Bob Marley Fans Accused of Being Potheads?

If you find yourself wearing a hemp necklace, pacifier, mushroom beads, or even a Bob Marley t-shirt you are a pothead. If you find yourself wearing a hemp necklace, pacifier, mushroom beads, or even a Bob Marley t-shirt some people may perceive you as a pothead.

These two sentences are not that different from each other, yet half of the junior class heard the first sentence, from Student Assistance Program Director, Darrin Donmoyer, and the other half heard the second sentence from the exact same information at an assembly held for eleventh grade students on Tuesday, October 6.

Monica Drumm was one of those students who happened to hear the first sentence. “It offended a lot of people,” said Drumm who later reflected that, “anyone hearing those things (referring to Donmoyer’s comment) had a problem.”

The anger of many students could be easily seen from the sudden outburst of Facebook comments, and the planning of a “hemp day” where students planned to protest Donmoyer’s comments.

A clarification: Mr. Donmoyer insists he did not call anyone a pothead. In fact, the topic of Tuesday’s speech, he said, was how some people make perceptions and that it is a fact the people wearing hemp necklaces are sometimes perceived as potheads.

This was all meant as a warning to students, said Donmoyer, about how easy it is to make a perception.

Principal Phil Gale explained that if students had actually listened to the entire message, they would have found that message fine as it was presented.

According to Gale, the problem was “kids stopped listening.”

The following Wednesday, the senior class trudged into the auditorium, with their coffee and their breakfast, and heard that same message. However, there were fewer misconceptions of Donmoyer’s intent than there were at the junior class assembly.

In response to the sudden uproar among students, Mr. Donmoyer said, “no one is accusing anyone of drug use, unfortunately some have assumed that.”

Donmoyer also believed, “I made it very clear. I made it very clear” just exactly the message he wanted juniors to get. “These are assumptions people still make.”

Gale added, “Appearance gives perception and no one wants to be falsely labeled.”

Donmoyer summed up his message by clarifying that the intention of the speech was to warn students of perceptions that people continue to make to this very day. It is something that continues to happen and that those perceptions do affect you as a person, your future, your family, and your integrity.

On the question of a “hemp day,” Gale responded that if that day would occur, and if it did result in a disruption in education, then the administration would, in fact, be forced to take disciplinary measures, and this could possibly include the banning of hemp necklaces.

By: Tyler Barnett

When Pigs Fly at Penn Manor: fighting flu fears and flying phlegm

As the air gets colder and the wind gets stronger, more and more kids are coming into Penn Manor High School sick as dogs.

Parents have called with concerns to the nurses’ office with fears of a Swine Flu epidemic and Penn Manor nurse, Anne Butterfield, has calmly answered their calls of anxiety.

Photo Credit: Alex Geiger

Yes, this is flu season but no, not every sick kid has Swine Flu, known officially as H1N1, explained Butterfield.

However, Butterfield did note that she has been getting one to two calls a day from parents saying that doctors have diagnosed students with Swine Flu.

“Physicians are diagnosing H1N1 in our community,” she said, describing that flu strain as peculiar because of the way it hits people from ages 5 to 25.

Some of those students had come to Butterfield complaining about fever, body aches and a sore throat. As soon as she hears those symptoms, classic of Swine Flu and other influenza, she quarantines the students and sends them home.

“It’s a very contagious virus and it can make you feel very bad and can lead to secondary infections,” said Butterfield. “I think we need to do things to prevent it.”

As a nurse, Butterfield cannot diagnose Swine Flu on her own but she can give some helpful hints to stay in tip-top shape. Plenty of rest, good nutrition, washing your hands as much as possible and the most important one, stay away from sick people, no matter what the sickness, she advises.

“If you would get a sudden onset of high fever, see your doctor, because you can get an anti-viral medication that will lessen the severity of the symptoms and the length of time you have them,” stated Butterfield. “Stay home until you are FEVER FREE for at least 24 hours.”

People who are sick with the Swine Flu could be out for several days at a time, since Swine Flu typically lasts four days, according to Butterfield.  Students can email teachers and have family members or friends bring home work

Vaccinations are now available in other states and when it comes to Pennsylvania, Butterfield supports them.  She gave some advice. “Get vaccinated.

“Nothing is 100% but you’ll get pretty good coverage.”

Written by: Jake Shiner and Alex Blythe

Penn Manor Leading County Schools in Graduation Rates

Penn Manor’s graduation rate is top in the area and darn near perfect – 97.4 percent.

“A big credit goes to our teachers,” Phil Gale, Penn Manor’s head principal said about their top rate.

Gale was pleased to see Penn Manor at the top of the list for the second year in a row. The high school improved their rate by 0.5 from last year’s 96.9%. Their lead is only 0.2% ahead of Garden Spot, but it’s not a race or a competition. According to Gale, it’s about getting students on the right track after high school.

“No matter what, you need a high school diploma,” Gale noted, “We don’t want kids leaving, already set for failure.”

Other schools also have made progress, like McCaskey and Elizabethtown. Two years ago, McCaskey was in dead last with only 65 percent of their students graduating. Last year, the graduation rate jumped almost 17 percent to 82 percent.

According to the Lancaster New Era and Intelligencer Journal, they still rank low in the county but McCaskey Principal Dwight Nolt said, “For us to exceed 80 percent takes a lot of personal contact and many options for students.”

Elizabethtown is doing their part in trying to increase their graduation rate by hiring a student outreach worker to help troubled students, according to the same news report.  Also, they joined with Lancaster County Career and Technology Center to enroll more students in CTC evening credit programs.

Along with those schools and others, Penn Manor has many programs to help students with troubles. One option is twilight school. Twilight school is offered in the evenings and is for students who are unwilling or unable to go to school during the regular school day. The classes are smaller which helps students continue to work on their education and get a diploma at the end of their high school years.

Another option, even though it is used primarily for punishment, is Saturday school. While Saturday school may not be fun, it is a way for a student to get their detention hours over more quickly. Another useful point of Saturday school is to allow students to work on their graduation project which is a requirement to graduate. The new and improved graduation project now focuses on life after high school and what career fields students plan on entering into once they do graduate.

Not only do the school’s programs help struggling students to graduate, the staff themselves are encouraged to reach out to students and lend a helping hand, Gale explained.

“In some cases, (Mindish) would call them to make sure they were out of bed and meet with some kids,” Gale said about the ex-head principal he replaced this year, Dr. Jan Mindish, “I think we (head principal and all of the assistant principals from last year) all do.”

Gale intends to continue all of the programs that Mindish created to help students graduate, but plans to put a stronger emphasis on kids who are struggling with staying in school or just want to drop out for whatever reason. He wants to work one-on-one with students to convince them that dropping out is not the way to go and make a plan with them so they feel more confident about staying in school.

Gale said attendance, or the lack of it, is the main indicator that a student may be in trouble. Once any student’s absences go through the roof, then they may be seriously thinking about giving up on high school, he said.

Also, once they rack up the absences, their grades might go down and things just keep toppling down on them, Gale explained.

Whether it’s getting kicked out of the house and having to work a lot, alongside with going to school or a loss in the family, etc., Gale and the staff will, like Mindish would do, try and talk with them to change their mind about dropping out.

“I think we’ll maintain a high rate,” said Gail, who expects the district to push it even higher in the upcoming years.

By: Alex Geli and Jake Shiner

Powder Puff Poofed?

Girls start gearing up. Boys throw on your blue and gold skirts because Powder Puff is on!

Despite the many rumors that have been floating around Penn Manor High School about Powder Puff, Principal Philip Gale has confirmed that the Powder Puff football game is still on.

Fall of 2006 powder Puff game
Fall of 2006 powder Puff game.

“I’m almost disappointed I didn’t start that rumor,” Gale said with a smile at the controversy that came about with these rumors that were really just rumors.

Many students have heard the rumors and are misinformed about the game.

“I heard that it was banned because someone was drunk and knocked over the senior pyramid,” Hunter Paulson, a Penn Manor senior said.

Gale indicated that there were some problems at last year’s Powder Puff game but the administration is taking precautions to prevent similar incidents at this year’s game.

“Appropriate behavior, being there in the appropriate state of mind is the most important thing,” said Gale.

Gale has concerns not only about the Powder Puff game but about all school activities where students may arrive in an inappropriate fashion.

This year an event is to be scheduled before the Powder Puff game, similar to Penn Manor’s tailgating for football games, to ensure that students are behaving appropriately before they participate in this school-organized event.

Gale explained that he doesn’t know if this is going to be a requirement to play in the game, because the actual event is still being organized.

Gale is meeting with the varsity club advisors to discuss this event.

Learning Support teacher Michelle Wagner, one varsity club advisor, said she also isn’t sure what they’re planning for the event before Powder Puff.

Concerning the incident last year, she said that she really just wishes that students will respect all school rules if they are attending.

“It’s (Powder Puff) kind of a rite of passage when you get to your junior or senior year. It’s important to carry on the tradition,” she said.

The Powder Puff game has been a much-loved event by many Penn Manor students for more than thirty years, although it’s difficult to pin down the exact date it started.

Social studies teacher, Joe Herman, can remember back to 1969 when his wife played in the Powder Puff football game.

“It became a knockdown drag-out fight like they always are up here…but we just had fun with it,” Herman recalled.

“There is not a single event that is more intense than the Powder Puff football game.” Streeter Stuart, social studies teacher and the head referee, commented about the game.

The only other requirement for the Powder puff game is that the girls must attend their practices if they wish to participate in the game, according to Wagner.

It is also up in the air whether the boys will be used as cheerleaders this year, but Wagner believes that they should be allowed to participate as long as they follow the school rules and respect everyone around them.

However if students do not follow the school rules and show up intoxicated the police will be called, she said.

As of now, the Powder Puff game does not have a set date, but members of the Varsity Club and Gale are looking at the end of November into the first two weeks of December for the event. The fall sports need to be over before Powder Puff has a set date.

By: Abby Wilson