Separating Myth from Fact – a Tall Order at Penn Manor

By Eric Gerlach and Zach Campbell –

In Penn Manor High School, myths fill the halls. Some are true but others are just a legend.

Myths heard while traversing in the hallways…

  • Principal Phil Gale is/was a Green Beret.
  • English teacher Gregg McGough has a dungeon under his desk.
  • That there is a UFO in an abandoned hallway.
  • Some seniors put the principal’s car on the roof.
  • There is railroad underneath the streets of Willow Street.
  • A lot of the sicknesses of last year came because the food has the swine virus.
  • There is a pool hidden in the school for teachers to swim.
  • There is an alien in the school.
UFO - image by
  • A girl in Penn Manor smoked a cigarette in the bathroom and her hair caught on fire. They then had to call the fire department.
  • That Penn Manor staff can access the camera on laptops and watch you.
  • That Penn Manor High School was on MTV’s Pranks & Scandals.
  • Penn Manor used to be a smoking school.
  • Mr. Dutchess got locked in a bathroom for four hours.
  • A motorcycle drove through the hallways.
  • Seniors filled the outside eating area with balloons.
  • There is an “underground” fight club at Marticville Middle School.
  • An underground fallout shelter exists under the science wing.
  • The school is haunted.

Some of these myths can be dispelled and others, well, the search for the truth is ongoing.

So, is Gale a Green Beret?

“It’s top secret,” is all the head principal would reveal.

Gregg McGough doesn’t have a dungeon but he does have a “secret” panel in the floor beneath his classroom that houses some of the school’s infrastructure.

The actual bomb shelter was investigated last year by Penn Points and found to exist.

The “underground” fight club was reportedly witnessed by one student.

“When I walked in the bathroom there was a slap-boxing fight,” senior Jesse Graham said, who noted that it looked official.

Penn Manor used to have two buildings which led to the myth Penn Manor used to be a smoking school.

“Students used to walk in between the buildings and smoke,”  technology coach Shawn Canady recalled.  But it was never sanctioned.

MTV did a feature for their show “High School Pranks and Scandals” based on a feature story written by journalism teacher Susan Baldrige when she was a reporter for The New Era.

These are just some myths and some will never know if they are true or not. Some have been confirmed true, but for the other myths, they will remain unknown.

Feel free to leave a comment regarding a myth that you know.

2 thoughts on “Separating Myth from Fact – a Tall Order at Penn Manor”

  1. I heard that there once was a young man who attended Penn Manor who was able to log into a MacBook while the red light was still on. Many students called it “red-lighting” and it became increasingly popular among freshman, who were fascinated by The Myth. To most, it is only a tall-tale, but PM senior Jerome Lynch knows the whole story. “I think it was only possible for Mike Mertz to pull this one off,” he stated. We have reason to believe that when a student “red-lights it,” they are able to access chatrooms, webcams, and otherwise unusable features. The Myth has recently become legend as Mike Mertz will graduate and join several others as a member of the “mysterious Penn Manor Alumni.”

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