Hasta la Vista: Students to visit Costa Rica

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By Hannah Nicholson, staff writer

The students of the Saegertown Spanish class have never taken an international field trip, but the Spanish Club is planning a trip to Costa Rica for June of  2018.  Students will be staying in this Spanish speaking country for a total of five days, according to adviser Ms. Nova Dinsmore, who is organizing the trip.

“It is very exciting,” said Dinsmore. While students are in Costa Rica, they have a variety of activities on their agenda including ziplining through the rainforest, visiting an in-session school, sightseeing at the La Fortuna Falls and Alajuela volcano, swimming in hot springs,and touring the Rincon National Park. This is a district-wide trip, so Maplewood and Cambridge students will participate.

To finance the trip, students will have multiple fundraisers including a lawn sale, golf tournament, selling Miller’s sub sandwiches, and selling pies, which has already been done. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors of next years Spanish classes can be part of this first trip, but a few seniors of next year will be going, including Spanish Club Officer Olivia Hoffman.

“I think it’s going to be awesome,” Hoffman said. There are plans to make the trip every two years. There will be a parent information meeting in the Saegertown High School library on January 24 at 6:30 p.m. There is also another field trip that will be happening this year on May 11 to the Gateway Clipper Tango Dinner Dance. The Gateway Clipper field trip has been held in years past and will continue to be an annual field trip for Spanish Club members.

Dynamic Davis Duo off to dance in Pittsburgh

By Kaity Gage, special media projects editor

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Sydney (left) and Megan Davis will be training at West Point Ballet in Pittsburgh.

Junior Sydney Davis and her eighth grade sister Megan, two of Saegertown’s dancers, have just been given an enormous opportunity that they cannot turn down.

After their performance in Allegro Dance Arts production of “The Nutcracker,” Sydney and Megan were asked if they would like to go to Pittsburgh to train at West Point Ballet. West Point Ballet is owned by Cynthia Castillo and Damien Martinez. The couple are renowned artists who have danced with the National Ballet of Cuba, Florida Classical Ballet, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre just to name a few.

“We are really excited that they have decided to take that step. We believe that this will be the best chance for them to achieve their dreams and goals as ballet dancers,” said Martinez.

Since Pittsburgh is not where the sisters live, they will be staying with Castillo and Martinez during the week and will come home on the weekends. “Hopefully it will be smooth sailing. I don’t think it will be difficult having them living with us,” said Martinez.  

While they are away, the sisters will not be able to be at the high school, but they will still be doing all of their work. The plan is for them to do a program that involves them coming to school every Monday where they will collect work from their teachers to finish over the week.

Sydney and Megan are both thrilled to be going to Pittsburgh for this amazing opportunity. “I’m super excited. It’s like if a major baseball star asked someone from Saegertown to come live and train with them. It’s the equivalent of that.” said Sydney.

Megan is hoping that this experience will help her reach her dreams. “I would love to be a professional ballerina in a professional company. This opportunity would help me achieve this because my teachers have already been in a company and they have amazing experience in the ballet world, so they could help me prepare for the future.”

Overall, this training will help both girls accomplish their goals. “They are very committed and we are happy to have them with us,” said Martinez.

Clay target shooting becoming a new sport at Saegertown

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By Bailey Kozalla, sports editor

Students are now being recruited to join the PA High School Clay Target League, a new sport just approved for PENNCREST students in grades 7-12. Registration began Jan. 15 and ends March 10. To participate, the student must have completed a hunter safety course or firearm safety certification and pay one-time dues of $35. The practice start date is April 2, and competitions will begin April 23 against teams in the PENNCREST conference. A total of five competitions be held through May 21. An informational open house will be held Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in the SHS cafeteria.

There are three main divisions of clay target shooting which include trap, skeet, and sporting clays. In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single “house” or machine, going away from the shooter. The targets are launched from two “houses” in sideways patterns that cross in front of the shooter during skeet shooting. Sporting clays are the most complex; clays are thrown from many different launch points. The layout of the field is determined by what type of shooting is being employed. For instance, the layout for a trapshooting field has different components and strategies than a skeet or sporting clays field. In the league, the kids will be shooting trap, with the organization providing the shotgun shells.

The league is looking for new members, so join the fastest growing and safest high school sport. For more information visit http://paclaytarget.com/ or contact Mary Ann Birchard at (814)398-2262.

Decorations brighten up the bathroom

By Hillary Twiford, staff writer

This year, there has been an effort to beautify the halls. At the beginning of the year, there were homecoming posters plastered in every hallway. More recently, there was a holiday hallway decorating contest. While these displays were temporary, there is one subtle message that is making a significant difference.

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“The butterflies were beautiful, and they would add some personality and color to the school.”

Mrs. Keller also wanted to send an empowering message to the girls of Saegertown High School. “In today’s world of social media, there is so much pressure to look a certain way.  I wanted to remind the ladies of the school that they were born beautiful; they don’t need to work to attain what someone else thinks they should be.”

Saegertown Hi-Q team qualifies for National History Bowl

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By Austin Brown, news editor

On Jan. 7, the Saegertown Hi-Q team qualified for the 2017 National History Bowl Championships which will be held on April 21-23 in Arlington, VA and Washington, DC. Seniors Sydney Kightlinger, Dustin Bierman, and Dan Smith, junior Erik Murphy and sophomore Glenn Ferry accomplished this feat at the Western Pennsylvania History Bee and Bowl which was held at South Side High School. This was the first time a Saegertown team has qualified for Nationals.  “It is a successful result from a small school,”  said Murphy. In order to qualify for Nationals, any team must have a .500 record or above in the prelims or a single playoff win can also qualify a team for Nationals.

“It’s significant because of the competitive nature the contestants bring to the competition,” said Murphy. Though they do not intend to travel to the event in April, it’s an impressive accomplishment for any team. “I was thrilled that we won our first playoff against South Side High School which allowed us to qualify for the National tournament, and we held our own in a very competitive field,” said Hi-Q coach Mrs. Stacey Hetrick. Overall, their record for the day was 4-4. Other schools in the competition included Winchester-Thurston, Norwin, South Side, Taylor Allderdice, and Alagar Homeschool.

In History Bee, an individual competition, Sydney Kightlinger’s sixteen total questions answered notched her a thirteenth place finish and qualified her for the National History Bee for the second year in a row. “Its really nice. I wasn’t anticipating qualifying because there were more schools there this year. Since we are such a small school, it shows me that I’m not just a big fish in a small pond, and that I am able to compete with others,” said Kightlinger.

For more information on the National History Bee & Bowl visit: http://www.historybowl.com/. The Hi-Q team will be in action again on Feb. 11 at the Tartan Invitational Quiz Bowl at Carnegie Mellon University. This in NAQT (National Academic Quiz Teams) tournament. You can check out sample questions at https://www.naqt.com.

Roundabout construction continues

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By Grant Phelan, staff writer 

We all have noticed that there are no longer workers in hard hats with “Stop/Slow” signs in their hands standing on the side of 198. No more cones, and no more fifteen minute waits in a line of cars as long as the Great Wall of China. Some of us are finding this a relief, while others have asked, “What’s going on with this roundabout construction now?” “Why are the houses gone?” “When will construction be completed?”

Well, here’s the update.

Due to the winter weather common to our area, the construction has been postponed until at least early spring when the weather gets warmer and more ideal for road work. “Forty percent of the south project has been completed,” said Borough Manager Chuck Lawrence Jr. “The weather being cooperative enough is the reason we have been able to get that done, there has been 4,500 feet of sidewalk completed as well.”  

Meanwhile, six houses along Route 19 between the Dairy Isle and One Credit Union have been torn down and are currently being cleaned up. This will create the room needed for the roundabout. On March 15, the bridge on the north project is scheduled be closed, and the yellow lane lines will be moved multiple times throughout construction to keep traffic flowing.

“We are hoping by early fall for it to be reopened,” said Lawrence. “I recommend for those who are unfamiliar with them to visit PennDOT’s website and find their interactive on roundabout’s. Learn how to drive them for the future.”
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Colonial Days tradition scaled back at Saegertown

By Kassie Boyd, staff writer 

A memorable part of every student’s eighth grade experience has been “Colonial Days,” a culmination of assignments and projects based on an America of the past. In the past, several weeks have been devoted to studying, citing, and writing an in-depth paper about an aspect of colonial life, including everything from seamstresses to military uniforms. This year, however, things are a little different.

Instead of a topic, this year’s eighth graders are learning about people from colonial times, such as George Washington or Abigail Adams. With this change comes a much broader range of information available. Each student was allowed to choose who they wanted to research based upon a brief summary given in Mrs. Kara Bechtel’s social studies class. In addition, the students who had Mr. Lipps for history also completed a powerpoint on a colonial occupation before choosing a person and starting their research paper.

Some students have commented on a descending emphasis on Colonial Days. Freshman Ashley Wenzel said, “I kinda liked it [being less involved] because I could focus on the project, and on a good grade, instead of trying to get everything, and plan an outfit, or snack or anything.”

With so many changes in the junior high, hopefully the tradition can adapt and continue at Saegertown. Many look back at the experience with fondness and optimism that future generations can take part in Colonial Days as well.

 

The biggest year in ‘Big Years’ for birders AND DON’T JUST SKIP OVER THIS ARTICLE

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By Tyler Brooks, staff writer


With so many deaths, 2016 is often joked as being the worst year in ages. But for birdwatchers, aka birders, it has been a truly spectacular year. Not one, not two, but four birders have broken the American Big Year record, and the world Big Year record has been broken as well.

The Big Year is an official term that describes when one individual birder goes around either their home country or the world to view or hear as many birds as they can in a single calendar year. People can also have Big Weeks, Big Days, or Big Months, but the most common by far is the Big Year. The expeditions became so popular that a whole movie, The Big Year, was released starring big-time actors Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. In the United States, the American Birding Association, or ABA, sets the rules for the Big Year, such as how to properly identify the bird, the out-of-bounds range for American birding, and a list of all acceptable species that can be counted.

What a big year of big years! Four birders broke the North American Big Year record, and two of them were going neck-and-neck for the new high. Olaf Danielson saw an amazing 776 birds in North America, but John Weigel got a total of 780 species on his list, and that’s out of only 914 species of birds in America. In the last week, Weigel topped out his list with an endangered Whooper Swan while Olaf searched desperately for a Kelp Gull in Newfoundland, Canada. Neil Hayward, the previous record-holder, saw only 749 species. But, in recent bird news, ABA has accepted Hawaii as an American birding zone, adding 48 species to the list that Olaf and Weigel could not access this year.

In other news, the Global Big Year record has been broken. While no individual agency is in charge of the world’s birding, agencies in the United States, Britain, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands keep track of birding records across the globe. In 2015, Noah Strycker saw 6,042 species of bird out of the 9,956 in the world. But Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis saw this record and broke it in less than a year, hitting 6,833 species of bird. To put that into perspective, Arjun saw almost 69 percent of the world’s bird species in 365 days. That’s roughly 19 species a day, every day. Arjun began his trip on January 1, where he saw 117 species in his native Netherlands, and did not slow down until December thirty-first, when he saw his final species, the black-crowned Fulvetta, finishing off his “Biggest Year.”

         Unfortunately, this costs a lot of money. Olaf Danielson, for example, spent about $95,000 on his trip around the U.S., so many birders are not given a chance to experience a true big year. Yet it still remains on every true birder’s’ bucket list, including my own. I have, myself, only seen mostly just common species with a handful of rarer birds. A world big year would require funding from an agency such as the Audubon. But deep in the deepest bowels of my avian heart, I know that that Big Year is on its way. A hundred birds species is something that I’m proud of, with by own birding year topped of with a Common Redpoll, bringing me to my final 124 bird species. It would be a crime if a person didn’t try at least once to have their own Big Day where avians alight themselves into your heart and onto your bird count list as so many have done unto me on my own unofficial Big Year.

This truly has been the biggest year in birding. Studies have shown evidence for more species to be announced, beefing-up many young birders’ lists in the future. Other studies have been published about almost every type of bird, explaining many aspects that were unknown prior to this year. Bird species could be doubled due to molecular evidence, hummingbird physics, swift and frigatebird sleeping in flight, the list is endless of this year’s discoveries. While Arjun had his own “Biggest Year,” this year has been perhaps the biggest year for birds in decades, not only for me but to all bird nerds.

Panthers take down Tool City

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By Payton Brooks, staff writer and Cutter’b Pritchard, sports editor

In the last 25 years, no team from Crawford County had won the Tool City wrestling tournament. That is until January 7, when Saegertown took the tournament in stellar fashion, marking the first time any PENNCREST school has held the crown.

“It showed that we have a chance to make it to states and win,” said freshman Kenny Kiser. This was Kiser’s first time at the tournament, and he placed second after pinning his way through the bracket. Kiser was one of four Panthers to go to the finals, including juniors Colton Beck and Cody Mulligan, and senior Jude Mattocks. Beck and Kiser finished as runner-ups, while both Mulligan and Mattocks took home first place plaques.

An additional six Panthers reached the podium; freshman Alex Kightlinger, senior Brent Elizon, and senior Jarott Ruhl placed sixth, while seniors Daytona English, Zack Posego, and Tyler Brooks finished in fifth.

Mulligan’s finish was especially impressive because not only was it his third Tool City title, but it was also his 100th win. After he won the championship, Mulligan looked into the stands to find his supporters.

“I was excited because I saw a bunch of my family there with a sign, and that meant a lot. The whole crowd applauded, and the announcer announced it as my 100th win,” said Mulligan. Now that he has this milestone under his belt, he wants to win states as an individual and make it to Hershey with the team.
“It isn’t just one Saegertown wrestler out there on that mat, it is all of us wrestling that match. We feel the pain of losing, and we feel the high of winning as a family.That’s what makes a great team. To be able to go out and wrestle every match to our best ability, that is what won us this tournament,” said Beck.

Dancers and Dunns head to Pennsylvania Farm Show

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By Rachel Barner, news editor

This week many people from around the state, including some Saegertown students, will gather at the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show, which begins today and runs through Jan. 14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. There are many exhibits, such as livestock, small animals, horses, food, clothing, and the butter sculpture.

Emily Dunn, eighth grade, and Patrick Dunn, junior, are both showing market barrows, or castrated pigs.

Last year, Patrick showed a market hog and Emily showed a market whether. Patrick placed first in his market swine class and Emily placed fifth in her market goat class.

Five students will be competing in square dancing as part of the Wild Country Dancers. Eighth graders Amanda Crowl, Haiku Peters, Sam Shelenberger, freshman Nathan Barner and senior Rachel Barner will dance tonight at 7 p.m.  Crowl, Shelenberger, and the Barners are in the pink set and Peters is in the blue set. Both the blue and pink sets won blue ribbons in last year’s competition.

“I feel like we can really pull this off at this competition,” Shelenberger said. You can watch the square dancing on PCN, channel 31 on Armstrong. For full results, visit the farmshow web site.