Map outlines major parking, access changes at HS

Major changes in parking and access are being implemented at Penn Manor High School, beginning Monday, March 18, as part of the renovation/construction project. A map showing the new restrictions is available here.

Please take note of these changes:

  • No student parking will be permitted on site. Students will park at Comet Field, and shuttle buses will take them to and from the high school. Runs will begin at 7:15 and continue throughout the day.
  • The main driveway from East Cottage Avenue will be closed at the pedestrian bridge, and the administrative and ag parking lots will be closed off.
  • Visitors will park in the lot at the entrance to the cafeteria, across from the bus parking area, between 7:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Visitors before 7:45 a.m. and after 2:15 p.m. will park in the lot near the former tennis courts.
  • All visitors will enter the school at the band entrance, across from the bus parking lot.
  • Staff will enter the campus via Model Avenue and park in the parking garage. Visitors cannot use this access route during school hours.
  • All buses and parents dropping off students will enter from East Cottage Avenue.  Buses will use the current bus parking lot, and parents will drop off students at the Technology Education wing and circle around the building to exit via the main driveway.
  • Special needs students will enter the school via a ramp at the auditorium entrance.
  • Transportation for student athletes also will be affected. Find detailed information here.

Signs will be erected to direct traffic on the high school site. Please bear with us as we transition to full construction. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated!

PM boys’ soccer team named Academic Award Winner

Congratulations to the Penn Manor boys’ soccer team for being named an Academic Award Winner by the United Soccer Coaches.

The 2017-2018 team was one of just 107 boys’ teams nationwide to receive the honor for maintaining a team grade-point average of 3.25 or better.

The Comets easily exceeded that threshold, with an average GPA of 3.6!

 “I am very proud of the hard work the boys put in in the classroom,” said head coach Paul Taylor. “ This is a reflection of our core values of discipline, commitment and hard work.”

This is the fourth year the Penn Manor boys’ team achieved the honor, which it also earned in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Thanks for making us Penn Manor Proud!

Penn Manor’s Miller named to Technology Leadership Academy

Penn Manor High School teacher Molly Miller has been named to the 21st Century Leadership Academy by the Council on Technology & Engineering Teacher Education (CTETE).

    Miller is one of only six educators named a Leadership Academy Fellow and is the only public school teacher selected for the honor. The other fellows are university faculty.

    As a fellow, she will complete online professional development sessions with educators and technology professionals, participate in a legislative action session in Washington, D.C., and take part in the 2020 International Technology and Engineering Educators Annual Conference.

    Miller has taught at Penn Manor since 2013 and currently teaches Honors Engineering Principles, AP Computer Science, Applied Science and Exploring Technology courses.

   She has helped develop and expand Penn Manor’s STEM course offerings and serves as the advisor for the district’s Technology Student Association (TSA), Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Math, and Science (TEAMS) and robotics clubs.

   Miller is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Instruction & Learning with a concentration in STEM education.

   The award is not the first for Miller, was named the Secondary STEM Teacher of the Year by the Lancaster County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Alliance in May 2018.

   Congratulations on this prestigious honor!

Helping children understand the ‘Momo Challenge’ hoax

Penn Manor has received questions about a hoax circulating on websites and social media called the “Momo Challenge,” and we would like to update parents and guardians on what this is, and what it is not.

“Momo” is yet another viral online hoax with little factual basis. The purported “challenge” consists of a photo of a threatening character (“Momo”) commanding the recipient to participate in a dare that may include self-harm or violence against others. If recipients fail to carry out the dare, Momo threatens to come after them.

In reality, there is no “Momo.” The face used in the hoax is a photo of a sculpture by a Japanese special effects company that makes props for horror movies. The photo resurfaced on Instagram and Reddit last summer and has been widely circulating on the Internet for months.

Somewhere along the way, the self-harm “challenge” became associated with the image. However, there is no evidence that an actual challenge exists. Despite this fact, fears about the “Momo Challenge” may be causing anxiety for some students and their parents.

As with other online hoaxes, it’s important to help children understand that the Internet can be the source of misinformation and hoaxes, and they need to make good choices while online. Penn Manor teachers and staff are well-equipped to help your children learn how to safely navigate the web.

The school district uses filtering technology to block offensive material and content that is inappropriate for children. Of course, no technology is 100 percent effective, and the oversight of caring adults is always the best filter.

If you or your children continue to have concerns about the “Momo Challenge,” feel free to contact your child’s principal.

MiniTHON raises more than $41,000 to fight childhood cancer

Thank you, Penn Manor students, staff, community members and businesses for making the 2019 Penn Manor MiniTHON such a success!

The fundraising drive and dance marathon, which ran from Friday night to Saturday morning, raised $41,207 — far exceeding the goal of $30,000 and last year’s total of $26,694.

The money will go to Four Diamonds, an organization that provides support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

In addition to dancing, MiniTHON activities included Zumba, karaoke, a “man pageant,” dodgeball and basketball tournaments, sumo wrestling, multicultural foods, games and refreshments. The event featured a Hawaiian theme.

Two speakers whose families have utilized Four Diamonds services, also addressed participants.

MiniTHON funds were raised earlier this school year via dodgeball and basketball tournaments, restaurant fundraisers, a pancake breakfast, student dance, T-shirt sales, a car wash and other activities. Students also solicited donations from area businesses.

Thanks again to everyone who supported this worthwhile cause. #FTK!

  • MiniTHON sumo wrestlers

Penn Manor to present ‘Freaky Friday’ March 1, 2, 8 and 9

   Penn Manor Productions will present the Disney musical Freaky Friday March 1, 2, 8 and 9 on the auditorium stage at Penn Manor High School.

    The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. all four nights and at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Tickets may be ordered online at http://pennmanor.seatyourself.biz . Tickets also are available by calling 717-872-9500, ext. 1958.

    Based on the Mary Rodgers novel and two hit Disney films, Freaky Friday tells the story of a mother and daughter who magically swap bodies for 24 chaotic hours. By spending a day in each other’s shoes, Katherine and Ellie come to appreciate one another’s struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter.

    The stage version gives a fresh, modern point of view to the themes of the novel and films. The new book by Bridget Carpenter (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) places the action in the social media age, using a high school Instagram scavenger hunt as the dramatic thrust of the story.

   Freaky Friday delivers a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly musical with sharp wit and buoyant tunes.

   Cast members include Bri Shyver, Leilani Torres, Elijah Weber, Alex Detter, Emily Witmer, Hailey Fafel, True Herbert, Elizabeth Lebo, Amanda Wolf, Jordan Stum and Saerra Barshinger.

    Ensemble members include Damian Allman, Kayla Connelly, Kristin Huyser, Rowan Sufieann, Adelyn Beans, Brynne Davidson, Sheridan Kinser, Nathan Thompson, Janae Beiler, Grace Fafel, Natalie Krahulik, Holly Wagner, Rowan Brooks, Marie Flinchbaugh, Ella Layton, Shayna Welch, Jalyn Clow, Eleanor Helm, Joy Perkins, Lindsey Witmer and Julie Raugh.

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.

Input sought on superintendent’s performance

Penn Manor is seeking input from parents and community members on the performance of superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter so the school board and superintendent can assess his strengths and areas in need of improvement.

The online survey is available at this link via the Survey Monkey tool, which is easy to use and includes an open-response area where community members may share their opinions directly with the superintendent and Penn Manor board of school directors. All nine school directors will review the comments and summary scores.

Even those who do not feel they have had enough interaction with Dr. Leichliter to fully evaluate his performance are urged to take this opportunity to share their overall impressions of Penn Manor School District.

Surveys should be completed no later than 4 p.m. February 19.

Thanks for your participation!

14 PMHS seniors honored on National Signing Day

Family and friends gathered Wednesday in the Penn Manor High School library to honor 13 seniors who will participate in collegiate sports at 12 different colleges and universities next fall and one who will attend a military academy.

The National Signing Day ceremony featured students who will participate in 10 different sports and honored one student, Cole Shenk, who was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy.

Congratulations and best wishes to these outstanding students:

Dylan Frey – Pennsylvania College of Technology, baseball
Charles Thourot – Pennsylvania College of Technology, baseball
Joshua Heckman – Swarthmore College, lacrosse
Zachary Banta – Millersville University, football
Elizabeth Kubicar – Westminster College, volleyball
Kara Huber – Lancaster Bible College, soccer
Logan Hess – Robert Morris University, golf
William Briegel – University of Hartford, lacrosse
Briana Harsh – Lock Haven University, field hockey
Emma DeBerdine – University of Maryland, field hockey
David Kramer – West Chester University, cross country and track
Kate Levato – DeSales University, basketball
Anna Sugra – Bloomsburg University, swimming
Cole Shenk – United States Naval Academy

Rep. Cutler visits Penn Manor HS classrooms

State Rep. Bryan Cutler visited Penn Manor High School Jan. 24 to learn more about our programs and to congratulate Penn Manor’s Teacher of the Year finalist.

Cutler visited the psychology classroom of Maria Vita, who was one of 12 finalists vying for the 2019 Teacher of the Year award. Cutler congratulated Ms. Vita, then spent time with students as they worked with lab rats.

The students were interacting with their “adopted” rats to socialize them before they are used in conditioning lab experiments.

Cutler also addressed students in Jon Boxleitner’s AP Government class, where he talked about serving in the state Legislature and answered students’ questions about state government.

Later, he visit with high school counselor Melissa Ostrowski to learn about Penn Manor’s Comet Credential initiative.

Introduced last year, the program helps ninth-graders develop the “soft skills” employers say are needed to succeed in the modern workforce.

Many thanks to Rep. Cutler for taking the time to learn firsthand about what happens in the classrooms at Penn Manor!

  • State Rep. Bryan Cutler addresses AP Government students.
    State Rep. Bryan Cutler addresses AP Government students.

School board approves bids on high school renovation/construction project

The Penn Manor board of school directors voted 8-1 Jan. 22 to approve bids on the high school renovation and construction project.

The board approved construction bids totaling $82.7 million and the notice for contractors to proceed on the project, which will replace major portions of the school and renovate others.

New classroom, agricultural education and athletic wings will be built, along with a new auditorium and upgrades to the school’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, technology and security systems.

The project also will include a new district office at the high school, which will open up space for classrooms at Manor Middle School, where the office is currently located.

Board members Ken Long, Nicki Nafziger, David Paitsel, Rich Frerichs, Joseph Fullerton, Donna Wert, Mitchell Sweigart and Chris Straub voted in favor of approving the bids. Carlton “Herk” Rintz voted against the measure.

Construction bids came in about $4.6 million higher than anticipated, but school district officials are confident the higher costs can be covered without an additional tax increase over the original, four-year funding plan.

Penn Manor will be able to cover the additional expenses by using more of its reserve funds than originally planned, said Chris Johnston, the district’s business manager. Penn Manor has set aside $9.6 million so far for the project and has borrowed $40 million to cover initial phases and plans to borrow another $40 million to complete the project.

Major construction is scheduled to begin in March, and the project should be completed by summer 2022. Here are the bids that were approved Jan. 22.

Penn Manor musicians earn district, regional honors

Two Penn Manor High School students recently earned district and regional music honors.

Penn Manor senior trumpet player Julia Young has been named to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Central Region Orchestra and Region V State Band.

Garrison Webster earned a spot in the PMEA District 7 Jazz Festival, following an audition Jan. 18 that included students from Lancaster and several other counties.

Garrison, a junior, placed first as a bass in the vocal jazz ensemble and will represent Penn Manor at the festival, scheduled for March 15 and 16 at Big Springs High School.

Julia qualified for the Region V State Band Festival based on her audition at the PMEA Lower District Band Festival, held Jan. 25 and 26 at Lancaster Mennonite High School.

The Region V festival will be held March 7 through 9 at Conrad Weiser High School.

She also qualified for the Central Region Orchestra based on her audition during the PMEA District 7 Orchestra Festival, held Jan. 10 through 12. She qualified for one of only two slots for trumpet.

To reach the District 7 festival, she had to audition along with nearly 50 trumpet players from Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties for one of only four slots.

Qualifying for the Central Region Orchestra is a major accomplishment, said Sara Masten, Penn Manor High School music teacher.

“Students who audition for District Orchestra are among the top musicians in their school district and county, and if they make it past the district level, they are truly among the best,” Masten said. 

The Central Region Orchestra Festival will be held Feb. 20 through 22 at Williamsport Community Arts Center.

Four alumni, one sports team inducted into PM Athletic Wall of Honor

Four individuals and one athletic team were inducted into the Penn Manor Athletic Wall of Honor during ceremonies in the high school January 18, 2019.

This year’s inductees include:  Chas Alecxih (football), Greg Bervinchak (wrestling), Britney Clugston (field hockey), Aaron Dread (basketball) and the 2008 field hockey team.

Chas Alecxih (Class of 2007)

Chas Alecxih was a two-sport athlete, throwing for the track and field team for three years and playing football for four. He earned two varsity letters in football and three in track and field.

Chas led the Comets football team as a captain in 2006 and was a two-way starter at tight end and defensive end. In 2005 and 2006, he was named 1st Team All Lancaster-Lebanon League and was Section 1 Lineman of the Year in 2006. He also was named to The Associated Press Class AAAA All-State 3rd Team and was selected to play in the Tri-County All-Star game.

Chas went on to play at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a four-year letterman, two-year starter and graduated with a degree in communications. In his redshirt junior year, Chas started all 13 games at defensive tackle, had 57 tackles, nine TFLs and 7.5 sacks and had a career-high eight tackles in three different games. As a result of his performance, Chas was named an All-Conference Defensive Tackle in 2010.

Following his collegiate career, Chas was signed by the Miami Dolphins in May 2012. He spent four years in the NFL with the Dolphins, Chiefs, Chargers, and Carolina Panthers. On February 7, 2016, Chas played in the Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers and ended his NFL career on the highest note possible.

Chas now works in commercial and residential real estate and lives in Lancaster with his girlfriend, Lauren, and one-year-old daughter, Alaina.

Greg Bervinchak (Class of 1987)

Greg Bervinchak was a three-sport athlete (wrestling, soccer and baseball) at Penn Manor and earned four varsity letters in wrestling and three in soccer.

Greg was a four-time L-L League Wrestling All-Star and a Sectional Champion in 1984, 1985 and 1986 and a Sectional Runner-Up in 1987. In 1984, as a freshman, he qualified for districts. Greg would go on to qualify for districts all four years he wrestled at Penn Manor and is a member of the elite “100 Victories” Club.

Greg placed fifth in the district tournament as a sophomore, second as a junior and fourth as a senior. He also qualified for the state tournament in his junior year. Greg was a perfect 35-0 in his final two seasons with the Comets in dual meets and had an overall dual meet record of 66-2 – the highest winning percentage in Penn Manor wrestling history.

Greg also is the Comet’s all-time team points leader, with 315. Scoring an average of 4.6 points per match, he holds the record for all-time points per match.

After graduating from Penn Manor, Greg attended Lock Haven University and was a member of the wrestling team for four years and later coached wrestling at Hempfield High School for 24 years.

He is in his 15th year as a health and physical education teacher at Hempfield.

Britney (Long) Clugston (Class of 2004)

Britney was a four-sport athlete at Penn Manor. She ran track for a year, played one year of soccer, three years of basketball and was a field hockey standout for four years, earning seven varsity letters.

Britney was a four-time field hockey L-L League All-Star and a 1st Team All-State Selection in 2002 and 2003 as a junior and senior. She also earned MVP honors in her junior and senior seasons and was team captain in her senior year, helping lead the Comets to a sectional championship and the district tournament in 2002.

Britney earned a gold medal in the National Futures Tournament and a silver at the Junior Olympics in 2002. As an indoor field hockey player, she won gold at the Indoor Nationals in 2003 and 2004. In addition, Britney was named a National Futures Elite Honoree from 2002-2004 and was nominated for the High School Heisman Award.

She earned a full scholarship to Penn State to continue her field hockey career. During her junior year, Britney had a nearly 74 percent shot-on-goal rate. After her senior year, she was named to the 2nd Team NFHCA All-Mideast Region. She also earned spots on the Academic All-Big Ten Team and the NFHCA National Academic Squad.

In her senior season, Britney led the team in points (30) and goals (14), placing her sixth in points and third in goals for the Big Ten in 2007, the same year she was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team and competed for a National Championship.

The daughter of Ken and Heidi Long, Britney lives in Albany, Ga., with her husband, Penn Manor alum Caleb Clugston, and children, Lennon, 4, and Cash, 2. She works part-time as a fitness instructor.

Aaron Dread (Class of 1990)

Aaron Dread was a four-year starter and four-year varsity letter winner on the Penn Manor boys’ basketball team. He also earned a varsity letter in soccer.

In basketball, Aaron is the all-time career scoring leader for the Comets, with an impressive 1,743 points. In his 1989-1990 season, Aaron was named an L-L League All-Star and 2nd Team All-State. Overall, Aaron was a two time All-Section member and was named the Suburban Cable Player of the Game four times.

During his four years on the team, the Comets made three L-L League Playoff appearances and earned the team’s first district playoff win in 18 years. The Comets also earned three straight District 3 berths and a PIAA Playoff berth in 1990.

In 1989, Aaron was invited to the McDonald’s All-Star Invitational Camp in North Carolina and was an All-Star Team Selection. He played in the Keystone Games three times and was a bronze, silver, and gold medalist in 1987, 1988, and 1999.

Aaron attended Millersville University and helped the Marauders basketball team earn four straight playoff appearances, capture one PSAC Championship and reach two NCAA Regional Tournament Rounds. In the 1993-1994 season, Aaron held an impressive 45.4 three-point field goal percentage, with 49 made three-pointers.

Aaron currently lives in Burtonville, MD, with his wife of 19 years, Dr. Kisha Murry-Dread. They have three children – Miles, Malcom and Mason. Aaron works in the medical sales field for Romark Inc.

2008 Field Hockey Team

The 2008 field hockey team won the PIAA Class AAA State Field Hockey Championship, dominating Hershey High School by a score of 5-0, one year after losing in the state finals by a 2-1 margin.

Penn Manor started out the 2008 State Tournament by blanking Lackawanna Trail 3-0, then gained revenge on defending champ Emmaus with a 2-1 victory in overtime before earning a 4-2 win over Central Dauphin. In the final, the Comets scored on all five of their shots on goal, setting a PIAA record for the most goals scored and largest margin of victory in the State Final game. Senior goalie Kathi Weidman stopped all three shots she faced.

The 5-0 victory was Penn Manor’s first ever PIAA State Championship in field hockey.

Team members included Alexandra Adams, Cathryn Altdoerffer, Jennifer Bradley, Katie Breneman, Maggie Brommer, Helen Doolittle, Taylor Eichelberger, Mariah Farbo, Megan Harris, Kelly Harsh, Nicole Henderson, Madelyn Hess, Carenna Neely, Laura Revelt, Nancy Stehman, Renee Suter, Haley Weaver, Kathi Weidman, and Jill Witmer.

Player highlights – Jill Witmer (1st Team All-American, All-Mid East Region, 1st Team All-State, L-L League Player of the Year, L-L League All-Star, 1st Team L-L League Section 1); Jenn Bradley (1st Team All-American, All-Mid East Region, 1st Team All-State, L-L League All-Star, 1st Team L-L League Section 1); Maggie Brommer (2nd Team All-State, L-L League All-Star, 1st Team L-L League Section 1, PHSFHCA All-Academic Honors).

Kathi Weidman (1st Team L-L League Section 1, PHSFHCA All-Academic Honors); Cathryn Altdoerffer (2nd Team L-L League Section 1, PHSFHCA All-Academic Honors); Renee Suter (L-L League Section 1 Honorable Mention); Alexandra Adams (PHSFHCA All-Academic Honors); Mariah Farbo (PHSFHCA All-Academic Honors)

The coaching staff included head coach, Matt Soto; assistant coaches, Denise Gobrecht and Lisa McCoy; junior high coaches, Britney (Long) Clugston, Liz (Chismar) Kelly and Brandy (Yocum) Basile; scorekeeper, Diana Alston; and trainer, Dave Ohl.

Following the ceremony, the basketball jersey of Wally Walker, the Penn Manor standout who played eight seasons in the NBA, was retired during the boys’ varsity basketball game against Warwick.

  • Wall of Honor inductees
    2019 Penn Manor Athletic Wall of Honor inductees: front row, from left, Greg Bervinchak, Aaron Dread, Chas Alecxih and Britney (Long) Clugston; back row, 2008 field hockey team players and coaches.