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Calm Yourself! Using Relaxation and Anxiety Relieving Techniques to Beat Stress

By Lisa Marie Ferry
Dean of Students

Ferry Lisa2018Hi Everyone! ‘Tis the season for holiday food, joy, celebrating the end of the year and yes, the dreaded semester exams. This time of year is stressful enough, so it is important to try to reduce stress and any anxiety about taking those end of the year tests and exams. 

So, what to do?  Never fear! Mrs. Ferry has some ideas for students to try. First a bit about studying and relieving that stress:

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Understanding Social Conflict

By Cheryl Bayo
School Counselor

CherylKavinskiBayoMiddle School and High School are prime time for social conflicts.

The term “bullying” is used frequently in situations where one person feels as though another is not being nice to them.  In reality, “bullying” is a recurring pattern of unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves real or perceived power imbalance.  Parents might ask themselves, “How do we determine if an interaction rises to the level of bullying?” “How do we help our students navigate difficult situations?” and “What consequences should be given to the bully?” These can be challenging questions to answer.

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The Importance of Studying Local History

By Grete Floryshak
History and Geography Teacher

GreteI love exploring local history with my freshman classes. We are fortunate to live in northeastern Pennsylvania, especially when it comes to learning about economic and labor history, because of local sites like Eckley Miners’ Village as well as people who have preserved the details of their lives for future generations.

The ninth graders learn about kids their age in a historical context. Presidents and wars are important facets of our past, but so are the ordinary people just trying to go about their lives. Comparing themselves to a nineteenth century breaker boy (coal sorter), who was sometimes as young as six years old, or a garment worker, who was often a teen girl working six twelve-hour shifts a week, gives new perspective to the relative ease of our lives now. 

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Study Skills + Planning = Academic Success

By Cheryl Kavinski Bayo
School Counselor

CherylKavinskiBayoAt MMI students are held to a rigorous academic standard which requires diligence and hard work. In the past, formal study skills may not have been “taught” or “needed,” but the good news is that they are not hard to implement. 

The effort it takes to implement good, practical study skills is far less than the anxiety and pressure of feeling like you can’t keep up or feeling overwhelmed as academic expectations pile up around you. This only fuels the typical preteen and teenage feelings of insecurity and self-doubt that threaten to keep students from realizing their capabilities.

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MMI students experience China

By T.R. Laputka
Director of Technology

LaputkaOn Thursday, March 7, 20 students and two parents from MMI embarked on a nine-day educational tour of China. Coordinated by Education First Tours, some of the major stops included Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. The tour was led by T.R. Laputka and chaperoned by MMI faculty members Christina Spencer, Michael Mele, and Christine Lizbinski.

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MMI students tour the British Isles

By T.R. Laputka
Director of Technology


Over spring break, sixteen MMI students, four parents and three faculty members traveled to the British Isles for an incredible educational tour. Coordinated by Education First Tours, the trip took them through Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Edinburgh, London, and many other locales. For most of the students this had been the first time they had traveled to Europe. T.R. Laputka, MMI technology director; Michael Mele, Science Department Chair and Science instructor; Christina Spencer, Chinese Language teacher; and Jaime of Education First Tours led the private group.

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PA School for Global Entrepreneurship, a Student Perspective.

By Sydney Karpowich
MMI Senior

sydney at PSGEThe Pennsylvania School of Global Entrepreneurship (PSGE) has ignited my entrepreneurial spirit and helped me expand on business ventures I am involved in, as well as sparked creativity to develop other business ideas.  I have been working on an idea to develop a free women’s self-defense organization to combat rising abuse rates against local women.  Additionally, I am currently working with a team of four girls on an iDeX pitch, featuring an app that allows users to more effectively medically diagnose themselves at home. 

For my company project at PSGE, I was on a team with six other students to work for Soltech Solutions. The company produces grow lights that not only allow plants to flourish indoors, but also increases the ambiance of one's space. Our job was to create a new marketing campaign for the company and increase sales to other businesses.

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MMI students tour Italy 2017

By T.R. Laputka
Director of Technology

LaputkaEleven MMI students, three parents and two faculty members traveled to Italy during spring break 2017 for an educational tour. Arranged by EF Education Tours, the tour took them through Milan, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and many other towns. For most of the students this had been the first time they had traveled to Europe. T.R. Laputka, MMI technology director, and Michael Mele, Science Department Chair and Science instructor, led the private group.

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Not Just Another Club

By Allison McGeehan
MMI Senior

When I first joined FBLA three years ago, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on my life. Just entering my freshman year of high school, I really didn’t know much about FBLA, other than the fact it was a club to add to my résumé, and it focused on business, a topic that I was beginning to think about pursuing in the future. Flash-forward to sophomore year when I participated in the competitive event of Business Communications and was fortunate enough to qualify to compete at both the State Leadership Conference in Hershey and the National Leadership Conference in Chicago. At this point, I was well aware of the benefits and opportunities being a member of FBLA provided me, not just in terms of business education, but in developing leadership qualities and having the opportunity to network with motivated students and professionals from around the country.

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An Unforgettable Experience

By Garrett Kost
MMI Junior

At MMI, we pride ourselves with practical and useful knowledge through application both in the classroom and in real life. But little do we actually get to test the latter. For me, a student of the German language and culture for three years, the ability to try out my skills is limited to my class or those rare occasions where one can speak in German a little or barely at all. In my opinion, one can study a language for many years, but until you use it in conversation with a native speaker, you could never even think of becoming fluent. Finally, my chance came with this trip. While there, I could practice my skills and see how well I do.

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More than Just a School

By Taylor Peluso
2016 Class President

PelusoTaylor2015 2016
When I started at MMI in the 7th grade, graduation seemed like a far off milestone. Today, it’s just 6 short months away! Hard to believe that the college application process is complete and next year at this time, I’ll be wrapping up my first semester in college.

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The Connected Classroom

By Justin Vincent
Computer Science Instructor

vincent2009Technology has drastically changed our society in the last 20 years. The ease with which we can now access and distribute information is unprecedented and it has fundamentally impacted the way we live our lives and, more specifically, educate our children. The online resources available for students and teachers are astounding and the speed with which we can communicate is amazing. From learning management systems, to video tutorials and lessons, to online assessments, to virtual field trips, technology has given us the ability to engage students in new and exciting ways every day.

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Study Habits

By Madison Below
School Counselor

Madison BelowLearning good study habits in middle school assists students well into their high school years and beyond. By understanding how to manage time, information, and materials, students gain the skills they need to be organized, efficient learners who have a toolkit of strategies for completing their homework on a nightly basis. This leads to them being better equipped to tackle assessments in the classroom and can reduce test anxiety while increasing confidence and competence.

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Summer + Art = FUN

By Lisa Ferry
Art Instructor

ferry lisa portraitAh, it's finally summer. Time to kick back and enjoy the nice weather, finally. What better way to do that than to grab your tunes, a beverage, and for me, my sketchbook, paints, and canvas.

With no pressure from classes, grades, or getting up early (yes, us teachers feel the same as you students), I can experiment with techniques with no time constraints.

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School is out for summer, but staying active is in!

By Jason Tribbet
Athletic Director

mmi staff 087 tribbet webIf you listen closely, kids everywhere are cheering as summer vacation is underway. After a long school year, it’s finally time to sleep in, lie on the couch, play video games, and watch television… right? While everyone needs to relax a little and catch their breath from all the hard work the school year brings, staying active and exercising should be part of everyone’s daily routine throughout the summer.

It is recommended that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Studies have shown that physical activity improves brain function and can help students improve academically. So now that school is out and we no longer have physical education classes to help us stay active, how can we prevent kids from becoming sedentary?

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It's summertime

By Tim Garvey
Science Instructor

mmi staff 121 tim garvey webOne of my favorite songs growing up when I was a kid was called Summertime. It’s summertime…summertime…sum…sum…summertime!

For me the key word being “time.” As a student and teacher of Physics, we talk a lot about what time is and how it is measured. We have created many different types of clocks to measure it. We have also learned from Einstein, that time can be experienced in a relative way. One of the neat things about the world we live in is that nature allows us to measure time in many different ways in a daily manner and seasonal manner.

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Taking Time to See the Road Ahead

By Michael Mele
MMI Science Instructor

Michael Mele

Class begins at 5:45 A.M., so don’t be late! I show up for class long before my students do. Not literally, of course, but my mind is already running in teacher mode from minute one. The first thing I do is check my phone for email messages. You know, every now and then, something strikes a student as urgent at 2:15 A.M. I need to be ever vigilant!

Then I go to the news and my mind is already meshing the events of the morning with my biology, anatomy, and marine science classes. Viruses are, of course, a hot topic and I think of how the morning’s news can be integrated into the classroom. What are students’ concerns? How can I make the world around them make sense to them in relation to what we are doing? In marine biology, it’s “why a horseshoe crab’s blood could save your life” and in anatomy it’s “guzzling milk might boost your risk of breaking bones.” There’s always something to give significance to what we do in class; you’ve just got to have your eyes open.

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Why I'm happy I was the "new student"

By Lauren Toscano
11th Grade Student

Toscano-Lauren-2014-2015I have never been a new student. I went to the same school from kindergarten to eighth grade, and then I started at a high school in ninth grade, just like everyone else. I had new teachers and things like that, but all the other people in my grade did, too, so it wasn't really that scary.

I started MMI in eleventh grade, and I guess I was nervous about the change — I figured it would be a harder school where everyone knew each other, and I would never be able to catch up. However, I was greatly surprised.

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How to Have a Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conference

By Grete DeAngelo
MMI Social Science Instructor

Grete DeAngelo

As a teacher and parent, I've been on both sides of the desk for conferences. Some have been more successful than others, and I've come to the conclusion that it's the preparation beforehand that makes the difference.

I'd like to offer a few tips on how you, as a parent, can get the most helpful information from your child's teachers on parent-teacher conference day.

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Winning At All Cost

By Jason Tribbet
MMI Athletic Director

Jason TribbetIt was a nice summer evening and I was in line to get an ice cream at a local shop. A family was in front of me with two young boys dressed in their baseball uniforms. They must have been about 8 years old. When they got to the front of the line, the woman taking orders greeted them and then asked them a question. It was not, “What would you like?” or “How are you today?” The first thing she asked them was, “Did you win your game?”

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Prioritizing the Planner

By Madison Below
MMI Mid School Counselor

Madison Below

My mom jokes that I’ve been using a planner since kindergarten. And quite honestly, if the option existed (and if I actually got homework when I was five years old), I probably would have. I suppose it’s fitting that I stress the importance of using a planner in my Mid School Group Counseling classes on a daily basis. While I know the strategy of recording assignments, goals, and important events may not be practical for everyone, I feel it is a critical skill for pre-teens to learn and implement.

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This Is Why I Teach

By Grete DeAngelo
MMI Social Science Instructor

Grete DeAngelo

I don't do it for the money. So many students tell me, "I don't know what I want to do, but I want to make a lot of money." Well, the money won't mean much if there's no meaning in what you do.

I don't do it for the recognition. A lot of days, I only get recognized for being a taskmaster. My students have straight-out asked me, "If you have a master's degree from a great school, what are you doing teaching?"

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Surviving AP: Parent Edition

By Katherine Zucco
MMI Social Sciences Instructor

Katherine Zucco

All parents want their children to succeed at MMI, but some may not be sure how to help when their children enroll in the AP program. For this blog, teachers at MMI brainstormed together and created this quick guide to “Surviving AP” for parents.

Perhaps the best starting point is sharing a culture of optimism about school. This can be difficult to do if we hold on to our own negative experiences from our past, so it is important to stay positive as your children encounter new challenges or perceived setbacks in the AP curriculum. A child can easily obsess over a mistake, but when you help your children focus on the rewards of effort and progress, they will learn how to keep mistakes and uncertainty in perspective.

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All In This Together

By Emily Seratch
Class President, Class of 2015

Emily Seratch

I can't believe it’s my senior year already. Some people have been waiting for this time to come for years, but I've been trying to slow it down. It's crazy to think this is my last year walking the halls of MMI. I can remember walking through the glass doors for the first time six years ago. It was a new experience that, thankfully, I didn't have to go through alone.

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Success On and Off the Field

By Jason Tribbet
MMI Athletic Director

Jason TribbetIf you enjoy playing sports as much as I do, then I don’t need to tell you why playing sports will benefit you not only now but the rest of your life.

I have sports to thank for some of the best memories I have growing up. Playing catch with my dad in the backyard, playing football on a cool fall day with my friends, or just catching up with friends who I met while playing college baseball … those are just a few of the fond memories that I have because I played sports growing up.

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MMI: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Grete DeAngelo
MMI Social Studies Instructor

Grete DeAngeloI live in a small town and I love it. So many students tell me they can’t wait to get out of this area, but I was one of those who never wanted to leave. In the summers, I walk early in the morning and I pass the same people on their own walking routes every day. It is unusual for me to drive or walk down Main Street and see anyone who doesn’t at least look familiar.

Going to MMI is like walking in a small town. There are 250 students and I know almost every one of them by name. The ones whose names I don’t know or I haven’t yet taught are kids whose faces are familiar, so much so that whenever we have a shadow student visiting, I notice right away that there’s someone new in the halls.

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Advancing MMI with Your Help

By Kim McNulty
MMI Director of Advancement

Kim McNultyWhen I joined the MMI family as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid in 2007, I was thrilled to be joining a team that stood for educational excellence. Despite not being from this area, I quickly learned the integral role that MMI had played in the lives of so many people. Those people were now bringing their children to MMI. My role was well defined and my job was clear-cut: recruit students to MMI and walk families through the admissions and financial aid processes.

In 2011, I moved into a newly formed position at MMI as the Director of Advancement. When I heard about the job opening, my first thought was “What the heck is advancement?” To this day, that’s still the first question anyone asks me when I mention what I do for a living.

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College Visitation Advice from MMI Preparatory School

By Stephanie Shandra
MMI College Admissions Counselor

Stephanie ShandraAs the school year winds down, many MMI students and families beginning or in the throes of the college planning process, start to plan out college visits. In fact, one of the most important parts of your college research is the campus visit, and it is highly beneficial to begin the visit process the summer after sophomore year. Visiting colleges on your list will give you a firsthand impression of the students, faculty, staff, facilities, and programs. On a visit you can learn what the admission office is looking for in its applicants, gain a feeling for the academic and social atmosphere, see the study/living/ recreation facilities, talk with students, and get a sense of the surrounding community.

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Shared Summer Reading

By Nancy Lotz
English Instructor

Nancy LotzI spent this school year teaching Introduction to Literary Analysis to MMI eighth-graders. After careful reading, we talked and wrote about novels, a play, short stories, and poetry. I was astonished by the breadth and depth of our discussions. Completely unprepared for the idea that I would be learning from them, I happily found myself telling my students, again and again, “I’ve never thought of it that way!”

Now that the school year is over, I hope that you will look upon your child’s summer reading (both required and for pleasure) not as a chore, but as an opportunity to learn with and from your child.

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