Square Dancers Take Home the Blue Ribbon at The Pennsylvania Farm Show

Saegertown square dancers pose for a picture. (Picture contributed by Rachel Barner)

Saegertown square dancers pose for a picture. (Picture contributed by Rachel Barner)

By Colleen Michaels, Features Editor

For the past five years, boys and girls from Saegertown High School have attended a huge event and brought home a blue ribbon for their square dancing expertise. With over 6,000 animals, almost 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits, what else could it be but Pennsylvania Farm Show? This year marked the 99th Pennsylvania Farm. From January 10  to January 17 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania massive groups of people visit the agricultural event that features every farm animal you can think of (cows, pigs, horses, chickens, etc…) along with a variety of home show exhibits. This year, Saegertown students danced their way to victory in a square dancing competition where they took first place. The ‘Wild Country Dancers’ have been dancing as a team for five years and have gone to farm show each of these years. This year marks the fifth year in a row that these students brought home a blue ribbon.

Junior Brittany Barr, sophomore Rachel Barner, eighth grader Ben Shelenberger and seventh graders Sam Shelenberger, Nathan Barner, and Emily Barr all traveled to Harrisburg last week to compete. “Other than wearing a skirt, it was great to spend time with friends and it felt amazing to win a blue ribbon…again,” said Brittany Barr. The team practiced once a week for about ten weeks until Christmas. Over Christmas break, they practiced two hours every other day in preparation for the Farm Show competition.

Once they got to the show, they practiced daily, and on Monday, day three of the show, the dancers competed against thirty other eight-person teams. With over 480 dancers and more than 60 teams, it is a hectic evening, but all the practice paid off. The Wild Country Dancers danced five songs, including ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and ‘Calender Girl’ sung by a professional caller, before clinching the blue ribbon. “It was so much fun and I’m already looking forward to next year,” said Emily Barr. To watch the PCN broadcast click here.

Yearbook takes silver in American Scholastic Press Association competition

SHS seniors pose with their award.  (Picture by Makenna Robison)

SHS seniors pose with their award.
(Picture by Makenna Robison)

By Haley Wise, Staff Writer

Last year’s Pantherian Yearbook titled “Branching Out” was recently awarded second place by the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA).

The staff became eligible for this award by mailing an application to the ASPA. Each school that submits an application is categorized by their number of students. Saegertown was placed in a division along with other schools that enrolled roughly 550 students last year.

The ASPA judges each yearbook on aspects such as: overall use of theme, use of color, photographs, quality of the copy (stories) and inclusion of as many students as possible. Yearbook adviser Mrs. Dee Henry said, “We were proud of our overall aesthetic appearance and lack of grammatical errors.”

The ASPA provides feedback for the yearbook staff as well. They critique the publication and make suggestions to improve or change aspects of the yearbook. “We are really excited to make the necessary changes to improve our publication this year,” said Mrs. Henry.

Lurking in your food: What are you really eating?

Ba-da-ba-ba-bah I'm not lovin' It.

Ba-da-ba-ba-bah I’m not lovin’ It. image from www.peta.org/blog/gross-things-actually-found-food/

By Wyatt Fleischer, Assistant Social Media Editor

What is that chicken nugget really made of? There is some chicken in there, but not the kind of chicken you think. Many companies, like Tyson poultry, process their meats in an “efficient” way. Once the breast, wings, and thighs are stripped off the bird, all other parts of the bird are reused. The bones and skin are sent through a machine that turns them into a putrid pink, or a banal brown sludge. This is what makes up most of your chicken patties, hot dogs, and nuggets.

The FDA says massive companies need to have at least thirty-five percent real meat in their products. Okay, but what about the other sixty-five percent?  That mainly consists of water starches or chemicals, and let’s not forget about that sludge. This gelatinous goo makes up most of the chicken nuggets. Not only do these nuggets have huge amounts of calorie storage, but they also heighten the chances of you getting type two diabetes and foodborne illnesses.

The World Health Organization keeps a watchful eye on companies and jots down its observations, yet this doesn’t change what it’s seeing. The companies, under public watch, turn up their noses to any outcry of foul play in the creation of their products. Several years ago, CBS released a story about Subway’s bread. The bread contained a chemical that was also found in your everyday yoga mat and even the bottom of your shoes. The chemical is called azodicarbonamide. Subway used this to “bleach” the dough to make it whiter. This chemical comes from a genetically modified wheat. The effects of azodicarbonamide are skin irritation, oppression of the immune system, and even the disturbance of hormone levels. Europe and Australia have banned this chemical from all use near food. This isn’t only Subway’s bread, but also Little Debbie Honey Buns, Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, and many items served at McDonald’s, Burger King, and Starbucks. Subway did remove this chemical from its food to appease and serve the customers in a better fashion.

When it comes to peanut butter, as much as humans like this substance, so do our rodent counterparts. The FDA reports an allowance of one rat hair per one-hundred grams of peanut butter.  Diseases can be transmitted from these rodents to us through feces, urine, and saliva. Some of these diseases include hemorrhagic fever, rat-bite fever, Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis, and Listeriosis. Rat-bite fever, much like the well known “cat scratch fever”, causes symptoms such as inflammation, fever and vomiting. Bad cases of Leptospirosis show failure of the kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs. CBS reported on many of these unorthodox ingredients found in many foods. To learn more, visit cbsnews.com.

PMEA District II Band Festival: Six advance to regions

By Ally Shenk, Staff Writer

Musicians from forty schools took the stage Jan. 7-10. (Casey Fetzner/SHS)

Musicians from forty schools took the stage Jan. 7-10. (Casey Fetzner/SHS)

Saegertown High School played host to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District II Band Festival last week (Jan. 7-10). One hundred-seventy students came from forty high schools across the three-county region to compete for a position in Region II Band, which will be held at Fort LeBoeuf High School in February.

The musicians were supposed to begin practice and participate in auditions on Wednesday night, but, due to weather delays, they didn’t start until Thursday, January 8. The community concert was held Friday at 8 p.m., with a second concert on Saturday at 1 p.m.  The guest conductor Robert W. Smith said, “Preparation was easy, and I got a sense of where the students were at skill wise.” The only difficulty he seemed to face was getting the students to play as a whole. Smith is a nationally known composer who has over 700 works to his name. Saegertown band director Mr. Patrick Baldwin called him a “rock star” among composers of concert band music.

Several students from Saegertown made it to the Region II Festival: seniors Kristina West, Matt Peters, and Makayla Miller; juniors Ben Courson and Jared Shaffer; and sophomore Jesse Stewart (who earned first chair in a field of eight tubas). “We learned how to transpose Mary had a Little Lamb,” said senior Kristina West. At Region Band, students will have the opportunity to compete for a position in All-State Band, which will be held in Hershey, Pa. To see more photos from the event, visit http://www.edline.net/pages/Saegertownjshs.

Reynolds earns ‘IRON (ironman) POWER (powerade)TOOL (tool city)’ status

By Jessica Tomiczek, Social Media Editor 

Reynolds displays medal.

Senior wrestler Dylan Reynolds (shown here atop the podium at the IronMan Tournament) has recently won three major tournaments.

After a third place finish at the state championship last year, senior Dylan Reynolds felt like he had something to prove. In the Fall of last year, he committed to Clarion University, where he will follow his dream of wrestling for a Division I program with his brother, Shawn.

Then, he won the number one nationally ranked Iron Man tournament at Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio on Dec. 12-13. Next, he went on to be the first District 10 wrestler since 1993 to win the Powerade Tournament Dec. 29-30 at Canon McMillian High School in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

“I felt relieved after the match (the finals) because I was under a lot of pressure,” said Reynolds. The Powerade Tournament is the toughest tournament in Pennsylvania and the third toughest in the USA according to poweradewrestling.com. Four days later, he beat his opponent 4-3 in the finals, claiming his third consecutive Tool City Tournament title at Meadville High School. “I knew I had to win because I felt like I had something to prove,” he said. Head coach Jim Mulligan said, “It is an unbelievable feat what Dylan has done. Not many people in the country can do what he did. He’s ranked number eight in the country for a reason, but we can’t get too high about it. The ultimate goal is down the road.” Reynolds is now 19-0 on the season and has a career record of 136-21.

Band and chorus spread holiday cheer

By Caitlin Bieganski, Assistant Photo Editor

Seasonal spirit was in the air last night, as Saegertown chorus and concert band put on a beautiful Christmas concert. Directed by Mr. Pat Baldwin, the band performed a total of seven pieces, finishing with Into the Storm by Robert W. Smith–a favorite of the ensemble. Chorus teacher Mrs. Susan James conducted ten classic Christmas songs, including as Carol, Singers Carol and Fum Fum Fum. As is tradition, the concert ended with Carol of the Bells, in which SHS alumni chorus members join the singers on stage. Every year, the concert spurs tender moments as the last Christmas performance for the senior members, who present Mrs. James with a gift and a large supply of Jelly Bellies.


Kisner reviews Interstellar for The Erie Reader

By Erin Sherry, Editor in Chief

erie-reader-logo-2014Last year current senior and Panther Press news editor Eric Kisner won a first place Student Keystone Press Award from the Pennsylvania News Media Association Foundation for writing reviews. That is a state-wide award, and it has resulted in another job for Kisner. Currently, he is a movie reviewer for The Erie Reader, Erie’s only free, independent, weekly source for news, arts, and entertainment, which has a base circulation of 10,000. Kisner’s reviews appear on the Erie Reader’s online site. Check out his review of Interstellar at eriereader.com. You can also click on his profile at the top of the page to read all his reviews.

Stewart performs with Erie Junior Philharmonic

By Sydney Kightlinger, Assistant Opinion Editor

Jesse Stewart after the winter concert at General McLane High School on Dec .2.

Jesse Stewart after the winter concert at General McLane High School on Dec. 2.

Any mention of dedicated musicians or grand performances conjures the image of middle aged adults in an elaborate theater playing some famous symphony by a dead obscure Russian composer, the kind of event parents make us attend.

This is not always the case, because some teenagers thrive on the warmth of the stage lights like sophomore Jesse Stewart. Stewart has been playing in the Erie Junior Philharmonic for two years. “There is nothing better than to be playing music with some of the best musicians all around the state,” said Stewart.

The Junior Philharmonic is an ensemble composed of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. It has students from twenty five schools including representation from all in the PENNCREST district. Jesse Stewart is the principle (first) tuba chair. Their most recent performance was Dec. 4, the Winter Ensemble Concert, where they played a wide variety of classical music. “The long hours of rehearsal really paid off. The music selection was one of our best. After the many weeks of rehearsal everything came together. I loved playing the Dubinushka,” said Stewart. The next concert is April 26, 2015.

Military homecoming: Jordan Weed surprises his brother

By Olivia Burger, Opinion Editor

Logan Weed, junior, reunited with his brother Jordan Weed.

Logan Weed, junior, reunited with his brother Jordan Weed.

On Wednesday Nov. 26, Mr. Scott Bidwell’s seventh period Algebra class was continuing as any normal class day would for junior Logan Weed. However to Logan’s surprise, the class ended with a shocker he never saw coming. His brother, Jordan Weed, had returned home for the holidays.

The surprise started when Assistant Principal Mrs. Laurie Kantz interrupted the class and said, “I think there’s someone here you’d like to see.” In the doorway stood Logan’s older brother, Jordan. Jordan had been released from the Shaw Air Force Base located in South Carolina where he is an Air Traffic Controller with an Airman 1st Class rank. Jordan’s break from service stretched from Wednesday Nov. 26 through Monday Dec. 1, giving him time to spend with his family and close friends over the Thanksgiving holiday season.

On Tuesday Nov. 25, the day before Jordan surprised Logan at the school, Jordan called his brother to trick him into thinking he wouldn’t be able to make it for Thanksgiving. “I was surprised because I talked to him the day before and he said he wasn’t coming, but he really was in the car on his way up here at that time,” said Logan.

Logan and Jordan, along with the rest of their family, were thankful for the time they spent together. Logan said, “That was the first time I had seen him in a year and a half. I hope I can see him for Christmas, but I’m glad I got to see him on Thanksgiving.”