‘State of the Art’ technology fuels future success

By Mason McClure, staff writer

Monday through Sunday, night and day, Saegertown students use their electronics and technology for homework and in-school assignments. Technology is everywhere; it’s entwined into almost every aspect of our culture.

Junior Josh McWright adjusts the battery on a bot for the RoboBots competition.

Using technology in the classroom gives teachers the opportunity to develop their students’ digital skills. It’s one thing to use electronic devices; it’s another thing to know how to use them correctly and responsibly.

Newer electronics and machinery are essential for modern-day careers, so it only makes sense that our schools should have them too. In classes like Robotics, Wood Tech, and Tech Education, students are taught how to properly use modern technology. Students choose electives like these to expand their knowledge, or even to help themselves pursue long-term goals.

According to an article from securedgenetworks.com, “If used correctly, mobile devices and the applications they support, will help prepare students for their future careers.”

Robotics teacher Mr. Nahay emphasizes that, generally, schools should invest more funding into modern advancements and machinery, “Students need experience using modern technology, comparable to technology in workplaces,” he said.

Junior Zane Schlosser, a robotics student, shared his input about the importance of technology in school: “I think technology should be utilized in every subject for school. It can help you prepare for the workforce. Any career you decide, technology will be a huge factor.”

Students and faculty members should have more input on the school’s investment into these advancements. “You have to continually invest in technology,” said Mrs. Stacey Hetrick, journalism advisor and English teacher. “I appreciate the iPad initiative, but I hope the district will continue to invest in computers. I also wish the district would reinstate the ‘bring your own device’ program.”

Schlosser hopes the district will continue to make cutting-edge technology a priority: “The closer to state of the art, the better. When entering the workforce, you will be using newer technology. If our school decided to invest in more advanced technology, we would have a better look into possible future careers.”

Picketing with my father: United Electric lockout strikes home

By Kaitlyn Kozalla, features editor

On Sunday, March 3, I picketed with my family to show support for the plight of United Electric members after a nine day lockout. I was overwhelmed by the community’s encouragement and positivity. Trucks ushered wood for burn barrels so families could stay warm, restaurants supplied food, while the refrigerators and freezers in the united electrical radio and machine workers union hall overflowed. Three days later, United Electric 506 and 618 reached a consensus to end the lockout in Erie’s manufacturing facility.

Union members gathered in front of Wabtec’s corporate headquarters in Wilmerding, Pa. during the lockout.

The union passed a vote on Feb. 26 to initiate a lockout on the facility formerly owned by General Electric (GE) Transportation, which is now owned by Wabtec Corporation. This lockout was passed the day after Wabtec’s purchase of the plant was made official.

As the daughter of a 13-year GE employee, I witnessed first hand the impact of Wabtec’s corporate greed. The day of the purchase, the company released an official statement that included the changes being implemented. Some of these changes included a wage cut of almost forty percent, mandatory overtime and to relegate 20 percent of workers to part-time positions with no benefits.

The introduction of Wabtec’s two-tier wage system was the breaking point for many employees. Former GE employees would retain their wages, while new employees would have their wages slashed. What Wabtec failed to clarify is what would happen to employees who are laid off and later returned – they too would receive a wage cut.  

After walking the picket line for about an hour, I learned of Wabtec’s regulations on strikers. According to the official statement, only ten members (at least five feet apart) could walk the picket. While all this was occurring, Wabtec employees acted as monitors from their warm vehicles.

Union members shouted: “Who are we? UE!” and “What do we want? A fair contract! When do we want it? Now!” Passing motorists honked in shows of support, some possibly being former GE employees

Harborcreek Township resident Chris Merit, a 30-year GE employee, said: “You can’t just bring in people off the street to do what we do.” Wabtec claims to offer competitive wages, but fails to take into account the common adage “skilled labor isn’t cheap and cheap labor isn’t skilled.”

I continued to follow the situation through local media, but saw no change. Another blow was dealt when I learned my family had lost our insurance. Through the bad; however, the union supported workers as much as they could by helping families pay their bills if they couldn’t afford to do so.

This issue quickly gained national support. Senator Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to Wabtec asking the company to keep the existing contract until a compromise could be reached. Sanders continued by saying he will provide his “full support and solidarity” until a contract is set.

UE President, Scott Slawson, spoke for Local 506 and 618 at a Bernie Sanders rally in Brooklyn. He urged Wabtec to respect hardworking families and find a fair deal for both sides. News outlets including CNN covered the story, which promoted worldwide support for the UE members. The UE Facebook page UE Members 506 was filled with messages of support from working families from California to Connecticut and as far away as Italy, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

Wabtec and UE reached an agreement containing a 90-day contract that allows more negotiations towards a long-term deal. It is unknown whether an agreement will be reached by the end of the term, but both parties claim they are optimistic. At this time, the plant will not close and wages will be maintained at their present levels.

Never have I thought that my family would ever go through this. It was, and still is uncertain of what will happen next, and if i’m honest, it’s nerve-racking. I know in the end everything will turn out, we will persevere no matter the case.

Key Club creates library for the laundromat

By Amanda Crowl, staff writer

The shelf is stocked with donated books from the Saegertown community.

The Saegertown Laundromat on Main St. is now home to a fully stocked bookshelf thanks to the Pantherian Key Club at Saegertown High School.

Every year, Key Clubs across Pennsylvania complete a ‘Youth Serving Youth’  (YSY) project. The theme for this year’s project is literacy. To promote reading, members of Key Club decided to put a bookshelf in the Saegertown laundromat.

The bookshelf is filled with children’s books donated by Saegertown students. Parents who regularly use the laundromat can take and return books or read them to their children while they are at the laundromat.

Key Club president Stephanie Polach is excited to see how this project impacts the community. “We had talked about doing this project for a while, and we had the resources to do it,” Polach said.

Sophomore Isaac Levis received the bookshelf from Key Club adviser Marlene Jenkins, and had to stain, paint, and finish the bookshelf. “I had the tools, and it was something inexpensive,” Levis said. The biggest setback for Levis was waiting for the vote to buy paint for the bookshelf, but it was soon approved and the bookshelf was finished.

Polach and Levis were delighted with how the project turned out. “It turned out a lot better than I hoped because we received more books that need to find a home than we thought,” Polach said. She hopes to expand this project in the future.

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.

 

Junior high students voice Homecoming opinions

By Taylor Munce, sports editor and Sam Hetrick and Grant Anthony, junior high reporters

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Seventh graders Joelle Jackson, Fayelynn McWright, and Hannah Hyden are looking forward to the dance Saturday night.

Homecoming is an opportunity for junior high students to rub elbows with the upperclassmen. With all the buzz surrounding court and who will reign as King and Queen, their voices often get lost in the noise.

Seventh grader Fayelynn McWright is looking forward to seeing how her friends and peers look. “I’m not wearing heels, though, I don’t want to break my neck!” She feels that homecoming should not just be about getting a date for the dance. “I don’t need a man to feel good about myself,” McWright said. “I just like hanging out with my other Single Pringle girlfriends.” Her friend Joelle Jackson agreed: “We’re all fries in a McDonald’s box. We stick together.”

Freshman Kat Diesing feels similarly about dates and homecoming. “I am too good for all these men,” Diesing said. “I need to go with my best friend Aidan. She always makes it a blast.”

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Seventh graders Collin Jones and Alyssa Arblaster will be attending the dance together.

Most of the Junior high students agree that friends make the dance all the better. Seventh grader Collin Jones said that he looks forward to hanging out with friends at the dance. “I’m also looking forward to singing, dancing and having a great time,” Jones said.  Both Jones and fellow seventh grader Alyssa Arblaster are looking forward to the music. Both agree that their favorite song is “Africa” by Toto.

The Homecoming dance is not the only event that students are looking forward to; many are also excited for the football game.“The football game is fun and exciting because you get to see who the King and Queen are,” said Arblaster. “Getting to know new people at the dance is fun as well.”

 

Career Search: The Forestry Industry

by Bailey Kozalla, editor-in-chief

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Bailey Kozalla

Being raised in an outdoor-centric family, I quickly adopted an affinity for hunting and fishing. At eight years old, I ventured on my first hunt with my mom and dad. Ever since that day, I have been hooked on the sport. Ten years later, and having harvested twelve deer and four turkeys, I plan to develop my love for the outdoors into my dream career. I realize that the environment in which I take these magnificent creatures has given me so much that I decided I want to give back and dedicate my work to them. This is why I have decided to become a forester.

Working in the forestry industry basically means being a tree farmer. This type of agriculture entails working with private landowners to make their forested land healthy. After all, according to summitpost.org, they own over sixty percent of all land in the United States and over 84 percent in Pennsylvania.

There are different types of foresters with the first being service foresters. They work mostly for government agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Their main goal is to make the forested land in which they work the healthiest it can be, based on the landowner’s wants and needs. I had the opportunity to shadow a service forester this summer; Mark Lewis, who works at the Crawford County Conservation District for the DCNR.

The second type is a management forester. Working for the private sector, these foresters are mainly employed by paper mills and logging companies, or they have businesses of their own. They take their knowledge of forest and environmental science to harvest trees that are in high demand, but also take into account a variety of environmental factors as well. Self-employed foresters advertise their work so that they can be hired by private landowners wishing to sell a timber harvest.

I am interested in both types of forestry careers, and I can see a future in both. When I did more research on job opportunities, I decided to pursue a degree in environmental science. I narrowed my college decision between Pennsylvania State University and Allegheny College. Both have great reputations for the program, I eventually settled on Allegheny due to lower costs from scholarships I have received.

After years of searching for opportunities, I am so excited to be able to see a future in this career! I hope to fulfill my dream after earning my degree and serve the environment that has given me so much.

Seniors find life-changing inspiration in ‘This I Believe’ essays

by Kaity Gage, design editor

Sometimes in life you just have to “Be Your Own Sunshine” or “Always Find Your Rainbow” to lift yourself out of darkness, and other times you have to force yourself to keep “Eating Your Humble Pie.” That is exactly what the class of 2018 is doing by finding a metaphor related to their experiences during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood and writing about the strength and wisdom they have gained from it.

The seniors were given the “This I Believe” personal essay assignment by senior English teacher Mr. William Hetrick. It involves writing a 500 to 600 word essay about an experience that has changed their lives for the better. The title of the essay is a metaphor that has an overarching theme, and some of the seniors have been very creative with their writing. Themes range from death and depression to picking the right path for yourself or remembering that love will always win.

Many of the seniors have deep-rooted connections to their essays. Taylor Schultz wrote her essay with “Be Your Own Sunshine” as her metaphor. In it she shares that no matter what is going on in your surroundings, you have to allow yourself to be a “glass half full” individual. She starts her narrative referencing Vincent Van Gogh swallowing yellow paint to try and paint his insides happy, but ultimately, each person has to create that happiness for herself. “It’s something that I think about a lot and I don’t really get to share it with anyone, but this project gave me the chance to write about it,” Schultz said.

Wesley Fleischer, who will be enlisting in the Army, used this opportunity to write about his grandfather, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fleischer had not talked much about experiencing his grandfather’s death until he wrote “I Just Had to Try.” He took his moment to completely process everything that he has dealt with from the passing. “It made me feel better to share with the world what great things my grandfather did,” Fleischer said.

These essays have been written by people all over the world and they all give a message that states their mantra toward life. Famous individuals such as boxer Muhammad Ali, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, journalist Gloria Steinem, and Microsoft Corporation founder, Bill Gates, have all written “This I Believe” essays. Starting in 2005, a website was created for people to publish their essays as well as listen to an MP3 of them reading what they wrote. Unfortunately, new essays cannot be published to the This I Believe website any longer.

Still, eager to write, the seniors wrote about their mantras and Mr. Hetrick had all of them record what they wrote into an MP3, which will be accessible through QR codes. The QR codes are posted on the Panther Hallway bulletin board for students, faculty, and community members to scan and listen to what the seniors have to say. Each story is completely unique and offers a lesson to be learned.

Jenna Galt chose to write her essay “Always Finish the Song” to emphasize that you can never give up. “I know too many adults who wish they would have done things differently in their lives, and I’ve been trying to convince myself to not give up on going to college because I’m so nervous about it,” Galt said. She wants to use her message to push herself to pursue a degree in psychology. “I want to be a clinical psychologist and work with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients and/or kids who have been affected by substance abuse.”

Dominic Steiger wrote his metaphor “Penguins in the Mud” about his time on the football team. The essay includes a story about his football brothers and himself taking advantage of a gloomy practice with lots of rain to make themselves some literal mudslides. They chose to slide down the large hill behind the scoreboard as a way to remember that records are not important and to have some fun during a dreary season. Steiger said, “I believe in taking the little moments we’re given and making them memorable. Even if it’s as simple as that [the mud sliding].”

Reflecting on the impact of the assignment, Mr. Hetrick said, “I think seniors who are about to graduate have a lot to say and have developed powerful philosophies, and this is their outlet.” He also noted that it offered a chance for everyone in the class of 2018 to speak their minds and talk about what keeps them moving everyday.

To listen to the essays, visit the display in the Panther Hallway and use your iPad or phone to scan the QR codes.

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All members of the Saegertown community are invited to listen to the “This I Believe” essays of the class of 2018.