Singers set for region chorus competition

By Morgan Radwick, design editor


After a remarkable performance at District Chorus, four Saegertown students will be moving on to regions taking place this week.

The 2019 PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) Region Chorus competitions will be held at Clarion High School from March 21-23.

Participating students from Saegertown this year are as follows; junior Carson Jones (Tenor II), junior Oliver Smith (Bass I), junior Sam Shelenberger (Bass ll), and senior Madison Morgan (Alto l). They will be accompanied by Mrs. Susan James. Each of the four advancing singers are members of Chambers Singers at Saegertown. “Regions is just a more technical version of Districts, It’s time to see who can put the passion and the intricacies into their music,” Jones said.

The students had to place in the top ten out of approximately twenty-five other contestants at District Chorus. Auditions and competitions will be held shortly after arrival on March 21.

The singers will then warm up in a group while a meeting for the directors is held. After a quick warm up, they will gather in their respective sections and be summoned, one at a time, into a room with three judges and a Sergeant of Arms.

The auditioning students are not to talk to the judges (their backs are turned to the student auditioning) so if they have a question, they ask the Sergeant of Arms.  The SA is also there to help students stay calm.

The students then audition with two pieces of music from their folder, which they received before the competition. Participants are expected to sing their part from the music with only a starting pitch. They are judged on correct pitch, rhythm, intonation, breathing, diction, etc. If the singers receive a high-enough score from the judges, they will move on to the State competition in Pittsburgh on April 3.

Rehearsals for the concert will be held Friday, March 22 and the concert will Saturday at Clarion High School at 2 p.m. Results from the Saegertown student auditions will be available on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.

‘Alcatraz’ and ‘The Liberator’ prepare for Robobots battles

By Jake Reisinger, Web Site Editor

On March 30, Meadville Area Senior High school will host the 2019 RoboBots competition. Two teams of students in the robotics class, advised by George Nahay, are preparing to make sure their bots are ready to enter the battle arena. “We hoped to be finished with our bots sooner,” Mr. Nahay said. “But we should have both bots complete by next week.”

Junior Josh McWright works on making sure “Alcatraz” is ready for battle.

Team one is “We The People” with their bot The Liberator. Team members include: Jaden Reagle, Josh Weaver, Ashley Merritt, Ben McWright, Darian Kaye, Tim Senovich, and Wesley Price.

Team two is “Prison Break” and with their bot Alcatraz. Team members include: Drew Hunter, Josh McWright, Devin Steiger, Ryan Washburn, David Deets, Zane Schlosser, and Jordan Bush.

The action begins at 9 a.m. Check out the March 29 Panther Press for full details about the Saegertown teams.

Membean gives new boost in learning vocabulary

By Bree Snyder, staff writer

“Have you done your Membean?” and “When is Membean due?” are now common questions in the halls of Saegertown High School. Enter any English classroom, and you’re likely to see students hard at work on their laptops and iPads. So what is Membean?

Membean is an online learning tool centered on vocabulary, combining differentiated instruction, personalization, and active memory reinforcement. Membean is not available on the App Store; however, it is available to any student via membean.com through a school-based subscription.

According to the website, Membean’s purpose is to provide “web-based tools to help students excel.” Its aim is to bring “evidence-based, well-researched instructions [as Membean] passionately believe[s] that the measure of what you learn is what you retain over the long term.”

Membean contains over 4,000 vocabulary words, all of which are divided among three different categories: Lower Middle School, Middle High School, and High School. The Lower Middle School list contains 500 words, the Middle High School consists of 1,630 words, and the High School list has 2,156 words.

After learning about the program through her daughter’s school, Assistant Principal Kylene Koper brought Membean to Saegertown earlier this school year. Mrs. Koper chose to use Membean because of its “differentiated vocabulary practice,” meaning that Membean provides students words matched to their learning ability.

There are over 4,700 schools, including area schools like Millcreek and Fairview, in the United States, that use Membean. “I hope students will increase their vocabulary usage and their vocabulary levels,” Mrs. Koper said. She has pushed out Membean to all English classes in grades 7-12 as a pilot.

Although teachers grade Membean differently, many seem to be impressed with it. Mr. William Hetrick records a Membean grade in every two weeks whereas Mrs. Stacey Hetrick grades Membean weekly. Mr. Hetrick prefers Membean over “traditional vocabulary study because it is more individualized. It has a lot of potential for student growth.”

Students have formed a variety of opinions about the program. Some prefer Membean over standard vocabulary learning methods while some dislike Membean altogether.

“I prefer Membean over vocabulary journals because I can learn words that match to my ability of learning as opposed to looking up random vocabulary words just to appease our teacher,” senior Taylor Munce said.  

Hayley Moore, eighth grade, agrees with Munce. “I learn from it. It teaches me some good words, and I know what the words mean. It teaches me words that I don’t know that I should know.”

While Munce and Moore like Membean, other students feel pressured by the grading aspect of the program. Eighth grader Kylie Thompson said, “I don’t like it because we get grades put in. If I forget about it, I don’t get a grade. I always remember the last day, so I have to do it the night before it’s due.”

Mrs. Hetrick appreciates the site. “I’m very impressed with Membean’s ability to match the kids with the level of words they need. I think it’s very effective at teaching word parts and growing vocabulary. I’m excited to see results on year-end tests.”

Woodcock Lake Park: Community gem in risk of closing its gates

By Kaitlyn Kozalla and Nick Archacki, features editor and news editor

Every summer, countless families travel to local hot-spot Woodcock Lake Park to spend some time away from home. Located just south of the Woodcock Dam, the campground is popular for camping, boating, picnics, fishing, and walking on trails.

However, Woodcock Lake Park is in jeopardy of closing its gates at the end of the summer due to insufficient funding.

Since the mid-1970s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been operating and maintaining the park. The 25-year lease ends in May 2024, but the funds required to keep the park operating caused the county to notify the Corps of Engineers that they want to end the lease by January 2020. Commissioners say that expenses exceed revenue, costing the county around $65,000 annually.

The other option commissioners are considering is imposing a user fee for park visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“Would that be enough to offset $65,000? Maybe. Maybe not. We don’t know that yet, but these are the things we’re looking at,” said county commissioner Francis Weiderspahn in a report from Erie News Now.

Weiderspahn took to social media to garner public opinion on a possible fee of $2 per car and $5 for a vehicle with a boat. The response was largely positive.

“I’m disappointed and sad because it’s a very good campground,” junior Dariann Beebe said. Beebe testified to the popularity of Woodcock Lake Park by revealing that she usually has to book a spot during Memorial Day weekend.

Unfortunately, nothing regarding the park’s status is official yet. For now, we are left to speculate about the fate of an area treasure.

Saegertown enters ‘What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?’ contest: Voting begins Monday

By Will Phelan, social media editor

Students met with Greenleaf employees to learn about manufacturing.

What’s so cool about manufacturing?  With the help of teacher-coach Mr. George Nahay, several junior high students decided to find out.

Eighth graders Lynna Brenizer, Brennen McWright, Quincy Zook, Michael DeJohn, Logan Fritze, and Joseph Perry teamed up to study the intricacies of manufacturing at Greenleaf Corporation as part of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest sponsored by the Northwest Industrial Resource Center. The contest is meant to raise awareness in schools and communities about interesting manufacturing careers.  

“Mrs. Koper brought the idea for this project to my attention at the beginning of the school year,” Mr. Nahay said.  “I liked the idea of getting eighth-grade students into a shop like Greenleaf to learn about manufacturing, so I decided to get involved.”

One of many Erie and Crawford County schools included in the Northwest contest, the Saegertown team was tasked with examining the operations at Greenleaf and filming them to show what the company is all about.

“Our goal with this project was to create an interesting video that represents Greenleaf and manufacturing well, so that students can see what a career in manufacturing could look like,” Mr. Nahay said.  

The students designed, filmed, and edited the video with some assistance from Mr. Nahay. Michael DeJohn is particularly proud of the video editing that includes fast forward sequences, voiceovers, and music.

Although this is the second year for the contest in our area, this is Saegertown’s first year as a participating school. For DeJohn, the lessons went beyond the shop floor; “I learned that work ethic can benefit you later in life, especially at your job.”  

He also emphasized the significance of meeting the Greenleaf employees; “The people were the most interesting. They could tell you everything. They could tell us what the machines were, and how they worked. They knew their stuff.”

However fun the project was, it was not easy work. “I found out that teaching and having students create a film outside of class can be very time consuming, but I feel that the finished product is great,” Mr. Nahay said.  

The SHS team is up against 17 other schools for awards in several categories including the Viewer’s Choice Award. Last year, nearly 40,000 votes were cast online, and 400 attended the awards gala. This year’s Gala will be March 21.

Voting for the Viewers Choice Award will take place March 11-13. You can view the video and vote  on the WSCM website. (With additional reporting by Sam Hetrick and Grant Anthony)

Sophomores set for Business Week

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

Saegertown sophomores will take a brief recess from their regularly scheduled classes for Saegertown’s 12th annual Pennsylvania Business Week from March 11-15. They will be divided into three teams (companies), supervised by Mr. Steve Simcheck, Mr. Brian Costa, and Mr. Richard Rutkowski. Each group will also have a business adviser from the community.

The majority of the week is devoted to developing product ideas, prototypes, and marketing strategies. On Friday, team members will present their efforts to panels of judges and participate in a trade show in the gym. Each member of the winning team will receive $100 cash at the end of the day.

Thanks to the sponsorship of ACES (Americans for Competitive Enterprise System, Inc.) and the hard work of coordinator Mr. Tim Houck, Business Week has been a successful event at Saegertown High School since 2007.

“When I was first hired [at Saegertown], I had the opportunity to go to Fort LeBoeuf and see their Business Week,” Mr. Houck said. “I thought that we should try it at PENNCREST, and more specifically, at Saegertown. Cambridge was the first school to try it, and we followed the year after.”

“I loved watching our visions become reality,” said senior Claudia Fetzner, CEO of the winning company ‘Lifted Shoes’ two years ago. “I thought it was a lot of fun once it came together.”

Fetzner shared a nugget of wisdom with the sophomores: “Work together. Everyone has their specialties.”

Saegertown students head to region band

By Morgan Radwick, design editor

Matt Nale (left) and Sam Shelenberger (right)

After a phenomenal performance at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District Band in January, junior Sam Shelenberger (trombone) and sophomore Matt Nale (tuba) are moving on to region band at North East High School March 7-9.

Nale and Shelenberger will audition tomorrow night to see if they qualify for the PMEA All-State Band which will be held in Pittsburgh April 3-6.

“I think we’ll have a great time,” Shelenberger said. “Whenever we go to these festivals, I think we represent Saegertown well. We overall maintain a respectful performance.” He is particularly excited to play the fast-paced piece ‘Rolling Thunder’ which he calls “sporadic and difficult to play.”

The two-day festival will include practice for the concert that will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. Guest conductor will be Dr. Andrew Yozviak, Director of Bands at West Chester University.

Saegertown music teacher Mrs. Susan James is especially proud of Nale and Shelenberger for moving onto regions: “It takes a lot of work to get to regions, and they both worked hard.”

Local students bring “On Applebee’s Pond” to life

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

(Left to right) Cast members Mykenzie Connally, Stephanie Polach, Madison Morgan and Dustin Steiger pose with their characters.

Childlike wonder has the ability to bring life to the inanimate and to stoke the imagination. It’s this wonder that turns a twig into a sword and transforms an empty cardboard box into a mighty castle. It’s also this wonder that makes “On Applebee Pond” work so well.

The students of Saegertown Elementary have recently welcomed “Arnold Applebee” and the cast of the educational puppet show “On Applebee Pond” to their school.

The cast includes juniors Oliver Smith, Aaron Brown, and Carson Jones, and seniors Stephanie Polach, Mykenzie Connally, Madison Morgan, and Dustin Steiger.

“On Applebee Pond” was created by The Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission (MCBHC) in order to help educate children about the issues surrounding drug abuse and mental health in a fun and entertaining way. In the past, Saegertown had a group of student performers, but there had been no group in recent years. PENNCREST sister schools Cambridge and Maplewood have active OAPB groups as well.

On Feb. 8, the cast performed their first show, and, as of now, the program has been been a success. “I think it’s a great program for the kids to hear the puppets tell real life stories they can relate to and have fun while they’re doing it,” said kindergarten teacher Mrs. Debbie Richardson.

“I love it,” said senior Stephanie Polach. “I love seeing their [the kids’] reactions. They get so excited. I think the kids really enjoy it.”

The cast plans to continue performing on Wednesday mornings and afternoons, though the schedule is subject to change.

With any luck, “On Applebee Pond” will continue to provide a fun, educational experience for students at Saegertown Elementary, bringing to life the childlike wonder that we all know and love.

Key Club continues to serve community

By Amanda Crowl, staff writer

Members of the Saegertown Key Club are working around the clock to benefit their community through improvement projects and community service. As active and present as Key Club is, not everyone knows what they are doing.

Key Club members and Allegheny students volunteered at the Meadville Library in February.

On the second Saturday of each month, Allegheny College holds a “Service Saturday.” For three years, members of Saegertown’s Key Club have joined with Allegheny students to help Meadville’s less fortunate.

Recently, Saegertown Key Club created a miniature library in Saegertown’s local laundromat as part of the ‘Youth Serving Youth’ service project. This year’s project theme is ‘literacy.’

In addition to providing books to community members via the library, Key Club will be donating ten new books to Saegertown Elementary’s library, whose funding has been cut significantly in recent years.

Key Club also hosts the popular ‘Hat and Pajama Day’ at the high school. Students pay one dollar to wear a hat, or pajamas, or both. The money raised during events such as these directly fund community projects.

“I am glad to give back to the community,” said club vice president Mykenzie Connally, who believes each of Key Club’s projects make a positive impact on the community.

‘Common Grounds’ continues to flourish

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

Since its founding in September of 2016, Common Grounds has lived up to its mission statement, acting as “a gathering place where young people can socialize free of negative influences and where they connect and find common ground.”

For those who don’t know, Common Grounds is a café located at the old Grotto Park in Saegertown.

On Monday nights, the café hosts “Campus Life,” a youth-group for high school teens from 7 to 10 p.m.

On Friday nights, high schoolers can also gather for a teen café night with ping-pong, pool, board games, free WiFi, and, of course, coffee.

“Common Grounds has been continually expanding as new groups continue to meet there,” said Frank Tipping, the Campus Life Ministry Director. “Besides our high school age groups like Campus Life and Friday Night Cafe, we have a men’s group that meets there on certain Saturdays, and a young adult group that meets on Tuesday nights. We are also open to other groups that are looking for a place to gather.”

“I believe that it allows a safe space for everyone- not just Christians- to come together and be in an environment that is very promoting and positive!” said Jennifer Chamberlain, a Maplewood senior who regularly attends Campus Life.

“It helps our community come together as one,” said Ashley Merritt, a Saegertown junior. “It gives people a chance to feel safe.”

Common Grounds continues to provide the young adults in the area with a place to hangout, to meet new friends, and to grow in fellowship and in friendship. “We are all created in the image of God,” Tipping said. “And I think we have so much more in common with each other than we realize. We need to take the time to get to know one another and build relationships on Common Ground. Then we can begin to build bridges instead of tearing them down.”