Trauma advocate speaks to PENNCREST students

By Sydney Kightlinger, design editor

“Who wants to be here?” said Tonier Cain to the students sitting in the Saegertown High School auditorium, staring blankly, unaware of the presentation they were about to experience.

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Tonier Cain visited Saegertown High School on Oct. 29, and talked to students of Saegertown, Cambridge, and Maplewood about trauma and how to cope with it.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, PENNCREST Juniors and Seniors congregated to hear the story of a woman living on the streets turned successful movie producer, CEO, and trauma advocate. The one hour assembly focused on trauma and how to develop healthy coping behaviors.

Cain shared her story of living on the streets for nineteen years while having a crack addiction and a culminating eighty-three arrests and sixty-six convictions. in 2004, while she was pregnant and incarcerated, she finally started to recover when someone asked her what happened to her. From there she started in recovery programs and is now a respected public speaker.

“I thought it was an extremely beneficial assembly. It gave kids that don’t experience trauma a chance to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. And it provided coping skills and inspiration to the ones that are experiencing difficulties,” said senior Emily Johnson.

Cain’s advice to anyone who is dealing with trauma is to seek help. If you or a friend are struggling, there are assistance programs in the school to help. This year for the first time, Saegertown High School has a counselor available on Tuesdays for Trauma Focused Services with parental consent. There is also the Student Assistance Program (S.A.P), and an anxiety support group. For more information, you can contact Mrs. Watt in the guidance office.

Scouting and Hunting: Junior High Spotlight

By Hunter Trzeciak and Scout Van Cise, arts and entertainment editors

After searching the halls of Saegertown High School for yet another talented group of students, we decided to venture downstairs during junior high’s “B” lunch to find our next gifted bunch.  

Seventh grader Grace Diley has more musical talent than most 13-year-olds. Diley has been playing piano since she was eight years old, beginning by taking lessons and putting in lots of practice time on her own.  Once she hit fourth grade, Diley knew she wanted to be in the school band so she could further expand her musical talents.  She started out playing the clarinet but wasn’t a fan, so when Mr. Baldwin provided the opportunity to put her piano skills to use in band by playing the xylophone, she took it. “I just didn’t like playing clarinet, and I’ve been playing piano for so long that I wanted to find something that could benefit from that,” Diley said.   

Our next talented student is eighth grader Megan Brunot, who has a very unique ability  baton twirling.  She began at the young age of five years old and continued to taking lessons for seven years after she started.  Brunot has performed in multiple parades, competitions, and talent shows throughout the years, placing in several competitions and winning many medals and trophies.  When asked why she likes baton twirling so much Brunot said, “It’s just not something that a lot of people can do.

Carson Jones rehearses his performance for Into the Woods.

Carson Jones rehearses his performance for Into the Woods.

Our final junior high spotlight for the week is the “infamous” Carson Jones, who has been performing at The Academy Theatre since 2011.  So far Jones has been in seven plays including: Once on this Island (2011), Bah Humbug (2013), Pirates of Penzance (2014), with his most recent performance being in Into the Woods (2015) where he played Rapunzel’s Prince Charming. Jones said, “I enjoy theatre because you don’t have to care about what you are doing you just do it, and you don’t feel pressured either because you are living someone else’s life with your own touch.”  He also says that he doesn’t get nervous before a performance, “I’m not nervous really, just anxious to be out on stage. I strive to get the biggest role, so I can be on stage more!”

Despite their small numbers, the amount of talent in the junior high is huge!  If you know a talented student or want to be featured, contact Scout Van Cise at livancise@psdmail.org or Hunter Trzeciak at hutrzeciak@psdmail.org .

Junior Panthers stalk into playoffs

By Garrett Johnston, editor in chief

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The junior high girls’ basketball team will be advancing to playoffs, and their first round is on Nov. 3, against Meadville, Cambridge, or Cochranton.

The junior high girls basketball shot their way into the playoffs this year. Playoffs for junior high have not been present for a couple years, but have returned. The girls had a stellar regular season, going 10-5 led by eighth graders Kaylee Mulligan, Madi Mondi, and Katelyn Young. “We knew we had a couple good players this year, but we also knew that there were some good teams we had to play,” said Mulligan.

The girls have high expectations going into the playoffs. “We are going to win,” said Callie Craig, a forward for the team. The girls hope to advance in the first round of playoffs although the competition may be fierce. The playoffs begin on Nov. 3 where the Panthers have to play either Meadville, Cambridge, or Cochranton.

Super spooky holiday for students and staff

By Kaity Gage, marketing director

Junior high students show their Halloween spirit by dressing up in costumes.

Junior high students show their Halloween spirit by dressing up in costumes.

Once again, it’s the time of year to dress up, eat loads of candy, and watch horror films for hours on end. October 31 marks the day we celebrate Halloween.

Halloween is a widely celebrated holiday across the United States; people decorate their yards, houses, and pets or they hand-out candy to excited trick-or-treaters. Some Saegertown students planned on going trick-or-treating Thursday October 29 and others chose to dress up on Friday, October 30.

Eighth grader Hailley Ruhl went trick-or-treating with her friends. “I like Halloween, but sometimes it can be a little spooky,” said Ruhl who dressed like Willie Robertson from the famous television show “Duck Dynasty.”

Some teachers planned on taking part in the activities too. Mr. Adam Horne, the ninth grade American Cultures II teacher, was taking his two boys trick-or-treating, because, in his words, “I want to eat their candy.” And in the junior high hallway, the teachers held trick-or treat for the students. English teacher Mrs. Nicole DeFrances said, “This is an incentive for the students who are passing and have no missing homework.” The celebrations continue this weekend with the Halloween Parade in Meadville, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night.

Eighth graders attend career fair

By Morgan Murphy, junior high reporter

Eighth graders attend a career fair at the Meadville Elks Club, Oct. 21.

Eighth graders attend a career fair at the Meadville Elks Club, Oct. 21.

What do you want to be when you grow up? We have all been asked this question many times as children, but how seriously did we take it? On Wednesday, October 21, the eighth graders were given the chance to truly think about their futures when they attended the Crawford County Career Awareness Fair at the Meadville Elks Club.The event, which was sponsored by Laurel Technical Institute, the Crawford County K-12 Education Alliance, and the Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce, was designed to give students a taste of different work fields and ask any questions concerning income, education requirements, and current demand.

At the Career Fair, the students can now understand why our academic achievements and abilities are so important to our futures. Working for NASA, being the world’s greatest surgeon, or winning an Oscar for best acting may seem like impossible dreams, but with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Principal Tom Baker and guidance counselor Mrs. Rose Watt, who arranged the trip,  wanted the students to realize all of the possible career choices available to them. The students did indeed learn about new professions such as nursing, music and entertainment, business and retail, engineering, and much more. “I wanted to be a technician like my dad, but now I want to be a forensic scientist,” said Oliver Smith.

Many of the eighth-graders would agree with Aurora Phillips who said, “Thank you for letting us go on this trip!” Although the students were only at the event for a brief time, about 90 minutes, it seems that the information gained will have a lasting impact.

As young children, we did not understand the difficulties of most tasks and assignments because we were not troubled with many responsibilities. We would dream of being astronauts or doctors, veterinarians or actors, but what we did not know was the effort needed to reach these goals.

Superintendent Michael Healey visits Panther Press newsroom

By Austin Brown, news editor

Superintendent Michael Healey took time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed by The Panther Press.

Superintendent Michael Healey took time out of his busy schedule to attend a press conference with the Panther Press staff.

On Tuesday Oct. 19, The Panther Press staff invited Mr. Michael J. Healey, PENNCREST school district’s new superintendent, to a press conference in Mrs.Hetrick`s room. The staff’s intention was to ask an array of questions which would help our audience learn about the personal and professional goals of the district’s new leader.

Mr. Healey provided entertaining answers to many questions which helped us better understand his personality. Among other things, he told us that he enjoys reading, fishing, woodworking, and eating. In fact, Mr. Healey has dined with the likes of musician Harry Chapin and members of the band KISS.

As a result of the conference, The Panther Press staff now has a more in-depth knowledge of Mr. Healey on both a personal and professional level, and you can read more about him in our print issue which will be released on Nov. 20.