Opinion: Adding clubs creates opportunity for students to connect

By Samantha Thomas, staff writer

After school clubs have served as a way to improve confidence and employability in ways that most things cannot. Not only do clubs teach about teamwork, but they make it easier to make and keep good friends. I believe that by joining clubs you can improve time management, build respect, and avoid risky behaviors.

I recently asked the students of Saegertown what new clubs they think we should have. Junior Logan Gage said, “We should have a Dungeons and Dragons club. It’s a great way to get away from stress at school and the world.” Gage isn’t the only one with that idea. Junior Casey Jackson agreed on the importance of having a place to game: “We should have a gaming club for the people who need to unwind and do something they enjoy.”

Senior Lexxi Frye thinks a photography club would be a great place to learn photography and photo editing. “There are a lot of people who join yearbook specifically for the photography aspect,” Frye said.

A student who asked to remain anonymous voiced, “We need a gay alliance club. I notice a lot of people struggling with their identity as members of the LGBT community.”

It is important for teenagers to be able to meet and communicate with people with the same uncertainties, beliefs, and hobbies. It’s nice to know you’re not alone when you are living in such a small and fairly secluded area where it’s easy to feel like an outcast.

Creating clubs can change that or at least make it easier to find friends and hobbies. I strongly believe that more after-school clubs would benefit the students of Saegertown in unique and incredible ways.

French Creek Community Theater packs the house at Disney World

 

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Saegertown students Dustin Steiger, Rachel White, and Blake Hamilton performed at Disney with a group from French Creek Community Theater over the Thanksgiving break.

By Dustin Steiger, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Roughly six months ago, the student performers of French Creek Community Theatre (FCCT) began training for “Team Disney 2018,” a special opportunity to perform as a show choir on Saturday, November 24 at Disney Springs. The young actors and actresses involved with FCCT were more than excited to show Orlando what they had. As Thanksgiving Break began, the students, including  Saegertown students Blake Hamilton, Rachel White, and myself, made their way to Florida.

As a proud FCCT performer myself, I can personally say that the experience was absolutely exhilarating. The group arrived and checked into Disney’s All-Star Music Resort a couple days before the performance, which gave us a couple days to get familiar with the parks and to explore. On Friday, November 23, the group attended two “Workshop” sessions, which gave us the opportunity to discover the process that Disney performers and voice actors go through first-hand.

For the first workshop, we learned and performed a dance routine for the Disney song “I Have a Dream,” and for the second workshop, we recorded voice-overs using footage from the Disney movie “Frozen.” While exploring the parks and attending the workshops were certainly amazing, the real highlight of the trip came from the Team Disney 2018 performance on Saturday.

With the hot sun beating down on us, we arrived at the Marketplace Stage in Disney Springs and crowded backstage, where we waited anxiously. After the group said a quick prayer, we were introduced by the announcer and walked on stage to find the seats filled, with a large number of people standing behind the seats in order to watch. With every song we performed came rounds of applause and smiles from the audience. The show lasted about a half an hour, with the group performing fourteen total songs, including popular Disney tunes such as “The Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and “Colors of the Wind,” as well as a few Broadway hits, such as “One Short Day” from the musical Wicked and “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent.

“I one-hundred percent won’t (forget this),” said Jonathan Merritt, FCCT performer and a former Saegertown Panther. “(These are the) best years of my life.”

“This theatre is my family,” said Rachel White, “and I can always count on them. I will always remember the adventures.”

Lady Panthers fall short in playoffs

By Taylor Munce, sports editor

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The Lady Panthers prepare for the upcoming match as a team.

The Lady Panthers hit their way to a positive record, finishing the season 8-6, slightly improving on last year’s 7-7 record.The ladies had their final loss against Cochranton on Oct. 30 in the semi-finals of the D10 playoffs.

Despite their losses, the ladies had positive feelings about the season. Claudia Fetzer, senior libero, believes that teamwork and hard work carried the team to semi-finals. “It’s been my best volleyball season yet due to our teamwork,” Fetzner said.

Senior outside hitter Mikayla Balog agrees that this season has been the best of her high school volleyball career. Balog accomplished her personal goal of sixty 60 kills in an entire season.

Cami Reynolds, senior outside hitter, said: “During the season I think we had the skill, but there were times when it was a hit or miss,” she believes that the team had the “push” they needed from Coach Johnson.

The Panthers’ seniors: Mikayla Balog, Carlie Schlosser, Claudia Fetzner, and Cami Reynolds have become integral parts of the team and their losses will be felt by next years’ team. Junior Carmen Kantz and junior Kaylee Mulligan will lead the 2019 team as experienced players.

 

Ms. Nova Dinsmore receives REC grant for Hispanic Fair

By Morgan Radwick, design editor

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Ms. Nova Dinsmore

After the success of the first annual Hispanic Fair last school year, the Northwestern Regional Electric Company has awarded Spanish teacher Ms. Nova  Dinsmore a grant of $200 to put towards supplies and materials for this year’s event.

Ms. Dinsmore assigns her students a Spanish speaking country to research. Then they create tri-fold poster boards and prepare culturally accurate food that corresponds with their designated country. Students display their efforts at the Hispanic Fair. 

Ms. Dinsmore plans to spend the funds on baking and cooking supplies. “Last year students made food. However, we ran out quickly,” Ms. Dinsmore said. “This year I am hoping to give the students supplies so they can make more food.”

The Hispanic Fair will be held on Arts and Academics Night, which is set for May 29, 2019.

Katelyn Young verbally commits to Lehigh

By Will Phelan, social media editor

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Saegertown junior Katelyn Young

Junior softball star Katelyn Young has caught the eyes of high-level college coaches since her freshman year, and on October 27,  she verbally committed to play at Lehigh University. “I was planning on attending Buffalo until late this summer, when the coach I committed to left,” she said.  When UB’s coach moved to another school, other schools reached out to Young. Lehigh was one of them. “I identified Lehigh as a school I would be interested in because of their great mix of high-level softball and stellar academics,” Young said.  

After visiting, Young was drawn to the campus:  “I love the entire campus because it is so beautiful,” she said. “I also like that the school is on the smaller scale, so it will be like home.”  Located in Bethlehem, Pa., Lehigh’s student total is on the low end of most universities with about 5,000. Contrarily, she noted its distance from home.  “I don’t like that it is 5 ½ hours away,’’ Young said. “But it is actually not that bad of a drive.”

While she isn’t sure of her educational plans, Young says Lehigh has plenty of options.  In terms of the softball team: “With everything being positive and the likeliness of being able to play in the NCAA tournament, I decided Lehigh was the place for me,” she said. She also noted that her future coach is personable and friendly.  

“Coach Troyan actually drove to my house and enjoyed taco Tuesday dinner,” Young said.  The two have a solid relationship already and look forward to her future at Lehigh. Of her decision Young ultimately said, “I have to say we are both very excited.”

The Premiere Broadcast and the Review: Alumni Jacob Perrett wows with ‘Weird Fiction’

Broadcast by Sam Shelenberger, broadcast director

Review by Braeden Kantz, managing editor

“Weird Fiction,” a local independent film, premiered on Oct. 3 at the Movies at Meadville. The low-budget film captivated the audience, many of whom had purchased seats several weeks in advance to ensure a spot at the first showing. Produced and directed by Saegertown alumni Jacob Perrett, “Weird Fiction” created a near-perfect rendering of the greatest moments in 1980s horror cinema.

Perrett has undoubtedly displayed all of his skills as a director in his most recent film. By breaking the film into four shorter segments, Perrett masterfully created a universe of cliche 80s horror. Locally casting and producing the film, Perrett faced a variety of adversities including trouble finding actors and an extremely low budget. Despite a lack of resources, the cast managed to piece together a proficient rendering of the 80s lifestyle and fashion.

The film consistently surprised the audience with shocking plot twists and amazing visual effects that developed a realistic setting with characters to which audience could easily relate. “Squid,” the last short’s antagonist, was the peak of the film’s visual excellence. The make-up and visual effects seemed flawless and stunned the audience, who were aware of the limited resources spent on the project from the pre-screening discussion with the directors. 

Perrett is currently in the process of developing his newest film, the title of which has not yet been released. “Weird Fiction” also showed at the Tinseltown Theatre on Oct. 12 and will show again at the Park Avenue Cinema on Oct. 31 for Perrett’s “Monster Mash,” where anyone who comes to the showing dressed in a costume will be admitted for free. Be sure to attend to support local aspiring actors and directors.

 

New York City’s Backtrack Vocals coming to Saegertown tomorrow

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

On Thursday May 3, Backtrack Vocals (an award-winning New York based, five-person a cappella group) will perform for Saegertown High School students at 1 p.m. in the auditorium.

In addition, the group will offer workshops for students in Mrs. Susan James’ chorus classes on topics including movement/stage presence, group vocal improvisation, beatboxing, and singing solos.

Backtrack Vocals performs around the United States at universities, concert halls, festivals, high schools and private functions. Noteworthy locations they’ve appeared at are Carnegie Hall, Apollo Theater and Beacon Theater.

Mrs. James is excited for the opportunity. “I hope it will help them [chorus members] see the possibilities of where singing could take them. I want them to have a different perspective than just their music teacher,” Mrs. James said. “As for everyone else, I just want them to have a good time and see something they don’t usually see live.”

The group’s web site states: “Backtrack explores the power of the human voice through unique vocal arrangements, tight harmonies and world-class beatboxing. The group pushes the limits of a cappella, creating impressive covers of past and present pop music, writing inspiring original compositions and daring to take on unexpected genres such as classical and electronic music.”

Backtrack has won multiple awards such as the 2017 Steve Harvey’s Sing Off Winner, 2017 International Championship of A Cappella Open (Final); Best Beatbox, 2017 International Championship of A Cappella Open (Northeast Semi-final); First Place, Best Arrangement, 2017 Aca-Challenge; First Place; Audience Favorite and 2016 YouTube Next Up competition Winner.

Backtrack has accumulated almost ten million views on their YouTube page ‘Backtrack Vocals,’ with 109,800 subscribers. You can visit them at their website, www.backtrackvocals.com, Facebook, Instagram, or download their music on iTunes.

 

Statistics surveys

Mr. Bidwell’s Saegertown statistics classes are currently surveying students for accurate data on a variety of subjects. In order to take a survey, click on any of the nine links below. All nine surveys should not take more than five minutes, and we ask that you please answer all of them honestly. Thank you for your time and cooperation.

Favorite color

Favorite pet

Favorite Jolly Rancher

Standardized testing

CDT growth

Favorite pizza

Favorite Vehicle

School cafeteria food

Favorite sports