Seniors test the waters with early dismissal

By Claudia Fetzner, photo editor 

Since the first week of October, seniors have been given the opportunity to leave thirty minutes early every Wednesday. Whether students use this extra half hour to nap, catch up on homework, or grab a bite to eat, seniors are benefitting from their early dismissal. Senior soccer player Brenna Repko said: “It’s great, I am able to go home and get some work done before practice.”

The process for leaving is made easy by Mr. Chris Greco, science teacher and senior class adviser, who stands at the office doors and quickly checks out the eager seniors. The checklist, created by Assistant Principal Kylene Koper, is updated weekly to include those who meet the requirements (see below). Seniors must meet these expectations every week in order to be released.

Seniors who attend the Crawford County Career and Technical Center have been given the opportunity to arrive thirty minutes late on Wednesdays to compensate for missing afternoon releases. “It’s something different,” said senior Charlie Johnson. “It’s definitely better than being here at 8 a.m.”

In order to be eligible for release, seniors must:  

  • have no attendance issues (all excuses are turned in with no illegal or unexcused absences)
  • have zero discipline issues
  • have no zeros in classes and have passing grades in every class
  • not be needed for the Intervention/Extension period
  • must have a signed parent form to give permission to leave on record in the office

Saegertown students attend 4-H Leadership Conference

by Sydney Kightlinger, editor in chief

Four Saegertown students attended the Pennsylvania 4-H State Leadership Conference from Jan. 27-29. Seniors Rachel Barner and Melanie McClearn, junior Patrick Dunn, and freshman Kimmy Reisinger spent three days at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conferencing Center in State College working on leadership characteristics and principals with 4H members from around the state.

Students participated in a variety of workshops designed to improve communication techniques, team building, decision making, and goal setting. Dunn, who is President of Crawford County Council and his 4H club Champion Drive, attended the public speaking, make a good impression, executive decision, confidence, parliamentary procedure, and effective writing workshops.

“The one that benefited me the most was public speaking because I gained a lot from it. I learned how to get an audience’s attention and to think quickly. I plan on using some of it in my yearly demonstration,” said Dunn.

During McClearn’s workshops, she worked with kids to help them design a robot to help guide the elderly. “I learned a lot about team building. My goal is really to get the younger members to work better and speak about their ideas when I return,” said McClearn.

First year Crawford County Council member Resigner attended the effective writing workshop where she wrote numerous reports that resemble her 4H reports. “I will have to write for the rest of my life, and this will benefit my club.”

“It is important to help young men and women become better leaders. I look forward to coming back to teach and lead my club,” said Barner, who is the president of Pathfinders 4H Club and also member of the Crawford County Council. Barner added, “The confidence workshop taught me to become a better leader. You have to have confidence in yourself in order to give confidence to others. It is a lead by example sort of thing.”

Keystone Retakes sweep Saegertown

By Kassie Boyd, staff writer

The Keystone Exams are designed in order to assess students’ skills in algebra, biology, and literature. The PA Department of Education created the exams in 2011 to measure student performance, and make sure the standards set by the state are being met. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in 2016, 68.2 percent of student passed the algebra I keystones, 78.6 percent passed the literature, and 65.8 percent passed the biology.

Students who didn’t pass their exams the last time they took them participated in the retakes last week, one of two opportunities available each year. There are ways around the tests, however, if you find yourself unable to get an overall proficient. You can complete either a series of project-based assessments, or if you meet all local requirements, and have approval from your district superintendent.

“It’s a very fair test,” said biology teacher Mrs. Nicole Keller, “You have to know your stuff, but I don’t think it’s too hard. I don’t think it’s too easy.”

Math teacher Mrs. Debbie Houck said, “I think it’s [the algebra]  a little harder.” She shared  that the test has a lot of algebra II in it, even though it’s for algebra I.

“I don’t think they should be mandatory,” said Mrs. Keller. “There’s honestly just some students who aren’t good at taking tests, and they may never pass.” Critics of making the tests mandatory argue that a few high-stakes tests shouldn’t determine whether or not a student can graduate. 

The entire idea behind the Keystone tests is to make sure Pennsylvania is producing students ready to enter college and the workforce.

Roundabout construction continues

By Grant Phelan, staff writer 

We all have noticed that there are no longer workers in hard hats with “Stop/Slow” signs in their hands standing on the side of 198. No more cones, and no more fifteen minute waits in a line of cars as long as the Great Wall of China. Some of us are finding this a relief, while others have asked, “What’s going on with this roundabout construction now?” “Why are the houses gone?” “When will construction be completed?”

Well, here’s the update.

Due to the winter weather common to our area, the construction has been postponed until at least early spring when the weather gets warmer and more ideal for road work. “Forty percent of the south project has been completed,” said Borough Manager Chuck Lawrence Jr. “The weather being cooperative enough is the reason we have been able to get that done, there has been 4,500 feet of sidewalk completed as well.”  

Meanwhile, six houses along Route 19 between the Dairy Isle and One Credit Union have been torn down and are currently being cleaned up. This will create the room needed for the roundabout. On March 15, the bridge on the north project is scheduled be closed, and the yellow lane lines will be moved multiple times throughout construction to keep traffic flowing.

“We are hoping by early fall for it to be reopened,” said Lawrence. “I recommend for those who are unfamiliar with them to visit PennDOT’s website and find their interactive on roundabout’s. Learn how to drive them for the future.”
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Colonial Days tradition scaled back at Saegertown

By Kassie Boyd, staff writer 

A memorable part of every student’s eighth grade experience has been “Colonial Days,” a culmination of assignments and projects based on an America of the past. In the past, several weeks have been devoted to studying, citing, and writing an in-depth paper about an aspect of colonial life, including everything from seamstresses to military uniforms. This year, however, things are a little different.

Instead of a topic, this year’s eighth graders are learning about people from colonial times, such as George Washington or Abigail Adams. With this change comes a much broader range of information available. Each student was allowed to choose who they wanted to research based upon a brief summary given in Mrs. Kara Bechtel’s social studies class. In addition, the students who had Mr. Lipps for history also completed a powerpoint on a colonial occupation before choosing a person and starting their research paper.

Some students have commented on a descending emphasis on Colonial Days. Freshman Ashley Wenzel said, “I kinda liked it [being less involved] because I could focus on the project, and on a good grade, instead of trying to get everything, and plan an outfit, or snack or anything.”

With so many changes in the junior high, hopefully the tradition can adapt and continue at Saegertown. Many look back at the experience with fondness and optimism that future generations can take part in Colonial Days as well.