First Posted: 4/8/2012

The superintendent called it a “tournament of champions.”

Two groups from Dallas High School that qualified to compete on the national level performed for the Dallas School Board on Monday night.

Students from the district’s LifeSmarts team explained to the board about the group and the competition that awaits them in Philadelphia at the end of the month.

LifeSmarts was founded by the National Consumers League in which teens compete in academic contests in five subject areas – health and science, environment, personal finance, consumer rights and responsibilities and technology.

Five team members – Gates Palissery, Amber Habib, Sara Hudak, Samuel Reinert and team captain Decklan Cerza – asked sample questions from the competition.

Some of the questions left board members stumped, including this question related to health and science: What part of the body absorbs poison the fastest?

Board members called out various names of human anatomy, including skin, lungs, liver and kidneys.

“It’s the eye,” said Habib.

Another group took center stage at the board meeting. Two members of the high school forensics team performed an excerpt from “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson.

Seniors Sarah Pomfret and Angelina Hoidra qualified for the national competition for their dramatic duo performance earlier this year. In the category, students act out dramatic works but cannot look at or touch each other during their performance.

“I can look confusing to people who haven’t seen it before,” said Hoidra.

The pair will perform at the national forensics competition in Baltimore, Md. at the end of May.

The board also received an update on the new crisis management plan, spurred by the natural gas industry’s presence in the area.

Board member Fred Parry said the plan is complete and awaiting review from local and county emergency management agencies. He said the comprehensive plan is still a work in progress, but it “covers most everything one could imagine.”

The plan was developed with the help of personnel from the district, local and county emergency management agency officials, local fire and police chiefs and a safety expert from Williams Field Services LLC, a company that recently constructed a natural gas line in the vicinity of the campus.

Parents were most concerned about what plan of action the board would take in the event of a natural gas leak due to the presence of two current and one impending pipelines located near the district schools.

Parry said, depending on the situation, students may need to stay inside the buildings or be moved from one building to another during a natural gas emergency, but transportation by bus would be a “last-ditch effort.”

He said ventilation would be closed off in the buildings to keep the natural gas outside.

Superintendent Frank Galicki said the plan also features plans that include Misericordia University, Lake-Lehman School District schools and Gate of Heaven Catholic Church as possible evacuation sites.

He also said those agreements are reciprocal in the event those facilities should need an emergency evacuation site in the Dallas campus.

Jack Wega, who also helped with the plan, said teachers and staff will get the opportunity to receive voluntary training on certain safety equipment within the school during the summer.

In other news, the board…

• Approved a calendar change to add June 13 and 14 to the academic year. Galicki said this was because of the campus usage as an evacuation site during last year’s flooding.

• Approved the purchase of computer equipment coming off lease for $39,800 per year for five years beginning July 1.

• Hired Mike Zurek as assistant boys’ volleyball coach with a stipend of $664.

The next Dallas School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9 in the administration building.

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