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 bowlers back in championship contention as members of Cambridge team

By Nick Archacki and Will Phelan, news editor and social media editor

The Cambridge Springs bowling team, which includes bowlers from all three PENNCREST high schools, has dominated the season in the Ven-Craw (Venango and Crawford counties) high school bowling league as the Blue Devils primary team is among the top forces on the Ven-Craw leaderboard for the fourth straight year.

For the past three seasons, Cambridge has fought to secure a spot in the Ven-Craw championship but was denied by Saegertown in 2016 and Cranberry in both 2017 and 2018. With the addition of two Saegertown bowlers, senior Scott Proper and two-time Ven-Craw league champion, junior Nick Archacki, Cambridge is a top competitor in the league and has a great chance to advance to the championship this season.

The Cambridge Springs Blue team has owned the lumber since the start of the season.  The Blue team currently sits tied for second place, 0.5 points behind the Ven-Craw team leader, Conneaut Lake Blue. The Cambridge Black team holds sixth place. Both teams are currently eligible to make the Ven-Craw playoffs with one match left in the season, as the top eight teams earn a playoff spot.

Regarding the individual standings, Cambridge Springs’ Nick Archacki leads the fifty-eight bowlers of Ven-Craw with an average of 222.33 after 15 games. Following Archacki, his teammate, Maplewood’s Issac Heim, has an average of 206.63 while three bowlers from Conneaut Lake round out the top five with averages between 205 and 199.

The final match for Cambridge Springs and the Ven-Craw league for the regular season is this Sunday at Plaza Lanes in Meadville.

Katelyn Young verbally commits to Lehigh

By Will Phelan, social media editor

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Saegertown junior Katelyn Young

Junior softball star Katelyn Young has caught the eyes of high-level college coaches since her freshman year, and on October 27,  she verbally committed to play at Lehigh University. “I was planning on attending Buffalo until late this summer, when the coach I committed to left,” she said.  When UB’s coach moved to another school, other schools reached out to Young. Lehigh was one of them. “I identified Lehigh as a school I would be interested in because of their great mix of high-level softball and stellar academics,” Young said.  

After visiting, Young was drawn to the campus:  “I love the entire campus because it is so beautiful,” she said. “I also like that the school is on the smaller scale, so it will be like home.”  Located in Bethlehem, Pa., Lehigh’s student total is on the low end of most universities with about 5,000. Contrarily, she noted its distance from home.  “I don’t like that it is 5 ½ hours away,’’ Young said. “But it is actually not that bad of a drive.”

While she isn’t sure of her educational plans, Young says Lehigh has plenty of options.  In terms of the softball team: “With everything being positive and the likeliness of being able to play in the NCAA tournament, I decided Lehigh was the place for me,” she said. She also noted that her future coach is personable and friendly.  

“Coach Troyan actually drove to my house and enjoyed taco Tuesday dinner,” Young said.  The two have a solid relationship already and look forward to her future at Lehigh. Of her decision Young ultimately said, “I have to say we are both very excited.”

Prom moves to Erie location for ‘Enchanted Garden’

By Chloe Luchansky, staff writer

No one at Saegertown can remember a time when prom was held in Erie. All of that is about to change. On Thursday Oct. 11, the junior class met with junior class adviser Ms. Nova Dinsmore to decide the 2019 prom venue, and it was decided that prom will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott Erie Ambassador Center on May 17, 2019.

On Oct. 24, members from the prom committee traveled to the venue to consider decorations. The theme is “Enchanted Garden” and the colors are blue and white. “We lucked out on the location because it’s a beautiful space and it was the only place available on May 17,” said junior class president Lauren Haylett.

The junior class is currently doing a Yankee Candle Fundraiser. If students sell at least 25 items, the cost of their ticket will be covered.  

Some students have expressed their concerns about the added distance, but the prom committee hopes the Erie location will give students more options for dinner and photo locations. “Having prom in Erie gives more options for dinner,” Haylett said. “The drive is no farther than the one to Hotel Conneaut, so it all works out.”

“A new location brings endless possibilities,” said junior class advisor Ms. Nova Dinsmore. “The 2019 prom committee is very excited to present the most Enchanted Prom.”

Saegertown welcomes back Mr. Justin Hayes

By J1 students

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Mr. Justin Hayes

Third time’s a charm for Mr. Justin Hayes, who has returned to Saegertown to teach senior government and economics and provide ESL (English Second Language) services after being previously furloughed from the district. He replaces Mr. Brian Lipps who took a leave of absence for this year.  

Mr. Hayes graduated from Edinboro University and started his teaching career in an alternative education school in Erie in 2007. Then he went to East High School in 2009, where over a third of the student population comes from outside the United States. For five years, he helped refugees and other international students learn English as a second language. Students from all over the world, including countries like Somalia, Nepal and Iraq, were represented by flags that hung around his classroom. From 2015-17, he worked for PENNCREST: first as an ESL specialist for the district, then as the technology education teacher at Saegertown Elementary. However, due to budget constraints, he was furloughed the for the 2017-18 school year.

Mr. Hayes chose to look on the bright side of what many would have viewed as a career setback. “It was totally amazing,” Mr. Hayes said. “I got to hang with my daughter for the first year of her life. I don’t take that opportunity for granted.” According to Hayes, family is his highest priority. He lives with his wife Adrienne, his 11 year old step son, Trent, and his 13-month-old daughter Teighan. They also have two small dogs (Bishop and Kingston) and a Maine Cat named Rook.

Outside school, Mr. Hayes enjoys watching and playing sports. He played both tennis and basketball in high school and remains an avid fan to this day. Another passion of his is cooking, especially on his electric smoker, where smoked wings are one of his self-reported specialties. He also enjoys listening to reggae music and his favorite band Sublime.

Mr. Hayes looks forward to forming relationships and connections with students and staff. “I feel like a new teacher [at Saegertown],” Mr. Hayes said. He noted that this is his first time teaching classes with a majority of students whose native tongue is English.

Here he strives to connect with his students in ways that he could not at East High, and he has a willingness to learn from his students. “Please take my mistakes and learn from them. Please take my experience and apply it,” Mr. Hayes said. “I definitely don’t have all the answers.”

(This web post is the first completed by the J1 students as a collaboration. Look for future bylines.)

 

Superintendent Glasspool promises changes for PENNCREST

By Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, editor-in-chief and managing editor

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Dr. Timothy Glasspool

Students and staff at PENNCREST can expect to see changes in their schools starting in early October. Over summer break, new superintendent Dr. Timothy Glasspool worked to reduce standardized testing in the elementary and high schools, increase opportunities for students across the district, and work closely with administration and outside sources to modernize PENNCREST.

One of Dr. Glasspool’s initiatives is to decrease the amount of standardized testing in both the elementary and high schools. “We need to reduce the frequency of lengthy standardized assessments in grades K-12 and spend more student instruction time engaged in purposeful teaching and learning,” Dr. Glasspool said. He also suggested the possibility of the district paying for the PSATs, and reimbursing students who receive a 3 or above on their Advanced Placement exams.

One change that may be indicative of the district’s future direction has already been implemented at Saegertown High School. As many students at SHS have noticed, French class is now being taught online by Mr. Nathan Youngblood from Maplewood. Dr. Glasspool plans to expand upon the idea of online classes by working closely with the Virtual Learning Network, one of the largest networks of district-based virtual academies in the United States. By partnering with VLN, students at PENNCREST will be able to take classes not offered inside their buildings.

Dr. Glasspool also plans to improve upon electives and activities already offered at school. In order to increase participation, Dr. Glasspool suggested “school activity buses” to provide students with transportation. This option will be explored.

Another of Dr. Glasspool’s objectives is to balance the budget without raising taxes for the second year in a row. “We can spend the money we have in a better ways,” Dr. Glasspool said. He wants to achieve this without the loss of any teachers or faculty, noting that, “Staff makes the difference at schools.”

Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 44, which created the committee that will develop the criteria to measure school safety, and help administer grants based upon preparedness. At the September work session, the PENNCREST school board revealed that the district received $25,000 towards ALICE training, possible visitor management, exterior door upgrades and portable metal detectors.  Dr. Glasspool and Principal Tom Baker are slated for ALICE training in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24-25 of this year. “I don’t know what to expect,” Mr. Baker said. “But I hope it will be beneficial to not only our school, but the whole district as well.” PENNCREST is also in the process of applying for a competitive grant that would award the district more funds to be put towards security.

The PENNCREST website will also be receiving a makeover. Dr. Glasspool plans to streamline the graphics and increase social media like Facebook and Twitter in order to keep community members up to date. Community members that follow the PENNCREST Facebook page may have already noticed the updated profile picture. More updates will follow. In addition, students may soon be able to receive texts about buses and two-hour delays rather than the traditional phone calls.  

Dr. Glasspool promises to bring new ideas and perspectives to PENNCREST. He will remain a visible figure in the administration and maintain an open line of communication. “Actions will speak louder than words,” Dr. Glasspool said. “And I’m excited to see what students and staff have to say.”

 

 

 

Seniors find life-changing inspiration in ‘This I Believe’ essays

by Kaity Gage, design editor

Sometimes in life you just have to “Be Your Own Sunshine” or “Always Find Your Rainbow” to lift yourself out of darkness, and other times you have to force yourself to keep “Eating Your Humble Pie.” That is exactly what the class of 2018 is doing by finding a metaphor related to their experiences during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood and writing about the strength and wisdom they have gained from it.

The seniors were given the “This I Believe” personal essay assignment by senior English teacher Mr. William Hetrick. It involves writing a 500 to 600 word essay about an experience that has changed their lives for the better. The title of the essay is a metaphor that has an overarching theme, and some of the seniors have been very creative with their writing. Themes range from death and depression to picking the right path for yourself or remembering that love will always win.

Many of the seniors have deep-rooted connections to their essays. Taylor Schultz wrote her essay with “Be Your Own Sunshine” as her metaphor. In it she shares that no matter what is going on in your surroundings, you have to allow yourself to be a “glass half full” individual. She starts her narrative referencing Vincent Van Gogh swallowing yellow paint to try and paint his insides happy, but ultimately, each person has to create that happiness for herself. “It’s something that I think about a lot and I don’t really get to share it with anyone, but this project gave me the chance to write about it,” Schultz said.

Wesley Fleischer, who will be enlisting in the Army, used this opportunity to write about his grandfather, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fleischer had not talked much about experiencing his grandfather’s death until he wrote “I Just Had to Try.” He took his moment to completely process everything that he has dealt with from the passing. “It made me feel better to share with the world what great things my grandfather did,” Fleischer said.

These essays have been written by people all over the world and they all give a message that states their mantra toward life. Famous individuals such as boxer Muhammad Ali, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, journalist Gloria Steinem, and Microsoft Corporation founder, Bill Gates, have all written “This I Believe” essays. Starting in 2005, a website was created for people to publish their essays as well as listen to an MP3 of them reading what they wrote. Unfortunately, new essays cannot be published to the This I Believe website any longer.

Still, eager to write, the seniors wrote about their mantras and Mr. Hetrick had all of them record what they wrote into an MP3, which will be accessible through QR codes. The QR codes are posted on the Panther Hallway bulletin board for students, faculty, and community members to scan and listen to what the seniors have to say. Each story is completely unique and offers a lesson to be learned.

Jenna Galt chose to write her essay “Always Finish the Song” to emphasize that you can never give up. “I know too many adults who wish they would have done things differently in their lives, and I’ve been trying to convince myself to not give up on going to college because I’m so nervous about it,” Galt said. She wants to use her message to push herself to pursue a degree in psychology. “I want to be a clinical psychologist and work with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients and/or kids who have been affected by substance abuse.”

Dominic Steiger wrote his metaphor “Penguins in the Mud” about his time on the football team. The essay includes a story about his football brothers and himself taking advantage of a gloomy practice with lots of rain to make themselves some literal mudslides. They chose to slide down the large hill behind the scoreboard as a way to remember that records are not important and to have some fun during a dreary season. Steiger said, “I believe in taking the little moments we’re given and making them memorable. Even if it’s as simple as that [the mud sliding].”

Reflecting on the impact of the assignment, Mr. Hetrick said, “I think seniors who are about to graduate have a lot to say and have developed powerful philosophies, and this is their outlet.” He also noted that it offered a chance for everyone in the class of 2018 to speak their minds and talk about what keeps them moving everyday.

To listen to the essays, visit the display in the Panther Hallway and use your iPad or phone to scan the QR codes.

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All members of the Saegertown community are invited to listen to the “This I Believe” essays of the class of 2018.