East Allegheny wins Kennywood's Education Days contest

| Thursday, April 17, 2014, 4:46 a.m.

Kenny Kangaroo hopped through East Allegheny High School on Wednesday to hail the winning video in Kennywood's Education Days contest.

“It was fun to do,” teacher Dennis Edwards said of East Allegheny's video that topped four other schools in a week-long online vote.

“We're on the map now,” said Anthonee Bercik, a senior graphics student who helped put together the video featuring Edwards and five of his colleagues.

“Oh, look at the Kennywood (mascot),” one adult said as the kangaroo passed on his way to the room where the teachers performed.

Similar surprise was expressed by one woman as she brought her young daughter to the Early Learning Center in the high school.

“Ohhhh” was the reaction, followed by applause, when Kenny and a Kennywood spokesman arrived with a large yellow arrow for the winners — as well as tickets for approximately 50 students.

The arrow was a star in all five competing videos — and is celebrating its 90th anniversary of pointing the world to West Mifflin.

“The competition out there was so good,” teacher Carl Baumgart said. “This was a collaborative effort between the graphics class and Physics II.”

Baumgart, Edwards, Rick Campbell, Brendon Walk, Ed Czapor and Alex Winschel became a lively sextet of dancing teachers in the minute-long tape.

“There were 35-40 students involved, between the kids filming and the ones who helped edit in the video,” Baumgart said.

Campbell was the first face seen on the video, starting out boring but ending up with his fellow faculty members doing hip-hop and bringing in cowbells, a spinning bicycle tire and, of course, a Kennywood arrow.

It outpolled videos by middle schoolers from Propel Homestead and high school classes from Butler, Quaker Valley and Trinity.

“We're very proud of East Allegheny School District and very proud of the teachers who continue to find fun and entertaining ways to educate students,” Kennywood spokesman Jeff Filicko said.

“(Kennywood) is what makes Western Pennsylvania unique,” principal Donald MacFann said.

“It's nice when a small school like this can pull something like this off,” senior graphics student Ken Weaver said.

“It is a dynamic group of teachers, as well as students,” MacFann said. “We have limited resources. Motivation determines what we do.”

Kennywood begins its 2014 season on May 3 at 10:30 a.m. It will be open May 10 and 11 then begin regular weekday hours on May 15.

The East Allegheny students likely will go to the May 20 Education Day, one of two scheduled at the West Mifflin park (the other is May 14) to open a new summer season there.

It was the first time for the video contest but Education Days have been a tradition at Kennywood for 28 years.

Physics, math, and architecture programs are available both days.

Communication components are added to the mix on May 14, when the park will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., while May 20 has additional science programs for a 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. agenda.

The www.kennywood.com/education-days site has more about the May 14 and 20 programs.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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