The Rocket Flame

Where’s He’s Been, Where He Is, and Where He’s Taking Us

Mr. Benedick talks with The Rocket Flame staff about how life changed a little this summer as he accepted a position as Acting Superintendent, but how his positivity is winning over all of TSD

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

Mr. Rodney Benedick, Acting Superintendent of Tuscarora School District

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Remember that smiling face that you’d see lending a helping hand around the school: whether assisting the cafeteria ladies at the lunch line, greeting students at the bus ramp, or just stopping by classes to see how things are going? Are you wondering where he went? Well, now he’s the head honcho of our district, and his work life is completely different than before.


Former James Buchanan High School principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) took the position of Acting Superintendent of the Tuscarora School District on July 1, 2018.  As a former student of TSD, Benedick has now worked his way up the educational ladder to now be the superintendent. Picking up where previous superintendents left off, Benedick’s goal is to expand on past ideas in the district along with previous personal experiences.


After growing up with his mom being a substitute teacher, Benedick had no interest in the educational field after high school.

Answering some tough questions during an interview with JB Student Media, Mr. Rodney Benedick discusses his life prior to his work in education.

“After I graduated from college, I was working as a retail manager. My first job out of school was a stockbroker. I quit my job after about a month; it was not me.”


Benedick’s personality did not fit in with the cutthroat environment. He then took on a new role as the manager of a a Foot Locker in Richmond, VA, where he was living after college.


“I saw kids all day long at the Foot Locker that were not in school when they should have been in school from crazy, dysfunctional families[…]Then, I started thinking about who keeps track of these kids,” said Benedick.


After being in a different environment than he was used to coming from the small town of Fort Loudon, PA, Benedick started to have a change of perspective on his future.


“I saw a lot of kids in a real quick time period that didn’t have the stuff I had growing up, so, long story short, I went back and got my Master’s in Special Education, because I wanted to help kids that didn’t have what I had at school or growing up,” said Benedick.


After getting a teaching degree and working with special education kids in New York, he spontaneously came back after making a chance decision to move here with no job or living arrangements.


“I guess it was a little bit of luck or right-place, right-time kind of thing,” Benedick said of this decision.


With that little bit of luck, he became the Acting Assistant Principal of James Buchanan High School, his former stomping grounds. He moved up to the position of Acting Principal when the former Principal stepped down.


Due to Benedick’s new position, he had to further his education to become certified to meet the criteria. He spent 15 years as principal of JBHS, but decided to take it one step further. Benedick applied for the position of Superintendent and went through the interview process when he learned of the open position.


¨What I told the Board is that I want to be THIS superintendent, not A superintendent¨ said Benedick.


By being “THIS superintendent,” Benedick wants to be committed to the community and focus on what he will do for the district. Benedick feels that it is substantial to “connect to the community at large.” Due to his familiarity within the public, Benedick is starting off further ahead than his predecessors.

I want to be THIS superintendent, not A superintendent

— Mr. Rodney Benedick

“A goal of mine is to create a positive place for kids to go to school and celebrate the good things that happen,” said Benedick.  


Benedick, with his self-described “positive personality,” has made it his mission to create an environment of positivity throughout TSD. He has spent most of his time in the high school during his working career, but as superintendent, he’s trying to spend more time in the elementary schools.


“It is difficult to spend as much time in the buildings as I would like,” said Benedick, but he hopes to spend more time interacting with kids.

Mr. Rodney Benedick joins the 2018-2019 JB Student Media staff for an interview


Benedick’s day-to-day schedule is filled with meetings and is “more office-based” than it was previously. While Benedick is not interacting directly with students every single day, he’s still making a difference in their world of education due to the decisions he makes every day that help enhance students’ educational experience.


“My favorite part is knowing I do have an impact on even more kids,” Benedick said.


Although Benedick is not in the high school to help out every single school day anymore, he is now helping not only this school, but the rest of the school district, every day back in his office. Whether it is talking to lawyers or communicating with people outside of our district, Benedick is trying to give us a great education and memories to stick with us for the rest of our lives, all while keeping that smile on his face.



Behind the Throne

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Under the Friday night lights of Rocket Stadium, the 2019 Homecoming King and Queen were crowned.

Shupp (12) and Cormac Houpt (12) accepted their crowns after a eventful week of participating in spirit days and games during the pep rally. But what is it really like to be Homecoming King and Queen? What goes on behind the scenes?


Candidates campaigned all week to try to get votes from the student body. Posters and banners were hung all around the building to grab the attention of students. Some candidates even passed out cupcakes and candy to persuade students.


“Campaigning was awesome! I know that Kayla Locke (12) and I had a fun time participating,” said Houpt.


Some friendly competition went on to see who could go all out with the school spirit to rack in the votes since court couples were running against each other.


“Campaigning was really fun!,” said Shupp. “It was a little intimidating for Scott and I when we saw how much Kayla and Cormac were participating in Spirit Week.”


Banners advertising “Vote for Madi & Scott” and “Kayla and Cormac for Hoco King/Queen” were posted in the front of the cafeteria. In addition, posters with catchphrases and funny pictures were posted on lockers, doors, and even in the gym locker rooms.


“It took us a while to come up with catchy sayings for our signs, but we pretty much made all of the signs during activity period and study halls,” said Shupp.


Other candidates used another way to easily spread the word to many people at just the touch of their fingertips by snapping a picture and posting it to Snapchat.


“We didn’t do many banners,” said Houpt. “Most of out advertising was social media.”


The candidates also dressed up and participated in the spirit days. This years’ spirit days were Lounge Day, Dynamic Duo Day, Monsters University Day, Kingdoms Day and JB Spirit Day.


“My favorite spirit day was the JB Spirit Day,” said Shupp. “It was nice to see everyone in green and white and excited for the football game.”

Each couple dressed to correspond with who they were running with. Each day involved a new outfit to catch the attention of their peers.

“Scott and I would talk each night to plan out what we were going to do for the following day,” said Shupp.


After a week full of school spirit and participating in the pep rally, the candidates lined up on the track during halftime of the football game and anxiously waited for the results.

“I was very excited when I was crowned king,” said Houpt. “I knew it would be close because there was so many good candidates.”


To future Homecoming candidates, many students have passed through and became king and queen and many will do it after. This years’ seniors have some advice for next years’ candidates.  


“Just have fun with it! It’s a blast and it will be a memory you won’t forget!” said Shupp.


Emma Gipe, Staff

Emma Gipe is 17 years old and a junior at James Buchanan. Dance is her passion, and she does Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Pointe, and Tap.  She also serves...

Filed under Features

That Was Then, This is Now

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Senior picture of Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty) when she graduated at James Buchanan in 1995.

After graduation, students go off on their own to make new memories with new people and, more times than not, go to new places. Every so often, there will be some students who tend to stay back or come back to their hometown to start a career. At James Buchanan High School, there are some individuals who have gone here to school and now have started their careers.


Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty) and Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty) are only a couple of people who attended high school at James Buchanan. None of the faculty members planned on coming back to high school and work here.


“It was one of those things that just kind of happened and it was almost like a domino affect,” Miller said. “The door will open here and a window will open there and things happen all of a sudden just by luck.”


During their high school Careers, Miller and Gustafson were both involved in sports and clubs. Miller played basketball and was on the Yearbook committee. Gustafson played football, basketball, and track. He was also involved in National Honors Society. Being a part of activities has played a big part in their high school careers.


“Academics and athletics were my full time jobs while I was in High School.” said Gustafson.


As time moves forward, changes tend to happen. Some of the events at school altered or faded out. Twenty years later, Miller still remembers having an event that she always looked forward to at the end of the year.


“One thing that I really liked when I was a student was FAD Day,” Miller said. “It stood for free academic day where there was like all of these field trips that you could choose from. You could go to Baltimore, you could go to a Pittsburgh baseball game; You could go to the mall, or to a bowling alley. It was a school day, but you picked a field trip that you would want to go on.”


James Buchanan still celebrates school spirit, but back then, they had different events than what we have now. Participation in high school was considerably higher than what it is today.


“This school district used to have Color Day/Week,” said Gustafson. “Each class would be responsible for decorating a hallway with a theme.  At the end of the week, parents/community members would come into the school in the evening and walk through the building so they could admire all of the decorations.”


Nowadays, there are aspects of school that changed drastically. Technology has played a big role in formulating school work.

The technology integration has been significant from having a few computer labs to now having all students with laptops.” said Gustafson.


Academically, there have been more class opportunities given to students who were thinking about going to college.


“The chance to get college credit has changed a lot,” said Miller. “Like the HCC dual enrollment and the Mon-Alto classes; I don’t remember any of that.”


Over the years, the school itself has changed with updates. Despite this, the attitude of the  student body have stayed the same.


“Some teachers say that kids are different,” said Miller. “I think kids are just like kids from twenty years ago. They still have the same things that they worry about and things that make them laugh. People are people and I don’t think that part has changed a lot.”


All-in-all, former students who are now teachers remember James Buchanan as the same as today except for minor differences. Both Miller and Gustafson have fond memories they acquired while attending high school at James Buchanan.

Filed under Features

Proud To Be An American



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There are so many diverse countries around the world – China, Puerto Rico, Argentina, the UK (also known as Great Britain), and so on. Some people from these countries come to America to start a new life. As fate would have it, Mrs. Marie Donahoe (Faculty), came from the UK to America to continue teaching students.


Donahoe lived in York City, which is in the northeast of the UK. During her time there, she worked at a Further Education College in Grantham to teach learning support students. Donahoe and her husband lived in the UK for about ten years until they both decided to come to America.


“My husband was from Chambersburg and when we got married we were living in the UK,” said Donahoe. “Then he decided that he missed all of the cheeseburgers, hotdogs, baseball, football. So he told me ‘Why don’t we give this a try?’ and I agreed.”


Donahoe lived in the United States for six years before she decided to go get the citizen’s award.


“I like it here in the United States,” Donahoe explained. “I want to remain here and I want to work here. I love teaching and I love the job that I currently have. I love doing what I do for a living. I did not want to put my job into jeopardy by not becoming a citizen.”


On the day that Donahoe went to take her citizen’s test, she had the feeling of “butterflies in the stomach.”


“I was a little bit nervous mostly because you are in the hands of the government. I had to pay money in order to apply for the citizenship award, which isn’t cheap,” Donahoe said. “For me to blow that in an interview answering, ‘Who takes over for Mr. Trump if he was to resign?’ would be very frustrating.”


Besides being anxious about the test, Donahoe said that she was happy to have passed.


“My citizen’s test was actually fun. The lady who interviewed me was really nice and easy going. She wanted to know quite a bit about England and Britain,” said Donahoe. “She gave me the test and she asked me six questions in all which I guess I got all correct, so by the time I got to the seventh question she was like ‘You’re good’ and put the test away. For the most part, they were very straight-forward questions and it helped that I had some practice tests to help me study.”


Even though Donahoe is legally considered as a United States citizen, she sees America as a new home that has different aspects of life compared to the UK.  


“The UK and the United States are pretty much similar in landscape and cultures. The major differences are that here, things are very spread out whereas the UK is a little bit compact,” Donahoe explained. “The difference between the rural areas is that there is a lot of public transport, such as bicycles, trains, and a lot of walking in the UK, unlike in the United States where people normally drive to get around. Students who go to school will usually walk to school, but sometimes they do take buses on occasion.”


According to Donahoe, the school structures are alike in the UK and in the United States, but the requirements for graduation are different.


“Kids can leave high school at the age of sixteen and go onto college, which is like a community college here, if I were to compare it to the United States,” Donahoe said. “You basically end up graduating with the equivalent of a GED.”


Schools in the UK end at a later time and the education being taught are different compared to the United States.


“The education over there [in the UK] is career-oriented, whereas here it is subject-oriented,” said Donahoe. “When you go to college, you have to take the liberal arts, whereas in the UK you do not have to do that. For instance, for my degree, I didn’t have to take math classes or psychology classes. Timewise, the UK starts at around nine in the morning because they have a national curriculum and then we usually end at around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon.”


According to Donahoe, the food in the United States is unhealthy compared to the UK because we have more greasy and fatty foods. Her all-time favorite snack that she misses is the fish and chips. Food in the UK is considered healthier because their foods are made from local ingredients.


Being a part of the UK culture, Donahoe has aspects that she will cherish forever and try to restore in her family here in the United States.


“I will miss the tradition of Sunday lunch in the UK. Sunday lunch was when your family came together at one person’s house and you would have a lunch that would be similar to Thanksgiving in the United States,” Donahoe said. “This would occur every Sunday. When we came to the United States, I tried to keep one aspect that came from my life in the UK and add it to the life I have now in the United States.”

Filed under Features, Off Campus

Sewing Together the Perfect Night

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The weather was a little dreary with the rain but everyone was dressed to the nines in gorgeous gowns and tuxedos. The air was filled with the smell of flowers and all around people were taking perfectly-posed photos in front of the gorgeous venue at Green Grove Gardens.


Girls spent all day doing their hair, makeup, nails and getting dressed. Boys look almost unrecognizable in their tuxedos, compared to their everyday school attire.


Prom is one of the most memorable events for all high school students, but for two particular girls the night was made even more memorable by getting to show off their own unique handmade prom dresses.


For Aria Jewel-Barnett (11), creating her own prom dress is a special memory


We began planning (the dress) two weeks before prom,” Said Jewel- Barnett.  With the help of her mother she was able to finish the project at the last minute.


On the day of prom, we woke up early to finish up the last step of the dressmaking,” she said. “Our old sewing machine broke down, causing utter mayhem and frustration; It was very stressful because we were in such a time crunch.”


For last year’s and this year’s dance, Lauren Fleming (12) started her dressmaking process early.


“I started making my dress in January,” said Fleming.  


She was inspired to create her own dress because, “I always hate wearing a dress that someone else could wear, I like uniqueness.”


Sizing was another reason for crafting her own gown.


“Making your own dress means you could make it the exact way you want it and for your correct size.”


Designing a completely unique and personalized dress is also a good way to cut spending during prom season.  For Lauren, crafting her dress only cost her $20 for a dress pattern and Aria spent only $50 to create her gown. Comparing this to the $300 dollars the average teenage girl will spend on a prom dress, designing your own dress can be a huge money-saver, as well as a memory that will last a lifetime.


Creating a handmade dress takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and can pose a list challenges to any skilled dressmaker. In the end, the finished product is worth all of the time and effort.


For any beginning seamstress, the girls gave some pointers and tips on what to pay attention to while embarking on making your own dress.


“Always start out with a small project and work your way up,” Fleming said.


“I would highly suggest having to start at least a month before prom,” said Barnett. “That way you won’t be so stressed on the day of your prom. “

Filed under Features, Off Campus

New Experiences and Changing Lives

JBHS Ag Teacher, Ms. Brittany May, is changing lives with her appearance on the Today show

Ms. May outside of NBC studios.

Ms. May outside of NBC studios.

Ms. May outside of NBC studios.

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She has been an inspiration to a school, a community, a state, and now to a nation.  Her life changing transformation has shown millions that it is possible to change the course of your life.  Ms. Brittany May (Faculty) had once weighed over 500 pounds, but after taking her life into her own hands, she has lost almost 300 pounds.  Her perseverance has been seen all over the nation through her appearance on the Today Show.


“It was such a surreal experience being able to share my experience on a national platform,” said May.


On May 3, 2018, May was a guest star on Megyn Kelly Today.  She was part of the “Mind and Body” special that morning.  May, along with her mother, discussed the

the dedication and determination that she has had to have to make it to the point she is at now.  Megyn Kelly, amazed at May’s courage, asked her questions about her life as a teen, the journey she has taken, and the plans for her future.

“I keep getting messages from people telling me how I have touched them,” May said, “My heart is beyond full.”

She has given many people the courage and determination that they have needed to change their lives.  As others change their life, May continues to change hers.

May said, “I joined a gym three weeks ago because its fun.”

Along with her healthy habits she has learned, she is trying new things.  May started off her journey being stubborn, but as she kept moving forward she realized that she could not be afraid to try new things.  She now has become a coach of her weight loss program, Optavia. May guides her clients through their journey by touching base every day for the first week and then weekly from there on out.  She continues to chat with her coach on a weekly basis about her healthy habits and things she can do to continue to improve her life.

“For the first time in my entire life, this summer I won’t be thinking about losing weight or being in the process of losing weight,” May said.

Her weight loss has allowed May to have more energy and do an increasing amount of hands on activities in the classroom.  She has been learning a lot from her experiences that she is able to bring back to the classroom to her give her students the best education she can.


May said, “I can’t wait to see what I will do and accomplish next year at this time.”


May plans to continue Optavia and be there to support her clients through their ups and downs.  She also plans to continue teaching using the knowledge that she continues to gain from her new experiences her transformation has allowed.

Ms. May meets Meghyn Kelly prior to the interview.
Kirstyn Black, Staff

Kirstyn Black is a first-year member of the James Buchanan Student Media staff.  She is a senior and has many interests.  She enjoys playing volleyball...

A Day in the Life of Mr. Strawoet

One thing that is really important within the athletic department is the scheduling of the games. Mr. Larry Strawoet (Faculty) deals with the “behind the scenes” of the sports played at James Buchanan High School.

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6:30 a.m – 7:00 a.m. – Strawoet arrives at the office between 6:30 and 7:00. Before Strawoet starts his day, he looks at the schedule to see which sports have games and where. If there are away games for that day, he takes care of the transportation for those teams. Afterwards, he gets the early dismissals ready so that they can be announced in the morning for those specific athletes. He tries to make sure that all of the fields are ready and touches base with the maintenance staff that the fields are getting aligned.


7:30 a.m – 11:30 a.m –  During this time, the director’s office is normally empty. Mr. Strawoet is rarely at his desk because he is always on the move, always prioritizing with making sure that everything is moving smoothly.


11:35 a.m – 12:15 p.m. – During this time, Strawoet gets his lunch break when he is scheduled to do lunch duty during period 4/5. Sometimes, he does not have time to get lunch because he is doing something else, which can be rescheduling games or any number of responsibilities.


Strawoet deals with the cancellations of the different sports games. He has four different weather maps on his phone. If there is inclement weather happening at the locations of the games, there will be a discussion with the other school and coaches. If the games are home, then he will have to consult with maintenance.


“It is very hard to judge whether or not to cancel games due to weather,” Strawoet said. “But in the end, it is all about the health and safety of the kids. We want our athletes to be healthy and injury-free and if that means we have to cancel a game, then that is what we will do.”


12:20 a.m – 3:15 p.m – After lunch, he may go back to his office to take care of a couple of things before he leaves his office once again. Sometimes, he will check with the coaches to make sure of the game times so that they both are on the same page. Strawoet has to make sure that there are officials for the events and makes sure that he has paychecks for them.


After school until 8:00 p.m. – Strawoet prepares the menu for the concession stands for the home games. This means the beverages and the snacks in the stands are all prepared. Then he moves on to get the press box ready. He has to make sure that there is help at the home games to take tickets.


8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – At this time, Strawoet makes sure that the next day’s games are all organized. Then he goes to the fields and makes sure they are all cleaned up and ready to go for the next day before he leaves to go home.


9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – Finally after sporting events held at the high school are over, Strawoet gets in his car to go home to his family. He gets as much sleep as possible in order to be ready for the next day.


“My day seems pretty hectic at times, but the nice part about my day is that every day is different,” Strawoet said.


Strawoet is the first one to arrive at the fields and the last to leave. His days can be somewhat chaotic when there are quite a number of tasks on his plate, but he likes what he does and he wishes to continue as long as he can. He cherishes his job and everyone he connects with.

I get to deal with exceptional young athletes and I get to have relationships with teachers, administrators, staff, opponents, teams, and many others and that’s the joy of this job. The relationships that I have had over the years I value the most.”

— Mr. Strawoet


Megan Rummel, Editor

Megan Rummel lives in  St. Thomas, PA. She lives with her mom, dad, and her two grandmas. Her brother lives in Chambersburg and is a father to his son...

Marc Mero: An Inspiring Story

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Marc Mero, former WWE wrestling champion and author of How to be the Happiest Person on the Planet, visited James Buchanan High School on March 28 to share his Champion of Choices tour.

According to the  Mami Herald, “Mero dedicates his post-WWE career to inspiring students to overcome bullying and self-destructive thinking, set goals, dream big, and to appreciate those who support them most in life.”

With more than one million people seeing the program, they describe it as “life-changing” and says it reaches students at “heart level.” Mero does these productions to show students that they are not alone in the battle against bullying.

With both the JBMS and JBHS students packed tightly in the gym, Mero took each student through his life journey. Starting out living in a beaten-down apartment, his life took a turn when his parents got a divorce. Living with his mother, he started hanging out with the wrong people who took him down a path full of drug abuse and an alcohol addiction.

 “Friends are like elevators: they are gonna take you up or take you down. Show me your friends and I’ll tell you your future,” Mero said during the assembly.

Throughout the crowd there were tear-filled eyes as students became emotional as he shared his story. With the death of his mother, younger brother, and sister, Mero reiterated the importance of family.

The detrimental effect that it had on my family, losing family members, made me realize how precious life is, ”

— Marc Mero

Mero asked all students to go home and tell their siblings how important they are, as well as  also to apologize to their parents for any wrongdoings.

“I see hardworking kids with dreams and goals, I just don’t want the kids to make the same mistakes I did,” said Mero “I see hope; the darker it gets the brighter we have to shine.”

After listening to the assembly, Aurora Wagner (9) shared how she is going to change. “I’m gonna go home and thank my family, apologize for stuff I said to them,” she said.  “Overall just treat everyone better.”

The assembly also informed the students the usefulness of talking about your problems, to let people help you through feelings of depression because everyone matters.

Mero thinks his presentation is different from others because “[he] shares from the heart, making  students realize that there is a part of his story in each one of them.”

Mero encourages all students that see his presentation to contact him through email, Twitter, or Instagram to tell him your story and how his presentation might have changed their life.  

One thing can be said: the assembly was powerful and one students at JB will remember.

Filed under A Day in the Life

A Day In the Life of Dr. Stokes

Many jobs go unnoticed but are essential to make a school district work. One of these jobs is that of our business director, Dr. Marcia Stokes. I was given the opportunity to shadow Stokes to find out just how much she does that goes unnoticed.

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7:30 a.m.-8:50 a.m.- Stokes came into Central Office at 7:30 a.m. and started her day by replying to emails and making phone calls. This particular day, she introduced me to everyone in the office, so at 8 a.m., she began her emailing and calling. By half-past eight, she had made numerous phone calls about several topics such as the swimmers going to States, training staff, and volunteers.


In between phone calls and emails, Stokes explained how things worked around Central Office. There are many people that complete tons of jobs and tasks, such as Mrs. Loretta Miller, who is the administrative assistant to the Superintendent, but she also works on contracts, scholarships, and many other activities.


Even though all the members of Central Office have numerous jobs to complete throughout the day, they all work together to better our district.


“The more we improve, the better service we can provide our community, our teachers, and our students,” said Stokes.


8:50 a.m.- 10:11 a.m.- At this time, Stokes arrived at the high school to conduct an interview with a prospective head janitor, along with Mrs. Sharon Miller, Human Resources Director, and Mr. Stanley Morgan, Facilities Director.  After Stokes asked several interview questions, she then took the interviewee to an empty boys’ bathroom and classroom to inquire how he would clean the room. As the time wound down, she gave him a tour of some of the major areas of the school, such as the gymnasium, auditorium, and pool.

Stokes ensured that the candidate holds the same ideals that the rest of the district does, which she thinks is the most important quality we have.

“I think everybody’s heart is in the right place in this district,” said Stokes.“I think that they see the potential, they see the awesome kids, great teachers that we have, and everybody is just trying to figure out how they can contribute to the district.”

“I am in a position that I can make a difference,” Stokes said. “And in this district, I can make a difference to 2,500 kids every single day that I come in here, along with 165 teachers, hundreds of support staff, and thousands of community members.”  ”


10:11 a.m.- Once the interview was finished, Stokes headed back to Central Office to attend a meeting with MissionOne, a company that provides our district with staff to assist the students throughout their school day. In this meeting, Stokes and Miller listened to the company’s concerns and discussed how to make the system run more efficiently.


11:12 a.m.-12:16 p.m.- Once the meeting was ended, Stokes headed back to her office and started looking over invoices and journal entries that another Central Office worker, Mrs. Ann Brindle, dropped off. Before signing off on the papers, if she saw something that did not make sense, she would inquire throughout the office to make sure the information was correct.


While constantly making sure our district is headed in the right direction, Stokes is in correspondence with many people, whether in or out of the office.


“I have always had pretty demanding jobs, so it wouldn’t be normal for my day to end at four o’clock, and I went home and didn’t have to think about work or do anything with work,” said Stokes. “Many of the jobs you are on call or responding to emails till 9 or ten o’clock at night.”


Stokes is a busy woman, but she likes to find ways to take her mind off of work to improve her work ethic.


“Anytime that I can, even if it is like getting away for a weekend or what not, I love to travel. My family and I got into RVing a few years ago,” said Stokes. “The one thing I like to do when I travel, especially when I go RVing, is I try and break away and focus on family and not focus on work, so when I come back I’m refreshed.”


12:16 p.m.-1:02 p.m.- At this point in time, Mr. Rick Burkett, Curriculum Director, came in to tell us it was lunchtime. On this day, the office staff was having a St. Patrick’s Day potluck. With a variety of food, everyone gathered into the meeting room to eat together around the table.


1:02 p.m.-1:36 p.m.- During this time, Stokes went back to her office to look over more documents. Morgan comes in with a survey for Stokes. Schools are asked to participate in these facility surveys in order to collect data from the buildings. This data can range from the number of custodians to how many A/C units there are. If the school participates, they get results from other schools to see where they need to improve their facilities.


1:36 p.m.-2:45 p.m.- A woman from the district’s insurance company came in to go over the renewed insurance package for the district. Some of the subjects that went over were coverage for drones, the district’s vehicles and the drivers, weapon holders, and non-weapon holders. At one point, Morgan made another reappearance to talk about inspections on elevators and wheelchair lifts. During this meeting, Mr. Larry Strawoet, Athletic Director, and Ms. Amanda Charron, Athletic Trainer, came in to meet with both the insurance company and Stokes.


2:45 p.m.-3:05 p.m.- After the insurance meeting, Stokes and I sat down for an interview.


3:05 p.m.- To finish up her day after I completed my interview, she settled back down at her desk continue with the invoices and other various paperwork.


Although her life is busy, Stokes makes the best out of it by continuing to learn. Even now, she is still taking college courses, but they are not the only way she learns. Hands-on experiences also help her gain knowledge.


“I’ve stripped and waxed floors in schools, simply because I wanted to work alongside custodians and wanted them to teach me what they do so I can better understand their job,” Stokes said. “I’m not afraid to YouTube something and figure out how to do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, I always kinda view it as ‘Why can’t I do it, too?”‘

“I always kind of feel like any new experience is going to add a little piece and a better-rounded person.””

What We Learned- After shadowing the school district’s business director, Dr. Marcia Stokes, we learned how much she does for the district. She spends her days in meetings, looking over important documents, and using past experiences to assure that our district is advancing.


A lot of jobs go unnoticed. Many people at the Central Office dedicate their day to making ours better. Dr. Stokes is one of these people, but she is not alone; all of these people do so much for the district, and for that, we are all thankful.

Madison Dorsey, Editor

Madison Dorsey, better known as Madi, participates in several extra curricular activities, such as Tennis, Art Club, Drama Club, JBHS Student Media, Relay...

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The Secret Life of Shellie Viertz

At a championship swim meet, Shellie Viertz is in charge of coaching several swimmers.

At a championship swim meet, Shellie Viertz is in charge of coaching several swimmers.

At a championship swim meet, Shellie Viertz is in charge of coaching several swimmers.

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Every day you see and meet new people. You watch people walk by you in the halls, glance at them while driving in your car, or hear about them through stories told by friends or showed in the news. You see their faces and what they wear, but what you are not aware of is their personality, interests, or stories. Shellie Viertz, a pool director at James Buchanan High School, is someone that many people around the school know; however, Viertz is more than just a pool director and lives a unique double life.


When Viertz was 10 years old, her grandma taught her how to sew. Viertz immediately fell in love with the hobby and started to fabricate her own clothes. She also sewed all of her dresses for her school dances and other events.


“When I was a junior and I had a boyfriend who was a senior, I made his tuxedo,” said Viertz. “Then after I made his tuxedo, I made my own dress which matched him. I had never bought a dress.”


Before leaving for the prom, Viertz and her prom date show off the dress and tuxedo Viertz had sewn herself.

After Viertz graduated from college, she worked for the Hagerstown YMCA being an instructor and coach of the swim team. Five years later, Viertz worked for the federal government for 13 years within the Department of Energy. Once Viertz married and had a child, she ended up in Mercersburg and took care of her son full-time.


During this time, Viertz began to bring sewing back into her life by selling teddy bears. Viertz made 50-80 teddy bears while she was taking care of her son. These were all made out of regular, fur fabric. After becoming skilled in making teddy bears, Viertz decided to take it to the next level.


Viertz purchased a half yard of a wool called mohair. Mohair is wool made from the hair of Angora goats. A half yard of mohair costs $250, which is enough to make only one teddy bear.


“I gave my first [mohair teddy bear] to my sister-in-law,” Viertz said, “but then someone saw it and requested for me to make them one. So I bought more mohair and made another one for them.”


Viertz has been the pool director, which manages pool rentals and other jobs needed done around the pool, at James Buchanan for six years and is planning on continuing her job for a while. She also stays after school every day in order to coach the swim team. Although Viertz doesn’t sew nearly as much as she used to, Viertz helps people with alterations or any other little jobs she is asked to do.

Sarah Kimmel, Staff

Sarah Kimmel is a sophomore at James Buchanan. She likes to be involved within the school by being a staff member of the student media, a member of the...

World Trade at James Buchanan

In Mr. Lum's Economics class, Dakota Blair (12), Sierra Suffecool (12), and Sarah Hoffeditz (12) are working together to plan their next purchase.

In Mr. Lum's Economics class, Dakota Blair (12), Sierra Suffecool (12), and Sarah Hoffeditz (12) are working together to plan their next purchase.

In Mr. Lum's Economics class, Dakota Blair (12), Sierra Suffecool (12), and Sarah Hoffeditz (12) are working together to plan their next purchase.

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The simulation that continues to thrill James Buchanan Economics students was created 42 years ago while Mr. John Lum (Faculty) was a student teacher. World Trade Simulation has evolved over the year to what it is today, teaching students how a third-world country develops.


“I was trying to do something innovative and different,” Lum said. “I wanted to do something unusual so I put together this game.”


He found a lot of success in playing the game with his students. He has continued to play it for the past four decades and will continue in the future.  


“It’s original, in fact some of the currency we use, the dollar bills are the same ones from 42 years ago,” Lum said.


The aspect of the game continues, but he has had to evolve the game to match the times.


“Every year I had students write a paper and one of the questions was, ‘How would you improve the game?’’ Lum said. “Some of the improvements came from that, some came from things I was noticing after playing the game.”


He has began facing a new obstacle with the game, one he has not faced before.


“Students now are so much more game-savvy because of playing online,” Lum said. “It’s harder to keep their attention with it.”


Lum has always tried to make his game better and better each year, always making improvements. The business opportunities a country can receive were not always present in the game. More recently, Lum added war to the game, as well, to add more elements.


The game, however, can be very complex and even random. He explained it may be difficult to implement it online due to this.


“It is exciting. While you’re trying to prepare for what is to come, you also are trying to grow,” Lum said.


The game is played by students that are split up into teams, with three or four people to a team. Lum tells his students to choose any African country they would like. The country they choose will be the country they represent in the simulation. The “countries” will buy certain developments that may be found in real life. Countries can buy education, travel resources, fishing resources, and public buildings that would normally be useful. The more of these resources the country has, the more developed it becomes. When a country buys these resources, they also get money during a pay round. Every three rounds, each country receives money to continue growing. The money comes from resources they have purchased throughout the game. The game does not just consist of buying resources, though; there are also many business opportunities and hurdles that Lum throws at each country.


Some of the business opportunities included can be beneficial, like the Toyota Car Factory. A dice is rolled to choose a team at random, and whichever team is chosen Lum gives a certain amount of money to allow a car factory to be built. The factory is able to give the country money throughout the rest of the game, as well.


However, there are also bad business opportunities. Lum rolls the dice again he gives the chosen team $200,000 to store toxic waste. This opportunity results in a toxic waste spill a couple rounds later and costs the country more money than they received.


Three countrie’s folders and the dice Mr. Lum (faculty) uses to give a fair chance to each team during business opportunities and war.

Lum also allows countries to buy natural disaster insurance. In case  a natural disaster were to happen to your country, which is decided by what team is rolled on the dice, the insurance saves you from having to pay for damage. Some natural disasters that happen are forest fires, floods, and droughts.


Countries also can create treaties with one another, because there is also a possibility of war. Countries can buy weapons to accumulate battle strengths. Battle strengths are used if a country does go to war. Whatever side has the most battle strengths has a bigger possibility of winning.


He also gives incentive when playing the game.


“The object of the game is to have the highest market value,” Lum said. “The stock money they produce, plus whatever cash they have, plus three times their last pay round.”


There is not just one way to win the game, nor is there a set way to win.

“No two classes end up the same. Because of the different variances of the game, each winner can win a different way,” Lum said. “People have used war to win, people have used their stock to win, others have used their investments.”


While the main lesson was to show developments of these poor countries, he found the game taught more valuable lessons students could use in the future.


“It teaches negotiating skills, working as a team with new people, budgeting skills, thinking into the future, and looking at value on what to invest in,” Lum said.


He has bigger plans for the simulation, as well: he would like to put it online for others to play and enjoy.


“I have been talking to a former student here who is into graphic and game design, and we would like to put it online,” Lum said.


He has found success in his game, and enjoys teaching it. Students will remember it years to come and the lessons they have learned, whether it was how exciting the game was or skills they use in the future.


Hannah Mellott, Staff

Hannah Mellott is a part of the JB Student Media staff this year, and it is her first year as a part of the staff. She also plays the flute in the concert...

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From Student to Teacher

Mrs. Breanna Grove’s Transition from College Life to Teaching High Schoolers

Mrs. Breanna Grove

Mrs. Breanna Grove

Mrs. Breanna Grove

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Changes can be difficult, whether it’s a new house, or even a new job. One teacher in the district has endured a lot of changes in the past year, but has used them to her advantage.


Mrs. Breanna Grove (Faculty) graduated from Lock Haven University not even a year ago. She is the current gym teacher here at James Buchanan High School, but, even in college, many changes had occurred in her life.


“I originally went to Shippensburg for middle-level education, teaching math and science, but then I knew Lock Haven had physical education,” Grove said. “I never really thought of that as a career, until I heard of it and thought about it. So that’s whenever I went up to Lock Haven and pursued health and PE.”


After moving to Lock Haven, she declared a new major and began classes.


“[I took] your typical gen eds for the first year, and after that we had a lot of physical education classes.” Grove explained, “Which were specifically games, like tactical games: ultimate football, ultimate frisbee, and soccer, and then we also had net sports as another class, which is tennis, volleyball, pickleball, badminton.”


She not only has a degree in physical education, but is certified to teach Health.


“I also had a lot of health-related classes with my Health degree, so I’m technically certified to teach Health and Physical Education. I took Anatomy, Physiology, [and] Kinesiology,” Grove added.


After graduation, Grove began to look for a job. The first job opening she found was here at James Buchanan.


“They [the Heckmans] told me about Beegle retiring, so even before the position was posted, I applied for it. This was the very first position I applied for,” she said. “After that, I applied for like 10 other positions, and I ended up getting the job of my very first application.”


There was some slight competition, but in the end, Grove was hired.


“They actually interviewed my husband for the same position. We were interviewed on the same day, but then I got a call back,” Grove said.


She dealt with all the other logistics of getting hired, and was ready to start her new job, which consisted of the typical first day jitters.


“Nervous, very, very, nervous,” were the words Grove used to describe her feelings.


One of her major concerns was being accepted, but also respected.


“Being a young person, you want everyone to like you, but you also need to be professional, and be assertive when necessary, or you’re just going to get pushed over,” Grove described. “That’s definitely been a fun learning experience.”


Though she has been teaching for less than a semester, she already has goals for the future.


“My hope is to never be the same. I think whenever you repeat things every year, people get bored with it, first of all,” she reported. “Secondly, society changes, so I believe what you teach in the classroom should change too.”


Grove not only wants to make her class interesting, she also wants to create a bond with her students.


“I think being a teacher [that] it’s important to build relationships with your students and have them be comfortable enough to come and talk to you,” she said. ”If you can’t build that respect and persona with your students, then you’re really not going to be able to reach them like you could if you were able to talk to them one-on-one.”


She believes that changes are key to a successful class in today’s world.


“Just in education specifically, in the past, traditional education was very much, you need to ‘teach, teach, teach,’” Grove informed. “Whereas 21st-century education, which is what they push now, is about building relationships, being able to relate to your students, and just know more about them, and not necessarily just teaching them all the time, but having them teach you.”


The experiences Grove has gone through over the past few years are what shaped her into the person she is today, and shows that change is inevitable.

Sydney Jones, Staff

Sydney Jones is a senior at James Buchanan High School. In addition to Student Media, she is involved in many activities throughout the school, including:...

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