Panther Press staff excels in Journalism Day at Edinboro University

By Brad Amy, Staff Writer

Panther Press award winners: clockwise from top: Jacob Perrett and Nick Woge, Jacob Perrett, Kaylee Luchansky and Lianna Ketcham, Kristi Stoyer, Lexie Erdos, and Erin Sherry.

Panther Press award winners: clockwise from top: Jacob Perrett and Nick Woge, Jacob Perrett, Kaylee Luchansky and Lianna Ketcham, Kristi Stoyer, Lexie Erdos, and Erin Sherry. Missing from photos are Jessica Tomiczek and Casey Fetzner.

On April 10, the Panther Press staff travelled to the Pogue Center at Edinboro University to participate in the ninth annual Journalism Day. The day started with breakfast, where the staff members met journalists from eight other high schools participating in the event: McDowell, Collegiate Academy, General McLane, Youngsville, Eisenhower, Norwin, Fort LeBoeuf, Cathedral Prep, and Corry. After welcoming remarks from Dr. Anthony Peyronel, chairperson of the department of journalism and public relations, and Edinboro University President Dr. Julie Wollman, the morning speaker was Jamison Hixenbaugh from Lilly Broadcasting in Erie. The staff then split into three groups to attend sessions on multimedia journalism, public relations,  or meet with journalism professionals for a critique of their publications. After lunch, Jack Speer, newscaster for NPR (National Public Radio) delivered the keynote address. He told the students about his career, his time as an NPR Journalist, and what he is doing now.

The day finished with the annual award ceremony, where the Panther Press staff received several awards. The winners are as follows: broadcast news package Nick Woge and Jacob Perrett, third; Perrett, first; broadcast news anchor Perrett, first place; news Lexie Erdos third and Kristi Stoyer first; news photo Casey Fetzner first; opinion Erin Sherry first, and sports Jessica Tomiczek first. Lianna Ketcham and Kaylee Luchansky took second place in web publication. Finally, Perrett was awarded a $1000 scholarship for Best in Show. In total, the Panther Press staff brought home six first place awards, one second place award and one third place finish, along with best in show for the whole day. “Edinboro puts on an excellent conference,” said Panther Press adviser Mrs. Stacey Hetrick. “We have been coming to this event for nine years, and it just gets better each time.”

Panthers support HK Pinwheel Packs

HK Pinwheel Packs logo. (contributed photo)

HK Pinwheel Packs logo. (contributed photo)

By Olivia Burger, Opinion Editor

The seventh and eighth grade student council is sponsoring a local fundraiser that is very important to one certain seventh grade student. The fundraiser, called HK Pinwheel Pack, is a local fundraiser organized by seventh grader Meadow Campbell and her mother, Nerissa Galt.

The purpose of the HK Pinwheel Pack is to create care packages for the children of families who have delivered stillborn babies. The care packages contain a variety of items including pinwheels, craft supplies, and small toys. This idea is important to Campbell because when she was younger her family delivered a stillborn child. “I just want to help families with their grieving, and I hope that I can just help people,” she said.

Meadow Campbell and Samantha Evans hold donated items. (photo contributed)

Meadow Campbell and Samantha Evans hold donated items. (photo contributed)

So far, HK Pinwheel Pack has put together ten baskets for families located all around the United States. One package was sent all the way to California while some have been delivered locally in Meadville. In order to receive a care package, families can request to receive one through the organization’s Facebook page.

Saegertown students and teachers can support HK Pinwheel Pack by donating items for the fundraiser that runs through April 23. Junior high student council advisor Mrs. Nicole DeFrances said, “It would be nice to see SHS support more hometown organizations and really give back to their own community.”

PSSA testing begins today for junior high

By Lauren Haylett, junior high reporter

The PSSAs (Pennsylvania System of School Assessments) are right around the corner for the junior high and teachers are scrambling to make sure the students are prepared for testing in English Language Arts, math, and science.  “This year we have switched to the PA Core Standards, and  the test is going to more difficult than before,” explained reading and English teacher Mrs. Nicole DeFrances.  “I think even though it is harder, everyone should still strive to improve,” said seventh grader, Kaylee Mulligan.  Many students are nervous about the test, but most feel as if they are ready for it. But of above all else, most students don’t care for the PSSAs.  For some, it’s because they don’t like tests, but others, like Mulligan, feel that it’s an unfair way of testing one’s knowledge and reflects the school and not individuals.  But from a teacher’s standpoint, they see it as a positive opportunity for students  to show off their skills.  Mrs. DeFrances feels that even though the students have a negative attitude towards the test, they should still show their ability by doing their best.  Teachers are preparing the students by giving them state-issued practice tests.  “I like the practice tests,” said Chloe Luchansky, “They give us a heads up on what he have to work on.”  According to the PSSA Code of Conduct for Test Takers, students should get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast the day of the tests, which will be given Tuesday through Thursday this week and next. The testing period will begin at 9:04 a.m  and will last until 10:30 a.m.  Students are to report to their assigned rooms with a book, water bottle, and no electronics. Breakfast will be provided for seventh graders.  For more information on the PSSAs, visit


Mrs. Nicole DeFrances returns from maternity leave

By Morgan Barksdale, Staff Writer

Mrs. DeFrances poses with her family. (Photo contributed by Mrs. DeFrances)

Mrs. DeFrances poses with her family. (Photo contributed by Mrs. DeFrances)

Mrs. Nicole DeFrances has returned after the delivery of her healthy baby boy Michael. Adding a new member to the family, she expressed that he is a marvelous baby and never fussy. She is excited and enthusiastic about being a new mom. “I have a new outlook on the world. Being a mom opens your eyes,” she said. “I love being with him.” She returned on March 25 and was welcomed back with the excited smiles of students and staff. “Everybody was very welcoming. I couldn’t be happier to be back,” said DeFrances. “I like having her back, she’s more understanding and the communication is better between her and the students,” said seventh grader Kimmy Reisinger. Reisinger, like the rest of the seventh grade class, was excited about her return. Being on leave, Mrs.DeFrances expressed that she was worried about being replaced, but coming back, she says that this was not the case. “Getting back into rhythm is no challenge. Having a baby has definitely made me a better teacher,” Mrs. DeFrances said.

Woge crafts new header for Panther Press

PantherPressMasthead2015By Bradley Amy, Staff Writer

Woge poses with two copies of The Panther Press with the new header. (photo contributed)

Woge poses with two copies of The Panther Press with the new header. (photo contributed)

Back at the very beginning of the school year, Panther Press graphic designer Nick Woge, senior, proposed the idea of creating a new header for The Panther Press. Woge wanted this new header mainly to give the paper a new look. “It has been almost ten years since the Panther Press has had a different header, and I figured with it being my last year at Saegertown, that it was time for something new.”

After a long week of working on ten different headers, Woge left the decision of the new header to the staff of the Panther Press. They ended up choosing the header of a panther pouncing behind the heading “The Panther Press.” Assistant social media editor Becca Siple said, “I really like the new addition to the paper, and it’s nice to see a change after ten years.” The new header first made its debut on Feb. 12, in the Valentine’s Day edition. Hetrick said, “I think it looks clean and modern. We’ll probably keep it for the next ten years. Nick did a great job, and this will be his legacy.”

PA Farm Bureau AG Lab comes to SES

By Emily Johnson, Director of MarketingIMG_9930

On Monday, March 9, students of Saegertown Elementary paraded onto one of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Mobile “Ag” Labs: one of six fully equipped trailers owned and operated by the Bureau that travel statewide to over 180 elementary and high schools, bringing hands-on agricultural education directly to the classroom.

The program, which is currently celebrating its tenth year of operation, has been welcomed back to Saegertown schools for the past five years, and hosts a variety of grade-level fifty minute lessons each day for classes and teachers to attend during its four day stay in the SES parking lot.  During its time in Panther Country, the lab will be visited by over 20 classes, spanning from pre-school to sixth grade.

IMG_0027“I remember coming to the Ag Lab last year, too,” said third grader Jarried Green from Mrs. Tina Johnston’s class. “It was fun. I was excited to come today and do something different than last year.”

Green, along with his classmates, participated in an experiment taught by Mrs. Cathy Vorisek (or, as her students have affectionately dubbed her, “The Bee Lady”), one of over thirty teachers employed by the PA Farm Bureau. As each student situated themselves throughout personal learning areas lining the sides of the lab, Vorisek began by holding up a handful of soybeans and asking if anyone could identify them. After exploring the importance of soy in various household products, the students were then asked if they preferred Crayola or Prang crayons; composed of wax and soybeans respectively.

During the lesson, the third graders were introduced to vocabulary words such as “hydrogenated” and “ethanol”, and learned how to turn the data they collected during their experiments into an eight paragraph research papers using the steps of the scientific method.

IMG_9922Richard Williams, another of Mrs. Johnston’s third graders, enjoyed learning about the benefits of biodegradable soybean products through the Crayola vs. Prang experiment. “I liked this project a lot better than the one we did last year,” he said. “It was fun to use the different crayons.”

The soybean experiment is only one of the several lessons Vorisek presented to SES classes before she and the lab bid farewell on March 14.

“I’ve loved coming to Saegertown schools for the past five years and watching the students I had when they were in Kindergarten grow up and become more involved in the lessons,” said Vorisek. “We’re proud to bring agriculture directly to the classroom, and we hope the students carry these lessons with them for years to come.”

Mitchell Loyd competes at ProStart competition

By Colleen Michaels, Features editor

Mitchell Loyd prepares a sauce at the ProStart competition.

Mitchell Loyd prepares a sauce at the ProStart competition. (contributed photo)

While you were at home watching Master Chef on television, senior Mitchell Loyd was at Penn State main campus doing the real thing. On February 24-25, a group of five students from the Crawford County Career and Technical Center’s (CCCTC) culinary class attended the ProStart competition to test their stellar cooking skills. The ProStart program gives high school students the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and restaurant management through classes and competitions. This was the first year that the culinary class at CCCTC has been ProStart certified, and they were competing to move on to the national competition in California.

With sixty minutes, two Bunsen burners, no running water or electricity and only four people, the competition really was like something on a cooking show. Loyd, along with his team (four people and one alternate), made three different delectable dishes to wow the judges who were chefs from colleges across the state.They started with a cob salad lettuce wrap on a cracker. Then they prepared chicken fettuccine alfredo with snow peas, and they finished off with a strawberry crepe topped with amaretto cream sauce.

The CCCTC team poses with their completed meal. (contributed photo)

The CCCTC team poses with their completed meal. (contributed photo)

This may sound high stress, but top chef Mitchell Loyd enjoyed the experience. “It was really nerve-wracking, but it was a great experience. Having only the two Bunsen burners and no running water was a challenge, but it was really fun.” Loyd’s team included students from Meadville, CASH and Cochranton.

There were seven teams total in the competition, including the CCCTC students, and although they did not advance to the next level, the team members gained valuable experience. “I really hope that next year’s class gets to go because it was one of the coolest things ever,” Loyd said. The advisor for this cooking expedition was the culinary teacher at the CCCTC, Mr. Lester Lenhart.

To read more about the National ProStart Invitational, visit

Two students at SHS conquer Leukemia

By Becca Siple, Assistant Social Media Editor

Hallways were decorated to celebrate Catrina and Matt's return.

Hallways were decorated to celebrate Catrina and Matt’s return on March 9

Two students at SHS recently defeated the life-threatening disease of Leukemia: senior Matt Myers and junior Catrina Erie. The national color for leukemia is orange, and students and staff were asked to wear the color Monday, March 9 in appreciation of Matt and Catrina’s recoveries. Orange balloons were given to each teacher and hung in the halls outside of their rooms.

Matt came back to school his sophomore year after winning the battle. “They [my emotions] were mixed. I was gone for a year, so I didn’t know what had changed and what hadn’t,” he said. Upon returning to school, he made the adjustments necessary and did well. Matt will proudly be graduating with the class of 2015. He had a smile on his face as he explained how happy he was to graduate. “Hold on, there’s always someone there to back you up,” he said. The school and community are so proud of Matt and his success over the years.

Catrina returned to Saegertown on Monday March 9 and also wore the color orange. For those who do not know, Catrina found out she had Leukemia at the end of her sophomore year, but she fought hard and managed to pull through. “Physically [I’m] okay; mentally [I’m] normal,” she said. With the new changes, Catrina hopes to adjust quickly.

Pantherian Key Club elects new leadership

The new leaders gather in the library.

The new leaders gather in the library. From left, Haylett, Gage, Kightlinger, Hatton and Boylan.

By Haley Wise, Staff Writer

“I pledge, on my honor, to uphold the Objects of Key Club International; to build my home, school and community; to serve my nation and God; and combat all forces which tend to undermine these institutions.”

Each meeting, the members of the Pantherian Key Club rise and recite this pledge which represents the mission of the club as well as what members should strive to achieve through their membership.  On Tuesday, February 17, five Saegertown students decided to go beyond merely attending meetings and reciting this mantra when they were elected 2015-2016 Key Club Officers.

Junior Stephen Boylan was elected president. Sophomores Sydney Kightlinger and Ben Haylett will serve as vice president and editor, respectively. Freshmen Kaity George and Shannon Hatton will be treasurer and secretary. Key Club adviser Mrs. Melissa Statman said, “I believe these officers will work well together because they are all passionate about Key Club. They are organized and will share responsibility.”

Incoming president Stephen Boylan said, “I believe my responsibility as 2015-2016 President of Saegertown High School’s Key Club is to lead my fellow Keyclubbers to expand our community service involvement beyond our high school.”

Boylan has already begun planning his approach and goals for next year.  “Within our school, I would like to receive more recognition for our accomplishments. I’m eager to further old traditions and create new ones.”

The current officers, seniors, are: president Lexie Erdos, vice president Rachel Smith, treasurer Sarah Allen, secretary Erin Sherry and editor Matt Peters. These officers will continue to serve until the end of the school year, and they will mentor newly elected officers so they will be prepared for next year.

Current president Lexie Erdos said, “Being heavily involved in Key Club throughout high school taught me to be a strong leader, sharpen my public speaking skills, and work on my communication abilities. It required a lot of my time, so it will be strange to not have that responsibility, but I am completely confident in the ability of the upcoming officers.”

Erdos is eager to pass down her responsibilities to such a dependable group of students and allow them to have their own opportunity to improve their skills and abilities. “The new president, Stephen Boylan, will really help the club to grow even more. When I was a freshman, almost no one had even heard of Key Club- it was just starting out. Now, it has grown into one of the most prominent clubs, and I’m sure that the new officers will help the club continue to flourish.”

NHS and Key Club spread the joy of reading

By McKenzie Ashbaugh, Director of Marketing

Juniors Haley Wise (left) and Maile Chang (right) read to a Head-Start class in the elementary school.

Juniors Haley Wise (left) and Maile Chang (right) read to a Head-Start class in the elementary school.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
-Theodor Seuss Geisel (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss)

On Monday, March 2 Saegertown High School’s National Honor Society and Key Club students participated in Read Across America. They ventured to Saegertown Elementary School under the guidance of librarian Mrs. Betty Litke to read to students. Sponsored by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day commemorates the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Each NHS or Key Club student was assigned at least one classroom at the elementary school to read to SES students. “Elementary students look forward to having the high school students come read to them. I think it provides the younger students with a role model who not only does well in school but has taken the time to select  a book that they will enjoy,” third grade teacher Mrs. Kendra Burger said.

Junior Madison Bartholomew, a former student of Mrs. Stacey Donahue, had the opportunity to read to Mrs. Donahue’s second grade class. “I thought it was fun to go read to the younger kids. I will definitely do it again next year!”