Manor FFA members earn multiple awards at PA Farm Show

Penn Manor High School students won several awards recently at the Pennsylvania Farm Show representing Manor FFA.

Agriscience Fair

Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman placed first in the state in the Animal Systems Division of the Agriscience Fair for her project on the effect of diet on blood glucose levels and weight gain in rats.

Arilyn fed rats three different types of food and monitored their weight, general health and glucose levels to determine whether a homemade soy-based diet was preferable to a commercial feed diet or a non-soy diet.

She is now applying to present her project in national competition.

Other Farm Show honors for Penn Manor students include:

Keystone Degrees

Eight students – Alyssa Broderick, Michael Brumbaugh, Kyle Bushong, Alyssa Chalfant, Melodie Garrett, Rebecca High, Blake Rohrer and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman – earned Keystone Degrees.

The Keystone is the fourth of five degrees FFA members can earn.  Only 409 members out of 12,771 in the state received the degree.

To earn a Keystone Degree, FFA members must hold the Greenhand and Chapter FFA Degrees; perform at least 25 hours of community service; earn or invest $1,000 or work 300 hours outside of school in their SAE program; participate in 15 FFA Activities, five of them above the chapter level; and demonstrate leadership and advocacy of agriculture and FFA.

Jacket recipients

Five students – Bobbie Ditzler, Emma French, Carter Hess, Laurel Mull and Danielle Oatman – earned a blue jacket, the iconic symbol of FFA membership.

The first-year member jacket campaign is sponsored by the Pennsylvania FFA Alumni, which provides the jackets and a scarf or tie free of charge.  To qualify, students must write about what the jacket means to them and what they plan to achieve while wearing it.

Livestock Showmen

Laurel Barley, Logan Eshelman, Lauren Sensenich, Jenna Smith and Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman showed livestock. Jenna Smith earned Reserve Champion Yorkshire and Master Showman honors for her hog, Nora.

Keystone Star

Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman was named Keystone Star in Agriscience. Arilyn will move on to the regional contest and compete at the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts in September.

Nominations sought for Outstanding Educators, Employees

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 2018-2019 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 22, 2019, from parents/guardians, students and colleagues of Penn Manor staff members.

Last year’s honorees included Cindy Bachman, high school secretary, named Outstanding Employee for 2017-2018. The Outstanding Educators were Beth Mader, a Central Manor Elementary second-grade teacher, and Ken Webster, a Marticville Middle School social studies 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.

Penn Manor student follows sister, plays in New Year’s Day Rose Parade

When Elise Thyrum marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day, she was continuing a family tradition.

Four years ago, Elise’s older sister, Emily, marched in the same band as part of the Rose Parade, an annual New Year’s Day event. Emily played the piccolo.

Elise, a senior horn player, represented Penn Manor, which was one of only 20 school districts with students participating in the Cavalcade of Bands Rose Parade Honor Band. In all, about 20 different bands from across the country performed in the parade.

Elise auditioned by submitting videotapes of her playing the mellophone, and of her marching while playing the instrument, to the Cavalcade of Bands organization, which formed the band for the parade.

A New Year’s Day tradition for 130 years, the Rose Parade features elaborate flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrian units. Elise’s marching unit played “Stars and Stripes Forever” along the 5.5-mile parade route.

Elise received another recent honor when she was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 7 Band Festival, to be held Jan. 25 and 26 at Lancaster Mennonite High School.

Congratulations to Elise and the Thyrum family!

HS students headed for state Future Business Leaders competition

Ten Penn Manor High School students have qualified to compete at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference in Hershey in April.

The students qualified by placing in the top three at the FBLA Region 18 Conference, held Dec. 18 at Cocalico High School.

Penn Manor’s top finishers were:

  • Max Forrey, first place, Journalism
  • Alex Mowery, first place, Business Calculations
  • Kaden Peart, second place, Political Science
  • Dominic Roma and Zach Bailey, third place, Sports & Entertainment Marketing
  • Dan Mader, Owen Rohrer and Trevor Grassel, third place, Marketing
  • Gavin Davidson and Garrett Garber, third place, Entrepreneurship

They will move on to compete at the state conference April 8 to 10 in Hershey.

Congratulations, and best wishes as you compete at States!

Penn Manor/Hempfield team places second in HackHershey

A team of students from Penn Manor and Hempfield was a top finisher in a statewide hacking competition held recently at Hershey High School.

    Kyler Stigelman, Adrian Lewis and Tristen Martin of Penn Manor and Michael Pagano of Hempfield placed second overall in HackHershey, a 12-hour programming competition that attracted 21 student teams from across Pennsylvania.

    The projects were judged on originality, technical difficulty, polish and usefulness.

    The four students developed an app called Face2Password that uses facial recognition software to assist people who forget their passwords.

    “The team had a fully working program completed in less than 10 hours, which was really impressive,” said Gina Kostelich, Penn Manor Student Help Desk specialist, who helped prepare Team Face2Password for the competition.

    The Penn Manor students all are enrolled in the Help Desk Course at Penn Manor High School, in which they complete repairs and provide technical support for student computers under the 1:1 Laptop Program.

    Help Desk students earn credits and work under the direction of Penn Manor’s professional information technology staff.

    “I think this course has really expanded their programming passion beyond a hobby,” Kostelich said.  “Plus, the students are now bonding and using their programming experience to do some really cool projects.” 

    “Bright futures are in store for this group.”   

    Tristen is a senior and Kyler and Aidan are sophomores at Penn Manor. Michael is a sophomore at Hempfield.

    The students received $600 worth of prizes, including a computer monitor, Airpods and Snapchat Spectacles, for their second-place finish.

Team members, from left, are Kyler Stigelman, Michael Pagano, Aidan Lewis and Tristen Martin.

PM students to participate in county, district music festivals

More than two dozen Penn Manor students have been selected to participate in upcoming county and district band, orchestra and chorus festivals. Here are the festivals and the participating students:

Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators Association Middle School County Band South Festival, Jan. 19 at Lampeter-Strasburg HS.

    Jerica Strohmeyer, Lexi Wilson, Allison Burkholder, Drew Lebo, Abigale Nesmith and Griffin Sweigart from Manor Middle School; and Natalie Myer, Paige Bland and Claire Eckroat from Marticville Middle School.

    Students were nominated by their director, Skip Reddig

LLMEA High School County Band South Festival, Jan. 19 at Lampeter-Strasburg HS.

    Anna Aston, flute; Hannah Stork, clarinet; Morgan Naylor, clarinet; Ally Sauers, clarinet; Julia Young, bass clarinet; Ethan Esterly, tenor saxophone; Reid Buffenmyer, baritone sax; Elise Thyrum and Jordan Stum, French horn; Josh Brandt, trombone; and Peyton Cassel and Devon Keene, trumpet.

    Student were nominated by their director, Andrew Johnson.

LLMEA High School County Orchestra Festival, Feb. 16 at McCaskey East High School.

    Julia Young, trumpet; Elise Thyrum, French horn; Eleanor Helm and Collin Lively, violin; Jesse Kanagy, viola; and Nolan Stauffer and Evelyn Weaver, bass.

     Students were nominated by their director, Sara Masten, based on proficiency in performing a solo piece.

LLMEA High School County Chorus Festival, Feb. 2 at Donegal High School.

    Adelyn Beans, Soprano 1; Janae Beiler, Alto 1; True Herbert, Bass 1; Diane Imboden and Briana Shyver, Soprano 2; Jordan Stum, Bass 2; and Leilani Torres, Alto 2.

     Students qualified by competing against other students from high schools throughout Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in an audition process Sept. 22.

Pennsylvania Music Educators  District 7 Chorus Festival, Feb. 7 to 9, Cedar Cliff High School.

    Diane Imboden, Soprano 2; Leilani Torres, Alto 2; and True Herbert, Bass 1.

    Students qualified following an audition process.     

PMEA District 7 Orchestra, January 11 and 12, Central Dauphin High School.

    Julia Young, trumpet. She qualified following an audition process.       

PMEA District 7 Band, Jan 25 and 26, Lancaster Mennonite High School

    Julia Young, trumpet; Elise Thyrum, horn; and Hannah Stork, clarinet. They qualified following an audition process.                        

Ms. Vita honored as finalist for Teacher of the Year award

Congratulations to Maria Vita, who was honored this weekend as a finalist for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year award for 2019.

Vita, who has taught at Penn Manor since 2003, was one of 12 finalists who participated in the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Conference in Hershey.

She was introduced at the conference by former student Grace Rhine, a 2017 Penn Manor graduate.

Vita teaches Advanced Placement Psychology at Penn Manor and recently was named chair of the American Psychological Association Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools.

She helped establish an Aevidum student club at Penn Manor that seeks to create an atmosphere in which all students feel accepted, appreciated, acknowledged and cared for. Aevidum also works to increase awareness of depression and prevent teen suicides.

She was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award by Penn Manor Superintendent Mike Leichliter and his wife, Mary Edith, whose three children all had Maria for class.

“Maria exemplifies the mission of every teacher who wishes to make an impact on children by inspiring her students to love learning and instilling in them an appreciation for compassion and hard work,“ Leichliter said

“We could not have asked for a more caring and capable teacher for our children.”

Vita said she was “honored and humbled to be considered” for the award.

The 2019 Teacher of the Year is Marilyn Pryle, an English teacher from Abington Heights School District.

Many thanks, Ms. Vita, for representing Penn Manor as a finalist!

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PM’s Slates earns regional Outstanding Early Career Teacher award

Penn Manor agricultural education teacher Meagan Slates has been honored as the Outstanding Early Career Teacher for the Northeastern United States.

Slates, who has taught at Penn Manor for four years, earned the award – one of only six in the nation – from the National Association of Agricultural Educators during its annual convention in San Antonio, Texas. She previously was named Outstanding Early Career Teacher for Pennsylvania.

The award was established to encourage young teachers to remain in the profession and recognize participation in professional activities. It is sponsored by John Deere through the National FFA Foundation.

Applicants are evaluated on their teaching philosophy, effective classroom instruction, experiential learning and leadership development qualities. Teachers also are evaluated based on their professional growth and community engagement.

“Meagan is well deserving of this award,” said Neil Fellenbaum, who heads the agricultural education department at Penn Manor. “Her passion for teaching and making students better people, along with her desire to prepare them for careers after high school, make her an outstanding educator.”

Slates teaches Introduction to Ag Mechanics, Plant Science 1 and Wildlife and Natural Resources classes at Penn Manor.

In 2016, she was one of 36 teachers nationwide to be honored with a Teachers Turn the Key professional development scholarship from the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Congratulations, Meagan!


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Three Penn Manor students qualify for District Band, Orchestra

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School students Julia Young, Elise Thyrum and Hannah Stork, who were named to District 7 Band and Orchestra.

Seniors Elise (horn) and Julia (trumpet) and sophomore Hannah (clarinet) were named to District Band and will participate in the District 7 Lower Band Festival Jan. 25 and 26 at Lancaster Mennonite High School. They will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Jan. 26.

Julia also was named to District 7 Orchestra and will participate in the Orchestra Festival Jan. 10 to 12 at Central Dauphin High School. She will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Jan. 12.

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.

Julia had a particularly strong audition, placing second out of 46 students playing trumpet.

Way to represent Penn Manor, ladies!

From left, Julia Young, Elise Thyrum and Hannah Stork.
From left, Julia Young, Elise Thyrum and Hannah Stork.



Former board members, superintendents honored at Leadership Dinner

Former Penn Manor school board members and superintendents were honored Monday night for their service as Penn Manor hosted its biennial Leadership Dinner.

Held in the Manor Middle School cafeteria, the event brought together former school directors and superintendents, including Dr. Elmer Berkebile, Penn Manor’s first superintendent following school consolidation, who served from 1967 to 1983.

Other guests included nine former school board members and one former superintendent, along with their spouses. Joining them were current Penn Manor board members and administrators.

The dinner is held every other year to honor those who have helped guide the school district by serving in leadership roles. The group that gathered Monday amassed more than 150 years of service to Penn Manor.

In addition to Berkebile, attendees included former superintendent Don Stewart and former school directors Kirk Schlotzhauer, Frank Hoke, Alice Ahlfeld, Bob Kindig, Dick Bauder, John Wenzel, Pete Alecxih, Johnna Friedman and Jeff Lyon.

After dinner, a plaque commemorating former school board presidents was unveiled. It will be displayed in the board room.

To all who have served leadership roles in Penn Manor School District over the years, we appreciate your service!

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Ed Foundation awards $55,000 in Penn Manor teacher Venture Grants

Penn Manor students will be creating virtual tours of the Fulton Opera House, building robots for competitions, using drones to study agriculture and physics, and benefitting from the expertise of a visiting book illustrator and a professional actress under projects funded with Penn Manor Education Foundation Venture Grants.

PMEF has awarded 47 grants totaling more than $55,000 for 2018-2019 – a record dollar amount – to 46 teachers, counselors and principals at all 10 of Penn Manor schools.

The projects range from $46 for models of planets for second-graders at Central Manor Elementary School to more than $5,000 for a classroom set of Google Expeditions goggles and software to enable students to create and experience lessons in virtual and augmented reality.

Other grants are funding drones to be used in experiments and research in physics and agricultural education classes and a 3D printing pen that will enable students to create and study three-dimensional molecules and cell parts.

A $3,500 grant will fund materials for the high school’s robotics club, and other grants will take students to the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Museum of the American Revolution.

For the second year in a row, the Foundation has awarded a $3,000 grant to help train a therapy dog for one of its schools – Hambright Elementary – following the success of a similar effort at Manor Middle School last year.

Grants also will pay for alternative seating – camp chairs, standing desks, yoga mats and balance balls – at several schools. And several grants will be used to purchase foreign language reading materials and graphic novels at Penn Manor schools and libraries.

Since 2000, the Education Foundation has awarded more than 800 teacher Venture Grants in excess of $850,000, providing learning opportunities that teachers and schools could not fund on their own.

“The Venture Grant program allows PMEF, with the support of our community, to fund innovative ideas for teaching and learning,” said Jan Mindish, Foundation executive director.

“The enthusiasm that can result in the classroom from these projects can make all the difference in a child’s learning. PMEF applauds the initiative of our teachers, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

Erika McLaughlin, a Marticville teacher who received $700 to equip her classroom with STEM materials, said the grants “continuously support and enhance classroom instruction for our students.”

“We are so thankful to receive PMEF Venture Grants,” she said.

In addition to its Venture Grant program, PMEF supports Penn Manor students and families experiencing financial and emotional difficulties through its Strong & Healthy Families initiative and administers more than 50 annual scholarships for graduating Penn Manor High School seniors totaling more than $60,000.

A full list of Venture Grant projects is available here.


Manor FFA members earn gold at National Convention

A group of Manor FFA members earned a gold medal in Poultry Evaluation at the National FFA Convention and Expo, held Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis.

The team of Sarah Bleacher, Renee Eshbach, Morgan Harnish and Megan Reen – all Penn Manor High School sophomores – placed 11th in the nation to earn the gold. Sarah and Renee each earned gold individual medals, and Morgan and Megan earned silver.

By earning gold, the team qualified for an all-expenses-paid trip to the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta in February.

Competitors had to take a test on poultry management, evaluate hens, broilers, eggs and carcasses and complete a team activity in which they evaluated fertility, egg weight and hatchery management and presented their findings to a panel of judges.

Also at the convention, the Manor FFA chapter earned a three-star rating – the highest possible – based on an application that outlined the plans, goals, and achievements of nine activities carried out by the chapter.

In addition, Manor FFA members Samantha Garrett and Shelby Martin received their American FFA Degrees, the highest degree achievable in the national FFA organization. Both are members of the Penn Manor Class of 2016.

Congratulations to the award recipients!

poultry evaluation team members
Members of the Manor FFA Poultry Evaluation team, from left, are Renee Eshbach, Morgan Harnish, Sarah Bleacher and Megan Reen.


Seven Penn Manor students named to District, County Chorus    

Seven Penn Manor High School students have qualified to participate in the Lancaster-Lebanon County Chorus Festival, and three have earned a spot in the PMEA District 7 Chorus Festival.

Diane Imboden (soprano 2), True Herbert (bass 1) and Leilani Torres (alto 2), were named to District 7 Chorus after auditioning before judges Saturday.

They were among the more than 700 students from schools spanning eight counties competing for spots.

They will perform at the Pennsylvania Music Educators District 7 Chorus Festival Feb. 7-9 at Cedar Cliff High School.

The three students also qualified for the Lancaster-Lebanon County Chorus Festival, along with fellow Penn Manor students Jane Beiler (alto 1), Jordan Stum (bass 2), Adelyn Beans (soprano 1) and Briana Shyver (soprano 2).

The seven students were selected following auditions before a panel of judges who evaluated students from throughout Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

They will perform at the Feb. 2 Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators County Chorus Festival at Donegal High School.

Congratulations to these talented students!

From left, Janae Beiler, Leilani Torres, Jordan Stum, True Herbert, Adelyn Beans, Diane Imboden and Briana Shyver.

Wert honored for 20 years of service to Penn Manor school board

Congratulations to Donna Wert for being named to the Honor Roll of School Board Service for her 20 years serving on Penn Manor school board.

Karen Devine, of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, presented Wert with a certificate of appreciation at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Wert, a retired teacher who joined the all-volunteer board of school directors in 1998, said it has been “ultra fulfilling” to serve on the board.

Since 1983, the PSBA has been recognizing school board members who have served for eight years or more.

The honor roll “is a way of saying thank you to those individuals who exemplify leadership and statesmanship, giving unselfishly of their time and talents for the future of our public schools,” according to the PSBA.

Thanks, Donna!


Janae Beiler named Homecoming Queen for 2018

Congratulations to Janae Beiler, who was crowned the 2018 Penn Manor High School Homecoming Queen.

Janae was chosen from among the eight members of the Penn Manor homecoming court at halftime of the Oct. 5 football game against Cedar Crest High School.

Last year’s queen, Sierra Echavarria, was on hand to pass down the crown during a ceremony on the field.

Janae is the daughter of Barbie and Elam Beiler of Mountville. She was escorted Friday night by her brother, Austin Beiler.

She participates in honors chorus, Manor Singers, vocal jazz and German Club. She was co-captain of the tennis team and was involved in the yearbook.

After graduation, Janae plans to attend the OneLife “gap year” program before attending college to major in business.

Other members of the court were Valentina Zamora, Kloe Sanchez, Emma DeBerdine, Tara Kinser, Gabriella Santiago, Rylee Mellott and Gurleen Pal.

The court raised money in support of suicide prevention and awareness efforts.

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 flashlights and pom-poms to the many alumni in the crowd.

Best wishes to Janae and all members of the homecoming court!

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