The Rocket Flame

2019 Special Olympics


On May 1 2019, the James Buchanan High school hosted their own Special Olympics. Taking place at the rocket stadium, schools in the Tuscarora school district bussed their kids to the stadium early Wednesday morning.  With a total of 42 participants; 19 high school participants, 9 Middle School, and 14 elementary school students. Each student competed at 3 events; softball throw, track race, and the long jump. Each school was put into different teams which competed against each other in the different events. Every participant was given 3 tries to get a better distance/score, when the participant finished they were given a popsicle stick telling them what place they received. All the students were happy as they showed off their multiple ribbons to the volunteers as well as their own parents who were welcome to attend the event. The day was filled with lots of cheering and encouragement as students had a chance to come out of their shell and express themselves.

James Buchanan Indoor Guard

James Buchanan Indoor Guard


    Emily Palmerchuck in She Loves Me

    Go See She Loves Me This Weekend!


    Hannah Zomak

    Emily Palmerchuck in She Loves Me

    Circle Up to Gamify: English class takes on Classcraft


    English 10 teachers Ms. Kelley Reeder and Ms. Nicole Myers explore the world of gamification in their Keystone English class to spice up the literature circle unit and bring some engagement and competition in for their students.

    The 6th Annual “Festival Of Lights”


    Brooms, Mops, and Dustpans Oh My!

    The Truth Behind How The School Gets Clean


    As the bell rings, the students file out the door onto the buses, leaving the mess that is left over from the day behind. The real question is, who is in charge of cleaning the school preparing for the next day? A team of seven janitors work day and night to clean and sanitize the school to ensure the health of everyone here.


    Mr. Jeff Cole (Faculty) is the newly-hired Head Custodian for James Buchanan High School. Starting May 14 2018, Cole recently just celebrated his six-month anniversary of employment at TSD.


    “If you like what you do, you never work a day in your life,” said Cole. “I love what I do, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

    Growing up in southern New Jersey, he went to a local college for an Asian and Latin degree. After completing his degree, Cole served a couple years in the New Jersey Police Department and realized it wasn’t for him.


    “If you don’t see yourself retiring from the job, then what’s the point in working?” said Cole.


    Cole then got a job as a janitor at an elementary school in south Jersey. When starting this new job, he realized that being a custodian was for him. The faculty and staff liked him so much that they invited him to class celebrations at a local beach.


    “Being a janitor is very rewarding, said Cole. “You see a difference in what you’re doing start to finish.”


    Taking a trip to Gettysburg, Cole fell in love with the area of Pennsylvania, intrigued by the scenery and historical aspect of the community. Leaving his hometown, he went house searching for the right match for him. After a long search, he found a house in the community of Mercersburg with a short commute to work. Cole heard about the head custodial position on a listing the school posted. With previous experience, he knew that he fulfilled all of the qualifications.  


    “I just wanted to be happy,” said Cole.


    Starting in May, school was coming close to completion. Cole was trained by the other janitors in the school, they showed him what needs to be done and how to do it. With summer quickly approaching, he had multiple jobs that had to be completed before school started. One task was to move everything out of the classrooms into the hallway, so that they could strip the floors and wax. They also were in charge of draining the water out of the pool to clean and disinfect from the year prior. One staff member touched up and repainted some spots of the school. The cafeteria tables are also deep cleaned, cleaning the pipes and underneath the tables, using the special “gum knife” to remove all the multi-colored spots.


    “It’s hard to be a perfectionist when there is so much to do,” said Cole.


    With school starting up again, a routine that seems to change every day was put into place. Coming into school around 2:30 and clocking out at 11:00, Cole starts off his shift with filling mop buckets, so that he can sweep and mop, assisted by a fellow janitor on the same shift. After the cafeteria is swept and mopped, they both move on to the 300 hallway referring to themselves as the “300 hallway pit crew.”  Going into each classroom, they spray each desk with sanitizer, letting it set to get the best results. In the meantime, they also sweep and collect the trash.


    “We all enjoy the disinfection and the health aspect of cleaning,” said Cole.


    After completing the classrooms, they move onto the library repeating the same process. On the list to complete is the lobby, main bathrooms, nurse’s office, athletic trainer’s room, and the faculty room. Each night, they also spray a certain chemical onto the wrestling mat to ensure all harmful bacteria is gone. Responsibilities might be added when team members are out, as well.


    “Every night is different,” said Cole. “You have to plan yourself around what is going on in the school.”

    The janitors are responsible to clean up after events, such as sporting events and musical concerts, and sometimes their cleaning process is interrupted by other events taking place anywhere in the school. “Adapting and overcoming every situation” was a phrase Cole repeatedly said.


    Students in extracurricular activities form friendships with the janitors as they pass them on their way to their practice or activity.


    “One time, I was singing in the hallway, and he [Cole] joined in,” said Abby Carbaugh (12). That was a memory she liked since it made him so approachable and they both laughed about it.


    People sometimes don’t notice that the spill made the day before is cleaned, or the pile of pencil eraser dust is off the floor. Lots of behind the scene work is completed daily to ensure the health and wellbeing of each individual student.


    Mercersburg Halloween Parade 2018

    Small Town Takes On Big World!


    After hiking up to the waterfall at Rincon De La Vieja National park, the group poses for a picture in the middle of the rainforest.

    Howler monkeys, exotic plants, hikes to a volcano, hot springs, and lots of mosquitoes are everything a group of 18 students endured while traveling on a nine-day journey to Costa Rica.


    This is not the first time Mr. John Lum (Faculty) has traveled with students to Costa Rica; he took a trip there in 2015 and he liked it so much he wanted to go back. With sign-ups starting back in the fall of 2016, the students have been waiting two years for the chance to travel out of the country. On June 9 the students said goodbye to their parents for nine days as they gathered into a van that departed to catch their flight.


    “I was so excited up until that moment when I realized I’ve never been gone that long away from anyone before,” Madison Shupp (12) said.


    When traveling anywhere, you have to do your research on what the weather will be, what to pack, the environment, etc. A passport and vaccines were necessary for traveling. The centers for disease control and prevention said, “Although the risk of malaria is low in Costa Rica, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. Some travelers to certain areas who are at higher risk for complications from malaria (such as pregnant women) may need to take extra precautions, like antimalarial medicine.”

    “I had to pack a lot of sunscreen, bug repellent, and athletic clothes,” ”

    — Makena Clayton (11).


    Leaving early in the morning from Dulles International Airport, with a seven-hour flight to Panama City, Panama, the travelers had a six-hour layover until they had to catch their connecting flight to Costa Rica. With time to kill, students came up with some creative ways to make it go faster.


    “I slept under the chairs in the airport, and then I went to look for food,” Shupp said.  


    Once the six hours had passed, the group got onto the connecting flight and headed to Costa Rica. After about an hour flight, everyone went through customs and picked up their baggage. They were then picked up by the EF (Education First) tour bus and tour guide. Once loaded, they met up with the group from Kansas that they would also be traveling with. The group then headed to their first destination, Guanacaste. Starting off, the first day they traveled to Rincon De La Vieja National park to hike up the side of a volcano and see the numerous sulfur pools.


    “It was a pretty long hike up to the volcano,” said Clayton


    The park is one of the many national parks in the Guanacaste conservation. Go Visit Costa Rica says it has over 34,000 acres of land, two volcanoes, and 32 rivers and streams. There the students and chaperones were taken on a hike by the tour guide where they saw all kinds of plants and animals. The next day was filled with activity that didn’t require hiking shoes but swimsuits; snorkeling.


       “We got stung by jellyfish particles,” said Shupp. “Which left welts on my fingers.”


       Even with the welts and stings, the group also got to pet a baby octopus that was found by one of the tour guides. Moving along, the next day the group went to La Fortuna in the province of Alajuela. There, pairs were decided for each boats to go kayaking on Lake Arenal. Half way through the trip, everyone was then given the chance to carefully get out of his or her kayak and jump in the cold water. With wet clothes still on, the whole group then loaded back on the bus and went to their next location.


       “The waterfall was incredible and the view was amazing,” said Clayton. “At first, I was hesitant to get in the water because it was cold, but it was fun.”


       Taking about 15 minutes to walk down the steps to get to the waterfall, everyone was surprised to see gallons of water gush right in the middle of the jungle. Everyone was given the chance to swim in the strong current as it raced past the multiple rocks surrounding the falls. Whitewater rafting was next on the agenda for the next day.


    “I was so excited to go whitewater rafting until the instructor started talking about the bad experiences,” said Shupp.


    With only three people falling out of the raft, the whole group persevered through the fast rapids and high rocks. Halfway through, the rafts stopped for fresh pineapple and watermelon, which was then accompanied by cliff jumping into the river. After lunch, everyone was then taken ziplining which would allow you to be in the canopy of the jungle. With multiple shortstops, it was ended by a mile long ride across the river and back to where everyone started. Getting back on the bus, everyone then traveled to Tortuguero which could only be accessed by boat.


    “My favorite animal in Tortuguero was definitely the monkeys because I have never seen wild ones before,” said Clayton.


    Taking a boat to Tortuguero, multiple animals were seen sitting/resting along the river. The three types of monkeys (Howler, Spider, and Capuchin) were commonly seen in the trees and heard all throughout the day. The day was spent at the beach and exploring the city and taking in the culture. Taking the boat ride back, everyone then had to endure the rather long bus ride to the capital of Costa Rica San Jose.


    “It was very different from the rest of Costa Rica,” said Shupp.


    The capital is very much a city type atmosphere, very different from the jungle and dirt roads everyone was used to. With a population of about 400,000 people, commercial restaurants and stores that are around Mercersburg were seen. With the week coming to an end, everyone was ready for the flight out of San Jose back to Dulles International Airport.


    With the warm embraces from parents and siblings, students and chaperones returned back to the high school after nine days of packed schedules and physical activity. With lots of souvenirs and pictures to go around, everyone will have stories and memories that will last a lifetime.


    Senior Awards Ceremony


    All the award winners smile after the eventful ceremony.

    On May 22, the James Buchanan High School honored the Class of 2018 with the annual Senior Awards Ceremony. Over $230,000 in awards were presented to the senior class with 70 lucky students able to partake in the Ceremony.

    With the ceremony only lasting for about two hours, Claire Alfree (12) entertained the crowd as she played various pieces on the piano before the ceremony started.

    “This is the first time we ever had live entertainment,” said program coordinator Mrs. Mary Cristofano (Faculty).


    The program was packed with all different kinds of scholarships and awards, ranging from $50-$4,000.


    Each department in the school presented awards to chosen students that went above and beyond. The awards can also be from progress throughout the four years of high school.


    For students to receive scholarships, they had to fill out multiple applications and write essays. Each application required different amounts of information to coincide with what the scholarship entailed.


    The well-known Glazier scholarship was the top on everyone’s list. With $44,000 being split 18 ways, each student received $2,444. The scholarship can renew with each year of college if the student keeps up with a certain GPA and fills out the renewal paperwork each year.

    Back Row: Samantha Mills (12), Abby Horst (12), Maddi Hissong (12), Shelby Carbaugh (12), Haley Saunders (12), Mackenzie Runk (12), Brianna Hege (12), Logan Rockwell (12). Front Row: Kierstyn Martin(12), Sydney Jones (12), Kirstyn Black (12), Amber Brindle (12), Renee Sollenberger (12), Mackenzie Shughart (12), Annabelle McChullough (12), Emma Bafile (12), and Makenna Piper (12).

    The Marshall Reeder scholarship topped all the others ones, giving $4,000 over 4-years totaling to $16,000. Megan Hoffeditz (12) was the lucky student to receive the scholarship. Hoffeditz is planning on going to Wilson College to work towards her teaching degree.   


    Lenfest Scholarship winners were also announced. These award winners already knew that they were chosen, but Nicholas Garbinski (12), Logan Rockwell (12), and Renee Sollenberger (12)  were recognized for their accomplishment. For more information read Lenfest Scholars For Life.


    Many scholarships are donated by people in the area to help out with students’ college expenses. Past students or teachers come to the ceremony to be a figurehead of any scholarship.


    Some scholarships had certain criteria and were only presented for some students. Logan Rockwell (12) qualified for the Montgomery Elementary scholarship, where only people who attended the elementary school could apply. This can also go for the Lemasters scholarship, with the requirement of having a residence in the area.


    Local businesses and organizations also presented at the ceremony. The local Rotary Club donated $4,500, as well as Whitetail Ski Resort due to the multiple employees that work there over the winter season. The Bank of Mercersburg, presented by Annalisa Ambrisco, gave Summer Sensinger (12) the scholarship on her behalf.


    Memorial awards were also given out to represent certain people in their honor.


    With one last roaring applause from the crowd, all 70 students beamed with excitement with multiple certificates and folders in hand. The night ended with Tea Time Tasties cookies and other refreshments provided by the JBHS cafeteria.  

    Marc Mero: An Inspiring Story


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    — Marc Mero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Find Out the Benefits of Spring Cleaning!


    Opening the door to the bedrooms you have not seen since the summer, you are shocked to see the dust bunnies in the corner, and the inch of dust covering every piece of furniture. With a dust mask on and a tool belt filled with Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Clorox Wipes, you are ready to take on the biggest task of them all: spring cleaning.

    Cleaning sounds like too much work; is it really necessary? According to Small Business Trendsetters, it is very important to clean your house to get rid of all the airborne bacteria, mold spores, pollen, and all the other things you brought inside on the bottom of your snow boots.


    According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, “Removing allergens from the home can make you feel healthier, especially at a time when allergies are rife.”


    Nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States” (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). With the spring season quickly approaching, allergies are making people’s eyes water, throats ache, and causing chest congestion. It is important to take steps to prevent from getting these symptoms. One way to eliminate allergens is to get your carpet cleaned every 6-12 months.


    According to Small Business Trendsetters, “All winter long the house has been shut and one’s carpet becomes a breeding ground for airborne bacteria, mold spores, [and] dust mite feces…. All of these things get lodged in our carpets, furnishings, bedding, and draperies and they need to be cleaned.”


    SBT suggests hot water extraction as being the best way to clean your carpet. Hot water extraction is from a truck that can produce heat from 190 to 245 degrees, which kills and flushes out any germs and bacteria that may be growing in your carpet. The powerful vacuum can also suck up any other segments that can be logged inside the carpet.


    Spring cleaning is not just about getting rid of allergens, it can also improve other ways of life as well.


    Natural News claims, “63 percent claim that happiness is a shiny sink, and the act of cleaning itself gives 57 percent of the population a sense of satisfaction.”


    Dr. Joseph Cilona with The OZ Blog said, “Cleaning and organizing your personal spaces lets you enjoy a tidier and more organized environment and this can relieve stress. Levels of stress can also be reduced during the act itself as cleaning is considered to be therapeutic.”


    According to America’s Anxiety Disorder Center,  “A thorough clean helps to clear your mind of things that need to be done around the house and makes it easier to focus on other more important things.”

    An important factor, that most people forget is to take the cleaning process slow and try not to overwhelm yourself all at one time. Start off small, taking one room at a time, and work to bigger things. Open the windows, let the fresh breeze come in, and embrace the wonders of spring.

    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.

    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.

    Investigate the Specifics About Forensics


    Just imagine, you are the first one being called to the crime scene, with nobody to tell you what actually happened, you have to figure it out for yourself. Examining the blood splatters, collecting fingerprints, assembling hair samples, and analyzing the fibers, it is up to you to put the pieces together. Forensic science is one of the vital tools used in finding the truth to any situation.


    “Forensics is a hands-on class that uses different scientific lab techniques to investigate evidence found at a crime scene,” says James Buchanan Forensics teacher Mrs. Emily Poffenberger (Faculty).


    Forensic science is a combination of all different kinds of science including: Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. There is a lot of Chemistry in forensics because you are looking into non-biological evidence found at a crime scene. An example of this would be drug toxicology. According to, a toxicology screen is put into place to test the approximate amount and type of legal or illegal drugs that the person/suspect has taken.  


    Biology also shares an important part in forensics because it examines the smaller things like blood, saliva, and hair. This is important because it can determine the DNA structure of the suspect or even the DNA that is on other evidence.

    Physics is included in Forensics in terms of gun ballistics, fluid dynamics, vehicle collisions, and finding out heights people fell from. Basically, this helps to figure out what happened to a victim.

    “The most challenging part (about forensics) is that you have to be very detail-oriented and you have to be very patient with your observations,” said Evan West (11), who takes forensics. “In a few labs such as fingerprinting and blood analysis, you have to make sure you really pay attention and give the most accurate details you can.”

    Details are essential when it comes to being a forensic scientist. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences  stresses “because the work of a forensic scientist is intended to be used in court and because scientific evidence can be very powerful, the forensic scientist must be accurate, methodical, detailed, and, above all, unbiased. The ability to keep detailed notes and to write clear, concise, and accurate reports is vital.”

    Details and scientific evidence are what can make a court full of judges and the jury, go in favor, or go against the accused.


    Some of the fields that one can get into using Forensics include, “Crime scene investigator, anyone in law enforcement, pathologist, or a psychologist,” ”

    — Poffenberger

    With getting a degree in Biology, Poffenberger took all the sciences required to teach general science. By passing her Praxis exam, it allowed her to teach any general science course. Poffenberger keeps up to date with all the new discoveries and technologies with updated textbooks and articles she reads online.

    “After taking the class and learning about all the different types of forensic scientists, it helped me realize that this is a field I’m very interested in,” said Emily Gipe (11) about her future. “Out of the many types of careers in this field, I’m looking towards criminology, which is the study of what makes people commit the crimes they do and their motives for the crime. Basically, looking more into the mind of a criminal.”


    The Forensics class mostly involves completing labs and discussing scenarios. One scenario that the class takes part in entails looking at a purse given by the teacher with evidence and clues of who committed the crime. It is then the students job to piece the evidence together, then analyze the suspects with certain information given. These types of projects allows the students to act like a real forensic scientist.


    “Right now we are doing a lab about blood splatter,” said student Madison Hann (11). “We are dropping liquid at different heights by ten centimeters. We also read case studies about real crimes that have happened and we do a lot of questions to go with them.”


    From the classroom to a crime scene, the Forensics class is learning how to do it all.


    “I would especially suggest this class to anyone interested in forensic science in their future,” said Gipe. “It really allows you to actually experience what real forensic scientists do.”


    From Mexico to Mercersburg: Get to Know About Our Exchange Student Fernando


    Fernando Portales- Marquez (12), hands out souvenirs he brought in to the give to students who attended his informational meeting to let the students’ get to know about his life and hobbies.

    From the city of Leon Mexico, to the little rural community of Mercersburg, Fernando

    Portales- Marquez (12), sees first hand the similarities and differences between the two.


    Portales- Marquez once being part of the Washington County School District, has recently moved with a host family living in the area. He has been welcomed by the Foreign Exchange Club, as well as many other students.


    “ I am very timid at first,” Portales- Marquez said. “Only at first, then I’m fine.”


    Being welcomed by Amy and Mike Hicks and student Patrick Hicks (10), they opened their house for Portales- Marquez to be educated on the culture and how people do things in Pennsylvania.


    “He’s very sweet and is always trying to help out around the house, which makes things a lot easier,” Hicks said.


    The Hicks go see movies and enjoy family time together to show how an American family interacts.  On Sunday, Nov. 6 the whole family went and supported Patrick at the USBands championships.


    “They are very good with me.” Portales- Marquez said about his new host family.


    Even though Portales- Marquez is a new addition to the family, they now consider him as being a big part.


    “He’s like a foreign brother, because I haven’t known him for long, but we are always around each other,” said Hicks.


    Just in the short time Portales- Marquez has been living with the family, Mr. Hicks has gotten him interested in maybe being part of the JBHS Wrestling team this winter, and it only took a wrestling video he showed to Portales- Marquez to get him interested.


    Along with the aspirations of being on the wrestling team, Portales- Marquez also has hobbies he likes to do in his free time. “Bicycling with friends,” was one of his favorite activities to do back in his home town. Portales- Marquez is also a big fan of video games, texting, and playing soccer.


    “I like to do soccer,” said Portales- Marquez “I played at my old school, North High, in Hagerstown.”

    Ferando Portales- Marquez (12), hands out “business cards,” with his information and Snapchat username.

    His hopes for the future include going into the business field. With taking the Marketing class provided at James Buchanan, he will learn the requirements and qualities he will have to possess to have a future in this certain field.


    As far as school goes, his favorite academic course is History because he likes to learn how things happen and why.


    Some may think, how could he do it? How could he stand to be away from his family for this long? Well, with a strong support system, Portales- Marquez always has his parents behind him in the decisions he makes.


    “I love my mom: she always helps and supports me,” said Portales- Marquez.


    Owners of a shoe factory in Mexico, his parents thought it was important for Fernando to come to the States and take the opportunities presented.


    “To know English is very important, so I want to learn the language and become more independent,” said Portales- Marquez.


    Portales- Marquez says he can cure his homesickness with a phone call home to his parents and two stepsisters every once and a while.


    Both Portales- Marquez and the Hicks family have the desire to show him around the country, what makes our country unique, and make sure he enjoys the time here.


    “Classical” Madness Takes Over the Rocket Band

    JBHS Drum line, Noah Shank (12), Sarah Funk (12), Zach Slodysko (10), Jacob Troupe (10), Sean Martin (12), Olivia Harman (11), watch the drum majors to stay with tempo. Photo Credit: Dean King

    During the 2017 JBHS Marching Band field show, you get to watch the insanity unravel throughout the band as they perform, “Classical Madness.” As the story unfolds, the students’ seemingly cohesive minds turn mad with pieces of music that mesh and intertwine together, and tunes that never finish.


    “Classical Madness” is a combination of 40 different pieces of music, including pieces from famous composers Beethoven, Holst, and Copland. The song is arranged by composer John Fannin.


    The band is under the direction of band director, Mrs. Sheryl Deike (Faculty), assistant band director Mrs. Christine Metcalf (Faculty), color guard instructor Rachel Deike (Staff), and drill writer and percussion instructor Michael Seville (Staff).

    Mrs. Christine Metcalf (Faculty), Mrs. Sheryl Deike (Faculty), Rachel Deike (Staff), Michael Seville (Staff).

    “It’s the hardest show, us as a band, has ever done,” said Abby Carbaugh (11). “It pushes us in a good way.”


    Led onto the field by drum majors Claire Alfree (12) and Ashley Grove (11), the first song of the show exhibits sanity. With only limited bursts of red, the band builds up for the absurdity to come. The featured soloists for the first song are Jarrett Iverson (11) on trombone, Kirstyn Black (12) on clarinet, Emily Newman (11) on mellophone, and Noah Shank (12) on snare drum.


    The second song features dancer Chelsea Wareham (11) as she tempts senior soloist Macey Keefer with a flute to entice her, as well as the rest of the band, to join the “madness.” As the song progresses, Wareham will start to win over others, bringing them to the side of musical insanity.


    At the beginning of the show, the Color Guard members are dressed with dark purple vests with black lipstick to accentuate the “madness.” The Color Guard opens their show with limited pops of the color red.

    Spinning with swing flags Gwenhvier Hunt (11) and Phylan Cooper (12) anticipate their next move. Photo Credit: Dean King

    As the show progresses, the color red is presented more to the audience. With the final push of the last song, the Color Guard switches their ascots that were once white, to dark red, to show the audience the exact moment they have been consumed by the “madness.” It is also accompanied by red flags and scarves that are used to dance with in the “tango” part of the third song.


    The band also displays this theme, because what the crowd doesn’t know is that every band member has a red scarf tucked away inside their uniform jacket. Then at the given time, the band members drape the scarf out of their jacket and the color red coats the field.


    The JBHS Rocket Band doesn’t just perform half-time shows at football games; they also travel to competitions in the area. Being part of USBands, the band competes against other schools in the 3A Division, which is determined based on the numbers of participants.


    On Sept. 17, the band traveled to a competition in Urbana, MD, where the Color Guard came in third out of five and the percussion took home second.


    On Oct. 21, the band traveled to Westminster, MD where the whole band came in seventh out of nine competing bands.


    The band will continue to prepare for the USBands championships that will be held on Nov. 5, in Allentown, PA.


    With three-hour practices on Mondays, after-school practices on Wednesdays, and the all-day competitions that take place on some Saturdays, the band members always find ways to bond and create memories.


    “Last year Emily Newman broke her glasses and we taped them with duct tape and she wore them the whole time,” Dawson Green (11) chuckled as he shared his favorite memory.


    As the 2017 JBHS Marching Band season is quickly coming to an end, Indoor Guard and Percussion sign ups are posted outside the band room. No previous music background is required for this activity. An Indoor Meet and Greet will be held on Nov. 14 at 6 P.M. inside the Band room for anyone who is interested.



      Homecoming: Let Me See Your Green and White!

      With Homecoming week, game, and dance quickly approaching, the JBHS students are ready to showcase their school spirit!


      StuCO prepares for Homecoming with signs that explains the theme days of the week.

      As the streamers are ready to be hung, the balloons being filled with air, the votes being counted for Homecoming king and queen, and the bitter October air, everyone knows that that means! The James Buchanan High School is preparing for the well known event, Homecoming.


      “Homecoming is the first dance of the year, it is the freshman’s first dance and they get to see how different it is from middle school.” Said Gwenhvier Hunt, 11, a student who has been attending the Homecoming dances since freshman year.


      Homecoming this year will be on Oct. 7 from 7-10 p.m. in the James Buchanan High School cafeteria. The Homecoming game and parade will be on Oct. 6. The parade consists of school groups who volunteer to showcase themselves as they walk down the track. The football game will be up against our competitors Frederick High School.


      Performing at the football game, the JBHS Rocket Band will be showcasing their show, “Classical Madness.” The Rocket Band will also be saying goodbye to their many seniors as they walk down the track with their parents.


      Also walking with their parents across the field, the seniors of both the football team and cheerleading squad get praised for their personal accomplishments throughout the year with lots of clapping and support from their peers


      “It’s really fun to do all the dress ups, and to participate in the activities.” Hunt explained her thoughts on the Homecoming spirit days.



      The JBHS Student Council puts on certain theme days of the week, and will ask the students to  get in on the spirited fun. Monday is Decade Day, where you dress up from your favorite decade of time. Tuesday is Twin Day, where two people dress alike to show school spirit. Wednesday people will show off their ball gowns and bling with a “Walk Down the Red Carpet.”  Thursday is a throw back to when you were a child. Friday dig out the black spirit wear so you can show school spirit with a total blackout at the game and pep rally.


      The Student Council, as well as the Homecoming king and queen candidates work hard to go above and beyond to get the student body hyped by participating in all the spirit days and using this week to hopefully gain your vote.


      The 2017 Homecoming candidates for the boys are: Jae-Lin Carmack, Jackson Ellis, Noah Shank, Austin Sheppard, and Hunter Sowers.  For the girls the candidates are:  Kirstyn Black, Megan Hoffeditz, Abby Mackling, Mackenzie Shughart, and Renee Sollenberger.


      The student body will cast their votes the week of Homecoming. The votes will then be counted, and the winner will be announced at the Homecoming game on Friday. 


      The Homecoming pep rally takes weeks of planning. “It takes a while to figure out what kind of games the candidates are gonna do and who all is going to perform and what is gonna happen in what order,” said StuCo Vice President Madison Shupp.


      The pep rally that takes place on that Friday of homecoming week, is a chance to get students excited about the game and parade that night.


      “The pep rally isn’t just thrown together at the last minute,””

      — Madison Shupp


       In the 2017 Homecoming pep rally, you will see school spirit being represented by The JBHS Rocket Band, the JBHS cheerleaders, sports teams, and then will end the program with some fun and games with the candidates.


      With the festivities ending on Friday, the part everyone looks forward to happens Saturday night as you “walk the red carpet” to the Homecoming dance.


      “I like getting all dressed up and the preparation that comes with it….I can’t wait to make memories that I can make and take to college” Katlin Shatzer, 12, said about her last  homecoming dance.


      According to Student Council, the dance is going to be like you are walking down the red carpet into a glamorous setting filled with Hollywood props, with colors of gold, silver and lots of glitter. Also the dance floor will be filled with well known music from a local DJ. The 2017 Homecoming dance is destined to be a memory that you will remember forever.


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