The Rocket Flame

From Classroom to Stardom

The story behind the musical group whose name is nearly impossible to pronounce.

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Singing, dancing, and everything in between, Messa Voce (met-sä-ˈvō-chā) has been a musical group in the school for decades.


“It started in about ‘79, Mr. Eshleman started it, and it was called ‘Show Choir,’” Mr. Eric Poe (Faculty) said.


The organization practices countless hours throughout the week to ensure their music and choreography are to the best of their ability.


“We have them [practices] second period, and also in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 am,” Allison Collings (11) said.


They perform a few concerts every year, some at the school, during Arts in Action, and their most recent concert held at the Mercersburg Academy.


“They [the Academy] are doing a couple pieces, three or four, we’re doing four pieces, and we’re going to do three pieces together,” Poe said.


It has been a while since the two groups have come together for a concert.


“Before I got hired, Mr. Eshelman did a joint performance with the Mercersburg Academy,” Poe stated.


Poe explained that he had planned to do another performance with the Academy when he started directing Messa Voce, but with the group’s busy schedule, it was put on the backburner until the beginning of this school year.


“I was contacted by Jim Brinson, who is the organist over there,” Poe said. “He also plays the organ for baccalaureate, and in doing that has had a chance to hear Messa Voce the last few years.”


After Brinson heard the group perform, he decided to reach out to Poe.


“So he contacted me and was like, ‘Hey what do you think about doing a joint concert?’” said Poe. “‘I’ve heard your select group come and I think they’re excellent. It’d be really good for our students to sing with other students and kind of branch out, support things in the community, etc.’”


Both singing groups have practiced their songs and will put them together March 23.


“I’m really looking forward to it because it’s in the chapel, which has fantastic acoustics,” Poe said. “Mr. Brinson is going to play the piano for one of the joint pieces, and he’s a very fine accompanist.”


There are countless songs they perform each year, each chosen by Poe.


“They’re all my favorites, that’s why I picked them,” Poe said.


The songs may be a part of the show, but to those involved Messa Voce is more than just the music.


“Messa Voce kind of is my life,” Chelsea Wareham (11) said. “I’ve always wanted to join it since I was a little kid in elementary school, and when I finally came to high school, it gave me a chance to make friends with people that are just like me, and that’s kind of awesome.“

Filed under On Campus, Showcase

Walk Up For a Cause

Going over the powerpoint, Mackenzie Layton (11) explains their cause for doing the Walk Up.

Going over the powerpoint, Mackenzie Layton (11) explains their cause for doing the Walk Up.

Going over the powerpoint, Mackenzie Layton (11) explains their cause for doing the Walk Up.

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Students across the country have taken a stand in what they believe by showing their support to the victims of the Parkland Shooting last month. On Wednesday, March 14, the survivors of the Parkland shooting, along with tens of thousands of other kids across the nation came together for a National School Walkout.

To remember those who lost their lives, Alyssa Blair (11) informs the audience of the students’ and teachers’ lives.


To show support to the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, James Buchanan held a ceremony to honor the students and teachers who lost their lives February 14, 2018.


Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), Kali Rotharmel (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) organized the ceremony during activity period, called Walk Up, Not Walk Out.  Students were able to go to the auditorium and watch a presentation focusing on the 17 lives lost a month before. Each victim had a poster with their name on it as well as a slide to remember their lives. Following this, there was also a moment of silence.

Posters for each of the seventeen victims were taped to the chairs.


Layton, Blair, Barnett, Rotharmel, and Siko organized plans for a walkout throughout social media.


“I went to Mackenzie, and asked her if she could explain the walkout to me when I saw it on Twitter,” Blair said. “She asked if I would be interested in planning and organizing a walkout, here.”


The girls went to the principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty), to discuss their options when it came to walking out of school. He informed them a protest that disrupts the school day could result in disciplinary actions.


“We saw articles about kids getting in trouble, and we wanted to do it in a productive way,” Blair said. “We still wanted to make a difference so we went to Mr. Benedick about it.”


The girls and Benedick worked together to formulate a way to support the Parkland victims but not cause a disruption to the school day. That is when they created the idea of a Walk Up.

To explain their cause, Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) made posters

“We wanted to show that no matter your political view, we could all come together and prevent it from happening again in the future,” Blair said. “We wanted to slowly make a difference in our school.”


The Walk Up was created for students and adults to make a difference in other’s lives, by showing kindness to strangers or people you may not normally talk to.


“The Walk Up isn’t going to end today,” Layton said. “We want it to continue throughout the year and throughout the rest of your lives.”


Students were challenged to walk up to 14 new kids and 3 adults they may not normally talk to, disregarding differences. Students were challenged to walk up to the kid who sits alone and ask him to join your group, to walk up to the kid who never has a partner.


They did not just stop at kids, but also walk up to their teachers and thank them.

In this way, the students of James Buchanan came together to make everyone feel a part of the school community.

Hannah Mellott

Beware of the Ides of March

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There are countless superstitions in which people around the world believe. Some are knock on wood, black cats or birds, Friday the thirteenth, et cetera. There is one superstition that is known for this month: the Ides of March, or March 15. This superstition comes from the events surrounding historical leader Julius Caesar. Throughout March, Mr. Troy Hillwig (Faculty) and his 6/7 period students read the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar to celebrate the Ides of March.


The play, Julius Caesar, was written by William Shakespeare. According to, this term comes from the “ominous warning from the smoothsayer telling Caesar to not go to the capital.” Nowadays, March 15 is known as a solemn day filled with a negative connotation. Patrick Hicks (10) and Kylee Long (10)  do not believe in the Ides of March.


“I think for story-telling purposes that the Ides of March are unlucky for Julius Caesar because it works as a plot device,” Hicks said. “But in general I don’t have any superstitious feelings about the Ides of March.”


“If I lived back then [during Julius Caesar’s time period] maybe I would have believed in the Ides of March, but not really now.” Long said.


Compared to the students, Hillwig has a different opinion on the Ides of March.


I love the Ides of March. In fact, it’s a good day to have a party. I buy into it because that was when Caesar was killed.”

— Mr. Hillwig

As English class begins, Mackenzie Saunders (10), Madison Bailey (10) and Kylee Long (10) get ready to read the play.


William Shakespeare’s writing is more traditional than the writing students are used to today. According to Shakespeare Online, Shakespeare wrote comedies, histories, and tragedies. Julius Caesar is a tragic story about how Julius Caesar “fell” from power. To Hicks, Julius Caesar is pretty easy to follow along.


Julius Caesar is a very interesting story and overall I enjoy it. So far, I like in Act II the speech that Brutus gave about why Caesar must be overthrown and I think it is very powerful,” Hicks said.


There are students who catch on to stories and plays very easily, but for Long, it took some time to comprehend.


“I think that it is kind of confusing, but so far, it has been okay because Mr. Hillwig explains it very well and I think that most of the people in class are getting it,” said Long. “My favorite part in the play is when Cassius was explaining to Brutus why he should battle Julius Caesar for his power.”


To Hillwig, Julius Caesar is very detailed with it’s difficult language. He said that Shakespeare challenges everybody, including his Honors students. “I like for the Honors classes to be able to really analyze and detail the play and it is something that hopefully makes them think about the language and Shakespeare and have a better understanding of the play.”


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Showcasing Their Talent

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After the Christmas concert in December, Mrs. Sheryl Dieke (Faculty), director, and the Orchestra dug deep in the music library to acquire fun music to prepare for both their adjudication and District-Wide Orchestra concert that takes place this month.


The Orchestra will go to South Hagerstown High School to participate in an adjudication on March 13.


There are many other schools that participate in the adjudication. An adjudication is a formal judgement. The Orchestra gets the chance to listen to how other schools play. However, the James Buchanan Orchestra is one of the only schools that participates that is not eligible to advance to Districts or Regionals because it is in Maryland.


This is the Orchestra’s second year participating. The group will leave in the morning and go during the school day to play for a group of judges that will record them and then critique their performance.


“Intonation is just an ongoing thing that just comes with maturity and listening”, said Dieke.


However, Dieke has confidence that this year the orchestra is better prepared.


“Improvement is all the time”, said Dieke. “It’s still things we struggle with that we have to just keep pushing forward on.”


The Orchestra practices every day during second period and works through their music to ensure they are prepared as much as possible in order to receive a good score from the judges.


“We’ve been putting in a lot of hard practice lately,” said Rachel Kimmel (12). “I think it’s sounding pretty good so far.”


Throughout the adjudication, the students go through three different activities.


During the warm-up, the Orchestra will run through music, work out any last-minute details, and prepare for their performance.  


In the presentation area, the orchestra will play their selection of songs that they prepared for the judges.


The judges sit in separate parts of the room so that they aren’t distracting each other as they are judging. They record themselves making comments about the strengths and weaknesses that the Orchestra has while playing. They later give these recordings to the directors so that the students can listen to the judges’ evaluations in order to improve future performances.


Lastly, the Orchestra will go to a sight-reading room. Every student, along with the director is handed a folder. They have a couple minutes to study the music. They can analyze things like the key signature, look for incidentals, and tap out rhythms. However, the students cannot use their instrument to practice the music.


When time is up the director conducts as the students play the piece of music. There is one judge in the room who again, judges and listens as they play and gives direct feedback on how the orchestra sight reads.


“You hear and listen to the tapes but for a judge to actually talk to you, I think that gives you more feedback than just listening to some voice,” said Dieke.


Even though this is their second year participating, there is still going to be some pre-performance jitters, even from the conductor.


“I always take it as, ‘Did I prepare them enough?”” said Dieke. “‘Did I do what I needed to do to make sure that they were ready?’”


Students also experience some nerves as they prepare to play on stage because everything they do is judged. This is different from their normal routine of just playing at their concerts. However, to some, it’s more like a rush of adrenaline.


“I like walking up on the stage right before you play because you get this nice nervous, jittery feeling because there’s judges there,” said Kimmel. “It’s a good nervous, it’s a nervous that you want to do good and play your best.”


Despite the nerves, the orchestra will play at the adjudication and celebrate by ending their busy day out of school with lunch and treats at the Valley Mall.

Ready? Set? Race!

Who Will Cross the Finish Line First?

The teams race from the start line to see who will win the first event.

The teams race from the start line to see who will win the first event.

Sydney Jones

Sydney Jones

The teams race from the start line to see who will win the first event.

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Ready? Set? Go!  Yells Ella Heckman (10) and the teams race off to tackle their first event.  The intensity increases as one teammate after the other races against the other teams to get a point on the board.  Ag Olympics hosted by the Ag department is a favorite for many students each year.  FFA Weeks builds the excitement for the finale on Friday for only one week out of the entire school year.

During FFA Week there are spirit days that lead up to the Olympics.  This year the spirit days consisted of: Camo Day, America Day, Farmer Day, Farm Animal Day, and Blue and Gold Day.  Each day had different criteria based off the theme.  Camo Day you were encouraged to wear any and all camo that you owed.  For America Day wearing an sort of red, white, or blue was fantastic.  Farmer Day you were to dress like a farmer.  For Farm Animal Day you were encouraged to dress like any farm.  Finally, for Blue and Gold Day you could wear any assortment of blue and gold.

“FFA chapters use National FFA Week to share agriculture with their fellow students as well as their communities,” said Adrianna Durboraw (11).

Living in a rural community makes FFA Week so much more important.  This is a way to keep our community together through something the community is good at, farming, and something that everyone loves, fun.  

“We do Ag Olympics to have fun and get the whole school involved.  Everybody in the school gets to watch as teams participate in activities,” said Adrianna Durboraw, “ FFA week is to inform people about agriculture and FFA knowledge.”

This year there were six teams.The teams were Yearbook: Rachel Kimmel, Kirstyn Black, Macey Keefer, and Megan Rummel; The Dream Team: Shane Coursey, Heath Hissong, Cody Saunders, and David Clopper; The 717: Evan Clopper, Logan Miller, Trysten Hensley, and Caleb Wise; The Thrasher: Delanie Black, Madison Hock, Lacy Nolan, and Shayla Plantz; Brothers From Differ

ent Mothers: Moses Goetz, Logan Weaver, Alex Letterman, and Trey Settings; and finally The Teachers: Ms. Fox, Mrs. Swailes, Mrs. Chambers, and Mrs. Miller.  Anyone from the school can make a team and enter into the Olympics.  There is a limit of four people per team and everyone must participate in almost every activity. This year the games consisted of: Hay Bale Tossing, Corn Shucking, Apple Bobbing, Penny in a Haystack, and a Pie Eating Contest.  Each of these activities helps students that don’t have a farming background appreciate the community they live in and the work that they do.

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness,” said Adrianna Durboraw.

The community we live in is full of new agricultural opportunities.  Being able to bring them to school for students to learn while having fun is a rare opportunity.

JBHS Indoor Guard and Percussion: You may now take the floor for Competition

Dylan Poffenberger (10), Jarrett Iverson (11), Ashley Grove (11), Mason Younker (10), Sarah Funk (12), Noah Shank (12), Zach Slodysko (10), Jacob Troupe (10), Deanna Grove (11), and Wesley Walls (12), act the part while performing at Conestoga Valley High School.

Dylan Poffenberger (10), Jarrett Iverson (11), Ashley Grove (11), Mason Younker (10), Sarah Funk (12), Noah Shank (12), Zach Slodysko (10), Jacob Troupe (10), Deanna Grove (11), and Wesley Walls (12), act the part while performing at Conestoga Valley High School.

Dylan Poffenberger (10), Jarrett Iverson (11), Ashley Grove (11), Mason Younker (10), Sarah Funk (12), Noah Shank (12), Zach Slodysko (10), Jacob Troupe (10), Deanna Grove (11), and Wesley Walls (12), act the part while performing at Conestoga Valley High School.

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As the tarp unfolds to cover the wooden gym floor, worn from the multiple ensembles and equipment, the crowd is imagining a beautiful show that will make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. As James Buchanan takes the floor for competition, the crowds’ heads turn when they see: creepy bunnies and prisoners? WHAT? Going into their third year in Keystone Indoor Drill Association (KIDA) bracket, both groups practice twice a week to present their shows “Alice” and “The Noise Inside.”


“The Noise Inside” is the name of this year’s percussion show.  Dressed as prisoners the performers act the part as they would if they were in a real prison. “The Noise Inside” profiles the escape from imprisonment in one’s own mind, accompanied with chains, prison guards, and the words “get out.”


Under the direction of Band Director, Mrs. Sheryl Deike (Faculty), and percussion instructor Mr. Michael Seville (Staff). The percussion is led onto the floor by seniors Sarah Funk, Sean Martin, Noah Shank, and Wesley Walls.


The show starts out with Funk sitting inside a large cage that represents a prison cell. Cast as the stereotypical “scary prisoner,” her is hair teased a million ways, and loud shrieks of laughter come from her as she “tries to break free from all the noises inside her head.”


The percussionist also struggles from the noises, with crazy looks and lots of hair pulling in frustration. In the end, the percussionist are freed from the noises with a final tear of the prison stripes from the main character.

Back Row: Gabriel Bard (11), Cody Izer (10), Zach Slodysko (10), Noah Shank (12), Jarrett Iverson (11), Mason Younker (10), Dylan Poffenberger (10), Jacob Troupe (10), Sean Martin (12), Nathan Walls (11), Wesley Walls (12), Ashley Grove (11), Alex Younker (8). Row 2: Carly Ashway (10), Jynna Kent(11), Faith Mitchell (10), Abby Carbaugh (10), Harley Lane (10), Deanna Grove (11), Elijah Poe (9), Wyatt Mitchell (8), Hayden Mellott (8). Front: Sarah Funk (12).

The percussion has doubled from last year, having a total of twenty-three members. Expanding the grade level, the percussion is accompanied by three eighth graders: Alex Younker, Wyatt Mitchell, and Hayden Mellott.


“I remember the first time in 8th grade that they [the percussion] did a show, I watched them when they came up to the middle school and I thought was the coolest thing ever,” said Mellott. “I got the opportunity in eighth grade to do it, and I knew this was something I wanted to do.”  


Also following the dark and sinister act, the guard presents their version on the song “Her Name is Alice” by Shinedown.


Set in Wonderland, main character Alice, played by Sharlene Hunt (9), is taken by the white rabbits (other guard members) through a delusional enchantment of the mad world. Hunt tries to reach freedom by getting through the door but is taken in captivity by the “hare” raising- supernatural white rabbits.


Starting the show, Hunt is the only one seen on the floor, confused and scared for what’s to come. She then falls as Chelsea Wareham (11), is the first one to kick open the door and the rest of the members follow close behind. With sharp and aggressive movements, the guard portrays the characters to make the audience feel like they are sitting right in a whimsical yet dark world of Wonderland. The guard are led onto the floor by seniors, Pheylan Cooper, Caitlin Heise, and Katlin Shatzer.

Back Row: Chelsea Wareham (11), Pheylan Cooper (12), Kristen Louder (11), Katlin Shatzer (12), Gwen Hunt (11). Front: Caitlin Heise (12), Sharlene Hunt (9), Hannah Zomak (11).

“Evil and intimidating” are the words Caitlin Heise (12) used to describe the show. “The battle of the rabbits against Alice is the main theme.”


With only eight guard members, the team seems to bond like no other. Having communication is the key to any performance, staying in time and counting is what brings the whole show together.


“You’re gonna always consider them (the members) like your family,” said Pheylan Cooper (12) “ I feel like they are all my sisters.”


Under the direction of Rachel Deike (Staff), who is responsible for writing drill and routines for both the weapon and flag line, works each week on improving the show to impress the judges for a higher score at the next competition.


Both groups will be performing in Greencastle on Saturday, Feb. 24, going up against other competitors in their category.


Together, guard and percussion will work to improve their shows, for a high score and rank at the Chambersburg championships taking place for the guard on April 7, and percussion on April 8.

Filed under On Campus

The Battle Between Textbooks and Technology: Who will Win?

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Back in the days when schools were different, students would use textbooks and pieces of paper from their notebook for their classwork. Some schools have started to lean toward technology, instead of using paper as classwork. At James Buchanan High School, there are many students that carry a laptop from class to class and not have to worry about carrying heavy textbooks home all the time because technology has improved over the years, the teaching style of some teachers altered.


“Most of what we do in class is online,” Ms. Nicole Myers (Faculty) said. “For most of our resources, I use Google Classroom to post assignments, I will use Actively Learn as one of our reading sources, and then Membean for all of our vocab.”


For Mr. Matthew Riegsecker (Faculty), he did not have to change his teaching style as much compared to Myers.


“We try to mix things up,” Riegsecker said. “The resources I use varies from the SmartBoard to their Chromebooks, to their textbooks, simulations, notes, projects, etc.”


Technology has improved over the years. Students use technology every single day, whether or not they are in school. Technology has been something that has adapted to everyday life, and now it has been implemented in schools.


“For one thing, technology is really quick,” Myers explained. “If I have one of those spur of the moment ideas, I do not have to run around and have it printed off and copied and stapled. I can push it out from Google Classroom through their Chromebooks.”


“I think that we have a district with a 1:1 initiative where students have Chromebooks. So we are expected to embrace that and also try to implement technology as much as we can,” Riegsecker said.

When classes are using technology, the textbooks tend to be out of sight. Some teachers like the idea of being able to find the textbooks online, while others think that having them in the classroom is still just as good.


“I have one book that I looked at my first year here. I use a couple of resources from it, but anything that’s in that book I can find online at this point,” Myers said. “I don’t like that much about textbooks at this point, but I will use the textbook if I run out of ideas.”


“The textbooks have a consistency in the information that is being presented to the students,” Riegsecker said. “We can all be on the same page as far as the content they are being delivered.”

The generation that kids are growing up in is different compared to the ways of their teachers. Students, on one hand, have a better understanding of what is going on and they have adapted to the way technology is used. Some students prefer having their classwork on paper, while others like the idea of having their classwork on their Chromebooks.


“I prefer the Chromebooks over the textbooks,” Danielle Barnhart (11) explains. “You have so much more information at your fingertips as opposed to carrying and lugging around like five textbooks.”

“I like textbooks because, especially for Math and History, whenever you are using them they are right there and you can flip the pages while you are doing your homework,” said Shaelyn Kaiser (11).  “I feel like our technology can kind of be unreliable.”


As students go from grade to grade, they will have other teachers that have either similar or different teaching styles to other teachers they have had in the past years. Because teachers don’t follow the same teaching styles, students start to adapt to the way teachers teach.


“I like most of the teaching styles,” Barnhart said. “I especially like the Ag classes because they are not exactly lecture style, but instead, they are more interactive.”


“I think that my favorite teaching style is lecturing,” Kaiser said.  “I like listening to things and I tend to listen by ear, which is the way I learn the best. I prefer everything to be physically in front of me because I always know that it [textbooks] is going to be there when I need it.”


Technology plays a role in formulating our future. In the late 1900s into early 2000s, technology was not nearly as complex as what it is now. During these years, teachers were starting to see the technology beginning to develop. When Myers was in college, she did not have the same technology students at James Buchanan have now. She was not taught how to use technology in her classes. It wasn’t until she started teaching at James Buchanan when she finally started to pick up on the idea of using technology within her classroom.


“Now I know more about technology and all that I do with it and I do not know how I would ever go backwards at this point,” Myers said. “Here, we have Chromebooks and we have this and we have that and I would eventually make it all work. I will never look back because it is way better.”

Lessen the Stress- How Prom expenses are still rising and how to keep costs down

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When you are preparing for what could be the most magical night of your high school career, spending any amount is worth the cost for the perfect dress, a limousine, and pristine hair and nails, right?

With Prom season right around the corner, millions of teens across the country are already getting ready for the event. Though most start the search for a dress early  in the spring to ensure they’ll find the perfect one, saving up for that dress starts even earlier.

According to USA Today, the average American family spent roughly $700 on prom in 2017. That’s a $200 increase from the 2016 Prom season, where according to the Alabama Living Media Group the average teen shelled out over $500 on the event.

The average $700 is made up of dresses that can cost upward of $200, and dinner rounding in around $75 per average couple according to Alabama Living. Along with tickets for the dance itself costing teens at the very least another $50, many families look for ways to cut spending expenses on an extravagant night.

One way in which many girls choose to save money is by thrifting a prom dress. Whether buying a used dress from a friend or purchasing one from a second-hand store, both help make Prom just as special while sticking to a budget.

Another way to keep spending low is by DIY-ing your makeup. The average girl spends $35 to get professional makeup done, but with a good bit of practice and help from friends and family, you can create your own personalized and unique makeup look at a much more pocket-friendly price.

Other ways you can cut costs include: doing your own hair can eliminate $50 hair salon bills, and painting your own nails could save you around $30.   

Carpooling to the dance, and having a formal dinner at a friends house before the dance rather than spending another $50 on eating out can both be ways to lower prom costs.

For guys rather than renting a tuxedo, a cost-efficient way to still look your best is by purchasing a nice suit ensemble. You’ll still look sharp and you’ll be able to get more than one night of wear out of it as it can be worn for other future events. For the rest of your outfit, browsing local thrift shops and online sites for lightly used formal wear can help save money while still dressing sharply.

With prom coming up, taking these tips and using other creative ideas can be super beneficial when trying to plan the most memorable night of the year, while trying to have more fun for less.

Filed under On Campus, Showcase

Get Future Ready: Freshmen Career Day

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The most common question you are probably going to be asked in high school: What do you want to do when you grow up? Luckily for the freshmen, they have another three years to decide, but it’s never too soon to start thinking.

For the past five years at James Buchanan, there is a day devoted to the ninth graders to learn about their different options after high school. This day is known as Career Day and it will be taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 20 this year.

“Career Day is an opportunity for all the ninth graders to be exposed to people in our area to ask questions to them about their careers,” said Mrs.Chris Shelley (Faculty) who is in charge of planning Career Day.

Before the event, freshmen have to complete a paper telling Shelley which career clusters they are interested in. They only hear from three different clusters, so what they choose is important. Each student does a list of their top five choices because sometimes some fields are more popular than others.

This day is organized into sixteen different panels each representing one of the sixteen different career clusters. Each panel is thirty minutes long and during that time freshmen are able to ask as many questions as they would like. There are two to four different speakers in each panel that are part of the same cluster, but they do not necessarily do the same job or work at the same place.

“For example in the Health Science Cluster I would have maybe a nurse and then somebody who is a receptionist,” said Shelley.

Both of those careers are in the same career cluster but are completely different jobs with different work environments.

“This is a way to expose kids to a whole variety of different careers,” said Shelley “As well as different businesses in the area.”

Having a variety of people from different careers also lets the students see what careers are available to them with or without a college level degree. Everyone person in the panels could be from a different educational level some could be right out of high school and some could have been in college for eight years to earn their degree.

Each group of speakers will have a student ambassador with them to introduce them to the ninth graders and kick off the questions. The student ambassador will ask starter questions to give the students some ideas on other questions that they might have on the careers.

“Think of questions in advance,” said Shelley when asked what advice she might have for the students coming to Career Day.

Sometimes it is not always easy to come up with questions on the spot, if you have a question with you it will get the conversation flowing quickly. The questions you bring with you may even spark a question in someone else that you may not have thought of. Career Day is to be a day of learning and thinking about the future to get the students to be able to answer the question: What do you want to do when you grow up?

The STEM session.


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Get Knowledge About College

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Preparing to go to college can be a scary and foreign thing for some students. There are many components to take into consideration when applying. For instance: “How am I going to pay for college?” or “How do I know this college is right for me?”

Do not be worried because the College Ambassadors have your back. The College Ambassadors are students at James Buchanan who can help you answer some of these questions and inform you about any options that are available to you.


“The college process can be very complicated,” said Ms. Amy Violante (Faculty). “It’s helpful for students to be able to turn to their peers about any questions they may have about financial aid or applications.”


The College Ambassadors plan events to inform about the college process even more thoroughly. Their biggest event is Decision Day, which celebrates the seniors at the end of the year. The event focuses on their next steps in life, whether it is going into the military, college, or straight into the workforce.


“Decision Day increases the college-going culture,” said Violante. “It’s nice for everyone to see what the seniors are going to do so you can get some ideas.”


Since the school year is coming to an end and the seniors are preparing to graduate, Violante selected a new group of juniors to represent the College Ambassadors. The new ambassadors consist of Kayla Noll-Bader (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Amber Clark (11), Madison Dorsey (11), Ella Jones (11), Mackenzie Layton (11), Cassidy Martin (11), Harley Rife (11), Owen Stoner (11), and Madison Shupp (11).

“I looked for students who had leadership experience and communication skills,” said Violante when describing the selection process of an Ambassador.


Before school on Thursdays roughly every other week, the Ambassadors will meet to discuss what they can do to help others gain knowledge about college and plan their events. During the most recent meeting, they talked about the expectations for College Ambassadors, benefits of being one,, possible activities, and goals of the program.


“My goal as a new Ambassador is to inform my classmates about the college process as best as possible,” said Jones.


If you have any questions regarding college applications, financial aid, anything else, the college ambassadors is the place to go to gain some knowledge.

Filed under Off Campus, Showcase, Sports

Bringing Home the Gold

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To some, snow and the cold are what makes them frown deeply; to others, it is beautiful and inspiring. To Winter Olympic athletes, the snow and cold is their chance to make their country proud; wearing a gold, silver, or bronze medal is what they have worked so hard for.


The 2018 Winter Olympics are underway, and many athletes are skating and skiing into victory. Being held in PyeongChang, South Korea, many nations have collected their best Olympians to compete for the gold.


The tradition of the Olympics has been around since ancient Greece.


Speaking of how the Olympics first originated in 776 B.C. in Olympia, Greece, author Dr. Stephen Instone said, “The Games were an attractive means of getting men fit. Another factor is the traditional Greek view that the gods championed a winner, so by establishing a competition aimed at producing supreme winners, they were thereby asserting the power and influence on humans of the supreme god, Zeus.” In the beginning, the games were mostly racing but eventually led into other sports that we know today, such as boxing and wrestling.


The Winter Olympics came not too shortly after the first modern-day Olympics.


When the Olympics reappeared in 1896, according to the History Channel, there were no winter sports included like today. The History Channel said, “Germany planned a Winter Olympics to precede the 1916 Berlin Summer Games, but World War I forced the cancellation of both.”


Eventually, Scandinavians, who already had a winter sports competition called the Nordic Games, agreed to stage an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sanctioned International Sports Week.


It was so popular among the 16 participating nations that, in 1925, the IOC formally created the Winter Olympics, retroactively making Chamonix the first,” said the History Channel.


During the 2018 Winter Olympics, there have been several new things occurring, such as giving stuffed animals in place of medals.


The keepsake that rewards Olympic medalists this year is a white tiger named Soohorang, the mascot of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics,” said author, Sara Begley. Adding on, Begley explains how there is a ceremony held where winners receive their medals later on.


2018 Olympics continue to develop new circumstances with the arrival of North Korea’s cheerleaders in the midst of the world’s nuclear tension with the country.


The cheerleaders have been praised as human olive branches, a preliminary way to ease tensions during the current nuclear crises. They have been criticized as singing, dancing spearheads of a strategic North Korean propaganda campaign at the Games,” said author Andrew Keh.


Several American Olympians have already won gold.


17-year-old Red Gerard made it through the swirling winds to capture the United States’ first gold medal of the 2018 Olympics,” said Jennifer Earl and Kaitlyn Schallhorn. “At 17, Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal during the Winter Games.” Following these two athletes, there was Jamie Anderson, Shaun White, and Mikaela Shiffrin.


The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang is giving Olympians the chance to win for their country, just as the Summer Olympics do. Many people are gathered around TV screens, laptops, and some in the actual stadiums, cheering and hoping for the victory these athletes are aiming for. Still, have a ways to go, the games take place until Feb. 25, and then the Paralympics occur Mar. 9-18.

To Sail or Sink?

Though the Titanic may have sunk over 100 years ago, it will be sailing once more at James Buchanan High School.

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The school’s Drama Club will be performing the musical, Titanic that originally debuted on Broadway in 1997. The Broadway performance was nominated and then later came to win five Tony Awards, including “Best Musical” and “Best Score”.


“This is not the movie Titanic’. The musical Titanic is not going to feature a Jack or Rose,” Logan Williams (11) said. “It is going to be a more about the historical values of the Titanic. We are going to be portraying real characters that lived on the Titanic and have died.”

Nearly everyone in the cast is named and is based on a real person who sailed on the Titanic.


“I play Harold bride, wireless operator with Marconi International Marine Signal Communication Company, Limited,” Williams said.


Though knowing who their character really is may help, there can be some difficulties.


“The most challenging part of performing is trying to be this character that you’re not,” Williams said. “You have to set aside yourself and you have to put on this disguise, this facade, of someone else, and you have to be that person on stage.”


Sydney Jones
Thrilled to be on board, Logan Williams (11) and Allison Collings (11) point out seagulls on the RMS Titanic.


The Drama Club has changed course in the past couple of years.


“In the past with James Buchanan High School Drama Club, I’ve been in Is He Dead, ‘Jekyll and Hyde, and a couple of Cabarets,” Williams said.


This change in direction can be correlated with the change in directors. Mr. Luke Surgeon and Mrs. Kristin Zimmerman became the directors of the Drama Club in 2015.


“He [Luke] was actually in charge the year before that for Little Women that would have been three productions ago, four years ago,” Zimmerman said. “But then the year after that, I had the opportunity to be able to do this. I said, ‘How would you like an assistant?‘ He said, ‘I think that’ll work,’ and the rest is history.”


They have worked on two productions together, and have hosted some Cabarets as a fundraiser for the Drama Club, but haven’t attempted anything like this.


“The story is such an epic, tragic story that just is really interesting to a lot of people, so that should be at the big draw for us, which is good,” Zimmerman said.


The students have put in nearly as many hours a week as sports teams in the school.


“We get nine hours of practice a week, which is crazy for something like this,” Zimmerman said. “But I think a lot of prep work goes in on students behalf outside of rehearsal too. Clearly, people work on lines and songs, not in here, or else it would not work. So it’s important that people are prepared before they come in.”


The dedication needed for the cast and crew is what makes the show come together.


“It’s definitely an undertaking for three nights, and then it’s just over,” Zimmerman said.


Not only are emotions high for the ending of the performance, but remembering the tragedy they are performing is another dismal feature.


“Once you remember that these were real people, and that this really happened to these people, that’s like a whole other aspect of it to me,” Zimmerman said. “So it’s neat to act through something that’s real, which is new for us.”


The Titanic sets sail March 16, 17, and 18 at James Buchanan High School, with Williams, Zimmerman, and the rest of the cast and crew.

The Student News Site of James Buchanan High School