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Improving student athletics discussed at PENNCREST town hall meeting

By Sam Hetrick, Josh Weaver, and Jake Reisinger, Staff Writers

PENNCREST School District hosted an athletic town hall meeting Oct. 23 at Cambridge Springs High School auditorium. Superintendent Timothy Glasspool and school board members Jeff Brooks, Bob Johnston, and Bob Gulick presented an agenda designed to follow up on the last town hall meeting held in May, with a focus on finding ideas to improve the athletic experience for students across the district. 

Community members shared many ideas with Glasspool in May. “I expected several of the suggestions we got, and it was really nice to hear what people had to say,” Glasspool said in a Meadville Tribune article. The Oct. 23 meeting was designed to build on the ideas presented in May and focus on data (numbers of student participants in different sports and recently submitted PIAA classification data) that may lead to cooperative agreements and possible consolidation of some programs. 

The combination of school programs has been a lingering topic for the past few years, especially concerning the struggling football programs of Saegertown and Cambridge. Matt Shaffer, a graduate of Cambridge Springs whose son Henry currently plays football for Saegertown, said, “Numbers are down and not looking at going up. There are 20 kids playing on one little gridders team. That’s 20 kids out of three grades.” 

Track and field is another sport that could have a co-op in its future. At this time, Saegertown’s club already practices at Meadville High School. Some at the meeting supported exploring a cooperative agreement with Meadville for track that would be similar to the one already in place for swimming. 

As for marching band, multiple community members  brought up the fact that a change is needed as the number of participants has dwindled. Many discussed the idea of forming one competition marching band for the district. Interested community members will have the opportunity to share their ideas on the possibility of a PENNCREST marching band at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Saegertown High School auditorium. 

Adding to the idea of combining is the current status of athletic facilities in the PENNCREST School District. At this moment, the district is in the process of renovating the Saegertown and Maplewood gymnasiums. Many community members, as well as Dr. Glasspool himself, suggested that there are numerous other projects that need addressed. It seems that across the district, every facility needs multiple improvements to either the bleachers or the playing fields. One community member said the fields reflect a lack of money and support.      

At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Glasspool discussed the next steps that include gathering input from coaches, students, booster groups, and parents. 

Projected timeline:

December 5, 2019

Meeting with all head coaches from across the district

January 2020

Meeting in each attendance area with student leadership teams and completion of student surveys during a Thursday WINN period (1:30 – 3 p.m.), and a meeting with parents and booster groups in the cafeteria of each high school at 6 p.m. on the same evening. 

Jan. 9 – Cambridge Springs

Jan. 16 – Maplewood

Jan. 23 – Saegertown

February 25, 2020

Board Athletic Committee Meeting at 7 p.m. in the SHS auditorium. 

Dr. Glasspool and the school board members are committed to making decisions that will benefit students. “We are looking to see how we can get more kids involved safely and have better programs.”

staceyanderton1 View All

Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School

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