The Rocket Flame

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Trailer Video

Acknowledging Drugs and Vaping

During school on Monday March 2, JBHS students gained knowledge about the topics of vaping, drug abuse and opioids. Pennsylvania State Trooper Megan Ammerman began the presentation by talking about the opioids crisis.

“Opioids are any painkillers: they are in that category,” said Ammerman.

Opioids are commonly prescribed to a patient for pain relief. According to Truth, that patient often becomes dependent on that drug, and then need more to feel the pain relief. Often patients think taking prescribed medicine from a doctor as a painkiller is the responsible thing to do, yet they become addicted from too much use and should be monitored carefully.

“Say someone gets into a car crash: that person can be prescribed the opioids and eventually get addicted and dependent on that drug,” said Ammerman.

Ammerman then discussed opioids as a gateway drug to heroin, which is the most addictive drug. According to  AAC, heroin, when taken, connects to opioid receptors in the brain, leading to the addiction and becoming much more dominant to the abuser. Heroin is commonly used as an alternative to opioids  since they are very expensive.

“Opioids can cost up to $10 for one pill,” said Ammerman. “If you’re taking five a day to keep that high, that’s $50 a day.”

Going down a even more dangerous path just to relieve pain and feel the “happy” feeling that their opioids gave them, heroin leads to a deeper addiction and problem.

When Ammerman wrapped up her presentation, she handed the attention to Christy Unger, the Director of Programming for the Healthy Communities Partnership of Franklin County.  She discussed the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, something that has become prevalent in many teens.

“E-cigarettes are electronic cigarettes that are battery-powered devices that can deliver nicotine and flavorings to the user in the form of aerosol,” said Unger.

There are many companies such as JUUL participating in the production in these harmful products which can often cause even more damage than cigarettes to the user.

“The most detrimental part of vaping and e-cigarettes really focuses on the teen generations and targets them into thinking vaping is cool,” said Unger.

The impact JUUL and so many other e-cigarette companies on younger generations is huge. Young adults and kids become addicted to smoking these products that ends up harming them.  The addiction begins because many pods contain the nicotine of 20 cigarettes, yet most teens think they only contain flavoring.  This misconception is what leads to many teens becoming addicted at an early age.

Wrapping up the assembly, principal Mr. Samuel Dickey (Faculty) acknowledged how vaping and drugs are affecting students. It’s really important to understand how vaping is affecting students as it causes health problems from the start.

“I have sent five students to the hospital due to vaping-related issues this year,” said Dickey during the assembly.  This shows that vaping has even impacted the small community of Mercersburg, PA.

Ammerman and Unger were pleased to help students acknowledge information about drugs and vaping through this assembly. Not only is this their job to give information about these topics, but they also enjoy sharing their stories with young minds to prevent them from making mistakes that will affect their health and futures.

Both will be present for a community informational event on March 3  held in the JBHS Auditorium at 6 PM.  There will be time for questions after the presentation.

*Correction: An earlier versions of this article incorrectly identified Christy Unger, Director of Programming for the Healthy Communities Partnership as Kristy Hungar.  We apologize for this inaccuracy.

Helping Hands at JB

Some kids in our District are not as fortunate as others and the Life Skills class at  James Buchanan had the opportunity to make a difference in their community by doing the Rocket Totes.

“There must be more families in the same situation,” said Mrs. Kristy Horst (Faculty). 

Working together, Lucas Carter (9) and Gregory Murray (12) stuff backpacks.

Rocket Totes are a derivative of the Tiger Totes program that originated at Saint Thomas Elementary School. Horst went to a PTA meeting and explained to the group how not only should they be doing the totes at Saint Thomas, but at each school because there are more families than we know that are in need of this program.

“It gives the families a sense of comfort knowing they have food for the weekend without stressing,” said Horst.

The process is simple yet helpful.  Pre-ordered backpacks arrive at the high school then each backpack receives a color-coded tag to represent one of the four elementary schools in the District. Each Friday the bags are then taken to the food bank where the life skills class fill the backpacks with food. Once the bags are filled, they drop them off to the designated school.

“It makes me feel happy giving back to the community because I like the community and I want to keep it safe for everyone,” said Justin Mellott (10).

Keeping the community safe is one of the priorities Mellott takes into consideration as he lends a helping hand to families in need. Knowing that he is making a difference in others’ lives makes Mellott feel accomplished knowing he is giving the less fortunate a sense of relief.

Cleaning up, Edward Leevy (11) picks up bags to organize food.

“I love packing the backpacks with food with my classmates,” said Dean Faust (9).

Besides giving back to the community, the class gets to bond with one another while packing the food to deliver. Sharing giggles and cracking jokes grows a bond between students while working together. 

At the end of the day, families are supported and the Life Skills class gets the chance to make a difference in people’s lives.

 

A Recital To Remember

The Tri-M Honors Society requires five hours of music-related community service and a performance at one of two recitals. The first one was held on Sunday, February 9. Even though only about half of the members performed at this recital, all members were encouraged to come and support others. There were five performances and eight performers. 

Lillie Matiko (10) played and sang “Jerome” by Lizzo on the ukulele. Kierra Griffith (11) and Alexa Myers (10) sang “That’s What’s Up” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros as a duet. Ella Heckman (12), Harley Lane (11), and Faith Mitchell (12) performed a short musical skit called “Tiny Umbrella Song” by Danny Casale. Dylan Parker (10) sang “Pinch Me” by Steven Page & Ed Robertson. Finally, Patrick Hicks (12) ended by playing a marimba solo he wrote called “Lullaby”. 

“I wanted to do a duet and play guitar because I like to hear the different parts of voices come together and I knew Alexa really liked the song,” said Kierra Griffith (11).

Everyone in Tri-M has a love for music and can’t help but share it. It is even more fun to explore it with others. Everyone likes some kind of music and using that to connect with others is a great way to have a good time.

“We wanted to lighten the mood a bit in between performances,” said Faith Mitchell (12).

The recitals aren’t meant to be super strict as an intense atmosphere can make people nervous. It is supposed to be fun overall and if you can get someone to be happy before and after they’ve performed, you’ve done your job.

“I plan to perform at the next recital. I’m hoping I can get up enough courage to perform on my own just to kinda put myself out there without relying on other people,” said Griffith.

The whole purpose of these recitals is to build confidence in front of crowds. You should be confident and comfortable when performing. If not, it can be hard to enjoy yourself and could stop you altogether.

Benches for the Community

Some students from the James Buchanan High School Art Club recently took on a new project to give people a colorful place to sit in the Mercersburg community. 

The Art Club was given the task by Dr. Elizabeth A. George, who is working alongside the The Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness and many others, to paint benches for a local trail in Mercersburg. The project includes four benches from James Buchanan, as well as four from the Mercersburg Academy. The benches were fabricated by Kyle Burdette of Burdette Ironworks in Mercersburg. Painting the benches allows the students to show their painting skills to a larger group of people other than just students at the school.

Kyla Shoemaker (11) a member of the Art Club, has taken on one of the benches by herself to benefit the community. 

“I’m painting a nature scene with local wildlife from the area, such as different types of trout and frogs” said Shoemaker. “I volunteered to paint the benches so that I could show my art and to give joy to the community.” 

Shoemaker spends a lot of her free time down in the art room working on the benches so that they will be done for the public by spring so that people can enjoy them when they start to go outside more.

“I’ve been working on the bench for almost six and a half hours already and I think it might take me up to eight by the time I am done with it,” Shoemaker said. 

There are a total of 13 students working in four groups on the benches. The project is entirely done by students like Shoemaker, with a little guidance from Mrs.Kayla Chambers-Matulevich (Faculty), the Art Club teacher and advisor at JBHS. The main goal was to illustrate local plants and animals.

“It’s mostly the students doing everything by themselves,” Chambers-Matulevich said. “The only thing I asked is that they do local wildlife to showcase local flora and fauna.”

Chambers-Matulevich, also thinks that the benches are a new and creative way for the students to demonstrate their talents to the community as a whole.

“When I was contacted, I thought it was a great project for the community,” said Chambers-Matulevich. “It’s a nice way to show the students’ talent and ability to people in the area.”

The students started painting the benches around the first week of February and are hoping to have them done by mid-March, so that everyone can enjoy them for the spring and summer months to come. The benches will be located at the Johnston’s Run trail on Oregon Street in Mercersburg once completed. The trail is open to anyone everyday of the week and is also handicap accessible.

Lighting a Path for New NHS Members

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Back Row: Owen Cooper (11), Addy Crouse (11), Alliah Fluent (11), Meredith Iverson (11), Kace Dorty (11), Colby Starr (11), Macen Wilt (11), Carlee Jackson (12), Tanner Myers (12), Aleesha Cramer (11), Jaide Wolfe (11), and Hailey Embree (11). Front Row: Kaitlyn Ebersole (12), Cameron Flemming (11), Bella Shupp (11), Brynn Taulton (11), Kyla Shoemaker (11), Ashley Dukehart (11), Morgan Shughart (11), Emily Horst (11), Alyssa Sensinger (11), Maddie Akers (11), and Kierra Griffith (11).

Imagine yourself feeling anxious as you wait for your name to be called. Your hands are sweaty and your heart is pumping at a thousand beats per minute. When your name is finally called, multiple hands clap in unison as they recognize and acknowledge your academic achievements and induct you into a society. This society is known as the National Honor Society, which highlights students who do well academically as well as showing the four pillars that define the society.

On January 17, 2020, 24 new members were inducted into this organization. Before a student can get into NHS, they must first get an NHS invitation and this is the first step of the induction process.

“In November of the school year, Mr. Stull and I run the GPAs for juniors and seniors…students need a 3.85 GPA for this year,” said Mrs. Jenna Sheaffer (Faculty). 

This is one part of the criteria that everyone cannot meet, but the advisors have discussed a change that can impact the inductees for next year. 

“Next year, the GPA is going to go up since the weighting  system might change,” said Sheaffer. “We have discussed with Mrs. Troutman of maybe allowing the top 15% of the class to apply for NHS. Because we didn’t change the weighting system this year, we invited 40 students to apply. This doesn’t show how the inducted members are a selected group of students.” 

If a student reaches the GPA requirement, they must also reflect the four pillars that define NHS.  

“Everyone meets scholarship (that’s the 3.85). Character is the harder one to talk about because we want students who are well-rounded and nice people. The other two are service and leadership,” said Sheaffer. 

Once students fill out the application, the induction process is determined by the Faculty Advisory Committee, who help decide who is ultimately inducted.

“There’s one teacher from the four main subjects – Math, English, Social Studies, Science,” said Sheaffer. “Then we have Mrs. Johnson who does the pool area, and Mrs. Martin from the tech/art department, and both Mrs. Troutman and Mr. Bradley helps out.”

In some cases, there is a limit to how many students get in, so not all applicants may get in the first year. At this point, the committee has to choose the best candidates.

“It’s a goal to have all four pillars, but no one is perfect, so there are times where we take things into consideration,” said Sheaffer. “For example, someone could be at school 15 hours a day and not have as much community service hours so we try to weigh the pillars.”

When the final decision is made, acceptance letters go out to the parents of those students who got accepted. From here, the parents often decide whether they tell their kids or they try to keep it a secret.

“It was very exciting to hear that I got into NHS,” said Colby Starr (11). “I get to see all of the hard work that I put in over the years and how it finally paid off.”

After the acceptance letters go out, the induction date has to be set and from there the planning process for the ceremony takes place.

“The planning of the ceremony gets stressful sometimes because you are planning a school-wide event and you have to tell teachers and we have to send out an alternate schedule,” said Sheaffer. “Mrs. Amsley does all of the RSVPs because we need them to hold seats in the auditorium of all the family that’s coming. We also throw in a cookie and punch snack time afterwards, so Mr. Stull and I have to order the food. Then we have to set up the stage with the chairs, the podium, and the table with the candles…Mrs. Blair irons all of the covers for us.” 

At the beginning of the induction ceremony, Mr. Samuel Dickey (Faculty) started off by thanking the people who put the event together. Then he invited Nicholas Alfree (12) to the podium to read off the names of the newly inductees and explain what they are a part of both in and out of school. 

“I did a mission trip with my church and I helped out at retirement homes by playing the guitar and playing games with them,” said Kierra Griffith (11). “It was important for me to get into NHS because I value my academic achievements and I want to help people as much as possible.” 

Once all of the new members have been introduced, Kamari Moser (12), Sarah Kimmel (12), Paige Hartman (12), and Megan Rummel (12) explained what each of the four pillars mean. After they spoke, they lit a candle to represent each characteristic.

After presenting the pillar of Service, Paige Hartman (12) lights the last candle.

           Finally, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) had each member repeat the NHS pledge. The ceremony ended with pictures being taken and a follow up snack held in the cafeteria. 

Awards for the Keystone Kids

2020 started off right with the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  At the beginning of every year, people file into the Farm Show Complex to see all the attractions and events. Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation, but for certain students of the Conococheague FFA Chapter it is a great day of celebration.

 Members of the Conococheague FFA Chapter are able to get rewards to help their journeys in later agriculture paths. Two of the rewards you can get at the Farm Show are the Keystone Degrees and new members can get their FFA Jackets.

“It felt a lot like graduation,” said Faith Mitchell (12). “ We had to walk across the stage to get our awards.”

Eight members of the chapter earned awards, four receiving their Keystone Degrees and four got their jackets. The Keystone Degrees is the highest degree that can be bestowed on an FFA member at the state-level. The four recipients of the degree were Adrianna Durboraw (12), Rachel Martin (12), Faith Mitchell (12), and Colby Shingler (12). The first-year jacket recipients were Chloe Cook (9), Kristin Oberholtzer (9), Zane Ocker (10), and Connor Stine (9). 

“My initial reaction was excitement to getting my jacket,” said Zane Ocker (10).

When achieving these awards, a lot of work goes into them. The Keystone Degree recipient, must have demonstrated leadership abilities, as well as  earning or productively investing at least $1,000 or working at least 300 hours in a supervised agricultural experience program. When getting the FFA jackets, students  have to fill out an application on why they should get their jacket and how they are going to use it in their FFA journey. The significance of all of these awards are pushing students forward in your journey to success and never stop trying to get what you want. 

A Community of Sound

Every year there is a group of band students that assemble to participate in County Band, a music festival that encompasses the talent of students from a variety of schools in Franklin County. These students gather at a different school in the county each year to perform a variety of songs together. This year, this music festival was held at Central Fulton in McConnellsburg, PA. 

The former band director of Southern Fulton is directing the challenging and fun pieces of music for County Band this year, and the students have a variety of musicality levels they will be performing in multiple pieces.

“They have some tough pieces. They have ‘Three Ayers’ and they have ‘Military Selection,’” Mrs. Sheryl Deike (Faculty) said. “That is a tough piece, but not as tough as it is fast. There are some tough pieces, but then they have some mellow ones. They have ‘Hymnsong that we played last year in our concert band and the kids really liked that one.”’

Only a few select kids from James Buchanan get to go to County Band, but these kids earn the privilege to be part of this festival. 

“15 students are going. The major determining factor for those participating in County Band are those who put forth the effort to audition and go out for District Band,” said Deike.

The band directors from the different schools feel honored and privileged to have talented kids that have the opportunity to go to a festival like this.

“I feel very proud. I am always excited to show off my kids,” said Deike.

The students are very excited to participate in this festival, and the band directors, as well as the students, look forward to this time of year when they get to play with a new group of students they don’t get to play with on a daily basis.

“I really enjoy these festivals. It is fun to kind of get away and take the kids away and enjoy the time together,” said Deike.  “Hearing the kids come together and the sound. When you put your best in and all of them come together and just knowing we are all a community.”

Deike loves hearing the music that comes together after hard work to participate in a festival like County Band, so she works with these kids daily to make them the best musicians they can be and enjoys the time she spends with her kids every day.

“The kids and making music with the kids are my favorite part of being the Band Director at James Buchanan High School,” says Dieke.

 

Almost, Maine

This year’s fall production, Almost, Maine, is set in a place called Almost in Maine. It is technically not a town because that requires people to get together and organize it to become one. Since that never happened, it’s inhabitants just call it Almost.

Each scene was student-directed and the whole play featured several love stories that are all happening simultaneously.

“I think there were 8 in total,” said Ella Heckman (12).

Each of the scenes are completely independent of each other. They don’t necessarily happen chronologically and don’t rely on each other for the story to make sense. It’s just a collage of many stories.

“We all practiced in our own groups,” said Audra Hissong (10). “And then we had two rehearsals before the show to run through the whole thing.”

In one of the scenes, a bachelorette was having a party at a restaurant and ran into her ex- boyfriend. This particular story focused on a love that was, rather than one that will be or the formation of one.

“We each auditioned for our parts,” said Lillie Matiko (10). “I wanted my part.”

Another scene featured a man asking a woman to marry him, to which he got no response and the two drifted apart. After some time, she shows up at his doorstep with an answer.

“Ella and I said it was probably about 5-7 years,” said Connor Slemp (9) between the time that she was asked and the time she gave the answer.

He explains to her the pain that this would cause. The scene ends with a woman calling his name which would show that he’s with someone and possibly married.

“It was the first time I ever did something like that, but it turned out to be extremely fun and a good experience,” said Slemp.

The play’s debut was December 20 and 21 and was performed in the JB auditorium. It was only the third time ever performed as a whole since each scene was always individually rehearsed. Even with multiple directors and little time for whole run-throughs, it flowed smoothly and was enjoyed by the audience.

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  • A Monty-mental Performance

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    A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Trailer Video

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    News

    Acknowledging Drugs and Vaping

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    On Campus

    Bucket Brigade

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    On Campus

    Helping Hands at JB

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    Entertainment

    A Recital To Remember

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    Off Campus

    Benches for the Community

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    News

    FLO Interviews

  • A Monty-mental Performance

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    Lighting a Path for New NHS Members

  • A Monty-mental Performance

    Off Campus

    Awards for the Keystone Kids

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    Off Campus

    A Community of Sound

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