District planning high school renovations

By Brooke Swinehart

Penn Manor High School was built in 1958, and renovations could start as early as summer of 2019. The most recent renovations were completed in 1996. The Penn Manor administration is currently discussing options for the proposed renovations.

There are a number of systems in the current building that need to be updated.

“[We need] to reinforce steel support. The bathrooms have the original floors from 1958. The toilet fixtures are the original ones also from 1958. The pipes are also leaking. In the cafeteria the chillers and transfers need refurbished which would take a renovation to do,” said district superintendent Dr. Michael G. Leichliter.

Many students will be familiar with the hot and cold temperatures throughout the building. The old systems mean that administrators don’t have the most up-to-date options for heating and cooling.

“It was cold in the morning and warmer in the afternoon with these old motors either run at 100% or 0. But current technology is that you could run these at 40%,” said Dr. Leichliter.

The administration is also considering any additional problems that might lie ahead.

“We have many systems in the current building that are failing or starting to fail. And obviously when you do something this size you need to be ahead of the curve of what could be failing in the coming years,” said the business manager Chris Johnston.

Another issue to be addressed is the student and staff driving situations.

“There shouldn’t be cars traveling where the buses park for obvious safety reasons,”  said Dr. Leichliter

There are four construction plans ranging from $52 to $96 million. There are informational meeting being held to finalize the decisions.

The first option would be to just do the bare minimum like updating only the building systems, such as plumbing. It’s the least expensive option, at $52 million.

Option two is an $80 million plan to renovate 220,000 square feet of the building, which would expand the building horizontally. A new level of the parking deck would be added on also.

Option three would be expanding the building vertically. This plan includes a shorter, wider hallway with classrooms branched off of it and would cost about $87 million.

“Option 3 is basically building a new high school on the (same) site,” Dr. Leichliter told LancasterOnline.

The fourth option would be the most expensive option, which would be to build a new high school at the Hambright Elementary/ Manor Middle campus in Manor Township. This option would cost $96 million, and would likely require reconstruction of surrounding roads and intersections at the new location.

The reconstruction plans are meant to address the amount of time that students spend in the hallways and provide additional options for scheduling.

“With the reconstruction it would reduce the time spent in the hallways, and not all students would have to be on a block schedule. Some students might be on a block schedule, and some might have traditional periods. We could have a mix of both, because not all students do well in 90 minute block classes,” said Dr. Leichliter.

The debt for this project, regardless of which option is chosen, will last the next 22 to 27 years.

On June 1, the board will be continuing to discuss all of the options.

By July 1, the board members plan to select an option and submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Grease Live… at Penn Manor High School

By Peyton Cassel

Penn Manor High School is starting off spring with a well-renowned musical, “Grease.” It’s the classic love story of a good girl and bad boy, set back in the 1950s high school era. With the recent performance of “Grease Live” on FOX, cast members and directors are expecting a phenomenal show and a large audience.

“We actually didn’t know about “Grease Live” when we picked the show,” explained Mrs. Melissa Minzter, assistant director of the play. “We were looking at lots of different shows to produce this year. This one just fit the roles we were looking for.”

But like every theater production, they had their share of difficulty. Mrs. Minzter expressed the challenges of having to schedule around snow. Delayed rehearsals and the pressure of matching a standard might stress some of the cast members. But, this isn’t the case at all.

“I feel that we’ll be able to do it justice,” said Haley Hoffer, a senior playing Rizzo (leader of the Pink Ladies) in the production. “We’re definitely going to get a larger crowd, because everyone is aware of it.”

Hoffer isn’t the only actor feeling confident. Will Torres, another senior in the production, explained that, “we’ve all put in hard work and have confidence in each other’s abilities. What we’re going to put on the stage is going to impress and blow everyone’s minds.”

Will plays Johnny Casino, band leader at the prom, and will also be playing saxophone in pit. This is his first year performing as part of the cast.

“Being on stage, it’s really opened my eyes and given me a new appreciation,” said Torres.

The theater department will host a raffle during intermission. Prizes include Pink Ladies and T-Bird buttons   sent directly from FOX due to the original Grease Live performance — and several T-shirts.

Tickets cost $7 for students and $9 for adults. They may be purchased through any student, cast, or crew member at lunch. (They can also be purchased online, at pennmanor.seatyourself.biz.) The first performance is tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Additional performance dates include March 5, 11 and 12. A Saturday matinee will be provided for senior citizens on March 5 at 2 p.m.

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.

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.

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!”

Penn Manor changes cell phone policy

By Brooke Swinehart

Students at Penn Manor High School are now allowed to use cell phones in the hallways between classes.
Students at Penn Manor High School are now allowed to use cell phones in the hallways between classes.

Students attending Penn Manor High School are now allowed to use their cell phones and other devices during the day.

The Penn Manor school board revised the cell phone policy to adjust to the the rise of technology. Students are now allowed to use cell phones during lunch and in the hallways. The student body is allowed to have one earbud in for music in the hallways. In case an emergency happens the student will still be able to hear and be in a more safe situation versus having both earbuds in.

The former policy was that students were only allowed to use their cell phones when permitted by teachers for school-related purposes.

Dr. Gale explained that the revision was needed.

“I felt it was necessary because (as an administration) we were saying here’s a laptop, but put your cell phone away.”

When asked their opinions, students reacted positively to the new cell phone policy.

“I think it was a good choice because people can wake up more by listening to music,” said sophomore Rayssa Velez.

“I believe the environment has changed in the hallway. People who listen to music are more tolerable of others,” said senior Angela Wood.

Out of the students’ questioned most agreed that they gained respect for the principals and Penn Manor faculty for reevaluating the cell phone policy.

“I did gain respect for the principals and faculty, because it shows that they trust us more, and that they have the expectation for us be responsible,” said senior Olivia Hertzler.

“I gained respect because it showed that they cared what the students had to say, worked together, and constructed a new policy,” said senior Daniel Bleacher.

Teachers also commonly agreed that the revision of the cell phone policy was essential here at Penn Manor.

“The new policy is fair and reasonable. I’m not anti-technology I’m just anti- distraction,” said English teacher Mrs. Saylor.

Teachers have the choice to have a cell phone free zone sign in their classroom.

Mr. Staub poses with his no-cell-phone sign.
Mr. Staub poses with his no-cell-phone sign.

Math teacher Mr. Staub is one of the many teachers who decided to display a cell phone free classroom sign. He explained that he had the sign, “… as a reminder to not have cell phones out.”

English teacher Dr. McGough does not display a sign that doesn’t allow cell phones.

“No, never have. I encouraged students to bring your own devices (B.Y.O.D) before the school provided laptops.” He also had a positive outlook about the new policy. “[The school has]… started to recognize handheld and digital devices in our everyday lives.”

Teachers were also asked if the students’ overall attitudes changed since the new policy was put into place. All of the teachers asked thought the students’ attitudes did not change.

In order to make the revision many opinions were considered, and discussed.

Dr. Gale explained how the decision was made. “[We] talked as an administration team, met with students and surveyed teachers.”

Despite the positive comments, some don’t believe the policy will stay the same for long.

Dr. McGough stated that although he thought the policy was fair for the teachers, faculty, and students, “ (the policy will)… continue to evolve as things change. As technology changes the policy has to change.”

Kramer to take over as high school principal

One would think that this man would be able to withstand a coup from math teacher Doug Kramer; however Kramer was able to overthrow Dr. Gale on April 1.
One would think that this man would be able to withstand a coup from math teacher Doug Kramer; however Kramer was able to overthrow Dr. Gale on April 1.

By Matt Tulli

Penn Manor math teacher Doug Kramer announces he will be taking over as head high school principal, effective tomorrow. Current principal Philip Gale’s tenure will end today, April 1, 2015.

After just under six years at the helm of the high school, Gale’s position will be overtaken immediately.

Though it may seem like a coup d’etat, Kramer insists that he thought he was the right man to take the position ever since it opened up in 2009.

Under Phil Gale, state-wide standardized testing scores have been well above state average. Also, over 70 percent of students have pursued post-secondary education, and student dropout rate has been far below state average.

“Mr. Kramer is going to make a good principal. He always comes to work with a positive attitude and is always willing to help any student who needs it,” remarked a Penn Manor sophomore.

Doug Kramer has taught math to students of all ages, ranging from ninth to twelfth grade, so he has experience with kids of all ages.

“Well, I would say it’s a good decision but I’m just not sure how kid-friendly Mr. Kramer is. Everyday I would come out of his classroom with a headache from his lessons. Who even needs to know what the asymptote is of the trinomial on the board, or the sine of negative two-thirds pi?” remarked another Penn Manor student.

“Dr. Gale can sometimes be intimidating, and Mr. Kramer just doesn’t come off as that. I think that’s a good thing,” explained another student.

ITS and Aevidum join forces to bring Penn Manor The Locker Next 2 Mine

By Cassie Kreider

Two clubs, Aevidum and ITS, are joining forces to put on a play on a touchy subject.

The play, “The Locker Next 2 Mine,” follows the story of Alisa, who has recently moved to a new school and received a locker next to the shrine dedicated to Beth Turner. Beth died in a car accident the previous year, and a group known as the ‘M’ Squad is determined to keep her memory alive. But Beth was not the only student to have died the year before, although her death overshadowed the other one and left many students feeling lost.

Mackenzie Trimble, a senior at Penn Manor, said, “this show means a lot to us and we know that it is a touchy subject.

Trimble is an ITS Member, and one of the choices to be stage manager for the play.

Mrs. Mintzer could only think of this play during the Aevidum meeting Penn Manor had at the beginning of the year and has wanted to try putting it on ever since.

Trimble said, “We are ready to take a risk and show Penn Manor what we are made of. It’s going to be rough but we will pull through.”

Mickayla Baldwin will play the parts of TV reporter and a student named Louise (Lou for short), she is also in the ensemble.

This third show is unusual for the theater department, which usually only puts on two productions a year, a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. The set will be a combination of props from other plays and musicals, and will be very minimalistic.

“The Locker Next 2 Mine” can be seen at Penn Manor on April 11 and 12 in the auditorium. Ticket prices will be announced near the end of March.

Aevidum, since its start early this year, has kept busy not only with the play, but with other things as well.

Olivia Bailey, a senior and member of Aevidum, explained some of the events the club is putting on.

“We are planning to have an anonymous pen pal system for people who need someone to talk to,” Bailey said. “We want to create positive posters to hang around the bathrooms and hallways,’ to continue to promote their message.

But that’s not all of it.

Bailey mentioned that she and fellow Aevidum member, senior Victoria Jones, along with a few actors have created a 60-second suicide prevention video for PAYSPI, The Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative.

She explained that the video will be shown over the announcements.

“There will be there will be time to take out your computer and to vote for our video,” said Bailey. “There is also a 30-second video which is composed of Aevidum members standing in certain formations that spell out the suicide prevention hotline.”

Bailey also mentioned that the club has been giving out lollipops to anyone to who was willing to “Pledge Aevidum”. Students who pledge Aevidum also stamp their fingers and sign their names pledging to “Have each others backs”. Aevidum plans to hang these pledges around the school.

Mickayla Baldwin wears the Aevidum shirt.
Mickayla Baldwin wearing the Aevidum shirt.

Snow days cause uncertainty about graduation, last day of school

By Cassie Kreider

So far this school year, there have been 10 snow days, which has a lot of students wondering when their last day of school will be. Or, for the seniors, when they’ll graduate.

“We will do everything we can to keep school from going beyond the second week of June.” said Dr. Mike Leichliter, district superintendent, on how makeup days will be scheduled.

Dr. Leichliter says that scheduling graduation will be challenging.

“We have a contract with F&M, and they are limited on availability for the seven days after June 4 (Hempfield’s graduation night).” Franklin and Marshall has an alumni event that closes down the facility starting June 5.

Right now, the tentative last day for everyone else, if there are not any more snow days between now and mid-March, is June 12.

The end of the school year is, “contingent on final board and Pennsylvania Department of Education approvals. It is also contingent on us not getting any more snow days. I will not put out a definitive ‘last day’ until about the second week of March this year,” said Dr. Leichliter.

Senior Sarah Zerfoss isn’t looking to stay at Penn Manor any longer than she has to. Zerfoss will be one of the many students leaving for boot camp at the end of May.

“I have better things to do than be at school longer than necessary when I need to get ready for a career,” said Zerfoss.

Zerfoss said that because she’s leaving at the end of May, she isn’t walking at graduation and therefore does not care when graduation is.

Zerfoss explains that the boot camp she is attending is 12 weeks long.  “

They train you in  running, combat (weapons, hand to hand) and, discipline.  We graduate at the end, and get a military ID and what not.”

She’s going in as a career, which means she will come out of boot camp as an E2 (Private).

The administration explained that the snow days will not affect students who are leaving for boot camp.

“Nothing changes,” said Dr. Leichliter. “We have always permitted students to leave for the military early, if necessary, even when we get out of school in early June.”

Senior Olivia Bailey is also not too keen on the thought of extra school days.

“As long as we don’t go too long I won’t be too upset,” said Bailey.

Bailey has plans to go to England at the end of June, and while she doesn’t think school will be extended until then, she’s still worried.

Senior Lydia Selman is also planning on leaving the United States for England and France at the end of June.

Seniors like Bailey and Selman with trips scheduled will be fine because the school will continue to process pre-planned trip forms.

Senior Alyson Stewart says that she hopes the graduation date will be, “the first or early second week of school.”

Currently, no official announcement has been made about the date for graduation.

“As long as seniors graduate before the second or third week of June, making up the days shouldn’t be too hard,” said Stewart. “Plus, some days (we missed) were right before or after a holiday/weekend so a lot of people probably think that there are more days to deal with than there really are.”

Some students may have heard that the school day will be extended, but that option won’t change much with the amount of school missed.

Dr. Leichliter explained that extending the school day 20 minutes “would still put the last day of school in the second week of June since it would take about a month to get enough time to reduce school by a day.  We will explore that option but it really does not help us much.”

Dr. Leichliter encourages seniors to draw their attention to the information on the district website about graduation.

FCCLA sells Candy Grams

By Bart Huber

FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.
FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.

The Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) at Penn Manor High School are selling Candy Grams to get in the holiday spirit.

The Candy Grams are on sale from December 16-20, and they will be delivered on December 20 to the first block of the student.

You can buy one for $ .50 or a bunch of three for $1 at lunch this week.

The money earned will go to help Penn Manor families in need, and a small proceed will go to the club itself to fund their first conference trip, said Mrs. Sheerer, the FCCLA Advisor.

The FCCLA Club has a total of 40 students. Students from each grade are involved with this club. This is the club’s second drive to raise money for families in the Penn Manor School District.

The Candy Gram includes your choice of a peppermint or fruity candy cane and a place for a message to send to a  friend for the holidays.