Kelly Misch 440-286-0409

Senior’s vocals shine in finals

Chardon High School senior Olivia Nelson, who advanced this summer to a top 10 finalist spot in the Shining Star CLE 2021 solo-singing competition for Northeast Ohio high school vocalists, shined in the final event that aired live on Aug. 29 with her pre-recorded solo of “In My Dreams,” landing the first runner-up spot to earn a $5,000 college scholarship prize.

Shining Star CLE is a fundraiser event for the Menorah Park Foundation.

During an interview spot by Shining Star CLE on the night of the show, Olivia explained that though always singing as a child, she never participated in musicals because she was shy and did not want to sing in public. She added that as she entered middle and high school, she grew more comfortable through town shows and musical theater. Olivia’s activities through the high school include the school’s chamber choir, Free Harmony show choir and musicals.

“I was genuinely surprised and so starstruck for being able to be in this (Shining Star CLE 2021) competition,” said Olivia during the live-streamed show on Aug. 29. “Everyone is so talented, so it’s very humbling of an experience to be with such talented individuals.”

Hilltoppers are no stranger to the Shining Star CLE, bringing their talent to the show in a number of recent years. In 2020, CHS senior Ethan Peterson won first place, while other prior top-tier CHS performers in the competition have included 2020 graduate Madie Houser and 2018 graduate Kirsten Henry.

“Chardon schools is grateful for the community’s support of Hilltoppers year after year,” said Communications Director Kelly Misch. “Each year, once the judges select the final four contestants during the final event, the vote is opened to viewers, and we are extremely proud of our talented students and appreciative of all who tune in to the show in support of our students.”

A recording of the Shining Star CLE virtual show can be accessed at

New classroom strategy a success

Hilltopper faculty works to keep teaching formats flexible and innovative in order to enhance the student learning experience, according to Chardon Local Schools. An example of this is taking place in Chardon High School social studies teacher Melissa Downs’ modern world history course.

Freshman students in Ms. Downs’ class had the opportunity on Aug. 31 to embark on a Edutopia concept called Walking Notes.

By implementing the Walking Notes strategy, rather than the traditional teacher-as-presenter and student-as-listener format, Ms. Downs printed out her usual Google Slides presentation and posted the information in various areas of the classroom. As a result, physical activity was incorporated into the classroom setting and students were able to work at their own pace. This strategy is most suitable for learning that does not require a linear order of information delivery.

“Students were engaged and collaborating the entire time all while working at their own pace,” said Ms. Downs.

Edutopia is a website-based informational service that shares evidence and practitioner-based learning strategies to empower teachers to improve K-12 learning.

Chardon bids farewell to retirees

The Chardon Local School District gave their grateful salute to 23 staff members who retired from the district in the past 12 months. Retirees include 10 faculty members and 13 staff members from the business affairs department.

Faculty retirees include: Tim Armelli, Scott Brown, Margie Kreft and Wes Wertz from Chardon High School; John Butala IV, Bob Condon, Jim DiPofi, Steve Patterson and Nancy Taylor from Chardon Middle School; and Sheryl Skufca from Park Elementary.

From the business affairs department, retirees include: Jan Hoffmann, district head nurse; Sandy Dickinson, CHS kitchen assistant and district bus assistant; Gretchen Wolfe, business affairs secretary; Sue Puleo, CHS guidance secretary; Dina DiSanto, CMS secretary; transportation supervisor and bus driver Bob Thompson; bus drivers Karen Barnes, Sherian Bracale, Anne Brazis and Diane Jewell; CHS head custodian Dee Dee Jeavons; CMS custodian Debbie Rastall; and Mark Wilhelm from the district maintenance department.

“Chardon Local Schools is sincerely grateful for their years of dedication to Hilltopper students and the school community and wishes all the very best in their next chapter,” said Kelly Misch, district communications director.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.