Column: President Trump stops in Erie to ‘Make America Great’

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

(Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the Trump rally in Erie on Oct. 10. Columns by Taylor Munce and Kaitlyn Kozalla will be published Thursday and Friday of this week.)

When I got into my car after school last Wednesday and headed towards Erie for President Trump’s rally, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how large the crowds would be, how fiercely the protestors would oppose, or how ecstatically the supporters would cheer. I didn’t know what our great President Donald Trump would say or what he’d do. I didn’t know if he’d leave with a rallying cry and thundering applause echoing from the stands or if he’d leave with a defiant resistance booing him off the stage.

There were a lot of unknowns tumbling through my mind as I headed into Erie. But by the day’s end, I wasn’t disappointed.

One of the first things I noticed as I arrived was the massive line that stretched out from the doors of the arena. Thousands of supporters stood there, with miscellaneous vendors selling Presidential apparel to the eagerly awaiting crowds. Protestors stood around sporadically, holding signs with sayings such as “Super-Callous-Fascist-Racist-Sexist-Braggadocious” and growling at Trump supporters, such as my colleague Kaitlyn Kozalla. Though we wanted to look around, we didn’t have time to see the sights. We were there to work.

We were handed our official press passes by security and led through the building to our specified area, a fenced-off section for registered journalists and other important guests. There were news anchors dressed in suits and ties, security guards, massive camera crews, and the whole nine yards. As far as I could tell, we were the only high school journalists in attendance. There we sat, with journalists from notable news outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, and FOX NEWS mingling and working all around us. Although I did notice a few college journalists, one thing was certain: we were the odd-ones-out.

We still had quite a while to wait before Trump gave his speech. It was only five, and Trump was to speak at seven, so I had time to get some interviews.

Zachariah Lofgren, a high school junior from General McLane, was eager to see President Trump. “I would say Trump has made a positive impact in society,” he told me. “He is strong and stands up for the American people in the world and in the country itself. He is smart and knows how to keep America safe and build the economy.”


Dustin Steiger, The Panther Press with Paul Farhi, The Washington Post

Possibly the most impressive conversation I had at the rally was with Paul Farhi, a journalist for The Washington Post. “He [Trump] knows how to get the crowd going,” Farhi said. “There’s always this sort of call and response like you hear in church.” He cited Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and how even now people love to shout “Lock her up!” “It’s formulaic,” he explained, “but they eat it up. These people love him, and he gives it back to them.”

A short time later, an excited roar filled the stadium, and I knew that the president had arrived. He talked about a wide range of subjects, covering everything from Kavanaugh to coal to “Crooked Hillary” (at the mere mention of her name, there arose from the crowd a nearly unanimous “boo,” just like Paul Farhi had predicted). The midterm elections were something he discussed with fervor, encouraging the people to vote Republican. He mentioned the drop in taxes and how it has improved the lives of the American people.  Then he talked about the massive drop in the unemployment rate since he took office. He also expressed his concern about the dreaded Hurricane Michael with a moment of silence before continuing.

“This has been the greatest revolution ever to take place in our country,” President Trump said. “This election is about keeping America safe… strong… proud… and free.”

It was inspiring. You could see it in the crowds, an admiration for the most influential man in the country, and most likely in the world. There was no restraint or fear in President Trump’s voice. He didn’t hold back. His words struck at the arguments of his opposition, his influence radiant with his promises and power.

“We will never give in,” he told us. “We will never give up, we will never back down, and we will never surrender, and we will always fight for victory. Because we are Americans. And our hearts bleed red, white, and blue.”

And, just like that, the speech was over. His final words echoed in my ears as he left. It all seemed so short in hindsight, though there was no denying the impact he had on those in attendance.

Our president has made an evident and positive change in America. He has provided for the people by offering them protection and bolstering the booming economy. He has enforced laws that have been ignored for so long and has expounded on them, working to make our country great. He has moved our nation’s money back to where it belongs- the pockets of the people- and, according to, he “removed the red tape” that has held our country back. He’s kept his word, and, with any luck, he will continue to keep America great.

Overall, it was an incredible experience. We heard viewpoints from all over the country and all over the political spectrum, standing beside nationally acclaimed journalists and listening to the words of our powerful and prominent president. Our president showed us who he truly is at the rally; he’s a Titan, a powerful and influential force standing for justice, rallying for prosperity, and fighting for a better America.

Above: Taylor Munce, Dustin Steiger, and Kaitlyn Kozalla. 

Trump is deaf to birdsong

By Tyler Brooks, staff writer

People are overlooking a significant aspect of the “Trump Wall”: animals can’t cross it. Now many of you are saying to yourselves, “Hey, birds can fly.” It’s a known fact. Well, hold your horses. Birds don’t like to fly high or above unfamiliar things, not out of comfort but out of biological instinct.

Trump’s wall is directly in the way of 108 species of bird that need to migrate over that territory. Once the wall is built, some birds will be tolerant of the wall, such as crows and robins. Other birds are in trouble.

Owls migrate in the winter, but cannot fly long nor high. Owls are built only to fly short distances in the cover of the woods. They are capable of long-distance flights, but smaller owls will be unable to fly above or around the wall. Some will make it, no doubt, but it will be a major blow to the population.

Hummingbirds are migratory as well. Hummingbirds cannot fly very far without taking a break to eat because hummingbirds can die from starvation rather easily, especially while migrating. A wall thirty feet high will present a problem. Unlike owls, which can have fat reserves, hummingbirds will have little to appease their appetites. They will try to find a way around the wall, at which point they will be doomed to wander the wall’s edge to the point of exhaustion.

Another creature harmed by the wall is America’s bird: the Bald Eagle. Bald Eagles regularly roam over the Mexican-American border. Bald Eagles are not seen in large cities for a reason, though. The wall would scare eagles, and other birds of prey, away from the wall and cause the populations of birds of prey to plummet near the wall.

It’s not just a handful of birds either. Jaguars, wolves, the Mexican Black Bear, vultures, shrikes, condors, chachalacas, waterfowl, gamebirds, amphibians, manatees, sea birds, fish, rodents, mice, flowers, trees, four natural habitat reserves, and 111 endangered species of animal will be negatively affected by the Trump Wall, which will potentially kill more animals than any single man-made structure in decades.

Locals react to Trump’s Inauguration

By Bailey Kozalla, sports editor

It has been 34 days since the inauguration of our 45th president. At Saegertown many contrasting opinions accompany Donald J. Trump’s admittance to the White House. The first one hundred days are critical to forming public opinion of Trump’s promises.

In favor of President Trump, social studies teacher Mr. Richard Rutkowski said, “I’m in awe at the pace of the first week. He seemed to be rolling out something almost daily from his agenda.” Regarding Trump’s business background, Mr. Rutkowski added: “In terms of our economy, we have suffered through anemic growth. We need a business leader. Americans sent him to Washington to fix the economy. From an economic standpoint, he’ll be successful, I think he sees it as a priority to jumpstart the economy.”

Similarly, social studies teacher, Mr. Adam Horne reflects on the optimism of the quick pace of the agenda. ”He said he was going to do it. I believe he is not your traditional politician; we haven’t seen a president like this since 1901.” Horne viewed the inauguration as different, but positive. “His speech was different from a normal inaugural speech; it was more like his campaign speeches. Reiterating his promises, more plainspeak. He reflects the frustration of mainstream America.”

Sounding from the left, English teacher Mr. Greg Molnar gave his thoughts on the inauguration of Donald Trump. “I’m not in denial, but I’m still surprised he got in.” Looking back on the election, Molnar said, “I think everyone was reading the Democrats’ message wrong.” It may not have been his preferred outcome, but he is optimistic for the future. “I hope Donald Trump does so well that I want to vote for him in four years,” Mr. Molnar said.

From a student perspective, senior Anna Swartout personally attended the inauguration and gave her account of the audience. “I think a lot of people think there wasn’t a lot of people there. There were a lot more Trump supporters than people thought there were,” Swartout said. Commenting on Trump’s plan for his first one hundred days, Swartout said, “I think he is keeping his promises. He started immediately instead of sitting on his hands, unlike most presidents who take a little while.”

The overall Saegertown community being predominantly Trump oriented, the opinions seem to be mostly positive. However, the first one hundred days are still in progress, so only time will tell.


Swartout sisters attend presidential inauguration

by Scout Van Cise, opinion editor

Jan. 20, 2016 will forever be known as the day Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States, and sisters Anna and Sarah Swartout experienced it firsthand. 

The Swartout family traveled to Washington D.C. two days before the ceremony to attend President Trump’s inauguration, which senior Anna described as powerful.               .

“I felt there was a lot of energy in the crowd and a lot of hope for our country. I found it very moving,” said Anna.

Sophomore Sarah enjoyed the ceremony but expressed her discomfort towards the protests taking place in Washington D.C. at the time. “We were there during the inauguration watching him get sworn in which was really exciting, but after the inauguration seeing what protesters were doing was scary,” said Sarah.  

Despite the protests, the Swartout sisters still appreciated their stay in the nation’s capital and the inauguration experience. Anna said, “It was really neat seeing all of the senators and governors there, but once they started swearing in Trump and Pence, it was really cool. It was a historical moment that I got to experience, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”


Donald Trump: Earning student support?

By Cy Van Cise, staff writer

Steve Arblaster (left) and Dan Simmerman (right) gave their opinions on potential 2016 GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Steve Arblaster (left) and Dan Simmerman (right) gave their opinions on potential 2016 GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Few Americans have had the the financial success of Donald J. Trump. Trump started working in the 1960s for his father in the real estate industry. His father soon discovered his son’s tremendous skill at developing buildings in the heart of New York City. Now, in 2015, Trump is leading in some polls to be the next President of the United States.

Many Saegertown students will be of age to vote when the election is held and have a chance to participate for the first time. “We need a businessman not a community organizer,” said senior Steve Arblaster, who is in favor of a Trump presidency.

Trump’s business skills have earned him a net worth of over four billion dollars. He was able to financially save himself from the real estate crash of the early 1990s. An unofficial survey was given in Mrs. Dee Henry’s government class, and 47 percent of students supported Trump. Not all are in favor of his candidacy, though. “Trump has no political experience,” said senior Dan Simmerman.

People throughout the nation will cast their votes throughout February and March in the Republican primaries. According to, Trump currently leads, with Ben Carson in second. Whatever political views Saegertown students have, they will definitely have the chance to participate in an important election.