Lehighton Area School Board recognized students' achievements at their meeting last evening. LAHS Assistant Principal Craig Reichl brought to the attention of the school board some of the good things that students are doing. nHe introduced Susan Anthony, Shoemaker-Haydt Unit 314 Legion Auxiliary Essay Chairman. She proudly reported that in the four county area of Carbon, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties, LASD has three of the top five winners. These students will now move on to the state competition. Anthony will keep LASD updated.

Reichl then introduced Dr. Barbara Belón, President of Lehighton Rotary Club. She said, "One of the thrusts of Rotary is literacy." With this in mind, Rotary recently sponsored an essay contest for high school juniors with the theme "Service Above Self - What It Means to Me." Belón reported that out of the many entries received from LAHS students, Cierra House took first place honors, Nick Mantz second, and Carter McCandless third. House now moves on to the district competition. Belón will also keep LASD posted.

Both Anthony and Belón thanked LASD for their cooperation in allowing students to participate in their respective essay contests. Reichl specifically thanked the teachers involved. School Board President David Krause extended congratulations to these students from the school board, stressing the importance of writing.

In other business, Lehighton Area Education Association President Annette Boyle read a brief statement - indicating that LASD employees "welcome the opportunity to help the school district through this difficult time." This refers to the financial matters that school districts are currently facing with the budget proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

Superintendent James Kraky updated the school board on the LASD Building Task Force Committee. This committee - which is made up of a large cross-section of approximately 30 community members - has been studying various options for a possible new middle school building for the past several months. It is the opinion of this committee that a new building would be the best choice for the school district in the long run.

If the school board agrees, the committee recommends that the new building should be constructed on the property of the current middle school. Under this plan, the gymnasium and auditorium areas of the current building would remain. The new middle school structure would be built in the area of the south parking lot - so as not to interfere with classes at the current middle school during construction. Upon completion of the new building, the current middle school to the north of the gymnasium and auditorium would be torn down.

Kraky stressed that the committee recommends moving ahead with a new building "only if it does not put taxpayers in financial distress and only if the state helps financially." He reported that the LASD Building Task Force Committee has served its initial purpose and is "on hold" for right now and will reconvene as needed.

LAHS Principal Timothy Tkach thanked everyone for their support of the play that was held this past weekend. He was particularly impressed with the special effects that were staged.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) received approval to stage an automobile accident on school property on Friday, May 13. The purpose is to remind students to make responsible decisions when operating and riding in motor vehicles. The Prom will take place that same evening.

Approval was also granted for the high school Senior Class Outing on Friday, May 20 at Split Rock Lodge - at no cost to the district. Tkach stressed that should there be any insubordination or any other misconduct, the student(s) involved may be excluded from participation in Commencement. That is scheduled for Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m.

The school board recognized that this has been "a tough weather year." With this in mind, they approved athletic competitions on Sundays for all 2011 spring athletic teams - only as necessary - if both schools involved cannot satisfy their athletic schedules during the week.

As the final order of business, the school board named LAHS Social Studies teacher James Corpora Interim Student Activities / Athletic Director. Corpora replaces Shawn Hindy who resigned from that position, effective April 1, 2011.

The next meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at the LASD Administration Building.