Reisinger travels to national 4-H Avian Bowl

by Morgan Radwick, staff writer

chicken bowl

Saegertown students competing at the Avian Bowl.

Sophomore Kimmy Reisinger knows more poultry trivia than the average person, and she recently attended the National 4-H Avian Bowl held in Louisville, Kentucky. The contest challenges its participants’ knowledge on poultry. Contestants are given a manual to study over the summer before the competition and are tested on the content. In addition, each contestant receives a day old chick that they raise and take to the competition.

Reisinger qualified for Nationals this year after she and her team, which includes Heidi Wentz from Maplewood and John Reinman from Cochranton, took first place in the competition last year which was held at Penn State University Park. The national competition was held this year from Nov. 14-17.

“I like everything about it,” Reisinger said. Her favorite part is raising the chick she was given and learning anything and everything she can about the small hen.

The qualifying contest is comprised of twenty-five questions including short answer multiple choice, and spelling questions.  

Reisinger’s competition took place on Thursday, Nov. 16. She and her team also toured the Louisville Slugger bat factory and Churchill Downs on Wednesday. ”It was very stressful, but after my first round I relaxed and just had fun,” Reisinger said. “We were first up which was very scary.” Despite being nervous, Reisinger and her team came in fifth out of 13 teams.      

Concluding the competition, Reisinger said, “The day of showmanship is stressful, but it’s worth it in the end.”

Shelenberger inducted into Erie Jr. Philharmonic

By Hannah Myers, photo editor


Sam Shelenberger

Each and every one of us has a passion; for sophomore Sam Shelenberger, his passion is music. On September 11, Shelenberger was accepted into The Erie Jr. Philharmonic, as a trombone player.

The Erie Jr. Philharmonic is a performing ensemble for students in fifth through twelfth grades who excel in instrumental performance. The ensemble was started in 1953 by Music Director James Sample and President William Schuster. The group is currently celebrating its sixty fourth anniversary.

“I felt like it would give me an excellent opportunity to grow as a musician. It certainly has done that, and we’re only halfway through the season,” Shelenberger said. He has already had two performances with the group, including a combined side-by-side concert with the Erie Philharmonic on Nov. 1.

Shelenberger plays in both the orchestra, where he is on the trombone two part and in the brass ensemble. “I was told by Jesse Stewart to do it, so I auditioned and got in.” SInce Stewart graduated last year, Shelenberger is currently the only student from Saegertown to play in the Jr. Phil.

The group practices at General McLane and performs at Cole Auditorium in Edinboro. His upcoming concerts are the Winter Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Cole Auditorium (general admission $5), and the Winter Ensemble Concert at Blasco Library in Erie on Thursday Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. which is free to the public.

With two concerts next week, Shelenberger is ready. “I am kind of nervous, but I think we will pull it off.”

K-9 unit visits Saegertown students

by Autumn Jones, marketing director

k9 2k9 1Saegertown’s eighth grade students received a visit from the Edinboro Police K-9 unit during eighth period, on Wednesday, November 1. The unit consists of a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois named Kenzo and his handler Officer Landon Silva. Officer Silva was asked to come in and teach the students about the consequences of drug and alcohol possession while relating it to the current lessons being taught in their health classes.

Kenzo has been training with the force since he was a puppy, learning Dutch commands as he was taught in his kennel in Europe during his very early stages before being purchased for $13,000. Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger donated $10,000 of the cost.

Kenzo assists Officer Silva in apprehending and tracking criminals as well as searching for drugs. Kenzo’s handler carries Narcan with him in case of any overdoses the dog may encounter when sniffing for drugs in a search. The Narcan would then be administered nasally and would reverse the effects of most drugs which might have been inhaled.

“I love the dog and learning about different penalties with drugs and alcohol,” said eighth grader Olivia Lallemand. The students seemed to be very interested in the subject, as they were asking questions about drugs, alcohol, and Kenzo’s role on the force.

Kamryn Fuller said, “It was good. We learned a lot about drugs and what they (the dogs) do for their job.”

Kenzo returns home every night with Officer Landon Silva where they share a pillow. Despite being a police dog, Kenzo lives a regular life of a dog while he is not on duty.

School board election today: PENNCREST filling six seats


by Erik Murphy, web site editor

penncrest logo.jpegUnbeknownst to many of the students in the PENNCREST School District, a hotly contested election among school board candidates is taking place today and could result in huge implications for students, faculty, and taxpayers alike.

Nine candidates are currently running for six positions on the school board. Mark Gerow, Gerry Deane, Timothy Brown, and Travis Porter are seeking reelection while Bob Johnston, Jeffrey Brooks, Staci Porter, Terrance Deane, and Robert Gullick are seeking their first term on the board.

Timothy Brown is a Crawford County native and is married to Saegertown Elementary teacher Mrs. Brown. He seeks to update the curriculum and manage the budget while acknowledging that “micromanaging every penny of the budget is almost impossible.” Bob Johnston served eight years on the board of the now closed French Creek Valley School Board. Despite its closure, he claims that they were able to work through the issues at the time.

Travis Porter is a Saegertown graduate and local business owner. His children attend Cambridge Springs. He intends to make changes in regards to the declining enrollment and spend more time breaking down the budget. His wife, Staci Porter is also seeking a position on the board. She has an accounting degree and is employed at two tax offices in Meadville. Notably, she said that she seeks to run the school board “like a business,” at the candidate forum on Oct. 25 at Saegertown, but she later said, “Kids are not dollar signs.”

Gerry Deane, current vice president of the school board, spent 38 years in Education and is concerned with the the lack of teamwork in the board and student preparation for the global economy. Her husband, Terrance Deane, worked in the district since 1983. He is well-known in the community as Saegertown’s former junior high basketball coach. Deane seeks to gain a better grasp on the concept if elected and will try to lower expenses if at all possible.

Robert Gullick spent 25 years in retail and 17 years as an elementary teacher until he retired last year. Gullick shares similar viewpoints with Mr. Deane and said that the board should discuss what fellow boards are doing right and follow in their footsteps. He related this concept to compromising among board members. Mark Gerow graduated from Cambridge Springs and, like Mrs. Porter, possesses a degree in accounting. He discussed what things used to be like in the district in regards to community boards, clubs, boosters, etc.

Navy veteran Jeffrey Brooks spent time as a student teacher and a social worker. He became more involved in the school board and parent committee after proposed cuts to school libraries were made. At the candidate forum, Brooks suggested that a functioning board will attract good superintendents.

Many have vocalized concerns involving incremental, year on year tax increases. Increases of $50-$60 per year have become commonplace in nearby school districts such as General McLane. Such increases have been cited as the way of the future for PENNCREST, for better or for worse. Moreover, some have criticized spending in PENNCREST. At the October 12 school board meeting, citizen Art Hoffman said the school board lacks a system of “checks and balances” and “is not a dictatorship.”

All nine candidates stated that they are opposed to consolidation of two or all three schools into a singular facility. However, Mr. Porter and Mr. Gerow discussed the fact that it may come to that if something isn’t done.

Regardless of who is elected, the new board could certainly bring about a huge change in direction for the future of the district.

Election results will be posted on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.

Technology upgrade at Saegertown: students receive new iPads

by Hannah Myers, photo editor


Seventh Grader Ella Worley uses a new iPad during lunch.

The technology at Saegertown has received an upgrade from previous years. About 1,100 new full-size iPads with keyboards were purchased for students in grades seven through nine across the district. Last year, we learned that the cost for these iPads was roughly $398 a piece along with the Logitech Rugged Keyboard/Case Combo.

While students in grades seven through nine received the new devices, those in grades ten through twelve have kept the same iPad minis they have had throughout their high school career. If something happens to an iPad mini, the student will be given a replacement because technology staff have about a hundred on reserve due to the decrease in enrollment each year and the new devices that have been provided.

“They work nice, but I think they’re way too big, and when you go to put the keyboard behind the iPad, it disconnects from it; but as the year goes on, you get used to it,” freshman Cassie Dross said. Not all students feel negatively. “I like working with the keyboard better,” freshman Ella Nicholson said. “It’s easier to use than the one on the iPads.”

While generally efficient, there have been several complaints about the new iPads. “If a student has a problem with charging or an app download, they can restart the iPad and most problems are resolved,” said Jason Williams, PENNCREST supervisor of technology.

The future plans for the iPad are that every student will receive a new, full-size iPad with the keyboard and case combo.

Chamber singers declared an ‘Advanced Level Choir’


by Morgan Radwick, staff writer

After five months of anticipating the results of the Adjudication Festival, the Chamber Singers were declared an advanced level three choir.

On May 10, the Chamber Singers participated in the festival at Westminster College, now known as the Music Performance Assessments (MPA). The songs they performed were “Sing me to Heaven,” “Take Me Home” arranged by Pentatonix, and “Adoramus te.”

The MPA is hosted by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the musical development of students in Pennsylvania.

Of 12 schools competing, Saegertown was the only school from District 2 to participate. Other ensembles that competed were Wilmington chorus, Mercer chamber choir, and Hickory chamber singers. The reason for competing is simple. “I wanted the kids to have the experience of being critiqued,” said Mrs. Susan James.

Being an advanced level three choir places high recognition on the Saegertown Chamber Singers. The scale goes from one to five and can be proficient or advanced. “If students scored proficient, it’s good to see what they can grow on,” Mrs. James said, referring to the scoring system.

Overall, the students had a great time competing at the festival. “I hope we go to the festival again this year. I really enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again,” said Dustin Steiger, member of the Chamber Singers. For more information about the festival, visit the PMEA web site.

Saegertown teacher first woman to complete Great Lakes Marathon Series

By Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, news editor and sports editor

Heather Patton Medals

Mrs. Heather Patton has collected medals from all 25 of the marathons she completed for the Great Lakes Marathon Series. She is the first female to finish the series.

Saegertown High School alumni and teacher Heather Patton developed an affinity for running after falling from her horse at the age of eight.

“I think I originally started running when I fell off a horse and refused to get back on,” Patton said. “I decided I wanted to go along with my mom horseback riding, and so I’d run along beside her.”

From there, her love for running only flourished.  Patton started running competitively as a member of the cross country team at Saegertown High School. During her senior year, she was selected as the female representative for Pennsylvania to the USA Track and Field Team through the World Sports Exchange. In July of 2000 she sold her horse to support her trip to Sydney, Australia, where she participated in the Sun Herald City to Surf road race. She then continued her running career at Seton Hill University from 2001-2004.

She eventually turned to marathon running. And it was in this sport that Patton would become a trailblazer.

On October 15, Patton became the first woman to complete the roughly 629-mile Great Lakes Marathon Series, which she started in November 2013. The GLMS manually records each runner’s time and was recently able to verify Patton’s accomplishment. “She’s our first female finisher, and we are very proud,” said Tara Sieve, director of the GLMS.

Patton At Lambeau Field

Patton finished the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in May with a lap around Lambeau Field.

The Great Lakes Marathon Series is a chain of 25 marathons along the five Great Lakes. Partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, it invites runners to appreciate the individuality of each race, while raising awareness for the protection and conservation of the environment.

In May of 2013, after Patton ran the Buffalo Marathon, her husband Dan Patton

introduced the Great Lakes Marathon series. “I really never gave it any thought,” Heather said. “It basically went in one ear and right out the other.”

Five months later, while on the Erie Marathon website, she saw information about the GLMS. This time her interest piqued. She signed up for the series on Oct. 12, 2013 at 9:27 p.m.

Patton started the series on Nov. 3, 2013 at the Hamilton Marathon in Ontario. She planned to ease through the competition running two or three marathons a year, but soon escalated to six or seven. “She always has been very competitive,” Dan Patton said. “That’s just how she is.” She finished with a time of 3:44:25 in the Hamilton Marathon. Her personal best time at that point was 3:44:14 at the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle in 2009. “When I crossed the finish line, I stopped my watch and was happy but a bit disappointed,” Patton said. She did eventually set a new personal record of 3:39:59 at the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon.

Press Conference Heather

Heather Patton, along with her husband Dan and her parents Cheryl and Kenny Eckart, appeared at a press conference with the staff of The Panther Press on Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

The Saegertown graduate faced many challenges throughout the series. Blisters, stress fractures, jetlag and a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel bone and the toes, hindered her journey. The 97 degree weather during the Oktoberfest Marathon in Michigan  proved difficult. She didn’t let that stop her. “I just kept thinking that I need to keep positive and keep thinking about the finish line. I didn’t travel this far not to finish,” Patton said.

Despite injuries and geographical complications, Patton went on to run two consecutive marathons in one weekend in Ashland, WI, and Detroit, MI to finish the series. That is an equivalent of 52.4 miles in a total of 48 hours. The race in Detroit was nearly cancelled due to bad weather. “I was watching the sky,” Patton said. “It was my anxiety of not being able to finish.”

The GLMS has taken her to eight states, and across the border to Canada. Her daughters Paige and Olivia, ages five and six, and husband have accompanied her to 14 of the GLMS marathons. “My husband and daughters are my main motivation,” Patton said. She noted that her favorite marathon was the Glass City in Toledo because she could see her family as they drove to cheer her on at several points during the race.

The first person to finish the series was Canadian Steve Wilkinson, who completed the series in two years, finishing ten marathons in the first year and 15 the next. Patton will receive an official jacket for completing the marathon series, and she still seems a bit surprised that it’s over. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m still thinking about marathons.”

HOW SHE DID IT: Patton’s path to completion of the GLMS

  • 11/3/13 Hamilton Marathon Hamilton, ON
  • 4/27/14 Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon   Toledo, ON
  • 5/18/14 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon     Cleveland, OH
  • 7/12/14 Waugoshance Trail Marathon    Carp Lake, MI
  • 8/30/14 Marquette Marathon    Marquette, MI
  • 9/21/14 MVP Health Care Rochester Marathon   Rochester, NY
  • 10/12/14 Towpath Marathon    Cleveland, OH
  • 5/2/15 Wisconsin Marathon Kenosha, WI
  • 5/24/15 Buffalo Marathon Buffalo, NY
  • 6/27/15 Charlevoix Marathon Charlevoix, MI
  • 10/11/15 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL
  • 10/25/15 Niagara Falls International Marathon Niagara Falls, ON
  • 5/1/16 Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon Toronto, ON
  • 6/18/16 Grandma’s Marathon Duluth, MN
  • 7/23/16 Grand Island Trail Marathon Munising, MI
  • 9/11/16 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle Erie, PA
  • 10/1/16 Sleeping Bear Marathon Empire, MI
  • 10/16/16 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Toronto, ON
  • 5/7/17 Mississauga Marathon   Mississauga, ON
  • 5/21/17 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon   Green Bay, WI
  • 6/24/17 Two Hearted Trail Marathon Paradise, MI
  • 9/10/17 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle   Erie, PA
  • 9/23/17 Oktoberfest Marathon    Spring Lake, MI

Heather with tribune article


For more information about the Great Lakes Marathon Series, visit their website.

(With additional reporting by sports editor Cami Reynolds and editor in chief Bailey Kozalla. This article appeared in The Meadville Tribune on Oct. 30. All photos contributed.)