Thursday, June 9, 2022

STUDENT OPINION: A Year to Remember

Another year has come and gone, and a lot of memories were made along the way. We asked students to recount their favorite memories from this year to celebrate the end of school. Welcome to summer NAHS!

Adam Kollgaard                                                      
Grade 11

"My favorite memory was going to states at Hershey for cross country!" 


Isaac Kutzura
Grade 11

"Playing ultimate frisbee with [all my friends] in the court and gym!"


Kaylyn Gurreri
Grade 11

"Definitely being part of a live theater performance again! Little
 Shop of Horrors was such an amazing show to do, and it was
 such an amazing feeling to sing in front of an actual audience again.
 Also, we were able to truly become a theater team again!" 


Travis Hann
Grade 11 (but graduated early this year) 

"It's gotta be physics labs...all of them, but specifically the disaster that was the one where we tried to measure gravity with the protractor and it went poorly."


Secret Senior 

Grade 12

"It's absolutely the time I had at the sunshine super bowl,
dressing up as Spider-Man and running around completely
unannounced. Although I ended up dehydrated and at a very
uncomfortable body temperature by the end of it, it was
probably the most fun I've had at a school event. I ran around
giving people high fives, taking pictures, and hitting the griddy
and doing Fortnight dances behind the Block of Rock while
 they performed their set. 10/10 would absolutely do it again!"

Saturday, June 4, 2022

NEWS: Parade of Graduates

by Ethan Bachstein, freshman

As the 2021-2022 school year draws to a close and the summer approaches, so too does the high school career of our seniors. So, to honor them, Nazareth Area High School hosts an annual pre-graduation celebration ceremony: the Parade of Graduates.

The decorated convoy left the lower parking lot at 6:30, and went on a parade through the immediate Nazareth Area. They were led by Nazareth’s fire brigade and several police cars with lights blazing and sirens blaring. The seniors made their way up to Rita’s on 191, through the circle on Main, then finally ended full circle back at the high school.

Just beyond the high school, parents and staff were waiting for the seniors with signs of love and pride. As the parade passed by, everyone was cheering and clapping, congratulating our hardworking seniors and wishing them luck with a final send off as they enter the next chapter of their story.

Best of luck seniors!

Monday, April 4, 2022

NEWS: Senior vs. Staff Volleyball Game: A Fundraiser for LLS

by: Kyrra Styczynski

As some of you may or may not know, every year Nazareth has a Senior vs Faculty game. This year's game is volleyball! The game will be on April 29th at 6 pm and will be held in the high school gym. We started this tradition in 2017 to commemorate the seniors and raise money for a good cause. All funds from this game will go to the foundation LLS, better known as the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Seniors can still sign up until April 8th, after which signups will open to underclassmen. To play in the game it costs 5 dollars. If you wish to sign up, go to Miss Greene in room 317. To come and watch the game it only costs 2 dollars. All staff, students, parents, and community members are welcome and encouraged to come to this event. The event colors are blue and white. Players will be wearing white shirts and the audience is welcome to wear their Nazareth pride colors along with them!

A special thank you goes to the Interact Club for continuing and founding this tradition, as well as Miss Greene for giving us all of the information on the event! News From the Nest will continue to follow this event until game night. A few surprise interviews from the staff and students playing will be hidden in the articles, so stay tuned. Good luck seniors! Good luck staff! And Go Blue Eagles!

NEWS: Student Invitational Art Exhibit

by Katie Appleman, junior

On March 27th our very own Eagles Nest Gallery held their annual Student Invitational Art Show. The show was a chance for students to show off their pieces from their current year art classes and classes from the previous year as covid prevented a show last year. Artists were able to attend the show to better explain their pieces and the messages associated with them. The show was not only for 2D art. There were many 3D art and ceramics pieces as well. To exhibit in the show, students had to submit their work for evaluation and wait for it to be selected. 
Artwork by Ashley Cappetta

All of the pieces were very professional, and the vision and dedication was apparent in each one. Ashely Cappetta made this very clear. She created an oil pastel portrait of a woman being stepped on by a shoe. This was piece she made in AP art this year, and was very excited to show off.
Artwork by Morgan Bayda

The featured piece for the show was a Watercolor landscape by Morgan Bayda. It was selected and printed on posters and postcards for artists to send out to their families to help get the word out. 

This show would not have been possible without the tireless planning from Mrs. Ruvalo, Ms. Samuelson, and Mrs. Miller. Mrs. Miller said it was a very good experience for the students. She was also very excited to have a normal show post-COVID.

Monday, March 14, 2022

OPINION: Open Letter - Give Us a Break

 by Kaylie Kirkham, junior

An Open Letter to the NASD School Board

I moved to the Nazareth Area School District at the start of my 8th grade year. Previous to that, I had lived in Houston, Texas for 12 years. Obviously, there were a lot of differences between my old school district and NASD, but the most noticeable difference for me was the short holiday breaks. I grew up getting 5 school days off for both Thanksgiving and Spring Break, as well as 10 or more school days off for Christmas Break. I was shocked at the meager long weekend Fall/Spring breaks and one week Christmas break that NASD provided.

This year, the 2021-2022 school calendar for NASD consisted of three Holiday Breaks: 5 days at Thanksgiving, 10 days at Christmas, and 4 days at Easter (all of which include weekends). In actuality, 8 of those “days off” are on Saturday/Sunday, which we would already have off of school. The School Board simply isn’t giving students enough time off to destress from school.

School is very taxing on students. We have to get up early to attend classes and stay up late to finish our mounds of homework due the following day. Not to mention the extra hours of studying for and stressing over tests. KidsHealth conducted a survey of students and their stress levels during the school year. The results of the study reported that 32% of students attribute high stress levels to school work issues and 30% attribute high stress levels to the social pressures of school (Bratsis). All of this stress compounds over time and it can have both physical and mental effects. Cynthia M Thaik, a Harvard trained physician, said on Psychology Today, “Stress that continues without relief can lead to… physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping” (Thaik). Students need to be given the opportunity to take time for themselves and to destress. I have personally felt some of these physical effects caused by stress and I know others do as well. We need a break during the Fall, Winter, and Spring to keep us healthy.

As I mentioned before, I have attended schools where we got longer breaks. I always looked forward to spending two weeks off with nothing but time for me, something I never get during the school year. I had no homework pressing my mind if I tried to relax, no test anxiety keeping me up late at night, and no alarm dragging me out of much needed sleep at 6am. Statistics prove that living a life of constant stress and anxiety can be dangerous for students' mental health. Michael Agnew, Heather Poole, and Ayesha Khan, researchers for Canadian Universities, headed a project on the perception of students who were granted a fall break. They reported that at Candian Universities without a fall break, “60% of [students] had felt hopeless, 90% felt overwhelmed, 88% felt exhausted, 65% felt overwhelming anxiety, and 13% had considered suicide.” The observed students attribute the cause of these emotions to “stress, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and depression” (Agnew, Poole, and Khan). Agnew, Poole, and Khan went on to study Canadian Universities who did have time off for the Thanksgiving Holidays and found that students perceived it as “a meaningful reprieve from their academic commitments.” Other students used the break as “an essential opportunity to attend to their emotional and mental well-being,” and even more as “a window…to recover from significant sleep deprivation and physical illness” (Agnew, Poole, and Khan). The students with a fall break felt that they were able to step out of the constant merry-go-round of stress for a few much needed days of rest. It gave them the time to refresh and refocus themselves.

Another common use of time off school is going on a family vacation. This is an especially popular activity during the holidays. It is now January, and the students of NASD have just returned to school from Christmas break, which began on December 24: Christmas Eve. School went right up to holiday, making it impossible for students to travel without missing school. Statistically speaking, this affects a significant number of students. Muntean and Wallace, writers for CNN, reported in an article that “AAA estimates more than 109 million Americans will travel over the long Christmas and New Year's week” (Muntean and Wallace). That is approximately ⅓ of the nation. Although Christmas is a popular time to travel, the single busiest travel day of 2021 was actually during the Thanksgiving holidays. Muntean and Wallace recount that “The Transportation Security Administration reported screening 2,451,300 people on November 28” (Muntean and Wallace). Both NASD’s Fall and Winter breaks went right up to the actual holiday, forcing students to either skip school or forgo the vacation. If the School Board would give us just 3 or 4 more days off, students would be able to travel for the holidays without having to worry about making up missed assignments.

Some people might claim that shorter holiday breaks still give students a chance to rejuvenate as long teachers are not allowed to assign homework. This statement would be true, if it were followed. I had several teachers assign work that was due the second day back to school so the students technically wouldn’t have to do it over it break. This either forced the students to do school work over break, or just push it off and have a very stressful first day back trying to finish a bunch of backed up homework. School officials in Princeton, NJ agree that breaks should give students “time to rest and recover from the stresses of school, as well as pursue interests outside the classroom” (Suresh and Cole).

This is hard to do with homework pressing down on our minds, but not everyone agrees that teachers should refrain from assigning homework over holiday breaks. One such person, Hansa Suresh, a student voice for Scholastic Magazine, explained, “We should get homework during breaks because…without homework, we might forget a lot of what we've learned in class by the time the break is over” (Suresh and Cole). Many teachers echo this statement, fearing that the students will forget what they have learned over a long break. If they feel the need to assign us work, then students should have adequate time off to complete both school assignments AND personal pursuits. A full two weeks at Christmas would give students plenty of time to do both.

Others might claim that lengthening the holiday breaks would shorten the summer. NASD usually gets out the first week of June and begins the next school year in late August or early September. If the School Board took just 2 weeks from summer vacation, (one for Christmas, the other to be split between Fall and Spring), students would receive adequate time off. No one would even notice the missing week or two during the long summer, but it would make it all the difference to students in January when they are tired, discouraged, and worn out.

Please, NASD School Board, consider the health of Nazareth students. We put everything we have into our school work, and we deserve time off. It isn’t fair to ask us to keep pushing past what we are capable of carrying. I am not the only one who believes this. A team of researchers from Stanford University and the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education conducted a study on the effects of stress management techniques on students. The study reported that American teens experience stress levels that exceed what is considered acceptable. The students reported a “5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale” for stress levels (Valosek et. al.). Long holiday breaks would reduce that stress rating significantly for many students. We won’t miss that lost week in August, but we wouldn’t be able to thank you enough for that extra week in January. Please consider giving the students the time they need to care for their mental and physical health.

    NAHS Junior, Kaylie Kirkham

Works Cited

Agnew, Michael, Heather Poole, and Ayesha Khan. “Fall Break Fallout: Exploring Student Perceptions of the Impact of Autumn Break on Stress.” Student Success Journal, Vol. 10(3), 2019, p.45-54. Gale in Context: High School,

Bratsis, Michael E. “Health Wise.” The Science Teacher, Vol. 79, Issue 9, Nation Science Teachers Association, Dec. 2021, p.74, Gale in Context: High School,

Muntean, Peter and Gregory Wallace. “Winter Holiday Travel Will Be Back With a Vengeance, Travel Groups Predict.” Cable News Network, Cable News Network, 16 Dec. 2021.

Suresh, Hansa and Tanner Cole. “Should Kids Have Homework Over Breaks?” Scholastic News/Weekly Reader Edition 4, Vol. 78, Issue 9, 23 Nov. 2015, p.7. Gale in Context: High School,

Thaik, Cynthia M. “The Effects of Stress on the Body.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 14 Nov. 2013.

Valosek, Laurent, “Effect of Meditation on Psychological Stress and Academic Achievement in High School Students: A Randomized Controlled Study.” Education, Vol. 141, Issue 4, Project Innovation, 2021, p.129. Gale in Context: High School,

FEATURE: Artificial Intelligence Saves an Extra Byte of Ice

by Jared Dewey, junior

During a hot summer day, many people stop at the Rita’s in Nazareth to enjoy a sweet, cool treat. Gallons of ice are eaten but still gallons are not. At the end of the day, gallons upon gallons of perfectly good spare Italian Ice must be thrown away.

Miles away in Easton, Rita’s probably doesn’t have this issue, right?

They still do.

Corporate guidelines force Rita's nationwide to throw away perfectly good ice. Countless Rita’s workers have seen what happens to the spare ice yet turn a blind eye.

Adam Kollgaard is one of these Rita’s workers, but knows something has to be done. Nobody else seemed to care enough to change it, so Kollgaard knew he had to be the one to change it.

Previous Experience

From the spring of his sophomore year to the fall of his junior year, Kollgaard worked at the Rita’s in Nazareth. He had to balance his time working, being at school, and doing extracurriculars such as track. Things got easier for him when school let out and he started to work on his own personal projects.

Simply put, Kollgaard likes to code. He is constantly either looking for something to program or working on a program. His passion started in middle school when he first learned about artificial intelligence and “got really into it.”

At this point he had only completed pre-algebra and couldn't properly understand the complicated calculus required to make artificial intelligence. Instead of spending months learning the algebra and calculus that he wouldn’t learn for years, he simply moved onto other projects.

In high school Kollgaard continued his “quest to find things to program” which brought him back to artificial intelligence. This time, however, he had more experience with math and could better understand the information provided to him.

He managed to create an AI that determined if a color looks better on a white or black background. The AI he made was very simple since he hadn’t completed precalculus yet, but it was still an improvement from his first exercise with AI.

Kollgaard continued his “quest” afterwards, which (right before his sophomore year) led him away from AI and towards game development. He, along with his friend and his older brother, developed a simple game for Android called Graze. This was a new world for Kollgaard as the skills required to make a game are very different from those required to make AI. Developing a game was fun and rewarding for him, but his quest wasn’t over.

The Problem

Between the spring of his sophomore year and the fall of his junior year Kollgaard worked at the Rita’s in Nazareth. Here he took orders, made orders, and served orders. He was somewhat of a trackstar, so he went to work later in the day. This forced him to watch as gallons of Italian ice were thrown away at the end of every day.

This waste is created for two reasons: the ice has to be made every morning and expires after only a couple of days. Jay Calandra, the owner of the Rita’s in Nazareth for over 8 years described the life cycle of ice: “Make it today, sell it today and tomorrow.”

After the second day, the ice has to be thrown away. This issue of getting rid of excess product at the end of the day isn’t unique to Rita’s, but it is unique how so much of their main product is thrown away.

Before the start of every work day, batches of ice have to be made. What is made is what is sold, so if too little ice is made then no one can buy it after it is sold out. Too much ice hurts business just as much since the mix for the ice has to be bought.

“[Rita’s] has to sell about one-third to one-fourth of what’s made to break even,” said Calandra. By selling a proprietary mix for ices to their stores, Rita’s incentivises owners to produce minimal waste. Unfortunately figuring out how much ice to make every day is a guessing game and an estimated 15%-20% of all that is produced is waste.

The Solution

Kollgaard came up with a clever solution to the guessing game. The amount of ice that people buy day-to-day may vary depending on weather, special occasions, seasons, work, etc. Now, for each individual person guessing what they may buy on a day-to-day basis would be very inaccurate, but with enough samples randomness can be modeled. Kollgaard realized that by using data from previous years it is possible to calculate how much of each ice is likely to be sold.

This may seem impossible due to confounding variables (unaccountable situations) such as people buying more when they randomly get a promotion or buying less after a break-up. These outlying events would mostly only affect a singular person, and since it would occur randomly they can be ignored.

Big events that could lead to a spike in sales such as school ending, weekends, or holidays could be accounted for by using the date to help calculate the amount of ice sold. Kollgaard described the previous day's orders, weather, and the date as having the most influence over what to produce..

There is one major flaw in Kollgaard’s plan: he needs a lot of data. Calculating the amount of ice consumed each day for a year would not provide enough data, so years of tracking orders would be required. At other businesses such as Red Robin or McDonalds this would be easy since they keep track of exact orders.

Unfortunately, at Rita’s the only thing kept track of on a receipt is the size and type of an order: not the flavor. This would be useful if each flavor was bought equally, but certain flavors are loved more than others. Knowing to make 50 gallons of ice isn’t really meaningful when you have 18 to 22 flavors to split across all at different, unknown proportions.

Keeping track of each flavor sold isn’t nearly as easy as it may seem. Relying on multiple people to keep careful records over several years does not always have the best results. If a lot of people come to Ritas at once then writing down what was ordered or keeping tally would become an obstacle in the way of making orders.

Requiring the flavor be recorded by the register would also be inefficient as it would add extra steps to placing an order. The flavors sold also change everyday and throughout the day, so each of the 81 unique flavors would have to be an option on the register. This would bloat any spreadsheet or interface used to record what is sold.

Kollgaard found a way to circumvent human error and inefficiencies. By placing a camera above where the ices are served, it is theoretically possible to track what orders were placed.

Collecting Data

The ability for a computer to detect information in an image is called computer vision. Right now in computer science, Convolution Neural Networks (CNNs) are the most popular way to give computers vision.

A neural network is a computer algorithm that attempts to mimic the nerves inside a human brain. It does this by taking an input (a picture of the ice in this case) and then using that information to activate different nodes. Nodes are like connection points and simulate neurons inside the brain. When one activates, it can activate many others.

What nodes are activated is decided by previously activated nodes and weights that a computer can calculate through a process of trial and error. A convolutional neural network is specifically designed to deal with detecting shapes, colors, outlines, etc. in an image. It achieves this by breaking an image into smaller pieces that it can manage easier. Filters are then applied to these smaller pieces to find certain shapes, outlines, etc.

Kollgaard is working on a CNN that would connect to a camera placed above where ice is served. Video taken from the camera would connect to the neural network so that it can discern the size of the cup and the flavor of the ice. While there are 81 possible flavors, there are only 18-20 available on any given day. Each flavor has a slightly different color which means his CNN should be able to discern between extremely similar colored flavors such as cherry and swedish fish,

Kollgaard said he is making his CNN the hardest way possible as he is attempting to make it from scratch. Templates of neural networks called frameworks are created to allow anyone to make a neural network. Kollgaard has opted out of using one so that he can learn more about AI.


In a perfect world, some issues would still exist with Kollgaard’s method and some waste would still be produced.

Even if every bit of ice that is produced and made for sale is sold, there would still be an estimated 5% of ice that gets stuck on the scoopers, stuck on the machine, or wasted by the customers. In order for no ice to go to waste then it would all have to be perfectly mixed, poured, and scooped. This is impossible in the real world, so Kollgaard is only attempting to mitigate the amount of ice being thrown away.

After collecting all the data, Kollgaard won’t be done with preventing waste. He will still need to find a way to transfer the data into an algorithm to determine how much ice to make and create a way to input data daily for the algorithm.

Getting input will be easy, but actually putting together an algorithm to accurately estimate how much ice to produce with a margin of error will be difficult.

“Modeling a real world event like [selling Italian ice] is no easy task,” said expert business analyst and data scientist Daniel Dewey. “Sure, you can use last year’s sales as a baseline, but externalities like unpredictable weather patterns, market competition, and changing [consumer] tastes layer complex variances in year on year sales.”

Essentially, in order to stay accurate Kollgaard would constantly need to be collecting new data. Kollgaard will likely plan for this and add data as it’s input into the algorithm, but the algorithm would still need to be complicated in order to account for all possible variances.

Accounting for variances would lead to forming a range of possible ices sold which would cause at least a little bit of waste in order to maximize profit. This is why even in a perfected world at least 5% of product would be expected to be wasted. While not ideal, even 7% would be better than the 15% - 20% that is currently expected. Kollgaard is making strides in reducing wastes produced by Ritas.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

FEATURE: New Nazareth Area High School Assistant Principal: Wehr Did He Come From?

 by Kaylie Kirkham, junior

They sat around the table - administrators, students, and staff alike - with a knowing look in their eyes. The committee had reached a decision. 

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but the position needed to be filled. Rosario Amato had left Nazareth Area High School to become the assistant principal at Nazareth Area Intermediate School, leaving grades 10 and 12 without an assistant principal. 

The committee voiced their decision aloud, “Matthew Wehr.” They needed someone with experience, imagination, and passion to fill the position. Matthew Wehr was just the man they needed. 

Wehr chose to apply for the position here at NAHS because of friendships he had already established with some of the staff. While attending graduate school to obtain his principal’s certificate, Wehr had classes with several Nazareth Administrators such as Alan Davis, Mark Madson, Dr. Dennis Riker, and Dr. Isabel Resende. When Wehr met them, he really liked their approach to school and education. Wehr jumped at the chance to work with several people that he respected. 

In addition to existing friendships, Wehr fell in love with the Nazareth community when he moved here in 2012. He felt that NASD would be a great place for his kids to attend school one day, so he decided to take this job to start paving the way for them. “I felt like it was the best change for me and my family and my career,” he said. 

Wehr was not alone in his desire to work at NAHS. Several other candidates applied for the position, but Wehr stood out to all 3 selection committees. Alan Davis, principal of NAHS, said, “Mr. Wehr was the best candidate based on his previous experience, his personality and demeanor, and his ideas for how we can continue to make our school better in several key areas.” 

Wehr left a similar impression on his previous principal at Bangor HS, Andrew Krohn, whom he considers a close friend and mentor. Krohn said of Wehr, “He is a forward thinker who works hard to provide the best possible opportunities for students. [He] is relatable and will work hard to support the NAHS community. Our loss is truly Nazareth’s gain.”

Although Wehr worked in administration for 6 years at Bangor HS previous to working here at NAHS, it wasn’t easy getting to that point in his career. When he was in high school, Wehr focused mostly on sports, rather than education. 

Wehr played soccer for his high school, which happens to be Bangor HS. He even held two records, Single Season Assist and Career Assist, for a time. Unfortunately, soccer wasn’t going to be a part of his future. Wehr ended up picking English Education as his college major. 

Although it hadn’t been his dream job as a teenager, Wehr loved his job as a teacher and took it very seriously. All throughout his many years of teaching, he was constantly looking for ways to improve his classroom. 

“Mr. Wehr was always eager to grow as a professional and never hesitated to try new methods in his classroom,” said Lisa Kienzle, an old friend and co-worker of Wehr. 

“When I was in the classroom, I really cared how kids felt in my class… I was constantly thinking of how to make it better [and] I changed things all the time. That’s what made teaching in the classroom really fun,” Wehr said. 

However, as Kienzle pointed out, Wehr was always looking for ways to grow professionally. In education, there are only so many opportunities to do that. So Wehr decided to take the next step: Administration. 

After Wehr went back to school to obtain his principal's certificate, he got his first job in administration at an elementary school. He was the Dean of Students, which is similar to an assistant principal. He held this position for one year before accepting a job as the assistant principal at Bangor HS, where he stayed for 6 years. 

Just as he did as a teacher, Wehr put everything he had into his job as an assistant principal. Being an assistant principal offered him a unique opportunity to build up not just students, but staff as well, including some of his previous teachers from when Wehr attended Bangor HS as a student. 

“[Mr. Wehr] is someone I trust wholeheartedly and through our interactions I have become a better leader, educator, and person. There is not a better friend and colleague I could have had the opportunity to work with,” Krohn said. 

Wehr built many strong connections during his 6 years at Bangor HS and influenced many lives for good. His friends were sad to see him go, but also excited to see where this new opportunity would take him and how he would grow. 

“Mr. Wehr is a rising star who will benefit the NAHS students, staff, and community. I know Mr. Wehr will quickly show the leadership ability and traits that made him so invaluable [to] us,” said Krohn. 

He was quite right. In the short amount of time since he started working here at NAHS, Wehr has already made a positive impression on the staff members. “[Mr. Wehr] has been very eager to learn our policies and procedures and to get to know as many staff members and students as possible. It’s not an easy task, but he approaches each day with a positive attitude and a desire to learn,” said Davis. 

Wehr works hard each day to create new opportunities, as well as improve existing ones, for the NAHS students. Although he does occasionally have to deal with discipline, there is so much more to being an assistant principal. Wehr noticed that NAHS has many different clubs and activities that students can participate in. A big part of his job is to help those clubs, activities, and school functions get started and running smoothly. 

Wehr has also noticed the positive atmosphere in the NAHS community. “Everybody treats each other like family. [The] teachers seem to be very close with one another and work together. I think that trickles into you guys as students. You seem to get along well,” he said. 

An even bigger part of his role as assistant principal is to help students learn and grow into the best versions of themselves. Wehr gives this advice: “High school is only four years of your life…[so] have as much fun as you can. Work hard… to meet your potential, if not exceed it… That will only set you up for better success moving forward.”

There are no limits to who or what an individual can become, only those they place upon themselves. Wehr has lived by this principle his entire life. He has constantly sought to improve himself and his career. That determination is what brought him to his current position today, assistant principal of NAHS. Even now, Wehr is still reaching higher and hopes to one day become a building principal.

Photo Credit: Sandy Jameson