PM Quiz Bowl team headed for national competition

Congratulations to the Penn Manor High School Quiz Bowl team for qualifying for national competition for the second year in a row.  

Penn Manor finished third in the Lancaster-Lebanon League after a hard-fought series of matches against Manheim Township and Hempfield.

Highlights of the season include participating in eight Saturday day-long tournaments, securing a second-place finish at the Henderson Invitational in November, and a come-from-behind victory to secure third place at the Manheim Township Academic Challenge.

Overall, the team compiled a 68-49 record, with multiple wins over nationally ranked and college teams.

Team members headed for national competition include captain Connor Mayers, a junior; senior Chad Hoglund; junior Shane Mosley; and sophomores Claire DeVinney and Gabe McGough. The coaches are Penn Manor teachers Chris Meier and Sallie Bookman.

The team will travel to Atlanta to participate in the High School Quiz Bowl National Championship Tournament May 24-27.

Best wishes at Nationals!

Quiz bowl team members

Quiz Bowl team members include, from left, Chad Hoglund, Connor Mayers, Shane Mosely, Gabe McGough and Claire DeVinney.

Map outlines major parking, access changes at HS

Major changes in parking and access are being implemented at Penn Manor High School, beginning Monday, March 18, as part of the renovation/construction project. A map showing the new restrictions is available here.

Please take note of these changes:

  • No student parking will be permitted on site. Students will park at Comet Field, and shuttle buses will take them to and from the high school. Runs will begin at 7:15 and continue throughout the day.
  • The main driveway from East Cottage Avenue will be closed at the pedestrian bridge, and the administrative and ag parking lots will be closed off.
  • Visitors will park in the lot at the entrance to the cafeteria, across from the bus parking area, between 7:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Visitors before 7:45 a.m. and after 2:15 p.m. will park in the lot near the former tennis courts.
  • All visitors will enter the school at the band entrance, across from the bus parking lot.
  • Staff will enter the campus via Model Avenue and park in the parking garage. Visitors cannot use this access route during school hours.
  • All buses and parents dropping off students will enter from East Cottage Avenue.  Buses will use the current bus parking lot, and parents will drop off students at the Technology Education wing and circle around the building to exit via the main driveway.
  • Special needs students will enter the school via a ramp at the auditorium entrance.
  • Transportation for student athletes also will be affected. Find detailed information here.

Signs will be erected to direct traffic on the high school site. Please bear with us as we transition to full construction. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated!

PM boys’ soccer team named Academic Award Winner

Congratulations to the Penn Manor boys’ soccer team for being named an Academic Award Winner by the United Soccer Coaches.

The 2017-2018 team was one of just 107 boys’ teams nationwide to receive the honor for maintaining a team grade-point average of 3.25 or better.

The Comets easily exceeded that threshold, with an average GPA of 3.6!

 “I am very proud of the hard work the boys put in in the classroom,” said head coach Paul Taylor. “ This is a reflection of our core values of discipline, commitment and hard work.”

This is the fourth year the Penn Manor boys’ team achieved the honor, which it also earned in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Thanks for making us Penn Manor Proud!

Penn Manor’s Miller named to Technology Leadership Academy

Penn Manor High School teacher Molly Miller has been named to the 21st Century Leadership Academy by the Council on Technology & Engineering Teacher Education (CTETE).

    Miller is one of only six educators named a Leadership Academy Fellow and is the only public school teacher selected for the honor. The other fellows are university faculty.

    As a fellow, she will complete online professional development sessions with educators and technology professionals, participate in a legislative action session in Washington, D.C., and take part in the 2020 International Technology and Engineering Educators Annual Conference.

    Miller has taught at Penn Manor since 2013 and currently teaches Honors Engineering Principles, AP Computer Science, Applied Science and Exploring Technology courses.

   She has helped develop and expand Penn Manor’s STEM course offerings and serves as the advisor for the district’s Technology Student Association (TSA), Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Math, and Science (TEAMS) and robotics clubs.

   Miller is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Instruction & Learning with a concentration in STEM education.

   The award is not the first for Miller, was named the Secondary STEM Teacher of the Year by the Lancaster County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Alliance in May 2018.

   Congratulations on this prestigious honor!

Helping children understand the ‘Momo Challenge’ hoax

Penn Manor has received questions about a hoax circulating on websites and social media called the “Momo Challenge,” and we would like to update parents and guardians on what this is, and what it is not.

“Momo” is yet another viral online hoax with little factual basis. The purported “challenge” consists of a photo of a threatening character (“Momo”) commanding the recipient to participate in a dare that may include self-harm or violence against others. If recipients fail to carry out the dare, Momo threatens to come after them.

In reality, there is no “Momo.” The face used in the hoax is a photo of a sculpture by a Japanese special effects company that makes props for horror movies. The photo resurfaced on Instagram and Reddit last summer and has been widely circulating on the Internet for months.

Somewhere along the way, the self-harm “challenge” became associated with the image. However, there is no evidence that an actual challenge exists. Despite this fact, fears about the “Momo Challenge” may be causing anxiety for some students and their parents.

As with other online hoaxes, it’s important to help children understand that the Internet can be the source of misinformation and hoaxes, and they need to make good choices while online. Penn Manor teachers and staff are well-equipped to help your children learn how to safely navigate the web.

The school district uses filtering technology to block offensive material and content that is inappropriate for children. Of course, no technology is 100 percent effective, and the oversight of caring adults is always the best filter.

If you or your children continue to have concerns about the “Momo Challenge,” feel free to contact your child’s principal.

MiniTHON raises more than $41,000 to fight childhood cancer

Thank you, Penn Manor students, staff, community members and businesses for making the 2019 Penn Manor MiniTHON such a success!

The fundraising drive and dance marathon, which ran from Friday night to Saturday morning, raised $41,207 — far exceeding the goal of $30,000 and last year’s total of $26,694.

The money will go to Four Diamonds, an organization that provides support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

In addition to dancing, MiniTHON activities included Zumba, karaoke, a “man pageant,” dodgeball and basketball tournaments, sumo wrestling, multicultural foods, games and refreshments. The event featured a Hawaiian theme.

Two speakers whose families have utilized Four Diamonds services, also addressed participants.

MiniTHON funds were raised earlier this school year via dodgeball and basketball tournaments, restaurant fundraisers, a pancake breakfast, student dance, T-shirt sales, a car wash and other activities. Students also solicited donations from area businesses.

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

  • MiniTHON sumo wrestlers

28 PM students qualify for state TSA competition

Twenty-eight Penn Manor students have qualified to compete on the state level after their strong showing at the Technology Student Association regional conference Feb. 9 at Huesken Middle School.

Ten students from Manor and Marticville middle schools and 20 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 middle school teams placed first in Biotechnology, Medical Technology, Safety Illustration, and Off the Grid events. The high school teams took top honors in Biotechnology, Extemporaneous and Prepared Presentations, Video Game Design, Webmaster, Safety Illustration, Children’s Stories and Problem Solving events.

Here are the students who qualified to compete at the state conference April 10-13 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion.

Middle School
Mitchell Jackson, Kieran McFall and Anders Murphy, 1st place.
Medical Technology:
 Suren Clark, Ian Groff, Mitchell Jackson and Anders Murphy, 1st place.
Off the Grid: Mitchell Jackson, Caden Jacyszyn and Aders Murphy, 1st place.
Safety Illustration: Benjamin Hickey, 1st place; Ava Ritchie, 3rd.
Tech Bowl – Written: Suren Clark, 2nd place.
Mass Production: Suren Clark, Ian Groff, Benjamin Hickey, Caden Jacyszyn and Noah Reen, 2nd place.
Problem-Solving: Kieran McFall and Ava Ritchie, 3rd place.
Challenging Technology Issues: Suren Clark and Benjamin Hickey, 3rd place.

High School
Biotechnology Design:
Audrey Jachimowicz and Jordan Schucker, 1st place.
Children’s Stories: Sophie Groff and Jaden Smith, 1st place; Morgan Cooper, Bernie Eckman and Audrey Ritchie, 3rd place.
Extemporaneous Presentation: Ray Gerner, 1st place.
Prepared Presentation: Isaac Leshok, 1st place; Audrey Ritchie, 3rd.
Technology Problem Solving: Ray Gerner and Cole Shenk, 1st place.
Video Game Design: Aidan Lewis, Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell, 1st place.
Webmaster: Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell, 1st place.
PA-Safety Illustration: Grace Fafel, 1st place; Ray Gerner, 2nd.
Forensic Science: Audrey Jachimowicz and Jordan Schucker, 2nd place; Kaylee Jackson and Cole Wilson, 4th.
Software Development: Aidan Lewis and Aliya Trussell, 2nd place.
Board Game Design: Morgan Cooper, Bernie Eckman, Kaylee Jackson and Isabella Price-Dubble, 3rd place.
Debating Technological Issues: Sophie Groff and Bernie Eckman, 3rd place.
Computer-Aided Design—Engineering: Ryan Buchwalder, 4th place.
Photographic Technology: Jordan Schucker, 5th place.

Congratulations to these students for representing Penn Manor so well, and best of luck in the state competition!

  • Middle school TSA participants
    Middle school TSA participants

Penn Manor to present ‘Freaky Friday’ March 1, 2, 8 and 9

   Penn Manor Productions will present the Disney musical Freaky Friday March 1, 2, 8 and 9 on the auditorium stage at Penn Manor High School.

    The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. all four nights and at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Tickets may be ordered online at . Tickets also are available by calling 717-872-9500, ext. 1958.

    Based on the Mary Rodgers novel and two hit Disney films, Freaky Friday tells the story of a mother and daughter who magically swap bodies for 24 chaotic hours. By spending a day in each other’s shoes, Katherine and Ellie come to appreciate one another’s struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter.

    The stage version gives a fresh, modern point of view to the themes of the novel and films. The new book by Bridget Carpenter (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) places the action in the social media age, using a high school Instagram scavenger hunt as the dramatic thrust of the story.

   Freaky Friday delivers a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly musical with sharp wit and buoyant tunes.

   Cast members include Bri Shyver, Leilani Torres, Elijah Weber, Alex Detter, Emily Witmer, Hailey Fafel, True Herbert, Elizabeth Lebo, Amanda Wolf, Jordan Stum and Saerra Barshinger.

    Ensemble members include Damian Allman, Kayla Connelly, Kristin Huyser, Rowan Sufieann, Adelyn Beans, Brynne Davidson, Sheridan Kinser, Nathan Thompson, Janae Beiler, Grace Fafel, Natalie Krahulik, Holly Wagner, Rowan Brooks, Marie Flinchbaugh, Ella Layton, Shayna Welch, Jalyn Clow, Eleanor Helm, Joy Perkins, Lindsey Witmer and Julie Raugh.

Penn Manor’s Fellenbaum named Outstanding PA Ag Teacher

Penn Manor High School agricultural education teacher Neil Fellenbaum has been named Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teacher by the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators.

    Fellenbaum was nominated for the award by his peers and is now in contention for a national award.

“I am very humbled to receive the award, considering there are so many great ag teachers in Pennsylvania,” said Fellenbaum, who is in his 19th year at Penn Manor High School.

    A Penn Manor alumnus, he is coordinator of the high school’s agricultural education department and teaches courses in Plant Science 2, Engines 1, and Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

    Fellenbaum and other award nominees were evaluated based on their teaching philosophy, instructional strategies, professional growth, community connections and involvement in promoting student participation in ag organizations and activities.

    Fellenbaum will receive his award at the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators Conference July 9-11 at Blackhawk High School.

He is now being considered for a national award by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Congratulations, Mr. Fellenbaum, on this well-deserved honor!

Neil Fellenbaum
Agricultural education teacher Neil Fellenbaum works with student Colin Smith in Plant Science 2 class.

Neighborhood meeting on HS project to be held Feb. 26

Neighbors of Penn Manor High School and interested parties are invited to attend an update on the high school project at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 26, in the high school library.

Topics will include construction phasing over the next three years, the impact of the project on the surrounding neighborhood, and communication methods to keep neighbors updated on construction.

The meeting is open to the public.

School year to start, end earlier in 2019-2020

The school year will start and end earlier in 2019-2020 to accommodate the high school construction project.

Under the 2019-2020 school calendar, approved Feb. 4 by the Penn Manor board of school directors, the first day of school for students will be Aug. 21, 2019. The opening day for staff will be Aug. 19.

The last day of school for 2019-2020 will be May 29, 2020.

The earlier end date will allow construction workers to begin demolition of sections of the existing high school earlier and extend the amount of time available for construction over the summer.

A downloadable copy of the 2019-2020 calendar is available here.

Input sought on superintendent’s performance

Penn Manor is seeking input from parents and community members on the performance of superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter so the school board and superintendent can assess his strengths and areas in need of improvement.

The online survey is available at this link via the Survey Monkey tool, which is easy to use and includes an open-response area where community members may share their opinions directly with the superintendent and Penn Manor board of school directors. All nine school directors will review the comments and summary scores.

Even those who do not feel they have had enough interaction with Dr. Leichliter to fully evaluate his performance are urged to take this opportunity to share their overall impressions of Penn Manor School District.

Surveys should be completed no later than 4 p.m. February 19.

Thanks for your participation!

14 PMHS seniors honored on National Signing Day

Family and friends gathered Wednesday in the Penn Manor High School library to honor 13 seniors who will participate in collegiate sports at 12 different colleges and universities next fall and one who will attend a military academy.

The National Signing Day ceremony featured students who will participate in 10 different sports and honored one student, Cole Shenk, who was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy.

Congratulations and best wishes to these outstanding students:

Dylan Frey – Pennsylvania College of Technology, baseball
Charles Thourot – Pennsylvania College of Technology, baseball
Joshua Heckman – Swarthmore College, lacrosse
Zachary Banta – Millersville University, football
Elizabeth Kubicar – Westminster College, volleyball
Kara Huber – Lancaster Bible College, soccer
Logan Hess – Robert Morris University, golf
William Briegel – University of Hartford, lacrosse
Briana Harsh – Lock Haven University, field hockey
Emma DeBerdine – University of Maryland, field hockey
David Kramer – West Chester University, cross country and track
Kate Levato – DeSales University, basketball
Anna Sugra – Bloomsburg University, swimming
Cole Shenk – United States Naval Academy

Rep. Cutler visits Penn Manor HS classrooms

State Rep. Bryan Cutler visited Penn Manor High School Jan. 24 to learn more about our programs and to congratulate Penn Manor’s Teacher of the Year finalist.

Cutler visited the psychology classroom of Maria Vita, who was one of 12 finalists vying for the 2019 Teacher of the Year award. Cutler congratulated Ms. Vita, then spent time with students as they worked with lab rats.

The students were interacting with their “adopted” rats to socialize them before they are used in conditioning lab experiments.

Cutler also addressed students in Jon Boxleitner’s AP Government class, where he talked about serving in the state Legislature and answered students’ questions about state government.

Later, he visit with high school counselor Melissa Ostrowski to learn about Penn Manor’s Comet Credential initiative.

Introduced last year, the program helps ninth-graders develop the “soft skills” employers say are needed to succeed in the modern workforce.

Many thanks to Rep. Cutler for taking the time to learn firsthand about what happens in the classrooms at Penn Manor!

  • State Rep. Bryan Cutler addresses AP Government students.
    State Rep. Bryan Cutler addresses AP Government students.

School board approves bids on high school renovation/construction project

The Penn Manor board of school directors voted 8-1 Jan. 22 to approve bids on the high school renovation and construction project.

The board approved construction bids totaling $82.7 million and the notice for contractors to proceed on the project, which will replace major portions of the school and renovate others.

New classroom, agricultural education and athletic wings will be built, along with a new auditorium and upgrades to the school’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, technology and security systems.

The project also will include a new district office at the high school, which will open up space for classrooms at Manor Middle School, where the office is currently located.

Board members Ken Long, Nicki Nafziger, David Paitsel, Rich Frerichs, Joseph Fullerton, Donna Wert, Mitchell Sweigart and Chris Straub voted in favor of approving the bids. Carlton “Herk” Rintz voted against the measure.

Construction bids came in about $4.6 million higher than anticipated, but school district officials are confident the higher costs can be covered without an additional tax increase over the original, four-year funding plan.

Penn Manor will be able to cover the additional expenses by using more of its reserve funds than originally planned, said Chris Johnston, the district’s business manager. Penn Manor has set aside $9.6 million so far for the project and has borrowed $40 million to cover initial phases and plans to borrow another $40 million to complete the project.

Major construction is scheduled to begin in March, and the project should be completed by summer 2022. Here are the bids that were approved Jan. 22.