A Pleasant Surprise Greets Proficient Students

By Blake Wales

Cries of delight and and feelings of gratitude are echoing through the halls of Penn Manor by students who are getting free parking passes.

Penn Manor’s administrators decided to reward seniors who did well last year on their math and reading PSSA tests – either proficient or advanced – by giving them their parking passes for free during the second semester.

That is making select members of the senior class extremely excited.

“I was very surprised and shocked,” said senior Dylan Weber. “I was not aware of this.”

It’s that dreaded time of the year for most students who have parking passes at Penn Manor because that means they need to dish out more money to the school, $20 per semester. Students complain they have to pay for these passes while many students at other schools don’t have to pay a penny.

Principal Phil Gale said  he thought students would be excited and it would spur younger students to do well on this year’s test in anticipation of a similar reward when they are seniors.

Chloe Traup was very excited about her free pass. Photo by: Brandon Bowers

“I composed the idea and Mr. (Doug) Eby finalized it,” said Gale.

This privilege is only accessible to seniors who have improved their PSSA scores from their eighth to eleventh grade year. The students had to have  improved on both math and reading with scores of advanced or proficient.

There are currently 89 free spring parking passes given to seniors and more deserving seniors can qualify for them, an estimated 120 in total.

But the school is losing an estimated $2,400 by giving the passes out for free.

But administrators said it will be worth it if students in their junior year perform better and make a good effort on state standardized testing that begins in March.

If juniors were around to witness the “gift” of the free passes, they very well may be inspired.

“They were pretty psyched,” said administrative secretary Heather Valentine who got to surprise the students.

“The kids that came up were so excited and so grateful because we were doing this for them for all the hard work they did for us,” said Valentine. “The word was getting out when students started to receive these passes so more and more students started to come to the table to see if they got one which was pretty neat.”

Senior Landon Alecxih was not expecting the free pass.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said.

“It’s a thing to look forward to so you do well on your PSSAs,” Weber explained. “Let this be a lesson to the juniors so they do well.”

Another senior Kayleena Hess had a similar reaction saying, “Well I was walking up to the office because they were handing out detentions  and that’s when initially heard about them. So I went up to Mrs. Valentine and she told me I got one and I was like ‘Oh Word,'”Hess explained.

The main office is still handing out these passes to eligible students. If you are a senior at Penn Manor and you have not yet redeemed your parking pass go up to the main office because you might be one of the lucky ones.