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.

News of the Weird: Spider vs. lighter

By Ben Courson and Ben Haylett, broadcast

spider-surrounded-fire-10574837SpiderA spider lands on a car at a Center Line, Mich. Mobil gas station and a man uses what he thinks is an appropriate weapon for the job. A lighter. While at work, a clerk at the station was doing her everyday routine when she quickly glanced at the security camera screen and saw a unique attempt to kill a spider. The man ignited the lighter and the fire spread quickly to the gas pump which burst into flames. In the reports the man denied that he caused the fire and blamed it on the static electricity until they replayed him the video.

Aaron Brown, an eighth grader at Saegertown, was asked what he thought was going through the guy’s head when igniting that lighter. “Well, spiders are pretty evil, so he probably didn’t want to get bit, so the only obvious option was to light it on fire.” The spider was reported dead at the scene. So tragic.

The Mobile Station’s insurance company is paying for all the cost repairs to the pump, but should it be their job to do so? Or should the man who caused the fire be held responsible? Senior Codee Harman said, “The man who torched the spider. I mean you can’t just be going around barbecuing things you don’t like.”

When asked if there could have been an alternative option to killing the spider, Harman said, “I probably would have used my shoe,” while senior Zach Courson disagreed. “A lighter sounds pretty good,” he said.  

Harman ended the discussion with the following comment: “We got crispy spider and no evidence to say it was poisonous or not, so I’m going to say he was justified in burning the spider.”


Planet of the Dead: The premiere, the director, and the review

Senior Jacob Perrett’s movie Planet of the Dead premiered at the Movies at Meadville on Oct. 21 to a standing-room-only house of over 300 people. Before the movie started, Panther Press broadcaster Ben Haylett interviewed actors, the director and others who were on hand for the show. Read the director’s cut below as well as a review of the film.

Director’s Cut: My first hand account of the POTD premiere

By Jacob Perrett, broadcast

There only a few things that terrify me. Spiders, heights, and when people watch my work in front of me. I am a filmmaker, and October 21, 2015 was arguably the biggest night of my life.

A couple months prior to the events held on October 21 were spent writing, filming, and putting together a 41-minute sci-fi project known as “Planet of the Dead.” I went into this project having the utmost faith that the crew and I would be capable of creating a sci fi film with a budget of under $40, and the final product not only pleased me but my actors as well.

The film can have a multiple number of meanings to many people, but as for me, among all the blood and guts, it tells a story about dealing with guilt and grief. Our four main characters are sent into space to search for a new habitable planet because Earth as we know it is being overtaken by a deadly disease. When they return unsuccessful, they find that the world they remember has since changed. You’ve got to remember that these astronauts have all lost something. They all had lives prior to this mission, friends and family counting on them to return. They all deal with these feelings in different ways throughout the film, and to me, this part makes the movie a whole lot more human rather than zombie.

Over 300 hundred people came to watch senior Jacob Perrett's movie "Planet of Dead"

Over 300 hundred people came to watch senior Jacob Perrett’s movie “Planet of Dead.”            (Photo by Ben Haylett)

Wednesday, October 21 is a night I will always remember. Three hundred people somehow managed to find seats in a theater that seats 130. During the viewing of the movie, I sat mid center, surrounded by the minds of hundreds of people who were busily captivated by my tale. With the thunderous applause at the end of the film and a short speech about it under my belt, I was sent off into the night content and happy with my experience with Planet of the Dead. As I rode home I realized, however, that this was just the first of many experiences.

POTD: Local senior shows killer skills

By Becca Siple, social media editor

Cast members of "Planet of the Dead" take a pose before the showing of the movie.

Cast members of “Planet of the Dead” take pose before the showing of the movie.                     (Photo by Ben Haylett)

“NASA was wrong,” said Meadville senior Caleb Bish as Captain Sterns in “Planet of the Dead,” Jacob Perrett’s movie which premiered at the Movies in Meadville on Oct. 21.              The 41 minute zombie apocalypse movie is about a group of astronauts, including Sterns,  who go into space, and when they return to Earth hoping that the zombies will be extinct, they find that the  “sick” have taken over and no humans remain. Planet Earth as they know it is now the “Planet of the Dead.”

Perrett had approximately 26 cast and crew members. When asked what his inspiration was behind the film, Perrett said, “I’ve always been a big fan of horror movies, particularly ones with a sci fi element in them, and I guess I am a fan of the director George Romero who made zombies mainstream, and when it comes to sci fi movies, I am a big fan of John Carpenter.” Romero directed “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” while Carpenter directed “The Thing” and “Halloween.”

Perrett’s parents Barry and Kelly, who were very supportive of their son’s accomplishments, also appeared in the film as zombies. “When I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of actors, and my mom was always the one who volunteered to play any part that I needed,” said Perrett. Both of them suffer violent zombie deaths in the film. “My dad was all for it. He wanted to go out with a bang.”

The premiere was a huge success as over 300 fans packed into a theater with 130 seats, and the crowd chanted “SPEECH!” at the end. Perrett summed up the experience: “It is very rewarding because a lot of people including myself put a lot of hard work into it, and I guess I tend to lean towards movies I like. I am glad other people liked it, so I am very grateful for that.”

Key Club volunteers (early) for Make A Difference Day

By Rachel Barner, staff writer

Members of Key Club at Saegertown raked leaves at Janet Haas’s house in remembrance of Dwight Haas, a former member of the Meadville Golden K Kiwanis Club

Members of Key Club at Saegertown raked leaves at Janet Haas’s house in remembrance of Dwight Haas, a former member of the Meadville Golden K Kiwanis Club

On the cold, Fall morning of October 17, a few members of the Key Club raked leaves on Ryan Road, supervised by Marlene Jenkins, the Pantherian Key Club supervisor from the Meadville Golden K Kiwanis Club.

Although the official Make A Difference Day was held Oct. 24, for Key Club, the difference came a week early as they raked leaves at Janet Haas’s house in remembrance of Dwight Haas, a member of the Meadville Golden K Kiwanis Club, who passed away last April. Haas was a large supporter of SHS Key Club.

Make A Difference Day is the largest single-day of volunteering, in collaboration with Points of Light, another large volunteering service. This was the twenty-fourth year it has been held on the last Saturday of every October. This year, the date for Make A Difference Day was October 24. USA TODAY initiated Make A Difference Day, and is backed by the Gannett Company and TEGNA, Inc. 

To make a difference for Make A Difference Day, visit

Students take on Edinboro STEM Day

By Paige Coon and Kassidy Trace, staff writers

STEM students gather together at Edinboro University for a group photo.

Saegertown students attended Edinboro STEM Day on Oct. 13.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics all came into play at Edinboro University on Tuesday, October 13 when a group of select juniors and sophomores attended STEM Day.

On this trip the students got to choose between a psychology and a biochemistry program. Junior Dustin Bierman, who attended the biochemistry program, said, “We learned how to extract DNA from household items like an orange.” These students had the opportunity to tour chemistry labs and witness professors perform experiments.

The students in the psychology program had the chance to talk with psychology professors and learn about the different equipment used in that field. “It was cool seeing all of the different parts of the psychology labs,” said sophomore Kaity Gage. When the programs finished, the students gathered in the planetarium to learn about different constellations. The professor explained where the constellations were located and how the sky changed throughout the night. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for our students,” said science teacher Mrs. Kelli Peters, who accompanied the students on the trip.

Saegertown forfeits varsity football game

Sarah Shaw, staff writer and Jackie Galford, features editor

The Saegertown Panthers are preparing to get back into their season this week, competing at Iroquois tonight at 7 p.m., Oct. 17.

The Saegertown Panthers are preparing to get back into their season this week, competing at Iroquois tonight at 7 p.m., Oct. 23.

The forfeit of the varsity football game against Lakeview on October 16 surprised the Saegertown student body. Mr. Healey, PENNCREST School District’s superintendent, expressed his knowledge of the forfeit. “We only had 10 players ready to play that day. We scheduled ahead so Lakeview would know we wouldn’t be there.” He noted that the only information released by PENNCREST was a statement from his office. Any other details were reported from outside the district. “The media things didn’t come from us.” He didn’t want rumors to start that just weren’t necessary.

Some of the cheerleaders and players were upset but understood the decision that was made. Senior player Chris Mattern-Gilchrist said, “I wish we could have played, but due to the loss of so many kids, I understand why we cancelled.” Senior Lexi Rockwell said, “I think it’s kind of sad we had to forfeit. We didn’t have enough players to cover for those who were unable to play.”

Although some of the players were upset, others could agree it was necessary. “It gave the team some time to heal over not only sickness but injuries as well. We had too many of them,” said junior Adam Kralj.

As for the tonight’s contest at Iroquois, the team has taken some time to think about how they are going to attack it, and they would appreciate all support that is willing to come to the game at 7 p.m. “We’ve taken the time this week to really regroup and work on our plays. I think this will be a good game,” Kralj said.

Lady Panthers volleyball team clicking on the court

By Wyatt Fleischer, sports editor

On August 17 the Lady Panthers took to the gym at 6 p.m. to begin the season. The newly polished floors reflected the ceiling’s every detail. “One last time,” said senior Maile Chang.

With the loss of all-state hitter Kenzie Garris and other key players, there were some shoes to fill. The upperclassmen stepped up and took the reins of the 2015 season.  The Panthers were playing the Meadville Bulldogs when shining sophomore Haley Hess was stepped on under the net. The event resulted in a sprained ankle and missing six games. A week later senior Becca Siple was removed from the starting line up with cellulitis in the left knee. Siple returned to the Panthers line up and scored a well needed eleven kills against the Union City Bears.

With all of the injuries, the Panther’s starter Kendra Taylor had to take a bigger leadership role. Taylor brought momentum to the court when the energy was needed. And sophomore Payton Brooks stepped up to replace the injured Hess. Brooks brought heighth and grit to their side of the court.

Seniors Maile Chang, Lauren Posego, and Haley Wise are doing damage in all aspects of the game. Posego has been a steady force with an average of eleven kills a game. Chang has been dishing out an average of 22 assists a game. Wise has been showing the younger players great defense with an average of 7 digs a game.

The ladies have new coaches this year with Justin Johnson as head coach and Tim Houck as assistant, and with these changes, the girls’ rotation has been flipped and flopped many times. After hitting the halfway point of the season, though,  the rotation seems to be clicking. Senior night was held on Oct. 22 against the Maplewood Tigers, and the girls will be in action again on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at Youngsville. 

Class council conducts fundraiser to benefit local kennel

By Lauren Haylett, junior high reporter

Junior high class council raised money to assist the Townville Kennel.

Junior high class council raised money to assist the Townville Kennel.

Junior high students have been raising funds by selling pizzas and pizza kits. The money is not only for their field trip,

which will be organized by the class council, but also for hungry animals in need.  “The morning we were supposed to be starting our Little Caesar’s fundraiser, on the news they had talked about the Townville Kennel and that if they didn’t get animal food, they were going to have to shut their doors and who knows what would’ve happened to the animals?” said Mrs. Nicole DeFrances, class council adviser.  So the council decided to help out by giving part of their fundraiser money as well as other donations like pet food. Many students are pleased with this addition to the fundraiser.  “This fundraiser is good because not only are we helping ourselves, but we’re helping someone else,” said class council vice president Chloe Luchansky. “I don’t know how much we’ve collected so far, but at least we’ve got some food and for every item sold, one dollar will be donated.  I feel like we’re going to have a nice chunk to send to them,” said DeFrances.  The pick up date for the pizza kits is October 29, and all orders must be into Mrs. DeFrances as soon as possible. The junior high is more than willing to give away part of the earnings to help others in need. Eighth-grader Sydney Fredericks said, “I feel as if even though we aren’t the biggest school, the little things that we can do, make a difference.”

Donald Trump: Earning student support?

By Cy Van Cise, staff writer

Steve Arblaster (left) and Dan Simmerman (right) gave their opinions on potential 2016 GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Steve Arblaster (left) and Dan Simmerman (right) gave their opinions on potential 2016 GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Few Americans have had the the financial success of Donald J. Trump. Trump started working in the 1960s for his father in the real estate industry. His father soon discovered his son’s tremendous skill at developing buildings in the heart of New York City. Now, in 2015, Trump is leading in some polls to be the next President of the United States.

Many Saegertown students will be of age to vote when the election is held and have a chance to participate for the first time. “We need a businessman not a community organizer,” said senior Steve Arblaster, who is in favor of a Trump presidency.

Trump’s business skills have earned him a net worth of over four billion dollars. He was able to financially save himself from the real estate crash of the early 1990s. An unofficial survey was given in Mrs. Dee Henry’s government class, and 47 percent of students supported Trump. Not all are in favor of his candidacy, though. “Trump has no political experience,” said senior Dan Simmerman.

People throughout the nation will cast their votes throughout February and March in the Republican primaries. According to, Trump currently leads, with Ben Carson in second. Whatever political views Saegertown students have, they will definitely have the chance to participate in an important election.