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Julia and John Schwartz present the Joseph Mauck Character Award to third-graders Turner Koch and Haley Piper. The award is in memory of Julia’s father, Joseph Mauck, a former trustee of York Elementary.

York Elementary’s student population entered the gym on their last day of school surrounded by the sound of 80 recorders played by their peers.

The school celebration blended together a sing-a-long, two plays and awards with the continuing goal of the staff to teach important life skills. If there were lessons to be emphasized and values to be taught, the K-3 students had fun while learning.

“They really look forward to this event,” Principal Yvonne Buller said. “They really have so much fun with this.”

Awards were given to students who demonstrated life skills throughout the year. These skills include perseverance, problem-solving, confidence, caring, cooperation, friendship, organization, effort and respect. Other students were awarded for perfect attendance and student council participation.

Two third-grade students received the Joseph Mauck Character Award presented by Mauck’s daughter Julia Schwartz and her husband John.

“We look for children who have shown consistent character over the years,” Buller said. “These two children, Turner Koch and Haley Piper can be counted on.”

Buller went on to say that Turner is a positive young man who enjoys everything he does, works hard and makes good choices. Haley, she continued, is not only a good student, she is a good friend who looks around for others to help.

“Neither one of these two great kids needs to be encouraged to do the right thing,” Buller said. “They just know how to treat others right.”

In addition to receiving a $50 savings bond and their names on a plaque, these students are also eligible for a $1,000 college scholarship if they graduate from Northridge High School.

The award was established in honor of Joseph Mauck, a former trustee of York Elementary.

“Mr. Mauck cared very much in building academic success, as well as strong character in children,” Buller said. “He cared deeply for children, so the family felt this would be a great way to honor his memory.”

Tuesday morning’s events also honored retiring teacher Mrs. Laura Stout and the work of volunteer “Grandma” Phyllis VanKirk.

Throughout the program, students sang many songs from “The Sound of Music,” including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things” and “So Long, Farewell.”

“We have been doing sing-a-longs four times a year for many, many years,” Buller said. “When our fifth-graders moved to the Heritage Intermediate School we decided to have our last sing-a-long on the last day to replace that graduation. Our students love it.”

Music teacher Mrs. Verna Troyer played “So Long, Farewell” and the students sang, “The year has gone so fast and so I sigh. So long, farewell, Aufwiedersehn, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye!”

Good-bye, at least for the summer.

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