Seniors recognized for ‘My Game Plan’ locker displays

By Kaitlyn Kozalla, news editor

Today at graduation practice, senior social studies teacher Justin Hayes presented people’s choice awards for the “My Game Plan” project students completed in Economics 12. The seniors displayed their future plans on their lockers and presented them to students from other classes. Everyone in the building had the opportunity to vote for their favorites.

Top prize went to Morgan Radwick who plans to become a forensic scientist. Second place was Courtney Hess, and honorable mentions went to Dustin Steiger, Lydia Betts, and Samantha Evans.

Hispanic Fair enjoys second-year success

By Sheena Byham, sports editor

IMG_4336The Spanish classes participated in the Hispanic fair on May 30 that represented all 22 Spanish speaking countries. The students in Spanish I, II, and III completed eight projects throughout the school year under the direction of Senorita Nova Dinsmore. They then display their projects at the year-end fair.

This year Dinsmore invited fifth-graders from SES to visit the fair along with any students from the junior and senior high. “I do the Hispanic fair for students to experience the Spanish culture,” Dinsmore said. The fair was held from 9 – 2 during the school day, and then from 4:30-6:30 p.m. as part of Arts and Academics Night so that adults could come to visit the displays.

IMG_4320The students had put a great amount of time and effort into their projects, so Dinsmore collected donations at the Hispanic fair to help pay for the funds to complete the students’ projects next year. She received a generous grant of $200 from the Northwestern REC for this year’s fair.

Dinsmore plans to continue the fair in the following years for students, teachers, and the community to experience Spanish culture.

Cambridge Springs community looks to future after the fire

Story and photos by Nick Archacki, news editor

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First floor of the Hardwaters brewpub location.

Last Sunday night, a ravenous inferno raged through Cambridge Springs, leaving another scar on a town that is still recovering from the loss of the beloved Riverside Inn which burnt to the ground just over two years ago.

The flames, which blazed for four consecutive hours, destroyed many sections in a historic building complex on 276 and 278 South Main Street. The building housed four apartments and was going to be the home of a new brewpub, Hardwaters Brewing, which was just six to eight weeks from opening its doors for business.

The fire caused smoke damage to Mr. Woody’s Smokin’ Barbecue, Scott’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe, and Kelly Run Art Gallery. The Art Gallery remains open, but the other three stores are closed until further notice. The smoke from the fire remained in the Cambridge Springs vicinity two days after the flames were extinguished.

The blaze, which was reported at around 7 p.m. on May 12, supposedly started in the front part of the new pub, where the bar countertop was installed just a day prior to the fire. Due to the instability of the building and the collapse of the second floor and roof, the fire marshall has not begun an investigation as to how it started.

“It was hard just knowing they were working so hard in there to get it [Hardwaters Brewing] up and running,” Cambridge Springs Fire Chief Chris French said.


Second floor of the Hardwaters brewpub location

French, who has been the Cambridge Fire Chief for seven years, took a moment to reflecton this fire as well as the loss of the Riverside two years ago: “When the Riverside burnt, I was in shock knowing I was just there with over 700 people for the adult prom. Emotionally, this fire didn’t affect me as much as the Riverside. However, it was still tough because I was in charge of about 200 firefighters and they depended on me to make the right decisions.”

According to French, twenty fire departments from Crawford and Erie counties were on the scene with five ladder trucks applying water on the fire. Crews remained at the scene until early Monday morning, with some departments returning later that day when the fire rekindled for a short time.

PENNCREST School District called for a two-hour delay on Monday out of respect for the community and the firefighters (who came from across the district to assist). An email from Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said: “The fire in Cambridge Springs will affect our students, residents, bus drivers, bus routes, and others. Please keep Cambridge Springs in your prayers.”

There is still hope that Hardwaters Brewing may rebuild, but nothing has been confirmed at this time. The smoke damage to Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe was extensive and has caused the future of Finney’s to be undecided. The business is currently closed as the materials that were used to make chocolate, cakes, and desserts were damaged. Scott’s Heating and Air Conditioning will be moving to 239 South Main Street, and Mr. Woody’s will be moving into the location of the former Crazy Pineapple (or the Crossbow) at 259 Venango Avenue.

The Cambridge Springs pride is still strong after another heartbreaking loss. The community is coming together once again to help the firefighters and crews at the fire and aid the people affected by the blaze.


Maplewood Elementary ‘Terrific Teller’ releases Issue 2

The Panther Press is pleased to share with you the second issue of The Terrific Teller, a production of Mrs. Jen Wilkinson’s fourth-grade class at Maplewood Elementary School. We have partnered with the staff of the Teller this year, and we are happy to recognize and support the efforts of these young journalists.

Click here to read: Terrific Teller Issue 2

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Triola takes third in driving competition

By Will Phelan, social media editor


Senior Grace Triola

Senior Grace Triola has a knack for driving that recently earned her $300. On April 30, she showcased her students showcased their safety and knowledge in driving during the Crawford County Driver Skills Challenge.  

Several schools in the area tested their students before the competition to create teams of three intelligent drivers.  The SHS team consisted of seniors Eli Draa, Emmitt Hershelman, and Grace Triola.

Each of the 21 total students participated in four different tests including written, perception, driving, and safety versions.  

Despite Emmitt Hershelman placing first in the preliminary team-forming tests, Grace Triola finished third among the field of contenders, earning herself a $300 reward which she plans to put toward college.  

As this was her first experience in the competition, Triola anticipated less written testing and more skill evaluation.  “I expected the challenge to be more driving based,” she said.

Students observed fabricated situations in which distractions in the form of texting and drinking impaired the ability to drive.  Of the event as a whole Triola said, “It was a good opportunity to learn about distracted driving and being safer on the road.”


Peters and Shelenberger receive awards at YSU English Festival

Amanda Crowl, staff writer


Sophomore Haiku Peters

Nine Saegertown students traveled to Youngstown, Ohio on April 10 to participate in the 41st annual YSU English Festival. Over 1,000 students with a passion for English and writing gathered to show off their skills in various competitions and meet famous authors.

Students met with writers like Neal Shusterman (“Thunderhead,” “Unwind”) and Steve Sheinkin (“The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights,” “Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team”).

“I look forward to the YSU Festival every year,” said librarian Betty Litke. “It is a great experience for the kids to meet authors and new kids. The authors relate to the kids and connect with them.”

Senior Ben Shelenberger and his team took second in “Not So Trivial Pursuit,” while sophomore Haiku Peters placed ninth out of 500 in an impromptu essay writing contest. “I was very surprised and I did not expect to win at all,” Peters said about her win.


Senior Ben Shelenberger

Junior Sam Shelenberger attended a journalism workshop and had the chance to interview Shusterman. “It was a unique experience to be able to interview someone of his caliber,” Shelenberger said. “Last year I interviewed Laurie Halse Anderson, and this year I interviewed Shusterman. It was cool because I’m huge fans of both.”

Saegertown’s ninth year participating in the YSU English Festival was considered a success by all who attended. “I hope to see more people from Saegertown go in the future,” Shelenberger said. “It’s such a fun experience to see so many peoples from different places who are enthusiastic about literature.”

Oliver Smith takes seventh at PMEA All-State Chorus


Smith pictured with friends he describes as “step-bros” in Pittsburgh.

By Claudia Fetzner, photo editor

On the weekend of April 3, junior Oliver Smith competed at the PMEA All-State Chorus Festival in Pittsburgh. Smith was the only Saegertown musician to advance to the state level.

During the four days he was in Pittsburgh, Smith worked under American choral conductor and two-time GRAMMY winner Dr. Jerry Blackstone.

Smith performed a variety of songs including “Hallelujah,” “Come to Me, My Love,” and ”Your Voices Tune.”

Chorus teacher Mrs. Susan James describes Smith as  “an all-around good student and singer who is willing to do and sing anything.” Smith beat 24 students at Districts, 20 at Regionals and 30 at States. “It was all him,” Mrs. James said. “He’s a really hard worker when it comes to music.”

Smith placed seventh out of 30 in the Bass One category, which means he won’t advance to nationals. However, he still considers his time at states a success. “The friends I made and the music I created was a gift. I wouldn’t give that away for anything,” Smith said.  


Photo story: To Washington D.C. and back in one day

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Photos by Sam Shelenberger, broadcast director

Departing at 2:15 a.m on Friday, April 5 and returning at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, April 6,  fifteen Saegertown students took a whirlwind tour of Washington D.C. that included the Newseum, lunch at Union Station, and a walking tour of the monuments.

Members of the Panther Press staff and the AP Language classes (along with Principal Tom Baker and Bill and Stacey Hetrick) were invited to accompany Cambridge Springs History Day Club students and their teacher Mr. John Werkmeister for a day filled with education and reflection in the nation’s capital.

Highlights of the trip included Panther Press staff members reciting the First Amendment at the Newseum, listening to the wisdom of Mr. Werkmeister as he narrated the tour of the monuments (Jefferson, Lincoln, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Marine Corps, Martin Luther King Jr., FDR), and marveling at the beauty of the cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

The trip also included a lunch stop and tour of Union Station. Although the day was drizzly, the students agreed that they would most definitely do it again.

(Special thanks to Mr. John Werkmeister from Cambridge Springs High School for organizing the trip and sharing the story of our country on the monuments tour. We look forward to traveling with you again.)