Mini-Panthers prepare for high school basketball

By Becca Siple, Assistant Sports Editor

Max Fuller going up for a layup in his recent game on Saturday against Maplewood. Photo contributed by Becca Siple.

Max Fuller going up for a layup in his recent game on Saturday against Maplewood. Photo contributed by Becca Siple.

A fifth and sixth grade boys basketball league was brought to Saegertown from Cambridge 16 years ago by  Dan Bidwell, who coached the program along with Tim Wilson and Bob Beatty. The men each had kids who participated, and as their children would enter the high school, the parents would stop coaching and leave it in the hands of another set of parents. Todd Siple and Jim Amy were the most recent coaches, and as of 2014, they left it in the hands of Brant Fuller and Kelsy Reisinger. The program aims to teach young kids the basic fundamentals of the game and prepare them for their high school career.

This year there are two fifth grade teams and one sixth grade team. Mr. Fuller and Ms. Reisinger have spent many hours preparing the boys for game time. Teams from Cambridge, Fort LeBouf, General Mclane, Union City, and Maplewood participate in the program. They play on Saturdays, and high school basketball players volunteer to referee and work the scoreboard.

American Sniper stuns crowds

San Fransisco Public Library,

San Fransisco Public Library blogspot

By Lance Neuscheler, Staff Writer

As the credits roll and the packed crowd strolls out of the theater, the whole room is in complete silence. Sound familiar? Probably not, unless you’ve seen Clint Eastwood’s new film “American Sniper,” the film adaption of an autobiography written by Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in United States military history. Many Saegertown students have now seen the film and several were very impressed with how the movie turned out. “As the son of a military member, I can say that American Sniper was a very accurate depiction of what it’s like for a father in the armed forces” said senior Alex Barclay.

Considering that the crowds leaving the movie theater usually burst into conversation as soon as the movie ends, someone who hasn’t seen the movie may ask: what makes this movie so special? Maybe it’s the fact that the movie is a non-fiction biography of a man’s life, packed with mixed emotions and a constant debate over one man’s personal responsibilities. Maybe it’s also the reality that Chris Kyle died in 2013, murdered by one of the many veterans who he was trying to help. The movie’s final scenes, real footage of Chris Kyle’s funeral, certainly bring out emotion, along with respect from many of the audience members.

Amongst the movie’s supporters, however, there have been many critics, including some celebrities, taking shots at the now deceased SEAL. Many people feel not only that Chris Kyle was more of a murderer than hero, but also that the movie glorifies war and promotes racism. Critics back up these claims by highlighting many social media posts by moviegoers who claim that they “want to kill muslims” after watching the film. They also point out that in Kyle’s autobiography, he often refers to his enemies as savages and views them as evil.

In the face of the controversy, it is important to remember that American Sniper was developed as a biographical film to honor Chris Kyle and his family, and not as a war movie. Audience members expecting a hoorah war movie filled with non-stop action may be surprised to find that between the action, there’s a much more personal plot that is the focus of the movie. Regardless of whether or not the United States should have even been in the war in the first place, taking a side was not the film’s intended message. There is heavy emphasis on Kyle’s internal struggle to decide what he is more responsible for: his family or his country. The movie also delves into not only Kyle’s personal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but how it affects other veterans as well as their families and how Kyle adapts to life after being discharged. And it further includes his work with troubled and disabled veterans, which eventually led to his death.

As for Chris Kyle himself, he can hardly be seen as an evil man. Kyle was viewed as a good father, and a friend to many people. After his return to America, he worked with many veterans who were struggling, and brought some normality back to their lives. He was bravely willing to repeatedly risk his life to save United States troops and defend his country. While “savages” is not the most correct term for his enemy overseas, Kyle is a man who was trained to see no gray area, only black and white. Thrust into the situations that he was, Chris Kyle had no choice but to be desensitized to death and destruction and had to make the best out what happened in the war.  Kyle had to see the enemy as evil, and hesitation could result in his troops being wounded or killed.

“It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job,” said Chris Kyle in his autobiography. Before you criticize Chris Kyle for valuing his soldiers above the enemy, ask yourself: if someone you know was unknowingly about to be killed, would you let it happen, or would you take the shot?

Mrs. DeFrances welcomes Baby Michael

Emily Johnson, Director of marketing

Mrs. DeFrances' son Michael was born on Dec. 29. (contributed photo)

Mrs. DeFrances’ son Michael was born on Dec. 29. (contributed photo)

Mrs. Nicole  DeFrances and her husband, Matthew, welcomed a baby boy on December 29. Michael Lawrence DeFrances was born at albs. 8oz. Mrs.DeFrances is ecstatic about Michael’s arrival. She shared an adorable picture of Michael reading and said, “As a reading teacher, you can see it is important to me to get him looking at books.”

“He is definitely going easy on me as a new mother,” said DeFrances. Her family, which includes two dogs, has quickly adapted, although she shared, “They do act like neglected pound puppies now.”

She plans to visit the school soon with Michael so that students and staff can say hello to the newest Panther.

Seniors showcase future plans

By Lindsey Price, Staff Writer

Jess Tomiczek stands with her trifold at Senior Showcase Night.  (SHS/Lindsey Price)

Jess Tomiczek stands with her trifold at Senior Showcase Night. (Lindsey Price/SHS)

After completing the long journey leading up to Senior Showcase night, Saegertown High School’s seniors are relieved to have finished this stage in their senior year. English teacher and senior advisor Mr. William Hetrick described the showcase, which was held Jan. 21:  “It was absolutely perfect. I think all of the students did well with a few exceptions.”Throughout the night, the students shared their projects and presentations with peers, teachers, friends and family. Senior Olivia Burger said, “I really liked how this year was different than it’s been in the past, I thought the project was beneficial to me personally. It wasn’t just a general project; it was a personal experience which helped me a lot.” Mr. Hetrick said, “Although this year’s seminar went very well, there may be some minor tweaks and changes in store for next year.” To see more pictures from Senior Showcase, visit the school’s Edline page.

Five SHS students put under hypnosis spell

By Olivia Burger, Opinion Editor

Last Saturday, Jan. 24, seniors Ryan Kirdahy, Lance Neuscheler, Nick Rumzie, Garrett Zuver, and junior Nick Monico volunteered to enter a hypnotic state through the talents of traveling comedy hypnotist, Erick Kand. When asking for volunteers, all the students quickly walked upon stage and joined Kand on the Academy Theater stage, located in Meadville Pa. After attempting to be entranced through a series of initiation rituals, the students were asked to do numerous humorous actions such as pretending to be an oak tree, belly dancer, and pregnant woman.

Two of the students, Monico and Zuver, believe that they were under full hypnotic spell for a large duration of the show. “Oh yeah I was hypnotized. 100 percent. I didn’t act at all, it was all real,” Zuver said. “I remember all of it.”

The rest of the participants, Kirdahy, Neuscheler, and Rumzie, believe that they were not under full hypnotic spell, but were simply in a relaxed state of mind. “I don’t think I was hypnotized, but I also don’t think I would do some of that stuff if I wasn’t,” Kirdahy said. “It was really relaxing, and I remember it all.”

Rumzie said, “I don’t know what I was. I would not normally do something like act like a belly dancer in normal life if someone told be too. It was weird.”

Although the experience was different, all the students agree that they would go to a hypnotism show again. “I definitely will go again. I want to achieve a greater level of hypnosis. It was a lot of fun.”

Snowball Dance to be held Jan. 30

By Lauren Posego, Assistant News Editor

Don't miss out on the SHS Snow Ball Dance this Friday!  (Picture contributed by Lianna Ketcham)

Don’t miss out on the SHS Snow Ball Dance this Friday!
(Photo contributed by Lianna Ketcham)

Need something to do to beat the winter blues? The Key Club will be hosting a Snow Ball Dance on Friday, January 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Saegertown High School gymnasium for all students in grades 7-12. The gym will be decorated for the occasion with a winter theme. Cost will be $3 per person or $5 per couple. The dance is informal; you may wear any appropriate type of clothing that you wish. The proceeds from the dance will benefit the SHS Key Club and charities. Snacks and drinks will be available for extra cost. You may bring students from other schools, but they must be signed up in the office. Ben Haylett is going to DJ the event while using equipment provided by Mr.Youngblood. “Students from grades seven to twelve are coming, so we’ll have a diverse group. It’s going to be a ton of fun!” says Key Club representative, Sydney Kightlinger.

Panthers pummel Fort LeBoeuf Bison

Contributed photo of Jarrett Ruhl facing his opponent on Jan. 20.

Contributed photo of Jarrett Ruhl facing his opponent on Jan. 20.

By Alanna Stafford, staff writer

Tuesday January 20, Saegertown wrestlers took on their long time rivals the Fort LeBoeuf Bison. Jarrett Ruhl started the match off with a decisive victory in the 120-pound weight class, pinning his opponent in 2:54. Saegertown went on to throttle Fort LeBoeuf 36 -19, for their first victory in the rivalry since 2006.

Prior to the match against the Bison, Saegertown head coach Jim Mulligan ordered 500 assorted chicken wings that the team members enjoyed as part of a huge celebration that took place after the victory. Senior Garrett Zuver said, “This [beating Fort LeBoeuf] was our goal since we were little.” Focus has now shifted to the upcoming postseason for the team. On January 31, the team will travel to Sharon for the District Duals, and the top three teams will advance to the state finals. “If we wrestle up to our ability, we should be celebrating down in Hershey in a couple of weeks,” said senior Lance Neuscheler.

Square Dancers Take Home the Blue Ribbon at The Pennsylvania Farm Show

Saegertown square dancers pose for a picture. (Picture contributed by Rachel Barner)

Saegertown square dancers pose for a picture. (Picture contributed by Rachel Barner)

By Colleen Michaels, Features Editor

For the past five years, boys and girls from Saegertown High School have attended a huge event and brought home a blue ribbon for their square dancing expertise. With over 6,000 animals, almost 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits, what else could it be but Pennsylvania Farm Show? This year marked the 99th Pennsylvania Farm. From January 10  to January 17 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania massive groups of people visit the agricultural event that features every farm animal you can think of (cows, pigs, horses, chickens, etc…) along with a variety of home show exhibits. This year, Saegertown students danced their way to victory in a square dancing competition where they took first place. The ‘Wild Country Dancers’ have been dancing as a team for five years and have gone to farm show each of these years. This year marks the fifth year in a row that these students brought home a blue ribbon.

Junior Brittany Barr, sophomore Rachel Barner, eighth grader Ben Shelenberger and seventh graders Sam Shelenberger, Nathan Barner, and Emily Barr all traveled to Harrisburg last week to compete. “Other than wearing a skirt, it was great to spend time with friends and it felt amazing to win a blue ribbon…again,” said Brittany Barr. The team practiced once a week for about ten weeks until Christmas. Over Christmas break, they practiced two hours every other day in preparation for the Farm Show competition.

Once they got to the show, they practiced daily, and on Monday, day three of the show, the dancers competed against thirty other eight-person teams. With over 480 dancers and more than 60 teams, it is a hectic evening, but all the practice paid off. The Wild Country Dancers danced five songs, including ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and ‘Calender Girl’ sung by a professional caller, before clinching the blue ribbon. “It was so much fun and I’m already looking forward to next year,” said Emily Barr. To watch the PCN broadcast click here.

Yearbook takes silver in American Scholastic Press Association competition

SHS seniors pose with their award.  (Picture by Makenna Robison)

SHS seniors pose with their award.
(Picture by Makenna Robison)

By Haley Wise, Staff Writer

Last year’s Pantherian Yearbook titled “Branching Out” was recently awarded second place by the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA).

The staff became eligible for this award by mailing an application to the ASPA. Each school that submits an application is categorized by their number of students. Saegertown was placed in a division along with other schools that enrolled roughly 550 students last year.

The ASPA judges each yearbook on aspects such as: overall use of theme, use of color, photographs, quality of the copy (stories) and inclusion of as many students as possible. Yearbook adviser Mrs. Dee Henry said, “We were proud of our overall aesthetic appearance and lack of grammatical errors.”

The ASPA provides feedback for the yearbook staff as well. They critique the publication and make suggestions to improve or change aspects of the yearbook. “We are really excited to make the necessary changes to improve our publication this year,” said Mrs. Henry.

Lurking in your food: What are you really eating?

Ba-da-ba-ba-bah I'm not lovin' It.

Ba-da-ba-ba-bah I’m not lovin’ It. image from

By Wyatt Fleischer, Assistant Social Media Editor

What is that chicken nugget really made of? There is some chicken in there, but not the kind of chicken you think. Many companies, like Tyson poultry, process their meats in an “efficient” way. Once the breast, wings, and thighs are stripped off the bird, all other parts of the bird are reused. The bones and skin are sent through a machine that turns them into a putrid pink, or a banal brown sludge. This is what makes up most of your chicken patties, hot dogs, and nuggets.

The FDA says massive companies need to have at least thirty-five percent real meat in their products. Okay, but what about the other sixty-five percent?  That mainly consists of water starches or chemicals, and let’s not forget about that sludge. This gelatinous goo makes up most of the chicken nuggets. Not only do these nuggets have huge amounts of calorie storage, but they also heighten the chances of you getting type two diabetes and foodborne illnesses.

The World Health Organization keeps a watchful eye on companies and jots down its observations, yet this doesn’t change what it’s seeing. The companies, under public watch, turn up their noses to any outcry of foul play in the creation of their products. Several years ago, CBS released a story about Subway’s bread. The bread contained a chemical that was also found in your everyday yoga mat and even the bottom of your shoes. The chemical is called azodicarbonamide. Subway used this to “bleach” the dough to make it whiter. This chemical comes from a genetically modified wheat. The effects of azodicarbonamide are skin irritation, oppression of the immune system, and even the disturbance of hormone levels. Europe and Australia have banned this chemical from all use near food. This isn’t only Subway’s bread, but also Little Debbie Honey Buns, Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, and many items served at McDonald’s, Burger King, and Starbucks. Subway did remove this chemical from its food to appease and serve the customers in a better fashion.

When it comes to peanut butter, as much as humans like this substance, so do our rodent counterparts. The FDA reports an allowance of one rat hair per one-hundred grams of peanut butter.  Diseases can be transmitted from these rodents to us through feces, urine, and saliva. Some of these diseases include hemorrhagic fever, rat-bite fever, Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis, and Listeriosis. Rat-bite fever, much like the well known “cat scratch fever”, causes symptoms such as inflammation, fever and vomiting. Bad cases of Leptospirosis show failure of the kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs. CBS reported on many of these unorthodox ingredients found in many foods. To learn more, visit