Six students to address Class of 2019 at June 4 commencement

    Six student speakers have been named for Penn Manor High School’s 2019 commencement, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Sports and Fitness Center.

    The speakers are Derek Davis and Ryan Glenn, co-valedictorians; Sameeha Hossain, salutatorian; Jared Stephan, senior class president; and Cole Shenk and Erica Shaub.

Ryan Glenn is the son of Richard and Lorena Glenn of Lancaster. He participated in National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Gray Zone, Student Ambassadors, Rocket Club, Mock Trial, TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science) and Mathematics Club and was a member of the Penn Manor baseball and basketball teams. Ryan plans to study engineering at Penn State University.

Derek Davis is the son of Sharon and Ernie Davis of Lancaster. He participated in jazz band, Rocket Club, TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science) and TSA (Technology Student Association) and was a member of the Penn Manor tennis and soccer teams. Derek plans to attend the University of Alabama and study aerospace engineering.

Cole Shenk is the son of Audrey and Thomas Shenk of Washington Boro. He participated in TSA (Technology Student Association), TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science), Science National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Rocket Club and Student Council. He also was a class officer and a member of the Penn Manor soccer, wrestling and track and field teams. Cole plans to attend the U.S. Naval Adademy and study aerospace engineering.

Jared Stephan is the son of Laura and Scott Stephan of Millersville. He participated in MiniTHON, Scrubs Club, Varsity Club, Young Humanitarian League, and National Honor Society and was a class officer. Jared also was a member of the Penn Manor tennis, volleyball and swimming teams. He plans to attend King’s College and study to be a physician’s assistant.

Erica Shaub is the daughter of Michelle and Brian Shaub of Lancaster. She participated in the Young Humanitarian League, Varsity Club and chorus and was a member of the Penn Manor swimming and volleyball teams. Erica plans to study mathematics at the University of Colorado.

Sameeha Hossain is the daughter of Kazi Hossain and Sharmin Maswood of Millersville. She participated in Student Council, Serteen, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Young Humanitarian League, Scrubs Club, Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy and MiniTHON. She also played piano and clarinet in the Penn Manor band. Sameeha plans to major in biology/pre-med at Franklin & Marshall College.

Admission to commencement is by ticket only, nine per graduate. All seating, with the exception of a reserved section for the disabled and honored guests, will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission tickets will be distributed to graduates at the end of commencement practice, scheduled for 8 a.m. June 3 and 4 at Penn Manor High School.

The commencement ceremony will be webcast live, beginning at 6 p.m., on the district website, DVDs of commencement will be available for purchase here. Parking details are available here: F&M event parking

Baccalaureate is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Millersville Community Church, Hope Campus. Seniors may also participate in a “Senior Walk,” a procession through the halls in their caps and gowns at the elementary school they attended, on June 3 and 4, beginning at 12:45 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: Commencement is a formal ceremony that marks an important event in each student’s life.  For this to occur, we need the cooperation of the Class of 2019 and each person in the audience. During presentation of diplomas, please refrain from cheering or making other noises that will make it difficult to hear student names.  Once all students have received their diplomas, attendees may celebrate.

  • Sameeha Hossain
    Sameeha Hossain

Seven Penn Manor students win awards in journalism contest

Congratulations to the seven Penn Manor elementary students who won awards in the LNP/Lancaster Online Journalism & Design an Ad Contest.

Students from Hambright, Eshleman and Central Manor received honors in the contest, which was open to all students in Lancaster County.

Here are the winners and their teachers:

Writer’s Choice, Third Grade – Morgan Milisock, first place; Mason Barnes, second place; and Amirah Santiago, third place, Hambright Elementary (teacher: Lorien Gilbert).

Writer’s Choice, Second Grade – Lillian Evans, first place, and Lily Quinn, second place, Eshleman Elementary (teacher: Beth Kaplan); Emma Layla Shea, third place, Central Manor Elementary (teacher: Shelly Kyle).

Illustrating Headlines, Kindergarten – Brayton Swartz, second place, Hambright Elementary (teacher: Maggie Kyper).

The winning students were recognized in the May 21 edition of LNP. That evening, first-place awardees and their teachers were honored at a reception.

  • Lillian Evans of Eshleman
    Lillian Evans of Eshleman

Penn Manor Quiz Bowl captain receives national award

    Penn Manor Quiz Bowl team captain Connor Mayers has been honored with a national award from the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence.

    Connor, a high school junior, is recipient of the Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award, given each year to a member of the Quiz Bowl community who “embodies, by example, the ideals of academic competition.”

    He will receive the award at the National Scholastic Competition June 8 and 9 in Reston, Va., at which the Penn Manor Quiz Bowl team will participate.

    Connor is the sole high school winner of the award, according to Sallie Bookman, who coaches the Penn Manor team along with fellow Penn Manor teacher Chris Meier.

    “Connor is well known and respected for his amazing breadth of knowledge and the ability to buzz in quickly in competitions,” Bookman said. “He deserves the national award as an excellent citizen in the Quiz Bowl community. His positive attitude and sense of humor are contagious.” 

   Connor leads a Penn Manor team that compiled a 68-49 record this year, with multiple wins over college teams and nationally ranked high school teams. The team qualified to compete in the High School Quiz Bowl National Championship Tournament, to be held May 24-27 in Atlanta.

    Quiz Bowl A Team members, in addition to Connor, are Chad Hoglund, Shane Mosley, Claire DeVinney and Gabe McGough.

    Congratulations, Connor, on this prestigious honor!

Three PM schools participate in technology showcase in state Capitol

   Congratulations to the students, teachers and staff members who represented Penn Manor so well at the Student Technology Showcase, held Monday in the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

   Projects completed by students at Hambright and Martic elementary schools and Manor Middle School were selected for the event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology (PAECT).

   Martic sixth-graders displayed their project to create a television station to broadcast school announcements using Open Broadcaster Software at a cost of less than $100. The broadcasts include lessons on sign language to help students communicate with their peers in the school who have hearing impairments.

   Hambright fifth-graders showed off their “The World in Our Backyard” project, which uses virtual reality technology to tell the story of the wetlands, farmland and wooded areas surrounding their school.

   Manor students displayed “Science in Our Backyard,” in which eighth-graders worked with the Hambright students to conduct soil samples and create 360-degree images of the areas included in “The World in Our Backyard.”

  All three groups of students participated in live-stream presentations on their projects before being introduced in the Senate chamber and given a tour of the Capitol.

  They also got to demonstrate their projects and answer questions from state Sens. Scott Martin and Ryan Aument and state Reps. Brett Miller, Bryan Cutler, Joe Webster and Joe Ciresi.

  “Senator Martin was amazing with our kids,” said Manor teacher Jennifer Ennis. “He invited them into his office, where they had a great question-and-answer session with him. He was genuinely interested in their projects.”

  The Martic students took the opportunity to record an interview with Rep. Cutler for an upcoming television broadcast.

Participating students, teachers and staff included:

  Manor – Teacher Jennifer Ennis; Shelby Foster, Penn Manor technology staff trainer; and students Grace Seiger, Abby Ames, GG Moenga, DeShawn Stanley and Jerica Strohmeyer.

  Martic – Teacher Brian Plumbo; Judy Keller, technology trainer; and students Parker Sipel, Morgan Eachus, Madison Stringer, CeeJay Rettew, Kaitlyn Yeager and Ayianna Amaro.

   Hambright – Teacher Katie Lutz; Shelby Foster, technology staff trainer; and students Ava Luciano, Oliver Hanna, Adelyn Martin, Evangeline Grapes, Soksopia Yiem, Reilly Ennis and Jack Steele.

   For many of the students – and some teachers – Monday’s event was the first time they had visited the Capitol.

   Many thanks to PAECT and our local legislators for this opportunity to showcase what’s happening in Penn Manor schools. 

  • Hambright students explain their VR environmental project to state Rep. Brett Miller.
    Hambright students explain their VR environmental project to state Rep. Brett Miller.

PM students place in the top 10 in state TSA competition

   Eight Penn Manor students placed in the top 10, including two who qualified for national competition, at the recent Technology Student Association (TSA) State Conference at Seven Springs Resort.

  The students were competing against more than 1,900 of the brightest STEM students from 130 TSA chapters across Pennsylvania in a variety of events during the conference, held April 10-13.

   The Penn Manor High School team of Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell placed second in the video game design competition, earning the opportunity to compete in the National TSA Conference this summer.

   Other top-10 finishers for Penn Manor were:

High School
Isaac Leshok – Prepared Presentation, 5th place; Jaden Smith – Children’s Stories, 6th place; and Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell – Webmaster, 8th place.

Middle School
Suren Clark and Ben Hickey – Challenging Technology Issues, 8th place; and Mitch Jackson and Anders Murphy – Biotechnology, 9th place.

Congratulations to these students and their TSA advisors, Molly Miller and Alisha Gerhart, for representing Penn Manor so well!

Penn Manor HS rated among top third of high schools in county

    Penn Manor High School is among the top third of high schools in Lancaster County in academics, according to a revised ranking system adopted by U.S. News & World Report.

    Penn Manor was ranked sixth in Lancaster County among 18 public high schools and 105th in the state out of 677 high schools in the magazine’s 2019 Best High Schools issue.

   Penn Manor had been ranked No. 1 in the county the past four years by U.S. News & World Report. However, the magazine altered its ranking methodology this year, adding additional categories, changing the “weights” of categories, and including more schools in its analysis.

    “Because the methodology changed so significantly this year, a school’s ranking in the 2019 Best High Schools ranking can’t be compared with its rankings in any previous U.S. News ranking,” according to the magazine.

  The 2019 standings are based on a school’s graduation rate; students’ math and reading proficiency and whether those scores met expectations; the participation level and performance of students on AP tests; and the performance of “underserved” students, including low-income and minority students.

    The 2018 rankings were based on test scores in reading and math for all students, compared with those for underserved students; graduation rates; and the number of students taking and passing college-level courses.

   Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter said he’s pleased that Penn Manor High School was ranked in the top third in Lancaster County under the new system.

Project helps Hambright teacher earn National Geographic certification

    Hambright Elementary School teacher Katie Lutz has been certified as a National Geographic Educator, thanks, in part, to a project that she and her fifth-graders completed to better understand the natural world around their school.

   Called “The World in My Backyard,” the project uses virtual reality technology to tell the story of the wetlands, farmland and wooded areas surrounding Hambright.

    With the assistance of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Dr. Carol Welch, students identified medicinal plants, berries, cattails, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and other species in what Lutz calls the “small, immediate wilderness” around the school.

    Students kept journals of their discoveries and made detailed, colorful renderings of the birds, trees and flowers they encountered, along with opossum bones, fox tracks, grapevines and other evidence of life quietly coexisting just outside their walls.

   Lancaster County environmental educator Ann Strauss led field studies to help students understand the biodiversity of the wetlands and neighboring playing fields, and Manor Middle School eighth-graders helped the students conduct soil tests on samples brought back to the classroom.

    Manor Township Public Works Director Mark Harris visited the classroom to explain how a nearby composting farm turns leaves into nutrient-rich compost and to explain “best practices” in soil management.

   Penn Manor High School students helped the fifth-graders document what they had discovered through photography, videography and video editing, and the district’s technology staff assisted Lutz and her students in creating the virtual tour using Google Tour Creator software.

  The finished product — truly a collaborative effort — can be seen here.

  “The World in My Backyard” was the capstone project that led to Lutz’s certification as a National Geographic Educator. An explanation of the project can be seen here.

  Lutz also participated in a National Geographic workshop on inspiring students to learn how the world works – and how they can make it a better place.

The organization’s Learning Framework focuses on the human journey, our changing planet, wildlife, curiosity, responsibility, observation, problem-solving, collaboration and communication. Lutz had to implement these elements into her teaching.

  Completing the certification “reinvigorated my energy and focus around supporting student inquiry and exploration through hands-on learning,” Lutz said.

   The “World in My Backyard” project gave her students “a renewed sense of interest and wonder in the natural world,” she said.

  “When we began this inquiry, I had several students who had no idea what a pine cone was. Now, some of those same students are able to identify the red-winged blackbird by its call,” Lutz said.

   “I hope my students take away a renewed appreciation of our natural environment, an identity as scientists and explorers, and a commitment to environmental stewardship to protect the species and areas that we studied.”

  • Teacher Katie Lutz and students.
    Teacher Katie Lutz leads her students through a wetlands area behind the school.

Sign Language Club forms at Hambright Elementary School

    About 30 Hambright students meet after school every Wednesday to learn a new language, with the goal of breaking down communication barriers with people who are different than themselves.

    But the members of this club aren’t learning a traditional foreign language. They’re studying American Sign Language and Signed English under the direction of teacher Lorien Gilbert.

    Gilbert started the club to give students an opportunity to connect with hearing-impaired individuals who often feel ostracized. She is assisted by the school’s librarian, Tara Etzweiler, and Nasy Sok, an aide at Hambright whose two daughters, Jessica and Soksopia, are in the club.

She also got a boost from Penn Manor Education Foundation, which awarded her a $300 Venture Grant to purchase materials for the club.

    Club members include fifth- and sixth-graders, along with a third-grader whose father is hearing impaired. Students use flash cards and sign language textbooks to learn vocabulary, verbs, grammar and expression.

    The students learned to sign the song “We’re Going to Be Friends,” which they performed during a recent school assembly. They also watched a presentation about a deaf poet, and they plan to Skype with their peers in a deaf education class run by Intermediate Unit 13.

    “We thought it would be fun for my hearing students to meet some Deaf kids who can be the experts,” said Gilbert.

    Madalyn Kreider, a sixth-grade member of the club, said she likes “being part of a little group in school” that’s learning something completely new.

   “It’s really cool to find out about this. Now, if you run into someone who’s Deaf, you can talk to them,” she said.

   The club is an outgrowth of Gilbert’s personal experience with Deaf culture. As a child, she experienced hearing loss and began to learn sign language on her own.

   “When I was in high school, I made a very good friend, Scott, who is Deaf, and he introduced me to Deaf culture and really helped me to become more fluent in Signed English and ASL,” she said.

    Whenever Gilbert would go out with Scott, she noticed that people would talk to her, but not to him.

    “Scott’s mother told me that other kids were reluctant to talk to Scott, and that he had very few hearing friends,” she recalled. “It’s a world of isolation when people perceive you as different.”

    The ultimate goal of the club, Gilbert said, is for students to connect with people like Scott.

    “If I can help my students feel brave enough to sign ‘Hello’ or, ‘Do you want a snack?’ or even, ‘What is your name?’ then they will be making the world a little less scary.”

  • Students practicing sign language.
    Teacher Lorien Gilbert reviews signs with students.

Baron Jones recommended for PMHS principal post

    Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter is recommending the hiring of Baron H. Jones as principal of Penn Manor High School.

    Currently principal of Conestoga Valley Middle School, Jones would take over his new position from Dr. Phil Gale on July 1. The school board is scheduled to vote on Jones’ appointment at its April 15 meeting.

    Prior to joining the CV Middle School staff as principal in 2015, Jones was an assistant principal at Spring Grove Area High School from 2008 to 2015. He also taught secondary social studies for the School District of Lancaster from 2001 to 2008.

    Jones, 39, received his master’s degree in Educational Leadership/Principalship from Widener University’s Graduate School of Education in 2008 and his teacher certification from Millersville University in 2005, with an emphasis on technology integration.

    He also earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jacksonville State University in Alabama in 2001.

    Jones is a Leadership for Diverse Schools presenter and served as diversity coordinator for grades 7 through 12 at Spring Grove Area School District.

    He lives in Manheim Township with his wife, Georgia Jones, and their sons Brayden, 10, and Quinten, 8.

    Jones was attracted to the high school post at Penn Manor because of the district’s reputation, he said.

    “The Penn Manor School District places students at the forefront of education,” Jones said. “I am excited for the opportunity to work with dedicated educators who inspire students to make a difference in our school and community.”

    Jones is being recommended for the principal position following a three-month search for a replacement for Gale, who begins his new role as Penn Manor’s assistant superintendent for secondary education July 1.

    “The district is excited to welcome Mr. Jones as its new high school principal,” Leichliter said. “He has a passion for working with faculty and staff to ensure that all students find success in an academically rigorous environment.”

Baron Jones
Baron Jones

In-service day April 18 for grades 9-12

Because of weather-related cancellations earlier this year, April 18 will be an in-service day for grades 9-12. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade will have a regular day of school.

Math Bowl champs named for 2019

Teams from three different Penn Manor elementary schools earned first-place trophies in the Math Bowl, a spirited competition involving students from all seven Penn Manor elementary schools in fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

A team from Hambright Elementary earned the first-place trophy for fourth grade. Eshleman took the fifth-grade crown, and Central Manor was the sixth-grade champ. The runners-up were Letort (fourth grade), Pequea (fifth) and Eshleman (sixth).

The competition, which included about 75 participants, tests students’ general math ability and skills in solving multi-step and word problems and computations with and without calculators. Participants are the top math students from each school, so qualifying for the math bowl is an achievement itself. Here are the results:

Fourth grade

  • First place: Hambright team of Wesley Groff, Anupama Neopaney, Miles Fetter and Micah Cruz.
  • Second: Letort Elementary team of Eliza Myer, Camden Beakes, Elijah Hurst and Emily Simpson.

Fifth grade

  • First: Eshleman team of Seth Barrett, Jett Kroesen, Joelle Kroesen and David Kirkley.
  • Second: Pequea team of Jenna Railing, Rayn Andreychek, Grant Bradburn and Natasha Wee.

Sixth grade

  • First: Central Manor team of Jordan Chen, Zoe Thomas, Cooper Dawkins and Vincent Keefer.
  • Second: Eshleman team of Andrew Gallion, Evan Lee, Jack Hightower and Trinity Mowery.

Congratulations to all who participated!

  • Sixth-grade champions
    Sixth-grade champions from Central Manor (1st) and Eshleman (2nd).

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’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.