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.

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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!

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Penn Manor field hockey team wins state title with 2-0 victory!

Congratulations to the Penn Manor field hockey team for winning the 2017 PIAA state championship with a strong 2-0 win over Downingtown West!

The team ended the year undefeated, with a 28-0 record. It’s the first Penn Manor team in school history to go undefeated while winning league, district and PIAA titles. The Comets also won the state field hockey title in 2014.

Congratulations to the players, coaches, their families and fans for such a memorable season. The team will be celebrating at the high school.

What a great day to be a Comet!

Penn Manor Field Hockey team celebrates with their 1st place trophy!


Penn Manor seniors enjoy ‘Dinner & Show’ at HS

About 250 senior citizens turned out Thursday night to enjoy “Dinner and a Show” at Penn Manor High School.

The free program is open to Comet Classic cardholders and guests, who enjoyed a chicken pot pie dinner while members of the Penn Manor High School band played in the cafeteria. The guests were served by members of the school’s National Honor Society.

After dinner, the seniors were treated to a preview performance of the fall play, “And Then There Were None” in the auditorium.  The Agatha Christie murder mystery involves 10 strangers who have been summoned to a remote island. All have a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate, for each has been marked for murder, in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme.

After Thursday’s performance, the senior citizens got to meet with the show’s cast and crew.

Public performances are tonight, Nov. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults and can be ordered by calling 872-9520, ext. 1958, or online at this link.

The Comet Classic program is open to any Penn Manor resident age 60 or older. In addition to the annual dinner and show, members receive free admission to Penn Manor athletic events. To find out more, please click here.

Many thanks to the Penn Manor students and staff who helped make “Dinner and a Show” such an enjoyable event!

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PM Ed Foundation awards $50,000 in grants to teachers

Penn Manor students will be building toys for a pediatric hospital, planting a vegetable garden at their school and using computer programs to help hone their violin playing skills, thanks to Venture Grants awarded this month by Penn Manor Education Foundation.

PMEF has awarded 52 grants totaling nearly $50,000 – both record numbers this year – ranging from $38 for plant mazes for second-graders at Central Manor Elementary School to $4,800 for toolboxes for Penn Manor High School Agricultural Mechanics students.

In between are grants for books, news magazines, light tables, field trips, digital photography equipment, therapeutic games and mindfulness training sessions.

Several classroom teachers and librarians will use their money to purchase “breakout boxes” – collections of locks, boxes and clues that challenge students to collaborate and use critical thinking to solve hundreds of different puzzles.

Other teachers received grants to make their classrooms more appealing to restless learners by adding new seating options – including camp chairs, yoga mats and exercise balls. Manor Middle School received a $2,000 grant for training a therapy dog, Wrangler, to help calm students in distress.

And the district’s counseling department received a $2,500 grant to implement mental health training programs.

In all, the grants will enhance the school climate and learning experience for hundreds of students at all 10 Penn Manor schools.

“The fact that we have had the highest number of applicants indicates that innovation and collaboration among our staff continues to grow,” said Anne Kinderwater Carroll, PMEF executive director. “To be able to finance these projects is a credit to our amazing base of supporters.”

Since 2000, the Education Foundation has awarded more than 750 Teacher Venture Grants totaling nearly $800,000.

In addition to its grant program, PMEF supports Penn Manor students and families experiencing financial and emotional difficulties through its Strong & Healthy Families initiative. The Foundation also administers more than 45 annual scholarships for graduating Penn Manor High School seniors.

A full list of approved grants for 2017-2018 is available here.

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Architects present design proposals for Penn Manor HS

District architects CrabtreeRohrbaugh & Associates presented high school design proposals to Penn Manor school directors Monday night that provide a sneak peek at what Penn Manor High School might look like when construction is completed.

The school district 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 Monday were based on focus group meetings with academic and athletic department heads, students and district administrators held over recent months, and are subject to change. Additional meetings will be held before the basic floor plan of the school is finalized early next year.

The school directors Monday also approved the purchase of a property at 66 E. Cottage Ave., adjacent to the school site, to create additional space for the project. The purchase price was $90,000.

The high school 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:

High School presentation 11-6-17



Penn Manor to present ‘And Then There Were None’ Nov 17-18

You’re invited to the Penn Manor Theatre production of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, in the Penn Manor High School auditorium.

One of Christie’s darkest tales and a masterpiece of dramatic construction, the play involves 10 strangers who have been summoned to a remote island. All have a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate, for each has been marked for murder.

As the weather turns ugly and the group is cut off from the mainland, the bloodbath begins, and one by one, they are brutally murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme. The audience is kept guessing until the end.

Cast members include Marie Flinchbaugh (Mrs. Ethel Rogers), Damien Allman (Thomas Rogers), Claudia Heitland (Vera Claythorne), Max Minnick (Philip Lombard), Adelyn Beans (Toni Marston), Kassidy Ponton (Willa Blore), Alex Detter (General MacKenzie), Caitlin Moser (Emily Brent), Garrison Webster (Justice Lawrence Wargrave) and Alex Patterson (Doctor Armstrong).

Reserved seat tickets are $6 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults. You may purchase tickets online here (50-cent service charge per ticket) or by submitting a written order form, available here.

Please call the box office, at (717) 872-9520 ext. 1958, with any questions or concerns.

Don’t miss this spellbinding show!

Cast of "And Then There Were None" Back row, from left, Marie Flinchbaugh, Alex Detter, Caitlin Moser, Adelyn Beans and Damien Allman; front row, from left, Garrison Webster, Max Minnick, Claudia Heitland, Alex Patterson and Kassidy Ponton.
Back row, from left, Marie Flinchbaugh, Alex Detter, Caitlin Moser, Adelyn Beans and Damien Allman; front row, from left, Garrison Webster, Max Minnick, Claudia Heitland, Alex Patterson and Kassidy Ponton.

Penn Manor’s Ali Murphy named to District Chorus

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School senior Alison Murphy, who qualified to participate in the District 7 Chorus Festival.

Ali was among the nearly 900 students who auditioned for the festival on Oct. 28, competing against students from nearly 80 different high schools from eight counties in Central Pennsylvania.

She qualified as a Tenor 1, and will participate in the festival Jan. 25-27 at Susquehannock High School. The concert is scheduled for 5 p.m. Jan. 27.

Way to represent Penn Manor, Ali!

Alison Murphy
Alison Murphy

Five Penn Manor musicians named to County Orchestra

Five Penn Manor High School students, three of them freshmen, have qualified to participate in the Lancaster-Lebanon County Orchestra Festival in February.

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

Named to County Orchestra were Hannah Shenk, senior, violin; Eleanor Helm, freshman, violin; Jesse Kanagy, freshman, viola; Ally Rittenhouse, sophomore, cello; and Evelyn Weaver, freshman, string bass.

According to Penn Manor music teacher Sara Masten, Evelyn is a cellist who just started learning the bass last spring “for fun,” which makes her accomplishment all the more impressive.

Congratulations to these talented students, who will perform at the Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators County Orchestra Festival concert, scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 17 at Solanco High School.

From left, Jesse Kanagy, Eleanor Helm, Ally Rittenhouse, Evelyn Weaver and Hannah Shenk.
From left, Jesse Kanagy, Eleanor Helm, Ally Rittenhouse, Evelyn Weaver and Hannah Shenk.


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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