Some Sketchy News Hits the Art Department

Hold on to your sketchbooks, AP art may be drawing to an end.

According to Karen Gingerich, who teaches AP art, her class may be eliminated because not enough kids are taking the course and there aren’t enough art teachers in the school to teach other art classes.

“Our fear is if it goes away next year that it won’t be brought back,” said Gingerich.

Many students who plan to major in art in college are itching to get into AP Art,

Emily Miller practices her artistic abilities. Photo by Gabby Myers

“ In AP art, (students) are working like real artists,” Gingerich said.

According to, The AP art program offers three portfolios: Drawing, 2-D Design, and 3-D Design. The portfolios share a basic, three-section structure, which requires the student to show a fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual concerns (and methods).

In other words, like all AP classes, AP art is a very in-depth class and requires a lot of work.

Some students who signed up for AP Art next year are upset to hear the news about the class being eliminated.

“We are starting to have AP languages classes, its not fair that we can’t have AP art classes,” said Emily Miller, a  junior at Penn Manor.

Not only students who are planning to take this class are upset but students who have already taken and experienced the class believe it should be offered to enrich the art experience of other students.

“Juniors are very talented, they need this AP art class,” said Kira Klaassen, a junior who knows a lot about the class. “Students will benefit from the different use of mediums.”

One student in particular, Faith Walauskas, circulated a petition and made a group on Facebook to spread the word the class may  no longer be in existence.

Walauskas founder of Facebook group and the petition. Photo by Gabby Myers

The petition, that is floating around, has at least 132 signatures from students attending Penn Manor. The Facebook group was a popular hit, within 36 hours it had 200 members, according to Walauskas.

“Future art students can easily benefit from an AP art credit, it could determine if you get into college,” Walauskas said. “ If it (the petition) doesn’t work, at least everyone will know how angry we are.”

Penn Manor’s administration is trying to find ways to keep the class in the face of belt-tightening measures across the district.

The reasons the class may be cut is that only eight students signed up for it and a teacher will be dropping to elementary school level, thus causing a shortage of teachers.

“Its tough to assign a teacher to teach eight students, two blocks a year,” said Phil Gale. “I’d prefer to keep it if we had a teacher to teach it and kids to take it.”

Whether or not the class will stay is yet to be determined, however the concerned students will continue to work for their art class next year.

By Mike Bouder and Gabby Myers

National History Day Makes History at Penn Manor

Three of Penn Manor’s brightest were competing in National History Day at a state level.

Jeremy Vital

Jeremy Vital, Trevor Troup and Ande Olsen finished in the top six in state competition for their documentary on the innovation of refrigeration.

The project was made for National History Day(NHD), and took these three to glory.

“It was surprising because I started out just trying to get an A in the class, but ended up getting sixth in states,” said junior Trevor Troup.

The project for the three began in the classroom as just another class assignment.

Trevor Troup

“We didn’t even try that hard, then it ended up being a really good project,” said junior Ande Olsen.

Penn Manor also had the home school advantage in

Ande Olsen

the event since they hosted it.

“I felt right at home because I didn’t have to travel,” said junior Jeremy Vital.

This was the most successful year for Penn Manor at the NHD event, and the Social Studies department looks forward to next year’s event with enthusiasm.

“Even though we wont have the class together, were still going to make a project for the next event(NHD),” vowed Jeremy Vital
By Paul Slaugh

Not Clear Whether Blue Streaks Teen was able to Attend Senior Prom

* Update 17 May 2009:It isn’t clear whether Manheim Township senior was allowed to attend his senior prom.  As of Friday, Jordan Duncan was still fighting to attend the school’s social event of the year.

Marcy Brody, the Manheim Township Public relations personnel said she “can neither confirm nor deny that Jordan Duncan is attending prom.”

Brody or any other district official would not comment on the controversy.

Also, the Manheim township senior has not responded to several attempts to contact him about his status for attending his school’s prom. *

Duncan was suspended by the administration because of a parody he created about the new head principal, Deborah Mitchell, and her views on dancing at prom and homecoming.

He may have intended the video to poke fun at rumors about rules on dancing at prom that were flying around the high school, but the administration wasn’t laughing.

“I just made it as a joke, as a funny video that I could share with my friends,” Duncan said in a statement on a website he created after the incident.  “And I posted it on Youtube because it is the easiest and fastest way for all my friends to see it.”

Suspended from school for nine days and barred from prom or any other school-related activities on or off campus., Duncan’s statement said it was because he was in “Violation of the Manheim Township School District Acceptable Use of Technology Policy.”

He allegedly made the video on school-district owned equipment in the school’s video lab.

According to Duncan’s statement posted on the website, his first intentions with the raw video were to clear up a few school rumors regarding the possible cancellation of prom and the dancing policies.

Duncan released this statement on the website. “When I first started working on the project, my goal was to create a video to be aired on Blue Streak News (school news channel) that would effectively dispel all of the rumors about the dancing policy and prom at our high school.”

The Manheim Township prom was held Saturday, May 15th,

“I was given the most severe punishment possible without a mandatory discipline hearing by the school board,” Duncan said via the website statement.  “The administration wanted to give me the most severe possible consequence while attempting to remain under the radar of the school board.”

An attorney for the ACLU, Mary Catherine Roper told the Intelligencer Journal/New Era Newspaper, “I find it very hard to believe that this is a standard punishment for somebody making unauthorized use of school equipment.”

A student at Penn Manor, a sophomore, Grace Gunde, said she feels Duncan deserves the punishment, “Kind of, because it was inappropriate, but at the same time, he did it to be funny and not personally attack the principal.”

Austin Richwine from Penn Manor disagreed. “He doesn’t deserve to be suspended for nine days because it’s not like he showed the funny video in school. He released it outside of school.”

Penn Manor Principal Phil Gale said “The thing this incident does is it demonstrates the concerns that all educators and people have when or how technology is used. Because of the things that can be done whether its just taking little clips or videos on cell phones, we do not know what happens with it after it’s recorded.”

Part of Duncan’s released statement on his website included an apology. “It was intended as a joke, and I regret that she took offense to an amusing attempt to lighten the entire dancing policy controversy.  For that, I am truly sorry.”

By Dana Poetzl and Kayla Pagan

Fire Drill Scare Just a False Alarm

Monday, students at Penn Manor were left wondering why they were forced out into the sticky, humid morning weather twice in one day.

At the beginning of second block, students were interrupted by a routine fire drill.

In the middle of B lunch/third block, even more unexpectedly than the first time, another fire alarm erupted in the hallways and classrooms throughout the school.

“It was a waste of time,” said sophomore Willie Welsh.

Some students questioned whether or not the fire drill was legitimate, noting the sounds of fire trucks seemingly approaching Penn Manor High School.

“I thought it was really long,” said sophomore Nick Cunningham

According to principal Phil Gale, the first fire alarm was a drill. However, the second fire alarm was due to a faulty sensor somewhere in an unspecified location of the building.

Despite the sounds of fire trucks, the waves of mass confusion and the sight of principals on their cell phones, Penn Manor remains safe for another day.

By Zane Sensenig and Paul Slaugh

Penn Manor Student Cited for Disorderly Conduct

On Friday, April 16, a Penn Manor student was arrested by Millersville Police for disorderly conduct toward the school’s resource officer.

The student was told multiple times to stop waving a multi-colored flag during lunch hours but continued to do so.

According to Lancaster New Era, Cindy Rhoades, the district’s community relations coordinator said that the student became “unruly and insubordinate,” to the officer.

The officer then took the student to the administration officer. This is where the student went ballistic by “trashing” the office and yelling profane words.

Rhoades also told Lancaster New Era that they did not tell the student to put away the flag because of any message it could have portrayed but for the possible injuries to any of the 600 to 700 students occupying the cafeteria from the pointed end of the flag stick.

Rhoades then explained that the student was not disciplined for showing off the flag but for the way the student acted toward the officer and administration.

In concurrence with the disorderly conduct charge, the student was also suspended from school.

By Sarah Garner

Are There Eyes Behind Our Screens?

When you look at your computer screen, what if there were eyes looking back at you?

Lower Merion School District, in suburban Philadelphia, was brought into the spotlight after student Blake Robbins sued the district under accusations of taking pictures of him through the web cam of his school laptop.

Now, USATODAY reports that the district has secretly taken over 56,000 pictures of students over a two-year period through the web cams.

The classrooms of Penn Manor have been buzzing wondering whether our school has been watching us as well.

Lower Merion claims they turned on the tracking service in order to claim lost or stolen laptops. The FBI has begun a criminal investigation regarding wiretapping.

“There were no written policies or procedures governing the circumstances surrounding activating the program and the circumstances regarding turning off the activations,” said Henry Hockeimer, the lawyer who represents the school district.

Officials have said that students did not sign waivers, such as our Penn Manor internet safety contact, agreeing to the hidden use of web cams.

Local schools are watching through web cams, but not Penn Manor.

…So does that mean Penn Manor can do the same thing? And are they?

“No, we cannot do that. We don’t have the capabilities to do that. Lower Merion uses a purchased program called ‘Lanrev’ that can remotely switch the cameras on, but no we can’t do that,” said Penn Manor’s head of technology Charlie Reisinger.

But how have the students and staff reacted to the incident at Lower Merion?

“Honestly, I thought they already could when the little green light comes on because of the rumors I heard, but it would really creep me out. I wouldn’t do anything, just stay on my guard,” said freshman Kelly Shertzer.

Some teachers and staff have gone as far as to place a piece of tape over their web cams – as a precaution.

“I don’t like people looking at me when they shouldn’t be,” said art teacher Kim McMullen, “I don’t like the invasion of privacy.”

Both experts and Reisinger explain that there are different ways Lower Merion – and Penn Manor – could find computers.

“There are less intrusive ways to track stolen laptops, no question about it,” said Marc Rotenburger a Georgetown University law professor who serves as President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, according to

“We have a system similar to a GPS, if someone would walk out with one of our computers it would basically ‘phone home’” said Reisinger.

It’s safe to say that no one’s watching you at Penn Manor, for at least now.

By Mike Nitroy and Lindsey Ostrum

Chatroulette: A Warning for Students

Some say it’s a breeding ground for predators, others say it’s a great way to meet people around the world.

It’s creator hails the website as the new “Facebook 2.0.” describes itself as a “brand new service for one-on-one text, webcam and microphone-based chat with people around the world.”

In other words, it’s like a newer, more high-tech and more dangerous version of the original chat rooms that popped up when the Internet was first available.

But the head of Penn Manor technology warns the popular site is a site taken over by perverts.

And although most people who use Chatroulette think they are totally anonymous, other applications allow the participants who are in the chat rooms to be located on a web map.

Chatroulette users may not be as anonymous as they think.

An online newspaper,, which details national and international news, calls it “(Chatroulette), an anarchic venue where users of any age do whatever they like in front of live webcams.”

A junior at Penn Manor High School, Brittany Wright, is one student who regrets getting onto the site Chatroulette.

“I went on Chatroulette the other day ’cause it was on T.V. and I was curious,” Wright said, “There were half-naked people every other person I got, thank goodness for the “next” button.”

The “next” button Wright is talking about is one of the only considerate things on the site. It allows you to say goodbye to your current chat partner and get a new one, which in many cases doesn’t help at all.

The problem in question is exposure, people are doing whatever they want in front of a camera, sometimes the activities are disturbing.

Genny Leonards, another junior at Penn Manor  says of the site, “Every time I would get another person it would be the exact same thing, all I saw was [male and female anatomy].”

Yes, people go on Chatroulette and show their private parts to other users who are usually caught off guard, even the “next” button doesn’t help.

But most of the people interviewed at Penn Manor say the sexual harassment is too much. Kiersten Creasy, a junior at Penn Manor, said, “I definitely won’t get back onto the site. It was so gross, who wants to get in front of a webcam and show themselves off? I mean that’s just gross.”

One of the most frightening aspects of Chatroulette is an application that allows the computer user to see a live map of those users in the area, or for any particular spot in the world.

The site takes away a users anonymity.
The site takes away a users anonymity, which is a map that shows where people who are logged onto the site live,  eliminates a certain anonymity that generally a Chatroulette member would be looking for. The map shows a user’s exact location, a helpful zoom button lets you narrow down to nearly an exact address.

Creasy, Wright and Leonards agreed the mapping aspect takes the site too far.

Many people would think that a lethal combination of sexual harassment and that added creepy factor that brings to the table, would make Chatroulette a website in decline, but surprisingly some major companies are interested in this growing phenomena.  Google, DST, Skype and Yandex, all major multi-million dollar companies, have expressed an interest in investing in Chatroulette, according to its own website.

Andrey Ternovskiy, the 17-year-old founder of Chatroulette, told reporters that he’s not interested in selling the site, and that he would feel he would be letting Chatroulette users down if he sold it already.

The question on everyone’s mind right now is, how safe is this site?

Lindsay Shockley a Junior at Penn Manor warns future users, “I would say you have to know what you’re getting into because its not guaranteed that you’ll get nice and sweet people every time, most of them are perverts.”

Charlie Reisinger, the director of Technology for Penn Manor School district, answered a few questions about the technology and safety of this site.

Q. “Many people who have read about the lap-top camera fiasco at Harrington High school, which involved an allegedly hacked laptop camera of a student, have asked, could someone from Chatroulette hack onto a users laptop camera after they’ve already logged off?”

A. “As far as my knowledge, no. But that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t write a program and hack into a computer and do exactly that. Someone from a remote location couldn’t just simply turn on your camera and spy on you, but it could be possible from a worm or a virus from a hacker.

Q. “What would you say to people thinking about using the site?”

A. “I would tell them going into it you need to know that its an unregulated, uncontrolled, free-for-all. About 20 percent of the people using Chatroulette are perverts and people need to know that before going into Chatroulette.”

Q. “How do you feel about Chatroulette the site?”

A. “It was an interesting tool until it was ruined by perverts, its such an interesting concept, but the same internet safety rules apply, be very careful with the information you release to people.”

Q. “How accurate is the map?”

A. “It is very accurate. The map itself is based on IP addresses that each indivdual computer has. The IP address is matched up with a Chatroulette snapshot from Chatroulette, and your address is no longer anonymous. Everything you say on the internet or do can be traced back to you, and Chatroulette has no warranties, its basically use at your own risk”

Q. “Would you say Chatroulette is a breeding ground for predators?”

A. “I would definitely agree with that, it’s a shame because it could have been used as a very interesting tool.”

By Dana Poetzl

Threat Remains Unspecified

The case is closed.

On March 18, a non-detailed threat was scribbled in a women’s bathroom stall for Friday, March 19.

The administration at Penn Manor High School did not specify a guilty perpetrator, if threats continued or if their were any suspects accused.

Families of Penn Manor received a prerecorded AlertNow message from superintendent, Mike Leichliter, in which he said that he was confident that the safety of Penn Manor would be protected during school that day.

“My philosophy regarding these types of situations is to share as much information as possible with all those groups [Penn Manor families] without compromising specifics regarding the ongoing investigation,” said Leichliter, who had experienced this situation for the first time as superintendent.

The attendance at the high school was slightly lower than usual, but nothing completely out of the norm.

Students and staff noticed a higher amount of security that day, which included a number of local police officers scattered throughout the campus.

“I tried to get out of school, but my mom wouldn’t let me,” said senior, Shannon Henry. “I think our school is safe though.”

Many students didn’t feel any paranoia concerning the situation.

Senior Mike Cotich shook his head no while scoffing when asked if he was scared by the threat. “I didn’t even know about it [that morning],” said Cotich.

There has been no new information released regarding the case.

As the administration stated repeatedly, “The case is closed.”

By Dessie Jackson and Cody Erb

Employees “Facing Off” with Facebook

Facebook users- beware.

With the continuous growth of Facebook and other online social networks comes problems that have never been faced before.

Most troublesome is that employers are now searching potential employees’ Facebooks and they’re finding things they don’t like. Photos, statuses and wall posts are being observed. If the employer finds “unprofessional” items, it could possibly hurt the applicant’s chances of being hired.

These searches are used here at Penn Manor when the district is looking to hire for a professional position.

“It doesn’t play a huge part, but we like to see what the employee is like outside the interview. Anyone can look professional,” Principal Philip Gale said.

Students of Penn Manor, though the applying-hiring process may be off in the future, will still be eligible to be “searched”.

Ryan Davisson, part of the technology department at Penn Manor said, “What’s safe now might not be in the future.”

Although employers have tapped into this resource, teenagers may not be taking it as seriously as they should.

Sophomore Junior Suarez said, “I used to have pictures of me partying from when I was like, 13 and I am worried about it, honestly. But there’s nothing I can do now.”

Suarez is not alone.

“Even if you don’t put [pictures] up, you can’t control what your friends post,” said junior Greg Gydush.

Some students seem to believe they have a sneaky solution.

Like many, junior Sam McCrery said, “I’ll probably just delete [my Facebook] when I start looking for jobs.”

Unfortunately, deleting is not fool-proof.

Reisinger Tech
Head of the technology department Charlie Reisinger talks about Facebook. Photo by Sarah Schaeffer

District Technology Director Charlie Reisinger explained that typically, anything posted can’t be completely deleted. Facebook, and similar sites, must back up all of their data, ensuring users that they will always have access to it. Screenshots taken by other users of your personal information could also surface later on.

“Even if you delete an account, that doesn’t mean it’s not still out there,” said Reisinger.

With an increasingly competitive job market and a current unemployment rate of 9.7%, keeping a clean and professional appearance both off- and online is the key to staying in the game.

“Don’t put anything anywhere that could come back and bite you in anyway,” said Reisinger.

By Sarah Schaeffer and Simon Zimmerman

Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Open in June

Mount Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Hogwarts.

Which one would you choose?

On June 18, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park will open in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida with rides and attractions straight from the series that millions have fallen in love with.

Harry Potter's Wizarding World in Orlando, Fla.

“Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter’s world as it is portrayed in the books and films,” said the production designer Stuart Craig to

The park includes a realistic Hogwarts that takes guests on tours allowing them to view areas from scenes in the movies, a replica of the rustic shopping village, Hogsmeade, and a wild, two car racing rollercoaster called the Dragon Challenge.

Harry Potter lovers all around the world– including at Penn Manor, are more than hyped for the unveiling.

“I’m so excited to go in July for my cousin’s 18th birthday party,” said Mikayla Herbert, “I want to walk through Hogwarts!”

“Our field hockey tournament is in Florida next year, so I’m excited to see everything,” said Kayla Bixler.

“I would want to go if it wasn’t so far away,” said Ryan Newswanger.

Along the way throughout the park, attendees may also run into Hagrid’s hut that takes you on a smaller rollercoaster named The Flight of the Hippogriff.

After experiencing all the rides, guests can even visit a replica of The Three Broomsticks restaurant where they can choose from foods such as butterbeer (a non alcoholic beverage from the books), fish and chips, peanut butter ice cream and more.

Many travel sites offer generous travel packages, and offers a one day pass to Universal Studios for as little as $109 for an adult.

But if one day isn’t enough, the same site offers seven day passes for only $169.99 for an adult.

Households with children ages 7-14 can also enter a scholastic contest for a family of four for an all travel expense paid trip to visit the park for 3 days at

Whether a devoted fan, a movie lover, or just jumping on the band wagon, the theme park is sure to fulfill the dreams of anyone who ever wished to step into Hogwarts.

By Mike Nitroy and Lindsey Ostrum