Penn Manor Quiz Bowl team headed to national tournament

Penn Manor High School’s Quiz Bowl team is headed for national competition after compiling an impressive 15-3 record this season.

The team of sophomore Connor Mayers, juniors Sean Moore and Chad Hoglund and senior Kevin Ward will compete in the High School Quiz Bowl National Championship Tournament May 26-29 in Atlanta.

But before they head south, the students will participate in a tune-up match on Monday, May 21, against a team of Penn Manor faculty, beginning at 3 p.m. in the high school library.

The teachers will include Anthony Carrodo (math), Chris Meier (economics), Brian Reinking (English), Katherine Rodriguez (Spanish) and Matt Scheuing (history).

Penn Manor qualified for the national tournament by placing in the top 15 percent in regional tournaments throughout the year and by finishing third in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, said Meier, who serves as Quiz Bowl advisor with Sallie Bookman.

Throughout the year, more than 20 Penn Manor students, including many freshmen and sophomores, participated in Quiz Bowl, Meier said, which bodes well for future Penn Manor teams.

Connor Mayers, the team captain, said he’s looking forward to the national competition.

“In many ways we’ve outdone the expectations I had for this season, and I’m excited to see how we do at nationals,” he said.

“My ultimate goal is to sneak into the playoff rounds, but even if we don’t, I’m sure we will have a good time and put in great performances.”

And how does Connor feel the students will fare against their teachers?

“I back us to win without too much of a problem, but you never know.”

Congrats to the students and staff on this impressive accomplishment!

Penn Manor Quiz Bowl members
From left, Quiz Bowl team members Chad Hoglund, Connor Mayers, Sean Moore and Kevin Ward.


Penn Manor’s Nick Fafel, Alyssa Schriver earn Brackbill Awards

For only the second time in 30 years, two student athletes from the same high school have earned the prestigious A. Landis Brackbill Scholar-Athlete Award, which this year goes to Nick Fafel and Alyssa Schriver of Penn Manor High School.

The award is given annually to a male and female senior student-athlete who maintains a 3.5 grade-point average and letters or plays in 75 percent of at least two PIAA-sponsored sports in one year.

Alyssa has played basketball and field hockey all four years at Penn Manor, participated in track and field for two years and played softball for one year. She has earned a grade-point average of 3.693 and plans to study pre-med at Penn State University.

Alyssa played on two state championship field hockey teams and was named a First Team Lancaster-Lebanon League All Star in basketball. In addition, she holds the school record for the 400-meter dash and contributed to the school record 4 x 100 relay run.

Nick has participated in cross-country all four years and lettered in wrestling and track and field for three years. He has earned a grade-point average of 4.0 and plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Delaware.

In cross-country, Nick finished 24th in the state championships and seventh at the  L-L League meet. In wrestling, Nick was an L-L League Senior All-Star, First Team All-Star and Section Team All-Star. On the track, he qualified for districts in the 3,200 meter run.

A committee set up by the Lancaster-Lebanon League each year selects winners of the Brackbill Award, which is named after A. Landis Brackbill, a Penn Manor high school principal from 1944 to 1968 who was the first executive director of the L-L League. Award winners receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Manheim Touchdown Club.

Click here for an LNP story on the awards.

Congrats to Nick and Alyssa for this impressive honor!

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Coaches Association names Soto Field Hockey Coach of the Year  

Penn Manor coach Matt Soto has been named Field Hockey Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association.

“We are extremely pleased to honor Coach Soto,” said Eric Hess, Executive Director of the Association.

“Coach Soto has not only established Penn Manor as one of the top programs in Pennsylvania, but also as one of the best in America. His commitment to excellence for his student-athletes is second to none.”

Soto, who has coached at Penn Manor for 13 seasons, led the Comets to a perfect season and a state title in what is considered the toughest high school field hockey conference in the country.

The Comets finished 28-0 as the PIAA AAA State Champions, District 3 Champions and Lancaster-Lebanon League Champions. It was the third state title in program history and the first time the team went undefeated.

The Comets outscored their opponents 148-5 and did not give up a goal in the district or state playoffs. The team allowed only three shots on goal in its last seven games.

The Coaches Association honor is the latest accolade for Soto, who also was named National Coach of the Year by Max Field Hockey. In addition, the Comets were the top-ranked team, and Penn Manor junior Emma DeBerdine was the top-ranked player in the nation.

Soto’s award is the third straight National Coaches Association field hockey honor for a coach from Pennsylvania.

In 2017, the award went to Sue Butz-Stavin of Emmaus High School. In 2016, Lower Dauphin’s Linda Kreiser was the recipient.

Congratulations, Coach Soto, on a well-deserved honor!

PMHS earns fourth straight Silver Medal, No. 1 ranking in county

For the fourth year in a row, Penn Manor High School has been honored with a Silver Medal from U.S. News & World Report and is ranked the No. 1 high school in Lancaster County!

Penn Manor is ranked No. 36 in Pennsylvania, and No. 1,335 in the United States, based on the magazine’s 2018 evaluation of academic data from more than 20,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The rankings are based on test scores in reading and math for all students and for student subgroups, including African-American and Latino pupils and the economically disadvantaged, graduation rates and the number of students taking and passing college-level courses.

“To receive this award for four consecutive years is an indication of the tremendous work that our students and teachers are doing,” said Phil Gale, high school principal.

“As a big school, we pride ourselves on the diversity of the programs we offer to prepare all students for life after high school. This recognition demonstrates the quality education that our students receive in all of the programs at Penn Manor High School,” he said.

Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor School District superintendent, called the latest ranking “wonderful news to receive during Teacher Appreciation Week.”

“We have a successful formula that includes dedicated students, caring teachers and a supportive community.  When all three of these elements are combined and work together, continued progress can be made,” Leichliter said.

He pointed out that a record 10 high schools in Lancaster County were honored with awards this year. “This speaks to the strong public schools and tremendous work ethic that is found in Lancaster County,” Leichliter said.

Congratulations to our high school students and staff for again making us Penn Manor Proud!



Manor MS student earns Scholastic Writing poetry award

Manor Middle School eighth-grader Ella Layton has earned a Scholastic Writing Award for a collection of poems she wrote over the past year.

Ella chose five poems – “Unsaid,” “Hesitation,” “Bind,” “Paradise” and “Mess” — to submit to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition. She earned a Silver Key, the second-highest award, for the collection.

“Each poem represents a time of my childhood or a person who is or was in my life,” said Ella.

Kerri Miller, one of Ella’s teachers, said her poems and essays “are insightful and powerful.”

“Ella is an incredibly astute young writer who has a voice of conviction and maturity that is not often seen in a middle school student,” she said.

Congratulations, Ella!

Ellay Layton and her teachers
Ella Layton with her teachers, from left, Kerri Miller and Carrie Aukamp.


Penn Manor honors 2018 retirees, Outstanding Educators & Employee

Penn Manor honored 18 retirees with nearly 450 years of  combined service May 2 during the 39th annual Employee Recognition Dinner in the high school cafeteria.

Attendees watched a video presentation of comments (plus one song-and-dance number!) by 12 of the retirees — Jeff Roth, Marilyn Springer, Donna Brady, Anne Butterfield, Cheryl Dearolf, Frank Dell’Estate, Sue Frese, Shirley Jackson, Nancy Kaufhold, Peg Murr, Wayne Martin and Dave Bender.

Other retirees included CeCe O’Day, Dave Hoar, Faye Sangrey, Christine Pierce and Cheryl Drumm-Miklos.

Also honored Wednesday were 41 Penn Manor employees with 20 or more years of service and the Outstanding Employee and Educators of the Year.

Cindy Bachman, high school athletics secretary, was named Outstanding Employee for 2017-2018.

Honored as Outstanding Educators were Beth Mader, a Central Manor Elementary second-grade teacher, and Ken Webster, a Marticville Middle School social studies teacher.

Employees honored for 30 Years: Carol Alexander, Sharlotte Dammerman, Cynthia Frey, Lori Graham, Jeff Himes, Peg Murr, Michelle Rankin and Melany Rios.

Employees honored for 25 Years: Cindy Bachman, Anne Butterfield, Donna Falk, Kathy Grenier, Kelley Groff, Marty Ioannidis, Doug Kramer, Marjean Long, Gary Luft, Amy Niemkiewicz, Carol Purzycki, Carol Ragland, Kathleen Railing, Maryann Saylor and Laura Stephan.

Employees honored for 20 Years: Mark Andrew, Christine Bachman, Beth Corl, Rebecca Eichler, Stephen Harnish, Erica Kopp, Carin Leisure, Lisa Martin, Emily Mattern, Shawn Maxwell, Charlie Reisinger, Cindy Rhoades, Deborah Sensenig, Streeter Stuart, Jennifer Winters and Pam Witmer.

Congratulations to all of our honored employees, and best wishes, retirees!

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Penn Manor HS students place first in Sea, Air & Land Challenge

A team of Penn Manor High School students placed first in the Sea, Air and Land Challenge, held April 24 at Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13.

Moses Buckwalter, Graham Thomas, Maxwell Kreitzer, Wesley Kendig and Thomas Hockenberry – all freshmen – won the air portion of the competition, which required teams to design, build and fly drones over a simulated wooded area and release materials on targets.

The exercise was designed to simulate an aerial response to a forest fire.

Each team had a $500 budget to construct a drone and modify it for the competition. The Penn Manor team used computer-aided design to create new motor mounts, landing gear, a payload mechanism and other components, which came to life via the 3D printing process.

During the competition, team members had to explain their project to judges before flying the course. They were judged on the accuracy of their flights and payload drops, the durability of their designs and a preliminary design report.

“The team members were well prepared and conducted themselves in a professional manner at the competition, impressing not only us coaches but also the judges,” said Jon Zimmerman, the Penn Manor High School gifted teacher who serves as the team’s adviser.

 Since December, he has worked with the students during homeroom and after school, with the assistance of Dan Yocom, a Penn Manor parent who served as team mentor.

“I am amazed at the ingenuity and ability of this team to overcome numerous challenges and learn new technology concepts in such a short period of time,” Zimmerman said.

This is the first year Penn Manor has participated in the competition, which is  sponsored by Penn State’s Electro-Optics Center in collaboration with the Office of Naval Research Program.

To cover the cost of materials and entry fees, the Penn Manor team received a $600 Venture Grant from Penn Manor Education Foundation.

Congratulations to students and coaches for an impressive first-year effort!

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Penn Manor students bring home state TSA awards

Congratulations to Marticville Middle School student Jaden Smith, who placed first in Pennsylvania in the Children’s Stories category of the Technology Student Association State Conference, held April 18-21 at Seven Springs Resort.

Jaden was among the 14 Penn Manor students who finished in the top 10 in the competition, which included more than 1,900 of the state’s best STEM students competing in a variety of events, from robotics and biotechnology to extemporaneous presentations and architectural design.

Jaden’s performance was a highlight of the conference for Molly Miller, who is co-adviser of Penn Manor TSA, along with Alisha Gerhart.

Although the Children’s Stories competition is a team event, Jaden chose to work solo on the project, doing the same amount of work as a team, she said. While onstage for the awards ceremony, he was so busy congratulating the second-place team, he almost missed his own award — which apparently came as a total surprise.

“He has come a long way in TSA, and we could not be prouder of his accomplishments,” Miller said.

In all, 32 Penn Manor students participated in the competition. The top-10 finishers were:

Marticville MS
Grace Fafel  – Digital Photography, 8th place.
Jaden Smith  – Children’s Stories, 1st place; Materials Process, 6th place.

High School
Ray Gerner – Extemporaneous Speech, 2nd place.
Morgan Cooper, Joshua Gerlach, Aliya Trussell and Christopher Trussell – Animatronics, 5th place.
Bryce Eberly, Max Minnick and Kevin Ward – System Control Technology, 5th place.
Joshua Gerlach, Audrey Ritchie, Joshua Adams, Trey Erisman, Simon Schoelkopf and Christopher Trussel — Video Game Design, 6th place.
Alexander Detter — Prepared Presentation, 8th place; Digital Video Production, 8th place.

Both Jaden and Ray qualified for the national TSA conference in Atlanta, Georgia, from June 22 through June 26.

Congrats to all the students who participated!

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Four named to Penn Manor Alumni Wall of Honor

Congratulations to the four new members of the Penn Manor Alumni Wall of Honor – Joshua Herr, Craig Kauffman, J. Samuel Walker and Jan Mindish.

Herr (Class of 2001) is Design Director for Creative Direction for Adidas and leads the Originals team, which works with celebrity designers. Herr’s team developed XENO, a new shoe material that changes colors in response to light, that was introduced for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.

Kauffman (Class of 1981) has spent nearly 30 years in banking and is regional president for BB&T Bank. He serves as a board member on the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster General Health Foundation and the Safari Club International Foundation.

Walker (Class of 1964) is an American historian and author known for his research and writing on the nuclear age. He was historian for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 24 years and has written many books and articles on diverse topics, including American foreign policy, nuclear energy and college basketball.

Mindish, a longtime Penn Manor teacher and high school principal, was recognized as the Pennsylvania Principal of the Year in 2007. She is executive director of the Penn Manor Education Foundation and remains active at Penn Manor, despite her retirement in 2009 after 37 years of service. She is an honorary alumna.

The four honorees were inducted April 12 into the Distinguished Alumni Wall of Honor during a reception at Lancaster Yacht Club. The following day, they talked with high school students about how their time at Penn Manor shaped their future endeavors.

Many thanks to these distinguished individuals for sharing their expertise with our students, and congrats on your well-deserved recognition!

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Two PMHS students named Agricultural Sciences Scholars

Two Penn Manor High School juniors have been selected to attend the prestigious Pennsylvania School for Excellence in the Agricultural Sciences.

Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman and Rylee Mellott were named PSEAS Scholars and will attend the four-week program in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University. Only about 40 students from across Pennsylvania are selected each year to participate.

They will live on campus and attend college-level courses, exploring the fields of agricultural science and natural resources while experiencing life on a college campus. The program, which covers the cost of tuition, housing, food, books and other materials, runs from July 8 to Aug. 3.

Arilyn said she cried when she found out she had gotten into the program.

“I feel great about it because it’s so selective, and knowing that I was picked makes me think all that work, those late nights, the stress from your classes and the research, is paying off. It’s gratifying,” she said.

Rylee said she’s looking forward to experiencing Penn State. “I want to attend Penn State when I get older, and spending four weeks learning exactly what I want to be learning is what I want to be doing.”

The students had to submit their resumes, along with a recommendation from a counselor. They also had to write two essays – one explaining who they are and why they wanted to attend the program, the other about an agricultural issue affecting another country.

Arilyn wrote about malnutrition in Sudan; Rylee’s essay was on agricultural instability in Haiti.

During the program, the scholars will be challenged to come up with solutions to such problems as lack of access to clean water, malnutrition and social injustice faced by those living in developing countries.

In addition to attending classes, laboratories and workshops, participants will work on group research projects and participate in evening activities.

“I’m so proud and thrilled to have two students involved with this program,” said Penn Manor agricultural education teacher Diane Glock-Cornman.

“It is a tremendous opportunity and can really pave the way for amazing opportunities in the future.”

Congratulations, Rylee and Arilyn!

Rylee Mellott, left, and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman.
Rylee Mellott, left, and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman, with animal sciences equipment.


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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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.


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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