Chardon School News
September 9, 2021 by Staff Report

Chardon High School senior Olivia Nelson, who advanced this summer to a top 10 finalist spot in the Shining Star CLE 2021 solo-singing competition for Northeast Ohio high school vocalists...

Senior Rises to Runner-Up

Chardon High School senior Olivia Nelson, who advanced this summer to a top 10 finalist spot in the Shining Star CLE 2021 solo-singing competition for Northeast Ohio high school vocalists, shined in the final event that aired live on Aug. 29 with her pre-recorded solo of “In My Dreams,” landing her the first runner-up spot with a $5,000 college scholarship prize and memories for a lifetime.

Shining Star CLE is an annual fundraiser event for the Menorah Park Foundation.

During a pre-recorded interview spot by Shining Star CLE on the night of the live show, Nelson explained that though always singing as a child, she never participated in musicals because she was very shy and did not want to sing in public. She added that once she was in middle school and then high school, she grew more comfortable through town shows and musical theater and it was then that she fell in love with being a vocalist.

Nelson’s activities through CHS include the school’s chamber choir, Free Harmony show choir and musicals.

“I was genuinely surprised and so starstruck for being able to be in this (Shining Star CLE 2021) competition,” said Nelson during the interview spot live-streamed at the Aug. 29 event. “Everyone is so talented so it’s very humbling of an experience to be with such talented individuals.”

Hilltoppers are no stranger to the Shining Star CLE, bringing their talent to the show in a number of recent years. In 2020, CHS senior Ethan Peterson won first place, while other prior top-tier CHS performers in the competition have included Madie Houser (‘20) and Kirsten Henry (‘18).

“Chardon Schools is grateful for the community’s support of Hilltoppers year after year,” said communications director Kelly Misch. “Each year, once the judges select the final four contestants during the final event, the vote is opened to viewers. We are extremely proud of our talented students and appreciative of all who tune in to the annual show in support of them.”

A recording of the Shining Star CLE virtual show can be accessed at

Edutopia Walking Notes Success

Hilltopper faculty is continually striving to keep the teaching format flexible and innovative in order to enhance the student learning experience.

As one example, freshman students in Chardon High School social studies teacher Melissa Downs’ Modern World History course had the opportunity on Aug. 31 to embark on an Edutopia concept called Walking Notes.

By implementing the Walking Notes strategy, rather than the traditional teacher-as-presenter and student-as-listener format, Ms. Downs printed out her usual Google Slides presentation and posted the information in various areas of the classroom. As a result, physical activity was incorporated into the classroom setting and students were able to work at their own pace. This strategy is most suitable for learning that does not require a linear order of information delivery.

“Students were engaged and collaborating the entire time all while working at their own pace,” said Ms. Downs. “Thank you Edutopia for the unique way to use lecture notes.”

Edutopia is a website-based informational service that shares evidence and practitioner-based learning strategies to empower teachers to improve K-12 learning.

Salute to District Retirees

The district extends a grateful salute to the 23 staff members who retired from the district over the past 12 months.

Faculty retirees include Tim Armelli, Scott Brown, Margie Kreft and Wes Wertz from Chardon High School; John Butala IV, Bob Condon, Jim DiPofi, Steve Patterson and Nancy Taylor from Chardon Middle School; and Sheryl Skufca from Park Elementary School.

From the business affairs department, retirees include: Jan Hoffmann, district head nurse; Sandy Dickinson, CHS kitchen assistant and district bus assistant; Gretchen Wolfe, business affairs secretary; Sue Puleo, CHS guidance secretary; Dina DiSanto, CMS secretary; transportation supervisor and bus driver Bob Thompson; bus drivers Karen Barnes, Sherian Bracale, Anne Brazis and Diane Jewell; CHS head custodian Dee Dee Jeavons; CMS custodian Debbie Rastall; and Mark Wilhelm from the district’s maintenance department.

“Chardon Local Schools is sincerely grateful for their years of dedication to Hilltopper students and the school community, and we wish each of them all the very best in their next chapter,” said district communications director Kelly Misch.