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MMI recognizes first semester ‘Best of the Best’ students

Students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades delivered presentations as part of MMI Preparatory School’s annual “Best of the Best” program during an assembly held at the school. Sophomore Alyssa Sweda, the daughter of John and Jacqueline Sweda of Hazle Township, was the overall “Best of the Best” winner for the first semester for her presentation on Charleston, South Carolina.

The assembly program is designed to help MMI students improve and enhance their communication skills, which are important as they progress through high school, college, and beyond.

Additional “Best of the Best” presenters were senior Joshua Narrow, the son of Howard and Marie Narrow of Hazleton, for his presentation on Hamilton; sophomore Alexander Kline, the son of Dr. Gerard and Caterina Kline of Mountaintop, for his presentation on how to pack a suitcase; eighth grader Jacqueline Snyder, daughter of Dr. Christopher and Dr. Jill Snyder of Sugarloaf, for her presentation on superstitions; and eighth grader Louis DeAngelo, son of Grete Floryshak of Sugarloaf and Louis DeAngelo of Hazle Township, for his presentation entitled The Internet is Watching You.

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Students who take MMI entrance examination can qualify for full merit scholarship

MMI Preparatory School will be offering a full merit scholarship to the student who scores in the 95th percentile or above in one area of each section of its Entrance and Scholarship exam, which will be given on January 28, at 9 a.m. at MMI’s campus at 154 Centre Street in Freeland.

The full merit scholarship is only available to new students who sit for the Entrance and Merit Scholarship exam on January 28. The student who earns the scholarship has the opportunity to keep it throughout their time at MMI, provided they meet or exceed the established academic criteria. 

The Entrance and Merit Scholarship exam is comprehensive in nature, assessing students’ general ability (verbal and quantitative), reading comprehension and mathematic achievement. Writing skills are tested as well with a short essay.

To register for the exam, please call the admissions office at 570-636-1108 by January 26. The exam will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and all registrants are encouraged to report to MMI’s Coxe Commons by 8:45 a.m. 

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MMI team places third in annual Bloomsburg University Math Contest

A team of four MMI Preparatory School students placed third in all three categories in the annual Bloomsburg University Math Contest.

The team of Ali Aijaz, Anirban Chowdhury, Allison McGeehan and Nicholas Young placed third in Brain Teasers, Quiz Bowl and the Game of 24 card challenge. Ali Aijaz is the son of Fakhruddin and Dr. Naghma Aijaz, Mountaintop; Anirban Chowdhury is the son of Bhaskar and Saumitri Chowdhury, Hazle Township; Allison McGeehan is the daughter of Thomas and Sandra McGeehan, Drums; and Nicholas Young is the son of Christian and Nicole Young, Freeland.

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MMI students qualify for 2016-17 State Journalism Contest

Four MMI Preparatory School students qualified to compete in the Pennsylvania School Press Association 2016-17 State Journalism Contest during a regional competition at Penn State University’s Berks Campus.

Joshua Narrow, Danielle Pileggi, Julia Snyder and Chava Kornblatt earned the right to travel to Penn State’s University Park campus on March 29, 2017, to vie for the state championship in their respective categories. Danielle Pileggi and Julia Snyder both qualified in the Literary Magazine Art category, Joshua Narrow qualified in the Literary Magazine Poetry category and Chava Kornblatt qualified in the Yearbook Caption Writing category.

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MMI selects Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar representatives for 2017

MMI Preparatory School sophomores Desiree Petrick and Elizabeth Eckhart were selected to represent MMI at the 2017 Central Pennsylvania Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) seminar, which will be held May 18-21 at Shippensburg University.

Desiree Petrick is the granddaughter of John Petrick, Freeland and Elizabeth Eckhart is the daughter of Charles and Kim Eckhart, Lehighton.

The four-day HOBY seminar focuses on the theme “Empower. Lead. Excel” while encouraging the young leaders to display responsible citizenship, including community service and volunteerism. Each September, HOBY sophomore registration kits are sent to more than 22,000 public, private, and charter high schools in the United States.

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Six MMI student-athletes receive fall sports honors

Six MMI student-athletes were honored for their performance during the fall sports season. Senior Dana Carrato was named to the Wyoming Valley Coaches Association Second Team and juniors Madison Perchak and Lauryn Banyas were honorable mention selections.

The Citizens’ Voice selected junior George Palermo (golf), sophomore Jessica McClellan (golf), senior Elizabeth Pinto (tennis) and senior Dana Carrato (volleyball) to its All Star teams in their respective sports.

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MMI sophomore advances to Pennsylvania finals in national Poetry Out Loud competition

MMI Preparatory School sophomore Andrew Decker captured the regional Poetry Out Loud competition against students from parts of six counties and will advance to the state finals March 5-6, 2017 in Harrisburg. The winner of the state competition advances to the national championship in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Decker is the son of Aaron Decker, Kingston, and Elizabeth and Troy Topolski, Sugarloaf.

Jennifer Novotney, MMI English instructor and Poetry Out Loud adviser, said, “Andrew did a fantastic job and we are all very proud of him. It is an honor to have him represent MMI Preparatory School at the state finals.”

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Jennifer Novotney receives National High School Teacher of Excellence Award

MMI Preparatory School English instructor Jennifer Novotney was one of only 13 teachers from across the country to receive the National High School Teacher of Excellence Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

The NCTE honors recipients with the High School Teacher of Excellence Award to recognize and celebrate exceptional high school classroom teachers. Novotney accepted her award during the annual conference in Atlanta in November where she was also a general session presenter during the second day of the four-day convention.

In his nomination remarks, MMI Assistant Head of School Charles Seidel said Novotney “is an exceptional teacher who always strives to bring out the best in her students. Additionally, she is always seeking to learn new methods and pedagogy and enjoys sharing her new insights with those around her. She is creative with her lessons, but sees her students as much more than vessels to be filled. She seeks to develop critical thinking skills, communication, collaboration, and creativity in all she does.”

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MMI holds annual Founders’ Day ceremony

Students at MMI Preparatory School honored their school’s founders, Eckley Brinton Coxe, and his wife, Sophia Georgianna Coxe, during an assembly at the school and graveside service on Wednesday, giving thanks for the Coxes’ contributions to the school and the area.

Students were treated to a Thanksgiving lunch, with the Parents Association providing pies and drinks, and an all-school assembly. Senior class officers presented a history of Eckley Coxe’s life, including the mining industry and the beginning days of the Mining and Mechanical Institute, the school he founded that is now known as MMI Preparatory School. They also spoke about Sophia Coxe’s contributions and generosity to the area. At the conclusion of the assembly, the senior class officers traveled to the grounds of St. James Episcopal Church in Drifton, where they held a wreath-laying ceremony at the gravesites of Mr. and Mrs. Coxe, more than 120 years after Eckley Coxe’s death.

Speakers included Olivia Minzola, senior class secretary, who presented a history of MMI Preparatory School; Dana Carrato, senior class president, who provided information about Sophia Coxe; Nicholas Young, senior class treasurer, who spoke about Eckley Coxe; and Kevin Cibak, senior class vice president, who talked about the meaning of Thanksgiving. The Rev. Lawrence Barriger, MMI faculty member, provided closing remarks.

The school also welcomed back young alumni from the last six graduating years to visit with faculty, staff and students in the Joseph A. Turri ’45 Library and Learning Center.

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MMI students compete in school’s Poetry Out Loud competition

Sophomore Andrew Decker won MMI Preparatory School’s Poetry Out Loud competition for the second consecutive year and will represent MMI in the televised regional Poetry Out Loud competition on December 7 at the WVIA-TV studios in Pittston. Senior Gabriella DeMelfi placed second and junior Chava Kornblatt finished third.

Andrew Decker is the son of Aaron Decker, Kingston, and Elizabeth and Troy Topolski, Sugarloaf. Gabriella DeMelfi is the daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi of Hazleton, and Chava Kornblatt is the daughter of Joseph and Georgia Kornblatt of Kingston. 

Jennifer Novotney, Katherine Zucco and Madison Below served as judges and Novotney is the MMI Poetry Out Loud faculty adviser.

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MMI holds National Honor Society inductions

MMI Preparatory School recently inducted 43 new members of the Andrew J. Stofan Chapter of the National Honor Society during a ceremony at the school.

MMI Interim Head of School D. Scott Wiggins welcomed guests and adviser and faculty member Donna Titus gave opening remarks and introduced the guest speaker, Captain Charles Stoffa ’88.

During the induction ceremony, chapter officers gave presentations on the criteria of the National Honor Society for its membership. Historian Gabriella Kupsho presented the history of the National Honor Society, Secretary Stephanie Zellner spoke about service, Treasurer Nicholas Young talked about scholarship, Vice President Lois Polashenski gave a speech on character and President Samuel Sessock spoke about leadership and inducted the new members.

Adviser and faculty member Katherine Zucco recognized the junior and senior members and gave closing remarks. MMI senior Gabriella DeMelfi provided musical accompaniment.

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MMI crowns Harvest King and Queen

MMI Preparatory School crowned Lacee Gera and Kisan Patel, pictured at center in the first row, its 2016 Harvest Queen and King during MMI’s annual Harvest Dance on Nov. 5. Additional court members were Elizabeth Pinto (first row far left), Erin Sari (first row far right), Garrett Kost (second row far left) and Keenan Overa (second row far right). Also pictured in the second row are MMI Interim Head of School D. Scott Wiggins and Parent Association representative Andrea Putnam.

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Freeland American Legion honors MMI senior for attending PA American Legion’s Keystone Boys’ State program

The Freeland American Legion honored MMI Preparatory School senior Garrett Kost following his attendance at the Pennsylvania American Legion’s Keystone Boys State program this past summer. Garrett Kost is the son of Joseph and Natalie Kost of Freeland.

Keystone Boys’ State is a week-long program held at Shippensburg University where rising high school senior boys from across the state gather to learn about Pennsylvania’s system of government. The 250 participants were divided into eight simulated cities, two simulated counties, and one simulated state. The students learned how to draft city laws and ordinances as well as the process of attempting to pass bills in counties and the state House of Representatives and Senate.

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MMI to hold Visitation Night on November 16

MMI Preparatory School will hold fall Visitation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 16, starting at 6 p.m. where families can learn more about an MMI education and the advantages the school offers for their children. Visitation Night gives students and parents an opportunity to come to MMI and explore the campus.

Families will learn about the small class sizes and individual attention at MMI. They will also get details about the school’s curriculum, which includes Advanced Placement classes, financial aid, athletics and extracurricular activities. Light refreshments will be offered. Families will also have the opportunity to tour the campus.

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MMI holds Science and Math National Honor Society inductions

MMI Preparatory School inducted 23 new members into the Science National Honor Society and 16 new members into the Mathematics National Honor Society during a ceremony at the school.

During the ceremony, Assistant Head of School Charles Seidel welcomed guests, and National Science Honor Society Advisor Michael Mele introduced the officers of the two honor societies. Jonathan Smith, president of MMI’s Mathematics National Honor Society chapter, and Ali Aijaz, president of the MMI’s Science National Honor Society chapter, each gave a speech. National Math Honor Society Advisor Susan Moyer introduced the guest speaker, William Van Horn ’98. MMI Interim Head of School D. Scott Wiggins gave closing remarks. Skyler Stabin provided piano accompaniment.

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Two MMI students qualify for WVIA Artist of the Year competition

MMI Preparatory School seniors Garrett Kost and Danielle Pileggi will be featured on WVIA-TV Artist of the Week segments and are among the finalists for the WVIA Artist of the Year Award.

Garrett Kost and Danielle Pileggi visited the WVIA studios in Pittston to record a one-minute Artist of the Week piece that will appear on WVIA-TV the week of Jan. 15-21 and online at wvia.org for a year.

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Wister Quartet performs piece MMI students composed as part of their professional tour

The Wister Quartet, a nationally-renowned and Grammy-nominated chamber ensemble, opened their 2016-2017 season with a premiere performance of a song composed by students from MMI Preparatory School.

The Wister Quartet, along with guitarist Allen Krantz, performed “Song for Peace,” which MMI students composed last fall, on October 17 for the 1807 & Friends Concert series at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. The concert featured music of famous composers such as Boccherini, Barrios and Brahms, as well as a world premiere from Frank James Staneck, in addition to the professional premiere of “Song for Peace.”

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Five MMI seniors recognized in National Merit Scholarship Program

Five MMI Preparatory School seniors were recognized as Semifinalists or Commended Students in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Ali Aijaz, Anirban Chowdhury, Allison McGeehan and Nicholas Young were among a national field of just 16,000 students to be named Semifinalists, while Samuel Sessock was among only 34,000 individuals who were selected as Commended Students in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

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MMI students attend PA Governor’s School for the Sciences

MMI Preparatory School seniors Anirban Chowdhury, the son of Bhaskar and Saumitri Chowdhury of Hazle Township, and Ali Aijaz, the son of Fakhruddin and Dr. Naghma Aijaz of Mountaintop, attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University this summer. The pair joined high school students from across the state to complete research and problem-solving projects.

The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences is an annual summer enrichment program for rising high school seniors. The program hosts some of the state’s brightest students for five weeks and provides them with course work and lab work in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and mathematics.

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MMI welcomes new group of four into Wall of Fame

MMI Preparatory School held its 11th annual Wall of Fame dinner on Saturday, September 17, welcoming four new members to its Wall of Fame.

Established in 2006, the MMI Wall of Fame honors alumni in addition to past faculty, staff, and board members who have distinguished themselves in the areas of athletics, business, sciences, education, government, public service, the arts, or humanities. Wall of Fame inductees are selected in the following categories: Athletic Achievement, Community Service, Service to MMI, and Professional Achievement.

During this year’s dinner and awards ceremony, the following inductees joined the Wall of Fame: John E. Hollis ’64 (Athletic Achievement), Lewis J. Matuella ’77 (Athletic Achievement), the late Dr. Thomas J. Conahan ’26 (Community Service), and Llewellyn F. Dryfoos, III ’82 (Community Service).

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MMI art instructor earns prestigious Master of Arts degree

MMI Preparatory School art instructor Lisa Marie Ferry recently earned the prestigious Master of Arts degree in Art Education with an Emphasis in Special Populations from Moore College of Art and Design. It is the only degree of its kind in the country and they are very selective in the application process. The rigorous program trains and empowers art educators to develop skills for adapting and implementing strategies that enrich the lives of all learners.

Once accepted into the master’s program, candidates develop and test innovative techniques through their action-based research in a field setting, while critically assessing art education policies and documenting the study of contemporary art education issues for diverse learners.

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MMI students attend Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship with peers from 20 countries

MMI Preparatory School seniors Keenan Overa, Katherine Eschenbach and Jessica Smith were among a select group of students from 20 different countries who attended the month-long Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University in July.

The program is open to sophomores and juniors ages 15-18, who were selected to attend during the 2015-2016 school year. The Global Entrepreneurship program exposed the students to the topics of entrepreneurship, globalization, team building, project management, leadership and working within a culturally diverse environment and ignited the students’ spirit of creativity, innovation and learning.

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MMI opens 2016-17 school year with multiple facility upgrades

The MMI Preparatory School campus was full of activity this summer and students saw multiple facility upgrades both inside and outside the school when they returned to classes on August 23 to open the 2016-17 school year.

Highlights of the facility improvements include ongoing construction on a new multi-purpose building near MMI’s athletic fields, improved drainage at the baseball and softball fields and new display cases outside the library to house Native American artifacts that were donated by an MMI alumnus.

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Jessica McClellan captures Wyoming Valley Country Club Invitational golf tournament

MMI Preparatory School rising sophomore Jessica McClellan, the daughter of Bruce and Patricia McClellan of Freeland, scored a 94 to capture the Girls 9-10 grade division of the Wyoming Valley Country Club Invitational at the Wyoming Valley Country Club in Wilkes-Barre. McClellan defeated five other golfers in her first year competing in the annual event. The tournament has four divisions for boys and girls in grades 9-10 and 11-12.

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MMI senior attends PA American Legion Keystone Boys State civic leadership program

MMI Preparatory School rising senior Garrett Kost, the son of Joseph and Natalie Kost of Freeland, was selected to attend the Pennsylvania American Legion Keystone Boys State civic leadership program at Shippensburg University. More than 230 rising high school seniors from across Pennsylvania attended the weeklong program in June.

The students learned about leadership, state and local government and civic participation. Participants are among the best and brightest of Pennsylvania’s future leaders.

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Four MMI students compete at FBLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta

Four MMI Preparatory School students competed at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Rising senior Allison McGeehan placed fifth in the nation for Business Law.

McGeehan was one of 55 Pennsylvania students to earn a national award. She will serve the state chapter on the Executive Committee as the Pennsylvania FBLA State Reporter for 2016-2017. Of her experience, McGeehan said, “Getting to spend a week in Atlanta with both my MMI and state office families was really amazing, and the pride I felt representing not only my school but all of Pennsylvania FBLA on the national stage is something I will never forget."

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MMI art instructor selected to give presentation at state art education conference

MMI Preparatory School art instructor Lisa Marie Ferry was selected to give a presentation at the 2016 Pennsylvania Art Education Association conference, which will be held October 7-9 in Philadelphia.

Ferry’s presentation is entitled “Using Postmodern Principles in Art Education Curriculum to Alleviate Anxiety” and will give participants knowledge and understanding of how to create art activities and an art journaling kit based on postmodern principles to help alleviate anxiety and stress symptoms. Presentation proposals were blind reviewed by two members of a committee of art educators from a variety of divisions.

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Eight MMI students selected for Junior Leadership programs

Eight MMI Preparatory School incoming juniors were selected to participate in Junior Leadership programs for the 2016-17 school year.

Lauren Babinetz, Sydney Karpowich, Gabriella Kupsho, John Malay, Caelyn McGran, George Palermo and Caitlyn Kline will participate in the Junior Leadership Hazleton program. Angelica Alday will be a member of the Junior Leadership Wilkes-Barre class.

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MMI team receives Judges Choice Award in regional Botball Tournament

A team of 10 MMI Preparatory School students received the Judges Choice Award for Outstanding Engineering during the New York/New Jersey region Botball Tournament, which was held in May in Rahway, New Jersey. MMI was the only school from Pennsylvania among the 16 teams that competed in the event.

MMI students Jay Solgama, Erin Sari, Gabriella DeMelfi, Megan Marchetti, Lois Polashenski, Stephanie Zellner, Garrett Kost, Dillon Merenich, Samuel Sessock and Niklas Byriel competed in the event. MMI computer science instructor Justin Vincent was the student adviser for the competition.

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MMI sweeps top three places in regional Stock Market Game competition

MMI Preparatory School teams swept the top three positions in the seventh and eighth grade division in the year-long edition of the Stock Market Game for the University of Scranton region. The competition’s objective is to introduce participants to the fundamentals of investing.

The team of Ayla Cooper, Carly Pennington, Harriet Wilson and Maya Rizkalla captured first place in the competition. Madyson Hornack, Benjamin Putnam, Joshua Serock and Grant Warren came in second. Emily Ankiewicz, Catrina Havrilla, Adam Tron, Macy Zenier and Abigail Walters finished third. MMI social sciences instructor Michael Scarlato was the student adviser for the competition.

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Alday, Heft named Hazleton Elks Teens of the Year

MMI Preparatory School Class of 2016 graduates Andrew Alday and Shaelyn Heft were recently named the Hazleton Elks Lodge #200 Teenagers of the Year.

This is the second year in a row that two MMI Preparatory School students received the honor. Claire Sheen and Michael Eisenhart were the 2015 Teenagers of the Year. MMI also had both a male and female student receive the award in 2010.

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MMI students, instructor honored by Northeastern PA Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

Five MMI Preparatory School Spanish students were honored for being among the top students in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Alexander Sessock, Frederick Mejia, Maxwell Santana, Ali Aijaz and Daniel Tron, as well as MMI Spanish instructor Dennis Clarke, received awards during the local chapter’s Spanish Contest Awards dinner in May.

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MMI students will attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference

MMI Preparatory School rising juniors Jett Chen, Chava Kornblatt and Stephanie Zellner were selected to attend the 2016 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference, which will be held June 26-30 at Keystone College in La Plume.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference is a program for high school students completing their sophomore year who have shown leadership potential in their home, school and community. The conference is designed to introduce participants to thoughts and ideas which, if utilized, will strengthen and develop their leadership skills. It also provides an environment where participants may discuss and exchange their ideas with other students.

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MMI instructor Jennifer Novotney to receive High School Teacher of Excellence Award

MMI Preparatory School English instructor Jennifer Novotney has been selected by the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English Language Arts as one of only 10 national recipients of the 2016 High School Teachers of Excellence Award and was chosen from among 1,700 applicants to give a presentation during the National Council of Teachers of English organization’s annual convention.

The High School Teachers of Excellence Award is sponsored by the Secondary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Novotney will be honored in an awards presentation on November 19 at the Secondary Section Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Marci Hosier
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