Overdrive provides more options for borrowing books

Using the Overdrive app or website, students can borrow library books electronically.

By Aly Whiteman

Are you the type of person who loves to read new books, but in the end loses all of their library book, and gets a huge fine? With the Overdrive program, you can never lose the books, they automatically return and there’s no way you can get a fine.

In winter 2014, district administrators and librarians sat down and decided to participate in a system called Overdrive. This system allows students to borrow library books to read on their phones. A year later, Penn Manor School District was registered to let students check books out electronically.

This program costs the library nothing, and students are allowed to take out books as they please.

In order to check out books through Overdrive, students will need to follow these steps:

  1. Download the Kindle app and the Overdrive app. Both are free.
  2. Sign into the Overdrive app with your school id, and find a book you’d like to read.
  3. Check the book out, and download it to the Kindle app.

After you’ve downloaded the book, you have it for two weeks, until you either renew it via Overdrive or it automatically returns. No lost books, no fines.

The Overdrive system is also available on your laptop if you don’t have a phone or tablet.

“It allows book access in a more convenient way for students that are interested in reading on their phones and tablets” said Mr. Jeffrey Taylor, librarian.

The books on the app are primarily fiction, with a few nonfiction books. The nonfiction books would be good for independent reading but not to use for a research paper.

There are over a thousand books on the app, with new books coming every year. Students can request to add a book on the app, but that would cost the library approximately $60 to $80, so it would be easier to request to order the physical book in the library.

“There are a lot of new and exciting books on Overdrive, ones that we don’t have in the library, so it’s good to check out if you want something new and exciting,” said Mr. Taylor.

There are multiple copies of the books on the app, but if all of the copies are out, you can place a hold on a book. It will take approximately 2-3 weeks to get the book if you’re the only hold on the book. If there are other people who have the book on hold, however, it might take a month or more.

There are copies of the summer reading books for classes as well, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Great Gatsby.” If you are more interested into listening to the book rather than reading it, you can borrow an audiobook for select titles.

Don’t have a tablet or phone? You can go to the Overdrive website on your school computer and read from there or borrow a Nexus Tablet from the library. All you need to do is fill out a permission form, and you can borrow a tablet for two weeks.

FFA students show animals at local fair

By Lily Gibson

Rebecca High and her two pigs, Phoenix (left) and Jett (right).
Rebecca High and her two pigs, Phoenix (left) and Jett (right).

Penn Manor FFA students showed their cattle, pigs and goats  at the West Lampeter Fair from Sept. 28-30.

Rebecca High, sophomore, showed her two pigs, Phoenix and Jett, on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The two pigs were in the Heavyweight division and both received a ribbon, one for second premium and one for third. High also received a ribbon herself for showmanship. This was her third year showing pigs and she intends to show again next season.

Sophomore Tabitha Swope showed her dairy beef cattle on Thursday, Sept. 29. This was her fifth year showing dairy beef; however, she plans for this to be her last season so she can focus more on academics.

Experiences can differ from year to year.

Swope said that the first time she received a blue ribbon, her cattle ate it, but she does always hope to receive another blue ribbon.

Even though High hasn’t showed for as long, she still has some advice to give.

“You definitely have to work with your pigs” she said, to make sure they show well.

When showing an animal, students start fresh each year by raising the animal from a calf or a piglet. The students care for the animals for several months until fair season, when they show and sell the animals.

High said that she received her pigs a few weeks early this year, and that had a fairly large effect on the results. She said that the pigs gained weight too fast, and that she had to adjust their diet in order to keep the pigs in their weight division.

The idea behind having students entered in the farm fairs is “to gain experience in agriculture,” as agriculture teacher Mr. Neil Fellenbaum said. However, not all students who show do so just for agricultural experiences. High stated that she started showing animals because she was asked by her brother her first year, but enjoyed it so much that she has continued.

FFA students who enter projects in farm fairs do it of their own decision and not as a part of class. Mr. Fellenbaum said that these are called Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, and the student choose based on their own interests. These projects are mostly completed outside of class, but there is limited class time set aside to plan and update the projects.

There are also certain limitations on where a student can show and who can enter. Mr. Fellenbaum stated that a student must be a member of FFA in order to show animals, and according to Swope, students can only show certain animals at certain fairs.

Band looks back on recent season

By Gabe Mitchell

A video of the entire 2015  showcase performance is available on YouTube if you click the above image.
A video of the entire 2015 showcase performance is available on YouTube if you click the above image.

Penn Manor’s marching band recently closed up their music books and locked up their instruments for the winter. The fall season is now over, and members of the band are looking back and reviewing their hard work.

Members like Matthew Baldwin, a freshman pit player, say they think the season went well.

“I was always nervous before every show, but in the end it went great,” said Baldwin, who also mentioned that he always feels proud of his fellow band members after a performance. “When we all work together, we can blow people’s minds!”

The band played performances at the football game, along with their big show. Many members said the music was challenging to play, but after a few practices they were ready to perform. “It involves a lot of patience and determination,” said Baldwin. “We could easily have given up and quit right away.”

This year’s show was held at McCaskey High School on October 31, 2015. The  theme was Eastern Enchantment Indian. Members wore white uniforms with red sashes and played selections from Saint- Saen’s “Danse Bacchanale,” Rimsky Korsakov’s “Scheherezade”, Tchaikovsky’s “Arabian Dance.”

“I was very pleased,” said director Andrew Johnson. “It was the strongest performance.”  

The next season will begin in June, but band members will continue to practice throughout the spring semester. Currently, the plans for next year’s show are in the works but confidential.

“Planning happens all winter and is currently going on right now, but it’s all a secret,” said Mr. Johnson.

Seven Reasons Why Fantasy Football is the Worst Thing Ever

By Matt Tulli

Every fall, a large percentage of the American population enjoys playing football. It may be high school, college, professional, flag, whatever. Then there are those dummies who play fantasy football. Fantasy football isn’t even a sport. Also, it’s probably the worst thing ever. It takes no skill whatsoever, and you can play it sitting on your couch. It kinda sounds like poker that you play on those online-poker websites. Speaking of poker, why is it on ESPN all the time? People who call poker a sport probably also call tomatoes vegetables. They’re fruits. Culture yourself, people.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, fantasy football. It stinks. Here’s why, presented in list format:

  1. The draft. All fantasy football leagues require drafts before the season starts. You can choose to do either an auction draft, or the more popular draft that is like the regular NFL draft. Both are stupid. Basically, what happens is you either spend hours upon hours researching the best strategies and players to draft for the upcoming season, while your weird aunt (who nobody talks to, but you needed an extra player) will log on five minutes late but still end up picking Tom Brady (GOOD STRATEGY: Just put that thing on auto-draft. You might end up with 3 kickers and 4 tight ends, but hey, depth is the key to success.) At the end of the draft, you feel like you have the best team and you’re gonna win the whole thing Guess what? Don’t do that! Because… 
  2. Bad luck. … your quarterback will break his leg, your running back will tear his ACL, and your defense will be single-handedly beaten by rookie Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace. It’s inevitable.
  3. The player that nobody knows about.  The absolute worst. The aforementioned weird aunt’s 7th round pick, Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace from Northern Alabama Tech A&M, will put up 50 points in the first week, conveniently handing you a 15 point loss.

  4. The bench. Alternatively, you’re going to pick Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace, but since they’re playing the Seahawks week 1, you decide to bench him. Nice move! He puts up a 50-burger in the first week, but you didn’t play him. Turns out, this dude actually stinks in real life with the exception of his first game and you drop him after week 8.

  5. The bench, cont. Maybe you’re actually in a good position (i.e. you’re the weird aunt) and you have the luxury of starting one of two competent football players. Chances are, 11 out of 10 times you’re going to pick the wrong one. So, what I like to do is just not start either of them. Just have an open spot on your roster. You may not gain a physical victory, but you’re going to gain a moral victory since you saved yourself from the hurt of making the wrong decision.

  6. When another player gets points yours should have had. Imagine this: you need 7 points to beat your opponent. This is your last chance. Your running back takes the ball, and promptly gets tackled at the one yard line, leaving you literally a yard away from a victory. Okay, that’s fine, he’ll get the touchdown on- wait. What is this. He’s being taken out of the game? What do you mean he “broke his leg in 4 different places”? No excuses. Rub some dirt on that thing and get me my win.

  7. The fact that you’re going to play again next year. You may not want to, but you WILL be sucked into playing again by your cousin, i.e., the guy who goes all-out for the draft. This especially counts if you happen to be a Philadelphia fan, in which you’re just desperate to enjoy some sort of sport, even if the sport isn’t a sport altogether. Trust me, no matter how miserable you were watching your team fall apart this season, just wait until your weird aunt takes home the crown again next year.

Staff share interests and hobbies

By Brooke Swinehart

Students don’t always view staff as individuals, instead viewing them as  a whole. Teachers and staff members are people with interests and hobbies just like you and me.

Just knowing people in a work or school environment doesn’t necessarily depict what their interests are and some people might surprise you.

Percussion ensemble: What is it?

By Peyton Cassel

Senior Caleb Breidenbaugh plays a marimba.
Senior Caleb Breidenbaugh plays a marimba.


Percussion ensemble is a group that uses marimbas, vibraphones, bells, and other keyboard instruments to rehearse and perform during the school year. Directed by Luke Helker, the ensemble plays a variety of contemporary classical music. The group has 18 members total, and its participants are Penn Manor High School students.

According to Mr. Helker, “the percussion ensemble itself is a relatively new type of performing ensemble … but has grown in popularity.” It’s resulted in an “abundance” of things to play, and focuses on “providing musicians of all ages and skills the opportunity to be exposed to a new world of contemporary chamber music.”

Despite how new percussion ensembles are, this is not Penn Manor’s first year at it.

“I actually founded the ensemble in the fall of 2012, and we had our first performance that following spring,” said Helker. “It’s taken a while for it to get up and running, but it is now functioning like a well-oiled machine.”

Helker enjoys teaching students who are eager enough to try something new and helps them learn musical “history, theory, and etiquette” to prepare them for a musical career or path they might choose in the future.

Katherine Green, a freshman in the ensemble, described it as, “a great experience to learn multiple percussion instruments.”

Musical skill or background is not required, but is recommended if you’re looking to join. Caleb Breidenbaugh, a senior in the ensemble, said, “we have several students who were not percussionists before they joined, so whether you’re an experienced percussionist or just someone who’s interested in learning the basics, there’s something here for everyone.”

While there are no openings for students to join this semester, the group will have openings available for the spring semester.

“If anyone is interested in performing with us next semester, you’re more than welcome to get in touch,” said Helker. “Not all of the music has been selected, so we can take as many interested students as possible.”
The ensemble rehearses at the high school every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. during the school year. Rehearsals are held in the band room (249). 

Interstellar provides sneak peek of future

By Parker Wales

interstellarDirector Christopher Nolan becomes the all-seeing eyes into our future in his new movie Interstellar. Planet Earth meets its greatest environmental disaster. The Earth suffers blight and a gigantic dust bowl that slowly causes it to become uninhabitable.

Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), the main character of the movie, is a former member of NASA now living with his daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain) and father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow). Murph was getting in trouble at school claiming that the moon landing was fake to justify the “wasting” of important resources on the space program.

NASA has gone underground and came up with a plan to save the Earth’s population. This top-secret operation requires Coop to be the commander along side of his former mentor Dr. Brand (Anne Hathaway). The operation requires the use of a worm-hole to another galaxy where Brand thinks there is intelligent life.

There are major sacrifices that Coop has to face with his family. Decades pass on earth with messages coming from Murph. Coop plays them back, and creates one of the best scenes of the movie.

The height of the movie presents itself with the exploration into the wormhole. This mind-blowing scene shows the sheer extent of our imagination. Interstellar is movie of suspense and emotion reveals a “sneak peek” into what could be our future.

Penn Manor High School prepares for fall musical

By Peyton Cassel

The fall musical is more than it seems   a comedy, a spelling bee, a play. The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee is a production with audience participation that changes from show to show. According to Mrs. Melissa Minzter, co-director of the play, Penn Manor High School has never done a performance like this before.     

The show features nine different characters, and each is known to have personalities that affect the outcome.

“There is such a wide range of characters: from monotone, to crazy … to the snottiest person you will ever meet,” said Gabby Martino, a sophomore cast as Marcy Park.

Cast members and directors are not the only ones excited.

Aly Whiteman is a sophomore involved in sound crew, a group that is in charge of sound effects and other technicalities during the play. “We know that many people might not know this play, but give it a chance!” said Whiteman. “It’s a hilarious musical filled with audience participation and funny characters that pull you into the story.”

Alex Patterson, another sophomore cast in the musical, describes the show as “funny, entertaining, and a hands-on experience.”

The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee won’t perform just in Penn Manor. The theater department is taking its “show on the road” to the Pennsylvania Thespians State Conference December 3-5.

“It’s a get-together of all of Pennsylvania’s theater groups, where we get to do different activities that help us progress and become better in our theater program,” Martino said. “Only a couple schools are chosen to perform.”

According to Mrs. Minzter, this is the third time that Penn Manor will take its show to the conference. However, it’s been nearly four years since the last one.

The musical takes place in the high school auditorium on November 20-21, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens.

Penn Manor acknowledges National Bullying Prevention Month

By Brooke Swinehart

October is National Bullying Prevention M

Students were encouraged to wear blue on Friday, October 30 to “ Boo The Bullies.”
Students were encouraged to wear blue on Friday, October 30 to “ Boo The Bullies.”

onth. The purpose is to unite, and raise awareness in communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

Penn Manor has an Aevidum club that creates a positive mental health environment, where all students feel accepted, acknowledged, appreciated, and cared for in schools.

“ Aevidum has helped (with bullying), but just to make everyone feel comfortable,” said senior Jacob Herr.

“I believe the programs should be continued and supported. I’ve seen an impact,” said senior Jack Whalen.

Senior Michael Campion believes that to stop bullying, the school needs “to give harsher punishments for bullying happening in school.”

Aevidum tries to encourage students to reach out if they are being bullied or see a classmate being bullied.

“Sadly, we know there are students in this building who are bullied or treated poorly by others. There are students who feel alone. But Aevidum wants those students to know they are not alone and each student deserves dignity,” said Ms. Maria Vita, psychology teacher and one of Avevidum’s leaders. “There are adults and caring students who want to assist anyone struggling with bullying or psychological stress. Speak out if you are being bullied or if you feel alone. Aevidum cares and we have your back.”

Other Penn Manor staff members addressed what they do about bullying as well.

“I like to think I can contribute to installing positive mindsets and behaviors in our students. Anyone can be a victim and anyone can become an abuser. I will continue to teach caring, consideration, compassion and being sincere as contribution to students while they become mature young adults,” said Mrs Barbara Trostle, library aide, also adding,” A negative mind will never give you a positive life!”

What I wish my teacher knew: many students struggle with anxiety

By Brooke Swinehart

Mrs. Gail Ulmer is one of the counselors available to assist students who are struggling.
Mrs. Gail Ulmer is one of the counselors available to assist students who are struggling.

Penn Points recently surveyed Penn Manor students to ask what they wish their teachers knew about them. Participation was voluntary and anonymous and included students from all grade levels. Here are some responses:

“I have panic attacks because of school sometimes.”

“ That I’m severely depressed and I have a hard time getting work done on time.”

“How bad my anxiety and depression affect me sometimes.”

Notice the similarities?

Out of the students who responded, 27 percent mentioned struggling with stress, schoolwork, anxiety and depression.

“We’re seeing much more of school avoidance and anxiety within the past two to three years,” said guidance counselor Mrs. Gail Ulmer.

Anxiety and depression are difficult topics to cover considering many individuals don’t know how to start the conversation.  Removing the stigma of mental illness is something not only necessary for Penn Manor, but as a community.

“One third of the students I see are struggling with anxiety or some form of mental health distress. All of these we see regularly and we’re not surprised when it comes up,” said guidance counselor Mrs. Melissa Ostrowski.

“How much stress seniors are under, ALL THE TIME.”

“That not everyone has a good home life, before you label someone as a “druggy” maybe consider they use that to cope.”

“How to handle the personal hardships of students.”

Papers that are available to students in the counseling office.
Resources that are available to students in the counseling office.

“Everybody is struggling, and nobody is talking about it.” said Tere Villibrandt, who is a therapist at Samaritan Counseling Center and screens Penn Manor freshman for signs of depression.

Students can always schedule an appointment to talk to a counselor for any reason. There are different documents available to students in the counseling office concerning topics like depression, anxiety, self harm, substance abuse and eating disorders.

“They don’t have an adult to talk to,” said Mrs. Ostrowski, explaining what she commonly hears from students that concerned her. “The older I get, and the more I grow as a person, I wish every single kid had one caring adult to talk to. We all need that in this world. It’s only natural that that kid would experience insecurities and anxieties.”

The responses that were received should show students and others in the community that they, in fact, are not alone, and other individuals feel the same way.

“Students can be more comfortable with it to understand that everybody at some point in their lives experiences anxiety and experiences depression. That it’s normal, to talk about it but not make it a small thing. I say normalizing without minimizing” said Villibrandt.