Three Penn Manor musicians named to District Orchestra, Band

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School students Madeline Claus, Elise Thyrum and Shannon Peachey, who were named to District 7 Band and Orchestra.

Elise (French horn) and Shannon (trumpet) were named to District Band and will participate in the District 7 Lower Band Festival Jan. 12 and 13 at Kennard-Dale High School and perform in concert at 7 p.m. Jan. 13.

Elise and Shannon also were named to District Orchestra, along with Madeline (violin). They will participate in the District 7 Orchestra Festival Feb. 9 and 10 at Cedar Cliff High School and perform in concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 13.

The students were selected to participate based on auditions that included other students from Lancaster, Lebanon, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and York County schools.

Best wishes to these three outstanding musicians!


District Band and Orchestra musicians
From left, Shannon Peachey, Elise Thyrum and Madeline Claus, who were named to District Band and Orchestra.

Penn Manor hosts Kindergarten/Preschool Information Night February 6

On Tuesday, February 6, Penn Manor School District will sponsor a Kindergarten Information Night and Preschool Expo at Hambright Elementary School, 3000 Charlestown Road, Lancaster 17603.  The snow date is February 7.

   Preschool Expo:  Beginning at 6:15 p.m., Penn Manor families will have the opportunity to network with representatives of local preschools to learn about pre-K options in our area. Enrolling your child in a pre-K program helps build a solid foundation for learning and eases the transition to kindergarten.

    Kindergarten Information Night:  At 7 p.m., our Penn Manor kindergarten teachers will provide an overview of our curriculum and explain how you can help ensure that your child is ready to attend kindergarten. If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2018, he/she is eligible to enroll in kindergarten.

Please join us for these important events. Child care will not be provided, and registration is not required.

Applicants sought to fill school board vacancy

Applications are being accepted through January 19, 2018, to fill a vacancy on the Penn Manor school board resulting from the resignation of Jeff Lyon on January 8. A replacement school board member will be appointed to fill out his term, which expires in December 2019.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, application (at, resume and references to Cindy Rhoades, school board secretary, P.O. Box 1001, Millersville, PA 17551. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, January 19. The school board intends to appoint the new member at its February 5 meeting.


Lunch & Learn program for preschoolers begins Jan. 17

Penn Manor is again offering the Lunch & Learn program from January through April to help preschoolers and their parents transition to kindergarten.

Held at all seven Penn Manor elementary schools, Lunch & Learn includes a story and craft time, library visit and lunch for participants ages 3 and older. The program runs from Jan. 17 through April 30. Starting times vary by school, and activities run for about an hour. Pre-registration is required.

Children must be accompanied by an adult, and siblings are welcome.

Click here for  a printable schedule with all the details, including dates for each school through April 2018.

Lunch & Learn is offered through Tiny Comets, a program for parents of children who are less than 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 of the school year.

You can find out more about Tiny Comets here.


Nominate an outstanding Penn Manor teacher, employee for recognition

Do you know of a Penn Manor teacher or staff member who goes above and beyond in performing his or her duties? If so, please consider submitting a nomination to the Outstanding Educator/Employee Awards program.

The school district will present the awards later this year to two teachers and two staff members.  Nominations are being accepted until February 23, 2018, from parents/guardians, students and colleagues of Penn Manor staff members.

Last year’s honorees were Alex Lagunas, technology support analyst; Erik Polaski, Pequea Elementary second-grade teacher; and Karen Hallett, Penn Manor High School English teacher.

The Outstanding Educator Awards should be based on a teacher’s ability to promote academic growth in his/her students and for outstanding pupil-teacher relationships.  A person may nominate one elementary teacher, one secondary teacher or one teacher on each level.  The nominee must currently be employed by Penn Manor School District.

Nominations for the Outstanding Employee Awards should be based on the staff member’s ability to support the educational program and the quality of his/her relationships with staff and students.  A person may nominate one elementary staff member, one secondary staff member or one employee on each level.  The nominee must currently be employed by Penn Manor.

Please click here to submit a nomination. Use one form for each nominee.

Below are an explanation of the awards, guidelines and a list of previous recipients.

Letter from Superintendent
Guidelines for Outstanding Educator, Employee Awards
Previous award recipients

Happy holidays from Penn Manor School District!

The entire Penn Manor staff would like to wish our students, staff members, parents and community members a safe and happy holiday season!

Penn Manor schools are closed beginning December 24 until classes resume on January 2, 2018. The district office will be open December 26-29, with limited hours and staffing. Please call (717) 872-9500 for more information.

Thank you for a great year!

Conestoga Elementary pilots student-run food composting program

Conestoga Elementary School students and staff are participating in a pilot food composting program that is designed to cut cafeteria waste while creating compost for the school’s garden.

Students in December began diverting their biodegradable fruit and vegetable scraps from the trash during lunch and depositing them in composting buckets. The waste is weighed and then pulled by wagon to compost bins in the school’s garden.

The “Kids Can Compost!” project is a pilot undertaken by the Edible Classroom with assistance from the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority.

The week of Dec. 3, Beth Horst of The Edible Classroom taught lessons to grades 1 through 6 designed to introduce the concept of composting and its benefits. In a compost bin, foods like carrots and banana peels can decompose in a few months, unlike food buried in a landfill, which may not decompose for many years due to lack of oxygen to support decomposers.

Students and parent volunteers began the program the week of Dec. 10 under the direction of Horst with help from Manor FFA members from the high school. Over five days, students diverted 145 pounds of food scraps from the waste stream into the three-bin composter, built by Penn Manor High School junior Matt Julian for an Eagle Scout project.

After the first week, a group of students will oversee and run the program. Once the students are comfortable with their responsibilities, Edible Classroom staff will check in monthly to ensure the program is running smoothly. The Edible Classroom is seeking additional sponsors so it can offer the program to other schools in Lancaster County.

Horst said the project isn’t just designed to cut waste – she hopes it motivates students and their families to practice good environmental stewardship.

“I hope students are inspired to know that even they can take part in reducing waste and transforming it into something useful, like compost,” she said. “We want students to share what they’ve learned at home to open up the conversation about rethinking waste as a resource.”

If there is enough interest from the school and Conestoga parents, the Edible Classroom will offer a free home composting workshop at the school’s end-of-year picnic.

More information on the composting program is available by contacting Horst at or at the website

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Penn Manor superintendent, board director named to CTC posts

Congratulations to Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter and school board director Chris Straub, who were recently appointed to leadership positions at the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center.

Straub was named chairman of the CTC’s Joint Operating Committee, and Leichliter was named Superintendent of Record at the CTC’s Dec. 11 JOC meeting.

The committee, which includes school board directors from the 16 Lancaster County districts whose students attend CTC programs, functions much like a school board.

This is the first time in recent history that Penn Manor has held both the chairman and superintendent of record positions at the CTC, which enrolls more students from Penn Manor than from any other district in the county. For 2017-2018,162 Penn Manor students attend CTC programs.

“The Career & Technology center has been such a positive experience for thousands of Penn Manor students over the years that Mr. Straub and I consider it both a privilege and an honor to serve in leadership positions,” Leichliter said.

He and Straub will serve two-year terms.

Mike Leichliter and Chris Straub
Mike Leichliter, left, and Chris Straub.



Field hockey team ends year ranked No. 1 in the nation

First it was the league championship, then the district crown and the state title.

Now Penn Manor’s field hockey team has been ranked National Champions, earning the top spot in the final national rankings of the 2017 season!

Penn Manor compiled a perfect 28-0 record, outscoring opponents by 148-5 and posting 23 shutouts. The team was the first in Penn Manor history to earn Lancaster-Lebanon League, District Three and state titles in a single season.

The Comets ended the season on Nov. 18 with a 2-0 win over Downingtown West to earn the PIAA Class 3A state championship.

Congrats, ladies, on yet another accolade on your amazing season!

Check out the rankings here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Penn Manor students earn state theater honors

Penn Manor students received several awards for their work during the PA Thespians State Conference over the weekend in York.

Brianna Clow received a Superior rating in scenic design for her rotating stage design for this year’s fall play, “And Then There Were None,” during the conference, held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at Central York High School.

She also was named to the Pennsylvania Thespians Technical Hall of Fame.

Brianna is now eligible to compete in scenic design at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska in June.

Also at the conference, Max Minnick received an All-Star Cast Member award for his portrayal of Captain Lombard in “And Then There Were None,” and Alex Patterson was named to the Pennsylvania Thespians Performance Hall of Fame for his body of work.

Alex, a senior, has performed in every Penn Manor theater production since his freshman year.

The fall play also was honored for being selected as one of only five productions performed during the conference, and the Penn Manor theater troupe was recognized as a Gold Honor Troupe.

Congratulations, students, for representing Penn Manor’s theater department so well!

The five award-winning Penn Manor theatre students
From left, actors Alex Patterson and Max Minnich; Charlotte Molitoris and Ashley Seiger, co-presidents of Penn Manor’s theater troupe; and set designer Brianna Clow.

School board directors sworn in to new terms

Four members of the Penn Manor board of school directors were sworn in Monday to serve four-year terms on the board.

District Judge Joshua Keller administered the oath of office to Christopher Straub, David Paitsel, Dr. Rich Frerichs and newcomer Nickole Nafziger. All will serve through 2021.

Nafziger replaces Johnna Friedman, a 14-year veteran who decided not to run for re-election this year. Nicki is a 2000 Penn Manor graduate with two children in Penn Manor schools – Mackenzi at Eshleman Elementary and Isiac at Manor Middle School.

Also Tuesday, the school board re-elected Ken Long as president and Herk Rintz as vice president.

“The Penn Manor community is fortunate to have nine dedicated board directors who are committed to providing a quality education to our students,” said superintendent Mike Leichliter.

“Congratulations to both Ken and Herk on their continued positions of leadership and to Nicki on her new position.  Penn Manor continues to be in excellent hands!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Manor FFA members earn honors at National Convention

Congratulations to the team of five Manor FFA members who earned a silver medal in poultry judging at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis on October 26.

During the National Poultry Judging Career Development Event, the students took a written exam on poultry management, evaluated live hens and broilers, graded and evaluated processed poultry products and eggs, and identified carcass parts.

They also worked together to problem solve a chicken tender processing scenario during which they measured and evaluated tenders and developed a verbal presentation of their solutions.

The team consisted of Marshall Ebersole, who earned a bronze individual award; Kylie Kreider, who earned a silver; Madeleine Denlinger, silver; Colin Smith, silver; and Lauren Sensenich, the team alternate.

Also at Nationals, three Manor FFA alumni received their American FFA Degrees, the highest degree achievable in the national FFA organization.

They are Brad Groff (Penn Manor Class of 2014), Samantha Bleacher (Class of 2016) and Katey Bleacher (Class of 2016).

Nice work, alumni and current FFA members!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Penn Manor to present free holiday concerts, choral performances

Penn Manor students will present free holiday concerts and choral performances throughout the school district in December. All performances are open to the public. Here is the schedule:

  • Dec. 1, 2:30 p.m. – Pequea Elementary All School Holiday Assembly, featuring fifth- and sixth-grade chorus and strings. Director: Sue Hamer.
  • Dec. 3, 6 p.m. – Manor Singers performance, Candylane at Hershey Park. Director: Lauren Ciemiewicz
  • Dec. 5, 7 p.m. – Central Manor Elementary School Holiday Concert, featuring third-grade band, chorus and strings. Directors: Sarah Repkoe and Jill Almoney.
  • Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m. – Pequea Elementary School Holiday Concert, featuring band, chorus and strings. Director: Sue Hamer.
  • Dec. 7, 7 p.m. – Manor and Marticville Middle School Combined Holiday Concert, Penn Manor High School, featuring band, strings and chorus. Directors: Lauren Ciemiewicz, Sara Masten and Skip Reddig.
  • Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to noon – High School String Ensemble and Manor Singers performance, Darrenkamp’s, Willow Street. Directors: Sara Masten and Lauren Ciemiewicz.
  • Dec. 9, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Manor Singers performance, Candlelight Tour, Conestoga Historical Society, Kendig Road. Director: Lauren Ciemiewicz.
  • Dec. 11, 2 p.m. – Letort Elementary School Winter Concert, featuring band, strings and chorus. Directors: Jill Almoney, Allan Dutton.
  • Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m.– Eshleman Elementary School Band/Chorus performance. Directors: Kailey Brennan and Jill Almoney.
  • Dec. 13, 9:30 a.m. – Conestoga Elementary School chorus and band. Directors: Kailey Brennan and Jill Almoney.
  • Dec. 13, 5:30 p.m. – Hambright Elementary School Holiday Concert. Director: Ashley Brubaker.
  • Dec. 13, 7 p.m. – Penn Manor High School Holiday Concert, featuring the band, strings, chorus and Manor Singers. Directors: Lauren Ciemiewicz, Andrew Johnson and Sara Masten.
  • Dec. 14, 2 p.m. – Martic Elementary School Winter Assembly featuring band, strings, and chorus. Directors: Jill Almoney, Sue Hamer and Allan Dutton.
  • Dec. 14, 2 p.m. – Penn Manor High School String Ensemble performance, Willow Valley Communities. Director: Sara Masten
  • Dec. 14, 6 p.m. – Martic Elementary School Winter Concert, featuring band, strings and chorus. Directors: Jill Almoney, Sue Hamer and Allan Dutton.
  • Dec. 22, 11 a.m. – Manor Singers performance, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Director: Lauren Ciemiewicz.

Printable schedule: Penn Manor 2017 holiday concert schedule 

(Photo by William Torres Sr.)

PM students create artwork for Lancaster Museum of Art show

Penn Manor students – and one alumnus – are participating in this year’s Trees Galore event, which opens Sunday, Nov. 26 at Lancaster Museum of Art.

Manor FFA students Emily Aukamp, Abby Reiff and Liz Broderick decorated one of the trees that will be sold during a silent auction.

Penn Manor English language learning students created music-themed ornaments that will be sold during the event, which is based on the theme “rockin’ around the Christmas tree.”

In addition, PM alumnus Nick DiSanto will perform during the opening, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 26.

Trees Galore runs through Dec. 15 at the museum, located at 135 N. Lime St., Lancaster. The show benefits Lancaster Museum of Art and the Demuth Museum.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Johnna Friedman honored for 14 years of school board service

Congratulations to Johnna Friedman, who served her final board meeting as a Penn Manor school director Monday, Nov. 20, after more than 14 years of service.

The school board honored Johnna with a resolution commending her for serving in leadership roles. She chaired the facilities committee during a crucial period of school construction in Penn Manor and was board liaison to the technology committee. She also served on the judicial review committee.

Johnna joined the board on March 8, 2004. Her seat will be filled next month by a new member, Nickole Nafziger.

At her final board meeting, Johnna was joined by her grandchildren, Maxim, Stella and Gianna. She and her husband, Stuart, have three daughters – Jessica, Stefanie and Jamie Lynn, all Penn Manor graduates.

Many thanks, Johnna, for your years of dedicated service. You will be missed!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.