Thumbs up: Students in Spring Grove Middle School's Quilt of Valor organization spend time during their seventh-grade year making a quilt for the family of a fallen soldier in the region.
Last year, the students in the program found themselves honoring one of their own -- Spc. Cameron J. Stambaugh, a 2010 Spring Grove graduate who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
The 35 students who worked to create the quilt stitched their handprints into the pattern, as well as their names around the outer border of the quilt. Each student also wrote journal entries throughout the process about what they learned, and how the loss of Stambaugh's life affected them.
The students and their advisers earlier this month presented the quilt to Stambaugh's parents, Mitchell Stambaugh and Pamela Smith.
Mitchell Stambaugh said he was especially touched by the journal entries in a book that was also presented to him and the soldier's mother. Each entry was a page or two about the greatest lessons the students had learned during the project.
"It was really tough to read," he said. "I didn't get through it all yet."
The quilt will be displayed in a case he bought to show his son's awards and six medals, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. The father said he has a bulletin board in his office with pictures to remember Stambaugh.
"It's just something you'll never forget," Stambaugh's father said.
Thumbs up: Volunteers so far have contributed $400,000 to repair and improve the Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark, which provides area skateboarders, bicyclists and scooter riders a safe place to practice their moves.
The park already features rails, slopes and ramps, and the fundraising effort will expand the site, add lighting for extended hours and repair cracks in the decking.
Bill Shipley, who's chairing the campaign for the skatepark's board, said repairs are expected to be completed this fall and the expansion will start in spring.
The goal is to raise $500,000, and organizers began collecting donations about a year ago. Shipley said they've been pleasantly surprised by the response from the community.
"A couple people were really more generous than what we anticipated," he
In 2008, Reid Menzer, 14, was killed when a car hit him while he was riding a street luge. The skatepark opened later that year.
Thumbs up: To the Dallastown Area School District, which can now hang No Place for Hate banners in every school building.
The district worked through the entire 2012-13 school year to earn the distinction, awarded by the Anti-Defamation League after each school completed at least three anti-bias or anti-bullying activities throughout the year. Students, teachers and parents were also asked to sign the Resolution of Respect, a pledge to take a stand against biased or bullying behaviors.
As a symbol of completing the year-long process, each school received a banner to display that it is a "No Place for Hate" zone.
Assistant Superintendent Jason Doll said the program has increased the awareness that bystanders need to take action when they see bullying happen. He said it has also helped students learn how to confidentially report bullying incidents, and to learn about support groups available to victims.