Linking up with Team Ice

NCC students brought Spartan Spirit to East Hills Middle School

Myra Saturen,

Northampton Community College (NCC) students in Associate Professor of Communication/Theatre Tim Molchany's Small Group Communication classStudents Tracy Yatsko, Joseph Smickle, Alec Berzinsky and Micehlle Naef "broke the ice," so to speak, in their first meeting with members of Team Ice, an academic cluster at East Hills Middle School in Bethlehem.  

Prior to this meeting, the students worked with East Hills sixth-grade teachers to plan and coordinate presentations and activities that emphasize the importance of education, scholarship, hard work, and appropriate behavior. Wearing NCC t-shirts donated by the College bookstore, NCC students Alec Berzinsky, Michelle Naef, Joseph Smickle, and Tracy Yatsko, completed the semester's project through interactive talks with East Hills pupils.    

Naef talked about planning and preparing for careers.  She said that success in school involved patience, practice, failures, wins, time, effort, networking, being happy and non-stressed, and hope.  Smickle discussed procrastination and how students can overcome it.  "Give yourself a reward system," he said.  "Do homework for two hours and then take a ten-minute break for relaxation."

Berzinsky told the sixth graders about time management and making schoolwork their top priority.  "Education is power," he said.  Tracy Yatsko used the story of her own victory over fear of failure to motivate students to persevere despite their anxieties.  Several years after suffering a traumatic brain injury in high school, Yatsko overcame her fear of academic failure and enrolled at NCC.  She is doing so well that she has earned acceptance at four 4-year colleges.     

A surprise guest, NCC mascot Sam Spartan, rallied the children in a bouncy jumping exercise and posed for pictures with them.  The NCC students held a question-and-answer period for their audience and gave prizes and gifts such as NCC lanyards, folders and copies of The Commuter student newspaper, and The Laconic literary magazine. 

Today's visit is a foundation for a long-term community engagement plan that includes a "Middle School Study Skills Marathon" for East Hills students to be run by NCC communication studies majors and held at NCC  in Spring 2015. "If all goes well I am hoping to make this an annual event that benefits both our communication studies majors and the 6th graders at East Hills Middle School. I have hopes that with the cooperation of additional NCC faculty/departments this could be expanded beyond 6th grade in the future," Molchany says.

Other groups in the Small Group Communication class are running an afterschool program at Fountain Hill Elementary School, providing lunch and distributing warm clothing to people in need in Easton, and working with two animal rescue organizations.