At the Lehighton Area School Board meeting Monday evening, board members, administrators, teachers, staff, and students were praised for their community-oriented efforts.

Lehighton Area High School student Jeff Ebbert thanked the school district for their assistance in helping to raise money for his friend, Stacey Stafiniak. A 2011 LAHS graduate, Stafiniak underwent emergency heart valve replacement surgery this summer. Ebbert sprang into action and decided to change his graduation project to a fundraiser for his friend.

A breakfast/car wash/bake sale was held in her honor on Sunday, Aug. 7 at Saint John's Lutheran Church in Mahoning Valley. All proceeds benefited Stafiniak.

Sherry Stafiniak also thanked the school district and the community for the "tremendous outpouring of support" for her daughter.

Also thanking LASD last evening was Lisa Radcliff of The Seeing Eye, an organization providing blind individuals with independence and dignity since 1929. When Seeing Eye puppies reach the age of seven or eight weeks, they are delivered to the homes of volunteer "foster families" who nurture and care for the dogs until they are about 16 to 18 months old. Families in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and parts of Maryland and New York give the dogs abundant affection, teach them basic obedience, and expose them to a variety of social situations that they are likely to encounter as working dogs.

One such "foster parent" is Jan Wentz, a LASD elementary teacher. As part of the training, Wentz would bring her dog "Charlie" to Mahoning Elementary School throughout the school year. Many of the students bonded with Charlie.

According to Wentz, "It has been a very good experience for everyone."

She thanked the school board and especially Principal Aaron Sebelin for his support.

"Meet the Tribe" Night is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Lehighton Football Stadium. The program will include the introduction of all student-athletes and coaches participating in fall sports programs, as well as a performance by the Indian band and cheerleaders. Admission to the event is free, but the public is encouraged to bring canned goods that will be donated to a local food bank.

In other business, the school board hired Carly Finkboner as full-time, permanent speech and language teacher.

Monday, Aug. 29 is the first day of school for the 2011–2012 school year for students in LASD.

The next meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at LASD Administration Building, Conference Room A. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

For more information about LASD, visit www.Lehighton.org.