‘On Applebee Pond’ will soon debut at Saegertown

By Samantha Thomas, staff writer

A group of juniors and seniors from Saegertown High School have been working to introduce a research-based curriculum known as ‘On Applebee Pond’ that uses puppets to teach children positive and applicable life skills to elementary school students.

Saegertown elementary students will soon be learning positive life skills from the On Applebee Pond puppets shown above.

Designed by the Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission Inc., this program is designed to teach young children about social skills, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and peacemaking through eight charismatic puppet personas.

The puppet characters will be portrayed by seniors Madison Morgan, Dustin Steiger, Stephanie Polach and Mykenzie Connally, and juniors Oliver Smith and Carson Jones. Advisor Susan James and her students will be performing at the elementary at a date yet to be determined. She emphasizes the importance of teaching kids social skills at a young age.

“I think it’s important to help teach the kids in a relatable and captivating way that they can understand and enjoy,” Steiger said. Steiger, along with five other students, were recruited by Assistant Principal Kylene Koper.

According to Mrs. Kelly Burke, who taught the curriculum at Maplewood, each of the eight puppets were handmade by retired seamstresses. Arnold, the farmer who introduces and concludes each lesson, is joined by Tadpole, Buddy Beaver, Clayton Crab, Handy Gander, Freddie Fish, Merrie Mermaid, and Bull Frog. Each character has a unique personality that will help teach students valuable lessons. To learn more about the program, click here.

Did Thanos kill you?

By Dustin Steiger and Sam Shelenberger, arts and entertainment editor and broadcast director

On January 9, Panther Press members Dustin Steiger and Sam Shelenberger released a survey to discover which members of the student body survived ‘The Snap’ from Avengers: Infinity War. Click here to find out who lived and who died.

Did you survive the snap?

WARNING: Contains spoilers for Avengers Infinity War

It has been 7 months since the release of Avengers Infinity War, and fans are still shocked by the ending. With half of the universe dead at the hands of Thanos, Panther Press staff members Dustin Steiger and Sam Shelenberger would like to know who at Saegertown High School survived the snap. Please take 5 minutes to fill out this survey.


French Creek Community Theater packs the house at Disney World



Saegertown students Dustin Steiger, Rachel White, and Blake Hamilton performed at Disney with a group from French Creek Community Theater over the Thanksgiving break.

By Dustin Steiger, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Roughly six months ago, the student performers of French Creek Community Theatre (FCCT) began training for “Team Disney 2018,” a special opportunity to perform as a show choir on Saturday, November 24 at Disney Springs. The young actors and actresses involved with FCCT were more than excited to show Orlando what they had. As Thanksgiving Break began, the students, including  Saegertown students Blake Hamilton, Rachel White, and myself, made their way to Florida.

As a proud FCCT performer myself, I can personally say that the experience was absolutely exhilarating. The group arrived and checked into Disney’s All-Star Music Resort a couple days before the performance, which gave us a couple days to get familiar with the parks and to explore. On Friday, November 23, the group attended two “Workshop” sessions, which gave us the opportunity to discover the process that Disney performers and voice actors go through first-hand.

For the first workshop, we learned and performed a dance routine for the Disney song “I Have a Dream,” and for the second workshop, we recorded voice-overs using footage from the Disney movie “Frozen.” While exploring the parks and attending the workshops were certainly amazing, the real highlight of the trip came from the Team Disney 2018 performance on Saturday.

With the hot sun beating down on us, we arrived at the Marketplace Stage in Disney Springs and crowded backstage, where we waited anxiously. After the group said a quick prayer, we were introduced by the announcer and walked on stage to find the seats filled, with a large number of people standing behind the seats in order to watch. With every song we performed came rounds of applause and smiles from the audience. The show lasted about a half an hour, with the group performing fourteen total songs, including popular Disney tunes such as “The Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and “Colors of the Wind,” as well as a few Broadway hits, such as “One Short Day” from the musical Wicked and “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent.

“I one-hundred percent won’t (forget this),” said Jonathan Merritt, FCCT performer and a former Saegertown Panther. “(These are the) best years of my life.”

“This theatre is my family,” said Rachel White, “and I can always count on them. I will always remember the adventures.”

The Premiere Broadcast and the Review: Alumni Jacob Perrett wows with ‘Weird Fiction’

Broadcast by Sam Shelenberger, broadcast director

Review by Braeden Kantz, managing editor

“Weird Fiction,” a local independent film, premiered on Oct. 3 at the Movies at Meadville. The low-budget film captivated the audience, many of whom had purchased seats several weeks in advance to ensure a spot at the first showing. Produced and directed by Saegertown alumni Jacob Perrett, “Weird Fiction” created a near-perfect rendering of the greatest moments in 1980s horror cinema.

Perrett has undoubtedly displayed all of his skills as a director in his most recent film. By breaking the film into four shorter segments, Perrett masterfully created a universe of cliche 80s horror. Locally casting and producing the film, Perrett faced a variety of adversities including trouble finding actors and an extremely low budget. Despite a lack of resources, the cast managed to piece together a proficient rendering of the 80s lifestyle and fashion.

The film consistently surprised the audience with shocking plot twists and amazing visual effects that developed a realistic setting with characters to which audience could easily relate. “Squid,” the last short’s antagonist, was the peak of the film’s visual excellence. The make-up and visual effects seemed flawless and stunned the audience, who were aware of the limited resources spent on the project from the pre-screening discussion with the directors. 

Perrett is currently in the process of developing his newest film, the title of which has not yet been released. “Weird Fiction” also showed at the Tinseltown Theatre on Oct. 12 and will show again at the Park Avenue Cinema on Oct. 31 for Perrett’s “Monster Mash,” where anyone who comes to the showing dressed in a costume will be admitted for free. Be sure to attend to support local aspiring actors and directors.


“The Incredibles 2” is a super addition to the current Pixar line-up

by Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor



The 2004 Pixar masterpiece known as “The Incredibles” has been a beloved and enjoyable film for years, and while its sequel may not quite capture the full extent of the film’s original glory, it still meets its audience with an entertaining and compelling story.

Picking up right where the original movie ended, “The Incredibles 2” tells the story of how, after failing to live up to the public and the media’s standards, the Parr family (aka “The Incredibles”) must work to restore not only their own name, but the names of all the heroes cast aside by society. Mrs. Incredible (voiced by Holly Hunter) takes the spotlight as she battles against crime in the city while Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) struggles to care for the kids while she’s away, all while the mysterious villain known as the “Screenslaver” works in the shadows.

Other notable voice performances include those of Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Huck Milner, and Sarah Vowell.

incredibles 2 pic“The Incredibles 2” takes a risk by mixing the usual, brightly-colored world of animation with subject matter that can be surprisingly dark at times. While the movie may be considered a “Children’s Movie,” it still has enough plot and edge to keep its adult audience occupied. The movie boasts a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94%, while its predecessor- the original “The Incredibles”- has a 97% approval rating based on the same site. While the sequel may not be quite as beloved as the original, it’s still worth a look due to its beautiful animation and clever plot.

Overall, “The Incredibles 2” is an enjoyable adventure that’s sure to keep your attention. It mixes small slice-of-life moments with the thrills of a super-powered adventure, making it an excellent choice for the whole family. The film is set to be released onto iTunes and other digital platforms on October 23, while its Blue-Ray and DVD release date is set for November 6.