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.

Band and chorus spread holiday cheer

By Caitlin Bieganski, Assistant Photo Editor

Seasonal spirit was in the air last night, as Saegertown chorus and concert band put on a beautiful Christmas concert. Directed by Mr. Pat Baldwin, the band performed a total of seven pieces, finishing with Into the Storm by Robert W. Smith–a favorite of the ensemble. Chorus teacher Mrs. Susan James conducted ten classic Christmas songs, including as Carol, Singers Carol and Fum Fum Fum. As is tradition, the concert ended with Carol of the Bells, in which SHS alumni chorus members join the singers on stage. Every year, the concert spurs tender moments as the last Christmas performance for the senior members, who present Mrs. James with a gift and a large supply of Jelly Bellies.

 

Stewart performs with Erie Junior Philharmonic

By Sydney Kightlinger, Assistant Opinion Editor

Jesse Stewart after the winter concert at General McLane High School on Dec .2.

Jesse Stewart after the winter concert at General McLane High School on Dec. 2.

Any mention of dedicated musicians or grand performances conjures the image of middle aged adults in an elaborate theater playing some famous symphony by a dead obscure Russian composer, the kind of event parents make us attend.

This is not always the case, because some teenagers thrive on the warmth of the stage lights like sophomore Jesse Stewart. Stewart has been playing in the Erie Junior Philharmonic for two years. “There is nothing better than to be playing music with some of the best musicians all around the state,” said Stewart.

The Junior Philharmonic is an ensemble composed of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. It has students from twenty five schools including representation from all in the PENNCREST district. Jesse Stewart is the principle (first) tuba chair. Their most recent performance was Dec. 4, the Winter Ensemble Concert, where they played a wide variety of classical music. “The long hours of rehearsal really paid off. The music selection was one of our best. After the many weeks of rehearsal everything came together. I loved playing the Dubinushka,” said Stewart. The next concert is April 26, 2015.

Locals react to #AlexFromTarget

By Makenna Robison, Assistant Design Editor

#EmilyFromSubway takes her shot at overnight fame. (contributed photo)

#EmilyFromSubway takes her shot at overnight fame. (photo by Nick Monico)

Who is Alex from Target? Do you follow him on Twitter? Does he follow you? Saegertown junior Emily Johnson received a new Twitter follower on November 6 during the evening, and to her surprise it was Alex from Target! She says she retweeted two of Alex’s tweets, and minutes later, he followed her. Weird! Nobody knew of 16-year-old Alex Laboeuf on November 1, but by November 2, he had practically become famous with his own trending hashtag: #AlexFromTarget to prove it.

Everything started when a young girl, distracted by Alex’s good looks, took his picture as he was bagging her groceries in Texas. This picture was posted on Twitter and, for unexplainable reasons, it went viral on the internet. Alex claims to have no real talent such as singing, dancing, or acting. During his interview with Ellen DeGeneres, when asked if he had any other skills, he said, “Well, I mean apparently I can bag groceries pretty well.” The marketing firm, Breakr, tried to take credit for the rise of Alex, but everyone who has been asked about this company has denied ever hearing of it.

We know who Alex is here at Saegertown, but what do we think of him? Freshman Scout VanCise said, “I thought he looked cute based on the picture that was posted on Twitter, but after seeing other pictures of him later on, I didn’t think he was worth all the fuss!”

Though Alex has many new admirers, and nearly a million new Twitter followers, he has also experienced much negativity including death threats online. Alex has appeared on “Ellen” and been interviewed by many news outlets around the world. Modeling, movie, and television agents want to meet with Alex, and he has been offered sponsorships and advertising deals. Alex says he plans on doing what he has always done, getting up early for school, spending time with his friends and girlfriend, and working at Target, but will his fame last? Is it really that easy to become famous?

This is not the first time something like this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. Texas is surely larger than Saegertown, but is it possible that something like this could happen in our little town? Saegertown junior Nick Monico wanted to find out. He posted a picture of senior Emily Callan with the hashtag #EmilyFromSubway while she was working an evening shift at our local Subway on November 8 as a joking reference to #AlexFromTarget. Of course it didn’t receive thousands of favorites and retweets, but fourteen retweets and thirty-five favorites isn’t too bad!

Junior high students participate in #socktober

Eighth grade students collected items for Women's Services as part of #socktober.

Eighth grade students collected items for Women’s Services as part of #socktober.

By Stephen Boylan, Director of Marketing

“Kid President is so profound I can’t even take it,” said eighth grade student Charlie Johnson. He was referring to internet sensation Kid President, the “self-appointed voice of a generation” and the person responsible for the #socktober movement to collect socks and other household items for people in need. Over thirty of the junior high students participated in this event, collecting socks, toothpaste, hats, gloves, deodorant, shampoo, and other items for Women’s Services of Meadville.

“I think that this experience has really opened the students’ eyes to the fact that even the smallest acts of kindness help,” said communications teacher  Mrs. Susan Norwood, who brought the idea to Saegertown. Many students were surprised  when they heard from Women’s Services that some local women and children live in fear and could leave or be

Kid President can be found at kidpresident.com.

Kid President can be found at http://kidpresident.com.

kicked out of their homes, taking nothing with them but the clothes on their backs.

“It will really help the women and children in need this winter,” said Rose Hilliard from the Women’s Services of Meadville when she received Socktober donations from Saegertown Junior High. Hilliard was grateful for all the students who participated, and she noted that Women’s Services is always accepting donations, which  can be dropped off at 204 Spring Street in Meadville. To learn more, visit www.womensservicesinc.com.