Homecoming Queen is Family Legacy

By Julia Norton –

Being crowned homecoming queen in high school is something many girls only dream about. For Laura Wissler, however, it’s become a reality.

Wissler was crowned Penn Manor’s 2011 homecoming queen Friday, October 7th. The other members of the homecoming court were Michelle Dempsey, Kelly Lenahan, Ellen Blazer, Kayla Bixler, Sara Bennis and Demi Greenawalt.

“It was a good group of girls. We all got along,” said Wissler. “We’ve all known each other just through going through school and classes.”

2011 Homecoming Queen, Laura Wissler stands with her mother, Dannel Wissler, the 1986 PM Homecoming queen.

Wissler wasn’t the only person in her family to be crowned homecoming queen at Penn Manor. Her mom, Dannel Wissler, was also in the year 1986.

“I was surprised and excited,” said Dannel about winning. “I appreciated that my classmates selected that for me.”

Despite the family legacy, she wasn’t pressured to win.

“My mom didn’t pressure me at all. She was just proud that I was on the court. If I won, she was happy with it. If not, she was okay with that too,” Wissler said.

Dannel confirmed this by stating, “However it worked out was fine. Even being on the court was a privilege for her. Each girl at the school is special whether or not they’re on homecoming court. That doesn’t define them and it doesn’t define Laura.”

Some people might find the process of running a burden, but not her.

“It was a pretty cool experience. It was an honor to get picked out of those seven great girls. I’m very happy,” said Wissler.

Apocalypse on Its Way? Maybe someday

By Lauren Ressler –

Nice call Harold Camping.

Saturday, May 21 came and went without a trace of hellfire. Harold Camping, a radio-broadcaster in Oakland, California, is known for (wrongly) predicting the end of the world. His forecast of ‘Judgement Day’ on the 21st caused quite the stir across America. This false foretelling left many Americans rolling their eyes at the prediction of an end to the world.

“I don’t even really pay attention to them,” said senior Emily Hess about these horoscopes of doom.

Oops, Camping didn’t mean May 21, apparently after his prediction failed to materialize, he meant October 12. Whatever.

The future of mankind? photo courtesy of gomlab.com

“The end of the world is fine by me, but it can’t be predicted,” added librarian Sue Hostetter.

Harold Camping predicted that on May 21st, 2011 the world would be judged by God. More then 200 million people would be swept into heaven while the rest of humanity would be left to suffer for five months until the final end in October.

Apocalypse predictor Harold Camping, photo courtesy of cogwriter.com

Many religions around the world have different beliefs about what an apocalypse will entail.

According to a blog on Beliefnet.com, most Christianity-based religions believe the righteous will be raptured, or swept into heaven where they will watch the damned suffer for 1,000 years.

Judaism teaches that the exiles will be gathered into Israel, the dead will be resurrected, and everyone will live in a redeemed world. Followers of Islam believe that on Judgement Day, non-believers will be distinguished by having more sweat and God will give all a sweet drink to end all thirst.

Camping collected thousands of dollars in donations to warn others about Saturday’s not-end-of-the-world prediction. Courtney Hutchinson and Ryan Creed of ABC News said he used the money to post more than 5,000 posters, flyers and billboards warning others of the upcoming catastrophic events.

Maureen Klingaman, a French teacher at Penn Manor, recalled hearing about a young couple who planned to spend all of their money before Saturday so they could enjoy life before ‘doomsday.’

Joe Newby of The Examiner writes about these ‘Real Victims of Harold Camping’, outlining the disappointment some faced after the world was intact after Saturday.

“It seems that for some entrepreneurs, the anxiety of the end of the world has created a stable market,” wrote Rachel Brown of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brown shed light on several businesses that are using the concept of the ‘upcoming apocalypse’ to make money. Eternal Earthbound Pets has acquired more than 250 clients who have bought insurance for up to $135 each, believing their beloved furry friends “will be raptured into heaven ahead of the apocalypse.”

Another business, Rapture Wear, sells jewelry inscribed with biblical verses.

Some email companies, according to Brown, are offering to send a ‘final correspondence on their behalf’ for a fee… assuming God will allow internet access after the Rapture.

“Hopefully the messages won’t be, ‘Ha-ha, I told you so; You’re going to Hell,” quoted Mark Heard to Brown.

Also, perhaps to appeal to the younger generation, there is a Rapture Detector app available for $0.99 on the Droid app market. Supposedly this app can alert you thirty minutes before Judgment Day begins.

Numerous websites and blogs have been dedicated to the doomsday predictions. Apocalypsesoon.org opens with a quote from the Bible stating, “The Revelation  of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants the things which must soon take place (Rev 1:1).”

A blog called Strange Days relates everyday occurrences, such as the Wiki leaks, DNA manipulation and the separation of church and state to the ‘foolishness of mankind’ and the end of the world.

“No doubt, the zombie apocalypse is on its way,” said Trevor Troup.

In fact, there are many things that point to an end to society as we know it. 2012apocalypse.net is a website dedicated to the factual details pointing to a possible apocalypse. The Mayan calendar, which was sacred and religious in their culture, suddenly ends on December 21st, 2012. Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell in the book The Mayan Prophecies explain that an end in sunspot cycles may flip the sun’s magnetic field, causing destructive earthquakes and floods.

The Christian Bible itself has many references to a catastrophic end to Earth. The Book of Revelation describes a rapture complete will hail, fire and flooding. In Revelations 8:10 it says “and there fell from Heaven a great star, burning as a torch”. This may relate to the scientific prediction that the asteroid Eros will pass Earth on January 31st, 2012.

The Prophecy of the Popes of the Catholic church claims this is the second-to-last pope. It says the last pope will be Peter the Roman who will serve until Judgment Day.

When all of these supporting facts are lined up together, it may seem that an end t0 Earth is possible, but the general consensus at Penn Manor is that an end to the world, although possible, cannot be predicted.

“It’s in the Bible (that) no one knows when it will happen,” said Troup.

Some students at Penn Manor had more lighthearted ideas about an apocalypse. Jocelyn Jones thought everyone will turn into Justin Bieber. Another student said she was scared of zombies.

Jokingly, an anonymous staff member said, “It would be fun to pop some zombies.”

Although Camping created a buzz about an upcoming Judgment Day, students are continuing to go on with everyday life and doubt that a prediction will ever be correct.

“I’m a religious person,” said sophomore Savannah Santiago. “When God wants me, He will have me.”

Severe Weather Whips County Schools

By Spencer Barnett, Lizzie Pflumm, Alex Geli and Kendal Phillips –

Take cover Penn Manor- severe weather has hit.

The National Weather Service conducted a tornado warning for South central PA. Penn Manor students and faculty were guided to designated areas for  two severe weather drills Thursday morning.

The first drill was a tornado warning, starting at 8:50 a.m. Students were told to remain in their block one class and sit along the wall. The second severe weather announcement was made at 9:40 a.m.

Severe weather radar images. Courtesy of National Weather Service

The high school building didn’t experience severe damage from the storm but water leaked in several spots including the girls locker room in the old and new gym, the benches behind the auditorium and the band room.

Students in classrooms on the second floor were evacuated to lower rooms such as the faculty room in the cafeteria, the chorus room in the music department and the foreign language was moved to the weight room.

Photos by Kendal Phillips and Alex Geli:

Eric Howe, the dean of students, said the drills went smoothly.

“I think the students and staff need to be commended for how well everyone buckled down and cooperated,” said Howe. “Normally it starts with phase one, where you shut the windows and blinds, but this time we had to enter right into phase two.”

Moving at vicious speeds,winds reached 50-70 mph and the tornado warning covered many townships across Lancaster County.

Principal Phil Gale said the school responded to the severe weather alert as expected.

“I think it went well, especially the second time after already having one practice,” said Gale.

According to the National Weather Service in State College, Pa., the tornado warnings were issued for Willow Street and Millersville at 8:55 a.m., Strasburg around 9:00 a.m., Leola and Paradise at 9:05 a.m. and New Holland and Akron around 9:10 a.m.

According to WGAL, a tornado warning was issued for the Holtwood area at 9:50 a.m.

The Palmyra School District has closed all schools. A Palmyra middle school’s lunch food transport truck reportedly overturned in the parking lot. Wordsworth School in Harrisburg, the Palmyra public library and Juniata County school districts both closed also, because of the severe weather.

Student and Teacher Win Regional Awards

By Laura Revelt –

Successful at helping others.

Recognized for their hard work and giving spirit, Natasha Fletcher, a senior, and Barb Rathbone-Frank, a science teacher at Penn Manor, were nominated for Serteen Member and Serteen Adviser of the Year Awards.

Fletcher has been a member of the Penn Manor Serteen Club for three years, and the 2010-2011 school year she was the club secretary. Two Serteen Members, Jen Rote and Bri Rice, nominated Fletcher after a local Sertoma representative suggested the club to select someone worthy of the National Serteen Member of the Year Award.

“I knew she (Fletcher) was doing a lot of stuff and I didn’t think she was being recognized all that much,” said Rice.

Fletcher won the Regional Serteen Member of the Year Award.

“I’m very elated to know that my club recognizes my efforts,” said Fletcher.

Natasha Fletcher and Kendal Phillips cleaning up Longs Park with Serteen Club. Photo Credit: Eric Bear

As secretary, Fletcher is in charge of coordination with the club adviser, Rathbone-Frank, and helping to organize the club meetings.

“I make the weekly agenda to inform the members what’s going on,” said Fletcher. “I coordinate with the club president, Stef Friedman, about what’s going to happen.”

Fletcher has also participated in various community service opportunities with the club and was even a chairperson at a few of them. She helped chair the Winter Formal, a dance to raise money for a Penn Manor Family in need, in January and was the chairperson of Penn Manor’s Toys for Tots involvement the last two years in a row.

“It’s definitely taught me the value of being a good citizen and being aware of those in need,” explained Fletcher.

“What Natasha does is that she is one of those quiet people who work behind the scenes,” said Rathbone-Frank. “The average person wouldn’t know that she does what she does.”

Here at Penn Manor the Serteen club focuses on community involvement and service by helping out at or running school functions, local fundraisers and Sertoma projects. Rathbone-Frank was also won the Regional Serteen Adviser of the Year Award.

Rathbone-Frank has helped with Serteen Club the last couple of years. Mr Luft, a math teacher at Penn Manor, had been the Adviser before her,but Rathbone-Frank has been the head Adviser the last two years.

Serteen club is the teenage version of Sertoma. Sertoma is a national organization that provides, “service to mankind” (sertoma.org).

Natasha Fletcher and Barb Rathbone-Frank. Photo taken by Laura Revelt

“Certainly the most important thing is the people we help,” expressed Rathbone-Frank.

“It is a good club to teach students to give back and the importance of community involvement, ” said Fletcher.

“I think its (involvement with the club) a good skill for later in life,” said Rathbone-Frank. “Basically they(the students) learn how to be leaders.”

“I’m in awe of how poised and confident and business-like the seniors are when they’re done,” said Rathbone-Frank.

Rathbone-Frank and Fletcher, with her family, will be attending the Split Rock Resort in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, May 7-8 for an award ceremony and a weekend at the resort.

“They are providing a lunch and dinner for Mrs. Rathbone and me,” said Fletcher. “Lancaster Sertoma is paying for the room. It is really nice of them.”

Serteen is a way for students to practice altruism, but a little recognition  for their efforts is always nice. Congratulations Mrs. Rathbone-Frank and Natasha!

Penn Manor Senior to Attend Prestigious Academy

By Lauren Ressler –

Aim high.

The United States military academies have always held high standards for applicants. With the competition of almost 12,000 other applicants and a reduced class size this year, senior Emily Hess was worried she wouldn’t have what it takes to get into the United States Air Force Academy.

“Extremely competitive, you must have impeccable recommendations [and an] impeccable resume [to be accepted],” said Penn Manor principal Eric Howe about acceptance into the Air Force Academy, comparing the academy to an Ivy League college.

Hess had many hoops to jump through to apply to the academy located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Photo courtesy of the USAFA website, a shot of the campus in Colorado Springs, CO

“You have to start preparing your freshman year,” said Hess. “It’s important to be able to compete academically.”

Hess has maintained an unweighted grade point average of 3.8 and kept up with honors and advanced placement classes to show she is academically able to keep up with the high standards of the academy. Hess attended Lancaster Mennonite High School until this year. She exceeded the curriculum at Lancaster Mennonite, so she transferred to Penn Manor in order to take challenging courses not offered at the private school.

Hess also participates in Penn Manor track and field to stay in shape and improve physical stamina. In order to be accepted into a service academy it is important to have exceptional physical health.

Howe described these high standards as needing to be “cream of the crop,” and “top of your game” in order to be accepted into a United States service academy.

After years of hard work and months of waiting, Hess was called into the counseling office last week. Mr. Gale and Mary O’Connor, representative of PA congressman Joe Pitts, were present to break the news. Pitts had nominated Hess for admission into the academy.

She did it.

“I think she was a combination of excited and relieved,” said Gale.”It’s the first one (student) we (Penn Manor) are sending to the Air Force Academy.

Emily Hess will be attending USAFA in June, photo courtesy of Lauren Ressler

“Shocked, relieved and emotional, Emily called her parents to share her acceptance into the academy.

“My dad didn’t know what to say,” said Hess. “He was shocked. My stepmom was very happy for me.”

Hess had first become interested in the academy because of her career goals. She wants to work in military intelligence.

“I knew I would need a good education, and the academy provides the foundation of military strategy,” said Hess.”It’s also free,” explaining that service academies are government-funded.

She explained her parents are very supportive and very proud of her accomplishments.”Dedication, sacrifice, stamina, organization, time management and self-discipline,” are among the expectations of the Academy, according to their website. Hess will leave June 22 to fly to Colorado Springs to attend boot camp. She will be staying with a host family until she moves into the Cadet Wing.

“It’ll be weird going by myself,” said Emily about flying to the Academy alone. “I’m really close with my family.”

Overall, Hess said she is extremely excited to be attending the United States Air Force Academy. She feels it will be a great foundation for her career, and a good experience to improve leadership and gain friends.

Microsoft Kinect Sales Skyrocket

By Eric Gerlach & Evan Shertzer

Some people use it for fun, others use it for exercise. Either way, a lot of people are using it

Recently, the Xbox Kinect passed 10 million sale milestone. According to digitaltrends.com, the Guiness Book of World Records has named the Xbox Kinect “The Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.” Within in the first sixty days, Microsoft sold over eight million units.

Two gamers test their skills on the Xbox Kinect - Photo from bytefish.com

At Penn Manor, there are few students that own the Xbox Kinect, like freshman Ethan Barley.

“I used to use it a lot,” said Barley, “it is good for working out and it is a lot better than the Wii. The Wii sucks.”

The Xbox Kinect is made up of a microphone, console, sensors, and 3D camera.  The 3D camera picks up the human’s motion and depth allowing you to control the images displayed on the TV screen.  This new technology was presented and released by Microsoft in November of 2010.

“I’ve played it twice. It was fun and enjoyable,”  said freshman Brad Underkoffler, “I would like to play it again.”

The Xbox Kinect does have a somewhat hefty price attached to it: $150. It may seem like a lot of money to a high school student, but Underkoffler tells us it’s worth it.

“It costs a lot, but it really is worth the money,” said Underkoffler.

The Xbox Kinect and Console - Photo from digitaltrends.com

The Kinect breaks the sterotype that video games are an unhealthy habit for kids. You’ll still get a workout. Multiple Kinect compatable games involving fitness, like The Biggest Loser and EA Active 2, have been published.  These games help players stay active and healthy. And the games are a big benefit for those who are uncomfortable working out in front of others at school or at their local gym. Plus, if the weather doesn’t allow you to go outside, the Kinect allows you to still get some exercise.

“Without the Kinect, I would probably get fat,” Barley said.

In short, its innovative concept and impressive hardware make Microsoft’s newest toy a revolutionary device, bringing new possibilities to the gaming community.

The Secret Life of the Drug-addled American Teenager

By Alyssa Jahnke-

Has MTV gone too far?

The MTV show Skins is about nine teenagers with different personalities who have come together to have fun and make new memories.  Sounds simple, right?  Not quite.

Skins contains a lot of underage drinking parties, drugs galore and sexual scenes.  Some may say that this is a normal teenage life behind the scenes, but is it?

“The show is not realistic at all,” said Nick Hartley, a senior at Penn Manor.

MTVs Skins Cast. Photo courtesy of Teen.com

The new MTV series Skins has been characterized as child pornography and criticized for showing too much for uncensored TV.  The new series was based on an original show aired in the UK and is now being shown in the US.  The premise of the show is the same but with some U.S. modifications.  While the UK version shows nudity, the American version is more toned down with no nudity.

People are split about their feelings of the new series.

“I have never been to a party where people bring out a bag of pills,” Hartley said, recalling a drug scene from a previous episode of Skins.

“I don’t do anything like Skins. Not the bad stuff they do,” said Maddy Hess.

Skins may not represent a normal social life of a teen.

Senior Cidney Rupp said, “Me and my friends do everything on the weekends except what Skins does.”

“Me and my friends just go to the mall, see movies and have sleepovers,” said Hartley.

Emily Hutchinson, a senior at PM had strong feelings about Skins, “The show is bizarre.”

Some people find the show enjoyable to watch because it is such an ongoing exaggeration from their real lives.

“I don’t think it is realistic because it is about like really scandalous stuff,” explained senior Elena Hart.

Hartley said, “Not all teenagers are like that. It is just Hollywood people.”

“I only like the one guy,” joked Jaquan Presbery.

Millersville is Dancing through the Decades

By Lauren Ressler –

“This is the big kick-off to a year-long celebration.”

The small town of Millersville, Pa., is celebrating 250 years on the map starting February 26th of this year.

Millersville is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.

‘Dancing Through the Decades’ will be held at Pucillo Gym Saturday as the first event of many that will be held throughout the 2011 year to celebrate Millersville as being one of the first towns established in Pennsylvania in 1761.

The series of celebratory events has been chaired by members of the Penn Manor School District and Millersville community.

Ellen Pollock, assistant superintendent at Penn Manor, is serving as an events co-chair for the anniversary. Pollock said she is looking forward to this event in particular because it is the “kick-off” of an entire community celebrating its history, and there will be many highlights to the evening.

Dancing Through the Decades is themed by growth throughout generations. Pollock said there will be professional ballroom dancing demonstrations throughout the night, featuring time-period costumes provided by former Penn Manor student Christina McSherry.

Millersville is famous for its swans.

McSherry said she has been involved in National History Day with Penn Manor for many years where she has made costumes reflecting historical America.

“Last year I did a fashion show display that covered ancient Egypt to the 1960s,” said McSherry. “Ms. Pollock saw the display and contacted me when they began working on the Dancing Through the Decades event and we decided that I would set up a display of historic ball gowns covering the late 1700s until 1970.”

McSherry added that she already had some gowns made from previous displays, but she has made multiple gowns and male garments for this event, coupled with time-period accessories and antique pieces.

Other students from the Penn Manor community have been eager to help with this event. Pollock explained that members of Penn Manor’s National Honors Society will be attending the event to escort and greet guests. Also, students from the Agriculture department at Penn Manor High School will be making twenty boutonnieres for select members attending on Saturday, and students from Eshleman Elementary School have been working hard at creating centerpieces for the tables.

Co-chair of the 250th celebrations and Assistant to the VP for Alumni and Community Relations at Millersville University, Steven DiGuiseppe said, “I’m looking forward to interacting with the descendants (of the founders of Millersville), and guests… The celebration as a whole.”

DiGuiseppe said the events committee is hoping to have a turnout of 150 people. Guests in attendance will be people from all over the community including borough representatives, the Herr family (of John Herr’s Village Market), donors and sponsors of the anniversary events, the Wiley brothers (of Wiley’s Pharmacy), and television’s Cake Boss’s very own Mauro Castano.

Yes, that’s right, Carlos Bakery of the TLC show ‘Cake Boss’ is coming to Millersville. Chef and cake designer Mauro Castano will be delivering the cake at Pucillo Gym.

According to Castano, the cake will feed about 200 people, and will be filled with devil’s food and vanilla cake with chocolate fudge. The design elements will be made of krispie treats, modeling chocolate, and fondant. Castano said the cake will feature aspects of the town, such as the lake at Millersville University, Biermesderfer Center, John Herr’s Village Markey, and Wiley’s Pharmacy.

“At the end of the day, we put our heart and soul into our product. Each cake is a piece of edible artwork, and we work hard to make sure there is great attention to detail,” said Castano about theCarlos Bakery, located in Hoboken, New Jersey.

DiGuiseppe confirmed that Lori Burkholder of WGAL-TV will be covering the making of the cake Tuesday or Wednesday, reporting from the bake shop in New Jersey.

Dancing Through the Decades will also feature food and drinks, music by DJ David Nye, and fireworks at 10 p.m. that will be launched from Comet Field. Tickets are on sale for $50 per ticket, and can be purchased by calling 717-872-3811. The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m.

High School Locked Down for Drug Search

By Kendal Phillips and Sarah Garner –

“It was planned.”

The answer to the question that most Penn Manor students were wondering.

At the beginning of second block Friday, students and staff were notified by an announcement to go into a modified lock down.  Teachers were to lock the doors and open the blinds.  For students and staff it was unexpected and teachers were not made aware of the upcoming drug search.

Officers from Southern Regional Police Department and their canine unit searched the high school for evidence of contraband.

Teachers received an e-mail at 10:05 a.m. informing them of a random drug search, also at that time Penn Manor School District’s website had a banner describing that a drug search was going on and that students were not in any danger.

The district website described the drug search.

This drug search was free of cost and it was the first time Penn Manor participated in a random search, according to Principal Philip Gale.

“We met the officer who handles the dog at the end of January, January 25,” said Gale.  “In December we actually had the officer do a demonstration for us [at Pequea Elementary school] and there were three school board members present with us to show how the dogs would detect.  They brought drugs with them and put them in different places (for the dog to detect).”

With the support of the Millersville Borough and Southern Regional Police Departments, a search of all lockers, bathrooms and locker rooms was conducted with the use of the drug-detection canines.

The school administration made an announcement saying the hope is that students continue to be part of the solution in helping to make schools safe places to learn by reporting any drug use to an adult.

The use of the drug detection canines adds an additional element of security for all students and adults at Penn Manor High School according to the letter that was sent home with the students.

Penn Manor’s school resource officer was not involved with the search because, “his burden of proof is much higher than our burden of proof,” said Gale.  “[School Administrators] have to have reasonable suspicion and [police] need probable cause.”

When dogs detected specific areas in the school, they were marked to be further investigated.  After the search was completed and the canines left, administrators searched the marked areas.  No lockers were opened while the police or canines were still in the school.

Several lockers were detected, about a dozen students were called out of class to watch their locker get searched, according to Gale.  There were at least two administrators who searched each locker, along with the student, if a student occupied the locker.

The areas that were most frequently hit (indicated by the dog) were water fountains and door handles.  These areas are commonly touched during the school day and traces of substances could be left on them.

Gale had three major reasons for the random drug search;

1. “We have had a number of drug violations over the drug and alcohol policy this year.”

2. Keeping the school a safe environment.

3. Southern Regional police are a part of our school district so we wanted  to work with them.

“There were a number of hits due to the sensitivity of the dogs,” said Gale, “nothing was found.”