Wild Country Dancers preparing for farm show

By Rachel Barner, news editor

Saegertown is home to many activities, one of the lesser known ones being square dancing.

Students who are members of the group Wild Country Dancers are preparing for the competition at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January. As of now, there are four squares, each comprised of eight people, for this group from all over northwestern Pa.

The square dancers perform to five songs. The first two, which are warm-up songs, are “Bend Me, Shake Me” and “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” The last three, which are the competition songs, are “Ease Down the Road,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and “Write This Down.”

“I like to compete. It’s a lot of fun going down and seeing all of the different exhibits and the tractors. And I love the chocolate milkshakes,” said freshman Nathan Barner.

Junior high girls basketball team makes playoffs

By Cami Reynolds, staff writer

The junior high Lady Panthers basketball team ended their season with a record of 13-4, not including playoffs. They placed second in playoffs, winning their first game, but losing their second. In the beginning of the season, they questioned how successful they would be, but they ended up doing better than expected. “Our toughest competition was probably Conneaut Valley,” said eighth grader Ava Jones.

The Lady Panthers formed a great bond leading them to victory. Even though they lost games, they never gave up as a team and continued to work harder.

“The game against Cochranton was probably one of our hardest games because they are really good,” said eighth grader Ella Nicholson.

Student Leadership Council promotes school spirit

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By Cami Reynolds and Elizabeth Hasko, staff writer and marketing director

The Student Leadership Council is a group of students who strive to show excellence and influence others to do so as well. The council is planning to organize a student store to provide all Saegertown students with merchandise.

“We’re planning on designing some shirts that are affordable and able to be worn by all students. We felt like only athletes had spirit wear and those that didn’t play sports didn’t have any Saegertown clothes, so we want to change that,” junior Scout Van Cise said. The group of students is focusing on the idea of “You wish you were a Saegertown Panther” brought up by Mr. Greg Molnar to encourage unity throughout the school at the Homecoming Assembly.

“I wish to achieve a good school environment where everyone is comfortable and happy,” freshman Carmen Kantz said.

“As an advisor, I want to encourage and assist the students,” Mr. Phil Young said.

The active members of the Student Leadership Council are: juniors Scout Van Cise, Hunter Trzeciak , Megan Przyborowski, Ryan Peters, and Olivia Hoffman, sophomores Mikayla Balog, and Eli Draa, freshman Karly Price, Lauren Haylett, Carmen Kantz, and Nick Archacki, eighth graders Kyle Hanaway, Jane Hetrick, and Ava Jones, and seventh graders Landon Caldwell, Kat Diesing, Andy Rockwell, and Jillian Turner. They are advised by Mr. Phil Young and Mrs. Heather Patton. 

The Votes are in: Republican Donald J. Trump is President-elect

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By Sydney Kightlinger and  Kaitlyn Walsh, editor in chief and features editor

For the first time since 1988, Pennsylvania’s electorate has voted Republican for the office of the president. And early on Nov. 9, Republican Donald J. Trump (helped in part by Pennsylvania’s swing) won the election by surpassing the mark of 270 electoral votes. His ability to capture key states like Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania in addition to states that normally vote Republican carried him to victory with 289 electoral votes at this point.

Locally, Trump won Crawford County with 67.2 percent of the vote (23,912 votes). These results seem in accordance with the result of the Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School’s mock election where Trump captured 65.6 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton polled at 21 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won 11.2 percent of the vote, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein held 2.2 percent.

Maplewood Jr. Sr. High School polled similarly, with Trump receiving 63 percent of the vote. Johnson polled at 16.7 percent, Clinton at 14.9 percent, and Stein at 5.5 percent.

The local results did not mirror the national popular vote. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton captured the popular vote with 47.7 percent compared to Trump’s 47.5 percent. This is the fifth time in american history a president-elect has won the electoral college, but lost the popular vote.

Final results from Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire have not been released as of press time.

Trump will be inaugurated on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

Day 47: Saegertown still without assistant principal

By Rachel Barner, news editor and Hannah Nicholson, staff writer

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The assistant principal’s office (and position) remains vacant at Saegertown High School. 

It’s a little past the beginning of the second nine weeks, and Saegertown is still without an assistant principal.

Principal Tom Baker continues to balance the responsibilities of two office positions, with PENNCREST Athletic Director Dana Mason filling the assistant slot on various occasions.

Mr. Mason, who use to be the assistant principal of Maplewood, is now the athletic director of all three schools. He is usually in Saegertown about three times a week as the athletic director. “There isn’t a lot of time in my schedule that is expendable, but I am an alumni of Saegertown, and I want to do what I can to help, but it has been tough. My schedule is very busy and I am expected to spend time in all three schools,” said Mr. Mason.

Even with his busy schedule, he is determined to help out. This isn’t the first time Mason has been asked to do this. “I am sure [Mr. Baker] is under a lot of pressure. He is always under pressure and never complains. He has given me a couple of tasks that I can help him with. He has asked me to do things that are time manageable,” said Mr. Mason.

Science teacher and former assistant principal Mr. Phil Young said,  “I am a little concerned for the well being of the building’s function in a normal manner. But fortunately we have really good people here in this building that can pick up on the slack in the meantime. I am concerned that other details that matter to children’s lives are going to slip through,” said Mr. Young.

Some teachers started the year without knowing how to deal with minor disciplinary issues. “I think initially teachers were unsure of how to handle minor disciplinary issues because we also lost refocus, and with Mr. Baker’s guidance, we have established a procedure to do with the minor issues,” said Young.

Superintendent Michael J. Healey shared that interviews should be held soon to fill the position. “Next week [he said last Friday] we should be interviewing. We can complete our process fairly quickly. We have internal candidates, and that causes less conundrum for us. With external applicants, you have to be careful of how soon they can leave their current position. By law you can be held 60 days current position. We want to get someone in here as soon as possible,” said Mr. Healey.

To be considered for the assistant principal position, an applicant needs at least five years of teaching experience and an administrative certificate from Pennsylvania.

Eighth grader Ella Nicholson said, “I think it is just too much [without an assistant principal]. It is overwhelming. Lots of groups in the school want permission to do things, and Mr. Baker cannot get back to them quickly and he is really busy.”

In addition, senior representative to the school board Sydney Kightlinger, who spoke at the Oct. 13 board meeting, said: “When I spoke at the board meeting, I said it was a problem. And it is. There are about 500 students in the school everyday. There are certain things that need done that get overlooked when we have someone doing the work of two people. We are going on fifty days without an assistant principal, and that has an effect on the building.”

 

Hope and inspiration: Paralympic gold medalist shares message at Saegertown High

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By Bailey Kozalla and Sydney Kightlinger, sports editor and editor in chief 

The chant “We’re glad … you are … a Saegertown Panther” echoed through the Saegertown Junior-Senior High School auditorium at the kickoff of “Shawn Morelli Day” on Thursday.

A full day of activities took place to welcome home and celebrate the 1994 Saegertown graduate who recently won two gold medals for cycling at the Paralympics in Rio.

Morelli continued her education at Penn State and Webster universities in 1998 and 2001. After receiving her master’s degree, she became an engineer officer in the U.S. Army. During her time in the military, she enjoyed the camaraderie that came with serving her country.

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Shawn Morelli is a two time Paralympic gold medalist and a 1994 Saegertown graduate.

 

“You just meet people who will always have your back no matter what,” Morelli said.

While serving in Afghanistan in 2007, Morelli was injured by an improvised explosive device. She suffered neck and nerve damage, traumatic brain injury and permanent blindness in her left eye. Morelli started cycling as part of a rehab program in 2009 and now has a total of six world championship cycling medals as well as the two golds she won in Rio in September.

Morelli’s story is a story of hope.

“Life is going to throw you a bunch of curveballs, and you may be on this one path to reach this one goal, and then all of a sudden, you go through this massive life-changing event,” she said. “When you hit that event, you have to face the fact that your life has changed. You have to make a decision and move towards a new dream and not let anything stop you.”

To stress the importance of that message, Morelli donated her first world championship jersey to the school. It will be displayed in a showcase at the school.

Keeping with the theme of overcoming obstacles, during English classes earlier in the week, all students wrote about obstacles they had overcome or were working to overcome.

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Morelli presented the school with her first World Championship Jersey. It will be displayed in the Panther Hallway.

Thirty students were selected by teachers to join Morelli and principal Tom Baker on stage. They received shirts with the motto: “You wish … you were … a Saegertown Panther” and that’s when the cheering started.

 

With Baker leading them, students and staff cheered Morelli, each other and their community.

“It was a great moment to be a Panther,” said Stacey Hetrick, journalism adviser. “Seeing those kids up on the stage with Shawn and Mr. Baker just gave me chills.”

Morelli also visited Saegertown Elementary School, where the students chanted “USA” to welcome her into the the gym.

She spoke briefly with students, answered questions, shook hands and gave kids the opportunity to see her gold medals.

After the assembly, Morelli spent the day touring the school and visiting with anatomy and biomedical engineering classes discussing her injuries, how she dealt with them, and the composition and functions of her bike. Her road bicycle is specifically designed to allow her to compete with full control of the gears on her left side and is custom made for her body.

She also attended a press conference hosted by the staff of The Panther Press, Saegertown’s student newspaper.

 In one lighthearted moment, broadcast director Ben Haylett showed Morelli her 1994 senior picture. She noted that she was wearing her favorite Mickey Mouse sweater and that she still loves him. Students also learned that she is a history buff, likes to read science fiction and has a dog named Roscoe.

She shared what it was like to be honored at the White House after the wins in Rio. “You’re standing in the Blue Room, on the exact spot where President (Barack) Obama shakes hands with all those leaders from around the world,” said Morelli. “It’s pretty cool.”

“You don’t get an opportunity that often to have an Olympic champion visit the school where you are the principal,” said Baker. “It was an honor to have her here, and the door will always be open for her. She’s quite an inspiration.”

Throughout the day, Morelli challenged the students to create family from their school community.

“Are you willing to step out of the ‘in-group’ and bring people in to create a real student body family where you feel safe and supported when you walk in the doors to school?” she said.

Morelli added, “I don’t ever want to give up on myself or anything I am doing. It’s so easy (for me or anyone else) to say ‘I’m done.’ Life is full of dreams, and we want to achieve them, and everyone does. I refuse to give up.”

This story was originally published in The Meadville Tribune on Nov. 4, 2016. 

Boys Soccer Springs into Semifinals

By Cutter’b Pritchard, sports editor

 

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Saegertown’s Jude Mattocks (1) and Griffin Hohn (7) celebrating the winning goal with a chest bump.

The Saegertown boys soccer team is making a run in the District 10 Class 3A playoffs. With a 2-0 win over the Meadville Bulldogs on Thursday, it led the squad to a head to head matchup against the Region 5 champion Fort LeBoeuf Bisons at General McLane yesterday. After a scoreless start, Cambridge Springs senior Griffin Hohn had a direct kick from 45 yards at the 24 minute. As Hohn kicked the ball towards the goal, teammate Iain Scott, Cambridge Springs junior, pressured the goalie by running towards him and distracting him, resulting in a goal for Saegertown.

 

“The defense stepped up and made some big plays,” said senior Jude Mattocks. “We came out and played our game and we knew this game was going to be a tough one.”

The rest of the match went scoreless, producing a 1-0 win for the Panthers. Mattocks summed up the game when he said, “We had lost to the Bisons two times earlier in the season 6-4 and 1-0, but we did not want to go down just yet. We played our hearts out.”

Their next match is the semifinal for District 10 Class 3A against the Cathedral Prep Ramblers at Veterans Stadium on November 3 at 5 p.m.