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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:08:14 00:18:29

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Something sprouted just in time for Wyoming Area Catholic students to return to school.

The seeds they planted in the school’s new garden at the end of last year have begun to yield fresh vegetables like zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and soon, pumpkins, Principal Eileen Rishcoff said.

“They love it,” Rishcoff said of the students. “I’m just so excited for the new year.”

Students started the STEM garden at the end of last year. This year, Rishcoff said students will research ways to grow and improve it.

“I challenged my eighth graders to look for things about recycling water,” she said. “I want them to think and build it. I want them to research it. Each class will do something.”

The sprouting garden and a few other new things welcomed students back to Wyoming Area Catholic at the start of the new school year. Rishcoff said students have computer classes with new teacher Dave MacArt to look forward to this year. The formerly retired teacher will instruct classes for all students two days per week, she said. On the religious side, Wyoming Area Catholic will focus on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Year of Fatima.

“It’s 100 years since the Blessed Mother appeared to the children at Fatima,” Rishcoff said. “We’re going to focus around that, in remembrance of that anniversary.”

At Holy Rosary in Duryea, new principal Melissa Skutack started the year with a selfie stick, dropping by every classroom for a selfie with the students on their first day.

“That was very exciting,” she said.

Skutack, who taught for 10 years at Holy Rosary before assuming the post of principal, said she hopes to keep up a hands-on approach in her new position.

“I still want to be connected with the kids,” she said. “I still want to be the one that goes out and joins them for gym class or plays dodgeball with them or joins them for science projects.”

Skutack said the school is working on fundraising for a new science lab with the school’s first designer purse bingo Sunday, Oct. 22. So far, the classroom that will become the science lab has new floors, but Skutack hopes to raise funds for full lab tables.

“This is to enhance our curriculum,” she said. “We do a lot with Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science ... this will keep the program going and ... have more hands on science experiments.”

Both Holy Rosary and Wyoming Area Catholic plan to start the school year with service projects to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Wyoming Area Catholic is holding a community drive Saturday, Sept. 9. Community members can drive up to the school and drop off items like blankets, diapers, toothpaste, baby wipes, coloring books, crayons, children’s games and toys at the school from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holy Rosary’s eighth grade students will host a “fill the truck” drive for hurricane relief Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot across from the school. Skutack said they will accept donations of bottled water, cleaning supplies and other items to help people in shelters in the Houston area.

“That’s really our big thing right now,” she said. “Everything is going to get filled and taken to Texas.”

570-821-2048, @sscintoCV