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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Four Manor FFA members earn Big E honors

Four Manor FFA members have earned awards at the Eastern States Exposition, held Sept. 15 in Springfield, Mass.

The dairy judging team of Austin Kolb, Alyssa Chalfant, Laurel Barley and Madeleine Denlinger placed third overall.

In addition, Austin placed first and Alyssa placed sixth in the individual dairy judging competition. Austin also was honored as the highest-placing individual for the Brown Swiss Breed.

The students all attend Penn Manor High School.

The dairy judging competition consisted of a 40-question general knowledge test and 10 questions on a Dairy Herd Improvement Association paper.

Participants then had to judge four classes of calves, one class of yearlings and one class of cows. The teams also had to evaluate different scenarios in which a farmer housed his animals, present to a judge the pros and cons of each and discuss potential problems and how they could be corrected.

The Exposition, known as the Big E, brings together FFA members from across the eastern United States.

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54 PMHS students join National Honor Society

The Penn Manor chapter of the National Honor Society welcomed 54 new members during an induction ceremony Sept. 19 in the high school cafeteria.

To qualify for NHS, the Penn Manor High School juniors and seniors had to maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.85 and demonstrate strong leadership, service and character traits.

The 2018-2019 inductees include:

Kyle Ament, Grace Bibus, Janae Beiler, Tomas Bonnici, Victoria Brody, Ryan Buchwalder, William Burke, Ian Carper, Lucas Charles, Liban Chibssa, Rachel Collison, Ryan Dang, Angela Frola, Justine Fry, Aaron Gale, Jolie Haertter, Bassam Hattar, Jackson Heiney, Tim Hermansen, Shannon Hertzog.

Jadyn Hess, Dylan Jacyszn, Malcom Jones, Matt Julian, Devon Keene, Brady Lehman, Isaac Leshok, Daniel Mader, Neel Pariket Mahapatra, Stephen Marquette, Alexandra Martino, Connor Mayers, Catherine McMahan, Izabella Miller, Sonja Mowery, Gavin Neuman, Kaden Peart, Emma-Li Peters.

Bethany Pettis, Audrey Ritchie, Juan Lucas Gustavo Rizo-Patron, Dominic Roma, Ashley Sanchez, Ashley Seiger, Briana Shyver, Fikir Simegn, Hannah Smith, Madison Stallings, Kaitlyn Stauffer, Kailey Stoner, Jordan Stum, Austin Thomas, Aliya Trussell and Mary Anna Vozzella.

Congratulations for earning this distinguished recognition!

Photos courtesy of LifeTouch

National Honor Society inductees


Eight seniors vying for title of Penn Manor Homecoming Queen

Eight Penn Manor High School seniors are vying for the title of 2018 Homecoming Queen while raising money to support suicide awareness and prevention programs.

Janae Beiler, Valentina Zamora, Kloe Sanchez, Emma DeBerdine, Tara Kinser, Gabriella Santiago, Rylee Mellott and Gurleen Pal are this year’s candidates. The Homecoming Queen will be announced at halftime of the Oct. 5 Penn Manor home football game against Cedar Crest School.

Gurleen Pal is the daughter of Promala and Dharam Pal of Millersville. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Gurleen is co-editor of the yearbook and participates in Student Council, Serteen, Science National Honor Society, Student Ambassadors and Attollo. After high school, she plans to study pre-med in college.

Rylee Mellot is the daughter of Nancy and Richard Mellott of Conestoga. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Rylee is involved in Student Council and MiniTHON. After graduation, she hopes to study veterinary and biomedical science at Penn State University.

Gabriella Santiago is the daughter of Meggin and Benjamin Santiago of Millersville. Her parents will be her homecoming escorts.

Gabriella participates in cheerleading, competition cheerleading, the Thespian Club, chorus and Varsity Club. After graduation, she plans to attend a four-year college and study pre-law while pursing music.

Tara Kinser is the daughter of Connie and Harry Kinser of Lancaster. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Tara participates in girls’ soccer, FCA, MiniTHON, chorus, Young Humanitarians and is leader of First Priority and participates in Manor Church Youth Group.

She plans to take a “gap year” and serve as a missionary in Haiti.

Emma DeBerdine is the daughter of Debra and Michael DeBerdine of Millersville.  Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Emma is president of Student Council and participates in field hockey, National Honor Society and Varsity Club.

After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Maryland and pursue academics and field hockey.

Kloe Sanchez is the daughter of Heather Sanchez of Lancaster and the late Max Sanchez. Her mother will be her homecoming escort.

Kloe participates in softball and Aevidum. After high school, she plans to study nursing at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.

Valentina Zamora is the daughter of Claudia Salas and Jaime Zamora of Lancaster. Her parents will be her homecoming escorts.

Valentina is a member of the Penn Manor Ambassadors, Young Life, the Multicultural Club and the International Thespian Society and participates in theater.

After high school, she plans to attend Temple University to study communications, digital media, fashion and design.

Janae Beiler is the daughter of Barbie and Elam Beiler of Mountville. Her brother, Austin Beiler, will be her homecoming escort.

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

Best of luck to all members of the court!

The 2018 Homcoming Court.
From left, Emma DeBerdine, Gurleen Pal, Rylee Mellott, Kloe Sanchez, Gabriella Santiago, Tara Kinser, Janae Beiler and Valentina Zamora.



Penn Manor students earn National Youth Arts theater awards

Penn Manor students have won four National Youth Arts Awards for their work in theater productions at Penn Manor High School over the past year.

Senior Hailey Fafel won an award for outstanding lead performance in a musical for her role in “Mary Poppins,” which was presented last March.

In addition, Max Minnick, a 2018 graduate, won an award for outstanding supporting performance in a musical for his portrayal of George Banks, and the entire “Mary Poppins” cast was honored with an outstanding ensemble award.

Penn Manor sophomore Brianna Clow won an award for outstanding set design for “And Then There Were None,” presented last fall at the high school. In addition, several students were nominated for awards for their roles in the two productions. The students are:

“Mary Poppins” – Claudia Heitland (Mrs. Corry), Leilani Torres (Bird Woman and Miss Andrew), Kassidy Ponton (Winifred Banks), Garrison Webster (Bert), Brianna Clow (set design) and John Matusek (direction).

“And Then There Were None” – Claudia Heitland (Vera Claythorne), Max Minnick (Phillip Lombard), Caitlin Moser (Emily Brent) and Garrison Webster (Sir Lawrence Wargrave). In addition, the cast was nominated for an ensemble award.

During the Arts Awards competition, more than 600 productions spanning 17 states and the United Kingdom were considered for awards.

The awards ceremony was modeled after the TONYs, with awards and speeches mixed in with winning performances. It was held at Riverdale Theater in New York City August 19.

Congratulations to our talented Penn Manor students and directors!

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Five Penn Manor students earn national FFA recognition

Four recent Penn Manor graduates and one returning senior have earned national recognition from the FFA for completing projects in vegetable, dairy and crop production, ag sales and animal systems.

Kenny Barley, Jonathon Eshbach, Clara Hess and Damian Kreider, all 2018 graduates of Penn Manor High School, earned medals for proficiency, and Penn Manor senior Arilyn Tegtmeier-Oatman earned a medal in animal systems from the national FFA.

All are members of Manor FFA, the local chapter of the organization.

Kenny earned a National Silver Medal in proficiency in the category Ag Sales Entrepreneurship for his experience in owning and running a business, Walnut Hollow Mulch.

Jonathon earned a National Bronze Medal in proficiency in Special Crop Production for his experience growing and processing tobacco as a fourth-generation farmer.

Damian earned a National Bronze Medal in proficiency in Vegetable Production for his experience owning and operating a tomato sales business.

Clara earned a National Bronze Medal in proficiency in Dairy Production for her experience caring for calves on her family’s dairy farm.

Arilyn earned a National Bronze Medal in the Animal Systems Division for her research on the nutritional impact of raw food blends versus commercial feeds in small animals.

The national awards went to the top students from schools across the country, based on recent judging at the National FFA headquarters in Indianapolis.

The awards “truly recognize the students’ growth and mastery,” said Diane Glock-Cornman, a Penn Manor agricultural education teacher. “I am really proud of this crew.”

Congratulations to all these students, and best wishes on your future endeavors!

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Volleyball team named to Academic Honor Roll 2 years straight

For the second year in a row, the Penn Manor girls’ volleyball team has been named to the Academic All-American Honor Roll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The 2017 team qualified by earning a cumulative grade-point average of 4.11, which ranks among the top 25 of girls’ high school teams in the United States.

“I’m really proud of our girls for winning this recognition two years in a row,” said head coach Tim Joyce. “This accolade is a great testament to their attitude, character and efforts.”

Eight of 13 Penn Manor varsity players earned a GPA of 4.0 or higher – seniors Emily Cummings, Ava Dunford-Groves, Tiana Ferko, Sydney Leichliter and Mikiah Sangrey, juniors Nicole Krahulik and Erica Shaub and freshman Jordan Schucker.

“Led by a strong group of seniors, the team members always put their studies first,” Joyce said. “Our athletes often were seen before matches or in between games at tournaments with textbooks out, working diligently on course work.”

Congratulations, ladies, on this terrific accomplishment!

Penn Manor girls' volleyball team
The 2017 girls’ volleyball team