Penn Manor’s Elledge earns Beth Bash Theatre Award

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School senior Lauren Elledge, recipient of this year’s Beth Bash Award for Excellence in Theatre.

Lauren is one of two Lancaster County student actors honored with the award; the other is Austin Nedrow of Conestoga Valley High School.

A panel of judges composed of Fulton Theatre artists and educators select the Beth Bash Award winner or winners each school season based on the individual’s communication and focus, characterization, understanding of text and purpose and professionalism.

Past recipients include Jonathan Groff, who went on to portray King George in the original cast of “Hamilton” on Broadway and was the voice of the Kristoff in “Frozen.”

Lauren also received the Robert Fulton Award for Best Actress in the Fulton’s Family Series Productions for the 2016-2017 season for her portrayal of Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.”

Fulton season ticket subscribers vote for their favorites in each category, and Lauren was up against adult professional performers for this award.

The honors are the latest accolades for Lauren, who earlier this year was named Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania for 2017.

Congrats, Lauren, for continuing to make us Penn Manor proud!

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Hambright rock path celebrates creativity, collaboration

There’s a colorful new walkway winding across the front of Hambright Elementary School, and every Hambright student and staff member had a hand in its creation.

The Hambright Path of Leadership is comprised of more than 900 rocks that were hand-painted over the past several weeks by every student (all 26 classes, including kindergarten) and staff member at the school – and not one of them is alike.

“All the rocks are different in shape and design on purpose,” said Hambright art teacher Heather Wigerman. “The emphasis was that we are all important and valued for our individual ideas, opinions, strengths and personalities, and we should appreciate our differences.”

The project was inspired by the children’s book “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz, which Wigerman read and discussed with students as part of the project. The book encourages people to be a positive influence in each other’s lives and embrace their unique traits and abilities.

The “rock artists” could include messages and symbols on their creations and paint them in whatever array of colors they felt best reflected who they are.

The rocks were donated to the school by Legacy Landscape Materials in Willow Street. Members of Boy Scout Troop 91 helped Wigerman wash and organize them by grade and dig and lay landscaping materials for the path. The effort was an Eagle Scout project led by Hunter Heisler, the son of Hambright’s school nurse, Lisa Heisler.

The Leadership Path is designed to be permanent and eventually will include a sign reading “Hambright is on a path to leadership – join us on our journey!”

The path “is a visual metaphor for the journey we are all on, as we learn and grow as leaders in our school, personal life, family and community,” Wigerman said. “The path is curved to symbolize the challenges we face every day and how we learn from them and each other. Everyone we meet on our path enriches our journey.”

Hambright principal Eric Howe said the project brought the school community together with its unique blend of creativity and collaboration.

“We are extremely fortunate to have educators, like Heather, who bring projects like this to life for our students,” he said. “Our Hambright community is very grateful that she put forth the time and effort on this beautiful path.“

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Sierra Echavarria named Homecoming Queen

Congratulations to Sierra Echavarria, who was crowned the 2017 Penn Manor High School Homecoming Queen.

Sierra was chosen from among the nine members of the Penn Manor homecoming court at halftime of the Sept. 30 football game against Hempfield High School.

Last year’s queen, Karly Emmert, was on hand to crown Sierra during a ceremony on the field.

Sierra is the daughter of Rafael Echavarria and Sabel McKinnie and the stepdaughter of Gerrin McKinnie. Her father was her homecoming escort.

She is a member of the Scrubs Club and Student Ambassadors, is Penn Manor High School Chorus vice president and section leader, sings with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and works as an LGH student volunteer. She was recently named to County Chorus.

After graduation, Sierra plans to study pre-med at a four-year college.

Other members of the court were Veronica Cazillo, Sarai Figueroa, Madison Groff, Allison Hege, Alexis Hemmerly, Brittany Hook, Samantha Liu and Cheyenne Ressler. The court raised money in support of the Penn Manor MiniTHON.

Homecoming activities included a pep rally in the East Gym, tailgating and a Homecoming Dance Saturday in the Penn Manor High School cafeteria.

In addition, the Penn Manor Alumni Association distributed stadium seat cushions and pom-poms to the many alumni in the crowd.

It was a great night to be a Comet!

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PMHS freshmen to learn ‘soft skills’ under new Comet Credential program

Penn Manor ninth-graders were introduced this week to a new initiative designed to help them develop the “soft skills” employers say are needed to succeed in the modern workforce.

All freshmen will complete online courses toward earning a Comet Credential, a certificate indicating they have completed training on a series of essential interpersonal skills and practices to help them succeed.

The courses include such topics as “Time Management: Quit Making Excuses and Make Time Instead,” “Making and Carrying Out Tough Decisions,” “Communication Methods that Make Sense – and Make Your Point” and “Difficult People: Strategies to Keep Everyone Working Together.”

The training won’t just help students who intend to join the workforce after graduation, but will give all students the tools to more successfully navigate their four years of high school and transition to college, training or a job, said Melissa Ostrowski, a Penn Manor High School counselor.

This is the first program of its kind targeting an entire high school class – more than 400 students – in Pennsylvania. Students will complete the courses in addition to their regular academic work.

The Comet Credential program is a collaborative effort involving local business representatives, the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board and CareerLink of Lancaster County, a partner of the American Job Center network.

The courses Penn Manor students will complete are the same ones that Lancaster County employers are offering to their workers as part of SkillUp Lancaster, an initiative designed to bolster the skills of the local workforce.

The Comet Credential program kicked off Sept. 27 with an assembly that included a presentation by Scott Fiore of Tri-Starr Staffing on the skills students will need to succeed in the job market.

“When you complete this training, you will be much better prepared for a job than your peers at other schools will be,” Fiore told the students.

Penn Manor freshmen will begin completing the courses Oct. 11 and will work on them throughout the school year.

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7 Penn Manor High School students named to County Chorus

Seven Penn Manor High School students have qualified to participate in the Lancaster-Lebanon County Chorus Festival in February.

The students auditioned last weekend at McCaskey High School before a panel of judges along with other students from public and private schools throughout Lancaster and Lebanon Counties.

Penn Manor students named to County Chorus are Lauren Elledge and Sierra Echavarria (soprano 1), Diane Imboden (soprano 2), Josiah Hine (tenor 2), Leilani Torres (Alto 2), Claudia Heitland (alto 2) and Garrison Webster (bass 2).

Congratulations to these talented students, who will perform at the festival on Feb. 3 at Warwick High School.

From left, Leilani Torres, Claudia Heitland, Sierra Echavarria, Garrison Webster, Josiah Hine, Diane Imboden and Lauren Elledge.


More than 200 celebrate re-dedication of Conestoga Elementary

More than 200 people turned out Sunday, Sept. 24, to mark the re-dedication of Conestoga Elementary School and tour the newly renovated school.

State Rep. Brett Miller addressed the crowd in Conestoga’s new multipurpose room, recalling the school’s rich history and pointing out that new facilities are important, but it’s the students and staff that make schools like Conestoga great.

Conestoga alums Hailey Fafel and Logan Connelly sang the National Anthem, and Conestoga teacher Heather Fellenbaum and her son, Chase, a first-grader at the school, cut a ribbon to mark the reopening.

Architect Larry Levato of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, which designed the renovations, presented a ceremonial key to the school to Penn Manor school board president J. Kenneth Long.

Conestoga Elementary was closed in 2016-2017 for completion of an $11.7 million construction and renovation project. Upgrades include a new entrance, lobby, media center, Academic Commons, kitchen, playground and instructional spaces and new HVAC, communications and security systems. Other areas of the school received comprehensive renovations.

Following the ceremonies, visitors enjoyed refreshments and toured the school. Among the visitors was Leo Heiland Jr., who was one of the first students to attend Conestoga in 1954. He was visiting from Sunlakes, Ariz., to attend the Penn Manor High School Class of 1967 reunion.

Many thanks to the many people who helped make Conestoga’s transformation possible!

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Pink Out fight against cancer is under way

The shirts have arrived, and Penn Manor is in full Pink Out mode as the annual effort to raise funds to fight cancer is under way.

Pink “PM Comets Fight for a Cure” T-shirts are starting to arrive, and Penn Manor student athletes, staff and community members are raising funds for cancer care and research efforts.

Fall sports teams are selling T-shirts to support the cause and will raise additional funds at special Pink Out home games. Here’s the schedule:

  • Sept. 26 – girls’ tennis
  • Sept. 27 – varsity field hockey
  • Oct. 5 – middle school field hockey
  • Oct. 10 – girls’ volleyball
  • Oct. 30 – football/cheerleaders/Penn Manor Marching Unit

In addition, a district-wide Pink Out dress-down day will be held Oct. 19. Staff members can participate by purchasing and wearing a Pink Out T-shirt or donating $5 to the cause through their building secretaries.

High school students will have an opportunity to buy shirts during lunch the week of Oct. 9. Anyone who did not order a shirt in advance may purchase a shirt (sizes are limited) by calling 717-872-9540.

Over the past three years, the Pink Out raised more than $46,000, thanks to the generosity of students, staff and community members. The donations have benefited such organizations as The Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society and Help the Fight.

Let’s see how much we can raise this year!

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Nine seniors vying for title of PMHS Homecoming Queen

Nine Penn Manor High School seniors are vying for the title of 2017 Homecoming Queen while raising money to fight childhood cancer.

Veronica Cazillo, Sierra Echavarria, Sarai Figueroa, Madison Groff, Allison Hege, Alexis Hemmerly, Brittany Hook, Samantha Liu and Cheyenne Ressler are this year’s candidates. The homecoming queen will be announced at halftime of the Sept. 29 Penn Manor home football game against Hempfield High School.

The students are raising money for the school’s MiniTHON, which benefits the Four Diamonds Fund’s pediatric cancer research and support efforts.

Veronica Cazillo is the daughter of Frank and Susan Cazillo of Willow Street. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Veronica participates in Penn Manor chorus, theater and Manor Singers and is a member of the Serteen Club and the International Thespian Society. After high school, she plans to study nursing.

Sierra Echavarria is the daughter of Rafael Echavarria and Sabel McKinnie and the stepdaughter of Gerrin McKinnie. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Sierra is a member of  the Scrubs Club and Student Ambassadors, is Penn Manor High School Chorus vice president and section leader, sings with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and works as an LGH student volunteer. After graduation, she plans to study pre-med at a four-year college.

Sarai Figueroa is the daughter of David Figueroa and Maria Lopez of Mountville. Her parents will be her homecoming escorts.

Sarai is a member of the Penn Manor varsity cheerleading squad. She plans to attend a four-year college and study animal science.

Madison Groff is the daughter of Brad and Brenda Groff of Lancaster. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Madison is a student athletic trainer and a member of Varsity Club, Student Council and FCA. She is captain of the tennis team and a Student Ambassador. She plans to major in exercise science at a four-year college after high school.

Allison Hege is the daughter of James and Denise Hegge of Millersville.  Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Allison is a member of the girls’ tennis and lacrosse teams, Varsity Club and Student Council. After graduation, she plans to play lacrosse and study elementary education at a four-year college.

Alexis Hemmerly is the daughter of Dave and Tatjana Hemmerly of Millersville. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Alexis participates in lacrosse and Powder Puff football and is a member of Varsity Club, the Spring Fling Crew and Aevidum and is Student Council secretary. After high school, Alexis plans to attend a four-year college and study hospitality management.

Brittany Hook is the daughter of Mike and Melissa Hook of Willow Street. Her parents and grandfather, Melvin Breitenbach, will be her homecoming escorts.

Brittany is a member of the field hockey and softball teams and Varsity Club and serves as a Student Ambassador. After high school, she plans to play softball and study sports and exercise science at the University of South Florida.

Samantha Liu is the daughter of Steven Liu and Ivy Ngo. Her mother will be her homecoming escort.

Samantha participates in track and field, Student Council, Aevidum, Attollo, Powder Puff football, the Prom Committee and Ski Club. She is editor of the Trumpeter yearbook, president of Varsity Club, a member of the Science National Honor Society and a Student Ambassador. She plans to study biology in college and pursue a career in the medical field.

Cheyenne Ressler is the daughter of Bruce Evans Jr. and Kelly Victorino of Millersville. Kelly and her boyfriend, Jason Eckman, will be Cheyenne’s homecoming escorts.

Cheyenne is a member of Manor FFA, the Student Ambassadors, the Activities Club and the Tommy Foundation. She plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force after graduation.

Homecoming activities will include a pep rally at 2 p.m. Sept. 29 in the East Gym, tailgating prior to the football game and a Homecoming Dance at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Penn Manor High School cafeteria.

Best of luck to these outstanding candidates!

2017 Homecoming Court
Homecoming Queen candidates for 2017 are, from left, Sarai Figueroa, Cheyenne Ressler, Alexis Hemmerly, Veronica Cazillo, Allison Hege, Madison Groff, Brittany Hook, Samantha Liu and Sierra Echavarria.

Penn Manor HS welcomes 52 students into National Honor Society

The Penn Manor chapter of the National Honor Society welcomed 52 new members during an induction ceremony Sept. 20 in the high school cafeteria.

To qualify for NHS, the Penn Manor High School juniors and seniors had to maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.85 and demonstrate strong leadership, service and character traits.

The 2017-2018 inductees include:

Gabriella Abreu, Ricky Knapp, Ivy Barley, Nicole Krahulik, Robert (Mitchell) Barr, David Kramer, Raj Bhattarai, Brandon Le, Gabby Bitts, Evan Lyon, Elise Borys, Madison McCanna, Billy Briegel, Charlotte Molitoris, Peyton Cassel, Chanel Musser, Shauna Charles, Riley Neuman, Emma Deberdine.

Hannah Nguyen, Erin DeVitry, Gurleen Pal, Kyle Echterling, Lisa Schaefer, Emily Flexman, Matthew Schaefer, Ray Gerner, Annie Shepherd, Ryan Glenn, Mark Smith, Logan Graves, Haide Sorial, Alexandria Harnish, Emma Spearing, Joshua Heckman, Erik Starry, Madison Henry, Jared Stephan.

Rebecca High, Joel Stoner, Aydan Hinkle, Anna Sugra, Chad Hoglund, Tabitha Swope, Sameeha Hossain, Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman, Kara Huber, Elise Thyrum, Diane Imboden, Natalie Whiteside, Anna Katherine Kirk and Julia Young.

Congratulations for earning this distinguished recognition!

Photos courtesy of LifeTouch

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Conestoga to celebrate reopening at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

You’re invited to celebrate the reopening of Conestoga Elementary School.

The school will host an open house and re-dedication ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 24, in Conestoga’s new multi-purpose room.

State Rep. Brett Miller will address the audience, and Conestoga students and staff will cut a ribbon to mark the re-dedication of the school, which was closed for renovations for 2016-2017.

The $11.7 million project added a new entrance and lobby, media center, Academic Commons, kitchen, playground and instructional space, HVAC systems and communications and security systems. Other areas of the school received comprehensive renovations.

Visitors will be able to tour the upgraded facility until 4 p.m. Sunday. Light refreshments will be served.

Please join us in celebrating the rebirth of Conestoga!


Board members honored for years of service

Penn Manor school board members Dr. Rich Frerichs, Chris Straub and Jeff Lyon were honored Monday by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for their years of service on the board.

Frerichs has served for 20 years; Straub has been a board member for eight years; and Lyon has served for eight years.

Nathan Mains, PSBA executive director, presented Honor Roll of School Board Service certificates to Frerichs and Straub at Monday night’s school board meeting. Lyon was not in attendance.

Mains praised Frerichs for helping mentor him when he transitioned to the executive director’s post while Rich was president of the PSBA board of directors. Mains also pointed out that Penn Manor school board members have a cumulative 101 years of experience serving the Penn Manor community — an incredibly high number.

Frerich’s daughter, Melissa Mealy, and granddaughter, Addy, were on hand to witness the presentation.

Congrats, gentlemen, and thanks for your service!


Board member holding grandchild.
Dr. Rich Frerichs, left, with granddaughter Addy Mealy and Nathan Mains, executive director of PSBA.

Kickoff Classic draws enthusiastic crowd at Comet Field

Many thanks to all who came out Aug. 31 – despite the threatening weather – to celebrate a new season of Penn Manor athletics at the Kickoff Classic at Comet Field.

The annual event introduced the 2017 fall sports teams and coaches and featured performances by the Penn Manor Marching Unit and cheerleaders. Participants enjoyed chicken dinners provided by the athletes as a scholarship fundraiser.

Penn Manor fall sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

New coaches this year are girls’ soccer head coach Jacob Marino and JV coach Danielle Landis, football assistant coaches Matt Schuck and Jon Boxleitner, boys’ soccer assistant varsity coach Mike Cortez and JV coach Danny Schmidt, and cheerleading junior high coach Kara Eshleman.

Printable schedules for Penn Manor sports teams are available by clicking here.

Online schedules are available here.

Fall sports calendars also are available on the Penn Manor cellphone app, which can be downloaded free from Google Play or the App Store.

Let’s go Comets!

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Students without immunizations to be turned away from schools

If your child does not have the required immunization records, he/she will be turned away from school beginning Thursday, August 31. Please take steps to assure this does not happen.

On Wednesday, August 30, parents whose child/children were not in compliance were notified via a letter from Penn Manor superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter.  A total of 126 students were included. Here is the message:

To the Parents/Guardians of: _________________________________

     As you are now aware, the Pennsylvania Department of Health made changes to immunization requirements for children who attend public schools. You are receiving this letter because, as of today, Penn Manor School District’s records indicate that your child is not in compliance with state immunization requirements.  Unfortunately, the district is forced to exclude your child from school beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 31, until documentation is provided.  Please do not send your child to school unless documentation has been provided.  Your child’s absence will be listed as unexcused.

     It is important that you immediately provide documentation of your child’s updated immunization records, or documentation from a physician’s office of a scheduled appointment for these immunizations, for compliance. Please contact the nurse at your child’s school if you have any questions.  Thank you.  

Michael G. Leichliter, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools 

Parents must have their children immunized or provide a letter from a doctor’s office verifying they have made an appointment for the required immunizations before they can be admitted to school.

An information sheet on the new immunization requirements is here: Vaccine requirements

Additional information is available here

A free immunization clinic is being offered by Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health for children who are uninsured or have medical assistance. Registration is required, and parents must bring their child’s immunization records to the appointment. Call 1-800-LGH-INFO (544-4636) to register.

The clinic will be held: Wednesday, September 6, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. LGH Suburban Pavilion, Wellness Conference Room, 2100 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601.


Kickoff Classic Thursday, August 31, at Comet Field

Comet Field will host Penn Manor’s 2017 Kickoff Classic beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Chicken dinners will be served from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by performances by the Penn Manor Marching Unit and cheerleaders and introductions of Penn Manor’s fall sports teams. Athletic schedules are available here.

Dinners are $10 and include a half chicken, potato, apple sauce, roll and drink. Tickets can be purchased in advance from student athletes or at the the Penn Manor Athletic Office. Proceeds benefit Penn Manor athletic scholarships.

Come out and support our talented student athletes and musicians!


A sunny, smooth start to the new school year

Penn Manor School District students returned to classrooms Thursday under clear, sunny skies to start off the 2017-2018 school year.

Conestoga Elementary students and staff were back at their newly renovated school after a one-year hiatus. The building was closed last year for an $11.7 million renovation project that added a new kitchen, playground and instructional space, HVAC systems and communications and security systems.

Also new this year is a pilot 1:1 Student Laptop Program for sixth-graders at Eshleman and Martic elementary schools and fifth-graders at Central Manor and Hambright elementary schools.

Thirty new professional staff greeted students at Penn Manor’s 10 schools for the new year. (Learn more here.) In all, about 5,300 students and more than 600 staff were back at schools Thursday.

Superintendent Mike Leichliter reported a smooth opening.

“Buses were nearly on time at all buildings, despite drivers learning new routes,” he said. “Students were mostly happy to be back in the classroom on a gorgeous summer day, and teachers are excited to be back working with students to help them succeed.”

We’re looking forward to a great year!

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