Early-bird presenters that much closer to spring graduation

PUNXSUTAWNEY — It’s that time of year again. The early-bird senior projects were held Thursday at Punxsutawney Area High School for seniors who chose to take care of the required graduation projects in hopes of possibly providing a little more breathing room during the spring semester.

These are just a few of the projects presented to parents, advisors, mentors, faculty and the community Thursday night:

• Kayla Cameron’s senior project was a Vacation Bible School held at the Valier United Methodist Church over the summer.

Cameron and her mentor, Kris Grove, spent months before the camp painting and decorating props to create a Main Street-themed experience.
With only a small budget, Cameron had difficulty constructing the theme, but did not give up.

“We had a bunch of tape that didn’t hold any cardboard against the walls,” Grove said.

Despite the issues, Cameron believes the Bible school was a success.

“We had about 50 to 60 kids a week,” she said.

• Tyler Milliron’s project was riding in the Young Survival Coalition’s Tour De Pink to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness.
Milliron and the group of about 250 participants rode 235 miles from Hershey to New York City in three days: Ninety-five miles the first day, 85 the second, and 55 the third, stopping in King of Prussia, Trenton, N.J., then in New York.

Milliron — who undertook the ride in honor of his grandmother, who died of breast cancer — had a goal of raising $2,500, but went above and beyond that total, collecting $5,066.

Since Milliron was under 18, he had to ride with his cousin and mentor, Nathan Carroll.

Unfortunately, Carroll broke his collarbone five miles into the race, but Milliron, because he is such an experienced cyclist, was permitted to finish the race.

• Kelsey Burkett held a bake sale in Barclay Square during the Groundhog Festival to benefit the Tom Siple foundation. Siple lost his battle to cancer in 2008, and the foundation was created by Duane Siple, Paul Thompson and Mark Hildebrand.

The foundation is a non-profit organization that provides funding for disabled or terminally ill men and women, giving them outdoor hunting experiences.

Burkett — who baked more than 12 dozen cookies and accepted donated goods — sold many baked goods, such as cupcakes, brownies, cookies, whole cakes and pies. She also sold T-shirts and held a 50-50 drawing.
“Around $2,000 was raised, which was enough to sponsor three hunting trips,” she said.

In order to raise more funds for the foundation, Burkett will hold a spaghetti dinner at 5 p.m. Jan. 28, at the War Memorial in Big Run.

• Kyle Hoover poured and paved a sidewalk and handicapped space at the North Freedom United Methodist Church in Mayport.

Hoover, a member of the church, saw that the sidewalk was cracked and not looking very good, so he decided to do something about it.

“The cement was cracked and uneven, and I wanted to level it out.” he said.

With help from mentor Roger Baily, he poured the cement, smoothed it over and constructed a new sidewalk and handicapped space. Now, members of the church have an easier time getting into the building.