The Rocket Flame

Rockets Catching the Dub for School Spirit


Emma Gipe

Cass Martin (12) and Hannah Kimmel (11) lip sync their portion of the Lip Dub project as Austin Thomas (10) films and Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty) carries a speaker with the music.

On Tuesday May 7 the faculty and students at James Buchanan High School showed what being a Rocket is all about during their morning activity period.  Students in Mr. Kevin Gustafson’s (Faculty) Sports and Entertainment Marketing classes planned a Lip Dub in which the whole school participated. Every club, sports team, student and faculty member were shown off in the lip-syncing video.

Students in the class stayed after school Monday to decorated the halls with balloons, streamers, and posters sporting our school colors and cheering on the Rockets to show off during the video. Also, most students wore green and white to show school spirit, representing their various organizations.

“Coach G had the idea last year and showed us a couple of different schools doing lip dubs, which made us decide to plan our own,” said Madison Bailey (11).

The Lip Dub project showcased clubs like National Honors Society, Foreign Exchange Club, Work Co-Op, and sports like Football, Softball, Baseball, and Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis. 

Many people helped plan the Lip dub to make it run as smoothly as possible. Each club or sport was assigned to an area in the hallway. As a mashup of popular songs played over the loudspeaker of the school, students from Gustafson’s class filmed each club and sports team.

“We had to first start with songs,” said Bailey. “Considering what songs were the most popular and unblocked from the United States on YouTube.”

A map of where the clubs and sports teams were supposed to stand helped keep everything organized. A designated singer was assigned to certain areas in the school that walked through as each song played.

Kelley Reeder
Austin Thomas (10) and Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty) pose for a photo after the third run of the Lip Dub Project on Tuesday. Austin was behind the camera and Mr. Gustafson had a speaker to play the music.

“Most of the student body was involved,” said Trenton Bradley (12). “We welcomed all clubs and sports teams to participate and we trusted them with the freedom to do their own act.”

There was even an activity period where everyone spent time practicing for the Lip Dub to work out some small kinks before the actual video was filmed.

“We even timed all the different switches between hallways and turns and began to place clubs in their different areas on the map,” said Bailey.


After all the clubs and sports were featured in the Lip Dub, everyone sprinted to the gym for a miniature pep rally where teachers and students did the wave and cheered. The drum line also pepped up the crowd for the video while the basketball team dunked to show our school spirit as a grand finale in the Lip Dub.

The Sports and Entertainment Marketing Class is now working on the editing process. They have to put all the clips together and add the music to make the final product.

“Expect to see the Lip Dub within the following weeks of filming,” said Bradley. “Definitely before the end of the 2019 school year.”

When the finished product of the Lip Dub project arrives, the James Buchanan student body will see all the work, planning and editing put in to make this happen.

“It was a lot, but between the two Sports and Entertainment Marketing classes and students, it became a huge success,” said Bailey.



          Inventing the Future: One Mouse Caddy at a Time


          Erin Martin

          Maggie Strawoet (12) and Jade Wolfe (11) stand by their table presenting their invention at one of the competitions.

          Students from Mrs. Erin Martin’s (Faculty) classes have put their brains together to hatch up a plan for an invention. They will then compete in a competition for entrepreneurship and inventions. During these competitions, many different ideas and inventions are competed for a prize. The “Mouse Caddy” has gotten Jade Wolfe (11) and Maggie Strawoet (12) through many rounds of judges and more to come.


          “We created the Mouse Caddy, which is a device that attaches to the backside of your laptop screen to hold your cordless mouse,” said Strawoet.


          Their invention has been exhibited at a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Competition in New Oxford, PA. Also, Wolfe and Strawoet put together a business plan which explains its purpose and expenses of the Mouse Caddy. The business plan has gotten through the first step at Lock Haven and will be sent higher up to state-level.


          “We started brainstorming idea for our product and beginning the planning period around the end of September,” said Wolfe. “We really started to focus on designing and building since November and have continued to work on it since then.”


          The work that goes into this project reflects the students’ creativity and how to make their ideas come to life. Students had to not only invent their creation but also formally express it and put it into words.


          “We have created 2 display boards, a PowerPoint, a video or commercial, and a 1,000 word paper,” said Strawoet. “We also created multiple prototypes of our Mouse Caddy out of silicon, thermoplastic, and a 3D printer.”


          Erin Martin


          A panel of judges then grades the invention which determines if it advances on to the next level in any of the competitions.


          “It depends on what competition it is, but usually the judges grade us off of some type of rubric,” said Wolfe.


          On top of impressing the judges, they also face the competition from students from other schools that compete with their inventions. It gives them a chance to see what they are competing against, and what other cool inventions are being created.


          “My favorite I’ve seen would have to be this magic mirror a group did,” said Strawoet. “It was basically a smart mirror because it had the time and the weather and all these cool features.”


          Putting their heads together has helped them improve and continue to get better as they attend more and more competitions to compete with their inventions.


          “Jade and I also have been able to work very well as a team. We know our deadlines and when things need to get done, we get it done,” said Strawoet. “We have worked well together throughout these competitions. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that is something that will help us win these competitions.”


          By using their skills to work together and successfully present their ideas to judges, these competitions have given the students plenty of opportunities to open up and get out of their comfort zone.


          “I’ve really learned public speaking and also problem solving,” said Wolfe.

          All the way since September, Strawoet and Wolfe have perfected their prototypes and ideas, but what is the end result? What is in it for them?


          “Prizes depend on the competition we’re going to. Some are Amazon gift cards, and some are just money,” said Strawoet. “Normally there is some type of trophy or plaque”.


          Wolfe and Strawoet are using their skills to continue competing in various other competitions. On March 28 and 29, Wolfe and Strawoet travel to Bloomsburg and then the State College.


          They also have the opportunity to go to Harrisburg to the State Capitol where they will just present their products and try to sell them. Wolfe and Strawoet will continue to compete with the Mouse Caddy at many other competitions in the future.


          Ag Olympics Get Students and Faculty MOOving

          From blue and gold day to kissing cows, the FFA had a very eventful week. As the week went on with different dress up days they all led to the big event that everyone looked forward to: The Ag Olympics. This photo gallery gives and inside look of what happens when cows and hay bales are involved. Students and faculty participate in various events to test their strength and determination to beat the other teams. This (sometimes) friendly event gets the student body on their toes to see which teacher raised the most money and will kiss the cow and who will win the Ag Olympics.

          Winter Skincare

          When you step outside into the cold, dry air, you can suddenly feel its chilling effect on your skin. The winter’s cold air has little moisture compared to the rest of the year; therefore, it’s important to not forget to give the gift of moisturizer and other products to your skin this season.


          As the weather gets colder and your skin starts to attempt to adjust, you may notice some changes in your skin. Altering your daily skincare routine may be needed in order to get your skin back to its natural healthy glow.


          “I have a charcoal face wash that I wash my face with every day at both morning and night,” said Gwenhvier Hunt (12).”Then, I use witch-hazel as a toner and a Neutrogena spot treatment. Lastly, I use rose water to hydrate.”


          Your skin has its own personality, so daily routines may vary depending on whether your skin is naturally dry or oily. However, seasonal change also causes your skin to adjust. With the cold and dry air, your skin may start to dry up, peel or become red and itchy.


          “My skin gets really dry and breaks out more than normal in the winter time,” said Mallory Peck (11). “I make sure I cut down on how often I wash my face because the air is already dry enough, and I make sure I apply extra lotion so it stays hydrated.”


          Your hands are also more prone to become dry and crack open. Carrying around a small bottle of lotion may be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing splitting skin.


          There are many products that can help ease the pain and inconvenience of dry skin or even just make your skin look and feel more healthy.


          “I really like witch-hazel because it’s the most natural toner that you can get,” said Hunt. “Also, it just really works.”


          Also, even though Christmas cookies and candy are a must around Christmas, what you eat and drink could also have a pretty big impact on your skin’s health this season.


          “I definitely know what I eat affects my skin,” said Peck. “Cutting down on the sugar does wonders for me.”


          The skin is the biggest organ of the body. It covers your whole body from head to toe. It protects your other organs from harm and also helps regulate your body temperature. That being said, taking care of your skin this winter season is like a thank you for all that it does for you.


            10 Ways To Make Your Christmas Season Sleigh

            After all the turkey and stuffing is gone, and 95.1 immediately begins playing Christmas music, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit. You can finally crank up “Jingle Bells” and decorate your tree with no judgment of celebrating “too early.” There are many little things you can do to make your Christmas season as festive as possible.


            Hershey Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA is a 2-mile drive through about 600 different displays of animated Christmas lights. As you drive through the winding  path, you can tune your radio to the special station that corresponds to the dancing and twinkling lights.

            Hershey’s Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA.

            Another way to enjoy the Christmas season is to take advantage of the deals when it comes to holiday shopping. Many stores have special promotions going on for buying lots of gifts. Malls and stores are decorated for the season and luring shoppers in with their sales and festive music. Locally, many people go to the Valley Mall or the Hagerstown Premium Outlets to do their holiday shopping.


            Immediately after Thanksgiving, the upbeat and happy Christmas music begins to play which makes it obvious that it’s time for the holidays and to celebrate. Listening to Christmas music is a central idea in the holiday season.


            “Listening to Christmas songs makes me enjoy this season so much because it just warms my heart how happy everyone gets,” said Lizzie Pittman (12).


            One prominent thing in the holidays is shopping for a Christmas tree. Picking out a live Christmas tree is a unique experience when it comes to just getting an artificial tree out of a box every year.


            “Finding the perfect Christmas tree with my family really puts me in the holiday spirit,” said Nathan Walls (12).


            Another idea is ice skating. Locally, you can go to the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex and lace up a pair of ice skates. Admission is $5.00 and skate rental is $2.00.


            “I really enjoyed going  ice skating my first time”, said Marlee Barry (12), “I liked it so much I actually once thought about taking lessons”.


            Many locals in our area also spend time at Whitetail Ski Resort throughout the winter season, whether it’s time spent working, skiing, snowboarding or tubing. Whitetail has not yet opened for the season but will soon begin making snow for lots of skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.


            Around this time is when many family members and friends give and receive gifts from one another. Many people participate in “Secret Santa” gift exchanges. Names are drawn out and you must get a gift for that person and keep it a secret until you exchange gifts.


            “Secret Santa is a great way to celebrate the holiday because of the suspense and excitement it creates by not knowing who is surprising you”, said Emily Gipe (12).


            Student Council also holds the annual Food Drive for the holiday season where students can bring in non-perishable canned goods to donate to families in need. The competition that takes place between the homerooms to win the prize gets lots of students participating.


            There are also many other ways to donate back to the community during the holidays. Many “Toys for Tots” boxes and local shelters and organizations are in need of donations.


            “We should all aspire to help others because helping other should be a part of your life,” said Mallory Peck (11). “Seeing someone else happy and know you were able to make that happen in some sort of way is one of the best feelings.”


            Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies are another way add to the holiday season. Many people bake treats to share with friends and family as a miniature present and a way to enjoy each other.


            “My family always has a cookie bake day where we all get together at my great aunt’s house to eat lunch, bake cut out cookies, make a craft, and just have a good time in everyone’s company,” said Elena McNulty (11).


            Memories and traditions made this time of year become annual and a special part of many people’s Christmas.


            “My favorite tradition is playing Hershey Kiss Oven Mitt Relay Race at my Nana’s house after dinner,” said Harley Rife (12). “We put on oven mitts and try to unwrap a Hershey Kiss. When everyone on your team unwraps their candy, they get to open gifts first and also receive a mystery gift.”


            When it’s time to relax by the Christmas tree, make sure you include watching lots of Christmas movies. This time of year, many TV channels and apps like Netflix have a wide selection of Christmas movies to enjoy with your families. Some movies to watch on Netflix are How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Princess Switch, The Christmas Chronicles, and A Christmas Prince.


            “All my family watches Hallmark Christmas movies the entire day of Christmas Eve in our matching pj’s and then we make home made cookies for the younger ones to put out for Santa,” said Kali Rotharmel (12).


            Many memories can be made and fun can be had while doing activities during Christmas. You can spend time enjoying the weather and seasonal activities, but always remember the real reason for the season and what it means to you.


              Are You College-Ready?

              It’s crunch time for the Class of 2019. Many seniors are in the midst of completing college applications toward their next step in education for the start of 2019-2020 school year. To lend a helping hand, James Buchanan’s College Ambassadors have organized workshops to help with any unanswered questions that students might have.


              The first two workshops focused on the important topics of the FAFSA and The Common Application, which can both be crucial steps when applying to colleges.


              “The college application process can be quite overwhelming,” said College Ambassador, Harley Rife (12). “These workshops don’t just provide answers to specific questions, but they also allow seniors to see how they can make the process less overwhelming.”


              Ambassadors were split up into four groups to collect information and study up on various topics that they then would present to college-bound members of the student body.


              “My group’s topic was on writing admissions essays, and I have learned a lot about what to write about and what colleges are looking for,” says Rife.


              The student-to-student perspective is a change from just the average meetings with your assigned guidance counselor. This experience gives students a chance to interact with other classmates who can relate since they are going through the same process.


              “Sometimes with the counselors, students feel like they have to ask questions, or that they have to take extra time from their school day to ask one simple question,” said Rife, ”So students are encouraged to ask College Ambassadors and other students their questions.”


              The counselors, Mrs. Brenda Ford (Faculty), Mrs. Lynn Troutman (Faculty) and College Advisor Ms. Amy Violante (Faculty) help guide the ambassadors in the right direction to help other students.


              “The support of Mrs. Troutman and Ms. Violante really motivated me,” said Rife. “So now we’re trying to spread the motivation.”


              The final workshop will take place in Room 101 on Nov. 2 and will discuss interview and acceptance processes.


              “I hope students gain knowledge of the topics, but, more importantly, encouragement,” says Rife. “Encouragement to do their best and try their best on all of their essays and applications.”


              As time starts winding down to the beginning of the 2019 school year, the numerous applications and SAT’s will show their significance in the college application process.


              “Everyone is capable,” says Rife. “It’s just a matter of putting in the time and getting the ball rolling.”

                Behind the Throne


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


                Are You Guilty of Distracted Driving?


                Emma Give

                Joel Feldman wears bracelets honoring many boys and girls who lost their lives to distracted driving. Each bracelet has its own story that Mr. Feldman sees when he looks at his wrists.

                On Monday, May 7, Mr. Joel Feldman presented the importance of being a safe and alert driver to the James Buchanan Faculty and students. He used his own personal experiences to leave a lasting impact.


                Being a distracted driver could be dangerous to yourself and others around you. Being on cell phones, eating, looking out the window, and even changing the radio station can make you a distracted driver.


                Emily Palmerchuck (11), who is a teen driver, admits to sometimes being a distracted driver, even when she tries not to.  


                “My parents like to know where I’m going and when I’m leaving places,” said Palmerchuck. ”So if I forget to text them before I leave, I’ll call them or text them using the voice recognition.”


                Throughout Feldman’s presentation, he explained that car accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers and that distracted driving is no joke. He used videos and statistics to make everyone see his points.


                “I think he reinforced ideas and opinions that I already had and really showed the importance of not being distracted,” said Palmerchuck. “Even if you’re doing things that you don’t think distract you, like talking on a cell phone instead of texting.”


                Feldman also expressed caution to passengers of distracted drivers. He stressed the importance of using “I messages” when confronting drivers about your safety. For example, tell the driver, “I feel uncomfortable when you text and drive.”


                “The part that impacted me the most was when he asked, “Would you tell your friend and family?” said Palmerchuck. “On your own you can do it, but sometimes it’s harder to tell your friends because you don’t want to upset them.”


                Another eye opener of Feldman’s presentation was his personal experience concerning the death of his daughter, Casey Feldman. Casey was killed at the age of 21 by a distracted driver who hit her as she was crossing the street. Mr. Feldman shares her story to raise awareness to people all over the world.  


                To honor Casey and help stop crashes and deaths of distracted driving, her parents created The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation. Mr. Feldman also passed out pink and black bracelets to students at James Buchanan to remind them of Casey’s story and to always drive safe.


                Many people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving but the real question is: what will it take to make it stop?


                Palmerchuck says, “ From the things we’ve listened to, read, and seen, we know nothing is important enough to injure or kill someone because you’re distracted.”


                Taking a Closer Look at Prom 2018


                Madi Dorsey

                This year’s Prom tickets are rubber keychains that look like wood to represent the “Enchanted Gardens” theme.

                Junior Class Officers are preparing for one of the most PROMinent events of the year! Many aspects must be thought out to make the event go smoothly and successfully, ensuring everyone has a good time and a night they will remember forever.


                This year’s Prom will take place on May 19 at Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle from 7-10 P.M. Tickets are now on sale through April 27 and prices are $35 for a single and $60 for a couple.


                Officers Alyssa Blair (11), Chesney Carbaugh (11), Madi Dorsey (11), Shaelyn Kaiser (11), and Tori Hutchison (11), have always held meetings to agree on decisions for events and fundraising. As juniors this year, they will put together the Prom.


                “We’ve been preparing since spring of last year so I feel like we’ve been doing a pretty good job at getting everything together,” said Kaiser.


                A big aspect of prom is the theme. The theme is the story that decides what the decorations, food, tickets, and favors will look like.


                “The theme is Enchanted Gardens and it’s going to be really pretty,” said Dorsey. “We’re going to have a lot of flowers and lights. We’re hoping that it turns out to look very enchanted.”


                The officers spent a chunk of their time flipping through big prom magazines that companies send them filled with theme ideas. They all had to come to agree on a theme that would be fun and fit with the venue.


                “We were actually thinking of a Starry Night theme,” said Kaiser. “But since Green Grove Gardens already has a nice garden theme on the outside, we thought it would correlate very well with the inside.”


                A lot goes on when prepping for the big event. It is not all just simply picking and choosing. Officers must keep a budget, time, and what students will like while making decisions. They want to make the prom look nice but still keep tickets affordable so students want and are able to attend.


                “It’s difficult to stay within the budget sometimes because we want certain things but the expense might be too large so we have to work around it,” said Kaiser. “We’re doing the best we can to keep the tickets cheaper because I know that was a complaint last year.”


                With the help of the junior class doing multiple fundraisers since their freshman year, including Joe Corbi, Yankee Candle, Fisher’s Popcorn, and Krispy Kreme donuts, ticket expenses will be lower and more money can be added to the budget.  


                “There’s a lot of stress that goes on behind the scenes. You have to talk to decorators, multiple decorators, so you can see who has the best price for what you want,” said Dorsey. “Also, you have to think about what you want and agree on it with your other officers and that’s kind of hard because we all have different tastes.”


                Despite different tastes, the junior class officers met in the middle to decide on the best choices for an enjoyable prom that will be remembered by students for a lifetime.

                Sprinting Into Spring

                As warm weather approaches and the sun begins to shine, spring sports make their debut for the 2017-2018 school year. Track & Field has just kicked off their season by beginning their routine of after-school practices and workouts.


                This years’ Track & Field team is led by Coach Jason Cotton, with help from assistant coaches, Mrs. Breanna Grove (Faculty), Mr. Kyle Grove, Mr. Jerome Staniszewski, and Mrs. Kelly Shindle.


                Last year the Boys’ Track team was undefeated and named the Mid Penn Colonial Division champions. Working together both the boys’ and girls’ teams went 6-6 and scored over 8,000 points. However, this is a new year and as the season kicks off, and so does the hard work.


                “I feel confident and excited for this season,” said Marlee Barry (11). “Even though we have a smaller amount of people.”


                Each individual person on the team is responsible for earning points to win the meet. However, working as a team, no matter how small, is still important to be successful in this sport.


                “Team bonding is very important,” said Barry. “When you have a good bond with your team, you know that they will always be there to help you out.”


                To prepare for meets, students go down to Rocket Stadium to the track every day to work with coaches and other teammates in order to get ready for the events they participate in during meets. During practice, they do stretches, a warm-up run, and then break up into groups to work on their event.


                With the workouts, the team members physically prepare their bodies to get back in shape for the season. They spend time doing vigorous ab and leg workouts to strengthen their bodies, along with spending time in the weight room to build more muscle. They also learn correct techniques to be successful in their event.


                “They teach us how to run so that we increase our speed to run faster and start off really fast,” said Alyssa Young (9).


                For some, track season is continuous. Many students work during the offseason to stay physically prepared and keep their endurance up.

                “It’s really important to stay active,” said Barry “If you continue to work, you can only get better.”


                Students do not only want to earn points for their team at meets, they also are trying to improve themselves and their times to carry on their shoulders throughout each season.


                “I really want to improve my running times and break my personal records,” said Young.


                The track team has their first scrimmage tonight, Monday, March 19 at Rocket Stadium directly after school.


                Although it’s just the beginning of the season, preparations and practices have begun for the James Buchanan Track & Field team. Sooner than later, beautiful days will be spent sprinting, jumping, and shot putting all the way to victory.

                  Showcasing Their Talent

                  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.

                    Freshmen Royalty

                    Every year the high school welcomes a group of freshmen. Each class must nominate class officers to be in charge of fundraising and planning events for their class. They remain officers throughout their high school career. Recently, the class of 2021 voted for the individuals who they wanted to fulfill these positions.


                    Students can run for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. This year’s President is Jackson Dorty (9), Vice President is Meredith Iverson (9), Secretary is Hunter Scofield (9) and Treasurer is Justyce Ryder (9). The class advisors are Ms. Nicole Myers (Faculty) and Ms. Danielle Simchick (Faculty).


                    The candidates used different tactics to campaign in order to persuade classmates to vote for them rather than the other opponents that were running for the same position.


                    “Meredith and I “ran” together.” said Dorty, “We posted pictures and tried to get people to vote for us. “


                    They used social media like Snapchat in order reach many students in the school, and to draw in voters. Supporters of Dorty and Iverson shared their campaigns on Snapchat. Then like a chain reaction, their campaign was spread to the entire school.


                    “I have never ran for a student officer position before and it can kind of get stressful during the election because you don’t know if you’re ahead of your opponent or if you are trailing your opponent.” said Scofield.


                    The candidates worked together to rack up votes from their fellow classmates. However, the competition was easy for some and more intense for others. Some had to use their best campaign skills to try to out beat their opponents to win their position as an officer.


                    “It was definitely not easy, but I applaud my competitors for giving it their all.” Iverson said.


                    On the other hand, some claim they had an easier fight than others.


                    “I will say that it was not as tough as I thought it would be, but I’m happy that I stayed with it and became the secretary for the class of 2021” said Scofield.


                    A total of 10 students ran in the election.


                    When they are in office each person has a specific role that they play. Each officer does different jobs but they have to meet in the middle sometimes to get the task at hand completed.


                    The president is in charge of running meetings and will sometimes talk to the whole class about fundraisers and other events. The vice president supports the president, helps make decisions, and helps run meetings. The secretary records and takes notes during the meetings. The treasurer signs all withdrawal and deposit forms, collects and counts fundraiser funds, and writes receipts for cash payment that they have received.


                    Considering these tasks, what drove each officer to run for their position? They all have a reason on why they accepted the challenge of being a class officer.


                    “I really wanted to make sure that our class was set off on a good foot and everything went well,” said Iverson.


                    Some of the officers also are involved in activities that made them more fitting for the jobs that they must do as an officer.


                    “I thought the things I had to do as a secretary was a perfect position for me because with me being in Boy Scouts, I do most of the stuff that my position asks me to do,” said Scofield.


                    The team of officers are focused on making important decisions to benefit the future of the Class of 2021. The officers have many plans to help the class succeed. They must focus on raising enough money to have a good junior-sponsored prom and senior class trip.


                    “My plan is to hopefully help our class’ high school years to be memorable and fun, but educational,” said Ryder, “My goal is to have our class really push with the fundraisers so we are able to do more with our dances and/or senior trip.”


                    With difficult decision-making comes difficulties with coming to a consensus. The officers must not only try to agree with each other but also compromise with the entire Class of 2021. The advisors also help guide them in the right direction.


                    The Class of 2021 has already begun to start their journey to reach their goals. They just finished their Sunnyway Pretzel Sandwich fundraiser. As a whole, the class raised $2,337 from this fundraiser.


                    Each member will gain more experience as they go from freshmen to seniors in their officer positions. This is just the beginning for the freshman class, and they hope to make it a good four years by putting their best foot forward.

                      Orchestra Welcomes the Christmas season with a “Cello”

                      After all of the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes have been eaten, all the pumpkins are carved and the leaves are done falling and changing colors, with all of these signs, we know a new season is quickly approaching: Christmas time! However, this is old news for the James Buchanan High School Orchestra.


                      Director Mrs. Sheryl Dieke (Faculty), and the Rocket Orchestra have been preparing for the Christmas season since the beginning of this school year. In September, the students received some of the selections of music that could be featured in the Christmas concert.


                      The orchestra’s Christmas Concert will take place in the high school auditorium on Dec. 16 at 3:00 p.m.


                      From the time the Orchestra received the music, they have worked and practiced every day during second period to perfect it.


                      “They just have a lot of basics under control” said Dieke. “They sight read phenomenally and understand key signatures very well.”


                      All violins, violas, cellos and bass must break the music down measure by measure with their sections to play their parts in the music successfully to be prepared to perform it for the concert. Each instrument plays an essential role in the orchestra because they all bring the piece of music together with their various parts.


                      “Being that we have put it into a classroom situation where we’re practicing every day, rather than hit and miss during an activity period, the only direction to go is up,!” said Dieke. “And the students prove that every day!”


                      Megan Hoffeditz (12), the Orchestra’s only viola player, has been playing since the fourth grade. She believes practicing is a crucial. She has also learned what it takes to get through difficult pieces and to succeed as the only viola.


                      “Just sitting down, playing through it really slow, working out the notes and then speeding it up as time goes on,” helps her explained Hoffeditz.


                      During second period, the students have been working on a variety of songs including “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Babes in Toyland,” “Ukrainian Fantasy,” “Sleep, Holy Babe,” and “The Christmas Waltz.” Practice is important to the orchestra, because they want to make sure everyone is able to play their part.


                      Lana Donahue (12) has been playing the violin for 8 and 1/2 years. She is first chair violin in the orchestra. She has learned what tips and tricks it takes for her to overcome difficult parts in the music.


                      “I play by ear so I mostly search the music online.” said Donahue. “Then I listen to it and I go home and I can just put earphones in and I just play the music by itself.”


                      There are also students who work on the music during their own time because they didn’t have enough room in their schedule to fit in Orchestra throughout the day. For the concert, both groups come together to play.


                      With a variety of music pieces comes a variety of difficulty. Pieces are rated for difficulty by grades. The grades range from 1-7, with 1 being the least and 7 the most difficult. The highest grade the Orchestra will be playing is a grade 4 piece called “Wizards in Winter.” The piece is by Paul O’Neill and Robert Kinkel and arranged by Bob Phillips. The song has many sixteenth notes and changes fastly from playing “arco,” or with your bow, to “pizzicato,” or plucking the strings with your fingers.


                      “Lots of things are happening layer on layer which is really cool,” said Dieke. “The tempo, the sixteenth-note runs, and all the little intricate pieces that are in there.”


                      “Wizards in Winter” will be the Orchestra’s closing piece. However, the group seems to have some tricks up their sleeves to intensify the closing song: the closing piece will also feature a light show.


                      The light show will be put together by Claire Alfree (12) and Hannah Mellott (12). Both Alfree and Mellott are in Sound and Lighting, taught by Mr. Eric Poe (Faculty). The girls are working on using their skills that they have learned from the class to make the lights “dance” with the rhythm of the music. They plan to make the song more intriguing to the audience and do something out of the ordinary.


                      Students know there are some things to still work out before the show. However, they have confidence they will perform nicely at the concert.


                      Hoffeditz says, “I feel we will do pretty well. We have a lot of solid songs so far.”


                      Although, the orchestra has shrunken in size over the last couple of years the director has no fear that the orchestra will be nothing but successful for their Christmas performance.


                      “The kids are great and have worked very hard,” said Dieke. “It will be magnificent! It will be a great concert!”

                        SEM Keeps the Ball Rolling


                        Every exciting game and intense match. Every great play, shot, or run. Every impressive student athlete. All of these are important to the supporters of our school’s sports in the local community.


                        Sport and Entertainment Marketing is advised by Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty). The creation of this class stemmed from Gustafson’s passion for sports, along with his experience of coaching for 27 years. He wants his students to learn how to promote sports, and how to promote entertainment activities.


                        “I thought that there would be a big interest in the sports side of it, and entertainment as well,” said Gustafson.


                        There was a pretty good turnout for the class, according to Gustafson, which is why the Sports and Entertainment Marketing class is split into three classes. There are two Sports and Entertainment Marketing 1 classes, and one class of Sports and Entertainment 2.


                        “My junior year I did recordings for games and wrote articles,” said Clay Sanders (12) but this year I am doing a show with Carlos Rauch.”


                        Sanders and Rauch are the anchors for Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Other students in the same class help with the show that SEM posts on their Youtube channel. This class is also in charge of all forms of social media.


                        “We’re more of a whole team, ” says Gustafson. “Clay and Carlos are the anchors, but we all pitch in for the rest.”


                        The class’ Twitter, @jbhs_sports, frequently Tweets scores, congratulations to individual players, and about plays via live Tweets and after the games. They even tweet before the games, wishing teams the best of luck, and try to get people to attend the games to cheer them on.


                        The first year class focuses on writing articles in The Mercersburg Journal and they recently started covering home games. Also, the class uses a program that simulates sports marketing in the real world. In the simulation, students do things like get sponsorships, set ticket prices for games, and even hire employees for your imaginary stadium.


                        “My favorite part about this class is always being involved in sports,” Sanders said. “I’m always learning new stuff.”


                        SEM is working on getting better equipment and more broadcasts in order to make what they do eye-catching to their audience and draw in more viewers. The class of Sports & Entertainment Marketing has bigger plans and improvements in its near future.


                        Sanders said, “We’re getting new stuff that way we are kind of taken more serious”.


                        Last year the students presented to the administration in order to get new equipment. New TV’s, a boom microphone, four cameras, a new projector, and two new desktop computers were all a successful outcome of the students’ presentation.


                        Gustafson plans to bring back broadcasts that students did last year which include play-by-play of games. These broadcasts are posted on the class’ Youtube channel.


                        Sanders and Gustafson both agreed that the class is a great preparation for a career for professional sports announcers, reporters, or anything sports-related.  


                        SEM isn’t just about sports. It’s about the group of students that work together to make sure that the community comes together and is involved as much as possible when it comes to all things sports related.

                        Back in Time: The Tradition of Homecoming

                        The leaves begin to fall and the air becomes crisp and cool. Leggings, boots, football, and all things pumpkin: hints that fall is officially here. You know what that means: it’s also the start of Homecoming!

                        But what is the history behind this custom? Universities, colleges, high schools, and towns come together to celebrate Homecoming every year in September or early October. This American tradition has stuck around for over a century.

                        People in the local area will coordinate events like parades and pep rallies to celebrate the victory of the home team after a tough game against rivals and welcome back alumni and current students. The game is usually football, however, it can be a game of any sport. Some other events that are connected to homecoming are nominating and choosing a Homecoming king or queen, pep rallies, parades, and of course, a dance.

                        No one is quite sure what school had the first Homecoming. According to Michael Crampton from, Baylor University, University of Illinois and the University of Missouri are tied for having a “coming home” celebration with similar characteristics to each other.

                        Crampton also states that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) acknowledges the University of Missouri for the first real Homecoming celebration that took place in 1911. Chester Brewer, the football coach for the University of Missouri at the time, wanted to draw attention to the upcoming game against Kansas that was going to be played in Missouri’s brand new stadium. The coach invited students to “come home” for the game. This was the birth of the tradition of Homecoming.

                        Since then, high schools have been more involved with the idea of this event than colleges usually are. Allison Price from Angelo State University says that high school Homecomings are full of activities and are more about celebrating school spirit whereas college Homecomings are about welcoming alumni.

                        From 1911 to today, Homecoming has really changed. Dance moves, dresses, and music are not the same as they were 20 years ago.

                        Unlike today’s Homecoming, dresses were longer and not as detailed, shiny or fancy. Also, new music and dance moves have changed this festivity over the years because they are always being created and becoming popular.

                        Even though this celebration has changed over time and will continue to change, there are a few key points that will always stay. Homecoming will always be about celebrating school spirit and making memories and friends that you will remember forever.

                        This picture of the Homecoming court was taken from James Buchanan’s 1981 Yearbook
                        This picture was taken from last year’s “Candid” yearbook. You can see how styles have changed.








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