Pros and cons of being a little brother

tulli brothers

My mom, Nick (front), and I in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2005. Photo provided

By Matt Tulli

You may have read the title of this article and assumed that there are far more positives than negatives in being the little brother. If not, you’re probably the younger sibling. Well, for the older siblings or people who thought that way, I’m here to shoot that assumption down.

Being a younger brother does have tons of positives. First, you’re the second one to experience school, so you pretty much know what to expect. For me, my brother Nick did an awesome job of filling me in on mostly everything I needed to know about high school. Nick took me through the high school towards the end of summer so I wouldn’t end up running into people trying to figure out this dang map they gave us at orientation.

I luckily had three of his former teachers in the first semester: Mr. Bender, Ms. Dowd and Mrs. Mintzer. He filled me in on the ins-and-outs of every teacher’s class and how to succeed in them. He set an awesome reputation for me; one that really helped me through the all-important first semester. If I had a question about something in high school, he was always there to answer it.

What he unfortunately didn’t fill me in on was lunch on the first day. I had no idea how to navigate through the kitchen, and I wound up being one of the last people to leave it. Then, I wound up sitting with some kids who the only contact I ever had with them was liking their statuses on Facebook in seventh grade. Two of them didn’t even have Facebook accounts, so I ate my chicken wings awkwardly listening to their conversation while staring at my food.

Away from school, Nick was the one to teach me the ever-important feat in your childhood: how to ride a bike. This process took over three days, with him just giving up and pushing me on my face at least twice. Without him, I probably would have been scared to try and never cared to learn.

Also, he was the measuring stick for my height. Whenever he comes home from State College, where he is a freshman at Penn State University, there is at least one point throughout the break when we would look each other in the eyes, look down at our feet, and look back up to the tops of our heads. Nici will usually say, “Jeez you’re getting tall,” or “You’re gonna be towering over me soon.” Laugh all you want: I take pride in the fact that I’m almost as big as my 18-year old brother

But let’s look at it on the flip side.

Nick was the one who was basically inclined to lay a beating on me at appropriate times. Like when I turned off the XBox in the middle of a game, Nick gave me a good whooping. When I beat him in a game of basketball in the driveway, he is allowed to give me a punch in the arm; I’m used to it by now. It’s what he’s supposed to do, right? And I’m supposed to be the instigator. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it will always be.

He was the first one to experience things like driving, cell phones, church retreats and college. The first time that Nick legally sat behind that wheel (and proceeded to pound the brake so hard it practically broke my neck), I realized it would be exactly three years, seven months and four days until I would be in that position. Not exactly a short wait, if you ask me.

When he opened up that cell phone on Christmas day of his seventh grade year, I was immediately jealous. He had his whole group of friends at his fingertips, and what did I have? I had to wait. When I had to go up to the Poconos to drop Nick off for a week-long, no-parent church retreat, I just wanted to be his age. But unfortunately, he was going into eighth grade and I was going into fourth. So I had to keep waiting. And don’t even get me started on when we dropped him off at Penn State on that fateful August day. That may have been one of the worst days of my life.

But one of the most brutal things that Nick ever did to me was basically turn me into his own personal servant. The two of us would be upstairs in the TV room, Nick playing PlayStation, and me watching, like usual. At any point that he would be hungry or have needs that would have to be satisfied, he would just tell me to “bring us some snacks,” or “go get my iPod charger,” or something along those lines. In the rare event that I would refuse, Nick would always just say “I’ll time you,” really meaning that he won’t keep track of how fast I do the task; he would just make up a certain time when I arrived back. This continued until I was about 9, when my common sense finally raised to a level where I realized what he was doing.

In the end, I realize that Nick was always there to guide me or just give me advice. We’re brothers; we don’t have to love each other at first but soon we’ll look back and be thankful for all the good things that they did. I wouldn’t change anything about the relationship between Nick and me.

Snow days cause uncertainty about graduation, last day of school

By Cassie Kreider

So far this school year, there have been 10 snow days, which has a lot of students wondering when their last day of school will be. Or, for the seniors, when they’ll graduate.

“We will do everything we can to keep school from going beyond the second week of June.” said Dr. Mike Leichliter, district superintendent, on how makeup days will be scheduled.

Dr. Leichliter says that scheduling graduation will be challenging.

“We have a contract with F&M, and they are limited on availability for the seven days after June 4 (Hempfield’s graduation night).” Franklin and Marshall has an alumni event that closes down the facility starting June 5.

Right now, the tentative last day for everyone else, if there are not any more snow days between now and mid-March, is June 12.

The end of the school year is, “contingent on final board and Pennsylvania Department of Education approvals. It is also contingent on us not getting any more snow days. I will not put out a definitive ‘last day’ until about the second week of March this year,” said Dr. Leichliter.

Senior Sarah Zerfoss isn’t looking to stay at Penn Manor any longer than she has to. Zerfoss will be one of the many students leaving for boot camp at the end of May.

“I have better things to do than be at school longer than necessary when I need to get ready for a career,” said Zerfoss.

Zerfoss said that because she’s leaving at the end of May, she isn’t walking at graduation and therefore does not care when graduation is.

Zerfoss explains that the boot camp she is attending is 12 weeks long.  “

They train you in  running, combat (weapons, hand to hand) and, discipline.  We graduate at the end, and get a military ID and what not.”

She’s going in as a career, which means she will come out of boot camp as an E2 (Private).

The administration explained that the snow days will not affect students who are leaving for boot camp.

“Nothing changes,” said Dr. Leichliter. “We have always permitted students to leave for the military early, if necessary, even when we get out of school in early June.”

Senior Olivia Bailey is also not too keen on the thought of extra school days.

“As long as we don’t go too long I won’t be too upset,” said Bailey.

Bailey has plans to go to England at the end of June, and while she doesn’t think school will be extended until then, she’s still worried.

Senior Lydia Selman is also planning on leaving the United States for England and France at the end of June.

Seniors like Bailey and Selman with trips scheduled will be fine because the school will continue to process pre-planned trip forms.

Senior Alyson Stewart says that she hopes the graduation date will be, “the first or early second week of school.”

Currently, no official announcement has been made about the date for graduation.

“As long as seniors graduate before the second or third week of June, making up the days shouldn’t be too hard,” said Stewart. “Plus, some days (we missed) were right before or after a holiday/weekend so a lot of people probably think that there are more days to deal with than there really are.”

Some students may have heard that the school day will be extended, but that option won’t change much with the amount of school missed.

Dr. Leichliter explained that extending the school day 20 minutes “would still put the last day of school in the second week of June since it would take about a month to get enough time to reduce school by a day.  We will explore that option but it really does not help us much.”

Dr. Leichliter encourages seniors to draw their attention to the information on the district website about graduation.

“The Fault in Our Stars,” from bestselling novel to world-wide phenomenon

By Lizzie McIlhenneytfios

One of the most-loved novels today is one you’ve probably already heard of, either in a magazine article, in the newspaper or on television: ‘“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. It’s one of those rare books that will have you laughing or crying hysterically, depending which page you’re on.

One of the first scenes is set in a church in Indiana, in Hazel’s support group for teens with cancer, or the “Literal Heart of Jesus”. Here, she meets Augustus Waters, and (to use a well-worn cliche) her life changes. From here, Hazel and Gus share an adventurous relationship that takes them across the world, from Indiana to Amsterdam. The book is about their complicated, rollercoaster relationship.

“The Fault In Our Stars” is one of those books that you keep with you forever, in the back pocket of your heart. What makes the book so special is that it blatantly confronts and defies the stereotypes surrounding cancer and the “typical” cancer patient. Hazel and Augustus are not less whole because of their diseases, quite the contrary. The book emphasizes how their sicknesses are just a “side effect.” It’s not a story about cancer, it’s a story about Hazel and Augustus’s “little infinity.”

But “The Fault In Our Stars” is not one of those books that you can capture in a single review. This book is so much more complex. It’s something you have to experience yourself. One so fantastic and brilliant, that it has turned into a phenomenon.

Since its publication on January 10, 2012, the novel has become a New York Times bestseller. On March 2, 2014, The Fault In Our Stars is still #1 on the Young Adult list after a 64-week reign. Now, the book has been made into a highly anticipated movie, due to release June 6.The trailer, released last month, already has more than 11 million views on YouTube.

The author, John Green, has a huge fan base. People of all ages adore his books, most of which are bestsellers. “Looking for Alaska,” third on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller list for 64 weeks, and “Paper Towns,” sixth on the list for 50 weeks, are two other popular books of his. Green collaborated with David Levithan, another well known young adult author, for the novel “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” Also, he shares a YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers, with his brother, Hank Green, that boasts more than 1 million subscribers and hilarious and insightful videos every week.

Comet boys basketball wraps up season, looks ahead

By Matt Tulli

The 2013-2014 boys basketball season came to a conclusion on February  6 with a 54-19 loss against Lancaster Lebanon League Champion Cedar Crest.

“There were some good points of the season, like beating Lebanon, but there were also some bad points, like last night [Cedar Crest game],” said senior guard and captain Micah Brown.

The Comets started three sophomores for most of the season: Nick Lord, Sam Greenslade and Ryan Atkinson. The rest of the sophomore class will play a big role for next season’s team, since there was only one junior on the roster, Jack Elliot. This means another young team is expected next year.

The JV team also had three freshman: Cameron Lovett, Doug Kramer and Alex Krahulik. All three started the majority of their season. The younger players on both Varsity and JV had a ton of playing experience. Because of that, you can expect some big things from the boys basketball program in the upcoming years — one player to watch out for who was on the JV team is Micah Brown’s younger brother, sophomore guard Nate, who averaged 18 points per game on the season.

The team ended up with a 8-14 record this season, including wins against Lebanon and Warwick. The team was led by Brown, who will attend Messiah College next year and averaged 16 points per game, including games of 30 and 27 points. He also poured in 32 threes on the season.

Six- foot, nine-inch senior center David Carmichael averaged 11 points per game in addition to his multiple blocks per game. Sophomore forward Lord contributed 46 three pointers this season, helping him average eight points per game. Lord had four games in which he hit four threes.

Greenslade showed growth in his first season as a starter, averaging four points per game. He played a big part in holding down the middle with Carmichael, with his many blocks and rebounds. Atkinson was solid in his first year as a starting point guard and averaged three points per game.

Senior Brett Caggiano was excellent, both starting and coming off the bench for the Comets. In his 10 games played, he put up five points per game, and brought energy to the court with his hustle and nonstop motor. He was mainly utilized as a defensive stopper, as he was typically matched up against the other teams’ best player.

On the JV team, Nate Brown, Micah’s younger brother, scored 18 points per game.

The young players who will return next year have potential and will face increased expectations.

“I think the team is going to be really good in a few years,” said Micah Brown. “They will have a shot at going to states.”

History teacher ends run for state representative

By Cassie Kreider

Cynthia Lonergan, a history teacher at Penn Manor High School, ran for State Representative of the 41st district, but as of February 18, she is no longer in the race.

Lonergan withdrew from the race during a meeting of Lancaster County Republicans intended to select a candidate to receive the party’s endorsement.

Lonergan was running against Brett Miller, an East Hempfield Town Supervisor. The seat for the 41st district representative was occupied before by state Rep. Ryan Aument, who is now running to replace outgoing Sen. Mike Brubaker.

Lonergan decided to run after she was selected to represent the United States at an international governing seminar last summer. She traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, then to Seoul, South Korea and Beijing, China, in two weeks.

Meeting with leaders from other countries inspired her.

“I joined representatives from 10 other countries to discuss problems and most importantly, solutions to issues like health care, economic development, public pensions, poverty, housing, education and fiscal impacts on social changes,” said Lonergan on her international trip. “Many of the problems we face are not unique to the world and it is incredibly beneficial to have a global network of knowledge to work together, combine ideas and find solutions.”

In addition to her international work, Lonergan is involved in local politics.

Lonergan was the campaign manager for the re-election of  Lancaster County Commissioners Scott Martin and Dennis Stuckey in 2011. She said she’s always been in a supportive role, helping others run for offices and seats.

A straw poll, or a poll to figure out which person a party is most likely to endorse, took place on Monday, January 20. Lonergan received six votes and her opponent, Miller, received 42 votes.

Lonergan said that without the endorsement from her party, she was not going to run.

Lonergan said from the beginning her chances of receiving the endorsement were almost nonexistent but that the feedback she has received from the community is very positive. She’s received phone calls and emails encouraging her to “stick with it,” and informing her that it took some of the best politicians years before they were elected.

“It’s political suicide to run without an endorsement,” said Lonergan. “It’s best to respect the endorsement.” She also explained that it is hard to raise money for your campaign if you have no endorsement.

She has no plans in the near future of running again and said it all depends on the timing.

Lonergan concluded with some words of wisdom for Penn Manor students.

“Nowadays with all the social media sites, everyone’s willing to speak their ideas and opinions, but no one is willing to do anything about them,” said Lonergan. “Go beyond that, don’t just talk, act. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, even if they’re unexpected.”

Live production of “Sound of Music” disappoints many

By Lizzie McIlhenney

The 1965 film “The Sound of Music” is everyone’s childhood favorite. Many of us remember watching Julie Andrews as Maria teaching the Von Trapp children to sing, and learning to sing right along with them. That’s why the “The Sound of Music Live!,” which aired live on NBC on December 5, 2013, was so heavily criticised.

Everyone’s a critic. Especially when it comes to a classic like “The Sound of Music.” Hopes were high for a flawless production, since a misstep or flat high note was left for the 18.6 million people that tuned in for the three hour show to see and hear.

And during the three hours that the production aired a tsunami of tweets poured in. Every note, dance, and flaw was recounted and highlighted a hundred times. Even the original film’s Von Trapp children responded to the production, but they were much kinder critics than those on Twitter.

Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta in the original film, was quoted in EW that she felt that some of the acting “didn’t come across as sincere.”

Most of the criticisms were not that off base, even if some were unkind. The production had its moments and was enjoyable to watch, but when held by the standards that a Broadway musical is held to, some of the acting and singing just didn’t mesh.

The most scrutinized casting was Carrie Underwood as Maria, and when it was announced that she was to play the iconic role many fans were outraged. She had large shoes to fill and big expectations, and Underwood didn’t exactly deliver exactly what everyone wanted. Her vocals were wonderful, but her acting didn’t measure up to her musical talent. She just couldn’t compare to Julie Andrew’s Maria.

What many people might not know is that “The Sound of Music Live!” was not actually based on the 1965 film . According to NBC, the live production was actually based on the Broadway musical.

NBC seems to be forming a new holiday tradition, because the network has already committed to airing another live musical production in 2014. According to Entertainment Weekly, the next musical event is “Peter Pan,” which will air on December 4.

Addressing rumors about new driving rules

By Olivia Hertzler

The most exciting thing for many teenagers turning 16 soon is finally being able to start driving.  If you’re like many Penn Manor students, you might have heard that if your birthday is after December 31, 1997, then you have to have your learner’s permit for a year.

Fortunately for those about to turn 16, this rumor isn’t true.

“I’ve heard some students say that we need our permits for a year, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to find that.” said sophomore Emily Thryrum.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website ,“a six-month skill-building period to practice and gain experience is required before a young driver may take the road test for a junior license.”

Act 81 of 2011 increased the number of supervised hours teens are required to spend behind the wheel from 50 to 65.

After six months of driving with your permit you are eligible to take the test for your junior licence.  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website, a junior license will include some of the following restrictions:

  • Nighttime driving restriction beginning at 11 p.m.

  • A limit on the number of passengers in the car who aren’t immediate family members.

For more information about requirements for new drivers, see the Pennsylvania Young Driver Law fact sheet.

School board to vote on proposed redistricting

By Abbey Bailey

Next year, Hambright Elementary, Eshleman Elementary, Martic Elementary, Pequea Elementary and both middle schools could experience a shift in class sizes in the 2014-15 school year due to the redistricting and expansion of Hambright Elementary School. The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposed layout tonight. A total of about 60 children could be affected by this shift in district borders.

Penn Manor Superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter explained that the redistricting project is not a full-scale ordeal. It has been enacted to help balance class sizes at both Eshleman and Hambright Elementary schools, as well as at the middle school level.

“We initially considered moving all of Georgetown Hills to Hambright,” said Dr. Leichliter. “However, that would have required that add teachers at Hambright. … Therefore, that plan would have cost more money. We opted to recommend that we move 21 students from Eshleman to Hambright. This will alleviate some larger class sizes at Eshleman.”

Elementary class sizes are the main focus of the redistricting proposal. Under this plan, Eshleman Elementary would lose around 21 students to Hambright Elementary, and Pequea Elementary would lose about 14 kids to Martic Elementary. These changes in the elementary level would not impact current fifth grade students, who would be allowed to stay at their current elementary school to finish out their sixth grade year next school year.

The neighborhoods that could be affected by the change in district borders at the elementary levels are Georgetown Hills and Springdale Farms in the Manor Middle School area and Lakewood Estates in the Marticville Middle School area. Crossgates, which is currently a swing area for Eshleman Elementary and Conestoga Elementary students would become a swing area for Conestoga Elementary and Pequea Elementary students. At the middle school level, Wood’s Edge and Parkfield will alter the class sizes at both Marticville and Manor Middle School.

Boundary changes around the Marticville Middle School area will result in half of the sixth graders at Letort going to Marticville Middle School, and the other half attending Manor Middle School for the 2014-15 school year. But current seventh grade students at both middle schools will be permitted to stay at their current middle school to finish out eighth grade.

The district has also hypothesized that if growth continues as is within the next three year, the school board will revisit the idea of moving all Letort Elementary students to Martic Elementary.

About 30 people attended a public meeting held on December 16, 2013 to inform the public of the possible changes to the school district boundaries. The meeting was advertised on Twitter, Penn Manor’s blogs and websites and in the Lancaster newspaper. Certain families impacted by these changes were also informed by letter of this meeting and encouraged to attend.

“Out of the people that attended the meeting and spoke, most did not like the idea of changing their development to a new school. Two people spoke who said they do not have a strong feeling either way but understand the district’s reason for recommending the change,” said Dr. Leichliter. “I’ve also heard from some families who also said they understand that there is currently an imbalance and this is the most cost effective way to handle balancing class sizes between Manor and Marticville.”

The final verdict for Penn Manor’s proposed redistricting plans will be determined at a school board meeting held tonight.

FCCLA sells Candy Grams

By Bart Huber

FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.

FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.

The Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) at Penn Manor High School are selling Candy Grams to get in the holiday spirit.

The Candy Grams are on sale from December 16-20, and they will be delivered on December 20 to the first block of the student.

You can buy one for $ .50 or a bunch of three for $1 at lunch this week.

The money earned will go to help Penn Manor families in need, and a small proceed will go to the club itself to fund their first conference trip, said Mrs. Sheerer, the FCCLA Advisor.

The FCCLA Club has a total of 40 students. Students from each grade are involved with this club. This is the club’s second drive to raise money for families in the Penn Manor School District.

The Candy Gram includes your choice of a peppermint or fruity candy cane and a place for a message to send to a  friend for the holidays.

Changes to “The Bush” at Millersville causes controversy

By Harrison Wallace

The Bush’s plowed land where the new dorms and parking lot will be constructed. (Photo by Harrison Wallace)

The Bush’s plowed land where the new dorms and parking lot will be constructed. (Photo by Harrison Wallace)

The Bush, a wooded plot between Creek Drive and Centennial Drive or between Pucillo gym and Millersville’s new student parking lot, has been used to help students learn, getting job experience in the field and, now,  a living area. Now, the future of this plot of land is the subject of some debate.

The university created new dorms and a parking lot next to the bush property, and within this caused a bit of plowed area for a drainage pond.

Some at the university are unhappy with the changes to this piece of land.

Robert T. Smith, dean of MU’s science and math departments, told LancasterOnline, “I wish we had known in detail what was going to happen.”

“We’re trying to channel our anger, not unleash it,” said Daniel Yokom, a biology professor at Millersville University, to a staff writer at LancasterOnline.  “I saw people weeping in the hallways when they heard the news.”

This is also the underlying anger with this new construction to the Bush which is that faculty, staff and students were not let in on the construction until after the decision was made.

“It was in the Bush where I learned about the invasive qualities of non-native plants and what types of removal and restoration techniques are best,” said Rebecca McCabe, a student at Millersville university.

Dr. Ken Miller, a retired biology professor from Millersville University, told LancasterOnline, “Taking field trips out here brought people together with the beautiful wildflowers in the spring.”

The biggest difference will be finding in ways to use the Bush for the biology classes.

“For the short term, the Bush has lost some species diversity, and it is likely that weedy, non-native plants will grow up in their place unless we actively manage and restore the Bush, but in the long term no major effects will occur,” said Dr. Chris Hardy, a botany professor at Millersville, in an email.

“We can monitor what begins to grow in newly formed edge habitats,” said Andrew Wolfgang, a student at Millersville university.

Another good reason to do this is for the student’s living arrangements.

“Well, the Bush was hurt because of construction of new dorms. The new dorms should attract new students to the university,” said Dr. Hardy.

Some students and faculty criticized the way the project was handled.

“So many departments and classes could have assisted with the design and planning, for example Aquatic Biology could have designed water infiltration methods from pervious surface to rain gardens,” said McCabe.

“There could have been a better way to do this,” Hardy said.