School board election today: PENNCREST filling six seats

 

by Erik Murphy, web site editor

penncrest logo.jpegUnbeknownst to many of the students in the PENNCREST School District, a hotly contested election among school board candidates is taking place today and could result in huge implications for students, faculty, and taxpayers alike.

Nine candidates are currently running for six positions on the school board. Mark Gerow, Gerry Deane, Timothy Brown, and Travis Porter are seeking reelection while Bob Johnston, Jeffrey Brooks, Staci Porter, Terrance Deane, and Robert Gullick are seeking their first term on the board.

Timothy Brown is a Crawford County native and is married to Saegertown Elementary teacher Mrs. Brown. He seeks to update the curriculum and manage the budget while acknowledging that “micromanaging every penny of the budget is almost impossible.” Bob Johnston served eight years on the board of the now closed French Creek Valley School Board. Despite its closure, he claims that they were able to work through the issues at the time.

Travis Porter is a Saegertown graduate and local business owner. His children attend Cambridge Springs. He intends to make changes in regards to the declining enrollment and spend more time breaking down the budget. His wife, Staci Porter is also seeking a position on the board. She has an accounting degree and is employed at two tax offices in Meadville. Notably, she said that she seeks to run the school board “like a business,” at the candidate forum on Oct. 25 at Saegertown, but she later said, “Kids are not dollar signs.”

Gerry Deane, current vice president of the school board, spent 38 years in Education and is concerned with the the lack of teamwork in the board and student preparation for the global economy. Her husband, Terrance Deane, worked in the district since 1983. He is well-known in the community as Saegertown’s former junior high basketball coach. Deane seeks to gain a better grasp on the concept if elected and will try to lower expenses if at all possible.

Robert Gullick spent 25 years in retail and 17 years as an elementary teacher until he retired last year. Gullick shares similar viewpoints with Mr. Deane and said that the board should discuss what fellow boards are doing right and follow in their footsteps. He related this concept to compromising among board members. Mark Gerow graduated from Cambridge Springs and, like Mrs. Porter, possesses a degree in accounting. He discussed what things used to be like in the district in regards to community boards, clubs, boosters, etc.

Navy veteran Jeffrey Brooks spent time as a student teacher and a social worker. He became more involved in the school board and parent committee after proposed cuts to school libraries were made. At the candidate forum, Brooks suggested that a functioning board will attract good superintendents.

Many have vocalized concerns involving incremental, year on year tax increases. Increases of $50-$60 per year have become commonplace in nearby school districts such as General McLane. Such increases have been cited as the way of the future for PENNCREST, for better or for worse. Moreover, some have criticized spending in PENNCREST. At the October 12 school board meeting, citizen Art Hoffman said the school board lacks a system of “checks and balances” and “is not a dictatorship.”

All nine candidates stated that they are opposed to consolidation of two or all three schools into a singular facility. However, Mr. Porter and Mr. Gerow discussed the fact that it may come to that if something isn’t done.

Regardless of who is elected, the new board could certainly bring about a huge change in direction for the future of the district.

Election results will be posted on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.

Spanish students strut in fashion show

By Kassie Boyd and Cami Reynolds, staff writers

On Jan. 19, students from Maplewood, Cambridge and Saegertown went head to head in a Spanish inspired, Spanish speaking fashion show. PENNCREST Spanish teachers Miss Nova Dinsmore and Mrs. Brooke Lewis orchestrated the fashion show as a new, direct way to learn. “The most difficult part was correlating everything,” said Miss Dinsmore. “Students really didn’t know what to expect with a performance-based project this time.”

This year has been ripe with change for Spanish students at Saegertown High School. Following the retirement of Mrs. Janyce Brawn, Dinsmore joined the Saegertown staff, and she has brought some new and exciting changes and traditions.

At the fashion show, students had the chance to meet new people and watch their peers on stage. “I feel like it went better than expected,” said Saegertown sophomore Gabe DeYoung. Students from Maplewood and Cambridge joined together in the auditorium for a large-scale collaboration. “It’s kind of embarrassing, but I don’t really care,” said sophomore Layla Joseph from Maplewood. “I know these people, they know me, so it doesn’t really matter.”

Groups of students took turns walking across stage in their best outfits for a fashion show, or al desfile de moda. One member controlled the microphone and described the outfits, personalities, interests, and physical attributes, all in Spanish.

Afterwards, each student who had participated in the fashion show wrote a short review of what they enjoyed, what they didn’t, and how performance based projects could be improved in the future. “Even students agree it should’ve been more creative,” said Dinsmore. This suggests the first of more to come for current and upcoming Spanish students. 

Clay target shooting becoming a new sport at Saegertown

By Bailey Kozalla, sports editor

Students are now being recruited to join the PA High School Clay Target League, a new sport just approved for PENNCREST students in grades 7-12. Registration began Jan. 15 and ends March 10. To participate, the student must have completed a hunter safety course or firearm safety certification and pay one-time dues of $35. The practice start date is April 2, and competitions will begin April 23 against teams in the PENNCREST conference. A total of five competitions be held through May 21. An informational open house will be held Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in the SHS cafeteria.

There are three main divisions of clay target shooting which include trap, skeet, and sporting clays. In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single “house” or machine, going away from the shooter. The targets are launched from two “houses” in sideways patterns that cross in front of the shooter during skeet shooting. Sporting clays are the most complex; clays are thrown from many different launch points. The layout of the field is determined by what type of shooting is being employed. For instance, the layout for a trapshooting field has different components and strategies than a skeet or sporting clays field. In the league, the kids will be shooting trap, with the organization providing the shotgun shells.

The league is looking for new members, so join the fastest growing and safest high school sport. For more information visit http://paclaytarget.com/ or contact Mary Ann Birchard at (814)398-2262.