The Rocket Flame

Concerns Regarding Montgomery Elementary

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Within the rural area of Southern Pennsylvania, Tuscarora School District contains six schools: four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Each elementary school has zoning boundaries to assign where each student will attend elementary school  in the district, and one of these schools is not getting as many students compared to the other three schools.

 

Montgomery Elementary School is having a predicament with enrollment numbers within the community. In order to solve this problem, Superintendent Rodney Benedick and the TSD Board of Directors have been gathering data. 

 

“There was an enrollment study from March of 2018: our enrollment is shrinking substantially, and, from this study, it’s supposed to shrink for the next 10 years,” said Benedick.

 

Other than the enrollment of the school, some decisions were being processed from many board meetings, committee meetings,and also public meetings about this topic. 

 

“The decision process has been deferred. We could be a year or more from actual decisions deep into this point,” said Benedick.  “The Board feels like they haven’t had time or input to make a decision yet.”

 

With all of the discussions and meetings, the Board wanted to announce this topic to the public to see what people might think of this.

 

“We had five different public sessions about this topic, we did School Reaches and put it in the paper, and not a lot of people paid attention to the early part of it, until the option phases came out, that’s when people really got involved in it because it becomes real by that point,” Benedick said. 

 

Another thing that we had to talk about was the pros and cons about this decision. This was important because people can have a plan on what would happen if Montgomery were to shut down.

 

“The pros would be to even out class sizes in our elementary schools said Benedick. ”The cons are nobody likes change, no one likes to have schools close.”

 

It’s a controversial topic because it impacts the community and the education of students.

 

“It’s a combined effort of the Board and the community to make the recommendation for what is right for our kids,” Benedick said.

Tri-M Inductions

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Tri- M Induction

Puerto Rican Paradise

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Puerto Rican Paradise

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After two years of planning, a group of 16 students were ready to begin their six-day journey in Puerto Rico that included snorkeling, hiking, ziplining, touring the capitol, kayaking in a bioluminescent bay, and eating lots of beans.

This was the first trip Ms. Danielle Simchick (Faculty) organized and planned on her own with her students. Ms. Danielle Fox (Faculty) and Mrs. Marie Donahoe (Faculty) accompanied her. Sign-ups began in the Fall of 2017, where 16 students decided to participate in this experience. With two years of planning and fundraising, June 18, 2019 was the day the group of students and faculty would start their travels after saying goodbye to their families and boarding a bus to BWI. 

To prepare for this big trip, students made lots of packing lists and learned about all the places they would be visiting. It is crucial to know the background of all the places that they were visiting.

“It was a little nerve-racking at first, but then after the first day everybody got really comfortable,” said Simchick. 

After the group made it to the airport, they made their way to the plane for the four-hour flight straight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

“The flight was really fun,” said Colby Starr. “It was some of our first time on a plane together.”

After landing, they were picked up by their tour guide on a bus after claiming all their baggage. The students started to experience the hot and humid weather of Puerto Rico, so they stopped at a local beach near the airport and enjoyed a couple of hours in the water before heading to the hotel.

The first full day of Puerto Rico was mostly all on foot. The first stop of the day was zip

lining and hiking. The rest of the day consisted of the students touring San Juan with a tour guide. 

All of the faculty and students gather together for a picture in front of the La Fortaleza in San Juan.

Three more groups accompanied JB on this trip: groups from Kansas, Virgina, and Wisconsin, which made a full bus. Between sightseeing and other activities, the students spent a lot of time getting to know the other groups. 

“My favorite part about the trip was snorkeling,” said Starr (11).

The next day was dedicated to riding a boat out to a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Students spent their time swimming, paddleboarding, and eating lots of food. After some time, a tour guide took all the students out farther in the ocean to snorkel. Most students said was their favorite part was seeing the sea turtles, stingrays, and puffer fish. 

Later that night, on the way home the last stop of the night was to a bioluminescent bay in Vieques. A bioluminescent bay is a bay that has tiny organisms that will light up at night, causing the water to turn bright blue, and students were able to kayak through it.

 

While touring San Juan, the group takes a picture at one of the pit stops.

After all the water and hiking days, the rest of the trip was spent touring Puerto Rico in San Juan and Ponce. The last day was traveling to Ponce and staying in a new hotel for the night. 

“This experience taught the students how to travel, how to navigate through an airport, how to be on time, how to pack, how to speak and practice Spanish, and most importantly how to be flexible and go with the flow,” said Simchick. 

Even though there was a set schedule, the students learned how to be open to things changing, as well. 

Once the time came on the sixth day, everyone got up and did a little more touring before getting on the bus to head home. Their flight home was a layover, so their first stop was in Orlando for a couple hours before they would make it to BWI. By that time, the students were anxious to be back home and in Mercersburg. 

Late that night after making it to the airport and onto the bus home, the students arrived in the middle of the night with welcoming friends and families waiting upon their arrival. 

With lots of pictures and new friendships, the students will always remember this experience and all hope to do it again with Simchick next year.

October Festivities

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October Festivities

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October Festivities

Back On Track

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Back On Track

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Have you ever felt down and lost in life, or feel like you have lost control?

“Back On Track” is the title of the 2019-20 Marching Band show that focuses on the idea of recovering and getting back on track when life knocks you down.

“My favorite part about the show is the emotional transition before ‘Man of Constant Sorrow,’” said Connor Slemp (9). “It reminds me of going to high school when I gained freedom.”

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with their issues and it is important that you do so you can recover. As the show progresses, the railroad is broken and they put the pieces together to signify overcoming challenges.

“Everyone has struggles in life,” said Teagan Starenchak (10). “Music is something I can use to get through them.”

In the show, prisoners and railroad workers use music to get their mind off of the back-breaking work. Worrying about the issue will often stress a person out so one could use music to find their way.

“My family is based around music so playing music reminds me of good times with them,” said Slemp.
The closer of the show is the song, “I’ll Fly Away,” to show overcoming challenges. It’s much faster and a stronger song than “Down To The River To Pray,” which was in the ballad.

“It generally takes me about a week to get over most things but other things take longer,” said Slemp.

The show expresses a change through many emotions and ups and downs to get to the goal. You just have to push through like a train ready to get back on track and get through it.

“Many times I’ve wanted to give up, but I knew I shouldn’t because there are others who depend on me,” said Slemp.

Life isn’t always easy and when it’s not, you have to keep your mind focused on your goal and stay determined like a train that won’t stop.

New Teachers on The Block

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New Teachers on The Block

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New Teachers on The Block

Activity Period Change

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Activity Period Change

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This year JB started the school year off with new students, new teachers, and a new activity period change. Activity period is now after third period compared to past years where it was at the start of the day.  This has been a major adjustment. Faculty would use this time to prepare for classes and students would use this time to check homework and review for tests. 

Mr. Samuel Dickey (Principal) wanted to get a jump start to the student’s academic day. School doors open at 8:00 a.m.  Because of our geographical area, busses are arriving between 8:00- 8:30 a.m. Homeroom ends at 8:35 and students are off to first period.

Students arriving as early as 8 a.m. have 35 minutes of free time to begin their day, while students who are dropped off closer to 8:30 walk in and have to begin their day right away. Dickey feels the best approach is to have students begin their academic day right away while they are productive and have a positive attitude.

“Sometimes our days took forever to get started,” said Dickey.

There are many mixed feelings about the new change and a lot of adjusting. It’s a new experience for students that were used to the same schedule. 

“I can’t do my work in the morning,”  said Evan Clopper (11).

“I have to come to school now right away,” said Syrus Maldonado (12).

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Some feel that with the new activity period change their day goes by faster; instead of having classes back to back, they can have a break between classes. Others feel having activity period first thing in the morning allowed students to ask teachers questions about homework they were not understanding or finish homework from the night before.

“It gives me a break throughout my periods,” said Johnny Crowe (12).

This has been an adjustment for all faculty and students. “It’s a change that’s open for discussion,” said Dickey.

In the past years, students thought activity period was optional in the morning. People would show up late because they had extra time to relax at home. Students now have to come in on time, since we start classes right away. In hopes, Dickey wants to see kids participating in extracurricular activities.

Dancing Through the Decades

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Dancing Through the Decades

President of Student Council, Sarah Kimmel (12) paints a sign for spirit week.

President of Student Council, Sarah Kimmel (12) paints a sign for spirit week.

President of Student Council, Sarah Kimmel (12) paints a sign for spirit week.

President of Student Council, Sarah Kimmel (12) paints a sign for spirit week.

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Homecoming has been a tradition at James Buchanan High School for many years. For alumni, it’s a time to reminisce. The student body sees it as a time for dancing and pep rallies; however, for a small group of students it’s the busiest time of the year. The Student Council takes on a hefty workload behind the scenes to make sure this grand event runs smoothly. 

“We had a work day right after school ended last year to plan the dance,” said Bella Shupp (11), “We laid out all the details.” 

This year, Homecoming is much earlier than previous years. This put extra pressure on Student Council members to have everything ready on time. Students usually come to the dance and see the decorations, but don’t realize how much work and planning it requires. They had to book the DJ, make decorations, design t-shirts, and plan the pep rally. 

“We put up flyers and made a bulletin board to help spread the word to get participation,” said Timothy Helman (10). 

The theme is “Dancing Through the Decades.” To promote the theme, the bulletin board was decorated with records and retro fonts. For Spirit Week, each day was a different decade starting with the 50s and ending with the 90s. 

“We chose this theme because it is easy for people to participate,” said Helman.

Many people within the school own Converses, scrunchies, and many other things that were popular fashion trends in past decades. This makes it easy to show school spirit and participate throughout the week. The Student Council also wanted to boost school spirit even more; they plan to do this through the pep rally with fun games and songs. 

“The Homecoming candidates will be singing karaoke,” said Shupp, they will also be doing a fashion show with toilet paper.” 

The Homecoming King candidates this year are: Nick Alfree (12), Brady Bigler (12), Dean King (12), Grant Souder (12), and Jacob Troupe (12). The Homecoming Queen candidates are: Kaitlyn Ebersole (12), Lily Faust (12), Ella Heckman (12), Reilly Heinbaugh (12) and Hannah Kimmel (12). 

“All the seniors nominated candidates,” said Shupp. “Then the whole school is allowed to vote for the final King and Queen.”

Typically the football game is on a Friday night and the dance takes place the next day on a Saturday night, but this year the game and dance are all in the same day. Saturday at 1 PM the game starts. At halftime the King and Queen will be announced, then at 7 PM the dance begins. 

“I just hope that everyone has fun at Homecoming. It’s a time to relax and not worry about school,” said Shupp.  

At the end of last school year, members of Student Council congregated together to plan out next year’s Homecoming. Since then, Student Council has been implementing their ideas that were written down on paper into reality. 

 

A Jamboree to the End of the School Year.

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A Jamboree to the End of the School Year.

Playing some jenga, Sadie Garbinski (9), Ashley Alfree (9), Colby Starr (10), and Kaanan Hissong (10) work to not knock down the stack.

Playing some jenga, Sadie Garbinski (9), Ashley Alfree (9), Colby Starr (10), and Kaanan Hissong (10) work to not knock down the stack.

Playing some jenga, Sadie Garbinski (9), Ashley Alfree (9), Colby Starr (10), and Kaanan Hissong (10) work to not knock down the stack.

Playing some jenga, Sadie Garbinski (9), Ashley Alfree (9), Colby Starr (10), and Kaanan Hissong (10) work to not knock down the stack.

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Science Days

The+ap+chemistry+class+poses+for+a+picture+on+the+playground+at+St.+Thomas+Elementary.+Carlee+Jackson+%2811%29%2C+Tanner+Myers+%2811%29%2C+Jordan+Harbold+%2811%29%2C+Alyssa+Blair+%2812%29%2C+Daniel+Corcoran+%2812%29%2C+Trenton+Morgan+%2812%29%2C+Amanda+Sensinger+%2811%29%2C+Dale+MIller+%2812%29%2C+Mackenzie+Saunders+%2811%29%2C+Alyssa+Velasquez-Glant+%2812%29%2C+Kayla+Noll-Bader+%2812%29%2C+Ella+Jones+%2812%29%2C+and+Abby+Carbaugh+%2812%29
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Science Days

The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale MIller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale MIller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale MIller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale MIller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

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The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale Miller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

On May 16 and 17, The AP Chemistry class at James Buchanan High School went to TSD Elementary schools for a Science Days.  During Science Days, the Chem class walked the elementary students through two experiments to get them excited about science.  After the experiments JBHS students related what they did to a real-life problem and showed how scientists solve problems. On Thursday the students went to St. Thomas and Mt. View and on Friday they went to Mercersburg and Montgomery.  

The project was first introduced by the high schools Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty).  She has been taking her AP Chemistry classes to the elementary schools for a little over ten years.

“I think we had a very successful day,”  said Noah Wise (12). “My favorite part was how excited all the little kids got when learning about science.”

Miller got the experiment ideas this year from the teacher’s science convention. During the Toothpaste Challenge, the students had to empty out a bottle of toothpaste and used their problem solving skills to see how much they could get back into the bottle.  

Hunter Gayman (2) and Chloe Shew (2) work together to get toothpaste back into the bottle during Elementary Science Day.

“The toothpaste lab was my favorite to do with the children because it was fun to see them use their imagination to come up with different ideas to get the toothpaste back into the bottle,” said Daniel Corcoran (12).

This was supposed to replicate when scientists have to quickly clean-up spills that can be harmful to the earth, people, or animals.  

The Copycat Challenge was used to show students how scientist are copycats sometimes when it comes to making new inventions.  An example given to the kids was how scientists got the idea of airplanes from animals like birds, butterflies, and bees.

“The copycat lab was my favorite to do with the kids because we had to remember the color wheel and experiment which colors would  show a desired color,” said Owen Stoner (12).

The challenge consisted of the children mixing different food coloring colors to mimic the color of soda.

Colton Pine (2) and Trey Shandle (2) work together to complete the Copycat Challenge on Elementary Science Day.

After the experiments were complete, the students had time to discuss how they were related to science.  They also had the opportunity to ask the high school students any questions they had about high school.

“It was really fun when the students asked us about high school,” said Corcoran. “We were asked questions from “ Is the lunch at the high school good?” to “ What are your plans after high school?”

In the future, Miller has hopes of expanding and continuing the project. Whether it be going to more grade levels or going to the middle school too.  The elementary science days have an impact on the younger kids and can be very memorable throughout the kids educational career.

All Graduates Need is Money!

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All Graduates Need is Money!

Back Row: Emily Gipe (12), Jakob Line (12), Grace Amsley (12), Abby Carbaugh (12), Lindsay Ambrisco (12). Row 5: Cormac Houpt (12), Owen Stoner (12), Noah Wise (12), Maggie Strawoet (12), Chapin Mowen (12), Saige Heckman (12), Shaelyn Kaiser (12), Madison Dorsey (12). Row 4: Harley Rife (12), Kiersten Siko (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Jarrett Iverson (12), Dylane McCardell (12), Bryce Ocker (12), Anna Zimmerman (12), Jackie Wagaman (12), Aria-Jewel Barnett (12). Row 3: Olivia Harmon (12), Cass Martin (12), Kylei Martin (12), Alyssa Blair (12), Dan Corcoran (12), Dale Miller (12), Emily Newman (12), Jared Moquin (12), Gwen Hunt (12). Row 2: Kristen Louder (12), Chelsea Wareham (12), Madi Shupp (12), Michael Newman (12), Lizzie Pittman (12), Dawson Green (12), Emily Palmerchuck (12), Allison Collings (12), Hannah Zomak (12), Kelsi Parson (12). Front: Kendra Martin (12), Emma Gipe (12), Jakob Dorty (12), Alex Horst (12), Shay Fisher (12), Deanna Grove (12), Ashley Grove (12), Hailey Young (12), Amber Clark (12), Kristin Embly (12).

Back Row: Emily Gipe (12), Jakob Line (12), Grace Amsley (12), Abby Carbaugh (12), Lindsay Ambrisco (12). Row 5: Cormac Houpt (12), Owen Stoner (12), Noah Wise (12), Maggie Strawoet (12), Chapin Mowen (12), Saige Heckman (12), Shaelyn Kaiser (12), Madison Dorsey (12). Row 4: Harley Rife (12), Kiersten Siko (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Jarrett Iverson (12), Dylane McCardell (12), Bryce Ocker (12), Anna Zimmerman (12), Jackie Wagaman (12), Aria-Jewel Barnett (12). Row 3: Olivia Harmon (12), Cass Martin (12), Kylei Martin (12), Alyssa Blair (12), Dan Corcoran (12), Dale Miller (12), Emily Newman (12), Jared Moquin (12), Gwen Hunt (12). Row 2: Kristen Louder (12), Chelsea Wareham (12), Madi Shupp (12), Michael Newman (12), Lizzie Pittman (12), Dawson Green (12), Emily Palmerchuck (12), Allison Collings (12), Hannah Zomak (12), Kelsi Parson (12). Front: Kendra Martin (12), Emma Gipe (12), Jakob Dorty (12), Alex Horst (12), Shay Fisher (12), Deanna Grove (12), Ashley Grove (12), Hailey Young (12), Amber Clark (12), Kristin Embly (12).

Kelley Reeder

Back Row: Emily Gipe (12), Jakob Line (12), Grace Amsley (12), Abby Carbaugh (12), Lindsay Ambrisco (12). Row 5: Cormac Houpt (12), Owen Stoner (12), Noah Wise (12), Maggie Strawoet (12), Chapin Mowen (12), Saige Heckman (12), Shaelyn Kaiser (12), Madison Dorsey (12). Row 4: Harley Rife (12), Kiersten Siko (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Jarrett Iverson (12), Dylane McCardell (12), Bryce Ocker (12), Anna Zimmerman (12), Jackie Wagaman (12), Aria-Jewel Barnett (12). Row 3: Olivia Harmon (12), Cass Martin (12), Kylei Martin (12), Alyssa Blair (12), Dan Corcoran (12), Dale Miller (12), Emily Newman (12), Jared Moquin (12), Gwen Hunt (12). Row 2: Kristen Louder (12), Chelsea Wareham (12), Madi Shupp (12), Michael Newman (12), Lizzie Pittman (12), Dawson Green (12), Emily Palmerchuck (12), Allison Collings (12), Hannah Zomak (12), Kelsi Parson (12). Front: Kendra Martin (12), Emma Gipe (12), Jakob Dorty (12), Alex Horst (12), Shay Fisher (12), Deanna Grove (12), Ashley Grove (12), Hailey Young (12), Amber Clark (12), Kristin Embly (12).

Kelley Reeder

Kelley Reeder

Back Row: Emily Gipe (12), Jakob Line (12), Grace Amsley (12), Abby Carbaugh (12), Lindsay Ambrisco (12). Row 5: Cormac Houpt (12), Owen Stoner (12), Noah Wise (12), Maggie Strawoet (12), Chapin Mowen (12), Saige Heckman (12), Shaelyn Kaiser (12), Madison Dorsey (12). Row 4: Harley Rife (12), Kiersten Siko (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Jarrett Iverson (12), Dylane McCardell (12), Bryce Ocker (12), Anna Zimmerman (12), Jackie Wagaman (12), Aria-Jewel Barnett (12). Row 3: Olivia Harmon (12), Cass Martin (12), Kylei Martin (12), Alyssa Blair (12), Dan Corcoran (12), Dale Miller (12), Emily Newman (12), Jared Moquin (12), Gwen Hunt (12). Row 2: Kristen Louder (12), Chelsea Wareham (12), Madi Shupp (12), Michael Newman (12), Lizzie Pittman (12), Dawson Green (12), Emily Palmerchuck (12), Allison Collings (12), Hannah Zomak (12), Kelsi Parson (12). Front: Kendra Martin (12), Emma Gipe (12), Jakob Dorty (12), Alex Horst (12), Shay Fisher (12), Deanna Grove (12), Ashley Grove (12), Hailey Young (12), Amber Clark (12), Kristin Embly (12).

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On May 14, 65 students from James Buchanan High School participated in the Senior Awards Ceremony. At the ceremony, students were given a numerous awards that had varying amounts of money. In total, there was an estimate of $200,000 in awards that were given out to students.

Gavin Barnhart (12) receives a department award from Mr. Thomas Bradley (Faculty).

At the ceremony, 175 awards were offered from the school and local businesses in the area. There were a couple of awards that did not deal with money. Amber Clark (12) received the Violet Clark award in honor of her sister.

“…The person who gets that award is supposed to exemplify everything that Violet stood for and being like a younger sister, that was something that she put onto Amber,” said Olivia Harmon (12).

In order for students to receive these awards, there is a certain criteria that a student must meet to qualify for the award. Things like career path, where a person lives, and GPA all are considered when choosing winners.

“The first main criteria is to fill out the universal application,” said Mrs. Mary Cristofano (Faculty). “[…] We eliminate those who do not fit the criteria, and then we look at the student’s need and how they represent the purpose of the award.”

For some students, getting an award, especially the Glazier award, was something that students were most anxious about. This award gave 17 students $2,361 dollars each.

“Towards the end when they were giving out the Glazier award, I felt nervous because only the top 20 people get it…” said Emily Newman (12).

The amount of money that was given to students will help pay for tuition as well as other necessities for college.

“I will be using my money for board and room because (F&M) gave me a full tuition college scholarship, and it will help pay for my books,” said Kelsi Parson (12).

Mr. Dickey ended the ceremony by acknowledging the students who came and received awards for their achievements throughout high school. With one last cheer, the proud parents of 65 students applaud for the Class of 2019. 

A Louder Finale

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A Louder Finale

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If you went to James Buchanan Middle School, chances are you saw Mr. Gary Louder (Faculty) at least once. The 2018-2019 school year is the last year you’ll see Louder, though. After 35 years in the Tuscarora School District, Louder is retiring at the end of the school year.

As a graduate of Altoona Area High School, he stayed local for his first two years of college. He attended Penn State’s Altoona campus for his first two years, then transferred to the main campus to finish his studies. After graduating from Penn State with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, he first began teaching in Oneonta, New York before returning to his home state to teach for a couple years in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

“After starting my teaching career, I went back to Penn State during the summers and received my Master’s Degree in Music Education,” Louder said.

After leaving Potter County, Louder was interviewed for an opening at JBMS. The opening was for the seventh- and eighth-grade Band director, which he was then hired for. For the beginning of his career at the middle school, that was all that he taught, but as the years progressed, he took on more duties.

“For the past eleven years, I have directed the Middle School Orchestra,” said Louder, “and for the past nine years, the sixth-grade Band.”

Louder conducts the high school Band as they play “Liberty March.”

It’s not just the middle school that Louder teaches at, though. For the past two years, Louder has been teaching elementary band lessons. He also served at the assistant high school band director for seventeen years.

“The Mummer’s Parade and the Apple Blossom Parade are our two big trips for the year,” Louder said. “However, the band also marches at the Mercersburg Halloween Parade and the Mercersburg and St. Thomas Memorial Day Parades, as well as participating in the Homecoming Parade.”

With parades every year and thirty-five years in Tuscarora alone, many memories are made. Louder’s favorite memory with the JBMS Band is when they were selected as the Junior Royalty Parade Honor Band for the 2010 Buckhannon, West Virginia Strawberry Festival. They traveled by coach bus, spent Friday and Saturday marching in parades, and toured the West Virginia University football and basketball venues on the way back.

“Another memorable trip was when the band marched in a 4th of July parade in downtown Washington, D.C., representing Mercersburg as one of the birthplaces of an American president,” said Louder.

Louder has represented Mercersburg in surrounding states, but he’s also active in the musical community of Mercersburg.

“Out of school, I have been director of the Mercersburg Area Community Band for the last 14 years,” Louder said.

Louder speaks during his time on stage.

Once summer rolls around and Louder has officially retired, he will still be directing the Mercersburg Area Community Band. As Louder leaves the school, he offers advice to new teachers.

“Find a school district where you feel comfortable and determine what age group fits your personality and teaching talents,” said Louder.

Alongside his regular summer routine of directing, Louder plans to vacation at the seashore. He also looks forward to having free time to do what he wants, when he wants. However, he also still has duties at home.

“If this summer is anything like last year, I’ll spend the rest of the summer mowing my lawn,” said Louder.

With Louder’s 35 years in Tuscarora School District, plus more in other school districts, he has inspired hundreds of students to continue playing music after they’ve left him at the middle school.

 

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