The Rocket Flame

Sewing Together the Perfect Night


The weather was a little dreary with the rain but everyone was dressed to the nines in gorgeous gowns and tuxedos. The air was filled with the smell of flowers and all around people were taking perfectly-posed photos in front of the gorgeous venue at Green Grove Gardens.


Girls spent all day doing their hair, makeup, nails and getting dressed. Boys look almost unrecognizable in their tuxedos, compared to their everyday school attire.


Prom is one of the most memorable events for all high school students, but for two particular girls the night was made even more memorable by getting to show off their own unique handmade prom dresses.


For Aria Jewel-Barnett (11), creating her own prom dress is a special memory


We began planning (the dress) two weeks before prom,” Said Jewel- Barnett.  With the help of her mother she was able to finish the project at the last minute.


On the day of prom, we woke up early to finish up the last step of the dressmaking,” she said. “Our old sewing machine broke down, causing utter mayhem and frustration; It was very stressful because we were in such a time crunch.”


For last year’s and this year’s dance, Lauren Fleming (12) started her dressmaking process early.


“I started making my dress in January,” said Fleming.  


She was inspired to create her own dress because, “I always hate wearing a dress that someone else could wear, I like uniqueness.”


Sizing was another reason for crafting her own gown.


“Making your own dress means you could make it the exact way you want it and for your correct size.”


Designing a completely unique and personalized dress is also a good way to cut spending during prom season.  For Lauren, crafting her dress only cost her $20 for a dress pattern and Aria spent only $50 to create her gown. Comparing this to the $300 dollars the average teenage girl will spend on a prom dress, designing your own dress can be a huge money-saver, as well as a memory that will last a lifetime.


Creating a handmade dress takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and can pose a list challenges to any skilled dressmaker. In the end, the finished product is worth all of the time and effort.


For any beginning seamstress, the girls gave some pointers and tips on what to pay attention to while embarking on making your own dress.


“Always start out with a small project and work your way up,” Fleming said.


“I would highly suggest having to start at least a month before prom,” said Barnett. “That way you won’t be so stressed on the day of your prom. “

Getting a Head Start on College: Do Honors and AP Classes Help?



For many high school students, getting as prepared as possible for college is a main priority. One way these eager JB students choose to stay ahead of the game is by taking Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors classes, as well as Penn State classes offered here.  


At James Buchanan they offer a wide variety of honors and Advanced Placement Courses including: AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition, AP World History, AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP Calculus, AP Government,,  AP Chemistry, Honors Economics, Honors Anatomy, Honors Chemistry, Honors Science 9 and Honors Geometry.


The AP classes are taught in the same format as a college course, but rather than receiving college credits on your classroom grades, students have to take an Advanced Placement test to determine if they can receive college credit for the course.


The type of college credit one receives is all based on the test score. The test is out of five points and while a perfect five might get a student a full college credit for the course, most colleges accept at least a three to go towards your degree, even if it counts as an elective credit.  


In addition to getting a head start with advanced high school courses students also have the option to apply for an early-to-college program offered by Penn State Mont Alto. The courses consist of two classes per semester, and are taught in the morning prior to the school day from 7:15 to 8:45 on Mondays and Wednesdays.


The classes offer not only tuition reductions and technology fee coverage but allows the students to take courses dually with the highschool and also receive college credits for the class.


These classes place students in a real life example of college, consisting of not only one weekly in-person meeting, but an online aspect as well.


“The college classes (Penn State) prepare you for college by exposing you to a more rigorous curriculum than what you regularly experience in normal high school classes,“  said Isaac Miller (12), who participated in the early to college program this year.


Students see the positive side to getting a jump start to college, as well as the teachers.


“I think taking an AP class puts the student at a higher standard of learning,” said AP Language and Composition teacher Mrs. Jenna Sheaffer (Faculty).  “ You’re in charge of your learning and it [AP/ Honors classes] teaches you responsibility and organization that will help you with college-level courses in the future.”


No matter what your plans are after graduation, whether attending a four year college, two year college, or trade school, preparing for your future is a key focal point. AP classes help prepare you not only for future learning opportunities but gives you organizational skills that can be carried on to your future endeavors. High school is all about getting ready to go into the adult world. Like all things choosing a course that best fits you and your plans will be the key to success.

What Is So Egg-Citing About Easter?


With Spring right around the corner, everyone is excited to celebrate the hoppiest day that falls in April this year: Easter. With Easter comes the activities that everyone loves including dyeing eggs, Easter egg hunts, and lots of candy.

Easter originated as a Pagan festival to celebrate spring in countries north of the equator. In the Greek mythology, the goddess of earth, Demeter, grieves during the six months that her daughter Persephone, goddess of spring, is in the underworld causing nothing to grow. According to ABC News, the Spring Equinox marks the point where she returns and plants are revived from winter hibernation.

The spring equinox is a day where the amount of dark and the amount of daylight is identical,” said University of Sydney Professor, Carole Cusack in an article by ABC News.  “ You can tell that you’re emerging from winter because the daylight and the dark have come back into balance.”

After the advent of Christianity in the early first century, the Easter season became linked to the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The theme of Easter was a festival to celebrate new life and rising from the cold dark winter, which connected to the Christian belief that Christ rose from the grave.

Other influences on the Easter season include the Saxon (Germanic) Goddess, Eostre. According to famous American Lexicographer ( a compiler of dictionaries) Robert Barnhart, in Saxon culture, Eostre is the goddess of fertility, which coincides with the new life that the spring season brings. Also, Eostre’s symbols include eggs and rabbits, popular emblems in commercial Easter today.

With the rising popularity of Easter, in the early 19th century, a big push for commercialism of the Easter season was seen. “Card companies like Hallmark became big by launching images of cute little rabbits and Easter eggs on cards,”  said Dr. Cusack in the ABC News article. This and the other incorporations of past traditions and religious influences led to the Easter festivities and poster symbols that we see today.

Easter is celebrated in many different ways and for many different reasons. For Jae-Lin Carmack (12) Easter is a time to enjoy family activities. “My mom puts together an Easter “Eggstravaganza” for our close family, it’s basically a big scavenger hunt around Mercersburg, Chambersburg, and St.thomas,”  said Carmack.

“We go find hints that lead you to different places and we eventually end up all back at one spot, which is my house, for Easter dinner,” said Carmack.

Food is another thing many families include as a large part of their Easter celebrations. When asked what her family includes for their Easter meal Lauren Fleming (12) explained, “ Our family usually has a big Easter Dinner, We all get together and have a bunch of different foods but the main course is pork and sauerkraut; it’s a tradition.”

Whether it is enjoying egg hunts and Easter baskets with your family, celebrating religiously, or just by taking in the warmer weather, Easter is an enjoyable day beloved by many.



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canning Out Hunger for The Holidays


During the holiday season, giving is a common theme. This is especially important to James Buchanan High School during their annual food drive.


Every year during the month of December, the James Buchanan High School Student Council holds a food drive, placing a holiday-wrapped box in each homeroom for students to fill with donations.


“The food drive is a way for us to give back to families in need and students in our school district by providing them with food and gifts,”  said Claire Kriner (10) one of the three co-chairs of the drive, “It’s been a tradition for many years.”


The food drive this year was organized by Hannah Kimmel (10), Claire Kriner (10), and Sarah Kimmel (10).  


“This is our first year on Executive Council and we’ve never done anything like this before,” said co-chair Hannah Kimmel. “ It is [the food drive] one of the hardest things to plan all year.”

Participation was a worry this year but the outlook for donation volume is looking bright.


“Last year plenty of food was brought in to feed all 32 families in need in the school district,” said Kriner.


To increase the competition and participation, Student Council has included a scavenger hunt aspect to the food drive.


“We have a scavenger hunt to bring in more of certain types of food,” explained Hannah Kimmel.


Student Council also added a reward for the homeroom that earn the most points. Homerooms gain points by bringing in different items that are worth a varying points based on the type of food.


“Whoever has the most points from the scavenger hunt gets a breakfast from Student Council,” said Kimmel.


For the scavenger hunt, items that have a higher-point reward are foods that are higher in demand for the holidays, such as canned meats and boxed meals .


Items that StuCo recommends bringing in would be non-perishable food items and good quality foods.


“When people bring food in, we just want them to be sure they are giving food they would want to eat themselves,” said Hannah Kimmel.


Foods that Student Council recommends bringing in would be boxed brownies, beans, peaches, and any canned- or preserved-meat products.


The food drive will run through the month of December, ending on Dec. 20 just in time to provide the families in need with food for the holidays.

The Flu Ends With You!


       With winter approaching, sports aren’t the only thing starting their season; the flu is also rearing into full swing. The temperatures are dropping and the spreadable flu bug seems to be everywhere!  Is there any way to avoid it?


There is, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): the flu shot is a good option to keep illnesses away.  The flu shot, as described by the CDC, is  a “vaccine that causes antibodies to develop in the body,” which then allows the antibodies to “provide protection against infection with the viruses.”


Who can get the Influenza shot?  “The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age or older get the vaccine,” said Mrs. Bethany Snyder ( Faculty),


“It is most important ( to get the shot)  for those who may have a weakened immune system or ability to fight off the virus,” Snyder said.


So why are people against getting vaccinated?  Many people are against getting the shot because of misinformation about it. A lot of people think it either protects all strains of the flu or that the shot gives you the flu.



“It is true that it doesn’t actually protect against all strains of the flu,” said  Snyder.


The strains are chosen by national influenza centers around the country based on the CDC ‘s prediction of which types of flu will be most present in the year coming.


“ The flu shot itself does not give you the flu,”  explained  school nurse  Mrs. Kimberly Clopper (Faculty),  “The only risks with the shot are side effects that are expected with any shot, such as redness, swelling, and achiness in the injection site.”


Along with the CDC recommending frequent shots, they also suggest getting the latest version that applies to the current year.  This season the CDC recommends the use of injectable influenza vaccines and to avoid the nasal spray flu vaccine during 2017-2018.


Other than getting the recommended injectible vaccines, there are other precautions you can take to avoid falling ill. “Practice good handwashing techniques, take vitamins, and try and get plenty of rest,”  said  Snyder.


Along with Clopper who suggests  “Try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, “  to help ward off the flu.


The best way to avoid the flu any season is to research what treatment options best work for you. “ Educate yourself on the proven risks and benefits of receiving a flu shot,” said Clopper “ There is a lot of wrong information regarding the flu shot”.

Rockets Block Out for Pink-Out against Big Spring


On Thursday, October 12,  the Lady Rocket Volleyball team supported Breast Cancer Awareness through their Pink-Out game against the Big Spring Bulldogs. The whole gym was decorated in pink, and even the team wore new Pink-out uniforms to help support the cause.


“It was much appreciated that everyone came out and supported us,” Senior Mackenzie Runk said. “ we raised a lot of money for a good cause and we all had a really good time,”


Not only did the proceeds to view the game go to raise awareness for breast cancer, the team also sponsored a bake sale for spectators in the lobby.They also included a fun half-time pizza box game for spectators. They could pay a dollar for a chance to try and serve a ball into a pizza box to receive the prize of a free pizza from Mamma’s. All profits made from the game went to cancer research, and the bake sale raised funds for the team.


“ We raised close to 300 dollars from the pizza fundraiser and the bake sale,”  Runk said. Other than supporting breast cancer awareness, the team also spent the whole game supporting each other on the court during a close game.


For their second matchup against Big Spring, the Lady Rocket Volleyball team pulled out a close win, taking five sets to win 3-2 over the Bulldogs.


“We started out really strong and I was hoping we could pull a win out in three sets,” Runk said. “We ended up going to five, so it made it a lot more nerve-racking to finish and win, and we were all a lot more passionate about the game,”


The Rockets won their first and fourth set against the Bulldogs and took the tie-breaking fifth set 17-15.


“Yesterday we played our hearts out,” said Runk.

Pullquote Photo

“We haven’t had a game like that in a while so it was really uplifting,””

— Mackenzie Runk


So far the Volleyball squad’s current record is 9-7 and they don’t plan on slowing down for the remainder of the season.


“I’m hoping that with such a great win that we had yesterday that we take that win and carry it through the rest of the season to play our hardest, even if we lose,”  Runk said.


The Rockets have had a “season full of ups and downs, and have had to work to get where they are now”, said Kirstyn Black (12).


“We had a really good start to the season, then it got kind of rocky the first week or two, but we were able to pull it together and we’ve been doing really good lately,” she explained.


The Volleyball season is coming to a close with the team’s final event, Tuff Puff Volleyball on November 11.  Student teams pay to play each other in a volleyball tournament as a fun ending to the season.


Stay In The Flow With StuCo

Hurricane Harvey, Homecoming & Halloween: How student council is making it happen


James Buchanan’s biggest events this  autumn all happen thanks to our Student Council organization, who have maximized their community impact despite school being in session only a little over a month.

Student Council Members gather around the supplies they collected to aid in the Hurricane Harvey relief.happen thanks to our Student Council organization, who have maximized their community impact despite school being in session only a little over a month.

Student Council members created this year’s Homecoming theme, Hollywood, and they are in full preparation mode and plan on packing tons of glitz and glam into the screen-worthy weekend.

“Expect a red carpet entrance at the dance,” said Shaelyn kaiser, 11,  who along with Victoria Hutchinson, 11,  and Kristin Embly, 11,  are the chairs of the dance this year.

The Homecoming week kicks off with different themed spirit days, the pep rally on Friday, the Homecoming parade and the game to follow.

“We’ve planned some fun games and performances for it (the pep rally)” Hutchinson said. The trio also revealed to expect some emceeing from Kaiser and fellow student Council member Bergen Stevens,11.


Other than putting all their effort into Homecoming preparations, Student Council has also been helping in the Hurricane Harvey relief.


“We put a box in the office to bring food, water, clothes and supplies in,”  StuCo president Amber Brindle, 12, said.

They’ve been collecting more than supplies but also money through a hat day they sponsored to raise money for the Red Cross relief effort.

“We ended up taking three carloads down to the drop-off station and helped organize it,” Brindle said.

On top of organizing Homecoming and assisting in the hurricane efforts, Student Council also is leaping into fall with the start of Halloween festivities.  

They plan to include the annual pumpkin-decorating contest and costume-judging around Halloween.

Student Council spends all year drawing up new ideas and plans for exciting activities and there’s no doubt this year they will continue to provide memorable events for the school.


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