Among the brilliant colors of orange, red and gold emerges a figure clothed in black with a pet bird perched ominously, perhaps muttering the single word, “Nevermore.”
That’s music to the ear of Northwestern Lehigh High School English teacher Linda Paist, the woman behind the costume.
Not one to miss a teachable moment, Paist will be guiding her 11th grade students through Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short stories such as “The Black Cat” and “Tell-Tale Heart” at this most appropriate time of year.
Homecoming Queen Jaymi Smith and King Will Dellicker joined in the annual celebration that gathers friends from all quarters and beckons alumni to return to their alma mater.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I was pretty surprised,” Dellicker said. “I’ll remember all the friends I’ve made, years from now. Northwestern has a lot of amazing people.”
Now that the 2018 homecoming court has been chosen, all systems are go for one of the most anticipated events on the high school calendar.
Baylie Alley, Kirstin Dorney, Shante Duminie, Natalie Masetti, Madilyn Riegel, Jaymi Smith, Lilyana Wagner and Alyssa Zack were selected from the girls in the senior class.
Hayden Bobbyn, Daniel Burke, Zachary Creighton, Willard Dellicker, Ryan Haas, Nolan Hernandez, Tyler Lobach and Samuel Seyfried were selected from the boys for a coveted spot on the homecoming court.
After being away from their school for the first few weeks of the new scholastic year, Northwestern Lehigh Middle School students and staff returned Sept. 17 to their own building.
When mold was detected in a few classrooms on the lower level of the building, middle schoolers were routed to Weisenberg Elementary School and the high school until air quality reports indicated it was safe for occupancy.
In her new position, Northwestern Lehigh Superintendent Jennifer Holman will see district plans long in the making come to fruition.
“The district is very well grounded,” Holman said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to step into a role we can build on. There are things we’ll come across we’ll need to change but we’re in a good place.”
The list of what is new in the district is impressive, including full-day kindergarten, completion of the renovations at the high school and the addition of a police force.
After 13 years of teaching German to high school students German, Jan Sutermeister is bidding auf Wiedersehen to her classroom at Northwestern Lehigh and hallo to her new future.
Sutermeister has both German and English certifications, which equipped her to teach both subjects.
“I always wanted to do something with German,” she said. “I just had to take a few extra classes in German civilization and history.”
Sutermeister has had an affinity for languages for as long as she can remember.
Education looked quite different in the 1990s when Sally Toth first began working for the Northwestern Lehigh School District, but she weathered every change, determined to help students flourish.
As coordinator of the learning lab, she was on the front line of the education process.
“In 1996, when the high school went to block scheduling, there was a need for the learning lab,” she explained.
Toth set up a room that would be a resource and where she administered classroom teachers’ instructions while meeting students’ needs.
With summer in full swing, Northwestern Lehigh School District’s newly retired superintendent, Dr. Mary Anne Wright, is reflective about her career in education and enthusiastic about the future.
“My tenure was 27 years plus,” said a relaxed Wright, surrounded by her family.
Wright recalled “subbing in the winter of ’86 when her children attended elementary school at Northwestern.
“I believe David was in third and Rachel was in fourth,” Wright said.
From the beginning, Wright was determined to have a career.
It’s not every day an assembly of middle school students is gathered together to watch one of their own get a haircut, but on June 11 that is exactly what happened.
All eyes were fixed on the auditorium stage as math teacher Wendy Madouse took clippers in hand and began the process of shearing Zachary Leith’s long tresses.
“Now I know what Mrs. Madouse will do for her next career,” joked physical education teacher Joe Webster.
According to Madouse, the eighth grader has been secretly growing his hair all year long, with the intention of donating it to “Wigs for Kids.”
During the school year, business was brisk at The Den, Northwestern Lehigh’s school store, but it is now closed until classes resume at the end of August.
The Den sells Northwestern spirit wear, snacks and drinks and by all accounts, business was good.
According to Taylor Page, trail mix and popcorn are the biggest sellers.
“We have stuff we’ve sold for years,” she said.
“Mrs. Mengel decides what to order.”
The store operates under the auspices of Student Council with Patty Mengel as adviser.