Thumbs Up: To the Livestrong program at the YMCA of York for helping cancer patients maintain their spirit.

The free,12-week research-based program supports cancer survivors in regaining their physical, emotional and spiritual strength.

Mindy Mendizabal, a two-time cancer survivor who most recently was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative neurological disease, regularly participates.

“This is not a great diagnosis to get, but the Y has helped me maintain my positivity,” she said.

The sessions include individualized attention for participants, gradually introducing them to equipment and group exercise and teaching them how to regain their strength.

“I can be sick and hateful or sick and enjoy every moment," Mendizabal said. "It’s not what I wish, for certain, but I can see purpose in it already.”

The Golf & Gala Invitational to fund the program is Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Hanover Country Club, with a noon shotgun start. The gala will be from 6:15 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at the Wyndham Garden Grand Ball Room and features a keynote from former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.

For tickets go to

Thumbs Up: To York Suburban High School for being named a Blue Ribbon School by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

Schools are chosen based upon student achievement measures and research-based indicators of school quality.

"It’s very much an effort of the entire community,” Superintendent Shelly Merkle said.

And it’s not the first recognition for the school this year.

In mid-August, York Suburban High School was ranked 457th in the nation by Newsweek, with its college readiness rate at 73.2 percent and the graduation rate at 98.6 percent. Of the 30 Pennsylvania schools that were ranked, York Suburban High School came in 29th. In 2014, the school was ranked 67th in the nation.

“We think we have the best students around and an outstanding staff that provides a fantastic education and tremendous support for our students," Merkle said.

Thumbs Up: To York Academy Regional Charter School has implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.

The national incentive has a goal of implementing preventive and responsive approaches to improve student behavior. It replaces negative instructions with positive ones.  A PBIS team was created at York Academy to help incorporate the program into the school.

"It really does strive to build consistency, and that’s a big thing," Dean of Students David Goodwin said.

Goodwin said that the positive statements help draw students in who might be more apt to tune out a lecture or the "don't do this" discussions that children often hear. The positive wording and affirmation keep students wanting to do good things and grow in their character, he said.

Students and entire classes earn points for their good behaviors and these which can be used for experiential rewards like reading to a younger class or having lunch with a teacher. It takes a lot of points to win the big prize--getting to pie a teacher in the face!

"On every level, but especially children, it’s more comforting to hear what looks right as opposed to what we shouldn’t do," he said.

We hope there’s plenty of pie-slinging at York Academy this year!

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