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Products from Ligonier Valley students to be available in new program

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Ruth Knobel, owner of the Ligonier store Merjo,  ooks over Adirondack chairs made by the  Ligonier Valley High School woodshop students.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Ruth Knobel, owner of the Ligonier store Merjo, ooks over Adirondack chairs made by the Ligonier Valley High School woodshop students.
From left, Betty Horrell, the owner of The Finishing Touch store, talks with R.K. Mellon Elementary School art teacher Kelly Urbani and first-grade students Teagan Peltz-Palko, Abby Luther, Nathan Smith and Sam McCall about the glass plates they made during the Valley Market at Ligonier Middle School.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
From left, Betty Horrell, the owner of The Finishing Touch store, talks with R.K. Mellon Elementary School art teacher Kelly Urbani and first-grade students Teagan Peltz-Palko, Abby Luther, Nathan Smith and Sam McCall about the glass plates they made during the Valley Market at Ligonier Middle School.

The Recognizing Amazing Merchants & Students program, a partnership between the Ligonier Valley School District and the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, will kick off next week.

Merchandise made by the students in the program will be available for sale to the public beginning 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and will continue to be sold in participating stores throughout the summer months.

The project was developed to support the district's arts programs as well as to teach the students hands-on business and marketing skills.

“The talents of our students continue to amaze me. Once again, we were able to choose from a wide selection of beautiful items including jewelry, ceramics, prints, stepping stools and even Adirondack chairs,” said Annie Urban chairperson of the education committee for the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. “I predict that the merchandise will fly off of our shelves very quickly, so we encourage everyone to shop on kick-off night.”

Students at all schools in the district and the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center produced a wide variety of products throughout the school year.

“We are excited to again be able to feature our student's creative talents through the R.A.M.S. program,” said Dr. Christine Oldham school district superintendent.

Participating R.A.M.S. merchants include: Allegory Gallery, Amica, Betsy's of Ligonier, Country Store at Compass Inn, G Squared, Main Exhibit Gallery, MerJo on Main, Second Chapter Books, The Finishing Touch, The Sweet Shoppe on the Diamond and The Toy Box.

“The students showcased their work to merchants at the Valley Market in March so the merchants could decide which products they would consign for their shop,” said Emily Tatsch business management teacher at the high school. “They make the product and learn all the aspects of a business including pricing marketing staffing and scheduling.”

Tatsch said pottery was the hot item last year along with scarves and jewelry. Paintings depicting Ligonier scenes were also very popular at the first market.

Student CEO Paul Tomosky, 18, of Bolivar said his job is to run the program for the student level.

“I keep an eye on task and assign jobs to different facets of management position,” he said.

Tomosky plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida after graduation.

He said this role gives him the opportunity to work in a leadership role.

“It will help translate to my future career with the Air Force or whatever I do,” he said.

Tina Yandrick of the Compass Inn Museum selected wooden animals for the inn's store.

“The children that came on field trips loved them last year,” she said.

Yandrick said the experience is a life lesson for the students.

“They may discover they have the talent to be a merchant in Ligonier one day,” said Holly Mowrey director of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Laurie McGinnis was looking at some of the photographic images for her book store Second Chapter Books on East Main Street.

“The photos and ceramic items sold well last year,” she said.

G-Squared owner H Childs said photos and prints sold well last year at his gallery.

“We are in support of the program. G-Squared is all about handmade American crafts,” he said.

A new group to the market this year was the first-grade produced plates with designs created by fingerprints. Four classes, 70 first grade students, made the plates.

“I'm proud. I's actually amazed,” said Nathan Smith, 6, from Kelly Urbani's class. “We will be famous.”

Don Bakewell's tech education middle school students decided to make peg boards, stools and serving trays.

“The kids had the idea of the peg boards,” Bakewell said. “It was the first item to sell out. There is a lot of creativity there.”

Urban said she is proud of the partnership with the school and the chamber members.

“This is a way to encourage people to buy local,” said Urban. “You can't get much more local than having these items created by our students.”

In addition to the selection of merchandise available in the local shops, Carol & Dave's Roadhouse and Abigail's Coffee House will sell R.A.M.S. cookbooks and The

Creamery has handmade R.A.M.S. Brownie Sundaes.

For more information, call the chamber at 724-238-4200.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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