PMHS singers qualify for District, Regional honors

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School singers Sierra Echavarria and Diane Imboden, who qualified to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators’ District 7 Jazz Festival in April.

In addition, Penn Manor senior Alison Murphy qualified for Region V Chorus after auditioning at the PMEA District 7 Chorus Festival at Susquehannock High School Jan. 25-27.

Sierra, a senior, and Diane, a junior, auditioned along with students from several high schools in Lancaster and surrounding counties earlier this month and qualified as vocal jazz sopranos.

The vocal jazz festival ensemble consists of just 16 students, with four on each voice part. “The fact that we had two sopranos from Penn Manor qualify for two of the four soprano spots is huge,” said the students’ vocal teacher, Lauren Ciemiewicz.

Sierra and Diane will participate and perform at the Pennsylvania Music Educators District 7 Jazz Festival April 6-7 at ELCO High School. Alison is not able to participate in the Region V Chorus Festival due to a conflict with the high school musical.

Nice work, ladies!

Diane Imboden and Sierra Echavarria.
Diane Imboden, left, and Sierra Echavarria.
Alison Murphy
Alison Murphy




Penn Manor to hold Theatre Boot Camp Aug. 1-5

Penn Manor’s theatre department is holding a free Theatre Boot Camp for all Penn Manor High School students, including incoming freshmen, from Aug. 1 to 5 in the high school auditorium.

Participants can hone their skills or learn new ones during technical and performance sessions on acting, singing, movement, lighting, set construction, makeup, costumes and props.

Penn Manor Productions staff members will lead the sessions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a 30 minute break for lunch.

To register for Theatre Boot Camp, contact Melissa Telesco at


Student speakers named for June 7 commencement

Five student speakers have been named for Penn Manor High School’s 2016 commencement, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Sports and Fitness Center.

Evan Toomey, John “Jack” Zimmerman, Danielle Wright, Emily Ferrick and Emily Thyrum will address the graduates and guests during the ceremony.

  • Evan is class valedictorian. He is the son of David and Paula Toomey of Millersville. He participated in National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl, Envirothon, Science Honor Society and the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS). He plans to major in economics at Penn State University.
  • Jack is class salutatorian. He is the son of Lisa and Tim Zimmerman of Millersville. He was captain of the wrestling team and participated in track and field, the Envirothon, Science National Honor Society and the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) and was treasurer of the National Honor Society. He plans to major in biological and chemical engineering at University of Alabama.
  • Danielle is the daughter of Jeff and Linda Wright of Lancaster. She was a member of the girls’ soccer and softball teams and president of the Penn Manor chapter of the National Honor Society. She plans to study engineering at Virginia Tech.
  • Emily Ferrick is the daughter of David and Tracy Ferrick of Conestoga. She is president of the senior class, a member of Manor FFA and the soccer team and participated in Varsity Club and Power Puff Football. Her future plans are undecided.
  • Emily Thyrum is the daughter of Elizabeth and Geoff Thyrum of Millersville. She was flute section leader of the marching band, president of the Serteen Club and a member of Tri-M music honor society, National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. She plans to study engineering at Penn State University.

Admission to commencement is by ticket only, nine per graduate. All seating, with the exception of a reserved section for the disabled and honored guests, will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission tickets will be distributed to graduates at the end of commencement practice on June 6.

Commencement is a formal ceremony that marks an important event in each student’s life.  For this to occur, we need the cooperation of the Class of 2016 and each person in the audience. During presentation of diplomas, please refrain from cheering or making other noises that will make it difficult to hear student names.  Once all students have received their diplomas, attendees may celebrate.

The ceremony will be webcast live, beginning at 6 p.m., on the district website, DVDs of commencement will be available for purchase here.

Parking details are available here: F&M Event Parking Map 2016

From left, Emily Thyrum, Emily Ferrick, Evan Toomey, Danielle Wright and Jack Zimmerman.
From left, Emily Thyrum, Emily Ferrick, Evan Toomey, Danielle Wright and Jack Zimmerman.

Spring Fling May 6 in HS gym/cafeteria

Penn Manor student organizations are gearing up for this year’s Spring Fling carnival, to be held from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, inside Penn Manor High School cafeteria and gymnasium. The venue was changed because of weather conditions.

New this year are a hot dog-eating contest. In addition to rides, Spring Fling will offer an array of foods, from soda floats, cotton candy and dirt pudding to walking tacos, burgers, mac-and-cheese and barbecue.

The annual event, first held nearly 20 years ago, helps raise funds and awareness for Penn Manor School District student organizations and charitable groups. More than 160 Penn Manor High School students organize and run the event.

This year’s student coordinators are Cameron Lovett, Amanda DiCamillo, Morgan Edwards and William Forrey.

Admission is free.

From left, Cameron Lovett, Amanda DoCamillo, Morgan Edwards and William Forrey.
From left, Cameron Lovett, Amanda DoCamillo, Morgan Edwards and William Forrey.

PM MiniTHON raises $19,454 to fight cancer

When students and staff at Penn Manor High School decided to hold a MiniTHON fundraiser this year, the goal was to raise $5,000 to fight pediatric cancer.

But when it was all said and done, the Penn Manor community nearly quadrupled that goal, raising $19,454!

Congratulations to all the students, staff, community members and businesses that supported the inaugural MiniTHON, which benefits the Four Diamonds Fund.

THON events included a 5K run, student-staff basketball and soccer games, bake sales, a car wash, barbecues and a dress down day. Students and staff also raised their own funds.

More than a dozen student organizations and athletic teams joined with 15 businesses to support MiniTHON, which culminated in a dance marathon and celebration April 15 at Penn Manor High School.

All proceeds will benefit Four Diamonds, an organization that provides direct support to children with cancer and their families and funds pediatric cancer research at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to all for showing your Penn Manor Pride in supporting this worthy cause!



PM students earn Scholastic Writing Awards

Congratulations to the 13 Penn Manor students who won awards for outstanding writing in the 2015-2016 Lancaster County Scholastic Writing Awards competition, sponsored by Lancaster Public Library.

Penn Manor students won 14 Scholastic Awards, including three Gold Keys, the top honor, and six Silver Keys.

Four Penn Manor students also earned writing awards in the Newspaper in Education competition.

  • Here are the Scholastic winners:

Penn Manor High School

Peyton Cassel – Gold Key for poetry collection.
Erin Purzycki – Silver Key for critical essay, “Vaccinations.”
Gabriella Santiago – Silver Key for poetry, “Welcome to Society.”
Evan Toomey – Silver Key for poetry, “Leviticus 18:22,” “Frosty Won’t Be Back Again Some Day.”
Angela Wood – Silver Key for poetry, “Speak Up.”
Abigail Burrows – Honorable Mention for science fiction/fantasy, “Breaking Waves.”
MacKenzie Lewis – Honorable Mention for poetry, “Love and Guidance.”
Jessica Moore – Honorable Mention for poetry, “Points of View.”

Marticville Middle School

Audrey Ritchie – Gold Key for poetry, “Through the Looking Glass.”
Hannah Smith – Gold Key for poetry collection.
Alexander Roth – Silver Key for journalism, “The Technological Impact of Laptops on Maple Leaf Middle School.”
Quinn Strosser – Silver Key for science fiction, “Crawl and the Storm.”
Rachel Collison – Honorable Mention for poetry collection; Honorable Mention for short story, “Shattered.”

The students will receive their awards during a ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. March 6 at the Millersville University Ware Center in Lancaster. 

Congratulations to the students and their teachers: Deb Goodhart, Ann Grosh, Cece O’Day, Brian Reinking, Lisa Mayo and Holly Mercadante.

  • Here are the Newspaper in Education winners:

Peyton Cassel – First Place
Zac Cruz  – Second Place
Gabby Frey  – Third Place
Gurleen Pal  – Honorable Mention

Thanks for making us Penn Manor proud!


Penn Manor kicks off MiniTHON fundraiser

Penn Manor High School kicked off its new MiniTHON fundraising effort with a presentation Friday that included a touching story from Alex Miller, a Penn Manor student who battled leukemia as a young child.

Alex recalled how he and his family were helped by the Four Diamonds Fund and urged his fellow students to support the MiniTHON, which benefits the organization.

Penn Manor’s MiniTHON will include several fundraisers, including a 5k run, a student/faculty basketball game, a weightlifting competition and other events culminating in a celebration April 15 at Penn Manor High School.

Student organizers are hoping to raise at least $5,000 for the fight against pediatric cancer.

You can learn more about the MiniTHON and how you can participate here.

Follow MiniTHON fund-raising efforts on Twitter: @PMHSMiniTHON16

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Penn Manor HS student published in Teen Ink

Congratulations to Penn Manor High School sophomore Katherina Vanatta, whose poem was recently published in the national magazine, Teen Ink.

“Can You Hear Me?” was selected from among hundreds of submissions to appear in the January 2016 issue, which focuses on teens and health.

This is the fifth time Katherina’s writing has appeared on the website (under the pen name Fallen.Crye), but the first time her work also appeared in print. Only “the best of the best” is chosen for the print publication, according to Teen Ink, which showcases teenage writing, art, photos, and forums.

“It felt good to really see it in print,” said Katherina, who began writing in elementary school and enjoys writing fan fiction and poetry. She has three novels in progress and hopes to self-publish one of them in the near future.

Katherina said her writing has benefited from the feedback she receives as a member of the Penn Manor Creative Writing Club. Club adviser Lisa Mayo said Katherina is the first writing student she can recall being published in Teen Ink.

In addition to writing, Katherina participates in chorus at Penn Manor and plays multiple musical instruments, including piano, xylophone and clarinet. She also is a member of the Penn Manor Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

Best wishes, Katherina, on your future writing endeavors!

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PM students to perform in music festivals

More than two dozen Penn Manor high school and middle school students will be performing over the next month in music festivals in Lancaster County.

Sixteen students will perform in the Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators’ County Band Festival concert Jan. 23 at Conestoga Valley High School. Eleven Penn Manor students will participate in the LLME County Orchestra Festival concert Feb. 13 at Palmyra Middle School.

In addition, six students will perform in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s District Chorus and Band Festival concerts Jan. 30 at Manheim Township High School and Feb. 6 at Hempfield.

Below is a detailed listing of the events and participants. Please support our talented student musicians!

Music Festivals

Eight named to District Band, Chorus, Orchestra

Eight talented students will represent Penn Manor High School when they participate in the upcoming District 7 Orchestra, Chorus and Band Festivals.

The students qualified by scoring well in an audition process that involved more than 900 students from Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties.

Penn Manor will be represented in District Chorus by William Torres. District Orchestra students are Madeline Clause, violin; Caleb Breidenbaugh, percussion; Emily Thyrum, flute; Allison Ulaky, oboe; and Alison Murphy, piano.

Caleb, Emily and Allison also qualified for District Band, along with Kenny Lashley, saxophone; and Emma Young, French horn.

Not only did Caleb qualify for two festivals, he placed first overall in auditions for both band and orchestra.

The District 7 Orchestra concert is scheduled for Jan. 16 at Lampeter-Strasburg High School. The band concert will be held Jan. 30 at Manheim Township High School; the chorus concert is scheduled for Feb. 6 at Hempfield High School.

Congratulations for making us Penn Manor Proud!

District band, chorus and orchestra students are, from left (front row), Will Torres, Emma Young, Kenny Lashley and Madeline Clause, (back row) Allison Ulaky, Ali Murphy, Caleb Breidenbaugh and Emily Thyrum.
District band, chorus and orchestra students are, from left, Allison Ulaky, Will Torres, Ali Murphy, Emma Young, Caleb Breidenbaugh, Kenny Lashley, Emily Thyrum and Madeline Clause.

‘I Am’ wall at Manor MS seeks to dispel stereotypes

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Visitors to the Manor Middle School cafeteria will notice a colorful new addition to one of the walls – the “I Am” display.

The wall is decorated with hundreds of colored slips of paper containing phrases written by students to complete the sentence “I am … .”

Students were asked to write something about themselves that most of their classmates might not know, and their responses — all written anonymously — were revealing.

I am “without a mom,” wrote one. I am “tired of cancer,” wrote another. Other students wrote that they were “socially challenged,” “more than you think I am,” “a dreamer,” “a Christian,” “agnostic” and “smarter than people think.”

The exercise was part of a presentation by school counselor Danielle Rogers on the dangers of stereotyping.

“We talked about how labels are for cans, not for people,” said Rogers. “You need to get to know and understand others and appreciate their differences.”

Students responded positively to the exercise, she said, and the “I Am” wall has been a popular gathering place as classmates try to match the anonymous phrases to their peers.

“The purpose of the wall is to eliminate stereotypes and to show empathy towards others,” Rogers said.

“We all have things going on in our lives that affect us in different ways, and most of the kids realized that we are more alike than we are different.”


PM student earns award for essay on plastic pollution

Penn Manor High School freshman Peyton Cassel has won an honorable mention and a $100 prize for her prose submission to the 2015 International Ocean Awareness Student Contest.

As one of the selected winners from more than 1,100 submissions from 35 countries, Peyton’s writing will be featured in galleries and merchandise sent around the world.

The contest prompted students to consider “Our Oceans, Our Plastic” to direct attention to the growing problem of ocean plastic pollution. Submissions ranged from essays and stories exploring the cause of plastic pollution to sculptures and dresses crafted completely out of discarded beach plastics.

Peyton’s short story, “Beneath the Blue,” written when she was an eighth-grader at Manor Middle School, portrays a world in which the ocean has become so polluted it is unrecognizable.

You can read her winning entry here.

Congratulations, Peyton!

Peyton Cassel photo

Future of high school is topic of Oct. 22 meeting

You are invited to participate in an important meeting on the future of Penn Manor High School.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, the district will hold the first of several public presentations on renovating or replacing the school. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Built in the 1950s and partially renovated beginning in 1994, the high school is experiencing deterioration and major component failures that must be addressed to adequately meet current and future educational needs.

Penn Manor School Board is considering four renovation/construction options and is seeking public input on how to proceed. Nine public meetings are planned on this important issue. Below is a flyer listing the four options to be considered, along with a schedule of upcoming meetings.

The school board expects to decide on an option at the end of the 2015-16 school year, but work would not begin until the summer of 2019, at the earliest.

You can follow the latest developments on the project on Facebook  by clicking here to access the “Penn Manor HS Project” page.

This is a major undertaking that will have an impact on district programs and finances for years to come, so your input is crucial. Please participate!

Penn Manor HS Project flyer



Seven PM students named to County Chorus

Seven Penn Manor High School students have qualified to perform in the Lancaster-Lebanon County Chorus Festival in January.

Julianne Leddy, William Torres, Luke Richardson, Lauren Elledge, Dustin Schneider, Caleb Breidenbaugh, and Julianna Cox qualified for the festival by auditioning before three judges, who assessed their tone quality, melodic accuracy, rhythmic accuracy, intonation and musicality.

The students performed two very advanced pieces of choral literature, Regina Coeli by Mozart and Os Justi by Bruckner.

The top 25 in each voice part qualified for the festival, which will be held at Lebanon High School on Saturday, January 9.

Congratulations to these seven talented singers, among the best in the region!

County Chorus 2015-16

Eight vying for PMHS Homecoming Queen crown

Eight Penn Manor High School seniors are vying for the title of 2015 Homecoming Queen while raising money for a program designed to help young girls gain confidence.

Samantha Flick, Emily Ferrick, Emma Barley, Meagan Kresh, Allison Schaefer, Cece Minnick, Emily Heckman and Kalen Blair have been named to the homecoming court. The Homecoming Queen will be named during halftime of the Oct. 9 Penn Manor home football game against McCaskey High School.

The eight candidates are raising money for Girls on the Run, a program designed to inspire girls to be confident and accomplished as they develop an appreciation for health and fitness through running.

Several Penn Manor schools participate.

Cece Minnick is the daughter of Steve and Traci Minnick of Millersville. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Cece is co-captain of the tennis team, student representative of Penn Manor School Board and a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council.

She plans to attend a four-year college after high school.

Samantha Flick is the daughter of Brian and Tara Flick of Martic. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Samantha is captain of the varsity soccer team and a member of Varsity Club. She plans to study physical therapy after high school.

Emily Ferrick is the daughter of David and Tracy Ferrick of Conestoga. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

She is a member of FFA, Varsity Club and National Honor Society. Emily also plays soccer and is senior class president. She is undecided about her post-high school plans

Emma Barley is the daughter of Tom and Elizabeth Barley of Conestoga. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Emma is a class officer and is active in Student Council, Varsity Club, 4-H and Powderpuff Football. She plans to major in fashion merchandising in college.

Meagan Kresh is the daughter of Tonya Clark of Millersville and Michael Males and the stepdaughter of Tim McCaskell. Her mother will be her homecoming escort.

Meagan is a member of the cheer team and participates in Varsity Club and Powderpuff Football. A class officer, she helps coach the Penn Manor Junior Comets Cheer Squad.

After high school, she plans to pursue a nursing degree from Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.

Allison Schaefer is the daughter of Ron and Melissa Schaefer of Millersville. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

Allison is the goalie for the Penn Manor field hockey and lacrosse teams, president of Manor Singers and Comet Chorus and a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honors Society, Aevidum, Serteen, First Priority and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

She plans to study biology and play field hockey at Liberty University.

Emily Heckman is the daughter of Celeste and Rob Heckman of Millersville. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

She is captain of the soccer team and a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Varsity Club and the Powderpuff Football team.

Emily plans to attend a four-year college and major in chemical engineering and play soccer.

Kalen Blair is the daughter of Kristopher and Christine Blair of Lancaster. Her father will be her homecoming escort.

She participates in lacrosse, Varsity Club and Lancaster Youth Symphony Orchestra. She plans to major in athletic training at the University of New Hampshire.

From left, Allison Schaefer, Emma Barley, Cece Minnick, Emily Ferrick, Emily Heckman,Kalen Blair, Samantha Flick, Meagan Kresh.
Members of the 2015 Homecoming Court are, from left, Allison Schaefer, Emma Barley, Cece Minnick, Emily Ferrick, Emily Heckman, Kalen Blair, Samantha Flick and Meagan Kresh.