Sen. Martin visits students at Martic Elementary

State Sen. Scott Martin gave second-graders a lesson on how government works during a visit to Martic Elementary School Thursday, March 15.

The senator, who represents about 260,000 people in District 13, was invited to speak as the culmination of a second-grade social studies unit on America and the importance of patriotism.

Students welcomed Martin with a banner adorned with images of the state seal that they had hand-colored and signed.

Martin explained how bills become law, using the fictional example of two bills – one to reduce the amount of homework students must complete (which got cheers) and another to increase homework requirements (plenty of groans).

After his presentation, he quizzed students on what they had learned.

Many thanks to Sen. Martin for taking time from his schedule to speak with our students!

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Peyton Cassel earns national Scholastic Writing Award

Penn Manor High School junior Peyton Cassel has won another award for her writing — a national Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.

Peyton won the award in flash fiction (under 1,000 words) for her story “The Apology,” which previously won a regional Scholastic Gold Key Award.

The national Scholastic Award is the second for Peyton, who won a Silver Medal in 2016 for her collection of poems — the first time in 10 years that a Penn Manor student had earned a national medal.

Only 1 percent of the nearly 320,000 works of art and writing submitted in the competition earn an award. Past recipients of national awards include such outstanding artists and writers as Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote.

Earlier this year, Peyton also won a regional Silver Key Award for a collection of five poems and an Honorable Mention for her personal narrative “The Hatching.”

She plans to major in English or communications in college and pursue a career in broadcast journalism.

Congratulations, Peyton!

Peyton Cassel
Peyton Cassel


Elementary students take home trophies in Penn Manor Math Bowl

In a spirited competition involving students from all seven Penn Manor elementary schools, teams of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders squared off in the Penn Manor Math Bowl.

Teams from Central Manor Elementary School took home the first-place trophy in all three grades, and Eshleman students claimed the runner-up trophy.

More than 75 students participated in the competition, which tests students’ general math ability and skills in solving multi-step and word problems and computations with and without a calculator.

The participants are the top math students from each school, so just qualifying for the math bowl is an achievement. Here are the results:

Fourth grade

  • First place: Central Manor team of IzEldeen Salem, Maryam Alfayyadh, Chloe Mummau and Kayla Joy.
  • Second: Eshleman team of Tristn Torres, Jett Kroesen, Seth Barret and Luke Devinney.

Fifth grade

  • First: Central Manor team of Zoe Thomas, Cooper Dawkins, Jorden Chen and Brady Breneman.
  • Second: Eshleman team of Evan Lee, Andrew Gallion, Tyler Hudson and Ishmael Bolorin.

Sixth grade

  • First: Central Manor team of Gavin Long, Matthew Perkins, Carter Vinson and Tristan Groff.
  • Second: Eshleman team of Aydan Aliotta, Autumn Kirkley, Elizabeth Pursel and Mackenzi Nafziger.

Congratulations to all who participated!

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PMHS students design and build toys for pediatric hospital

Penn Manor High School students recently made a special delivery to children at Pediatric Specialty Care Hospital – a collection of colorful toys they designed and built in an unusual collaboration between students who normally would not work together.

The Pediatric Toy Project paired students in a technology/applied engineering course with learning support students for an opportunity to create toys to benefit children with significant medical challenges.

Working in teams, the Materials Design students shared their design and building knowledge with their peers to create safe, colorful, stimulating toys based on guidelines provided by the hospital, which sent a representative to meet with the students during the design phase.

The toys had to use nontoxic materials and include no sharp edges, with soft-close lids and other safety features. They also needed to be stimulating to the senses, with distinct textures and sounds, bright colors and recognizable shapes.

The building materials mostly included wood and Plexiglas, purchased with a $500 Venture Grant from Penn Manor Education Foundation.

“The project gave all the students a new experience they would not have gotten without this project,” said Alisha Gerhart, who teaches the Materials Design and Production class. “It brought two groups of students together that normally would not be in the same course.”

Gerhart collaborated with learning support teacher Michelle Wagner to create the project.

Over several months, students designed, built, tested and painted their toys before delivering them to the Lancaster pediatric hospital on March 1. They got to interact with the children and staff members – an unforgettable experience for many.

“This experience has allowed me to appreciate what I have in my life,” said Mitchell Martin, a junior. “These kids don’t get to go home every day and be with their families.  The experience that I had to give these kids joy with the toys that we made is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I was glad to be a part of it.”

Senior Kayla Hansen also was touched by the experience.

“Knowing that we will put a smile on those kids’ faces is the reward for our time and effort put into this project,” she said.

Gerhart said the class was a great learning experience, on many levels.

“This was an incredible opportunity for students to problem solve, work collaboratively, and do good within the local community,” she said.

Other students who took part in the project were Kyle Ament, Aidan Clark, Jonathan DiStefano, Josiah Edwards, Aaron Gale, Bryce Hanna, Kayla Hansen, Quinton James, Mitchell Martin, Cale Rehm, Julio Sepulveda, Brandon Singer, Toby Singer, Brandon Weitzel, Breanna Yanas, Cole Yecker, Tevonte Abernathy, Jose Alicea, Destinee Clinton, Madeline Gonzalez, Graylin Hyson, Victoria Kennedy, Cheyenne Reimer and Zana Yalch.

Congratulations to our students and teachers for their effort on such a worthwhile project!

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Snow day on March 7 does not affect school schedule

Please note that the snow day on Wednesday, March 7, will NOT affect the school schedule moving forward. Any future snow days may, however, impact the schedule.

Due to previous snow days, Penn Manor will be in session on Thursday, March 29; Tuesday, April 3; and Friday, May 25.


Penn Manor to honor Distinguished Alumni April 12

The Penn Manor Alumni Association will honor its 2018 Distinguished Alumni during a reception April 12 at Lancaster Tennis and Yacht Club on Columbia Avenue.

The event will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and include heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert, coffee and an open bar. The cost is $15 per person, and reservations are required.

This year’s inductees are Joshua Herr (Class of 2001), a designer for Adidas; Craig L. Kauffman (1981), a BB&T Bank regional president; J. Samuel Walker (1964), an author and historian; and Jan Mindish, a former longtime teacher and principal of Penn Manor High School. Mindish is an honorary alumna.

Those wishing to attend should send the number attending and a check made payable to PMAA-Wall of Honor to PMAA, P.O. Box 9, Millersville, PA 17551 by April 3, 2018. For information call Cindy Rhoades at 717-872-9500 ext. 2223 .

From left, Joshua Herr, Jan Mindish, Craig Kauffman and J. Samuel Walker.
From left, Joshua Herr, Jan Mindish, Craig Kauffman and J. Samuel Walker.


Penn Manor MiniTHON raises $26,694 for Four Diamonds

Thank you, Penn Manor students, staff, community members and businesses for making the 2018 Penn Manor MiniTHON such a success!

The fundraising drive and dance marathon, which concluded Friday, raised $26,694 — exceeding last year’s total by nearly $6,000! The money will go to Four Diamonds, an organization that provides support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

In addition to dancing, Friday’s activities included Zumba, cornhole and dodgeball tournaments, karaoke, an address by guest speaker Jeremiah Brown-Suarez, and food and refreshments.

Thanks again to everyone who supported this worthwhile cause. #FTK!

Photos compliments of LifeTouch

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Latest updates on HS project design presented to school board

More details on the proposed renovation and reconstruction of Penn Manor High School were shared this week with the Penn Manor Board of School Directors.

District architects CrabtreeRohrbaugh & Associates presented the latest design proposals February 20, giving board members a look at what the school might look like when construction is completed, including more details on parking areas and the exterior appearance of the school.

Penn Manor is planning to spend an estimated $87 million to renovate and rebuild the high school on its existing site, beginning in summer 2019. The project is expected to take at least three years for completion.

The proposals unveiled this week were based on focus group meetings with academic and athletic department heads, students and district administrators held over several months and are subject to change. Additional meetings will occur before construction documents are completed in the fall.

The project must go through several reviews before the board of directors agrees to a final design and approves construction contracts.

Here are slides from Monday’s presentation: PMHS project update 2-20-18

37 students qualify for state TSA competition

Thirty-seven Penn Manor students have qualified to compete on the state level after their strong showing at the Technology Student Association regional conference, held Feb. 10 at Huesken Middle School.

Seven students from Manor and Marticville Middle Schools and 32 Penn Manor High School students competed against their peers from Lancaster, Berks and Lebanon counties in more than 40 events, ranging from structural design and engineering to extemporaneous presentation.

Penn Manor teams from the high school and middle schools placed first in both Biotechnology and the Problem Solving. Penn Manor also had first-place finishes in Children’s Stories and Materials Processing at the middle school level and in Photographic Technology and Prepared Presentation at the high school level.

In all, 37 Penn Manor students qualified to compete in the state conference April 18-21 at Seven Springs.

Here are the qualifying students: 

Manor Middle
Mitchell Jackson and Kieran McFall, qualified.
Tech Bowl, Written
: Kieran McFall.

Marticville Middle
Biotechnology: 1st – Jaden Smith, Javan Reigner; 2nd—Sophie Groff and Grace Fafel.
Challenging Technology Issues: 2nd—Grace Fafel and Sophie Groff.
Children’s Stories: 1st—Jaden Smith.
Digital Photography: 3rd—Grace Fafel.
Flight: Qualified—Mitchell Jackson, Kieran McFall and Javan Reigner.
Problem Solving: 1st—Sophie Groff and Jaden Smith.
Materials Process: 1st—Jaden Smith; 3rd—Sophie Groff.
Snapshot: 4th—Grace Fafel.

High School
3rd—Morgan Cooper, Josh Gerlach, Aliya Trussell and Christopher Trussell.
Biotechnology Design: 1st—Morgan Cooper and Jordan Schucker; 3rd—Ryan Buchwalder, Bryce Eberly, Trey Erisman, Max Minnick, Zach Schucker and Erik Starry; 4th—Kaylee Jackson and Isabella Price-Dubble.
Digital Video Production: 2nd—Ryan Buchwalder, Bryce Eberly and Trey Erisman; 3rd—Alex Detter and Garrison Webster.
Extemporaneous Speech: 2nd—Ray Gerner; 7th—Max Minnick.
Fashion Design and Technology: 2nd—Morgan Cooper, Kaylee Jackson, Isabella Price-Dubble and Jordan Schucker.
Flight Endurance: 4th—Hannah Smith; 6th—Cole Shenk; 7th—Nick Rahe.
Music Production: 3rd—Ethan Getz, David Jachimowicz, Aidan McFall, Ben Rorabaugh and Simon Schoelkopf.
On Demand Video: 3rd—Meredith Reed, Ethan Getz, Calle MacDonald and Erick Starry.
Photographic Technology: 1st—Jordan Schucker; 3rd—Alex Detter.
Prepared Presentation: 1st—Alex Detter; 6th—Audrey Ritchie.
Software Development: 3rd—Aliya Trussell and Christopher Trussell.
Structural Design & Engineering: 6th—Nicholas Fafel and Trey Erisman.
System Control Technology: 3rd—Bryce Eberly, Nicholas Fafel and Max Minnick.
Technology Bowl: 6th—Cole Shenk, Nicholas Fafel and Max Minnick.
Technology Problem Solving: 1st—Ray Gerner and Zach Schucker; 9th—Kaylee Jackson and Isabella Price-Dubble.
Transportation Modeling: 2nd—Josh Gerlach.
Video Game Design: 3rd—Josh Gerlach, Audrey Ritchie, Joshua Adams, Simon Schoelkopf and Christopher Trussell; 4th—David Jachimowicz, Aidan McFall, Ben Rorabaugh and Kevin Ward.
Webmaster: 2nd—Aliya Trussell, Aidan McFall, Ben Rorabaugh and Kevin Ward.
Safety Illustration: 2nd—Ray Gerner.
Technology Bowl, Written: 8th—Neel Mahapatra.

Congrats, students, for representing Penn Manor so well, and best luck in state competition!


PM students place in top three in Governor’s STEM Competition

A team of Penn Manor High School students placed in the top three in the regional Governor’s STEM Competition, held Feb. 13 at Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13.

Team members include senior Kevin Ward, sophomores Seretta Kelly and Ryan Buchwalder and freshmen Aidan Lewis and Moses Buckwalter.

Their project was Smartpack, a backpack equipped with a built-in scale to alert users when it becomes heavy enough to cause physical problems.

According to research by the students, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends backpacks, when filled, weigh less than 10 percent to 15 percent of a user’s body weight. Carrying more weight can result in neck, back or shoulder pain.

The team’s design utilizes a low-cost Raspberry Pi computer that displays the weight and also features a programmable schedule, clock and GPS capability. A scale is attached under the handle of the backpack, which features an “SP” Smartpack logo designed and created by the students with a 3-D printer.

Members had to demonstrate their design to a panel of judges and explain how they researched, designed and built the prototype.

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Resources available regarding school shooting

We are all deeply saddened by the recent school shooting in Florida.

If you or your child(ren) are having difficulties in the aftermath of this tragedy, we have posted resources on our website that may help.

There you will find a letter from Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter, along with advice about talking with children and coping with distress. Also posted is information about responding to violent intruders.

Please go to this page  by clicking here.

Manor FFA members earn multiple awards at PA Farm Show

Two dozen Penn Manor High School students, along with three sets of parents, won several awards recently at the Pennsylvania Farm Show representing Manor FFA.

Keystone Degrees

Ten students – Emily Aukamp, Tanner Bauman, Kenny Barley, Jonathon Eshbach, Hannah Gerberich, Clara Hess, Damian Kreider, Isaiah Smith,  Abby Reiff and Elizabeth Broderick – earned Keystone Degrees.

The Keystone is the fourth of five degrees FFA members can earn.  Only 357 members out of 12,771 in the state received the degree.

To earn a Keystone Degree, FFA members must hold the Greenhand and Chapter FFA Degrees; perform at least 25 hours of community service; earn or invest $1,000 or work 300 hours outside of school in their SAE program; participate in 15 FFA Activities, five of them above the chapter level; and demonstrate leadership and advocacy of agriculture and FFA.

Jacket recipients

Five students – Jordan Arms, Rebecca Barley, Jolene Fields, Theodore Ney and Renee Eshbach – earned a blue jacket, the iconic symbol of FFA membership.

The first-year member jacket campaign is sponsored by the Pennsylvania FFA Alumni, which provides the jackets and a scarf or tie free of charge.  To qualify, students must write about what the jacket means to them and what they plan to achieve while wearing it.

Honorary Chapter Degrees

Three Penn Manor couples received Honorary Chapter Degrees for raising three or more children who have earned Keystone Degrees.

The recipients were David and Starla Hess (Clara in 2018, Katie in 2016, and Caleb, 2014); Warren and Kim Reiff (Abby in 2018, Katrina in 2013, and Brandon, 2012); and Jay and Bonnie Bauman (Tanner in 2018, Tyler in 2014, and Jessica, 2012).

Poultry Team Recognition

The Manor FFA poultry team was recognized for its silver medal performance at the National FFA Convention. The team includes Marshall Ebersole, Kylie Kreider, Madeleine Denlinger, Colin Smith, and Lauren Sensenich (alternate).

Junior Market Swine Placement

Abigail Reiff placed fifth in her class, Lauren Sensenich earned a third in her class, and Colin Smith was reserve champion Hampshire. All made a sale.

Lamb Placement

Berklee Perry placed second in her class and was the Reserve Champion Suffolk. She made a sale.

Keystone Star interviews

Kenny Barley and Damian Kreider both interviewed for the State Star Keystone award after being selected Eastern Region stars. Damian interviewed in the agribusiness category for his tomato production and sales business; Kenneth interviewed in the agricultural placement category for his work experience at Walnut Hollow Farms.

Agriscience Fair

Arilyn Oatman exhibited her Agriscience Fair research project entitled “Raw Food Diets in Animal Nutrition” in the state Agriscience Fair.  She earned a second in the Senior Animal Systems Division.

Tractor Restoration Project

Jonathon Eshbach, Kenny Barley and Mike Brumbaugh gave a 15-minute presentation on the Farmall 200 tractor they restored with help from other Manor FFA members.  Lancaster Farming awarded the chapter $800 for completing the restoration.

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Penn Manor HS to present ‘Mary Poppins’ March 2, 3, 9 & 10

You’re invited to the magical musical “Mary Poppins,” to be presented Friday and Saturday, March 2, 3, 9 and 10, in the Penn Manor High School auditorium.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. all four days, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 3.

“Mary Poppins” is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stagecraft, based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film.

In addition to the musical, the cast will participate in a Supercali-Social from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 24, in the auditorium. The event will include a sneak peek backstage, refreshments in the parlor, sing-alongs with the cast, photo opportunities with characters, crafts, activities and dancing.

Advance reservation is recommended for the social by emailing

Tickets to the musical and social are $10 for students and senior citizens and $12 for adults. Tickets to the social only are $5; tickets to the musical only are $9 for adults and $7 for students.

To order tickets, call (717) 872-9520, ext. 1958, or place your order online at (click here).

“Mary Poppins” cast members include, back row, from left, Kassidy Pontón (Mrs. Banks), Max Minnick (Mr. Banks), Garrison Webster (Bert), and Hailey Fafel (Mary Poppins); front row, Joy Perkins (Jane Banks) and Max Pontón (Michael Banks).


PMHS’s Maria Vita named Teacher of Year semifinalist

Penn Manor High School psychology teacher Maria Vita has been named a semifinalist for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year for 2019.

Vita, who has taught at Penn Manor since 2003, was nominated for the award by Superintendent Mike Leichliter and his wife, Mary Edith, whose three children all had Maria for class.

“We could not have asked for a more caring and capable teacher for our children,” they wrote in their letter. “She is truly extraordinary.”

Vita said she is “both honored and humbled to be considered” for the award.

“When Dr. Leichliter nominated me, I felt very grateful of his praise and the opportunity to apply. He called me the moment he learned I made the semifinals, and I was both surprised and delighted,” she said.

Maria, who teaches Advanced Placement Psychology, recently was named chair of the American Psychological Association Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools.

She helped establish an Aevidum student club at Penn Manor that seeks to create an atmosphere in which all students feel accepted, appreciated, acknowledged and cared for. Aevidum also works to increase awareness of depression and prevent teen suicides.

The Teacher of the Year finalists for 2019 are expected to be named at the end of March.

Congrats to a deserving teacher!


PMHS students earn academic, writing awards

Two Penn Manor High School students have received recognition for academics and writing.

Senior Kevin Ward has been named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist – one of only 15,000 students (out of 1.5 million) from across the United States to earn the award.

Junior Peyton Cassel has earned three Scholastic Writing Awards in poetry, personal narrative and “flash fiction.”

Kevin qualified as a National Merit Finalist based on his academic record, PSAT and SAT scores, activities, leadership qualities, a personal essay, and a principal’s recommendation.

“It’s pretty amazing to be a semifinalist and then to advance as a finalist,” said Kevin, who hopes to major in robotics, computer science or mechanical engineering in college.

He is hoping the national recognition of being named a finalist “paints a good picture” of him in the eyes of college admissions officials. About half of all finalists go on to receive National Merit college scholarships.

Kevin is the first Penn Manor student to be named a Finalist since 2014.

Peyton won a Scholastic Gold Key, the highest award, in flash fiction (under 1,000 words) for her story “The Apology,” which has now been entered into consideration for a national award.

She also won a Silver Key for a collection of five poems and an Honorable Mention for her personal narrative “The Hatching,” about watching sea turtles hatch along the coast of North Carolina.

“I’m honored and thrilled to have received these awards,” Peyton said. “Scholastic provides young writers with so many incredible opportunities.”

She credits her parents, both elementary school teachers, with instilling in her a love of writing. “In fourth grade, I was introduced to poetry, and it just took off from there,” said Peyton, who received her first writing award in fifth grade.

Peyton plans to major in English or communications in college and pursue a career in broadcast journalism.

Congratulations to both these talented students!

Peyton Cassel and Kevin Ward
Peyton Cassel and Kevin Ward