Dobbins students and staff spend memorable last day together

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Principal of Dobbins Elementary, Michael Daley, awarded a number of fourth grade students with the President’s Award, which recognized the students for their achievements in the classroom.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Dobbins Elementary School ended their school year with an awards ceremony and a mini-Relay for Life event on June 5. The students met in the gymnasium for the awards presentation, which recognized students' accomplishments during the school year. Pictured, Holly Wilson's student, Samantha Cannon, won an award for a placemet drawing competition from the Green Team.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Dobbins Elementary's award ceremony had an emotional point when principal Michael Daley and student Jonas Ovaska announced the Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Educator Award from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association. Teachers in the school received the award for working with Ovaska through a tough year for the Ovaska family as Jonas had been diagnosed with PANDAS, a disease that left him unable to walk or write. The teachers worked hard to adapt to meet Ovaska's needs so he did not fall behind in class or socially. Pictured are Ovaska in front with teachers Katie Centofanti, Mary Hernon, Lindsey Rubesa, Kathy O'Shaughnessy, Alicia Williams, Michele Ciccone, Sara Turner, Donna Lambert, Karen Kanotz, Michael Daley, Cathy Fedor, Lauren Mechling and Nick Henry.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.In addition to an awards ceremony, the Dobbins students ran the track at the high school for a mini-Relay for Life. The students brought in donations during the day and ran the track during recess.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Dobbins mini-Relay for Life allowed the students to raise a little money while learning about the event. The students walked the same track that others will during Poland's Relay for Life event on June 23 at the high school. The event got the students thinking others and ways to improve the community.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Dobbins Elementary students celebrated the last day of school and the closing of the elementary school on June 5 with a Relay activity and an awards ceremony.

The students spent their recess period having a small event for Relay for Life. Near the end of the day, they had an awards ceremony for end of the year awards, including a final award given by the state to a teacher team for their work with a student.

“It’s just an introduction to what Relay is,” said principal Michael Daley about their Relay program. He said he wanted them to think about others and improving their community at an early age.

The school collected donations at the beginning of the day for Poland’s team. Daley and the teachers explained what the event is and why they do it. The students spent their recess running around the track at Dave Pavlansky Field, as the community will do at the Relay for Life event on June 23 at the field.

A half-hour later, Daley gathered the students in the gym for the awards ceremony. He gave a selection of fourth grade students the President’s Award, which recognized the students for their achievements in the classroom.

Daley also took time to recognize students in the Math 24 program and Samantha Cannon, who won an award from the Mahoning County Green Team for her artwork.

The assembly then took a heartfelt turn as Daley introduced the next award, the Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Educator Award from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association. The award went to the school’s teacher team for their help with Jonas Ovaska, a fourth-grade student.

“They made our family life so much better,” said Rachel Ovaska, Jonas’ mother, of the teaching team, “They really are heroes.”

Jonas Ovaska got ill in March 2017. He had flu and pneumonia, which led to more health complications, resulting in Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, otherwise known as PANDAS. The condition rendered him without the ability to write or walk and left him with poor vision and sensitive hearing.

“This story will live with me forever, reminding me of the importance of a caring school community,” stated Daley in letter to the OESCA for the award.

The teacher team of Daley, Katie Centofanti, Mary Hernon, Lindsey Rubesa, Kathy O’Shaughnessy, Alicia Williams, Michele Ciccone, Sara Turner, Donna Lambert, Karen Kanotz, Cathy Fedor, Lauren Mechling and Nick Henry all worked to help Ovaska make it through the school year on pace with the rest of the students.

The award led to standing ovation from the other teachers and a long applause from tearful students. While Ovaska’s parents worried about how he would be treated at the school, the students befriended Jonas and treated him with great compassion.

Following the assembly, the students got ready for their last dismissal from the school. The students will move over to the McKinley school building next year. Daley will move back to his former position of assistant principal at the high school.

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