Valentine’s Day is over, but rom-coms are forever

By Bree Snyder, staff writer

Everybody loves a good rom-com whether they’re recovering from a recent heartbreak, feeling particularly lonely or are just in the mood to laugh.

Romantic comedies are light-hearted movies containing a humorous plot line revolving around romance. Though they are often referred to as “chick flicks” and dismissed as senseless and dull, rom-coms appear to be making a comeback in pop culture.

Is there a better way to spend a cozy night in with your significant other than settling down with a good rom-com?

That being said, finding a good rom-com in an overly saturated genre can be tough. Below are several lists that detail the best of the best.

According to ‘Rotten Tomatoes,’ the best rom-coms of all time are as follows:

  1. It Happened One Night (1934)
  2. The Big Sick (2017)
  3. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  4. Roman Holiday (1953)
  5. My Man Godfrey (1936)

According to ‘Seventeen,’ the most anticipated rom-coms of 2019 are:

  1. What Men Want (out February 8)
  2. Isn’t It Romantic (coming out Feb. 14)
  3. Five Feet Apart (coming out Mar. 22)
  4. Aladdin (coming out May 24)
  5. All The Bright Places (currently no release date)

According to ‘Rotten Tomatoes,’ the best rom coms currently on Netflix are:

  1. Lovesick (2015)
  2. Catching Feelings (2018)
  3. Lust Stories (2018)
  4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
  5. Tramps (2016)

‘Common Grounds’ continues to flourish

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

Since its founding in September of 2016, Common Grounds has lived up to its mission statement, acting as “a gathering place where young people can socialize free of negative influences and where they connect and find common ground.”

For those who don’t know, Common Grounds is a café located at the old Grotto Park in Saegertown.

On Monday nights, the café hosts “Campus Life,” a youth-group for high school teens from 7 to 10 p.m.

On Friday nights, high schoolers can also gather for a teen café night with ping-pong, pool, board games, free WiFi, and, of course, coffee.

“Common Grounds has been continually expanding as new groups continue to meet there,” said Frank Tipping, the Campus Life Ministry Director. “Besides our high school age groups like Campus Life and Friday Night Cafe, we have a men’s group that meets there on certain Saturdays, and a young adult group that meets on Tuesday nights. We are also open to other groups that are looking for a place to gather.”

“I believe that it allows a safe space for everyone- not just Christians- to come together and be in an environment that is very promoting and positive!” said Jennifer Chamberlain, a Maplewood senior who regularly attends Campus Life.

“It helps our community come together as one,” said Ashley Merritt, a Saegertown junior. “It gives people a chance to feel safe.”

Common Grounds continues to provide the young adults in the area with a place to hangout, to meet new friends, and to grow in fellowship and in friendship. “We are all created in the image of God,” Tipping said. “And I think we have so much more in common with each other than we realize. We need to take the time to get to know one another and build relationships on Common Ground. Then we can begin to build bridges instead of tearing them down.”

Opinion: President Donald Trump’s Oval Office speech yet another spin of broken record

By Kassie Boyd, editor-in-chief

Kassie Boyd, Editor-in-Chief

President Donald Trump began his first televised Oval Office speech in January with claims of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” The speech attempted to justify the 35-day partial government shutdown that left thousands of workers without pay, and reiterated his demands for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Simply put, there is no crisis along our southern border. According to a Border Security Metrics Reports compiled by the Department of Homeland Security in 2018, illegal border crossing apprehensions in 2017 were the lowest they’d been since 1971. That same report reveals that undetected illegal border crossings have dropped by approximately 800,000 from 2006 to 2016.

Though Trump’s claim that ninety percent of heroin enters the United States through our southern border is technically true, a 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment done by the D.E.A. revealed that most of this heroin is smuggled in cars via legal ports of entry, and physical barriers are already present in sectors with the highest percentage of heroin seizures.

The real crisis is not along the border but rather in the White House. On Jan. 25, President Donald Trump ended the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Approximately 800,000 federal workers labored without pay or were furloughed, and while the majority will be compensated, many relied on the regular income to support themselves and families.

However, federal workers are not out of the woods yet. The bill signed by President Trump offered Congress an ultimatum: “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

The American people have made abundantly clear that they value the wages of workers above a steel barrier. When asked about Trump’s next move, a poll conducted by CNBC revealed that 66 percent of Americans believed Trump should allow the government to reopen – even without proper funding for his wall.

In an age of unprecedented technological advancements, a wall is perhaps the least effective way to defend the border. House Democrats offered one generous deal after another. They even matched Trump’s $5.7 billion dollar border security budget provided that the money goes towards immigration judges and drones rather than a wall – though it was struck down by the Senate.

What President Trump has painted as Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise is nothing more than his inability to concede and explore other, more functional solutions.

Opinion: Why the Wall is necessary, not discretionary

By Kaitlyn Kozalla, features editor, and Dustin Steiger, A&E editor

In January, President Trump addressed the American people and the world from the Oval Office. During this address, he tackled the topic of the government shutdown, which started on December 22 and lasted over a month, and how the much-anticipated “wall” plays a role in the crisis on the southern border.

Features editor Kaitlyn Kozalla and A&E editor Dustin Steiger

President Trump commented on illegal immigration saying, “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.” Approximately one million legal immigrants are accepted into the United States each year, while somewhere between 11.3 million to 22 million illegal immigrants are estimated to currently reside in our nation’s prosperity. The fact of the matter is, illegal immigration hurts hard-working Americans, burdens taxpayers, and undermines public safety.

America was always meant to be a land of opportunity, not of undeserved advantages. You have the ability to better yourself, not the right to have what you haven’t earned. This is one reason why the wall is such a crucial aspect to the betterment of our nation. As more and more impoverished immigrants flood in- many of whom who either provide little economic benefit to our society or who thrive on welfare, as made evident by the statistics provided by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) – the general condition of our economy and our society will naturally face a decline. An estimated $116 billion is spent annually due to the effects of illegal immigration, a statistic provided by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. According to the CIS, “Each illegal alien costs nearly $70,000 during their lifetime.” Now, consider this; Trump wants to raise between 5 to 6 billion dollars on the wall. Even if the wall did a terrible job and only stopped around 85,000 illegal immigrants in its entire lifetime, the wall would still pay for itself.

As for the notion that those coming illegally are merely looking for safety and sanctuary, the Mexican government has offered them this. How did they respond? By attacking the Mexican authorities and continuing their march towards the States. They aren’t merely here for protection. They’re coming for the supposedly “free” benefits our nation works hard for, and they don’t care how they get them. Thus, the hard-working citizens of America are forced to fund criminals. They refuse to follow the procedure and instead flood in illegally, many bringing with them drugs and violence. According to Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Leader in the House of Representatives, a third of the women in the caravan have been raped or “violently treated,” and yet, many Americans still don’t see this as a threat. Then, of course, there’s the issue of drug trafficking. As President Trump said in his address, ”Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. . . Thousands (of) more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now. This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul.”

Obviously, not all of those crossing the border illegally are violent and aggressive. There are some that are hard-working and will put in the effort to help themselves and our society. However, there are many who aren’t so noble and conscientious. We want to help and to protect, but we simply cannot allow just anybody and everybody to enter without consequences. What does this mean? It means that action must be taken. Ignoring the situation at hand and turning a blind eye to this continuously evolving threat serves only to degrade and destroy our nation. Years ago, President Obama himself said that “we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked.” Border security is not merely an option or a last resort. Republicans and Democrats alike agree that it’s a necessity, an essential aspect to the defense of our sovereign land and the safety of our people. It’s not partisan politics; it’s plain and simple protection. The government reopened on Jan. 25 of this year, but the threat still looms. If the situation continues down its current path, it’ll be up to the President to declare a national emergency in order to safely preserve our nation’s sovereign glory.

Key Club creates library for the laundromat

By Amanda Crowl, staff writer

The shelf is stocked with donated books from the Saegertown community.

The Saegertown Laundromat on Main St. is now home to a fully stocked bookshelf thanks to the Pantherian Key Club at Saegertown High School.

Every year, Key Clubs across Pennsylvania complete a ‘Youth Serving Youth’  (YSY) project. The theme for this year’s project is literacy. To promote reading, members of Key Club decided to put a bookshelf in the Saegertown laundromat.

The bookshelf is filled with children’s books donated by Saegertown students. Parents who regularly use the laundromat can take and return books or read them to their children while they are at the laundromat.

Key Club president Stephanie Polach is excited to see how this project impacts the community. “We had talked about doing this project for a while, and we had the resources to do it,” Polach said.

Sophomore Isaac Levis received the bookshelf from Key Club adviser Marlene Jenkins, and had to stain, paint, and finish the bookshelf. “I had the tools, and it was something inexpensive,” Levis said. The biggest setback for Levis was waiting for the vote to buy paint for the bookshelf, but it was soon approved and the bookshelf was finished.

Polach and Levis were delighted with how the project turned out. “It turned out a lot better than I hoped because we received more books that need to find a home than we thought,” Polach said. She hopes to expand this project in the future.

Superintendent shares 18-month vision with community

By Kassie Boyd and Nick Archacki, editor-in-chief and news editor

Members of the PENNCREST community can expect to see big changes next school year if the 18-month plan proposed by the district’s administrative team and Superintendent Dr. Timothy Glasspool passes a school board vote slated for March 14.

These modifications (originally proposed at the Jan. 10 school board meeting) were presented again during a public forum at Cambridge Springs High School on Jan. 24. Dr. Glasspool shared the administrative vision for PENNCREST and took feedback from students, staff, and parents.

One major change suggested by the administrative team is the transition from a traditional eight-period day to seven-periods with a hybrid block schedule in order to increase instructional time and eliminate the scheduling complications of double lab periods for upper level science classes.

On Wednesdays, students will have four 85 minute periods, while the remaining three periods and a tutorial block will follow on Thursday. Monday, Tuesday and Friday will resemble a traditional schedule with 52-minute periods, an increase in class time from the current 42-minute periods. According to Dr. Glasspool, this new schedule will provide the equivalent of an additional 15 days of educational time.

However, before this one-year hybrid block pilot is implemented, it must be approved by teachers belonging to the PENNCREST Area Education Association (PAEA) because it would require a modification to the current teaching contract.  

Pennsylvania mandates a minimum of 21 credits to graduate, while PENNCREST has long required 28.5. The proposed plan includes a three-credit reduction in the requirement to put the district more in line with the other schools in Crawford County (Cochranton 25.7, Meadville 26, Conneaut Area 26.5).

A new, district-wide uniform grading scale is set to be introduced alongside the new student information system PowerSchool. The new grading scale will be based on increments of ten: 100-90, 90-80, 80-70, 70-60.

The district intends to combat declining enrollment by offering students options like AP classes, credits for volunteerism, and co-op and dual enrollment opportunities. “We have to leverage out our smallness,” Dr. Glasspool said. It is also hoped that the proposed plan may convince some of the 152 students currently enrolled in cyber schools to return to schools in the district.

Juniors in Mrs. Hetrick’s AP Language and Composition class weighed the pros and cons of the administration’s vision. Concerns include the direction of the music program and students’ ability to focus on one subject for 85 minutes. Several students commented that the new schedule would permit them to take more electives as it would eliminate the issue of scheduling around double lab periods.

It is important to note that the proposed hybrid block schedule is quite common. Members of the Panther Press contacted every district within the IU5 and inquired about their bell schedule, and a majority of schools employ some variation of a block.

The proposed changes will be put voted on during the March 14 school board meeting at Cambridge Springs Elementary School at 7 p.m. provided that the plan is approved by the PAEA. If you have questions or concerns, the next school board work session is Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at Central Office in Saegertown. You can also send your thoughts to Dr. Glasspool at tglasspool@penncrest.org.

Infographic by Kaitlyn Kozalla, features editor