Boys basketball uniting for early open gyms

by Stevie Siple, staff writer

In the shadow of heated fall sports, the boys basketball team is working behind the scenes every Thursday after school to prepare for the coming season.

The head coach Greg Molnar is holding open gyms on Thursdays after school. During the preseason, the guys practice offensive and defensive plays.

They had a shared open gym on Monday, October 2 at Calvary Baptist. “We had a rough start, but we feel like we will be prepared for the season. The top five is more connected, but we don’t have much depth,” said senior Jacob Steiger.

The current seniors, in addition to Steiger, are Owen Chess, Stevie Siple, Jarrett DeJohn, Billy Lilly, and Kevin Johns. They are looking forward to one last year wearing the uniform as they have worked hard for their turn on the court as seniors.  

The official start of the basketball season will be November 17. That’s when they will start practicing every day for the real games. Once the season starts, two captains will be chosen, a speaking captain and a team captain. Coach Molnar nominates players for these positions if they have received a varsity letter the year before.

The team is looking to overcome setbacks experienced last season. “We are going to face challenges every single game on the floor, due to multiple injuries, and lack of experience and depth,” Coach Molnar said.

Duck season starts tomorrow

by Braeden Kantz, sports editor

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Local ponds like these will be popular spots for duck hunters as season starts tomorrow.

As fall bears down on Pennsylvania, leaves won’t be the only thing falling in the swamps of the Keystone state. The Saegertown area, or area 1B,  is very densely populated with various species of ducks due to the large amounts of low lying swamps and lakes that border the area. Starting October 7, hunters will be permitted to hit the swamps with the proper licenses. All hunters must have a 2017-2018 issue of the migratory bird license, and hunters over sixteen must have a duck stamp in order to participate in a legal duck hunt. Bag limits will vary based on location and species.

Saegertown junior Austin Bayer, a first time duck hunter, will be going out with seasoned hunter and classmate, Dakota Edmonson for his first duck hunt tomorrow. Bayer will try to bag his first duck in a pond in Conneautville. Due to the surrounding federal lands, Bayer predicts a successful first hunt.

Should college visit days count toward total student absences?

by Hannah Nicholson, opinion editor

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Hannah Nicholson

Many seniors are starting the process of applying to colleges, and one part of that process is college visits. Seniors must decide what environment would best suit them for the next two to four years of their education, and the best way to get a feel for universities is to visit in person.  Unfortunately, the current school policy decrees that college visits count toward the 10 excused absences a student has each year. Many seniors disagree with this decision.

In order to be excused for a college visit, Saegertown’s policy requires that students bring a note from an admissions counselor saying they were at the college on the day they were absent. “Technically by now we want kids to be applying. They should tour during the summer when they do their senior projects,” said guidance counselor Rose Watt.

With the current system, students who did not tour over the summer, like Stefanie Arblaster, are stuck using their excused absence days for college visits. “I understand why that rule is in place, but they should take into consideration that a lot of people make decisions about college during the school year, and that it’s pretty important that we tour a school where we might spend the next four years,” Arblaster said.

Many colleges also invite seniors to come back for different activities during the Fall to show them what campus life is really like. Seniors are invited to sit in on college classes, which can be important if a student is concerned about class size at larger colleges.

Visiting a college during the summer only shows students what the campus looks like, and not what it feels like. “I think visiting a college is important because we’re going to spend the next 4 years or more there, so it’s important to get a feel what the campus is like and what kind of education it provides,” Arblaster said.

Board policy 204 says “The board may excuse a student from school attendance to participate in an educational tour or trip not sponsored by the district,” but that “ the board may limit the number and durations of tours and trips for which excused absences may be granted to a student during the school term.”

While this is the board policy, it is based in Pa. School Code. This law was last reviewed in 2004, and it is time for it to be updated to reflect student needs.  Bottom line, the policy surrounding college visits and student absence is unfair to students. Seniors should not be charged absence days when they are trying to make informed decisions about their futures.

Saegertown Area Library hosts Teen Read Week

by Morgan Radwick, staff writer

Do you like using your imagination? Do you like to read? If you said “yes” to these questions, or even if you didn’t, come to Teen Read Week, which will be celebrated at Saegertown Area Library next week.

TRW-color-logoIn 1998, the Young Adult Library Services Association created Teen Read Week to encourage teens to engage in reading books while also enjoying reading. The Saegertown library began to participate in Teen Read Week approximately six years ago.

This year’s theme is “unleash your story” which encourages teens to let their imaginations run wild as they tell their own stories. Teens will also have the opportunity to find other stories including biographies, autobiographies, folktales, and so much more.

This year, teens can write reviews on their favorite books. Just stop at the library and pick up a blank bookmark and write your review on it. The reviews will then be placed in the book and put on display in the “reviewed by teens” area.

At the end of the week one of these bookmarks will be randomly selected, and the winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card. Take time to have fun, use your imagination, and read a book! Additional details can be found on the library’s teen blog.

New on Netflix for October

by Hunter Trzeciak, features editor

Every month Netflix adds new films and TV shows to its streaming service.  Here is the full list of new additions for the month of October.

  • 88 Minutes
  • A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song
  • Before Midnight
  • Blood Diamond
  • Boogie Nights
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Cleverman: Season 2
  • Death Sentence
  • Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
  • Eagle vs. Shark
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Generation Iron 2
  • Ghost Patrol
  • I Love You, Man
  • Ice Guardians
  • Lockup: Disturbing the Peace: Collection 1
  • Made of Honor
  • Miss Congeniality
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
  • Must Love Dogs
  • Never Let Me Go
  • No Reservations
  • Penelope
  • PJ Masks: Season 1
  • Set Up
  • The Reaping
  • Tokyo Idols
  • Tommy Boy
  • Vanished
  • Veronica
  • Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
  • Sleeping with Other People
  • 13 Demons
  • Rodney Carrington: Here Comes The Truth (Netflix Original)
  • Cult of Chucky
  • The Survivalist
  • Raw
  • Bonus Family: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Schitt’s Creek: Season 3
  • The Fosters: Season 5
  • ID-0: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Skylanders Academy: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
  • Suburra: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix Original)
  • Word Party: Season 3 (Netflix Original)
  • Chris Brown: Welcome To My Life
  • Middle Man
  • Christina P: Mother Inferior (Netflix Original)
  • The Skyjacker’s Tale
  • Donnie Darko
  • Fe de etarras (Netflix Original Film)
  • El Especial de Alex Fernández, el Especial (Netflix Original)
  • Kingdom of Us (Netflix Original)
  • Mindhunter: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Super Monsters: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • The Babysitter (Netflix Original Film)
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Netflix Original Film)
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 4 (Netflix Original)
  • Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
  • LEGO: City: Season 1
  • Money
  • OtherLife
  • She Makes Comics
  • West Coast Customs: Season 6
  • Patton Oswalt: Annihilation (Netflix Original)
  • Slasher: Guilty Party (Netflix Original)
  • Wedding Unplanned
  • 1922 (Netflix Original)
  • Haters Back Off: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
  • One of Us (Netflix Original)
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village
  • The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story (Netflix Original)
  • Wheelman (Netflix Original Film)
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • While We’re Young
  • Wanted: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
  • Wanted: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
  • The Mist: Season 1
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Final Master
  • La Querida del Centauro: Season 2
  • Strange Weather
  • Stranger Things 2 (Netflix Original)
  • Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (Netflix Original)
  • Pup Star: Better 2Gether
  • Judah Friedlander: America Is The Greatest Country In The United States (Netflix Original)
  • Zumbo’s Just Desserts: Season 1 (Netflix Original)

Panthers making another run at PIAA State Golf Championships

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

As the golf season comes to a close for the Panthers, the reigning six-time Region 4 champions have proven to be the top team once again as they roared in with a season record of 4-1, competing against AAA teams in tournaments throughout the year, and placing in the top 10 each time.

The Panthers have a stacked lineup with many talented golfers and four District 10 individual qualifiers including seniors Ryan Peters and Michael Costello, along with junior Will Phelan and sophomore Nick Archacki. Other team members include juniors Brode Berger and Jonathan Merritt, sophomores Andy Hasychak and Carson Jones, and freshman Ava Jones rounding out this year’s team.

After 20 years of coaching the team, Coach Brian Hanley still enjoys coaching the golfers. “I have good and hard working kids who never give up. I like to see the golfers grow up throughout the years with their maturity and golfing skills.”

Many of the golfers have similar thoughts on how it feels to be a part of a two-time state qualifying golf team. “It’s been awesome. I have had so much fun with the team and I am pretty sad that my high school career is almost over,” said senior Ryan Peters, one of best golfers in the history of our school. Junior Brode Berger said, “It feels great knowing I get to be a part of this team.”

The District 10 Team and Individual Championships will be held Oct. 6-7 at the Country Club of Meadville. The event starts with the District 10 Individual Championships on Oct. 6. Then, the District 10 Team Championships will be on Oct. 7. If the team wins there, they will advance to compete at Treasure Lake Golf Resort Silver Course in DuBois for the Western Regional Team Championships on Oct.12.

If the individual golfers advance to the Western Individual Region Championships from the District 10 Individual Championships, they will compete at Tom’s Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort in Blairsville on Oct. 16. Then, if the team and the individual golfers advance to the state finals, the individual golfers will compete from Oct. 23-24 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York for the PIAA Individual Championships while the team state championship will be held October 25.  “We have a chance, but we are definitely not the favorites for the state title,” said senior Ryan Peters.

 

Homecoming dress code unchanged for this year

By Autumn Jones, marketing director

With recent changes in the dress code, many are asking: “What about homecoming?” Many girls are fretting over whether they will be allowed to wear the dresses with which they fell in love when they tried them on. The Panther Press has the answers to all of your homecoming dress code questions.

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Seniors (left to right) Haley Hess, Marissa Henry, Autumn Jones, and Courtney Delizio before their junior year homecoming in 2016.

“I spoke with Mr. Baker and Mrs. Keller about what has been done in the past, and it has never been a problem,” said Assistant Principal Kylene Koper. She added that the previous dress code is going to remain in place for this year’s homecoming dance. This means that strapless and two piece dresses are acceptable. If you have a two piece dress, the showing of your stomach is required to be no more than 3 inches between the top of the dress and the skirt.

With regard to any inappropriate attire, Mrs. Koper said, “It will be handled individually. Your dress may be a little shorter than I would like, but if you handle yourself appropriately, it won’t be a problem.” However, the homecoming assembly dresses must follow school dress code of two inch straps and no more than three inches above the knee.

Mrs. Koper also noted that if there is a large group of inappropriately dressed students at this year’s dance, then there will be a stricter, official dress code for all other school dances.

Saegertown welcomes new assistant principal

by Hillary Twiford, news editor

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, Saegertown welcomed a new assistant principal, Mrs. Kylene Koper. The position has been vacant since Mrs. Laurie Kantz left the building in 2015.  Mr. Phil Young and Mr. Brian Lipps temporarily occupied the office, but now a full-time assistant principal has returned to the building. 

Mrs. Koper has previously worked at two other schools in various teaching positions. She spent 12 years at McKinley Elementary School, always teaching fourth or fifth grade in predominantly literacy. She then transferred to Emerson-Gridley Elementary School where she was hired as an instructional coach and handled professional development and learning for faculty. Mrs. Koper switched to Roosevelt Middle School and taught math for one year before earning the assistant principal job at Saegertown.

“I think all teachers should have the opportunity or attempt to try to work with kids from all different walks of life, so that landed me here,” Mrs. Koper said. Her previous positions have been in larger schools, so Saegertown’s size represents a change of pace for her, and she indicates that she is enjoying the atmosphere.

“It’s like there are no kids that get lost or that are just a number. I love how you have the relationships through your extension periods to stay with the same teachers through those years,” Mrs. Koper said. “The relationships that you could build, would be amazing, but being a smaller school, there’s so many of those relationships already, and that’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to- getting to know everybody. Right now, I’m really the outsider.”

This is Mrs. Koper’s first year as an administrator, so she is adjusting to the new position as well as the students. Even though her experience at Saegertown has just begun, she plans for an extended stay. “I feel like in order to initiate change, it takes time. You can’t go into some place new and try to change everything and get everybody to understand and want to do it. It takes time,” Mrs. Koper said.

She also wants to build relationships with the students and staff before implementing many changes. “It’s very different from where I came from, so I think it’s going to take some time of getting to know people and building that rapport so people trust and are willing to try changing things,” she said.

However, there is one major change that has already affected the study body- the dress code. “The teachers told me all of the issues of the dress code and problems that we’ve had in the past, so we discussed it as a faculty and staff how we wanted to change it,” Mrs. Koper said. “There were a lot of loopholes or problems where kids were able to get by not following the past dress code, which is where we made a few of the new changes to make it more consistent for everybody.”

Most of all, Mrs. Koper wants everyone to know that she is always available. “If you ever want to have your voice heard, my door is open. Come down, let me know.”

Fast facts about Mrs. Koper:

  • Graduated from McDowell High School.
  • Graduated from Edinboro University with degrees in elementary education and reading specialist.
  • Married to her husband, Jason, for fourteen years.
  • Has three children- Brooke, Casey, and Allie.
  • Participated in color guard in high school.

Erie General Electric moving to Texas – thousands of local jobs lost

by Kaitlyn Kozalla, staff writer

We all saw this coming. Yet, holding onto hope, many believed it would pass. During last year’s layoffs, General Electric in Erie cut nearly 1,500 employees, with another 575 positions lost as of August 2017.

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Union protesters rally on State Street in the Labor Day Parade in Erie in September.

The plant currently employs more than 2,500 people, but there are claims that by 2018 all work except for prototype development will be terminated. During past years, the General Electric company has been shifting to Fort Worth, Texas, where workers are not represented by a union.

“I’ve worked at General Electric for 12 years, and in this round of layoffs I will probably be affected. I guess I do not understand why the CEO of General Electric makes $81,000 a day more than I make in an entire year. I understand that companies need to be competitive in the work market, but with a company that has 20 percent of growth market each year, that’s more than any stock market or savings account you could possibly be in,” said Saegertown resident Daniel Kozalla, a machinist at General Electric.

For many, all the hope they have is in the union. On Labor Day, over 600 union members rallied down State Street in Erie to spread hope, and show their commitment to the union.  

Tom Daniels, a union member of 28 years said, “It’s an assault on the working people of Erie, Pa. They are trying to beat us down, but they can’t break our union.”

 

Eighth graders visit Tom Ridge Environmental Center

by Dayna Woodruff, staff writer

On Friday Sept.15, the eighth grade students visited the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) at Presque Isle. The students learned about the wildlife, weather, and historical elements of Presque Isle in Erie. “We have a rare and natural resource within driving distance, so it is great thing to be able to share it with students,” said Mr. Mike Brenneman, seventh grade reading teacher.

The grade was split into two groups; girls with Mrs. Kara Bechtel and Mrs. Anne Motter, and boys with Mr. Brad Wise and Mr. Brenneman. The girls’ part of the trip began with going inside the TREC and a movie about extreme weather while the boys explored the outdoors. While outside, the students waded in the water, caught fish with fishing nets, and they learned about the history of Presque Isle. The two groups then switched activities. Eighth grader Josie Deeter said, “My favorite part was when we caught fish and when they played a science movie about tornadoes, glaciers, and forest fires.”

The trip was funded by a grant from the TREC, which helped make the trip affordable and easy to plan. Mr. Brenneman said, “I fully expect that the eighth graders will have this opportunity next year.”

Overall, the response from students was positive. Deeter mentioned that she would like to visit the TREC again. Mrs. Bechtel said, “I think most of the kids enjoyed the trip.”

“I was thanked by many students for planning the trip, and I feel that they enjoyed and appreciated the experience,” Mr. Brenneman said.

(Photos contributed by Mrs. Kara Bechtel.)