Footloose Auditions kick off FCCT’s upcoming performance

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

As the month of March draws to a close, the French Creek Community Theatre (FCCT) is preparing to perform “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Belle Snyder, Zach Hansen, Jonathan Merritt, and Dustin Steiger.

The show will be held at the Maplewood Elementary School auditorium starting at 7 p.m. on March 29-30, and March 31 at 2 p.m. Tickets and more information can be found at www.fcctheatre.com, or by calling (814) 373-8892.

In addition to this, FCCT has opened up auditions for their next show, “Footloose.” While the first day of auditions has passed, there’s still another chance to join the show.

Any interested performer between the ages 12-22 is welcome to audition this Thursday, March 14 at 7-9 p.m.

Those who don’t get a starring role are still welcome to join the cast for ensemble and dance. More information and audition packets can be found at www.fcctheatre.com.

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)

Crowl advances to state finals in swimming

By Amanda Crowl, staff writer

Senior Ben Crowl and freshman Brittany Houck competed as part of the Meadville Bulldogs swim team at the  PIAA D10 championships, which were held at the Spire Institute on March 1-2. By the end of the first day, Crowl knew he was headed to the state finals as part of the 200 yard medley team that finished with a time of 1:40.59.

Crowl stands in 5th place after the 100 yard breaststroke competition.

There are a total of three relays and eight individual races spread across a two-day period. Crowl and Houck each swam in two relays and two individual events with the Meadville Bulldogs swim team.

Crowl qualified for districts in the 200 yard medley relay, 200 yard IM, 200 yard freestyle relay, and the 100 yard breaststroke. He took fifth place in his 200 yard IM (2:20.92), third in the 200 yard freestyle relay (1:39.20), and fifth in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:05.86). In his 100 yard breaststroke, he lost to one of his teammates by one hundredth of a second.

Swimming in two relays and two individual races, Brittany Houck took home three second places and one fourth place. Her times are as follows: 200 yard freestyle relay (1:41.25), 100 yard freestyle (55:15), 400 yard freestyle relay (3:49.87), 100 yard breaststroke (1:10.24).

Crowl and Houck gave their best last Friday and Saturday swimming at districts. Crowl will continue into states, and Houck will train harder to follow in his footsteps next year. “I definitely need to push harder at practice so it will benefit me in the long run,” Houck said.

The state finals will be held at Bucknell University on March 15. “I’m excited about the experience of being a state swimmer,” Crowl said.

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.”

Kiser and Kightlinger hunt for hardware at states

By Braeden Kantz, managing editor

Saegertown wrestlers are headed to the PIAA AA Individual State Championship in Hershey. Junior Kenny Kiser will make his third consecutive appearance along with junior Alex Kightlinger, who will make his debut at the 2019 State Competition.

Last weekend at the North West Regional tournament, both Kiser and Kightlinger secured their place at states. Kiser claimed his second region title with a 6-2 decision over Rocco Bartolo from Reynolds. Kightlinger placed fourth, securing his first appearance in the state tournament.

The Saegertown Panthers have sent wrestlers to the PIAA State Championship for 11 consecutive years under the leadership of head coach Jimmy Mulligan. Mulligan has mentored ten state medalists, including four state champions.

Kiser, who is currently ranked second in the state by the PA Power Wrestling website, will attempt to capture his first state medal this weekend. After two consecutive losses in the “blood round” (a high stakes round in which you medal if you win, and go home if you lose), Kiser is excited to return to the Giant Center and attempt to bring home some hardware. “I don’t want to repeat what happened last year,” Kiser said. “I have a lot more confidence in my wrestling and my ability to compete at the top levels after this season.”

Kightlinger, who is also ranked by PA Power Wrestling, will make his first appearance as an individual in Hershey this weekend. After coming up short in the 2018 regional tournament, Kightlinger battled back in 2018-2019, boasting a (35-14) season record and placing fourth in the region, qualifying him for the state tournament. “I feel pretty proud that I’m here, and I’m ready to take home some hardware for the first time,” Kightlinger said.

Wrestling will begin tomorrow March 7 at 9 a.m. The tournament will continue on Friday and the finals and other medal rounds will take place on Saturday, March 9.

For live updates, follow us on twitter @PantherPressSHS.

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.”

Panthers move on in postseason run

By Braeden Kantz, managing editor

The Saegertown Panthers capitalized on another trip to the District 10 tournament last weekend, advancing five wrestlers to the North West Regional tournament which kicks off today at Sharon High School.

In the mix for the Panthers are senior Dawson Bartholomew, junior Kenny Kiser, junior Alex Kightlinger, freshman Landon Caldwell, and breakout athlete of the week, sophomore Jaden Reagle.

Reagle was seeded second in the Section 1 tournament and was able to triumph in the finals over first-seeded senior from Union City, William Burgess 2-1.

This marked Reagle’s first tournament championship in his varsity career and merited his nomination and win as Breakout Athlete of the Week from GoErie.  Reagle went onto qualify for the region tournament by placing sixth at districts. “I’m excited to return to regions,” said Reagle. “I surprised I was nominated for the breakout athlete, but I hope to continue wrestling well this weekend.”

Kiser, who is currently ranked second in the state by papowerwrestling.com, captured his third consecutive Section 1 title beating Joel Huck from Fort LeBoeuf 16-3, earning a major decision. Kiser then took second place at the district tournament falling short in a last-minute effort from Alex Chess of Mercer. Kiser led Chess for the majority of the match, but Chess was able to rally with a last-second near fall to put Chess ahead 7-5. Kiser said “We both wrestled well, but (Chess) was able to beat me in the last few seconds. I’m planning on focusing on every match and look forward to wrestling (Chess) again.”

Veteran wrestlers Dawson Bartholomew and Alex Kightlinger also secured spots in the regional bracket. Kightlinger, who captured his first Section 1 Title this year, claimed his spot with a  third-place finish while Bartholomew placed fifth in the 132-pound bracket to make his first appearance in the District 10 tournament.

Freshman Landon Caldwell will also make his first appearance at regions after placing eighth in districts.

The North West Region tournament begins today, March 1 and 2, at Sharon High School. You can see the brackets and follow the action at pa-wrestling.com.

The top four from the region tournament will advance to the PIAA AA State Tournament which will be help March 7-9 at the Giant Center in Hershey.

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.

Lady hoopers hope to compete in district finals

By Will Phelan, social media editor

Tonight will be the third time the Lady Panthers have faced the Maplewood Tigers. (contributed photo)

The Lady Panther basketball team looks to take down Maplewood in the district semifinal game tonight at Meadville High School.  

This will be their third bout against the Tigers this season as well as a tiebreaker, as they have split the first two games with a win apiece.  

Key player Kaylee Mulligan, junior, who missed playing time due to a knee injury (during which the girls lost to Maplewood) is now ready for tonight’s matchup.  “I missed playing with the team,” Mulligan said. “But now I’m ready to help get the win and play in the D-10 championship.”

A win tonight would place them in the district final game on March 2. Come out and support the Lady Panthers tonight at 7:30 p.m. You can also follow the action on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.