Phelan caps off golf career with trip to state finals

by Nick Archacki, news editor

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Phelan (left) took twenty-eighth place at the PIAA Boys AA State Individual Championships.

As the sun rose in York, Pa. on Oct. 22., Saegertown senior and local golf prodigy Will Phelan took to the course for the last time in his eventful high school career.

Phelan, an athletic and academically talented senior, trekked across the state for the fourth consecutive year as he participated in the PIAA Boys AA State Individual Championships on Oct. 22 and 23 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.  

On Monday, Phelan shot an 18-hole round of 89, putting him in thirty-third place out of thirty-five golfers for the tournament. “Heritage Hills is a tough course with little room for error,” Phelan said. “I enjoy playing it, even though the layout of the course doesn’t really suite the strengths of my game.” In response to his score of 89, Phelan brought in another 18-hole round of 84, bringing his overall total to 173 and finishing in twenty-eighth place, the exact position Phelan placed at last year in this event.

Phelan is the first golfer in the history of Saegertown High School to compete at the PIAA State Championships in all four years of high school, competing with the team in 2015 and 2016, and individually in 2017 and 2018.

Each of his trips has been a unique experience. “All four years that I competed there (Heritage Hills) were different, and having several people golfing with you for the team event is a totally different atmosphere and experience than just golfing for yourself,” Phelan said. “I love the experience of golfing individually, but I prefer to golf with the team and have them there with me.”

Phelan admits he did not finish his golfing career as strongly as he hoped, but he still thoroughly enjoyed his experiences with varsity golf. “I’ll miss the connection I had with the golf team, the practices that we had, and the good times we shared,” Phelan said.

The camaraderie between team members has left Phelan with several fond memories. He cited when junior Nick Archacki plowed into the reese hitch of a Nissan truck with a golf cart at the Western Regionals Team event in 2016 as a memory that he will forever cherish. He also noted that one of his greatest moments was when he shot an 83 at the Treasure Lake Silver Course at the Western Team Regionals event in 2015, helping the golf team move on to the state finals for their first time.

Throughout his golfing career, Phelan has stunned many with his skill, grit, and unmistakable power. Phelan has evolved from a curious and inexperienced freshman to a notable and respected golfer who has left his lasting impact on Saegertown. “I’d like to thank the team for their support and Coach Hanley for the encouragement,” Phelan said. “It’s been a great ride.” 

Prom moves to Erie location for ‘Enchanted Garden’

By Chloe Luchansky, staff writer

No one at Saegertown can remember a time when prom was held in Erie. All of that is about to change. On Thursday Oct. 11, the junior class met with junior class adviser Ms. Nova Dinsmore to decide the 2019 prom venue, and it was decided that prom will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott Erie Ambassador Center on May 17, 2019.

On Oct. 24, members from the prom committee traveled to the venue to consider decorations. The theme is “Enchanted Garden” and the colors are blue and white. “We lucked out on the location because it’s a beautiful space and it was the only place available on May 17,” said junior class president Lauren Haylett.

The junior class is currently doing a Yankee Candle Fundraiser. If students sell at least 25 items, the cost of their ticket will be covered.  

Some students have expressed their concerns about the added distance, but the prom committee hopes the Erie location will give students more options for dinner and photo locations. “Having prom in Erie gives more options for dinner,” Haylett said. “The drive is no farther than the one to Hotel Conneaut, so it all works out.”

“A new location brings endless possibilities,” said junior class advisor Ms. Nova Dinsmore. “The 2019 prom committee is very excited to present the most Enchanted Prom.”

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.

 

Seniors test the waters with early dismissal

By Claudia Fetzner, photo editor 

Since the first week of October, seniors have been given the opportunity to leave thirty minutes early every Wednesday. Whether students use this extra half hour to nap, catch up on homework, or grab a bite to eat, seniors are benefitting from their early dismissal. Senior soccer player Brenna Repko said: “It’s great, I am able to go home and get some work done before practice.”

The process for leaving is made easy by Mr. Chris Greco, science teacher and senior class adviser, who stands at the office doors and quickly checks out the eager seniors. The checklist, created by Assistant Principal Kylene Koper, is updated weekly to include those who meet the requirements (see below). Seniors must meet these expectations every week in order to be released.

Seniors who attend the Crawford County Career and Technical Center have been given the opportunity to arrive thirty minutes late on Wednesdays to compensate for missing afternoon releases. “It’s something different,” said senior Charlie Johnson. “It’s definitely better than being here at 8 a.m.”

In order to be eligible for release, seniors must:  

  • have no attendance issues (all excuses are turned in with no illegal or unexcused absences)
  • have zero discipline issues
  • have no zeros in classes and have passing grades in every class
  • not be needed for the Intervention/Extension period
  • must have a signed parent form to give permission to leave on record in the office

Sign up for fun on Friday afternoon

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

Two extra half-hour periods will be added to the school day on Friday, Oct. 26. The schedule will be the same as Wednesdays, with a morning period and an afternoon period.  

The morning will be used as meeting times for established clubs with advisers such as Key Club, Hi-Q, Campus Club, and Prom/Spanish Club. The afternoon period, on the other hand, will be used for fun recreational activities, such as a Poetry and Creative Writing Club with Mrs. Stacey Hetrick, an electronics room with Mr. Chris Greco, and Four Square in the Gym.

Sign-up sheets will be posted outside the teachers’ respective rooms. Students will report to their first period teachers at the start of the day and then head to their clubs in the morning.

If you aren’t in a club, you will remain in your first period class for a study hall in the morning. In addition, eligible seniors who have their senior release forms filled out on time will be allowed to leave at 2:25 p.m. 

To check out the club and activity lists, click the links below.

ACTIVITIES LIST

CLUB LIST

Marching band headed to LMBA championships this weekend

by Samantha Thomas, staff writer

The Saegertown Marching Band heads for the LMBA (Lakeshore Marching Band Association) championships this weekend. Drum Major Sam Shelenberger and section leader, Morgan Murphy, both juniors, have led the band through another successful season, along with directors Jason Papinchak and Jared Schaffer.

There is one tuba player, one flutist, four percussionists, six color guard, one trumpet, one flugelhorn, two clarinets, two saxophones, and one manager. Even with a small group, the marching band makes big sounds, which plays into this year’s competition theme: “More or Less.” Jason Papinchak, who writes the music the band performs said, “We are showing that more isn’t always more, and less isn’t always less.”

As many know, the marching band has been affected by a lack of members in recent years. “We need more dedicated, mature people,” Murphy said. “When I saw the band was in desperate need of players, I joined.” Despite these setbacks, longtime band member Sam Shelenburger is committed to keeping a positive and enthusiastic attitude. “Nothing about band is the best part,” Shelenberger said. “Band is the best part of band.”

The band has competed at General McLane for exposition, earned third place at McDowell, second place at North East, and performed at Harbor Creek on Oct. 20, where a panel of judges offered tips. They will take the field at the LMBA championships at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 27 at  Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium.

 

Column: President’s visit reinforces the ‘Divided States of America’

By Taylor Munce, sports editor

(Note: This is the third in a three-part series on the Trump rally in Erie on Oct. 10.)

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Taylor Munce, sports editor, The Panther Press

President Donald Trump came to Erie for a rally focused on promoting his campaign and fellow Republicans. Thousands of supporters, as well as many protesters, took to the streets of Erie to share their beliefs. I came as a journalist for the Panther Press and to experience how a Trump rally would feel for a Democrat like me. My experience can mostly be summed up in one word: uncomfortable.

The first person I interviewed was a protester. The woman was very pleasant when my colleague Dustin Steiger asked her opinion of the president. She calmly stated why she was upset with the president, citing things like his racism, sexism, and bigotry.

The next thing I encountered was getting to skip the long line of supporters trying to get in. Showing our press credentials, Dustin and I were instantly admitted and security checked us for any metals. Personally, I found this to be refreshing as I was panicking a few hours before about security and safety. I was worried about the possibility that I might be involved in a violent affair, such as the ones I’ve witnessed on television, where people have actively heckled and threatened journalists covering the event, many times at the urging of the president who has called them “dangerous and sick” and “the enemy of the people.

As soon as I arrived at the press area, I took note of my surroundings. Among the journalists present were reporters from the Washington Post, Fox News, the Erie Times-News, the Meadville Tribune, and many others. It was exciting to be in the midst of so many professional journalists from so many outlets. I also noticed the overhead display that flashed messages for those in attendance.

“If there is a protestor, simply hold your sign above your head and shout TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. Do NOT touch the protestors and the police will take them out.” I found this unsettling. Though it may seem reasonable to President Trump, shouting at protesters does not seem like a good choice. Yelling in general does not get through to people as it causes chaos and misunderstandings, and angry people say things they later regret. Though I did not witness any protesters being removed, if this situation had occurred, I would have wanted to leave due to the mayhem that could have erupted and quickly become violent.

The overhead display also proclaimed: “Trump wants to protect your First Amendment along with your Second Amendment rights.” Of course, the First Amendment protects speech and the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms; however, it is well known that this president commonly refers to members of the press as  “enemies of the people.” I spoke to Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about this issue: “We are not the enemy of the people. We are the friend of the people. I believe that he [Trump] likes the attention; it helps his campaign. He only says things like that because it riles them [supporters] up,” Fahri said. It seems contradictory for President Trump to claim that he protects First Amendment rights, even though he himself cannot seem to accept that media outlets have the right to publish whatever they want.

During the rally, Trump emphasized that he isn’t focused on “putting money into Washington’s pocket.” This claim seems interesting in light of the fact that many sources have recently reported that Trump himself has already raised more than $100 million for his 2020 campaign.

Then he claimed that Democrats “are a party of crime” and they “only act out of anger and rage.” He mentioned them banging on the doors of the Supreme Court after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an Associate Justice, and he claimed that Democrats don’t like the “principles this country was made on.” Shortly after this, he stated that he loves “all of America.” How can this be true if he condones and encourages hatred against an entire political party? More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton (about 2.9 million), but Trump won the election due to the electoral college vote. What about those 65,845,063 Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton? Does President Trump love them too? And if he does, then why demonize them and their party by calling them the “party of crime”?

At each mention of the Democrats or anyone closely related to them, the crowd would boo and Trump would nod in agreement. Now, it’s fine to disagree with people, but spreading hate in order to push your agenda is ridiculous, especially when both parties came together to create the principles our democracy was founded upon.  

There may not have been parties exactly like we have today when the Constitution was written, but the seeds of agreement and dissent that have made America great and led to compromise and progress were present, and to speak so negatively of those who disagree with you seems unnecessary.

Prior to the president’s arrival, Glenn Thompson, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th congressional district, said: “That’s what Americans do. We stand up for each other.” If that is what Americans do, then why is it that we are at a war with each other when it comes to politics, race, and gender, just to name a few divisive issues?

There were also instances during his speech where Trump encouraged his audience that they needed to vote an all Republican Senate. That seems odd to me, too. If it’s understood that not everyone can get along, then how would having an all Republican Senate reflect the country? If senators were all from the same party, would the United States turn into an oligarchy? If this were to happen, only the laws Republicans wanted would pass, and this would most decidedly not reflect the will of the people.  

In the midst of all this uncomfortable rhetoric, there were two moments where I felt positively connected to the people in the arena. One was the praying for those in the path of Hurricane Michael and the other was the honoring of veterans. All veterans were asked to stand up as everyone honored and praised them for their service. Pennsylvania Senator Michele Brooks said, “It’s because of them that we can be here today and that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.” Even though I disagree with most of what the candidates said at this event, I will admit that it was very fulfilling to have the veterans recognized for their service and to know that we were united in praying for those affected by the hurricane.

When the rally ended, I felt unsettled. Although I gained valuable insight into how to cover a political event, I was left feeling as though I was not wanted in the arena due to my opposing political views. In fact, I left feeling like the president should not be making people like me feel so disconnected. As the President of the United States of America, he should be uniting, not dividing, all Americans.

Column: Covering presidential visit was ‘positive and exhilarating’

By Kaitlyn Kozalla, features editor

(Note: This is the second in a three-part series on the Trump rally in Erie on Oct. 10. Taylor Munce’s column will be published Friday.)

As a student journalist interested in the presidential agenda, I decided to take to the streets of Erie to find out what a “MAGA rally” was all about. Upon arriving at the Erie Insurance Arena on October 10, I saw a sea of patriotism and “Make America Great Again” apparel. Protesters waved signs which said “Promises made, promises broken” and “Liar-in-Chief,” standing up for their beliefs. Regardless of partisan opinion, President Trump attracted crowds Wednesday night in Erie.

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Kaityln Kozalla, the Panther Press, with Jim Acosta, Chief White House Correspondent for CNN

As soon as I stepped into the long line outside the arena, I noticed an overbearing number of vendors swarming the huge crowd. Loud music played, and I watched people dancing and singing, excited for the coming event. As the line moved forward, protesters continued to chant “Trump has got to go,” and “Impeach Trump.”

Although the rally almost didn’t take place because of Hurricane Michael’s impact on Florida’s panhandle, President Trump stated that he did not want to let down the thousands who had probably lined up to attend in advance. That being said, the nine-thousand seat arena was packed and thousands more watched on the big screen outside.

President Trump’s  speech focused primarily on his victories and foreshadowed a “red wave” in the upcoming election. One of the most rehashed topics of the night was the creation of jobs and the drop in the unemployment rate. “Under Republican leadership, America is booming, America is thriving, and America is winning like never before, because we are finally putting America first. Just two days ago, the unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in 50 years. It was just announced that manufacturing confidence is at an all-time high,” President Trump said.

He also included his initiative to bring back American-made steel. “We don’t need this product coming in untested from other countries,” Trump said. “We don’t need it, folks. We’ve got it here. We don’t need it.” And he covered the recent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This controversial topic drew mixed reactions, with both boos and cheers coming from the crowd.

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Kaitlyn Kozalla with Glenn Thompson, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.

In addition to hearing the president speak, I also had the once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to meet Jim Acosta, CNN’s Chief White House correspondent. As a right-wing conservative, I was impressed with the friendliness of this noted journalist from what most consider a liberal news outlet. I also met Glenn Thompson, U. S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, who asked to have his picture taken with me. He mentioned that this was the first time he had requested to be photographed with any member of the press.

And in what was probably the most random and interesting thing to happen, I was approached by a Saegertown alumni who works for the Secret Service. The agent, upon seeing the Panther Press shirts my colleagues and I were wearing, presented us with commemorative secret service pins.

As the rally came to a close, I was not disappointed. Covering the president’s visit to Erie as a student journalist was a positive and exhilarating experience.

Column: President Trump stops in Erie to ‘Make America Great’

By Dustin Steiger, arts and entertainment editor

(Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the Trump rally in Erie on Oct. 10. Columns by Taylor Munce and Kaitlyn Kozalla will be published Thursday and Friday of this week.)

When I got into my car after school last Wednesday and headed towards Erie for President Trump’s rally, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how large the crowds would be, how fiercely the protestors would oppose, or how ecstatically the supporters would cheer. I didn’t know what our great President Donald Trump would say or what he’d do. I didn’t know if he’d leave with a rallying cry and thundering applause echoing from the stands or if he’d leave with a defiant resistance booing him off the stage.

There were a lot of unknowns tumbling through my mind as I headed into Erie. But by the day’s end, I wasn’t disappointed.

One of the first things I noticed as I arrived was the massive line that stretched out from the doors of the arena. Thousands of supporters stood there, with miscellaneous vendors selling Presidential apparel to the eagerly awaiting crowds. Protestors stood around sporadically, holding signs with sayings such as “Super-Callous-Fascist-Racist-Sexist-Braggadocious” and growling at Trump supporters, such as my colleague Kaitlyn Kozalla. Though we wanted to look around, we didn’t have time to see the sights. We were there to work.

We were handed our official press passes by security and led through the building to our specified area, a fenced-off section for registered journalists and other important guests. There were news anchors dressed in suits and ties, security guards, massive camera crews, and the whole nine yards. As far as I could tell, we were the only high school journalists in attendance. There we sat, with journalists from notable news outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, and FOX NEWS mingling and working all around us. Although I did notice a few college journalists, one thing was certain: we were the odd-ones-out.

We still had quite a while to wait before Trump gave his speech. It was only five, and Trump was to speak at seven, so I had time to get some interviews.

Zachariah Lofgren, a high school junior from General McLane, was eager to see President Trump. “I would say Trump has made a positive impact in society,” he told me. “He is strong and stands up for the American people in the world and in the country itself. He is smart and knows how to keep America safe and build the economy.”

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Dustin Steiger, The Panther Press with Paul Farhi, The Washington Post

Possibly the most impressive conversation I had at the rally was with Paul Farhi, a journalist for The Washington Post. “He [Trump] knows how to get the crowd going,” Farhi said. “There’s always this sort of call and response like you hear in church.” He cited Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and how even now people love to shout “Lock her up!” “It’s formulaic,” he explained, “but they eat it up. These people love him, and he gives it back to them.”

A short time later, an excited roar filled the stadium, and I knew that the president had arrived. He talked about a wide range of subjects, covering everything from Kavanaugh to coal to “Crooked Hillary” (at the mere mention of her name, there arose from the crowd a nearly unanimous “boo,” just like Paul Farhi had predicted). The midterm elections were something he discussed with fervor, encouraging the people to vote Republican. He mentioned the drop in taxes and how it has improved the lives of the American people.  Then he talked about the massive drop in the unemployment rate since he took office. He also expressed his concern about the dreaded Hurricane Michael with a moment of silence before continuing.

“This has been the greatest revolution ever to take place in our country,” President Trump said. “This election is about keeping America safe… strong… proud… and free.”

It was inspiring. You could see it in the crowds, an admiration for the most influential man in the country, and most likely in the world. There was no restraint or fear in President Trump’s voice. He didn’t hold back. His words struck at the arguments of his opposition, his influence radiant with his promises and power.

“We will never give in,” he told us. “We will never give up, we will never back down, and we will never surrender, and we will always fight for victory. Because we are Americans. And our hearts bleed red, white, and blue.”

And, just like that, the speech was over. His final words echoed in my ears as he left. It all seemed so short in hindsight, though there was no denying the impact he had on those in attendance.

Our president has made an evident and positive change in America. He has provided for the people by offering them protection and bolstering the booming economy. He has enforced laws that have been ignored for so long and has expounded on them, working to make our country great. He has moved our nation’s money back to where it belongs- the pockets of the people- and, according to promiseskept.com, he “removed the red tape” that has held our country back. He’s kept his word, and, with any luck, he will continue to keep America great.

Overall, it was an incredible experience. We heard viewpoints from all over the country and all over the political spectrum, standing beside nationally acclaimed journalists and listening to the words of our powerful and prominent president. Our president showed us who he truly is at the rally; he’s a Titan, a powerful and influential force standing for justice, rallying for prosperity, and fighting for a better America.

Above: Taylor Munce, Dustin Steiger, and Kaitlyn Kozalla. 

YSU English Festival registration due next week

By Morgan Radwick, design editor

YSU English Festival

The YSU Festival will be held on April 10, 2019. 

As many Saegertown students may remember, senior Ben Shelenburger got his arm signed by author Laurie Halse Anderson at the YSU (Youngstown State University) English Festival last year, and this year will no doubt be equally as exciting.

Any student in grades 9-12 can attend the festival which will be held April 10, 2019 at YSU. Students will have a chance to meet famous authors Neal Shusterman and Steve Sheinkin and take part in various literature-based activities with students from Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

The YSU English Festival was founded in 1978 by Professor Thomas Gay and Dr. Carol Gay of Youngstown State University’s Department of English in memory of their daughter Candace who passed away from cancer when she was thirteen years old.

According to the YSU News Room, more than 100,000 juniors and seniors from high schools in more than 300 districts have attended since the festival’s founding 41 years ago.

To participate in the activities, students must read all seven of the required books: Thunderhead, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, and Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steven Shienkin, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, and Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. All activities in the festival relate to the books listed.

In addition to the festival activities, there are also three optional pre-festival contests: The Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest, The Festival Art Contest, and The Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music award.

The fee to participate is $30 per student, which pays for bus transportation and festival registration. Permission slips and full payment are due to librarian Betty Litke by Wednesday, October 24. More details about the festival can be found on the YSU English Festivals’ website or from Mrs. Litke.