‘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.”

Saegertown teachers saddle up for ‘Donkey Basketball’

By Bree Snyder, staff writer

For a second year, teachers from Saegertown will face off against Maplewood in a game of donkey basketball. Principal Tom Baker, teachers Phil Young, Chris Greco, Kelli Peters, Kathleen Mattera, Shannon Stewart, Rose Baker, Brian Hanley, and cafeteria worker Memory Irwin will compete on behalf of SES and SHS.

Exactly as the name suggests, players from both schools will be seated on the backs of donkeys (provided by Buckeye Donkey Ball) while attempting to shoot hoops and score points for their respective teams.  

According to Maplewood PTO co-president Jenna Barickman, all proceeds will be split between the Maplewood Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Saegertown PTO. A Chinese Auction and raffle tickets will also be available for purchase.

“I’m looking forward to having fun,” Mr. Greco said. “I have friends from Maplewood, so I know it will be all in good fun.”

The action will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 in the Maplewood High School gymnasium. Entrance fees are $6 for advanced admission and $8 for gate admission. Children under six are free with paid adult admission.

For more information, you can email barickfam@gmail.com or call (814) 337-1659.

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.

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.

‘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.