Hambright teacher honors grandmother through book donations

When Lorien Gilbert’s beloved grandmother died September 6, she wanted to honor the woman who had helped raise her and instill in her a lifelong love of reading.

Mary McReynolds, a children’s librarian in Lithonia, Ga., “wanted all children to see themselves in books, regardless of their race, gender, orientation, religion or ability,” said Gilbert, a third-grade teacher at Hambright Elementary School.

On the morning after her grandmother died, Gilbert went to the Hambright library “to be close to some of her favorite books,” including The Napping House, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? and Anne of Green Gables.

Librarian Tara Etzweiler suggested Gilbert purchase a book in memory of her grandmother, and Gilbert seized the opportunity.

“Tara had a list of books on her wish list, and the more I purchased, the more I found that I knew children would want to read,” she recalled.

Gilbert purchased graphic novels, picture books, nonfiction, poetry and fantasy titles.  “It was easy to find incredible stories featuring diverse characters,” she said.

So far, she has donated nearly 50 titles to the school’s collection.

All the books will include a bookplate describing “Miss Mary” McReynolds that includes this phrase: “Remember that you are important, and you have a voice, and we are glad you are here.”

Gilbert’s memories of her grandmother revolve around books, which were everywhere in her home.

“If you sat on the sofa, you were sure to be poked by the corner of a picture book.  She kept a paperback mystery above the stove so she could read while she cooked.  There were books in every closet, every cabinet, under every bed,” Gilbert said. “She always wanted to know what we were reading, even when we grandkids were all grown up.”

To Gilbert, the book donations are “a small way to honor my grandmother, and to remember her inclusive love.”

“I’ve heard it said that when a person dies, so does a library. It’s beautiful that her library is going to live on,” she said.

The books will benefit Hambright students for years to come, said Melissa Mealy, the school’s assistant principal.

“There are some great titles that I know kids are already excited to get their hands on,” she said. “Creating a culture of readers starts with a passion for literature like that of Ms. Gilbert and her grandmother.”

“This is such a wonderful way for Ms. Gilbert to honor her grandmother.”

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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!


Penn Manor HS students participate in MFG Day activities

Nearly 80 Penn Manor High School students participated in field trips to manufacturing businesses Oct. 4 as part of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) activities.

MFG Day is a national event designed to spread the word to the next generation about the benefits of careers in manufacturing.

The Penn Manor students, mainly freshmen enrolled in applied engineering and agricultural education courses, visited High Steel Industries and Ultra Hurley Electronics.

At High Steel, students learned about such job opportunities as machine operator, production supervisor and maintenance supervisor. They also learned which skills—such as problem solving, critical thinking, math, writing, organization and communication —are critical to job success.

The group then toured the plant and saw how steel is processed, from its arrival on site via truck to packaging and shipping.

MFG Day provided students with an opportunity to network and experience industry before they take the next step, such as beginning an apprenticeship or looking for a job in a particular industry.

The field trips were designed to help students as they consider what career paths to pursue, said Jason D’Amico, assistant principal at Penn Manor High School.

“We value our relationship with local business and industry and appreciate the opportunity for our students to explore careers close to home,” he said.

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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


Businesses donate school supplies to four Penn Manor schools

Thanks to the efforts of two local businesses, students at four Penn Manor schools are getting the supplies they need to help them excel in school.

Roberts Automotive in Mountville and Customs Classics in Willow Street collected school supplies from staff members and customers and donated them Thursday to Central Manor, Pequea, Conestoga and Eshleman elementary schools.

Hundreds of markers, pencils, notebooks, crayons, rulers, glue sticks, backpacks and tissues were collected in an effort that began five years ago and has grown from one school in the first year to four this year.

Thanks to all who participated for your generosity!

School supply supply donations
Representatives of Roberts Automotive and Custom Classics pose with principals and students outside of Central Manor Elementary.



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.



Pink Out effort to fight cancer gets under way

Are you ready to don your pink (or blue) to support the Penn Manor Pink Out?

Pink and blue “Penn Manor Fighting for the Cure” T-shirts have begun arriving as student athletes, staff and community members begin raising funds for cancer care and research efforts.

Fall sports teams are selling T-shirts to support the cause and will raise additional funds at special Pink Out home games. Here’s the schedule:

  • Sept. 24 – girls’ tennis
  • Oct. 1 – field hockey
  • Oct. 2 – boys’ soccer
  • Oct. 9 – girls’ volleyball
  • Oct. 26 – football/cheerleaders/Penn Manor Marching Unit

In addition, field hockey team members will be raising donations through a coin drive, bake sale, memory markers and a special game following the varsity action Oct. 1 at Comet Field.

The girls’ volleyball team will be dedicating time and energy through a community service project in early October in collaboration with Grace Cancer Care in Millersville. And the high school MiniTHON Club is planning to raise awareness of childhood cancer through a “Gold Out” game.  More details will follow.

The Pink Out will culminate with a  dress-down day Oct. 26 at all Penn Manor schools. Staff members can participate by purchasing a Pink Out T-shirt for $10 ($15 for size 2X and larger) to wear on that day or donating $5 through their building secretaries.

Shirts are available for purchase through school offices for students, parents and community members, too. T-shirt orders must be submitted by Thursday, Sept. 20. Click here for an order form or send an email to PMPinkOut@gmail.com or call (717) 872-9540.

Over the past four years, the Pink Out has raised nearly $60,000, thanks to the generosity of students, staff and community members. Donations have benefited such organizations as The Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, Velvet’s Totes for Hope and Help the Fight.

Let’s see how much we can raise this year!

Thank you for your support.

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Penn Manor schools to conduct security drills in coming weeks

All Penn Manor schools will be conducting security drills in the coming weeks as required under a recent change in state law.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 44-2018, which requires that a mandatory security drill be conducted within the first 90 days of each school year. Your child’s principal is notifying parents of the drills. If you have any questions, please contact the principal’s office.

Here is a letter from Penn Manor superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter regarding the drills:

Safety Drills parent notice



Input sought from students, parents on special education services

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is interested in feedback from students and parents about the special education services provided by Penn Manor.

All parents of students receiving special education services and all students 14 years of age or older receiving special education services are encouraged to fill out an online survey. The feedback will be evaluated as part of a periodic review of Penn Manor’s special education program being conducted by the Bureau of Special Education.

Parents may access the online survey here.

The link for students is here.

Parents and students must complete the survey no later than Sept. 21, 2018, for the results to be included in the special education monitoring review process.

If you do not have a computer, most public libraries have equipment available for public use. You may also request to use a computer at your school or Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 facilities.

The survey is easy to complete and should take 15-20 minutes. An outside agency will tabulate the results and provide the school district with a report of parent and student responses on an overall basis. Names will not be used, and no one is identified.

Below is the formal notification to parents about the survey:

Special education survey letter

Parent feedback sought on Back to School Night changes

Penn Manor School District is seeking feedback from parents on the changes we made to Back to School Night events this year.
We kindly ask that you complete this four-question survey. We intend to use this information to determine the effectiveness of the changes we made to Back to School Night.
Thank you for your participation!

Hundreds attend Kickoff Classic in support of PM teams

Penn Manor kicked off a new season of athletics during Thursday’s Kickoff Classic at Comet Field.

Comets fans were introduced to the 2018 fall sports teams and coaches and enjoyed performances by the Penn Manor cheerleaders. Prior to the introductions, chicken dinners were provided by the athletes as a scholarship fundraiser.

Penn Manor varsity fall sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

The Kickoff Classic marked the debut of Penn Manor’s new athletic director, Jason Mattern. He replaces Jeff Roth, who retired over the summer after 18 years at the helm of Penn Manor athletics.

New coaches this year include Andrea Kramer, junior high cross country head coach; Rachel Suter, JV head field hockey coach; and Lindsay Brenner, JV girls’ soccer head coach.

Online schedules for all sports teams are available on the updates Penn Manor Athletics website here.

Let’s go Comets!

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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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A sunny start to a successful first day for Penn Manor schools

Penn Manor welcomed more than 5,000 students back to its schools Thursday on a beautiful, sunny day that marked the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

The students were greeted by familiar faces, along with several new ones, as 24 new professional staff members began their new year at Penn Manor schools.

For the first time in several years, no new or renovated schools opened for the new year, but an $87 million project to renovate and rebuild Penn Manor High School will get under way later in the year.

Superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter visited schools Thursday and reported smooth sailing on the first day.

“We were glad to have a beautiful day to welcome everyone,” he said. “The students who fill our schools are full of potential, and we are excited to see where they lead us this year.”

Many thanks to our Penn Manor staff, students, families and community members for making the first day such a success.

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