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Intelligencer Journal/New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Pequea Valley school board members on March 13 endorsed hosting TOPSoccer, a recreational outreach program giving student volunteers the opportunity to be buddies on the soccer field with children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Bringing TOPSoccer to Pequea Valley is the senior project of high school student Alex Sage, who is working with Steve Whitson, a board member of Lampeter-Strasburg Youth Soccer and director of TOPSoccer.

While the program is running in other parts of the state, the two districts will launch TOPSoccer's first season in Lancaster County.

"I thought, why can't we do this here?" Whitson told the school board. "We just need a place to play and some buddies in the field."

Sage told the school board she has already recruited 10 volunteers to practice with young soccer players on Saturday mornings.

They will play seven games from April 5 through May 24. Practices and games will be held on the turf field across from Pequea Valley High School.

"Anyone can be a buddy," Sage told the school board, adding that so far her buddy volunteers range in age from 11 to middle age.

Sage said four players had already signed up, and she is recruiting more players as well as buddies for the first Pequea Valley season.

Players and volunteers do not have to live in the district.

"This is going to be something that serves the Pequea Valley community and the entire county," said Michael Sage, a board member who is also Alex Sage's father.

"I think it's a great senior project," said board member Virginia Ranck.

The cost is $35 per player and registration can be completed online at Click on the "TopSoccer" link at the top of the home page.

Anyone with questions can contact Whitson at

During their meeting, school board members also said they want to expand recreational opportunities for district students.

Board member Charles Rohrer said he would like the district to explore offering a rifle team, a bowling team and a cross-country team.

Representatives from Apple also visited the district to formally name the district an Apple Distinguished School for successfully using computers in an exemplary learning environment.

The award is for 2013-15.

Students Brandon Hall and Drew Wilkins, members of the district's Apple Core Team, explained to the school board how the team helps other students and repairs computers.

Wilkins said being able to use a laptop daily as part of the district's One-to-One laptop program is setting him up for success because he plans to study business in college.

Hall said students were able to sign onto the Moodle learning platform and complete class work even on snow days this past winter.

In personnel matters, the school board approved moving Amy Koberstein from the position of German teacher at the high school to dean of students at a salary of $74,411, and approved Teri Lyn Thompson as a school psychologist intern at a $12,000 per year salary.

The school board accepted resignations from Evan Breisblatt as dean of students at the intermediate school and head varsity football coach; Matthew Butch, system engineer; and Lisa Newswanger, Salisbury Elementary School secretary.

The board approved:

  • An updated wellness policy and nutrition guidelines.
  • A revised 2013-14 calendar and new calendar for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Naming board member Christian Brackbill as the district's representative to IU-13 for a three-year term ending in June 2017.
  • Triple P Painting to paint the high school library at an approximate cost of $7,200 from the capital reserve fund.
  • A $5,355 contract with East Stroudsburg University for a student with special needs to attend the university's independent studies program.


March 18, 2014


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