trained by Holly Turkovic on Stand Together and it’s ideation. Students were very receptive of the idea and it ironically ties into the “Rachel’s Challenge”, brought to Steel Valley by SADD. These concepts are founded on the principles of bringing everyone together and being a good person. We too are trying to ignite a change in our community and what better way to do so than to join forces.
“This was an awesome experience and I hope that it continues throughout the year. Not only did it open my eyes to stereotypes and mental illness, I think we can help people by bringing awareness,” said eighth grade student Diana Craycroft. Students will meet again next week to discuss and plan projects to create the change they wish to see in their communities.
Certificate Program for Leadership and Ethics
Through the University of Pittsburgh’s Certificate Program for Leadership and Ethics (CPLE), 38 students at Steel Valley participated in a Leadership and Ethics training led by university students in the CPLE program and headed by professor, Ron Magnuson on October 6th, 2015.
From there, the University of Pittsburgh students invited Steel Valley to participate in their 1st Leadership and Ethics Case Study Competition. Steel Valley’s The Future is Mine club formed a team of four students: Brittany Connors, Jordyn Ulnicy, Samantha Keane, and Kelsey McCafferty. Brittany, Jordyn, Sam, and Kelsey prepared a formal presentation of the case study and studied the issues the case involved.
On December 10, 2015, the Steel Valley The Future is Mine members traveled to the University of Pittsburgh to compete against five other local schools. Students had the opportunity to present their case, take a stance on the case and defend their stance to three University Professors and three business professionals from the Pittsburgh region.
With the Case presentations ranked by the use of a rubric, Steel Valley came in first place! “Not only did Steel Valley present their case well, they were articulate and well spoken. The were able to defend their stance even under pressure from the Professors and business professionals, said Ryan Dunmire-Kufic, These ladies really represented Steel Valley well. I’m so proud of them!”
On May 5, 2015 Paul Salopek, a 1978 graduate of Steel Valley High School (formerly Homestead High School), came to speak on behalf of Westinghouse on the topic of “Careers in Engineering”. Paul is currently a Product Manager for Westinghouse but has a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State University
Over one hundred students from grades 9-12 heard Paul’s presentation in the High School auditorium including students in Mr. Lander, Mrs. Logan, and Ms. Smid’s science classes. Through this presentation, students learned about various careers in Engineering, how to become an Engineer, and what they need to be doing in high school to pursue an Engineering major. Paul stressed the importance of loving what you do and being informed before making a career choice. He also shared with the student’s that the average Engineer is making $66,000 at Westinghouse, right out of college. He stated that if you shrunk the world’s population down to 100, only one of those people would be an Engineer. Paul said, “Engineering is a very in-demand field”.
The students were attentive the entire time and really got a great deal out of the presentation. Mrs. Dunmire- Kuftic stressed the importance of exploring different possibilities for your future and figuring out what you like to do and your strengths. “Time is money when you are out of high school. Take the opportunity now to explore various careers and then ou can make an educated decision for your future. Job shadow, visit college campuses, and ask questions now. College is expensive!” Mrs. Dunmire- Kuftic said.
This presentation was made possible by The Future is Mine club at Steel Valley High School. The Future is Mine focuses on career awareness and exploration. The Future is Mine would like to thank the High School Science Department and the rest of the High School faculty for promoting the program. Look for more opportunities in the near future to learn about various careers!
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School SWAP Project
The Future is Mine Club had come up with a School SWAP project in collaboration with Chartiers-Houston High School’s TFIM. Through the high school SWAP program, students from Steel Valley’s The Future is Mine and Chartiers Houston’s The Future is Mine club will swap places and shadow the other member for the entire day. On December 5, 2014 the officers for both clubs met at the annual TFIM Advisor meeting and discussed this possible project idea. Both teams felt that visiting the other school and following a peers schedule would be a valuable experience. The officers approached the administration and proposed the idea and they were both on board. Today, March 17th, 2015, Steel Valley visited Chartiers-Houston. Here, five of our TFIM members shadowed members of Chartiers-Houston’s TFIM. Chartiers-Houston will send their TFIM students to Steel Valley in the near future and they will shadow our TFIM Steel Valley students using the schedules already assigned and following our school rules/policies. Through this experience, students hope to gain: 1. Respect for other schools and cultures 2. Ideas to better their school and community 3. Understanding of how other schools operate Our last event will be at the Annual TFIM Conference on April 16-17th. Here, students will come together and discuss how they can make positive changes within their districts to better effect student learning. “It was really cool,” said Junior Brittany Connors. “The kids were really nice and welcoming. We have a lot in common. I am really looking forward to them coming to Steel Valley!”
Through The Consortium for Public Education, The Future is Mine club connected with the Constructors Association of Western PA and heard a presentation in early December. We thought Mr. Lesutis and the tech program at Steel Valley would be interested in setting up an informational meeting up for our students. Mr. Lesutis went down to a seminar that they held at the Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Training Facility in Harmarville and felt as though it could be very beneficial for the students at Steel Valley. On March 18th Keith, from S. W. Union, came in Period 6 and spoke to approximately 30 students. This informational session was open to all Juniors and Seniors. Through “Future Road Builders” they are looking to put our students through training for in demand jobs and pay them while doing so! This is an alternate to a 2 or 4-year school post graduation. On March 21st, a few students traveled to the Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Training Facility with Mr. Lesutis, to see behind the scenes what sheet metal workers really do. Students had the opportunity to weld and do various other activities while in attendance. They loved this opportunity and are excited to go back. Mr. Lesutis and TFIM are looking to expand this opportunity within the next year and create a partnership to provide our students with more options after graduation.
“Don’t Trash it, Donate it” Clothing Drive
Steel Valley’s The Future is Mine (TFIM) Club sponsored a “Don’t Trash it, Donate it” clothing drive to help aide the University of Pittsburgh¹s Pittserves project “Give a Thread” by collecting over 100 bags (three vans/trucks full of clothing) of clothing to help Pittserves reach its goal. The University of Pittsburgh was striving to make history through the “Give a Thread” campaign to break the Guinness World Record for the most clothing collected for the intent of donation or recycle. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the entire Pittsburgh community were asked to “Give a Thread” for sustainability, as the group intends to keep all unused items out of landfills through the donation and recycling of clothing. The goal was 150,000 large articles of clothing (shirts, coats, pants, shorts, jackets, suits, dresses, etc.). The world record attempt will take place March2-4 in the William Pitt Union, with the final collection of clothing, counting and sorting. “We wish Pittserves the best of luck and TFIM was very grateful to everyone within the Steel Valley Community who help make our drive a huge success!” said TFIM Advisor Ryan Dunmire-Kuftic.
The Future is Mine Club at Steel Valley High School visits Allegheny General Hospital
Reading about open heart surgery in a textbook is one thing, however experiencing it in person is quite another. On February 11th, 2015, students in The Future is Mine Club at Steel Valley High School visited Allegheny General Hospital to observe the area’s top cardiovascular surgeons in action. The Open Heart Surgery Observation Program is coordinated by the Allegheny General Hospital Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute. During this visit, students observed a double bypass surgery on a 96 year old male. As the surgery was taking place, the program coordinator was in the room with the students explaining what was happening in the operating room below. The surgeon wore a head camera and the students were able to see the details up close. In addition, they informed the students on the various careers that were needed to make the surgery possible. The program coordinator went through each individual on the operating floor and listed their job title, how much schooling they received, and their average salary. Following the surgery, students were able to ask any questions they may have had. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students,” said The Future is Mine Advisor, Ryan Dunmire-Kuftic, “Allowing them to observe careers in action in a real-life scenario before they are in a post secondary school is really amazing.” “It was awesome! This opportunity exposed me to a variety of careers. I was especially interested in the engineering jobs they spoke of,” said Senior TFIM President, Brandon Tomasic.