MMI Preparatory School wins regional Envirothon competition and teams featuring 45 students place in top 26  


(Freeland, PA – May 13, 2019) – Forty-five MMI Preparatory School students placed in the top 26 during the regional Envirothon competition, including the team of Alexander Sessock, Kaitlyn McGeehan, Kai Mele, Dominique Kline, and Benjamin Putnam, who captured first place in the event. The winning team will represent MMI and Luzerne County at the Pennsylvania Envirothon state competition on May 21-22 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown campus.

Twenty-eight teams from Wyoming Area, Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area, Northwest Area, and MMI took part in the competition. MMI had the largest showing among the schools, with 9 teams and 45 students. MMI captured the top five spots in the competition and placed seventh, ninth, 20ths and 26th. MMI Science Department Chair Michael Mele and Science instructor Amanda Shonk served as faculty advisors.

The first-place team scored 399 out of a possible 500 points and finished with the highest overall score for the Forestry, Aquatics, and Wildlife category.

The second-place team of Louis DeAngelo, Elias Bachman, Violet O’Connell, Coleman Smith, and Alexis Dalesandro scored 346 out of 500 points and had the highest overall score for this year’s current topic, which was Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and Technology to Feed the World. The third-place team of Amanda Kalada-Kania, Summer Evancho, Darren Zheng, Elise Hreha, and Alexander Jordan finished with 319 out of 500 points and had the highest overall score for Soils.

The fourth-place team of Kelisa Hysenbegasi, Mahum Ahmed, Morgan Allen, and Natalie Graham scored 296 out of 500 points. The fifth-place team of Olivia Bartholomew, Keiran Mele, Sandra Abdulrahman, Connor Spencer, and Rachael Betz scored 279 out of 500 points and tied for the highest overall score for this year’s current topic.

The seventh-place team of Joshua Galbiati, Lindsay Braunstein, Jordan Kulsa, Hannah Falatko, and Alexandra Young scored 256 out of 500 points. The ninth-place team of Gregory Leonard, Paige Machulsky, Lieth Abdulrahman, Maya Rizkalla, and Ryan McNelis scored 253 out of 500 points. The 20th-place team of Kennedy Tavaris, Kaylee Witner, Ashley Loss, Lindsay Horvat, and Grace Warner scored 222 out of 500 points. The 26th-place team of Dustin Paul, David Castro, Alexandra Tierney, Irene Altmiller, and Viva Barrett scored 180 out of 250 points.

Michael Mele said, “I would like to congratulate all of the teams who competed this season and the time and effort they put in outside of class to represent all of us. The majority of the students who competed spent nearly an extra hour or two a day working with me after school for four weeks and this is the fruits of their labor. We will continue to work hard to prepare for the state event and proudly represent MMI.” MMI students have the ability to take Environmental Science in the Upper School but the School’s curriculum is designed to expose students across the grades to a variety of scientific topics, which they can then use in preparation for both the Envirothon and Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competitions.

During the state competition, MMI’s students will compete in field-testing using their knowledge in the five Envirothon topic areas – Soils and Land Use, Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife, and Environmental Issues. In addition to knowledge on those topics, the team will also prepare and present a problem/solution under the current topic to a panel of six or seven judges.

Alexander Sessock is the son of Jennifer and James Denion, Freeland, and the late John Sessock; Kaitlyn McGeehan is the daughter of Thomas and Sandra McGeehan, Drums; Kai Mele is the son of Michael and Laurie Mele, Jim Thorpe; Dominique Kline is the daughter of Dr. John and Dr. June Kline, Mountaintop; Benjamin Putnam is the son of Benjamin and Andrea Putnam, Sugarloaf; Louis DeAngelo is the son of Aaron and Grete Floryshak, Sugarloaf, and Louis DeAngelo, Hazle Township; Elias Bachman is the son of Tammy Bachman, Thornhurst, and the late George Bachman; Violet O’Connell is the daughter of Michael and Genevieve O’Connell, Coaldale; Coleman Smith is the son of Keith and Laura Smith, White Haven; Alexis Dalesandro is the daughter of Dustan Dalesandro and Kimberly Mumaw, Drums; Amanda Kalada-Kania is the daughter of Kevin Kania and Susan Kalada, Drums; Summer Evancho is the daughter of John Evancho, Sugarloaf, and the late Joan Evancho; Darren Zheng is the son of De and Hongzhi Zheng, Jim Thorpe; Elise Hreha is the daughter of Elizabeth and Eric Hreha, White Haven; Alexander Jordan is the son of Robert and Teresa Jordan, Drums; Kelisa Hysenbegasi is the daughter of Sezai and Lirie Hysenbegazi, Hazle Township; Mahum Ahmed is the daughter of Dr. Asad and Dr. Bina Ahmed, Mountaintop; Morgan Allen is the daughter of Brian Allen, Freeland, and Allyne Allen, Freeland; Natalie Graham is the daughter of Ryan and Heidi Graham, Tamaqua; Olivia Bartholomew is the daughter of Dean Bartholomew and Cheryl Serafin-Bartholomew, Jim Thorpe; Keiran Mele is the son of Michael and Laurie Mele, Jim Thorpe; Sandra Abdulrahman is the daughter of Jihad and Basema Abdulrahman, Hazleton; Connor Spencer is the son of Christopher and Christina Spencer, Mountaintop; Rachael Betz is the daughter of Dr. Amy Houm, Tamaqua, and Richard Betz, Honesdale; Joshua Galbiati is the son of Brian Galbiati and Courtney Repanshek, Drums; Lindsay Braunstein is the daughter of Dr. Larry and Kimberly Braunstein, Mountaintop; Jordan Kulsa is the son of Jeffrey and Alvita Kulsa, Hazle Township; Hannah Falatko is the daughter of Robert Falatko, Freeland, and Christine Falatko, Freeland; Alexandra Young is the daughter of Christian and Nicole Young, Freeland; Gregory Leonard is the son of Gregory and Karen Leonard, Hazle Township; Paige Machulsky is the daughter of David and Renee Machulsky, White Haven; Lieth Abdulrahman is the son of Jihad and Basema Abdulrahman, Hazleton; Maya Rizkalla is the daughter of Sandra Rizkalla, Freeland and George Rizkalla, Drums; Ryan McNelis is the son of Atty. Edward and Florence McNelis, Conyngham; Kennedy Tavaris is the daughter of Nathan and Theresa Meyers, Mountaintop; Kaylee Witner is the daughter of Michael and Kristi Witner, Freeland; Ashley Loss is the daughter of Frederick and Melissa Loss, Hazle Township; Lindsay Horvat is the daughter of Thomas and Lisa Horvat, Drums; Grace Warner is the daughter of Stanley B. Warner III, Drums and Heather Warner, Drums; Dustin Paul is the son of Rustin and Cynthia Paul, Jim Thorpe; David Castro is the son of Danielle and Angel Morales, Freeland; Alexandra Tierney is the daughter of Thomas and Crystal Tierney, Weatherly; Irene Altmiller is the daughter of Dr. Mary-Lynn McBride and Charles Altmiller, Drums; Viva Barrett is the daughter of Mark Barrett and Kheshan Melendez-Barrett, Hazle Township.