Can “Yous” Please Talk Right?

“That ain’t right.”


What “ain’t” right is your grammar.

Being in school every day, I hear hundreds of voices. Voices that are yelling and voices that are whispering. I hear the voices of students, teachers, janitors and anyone else who happens to be in the halls of Penn Manor. Everyday I am amazed by the amount of improper speech that flows from every sort of person’s mouth.

I don’t understand how after spending at least nine years in school, no one seems to understand there isn’t an “s” on the end of “you” or that things went “well,” not “good.”

Sarah Schaeffer has bad feelings about bad grammar.

When I hear things like: “Can I go to the bathroom?”

I’d like to reply, “I certainly hope you can.”

It’s exactly like nails on a chalkboard for me.

Each time I hear that our school has “less computers” than is desirable, I desire to stamp the word “fewer” on their forehead. It’s as if no one has ever heard of the word.

Everywhere I turn, phrases like “alls you got to do” and “I should of” get under my skin and on my last nerve. I would be willing to do just about anything to rid the school (and the world) of these horrendous sentences.

Maybe I’m hyper-aware of these mistakes because I was raised with bad grammar as the “Eighth Deadly Sin” and “grey” was spelled with an “e,” never an “a.”

Regardless, poor grammar just “ain’t gonna” cut it with me.

By Sarah Schaeffer

Found Guilty Of Senioritis

My head is on the desk, and my eyes are on the clock.

“Hello Penn Manor, here are today’s afternoon announcements.”


“Dessie, I need your permission slip, still.”

Five minutes till the bell.

“Narrative essay due tomorrow.”

I wonder when bathing suits go on sale…

“Why were you late this morning??”

Four minutes until the bell.

“Where is your excuse at?”

Three minutes till the bell.

“Shhhhhhh, students, pay attention!”

Two minutes.

“Don’t forget to do your homework!”


I’m so sorry, but this student has been found guilty of senioritis.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy going to school but I couldn’t be more excited to move on.

I mean it’s kinda difficult to focus on the next quiz coming up when I’ve already paid my college down payment, booked a dorm room and found my roommate.

And now that all the icebergs have melted throughout Lancaster, the weather has finally become comfortable even enjoyable.

Hello summer.  Hello College.

I apologize, but can you really blame me?

When asking teachers what senioritis entails, there is always one single response- laziness.

Dessie Jackson contributes her column to Whisper Down the Web.

I couldn’t agree more.

I have become a lazy lump.

All I can think about is putting on that navy gown, and throwing my cap high into the air. I’m humming Pomp and Circumstance for Pete’s sake.

Who could ignore the class picnic, going to Dorney Park and prom– seriously? Would homework really be on my mind?

“Sorry, I forgot my homework.”

Well, actually, I forgot my bookbag. I never even took it out of my car.

I know, I know, you can’t give up, you can’t flunk out, you can’t totally tune your teachers out and you still could get a rejection letter, even if accepted to your choice university.

So maybe the word “lazy” hasn’t hit me yet.

I mean, I am writing this article.

Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic.

But then again, June hasn’t rolled around yet.

By Dessie Jackson

Temple Got Scammed By NCAA Tourney Seed

Temple got scammed.

Selection Sunday was just two days ago and I still can’t get one thing off of my mind; Temple is a five seed.

Maybe it’s because ever since I was a little kid my father and I watched Temple basketball, or because our basement was filled with posters of Aaron McKie, Eddie Jones and Rick Brunson. Maybe, I am a little biased.

The fact that Temple was at one point 15th in the nation and that the Atlantic Ten was a tough conference this year, gives me the impression that they were the most under-seeded team in the nation.

To add insult to injury, they drew the best 12 seed in the tournament; Cornell, a team that could have easily been a 10 seed after winning the Ivy League championship.

To support my argument, I heard Doug Gotlieb, an ESPN NCAA Basketball analyst, say that Temple was the most under-seeded team in the tournament; it’s good to know I am not the only one who is distraught by Temple’s seeding.

My prediction: Temple will make it to the sweet 16, beating Cornell and Wisconsin, but then lose to Kentucky. So I guess it’s not really worth getting worked up about!

By Zane Sensenig

Drugs and Music Intertwine at Jay-Z Performance

At a Jay-Z concert, you would think that the iconic rapper would suffice as entertainment. From what I saw, this was not the case.

Alcohol, marijuana, and even cocaine use flooded the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey one recent Saturday at the Hova (Jay-Z) concert where I sat in the audience.

Everywhere I turned I would see a lit blunt (a cigar with the tobacco taken out and replaced with marijuana) followed by a cloud of smoke with the potent smell of marijuana mixed in.

Simon Zimmerman talks about his concert experience. Photo by Dessie Jackson

I would also see clearly underage young adults sipping on some brewskies while bobbing their heads to the beat.

I am not one to pass judgment on others, however, I was very surprised that authorities, security guards, or the Izod Center staff were not putting a stop to this illegal activity.

For instance, the row behind me was filled with a group of guys who were smoking a blunt. Their activity had not been called to anyone’s attention until a hysterical pregnant woman came running in with three police officers, her finger pointed directly at the men behind me.

The officers then pulled them out in the hall. When the men returned they told my friend and I that the only thing the cops said was, “Everyone is doing it and we are only bringing you out so that woman will stop complaining.”

This amused and shocked me at the same time.

It amused me because they completely got away with what they were doing.

It shocked me because the officers didn’t do a single thing to discipline them.

But I suppose that the fuzz wouldn’t be able to arrest  about 1,000 people participating in the same exact commotion.

It would be like a huge chain gang walking out of the stadium.

I guess  that when citizens outnumber authorities, illegal acts might  just have to be tolerated.

By Simon Zimmerman

The Addiction Always Comes Back

It makes me itch. I think of it, I crave it. I dream of it, because I have to catch them all- Pokemon!

Yes, I’m a 17-year-old boy trying to hide the fact that I’m walking around and thinking; what Pokemon should I start my adventure with? Where will I find a moonstone?  How do you catch the Abra before teleporting away?

This isn’t what my girl friend wants to hear I’m thinking about when she asks me, “what are you thinking about?”

But after a weekend run to a local game shop with my girlfriend, who probably can beat me in some of the video games, the old game caught my eye- Pokemon Red for GameBoy color.  And my delight for the game resurfaced.

This game, sadly for me, was in front of my face more than any book when I was growing up. This was my breakthrough to gaming. It was the first game I could completely control. I knew everything about the 151 Pokemon as if they really were my own (friends). I knew their moves, their strengths, their weaknesses, and I played for hours upon hours.

The adventures of starting out in your hometown of Pallet Town then adventuring and capturing Pokemon in this world took me into the driver’s seat, becoming a training Pokemon master.  By choosing Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur the journey began.

After the game store  incident, the rush of excitement and nostalgia returned. I searched for my classic games to reconnect, yearning to start a new adventure as a Pokemon trainer. After a search through old baseball cards, miscellaneous boxes in the garage and turning my room a little more inside out, there was no luck of finding my beloved Pokemon Red game.

So now with a withdrawal from Pokemon for years, I go back to the game store with a bag full of old video games that have been collecting dust. This way I can trade them in and bring home something new to feed my addiction.

This addiction to video games is not rare for my generation, but for me, I get lost in the exaggerated plot lines and characters. With only one true love of video games, Pokemon, everything else falls short. This addiction comes from hours of watching the Pokemon series on Saturday mornings of my child hood and getting my hands on my own Pokemon.

So now, I find a used Pokemon Fire Red and a used Game Boy Micro to start my new quest to become a Pokemon master. With the last copy of the Pokemon Fire Red, this is a restored version of the classic Pokemon Red, I started my adventure all over again. I took that sigh of relief when I heard the noise that every truly addicted Pokemon kid knows, the intro fight song.

Knowing my addiction needed to be tamed, I put the Game Boy down for a day after playing for about a week straight. Then one night, I woke up from tossing, turning and sweating. I was having a dream that I beat the elite four.  Of course I got up.  I knew what I had to do.

By Juan Montes

SAT Anxiety Reaches its Peak Saturday

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is literally right around the corner, being held at Penn Manor Saturday, March 13.

This is the test that many colleges look at and it’s this same test that drive students off the wall.

According to a SAT pamphlet found in the Penn Manor guidance office, “the SAT is the only admissions test to let colleges see how well students do academically.  It’s mostly used to get to know students better and it helps colleges understand how students think, solve problems and communicate.”

While some students are using online practice or practice questions from a book, others feel it’s better to relax and deal with the questions on test day.  Which way of preparation is right, is completely up to the individual.

If some students feel relaxing will help them score better, more power to them. Though, personally, I would have practice questions with me everywhere I would go. There’s no such thing as too much practice.

For Junior Jill Wiley, preparing for the SATs is just one click away by answering the daily questions sent to her e-mail. Jill says, “I kind of get nervous when I click the bottom to see if my answer is correct. I’m sure on the testing day I’ll be a nervous wreck.”
Katie Coons, a Junior, commented on her preparation, “I took SAT Prep, which helped a lot. I also have a book that I use,” Katie mentioned, “I’m more nervous than anything because many colleges look at those scores.”
According to the pamphlet, “the SAT is more than just a test as it provides the opportunity for students to connect to scholarship opportunities, place out of certain college courses and learn more about their academic strengths.”
Counselors and faculty members encourage students to efficiently prepare for this test by practicing questions, getting a good night’s rest and eating breakfast the morning of the test.
Penn Manor math teacher,  Ashley Thomas, believes, “The best preparation for the SATs is to take advantage of the knowledge gained from the classes taken in your high school career.
The classes integrate everything that will be covered on the SATs. Good luck to everyone taking the test,” Thomas concluded. is offering practice questions, study guides and other resources to help students get ready for this big test.
If you are a Junior and are planning on taking the SAT sometime this school year, this site is extremely helpful and steers you onto the right path, leading you to success.
By Ariela Contreras

The Most Horrible Noise In The World

Crunch. Snap. Chomp.

Three times a day, whether I’m with friends or family, I eat meals. Who knew it would be so bothersome to eat with surround sound chewing in each ear.

Mike Nitroy Food Column
Mike Nitroy Photographed by Dessie Jackson

Nothing annoys me more than loud and obnoxious chewing. The problem is when I tell someone they’re doing it; I always get the same answer.

“No, I’m not!!”

Carrots, potato chips, cereal, soup, celery and corn on the cob are just the beginning on the list of food that I can’t stand hearing as it grinds and sifts through people’s teeth. The same sound you’d hear stepped on a frog I suppose.

However I wasn’t always this way.

My best friend was the one who made me aware of what we now call the ‘eighth deadly sin’.

We share everything from secrets to things about our parents. One day after hearing a story about her dad crunching chips, I returned home to sit at the dinner table and looked up to realize the noise that I’ve failed for so long to hear was coming from every member of my family.

Two years later, I still find myself cringing at the squishing noises that come from people’s mouths. My family laughs about.

But I’m not laughing.

A family gathering in the summer of 2009 is still vivid in my mind, and ears: sitting at a table with my extended family around me devouring corn on the cob. The squish of teeth as the kernels came off sounded like a quiet lawnmower tearing through those hard-to-get weeds in your back yard. My face was hit with a splash of juice.

If my life was a bad sitcom, that would’ve been the cue for the laugh track.

Don’t get me wrong, I love food and how no matter how much I eat, I don’t gain a pound. But I’ll forever blame my friend for making me aware of the true evil that food can do.

By Mike Nitroy

Volunteering: A Painful Requirement

Volunteering. We all have to do it. We all have to suffer through being good citizens and helping out our community. Yes, it is quite torturous to be helpful.

I have an incredible difficulty volunteering. I almost cannot handle it. I almost cannot bear to walk into that building and provide my community with some extra help. It is rather painful at times, seeing all the help I have provided and watching a community get together to help in the same ways. Maybe this difficulty is just my own.

From a dog lover to a cat person?

What exactly do I do that is so horrific?

I walk into a room with several eyes staring back at me. They range from gold to gray to green, and they range in personalities from scared, to desolate, to excited and in rare cases, content. Their fur is in several shades, gray being the most painful for me to handle. It is a bittersweet time I spend there, all of these furry creatures begging for attention, hoping someone will release them from their cages.

This job is painful, because I have a hard time resisting keeping one of them, or many of them, and if I was allowed to even have one, I might strive for all of them.

I blame the school for getting me involved in volunteering. It is a dangerous cycle they have set me up to endure. About ten more hours and I will be done, but oh no, it will not stop there. I don’t think I could handle leaving those poor creatures after I’ve spent so many hours giving them my time and care. Penn Manor, I blame you for making me want a cat. I am a dog person, so why am I so enthralled in the feline species now?

I tried to get into the dog building of the shelter, but the only opportunity was with cats, and I had to start working on my time. I certainly wasn’t going to go help people anywhere, so this was my only option. With a heavy decision, I wound up right in the middle of cat central. Right where my dogs believe I am betraying them. Do not worry, the dogs are all still my favorites, I’m not hesitant to admit favoritism.

However, I am not exactly in the position to say I don’t like the cats either. I have fallen in love with many of them over my several visits there. Luckily, I can find some peace in the idea that almost all of them are new every other week that I venture into the shelter.

There isn’t just the idea that I am now finding myself enjoying the presence of cats. There are some cats that have tried to injure me. Shouldn’t I get the rest of my volunteer hours for free from having my arms clawed off on several occasions? One such case was a hyperactive kitty that was dropped off on the note of “being too hyper” and that his other feline friend didn’t like the activity level of him. So what do I do? I open the cage to the pacing cat that is so desperately wanting out, and he tries to lunge away.

Remember, I still don’t know how to handle cats the best, which is why I should be sticking with mellow ones.

This occasion, however, we were fine. I took him to one of the exercise rooms, and played with him for a little while, but I knew I couldn’t hog the room forever, and he wasn’t ever going to quit. So, I brought him back out, and dropped him off in his cage again.

Later, however, hyperactive kitty was back for revenge. He was trying to escape while someone was trying to clean his cage, so I volunteered to hold him while they did that. This time, he got my arm, he flung his water all over the place, and he continued to try to escape my grasp. Maybe he remembered I was the evil person who stuck him back in his cage when he was having oh-so-much fun. No worries, no cats were harmed in the making of this story, just the author.

I didn’t hold a grudge with him. I suppose I might flail about if I only had to take out a weak teenager for my freedom. If I wasn’t wearing a sweater, he very well might have gotten his way. I only got one battle scar that day, however.

I’m still wishing for my free volunteer hours, however, so if there is any pity for me, I am open for it.

By Samantha St.Clair

Finals: Waiting Until the Last Minute

Sitting on the computer, idly jumping around from email folders, to chat windows, to website inboxes, I check the clock. It’s only six I tell myself, and I continue to goof off when I have other objectives in the back of my mind.

Procrastination has always been one of my weaknesses, and it follows me through every school year, no matter how much I promise myself I will discard it. It’s astonishing how I always make myself miserable with loads of homework the night before it’s due, yet I never change this habit.

I usually distract myself with simple activities, or I just simply don’t do my work because I don’t feel like it. Why I would rather lounge around on the couch and watch reruns instead of getting my homework done is a question I cannot answer.

I guess there is a lazy side of me that has lead me to wait until ten the night before a project is due to finally start working on it. It gives me good motivation when I know I only have an hour left, I suppose.

So this weeks topic of procrastination? Studying for finals.

The final week of the first semester is already here, and I find myself rushing around to get assignments finished, and eventually, to find spare time for studying. All of this is at the last minute, of course.

So, as I was watching TV and sitting at my computer, I forgot to include my school work into my multitasking. My mind was telling me “you should be studying” until I finally ignored the nagging concern and allowed the noise of the TV to drown out any interest I had left in possibly getting my work done before I needed to go to bed.

It never works though, and as any student with the same habit will understand, it isn’t an easily curable trait to fix either.

I believed I could eliminate this constant waiting-until-the-last-minute illness by making a pact with my friend at the beginning of the year. We agreed that both of us would do our work before anything else.

She succeeded. She was working on her homework last night, while I was bothering her by sending her constant instant messages, complaining about how I didn’t want to do my homework, or study. I spend more time complaining about doing the work, than actually getting it done. In this aspect, I fail.

By Samantha St.Clair