The Rocket Flame

    “Houston, We’re Ready For Take Off!”

    Learn about the new Voyager Program coming next year at JB

    “Houston, We’re Ready For Take Off!”

    Three…two…one…blast off! During the 2018-2019 school year, the Voyager Program will be launched at James Buchanan High School.


    The Voyager Program is a self-driven class for students, which includes three different disciplines: English, Social Studies and Art. Students will be coming up with their own projects that encompass these subjects. The program is worth three credits, one for each subject.


    Mrs. Kayla Chambers-Matulevich(Faculty), one of the five coordinating teachers of the program, said “One of the examples we gave was a student built a bass guitar. So with that, he would write a paper maybe on the history of bass guitars, but then he also found music and wrote music for it.”


    The Voyager Program is made up of a lot of open-ended work that is done in the students’ own time. Students will be tasked with completing two projects a marking period for two marking periods. It is compared to college, where students do a lot of learning on their own, but they also have to manage their time. To help students, the coordinators set up weekly journals where students have to report their progress. They are also hoping for at least one class period where students can come to any of the coordinators and receive time and help on their projects.


    “This could really benefit students that might not learn perfectly in a regular classroom setting,” said Chambers.


    Rather, students learn school subjects through what they love and have an interest in. Some students do not excel in the typical classroom setting, but the Voyager Program enables students to learn in a different environment.


    “For example, when I was in high school, I would have excelled in a program like this, but that’s because I could have focused on art and then learned the history and English related to it,” said Chambers.


    Mr. Rodney Benedick (Principal) first found this idea form Central York High School’s Apollo Program, where each student has their own tailored way of learning. Several teachers became interested, including Mrs. Danielle Fox (Faculty) for English, Ms. Jena Antonelli (Faculty) for Social Studies, and Mrs. Erin Martin (Faculty) and Chambers for the Arts. The program is being led by Mr. Michael Mele (Faculty).


    In the end, the teachers involved are looking for what students can take away from this program. They feel this program can help prepare students for life outside of high school and into college. They hope to have fifteen students this next year to make the program really take off.


    “We are looking for any driven student. I don’t think there is any cookie-cutter student for this program and I think that’s what’s great about it,” said Chambers. “If you are driven and willing to put in the work, willing to grow as a student and to work with your teacher mentors, I think that’s the ideal student.”


    The teachers and staff here at JB are looking forward to seeing how this program does next year and years to come, hoping learning can reach new heights.


    Six Tips to Pass an AP Test

    Stressed about the test?


    The end of the school year is approaching, but every student knows along with bright suns and clear skies, the end of the year also brings tests.


    Common exams that many students around the globe are preparing for at the end of the year are AP tests. Over the course of two weeks, May 7-18, seven AP tests will be taken here at JBl.


    AP tests are meant to help students receive college credits to get a jumpstart on college. The AP credits can be very helpful, but the first step to being able to receive them is by passing the test.

    AP tests are scored from a zero to five, but most colleges accept a three or above.


    Worried about passing? Below are six tips to help you pass your AP test:



    • Practice questions



    Many websites online provide questions that reflect what would be asked on an AP test. Students can use these questions to test themselves and understand the material that’s on the AP test. Besides going online, asking AP teachers for extra study material is always an option.



    • Manage time



    The AP test takes about two to three hours to complete. This is a short amount of time to finish the test and it makes everything fast-paced. The best way to manage your time is to become use to it. When you are home, close your door, sit down and time yourself on questions. You should find a system that works for you in answering questions in the most efficient way possible.



    • Review concepts from the first half of the year



    Everyone can agree that by the end of the school year, almost everyone has forgotten the material they learned from the first half. So, it is important to go back through and remember everything that was taught over the year by reviewing your prior material.



    • Do NOT cram



    The most effective studying is done over a course of several weeks of reviewing material. Studies show, according to Prometric publisher of “8 Tips to Help Pass a Standardized Test,”  it is better than cramming all the information in the night before.



    • Sleep well


    Studies, according to Prometric, have also shown getting sleep rather than studying all night before the test is most helpful. Also, a good night’s sleep will leave you awake and aware during the test.


    1.  Do not panic


    The best way to focus is when you are calm and relaxed. When stuck on a question, move on, and then come back to it later. Do not worry about the other people taking the test, just focus on your test. Most importantly, feel confident in your knowledge and ability. Go into the test feeling positive and ready.

    Don’t Fight the Light

    Understand why Americans observe Daylight Saving Time.


    Spring is right around the corner; that means it’s time to jump ahead and move our clocks forward! Beginning on Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018, the United States will move the clocks ahead to 2:00 a.m.


    Clocks falling back and springing forward have become an annual activity that Americans have been participating in ever since 1916. But what was the reason our ancestors adopted daylight saving time (DST)?


    According to David Prerau author of “Web Exhibits: Daylight Saving Time,” it all started with an idea from Benjamin Franklin, who thought to make better use of sunlight.  His efforts to put daylight savings into action were not adopted until World War I. America and other European countries started using DST as a way to conserve fuel and energy needed for the war. DST takes an hour from the morning and adds an hour to the evening so people don’t have to use energy for light in when it gets dark.


    Even though there are many positive results from using DST, like saving energy, there are still people who find it to be an inconvenience and unneeded. For one, just having to change the clocks can be a hassle. There are also debates that DST doesn’t actually save energy. With more light in the evenings, people can go out, thus using more gas in the process.


    According to Prerau, whether daylight savings times is useful or not, in 1966 the Uniform Time Act was passed establishing daylight savings throughout America. The act also allowed any states not wanting to participate in daylight savings to pass a law to do so. There are a few states that do not go by daylight savings time, this includes Hawaii and Arizona, except in Northeastern Arizona where the Navajo Nation practices DST. Along with these two states, none of the US dependencies (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, the US Minor Outlying Islands, and the US Virgin Islands) participate in DST either.


    Besides the history and reasoning of DST, there are a few other things to know. It is this time that people are reminded to change their smoke detectors because people are already changing their clocks.


    Also, it might seem strange that the clocks move at two in the morning. Why not at midnight when the day changes? This is because at 2:00 a.m. there is there least amount of movement. Most people are home and by changing time then it minimizes disruption

    Whether you are one to observe daylight savings or not, just as a forewarning the clocks will be next falling forward on Sunday, March 11, 2018, and falling back on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, at 2:00 a.m.

    The World of Wrestling

    Find out how James Buchanan wrestling team did the 2017-18 season and what the future holds for them.


    Hannah Kimmel

    The official proclaims Logan Miller (9) winner of the match.

    The wrestling season is coming to a close as the James Buchanan Varsity Wrestling team enters their championship season.


    This season started out strong with eleven wrestlers; for nine of them, it was their first year on the Varsity Wrestling team. Many new faces brought a lot of hope to the wrestlers, and they wanted to win matches for the team. Although they didn’t have a winning season, the boys were closer as a team than last season.


    “I feel like this team, this year, was a lot stronger and a lot more bonded than years in the past,” said Jaelin Carmak (12), the only senior and team captain. “Just as a team, in general, we bonded real well and I feel like that’s a bigger win than actually winning a dual meet.”


    Even though they weren’t able to win any meets, there were a lot of individual wins for some of the wrestlers, which helped boost morale and spirit.


    James Buchanan’s wrestling team is very young with only one senior leaving this year; many of the wrestlers will be coming back next year to continue where they left off. Carmak’s teammate, Hunter Smith (9), plans to return for the next season.


    “We need more experience. We need more talent and wrestlers, have more people out there and join the team,” said Smith.


    Smith believes these are the ingredients they will need for next season, especially with how young the team is. There were six freshmen wrestlers this year, making up over half of the team.


    For what the team lacks in their numbers, they make up for in their dedication and focus.


    “When you go out there on the mat, you wouldn’t think six minutes of wrestling is real hard, but you’re using every muscle out there,” Carmak said. “You use muscles you wouldn’t even think you would.”


    To be able to wrestle even just six minutes on the mat requires hours of training at practices. The wrestler’s condition by running two miles every practice, then they do drills to better their coordination and flexibility. They also learn different moves, so they are able to pin the competition and live wrestling and doing their own moves.


    Though the practices are tough and tiring the wrestlers love their sport. Carmak and Smith both agreed that the best part of the season were the bus rides to and from the matches. There, the boys would talk and relax. It bonded them closer as a team making them feel much like a family.


    The Wrestling team has been through a long and grueling season, but they are all looking forward to competing in Sectionals, February 17, at Susquenita High School. From there if wrestlers place in the top three they move onto Districts.


    A Day In the Life of Mrs. Amsley

    Have you ever wondered who is behind student scheduling, report cards and grades? I was able to follow Angie Amsley (Faculty) the principal’s secretary to find out just what she does in a day.


    7:00 a.m. – Amsley is the first person to arrive she opens up the school and welcomes the staff as they roll in. She starts her mornings managing the front office as she checks to see if any of the teachers are going to be out. She then organizes and prepares coverages for the teachers and substitutes. Her daughter Grace Amsley (11) keeps her mother company as she waits for the bus to the Franklin County Career & Technology Center.


    Amsley sits at the front office in the morning scheduling coverages for the day.

    The day I followed only two teachers were out so coverages weren’t too difficult. John Lum (Faculty) was the first teacher to arrive coming in at a little after 7:00 a.m. and Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) the principal of James Buchanan arrived at 7:20.


    8:00 a.m. -Amsley makes her way back to her office and finishes the coverages. She organizes and gives Benedick all the papers he needs to sign, like trip forms and club approvals. Two additional teachers were now off, so it was Amsley’s responsibility to prepare their coverages. Mrs. Suzanne Palmerchuck (Faculty), is the In-Building Substitute, whose job is to be at the high school to cover any positions. If there is no position that needs to be covered she goes to the other schools in the district to help. That day Palmerchuck was covering a class at the Mercersburg Elementary


    y and she was needed to cover the library. Amsley spent most of the morning making phone calls to try to see if Palmerchuck was still available for coverage. After some time Amsley decided to close the library since there was no coverage. She was then called into Benedick’s office to discuss the Christmas gifts for the administrative staff.


    9:00 a.m. – Amsley checks over timesheets for extra staff such as lifeguards. She makes sure all the time sheets are signed and correct, then sends them to Central Office. She then continues making calls and sending emails to Central Office, teachers, parents and other people in the district, and working on anything Benedick gives her to do. While doing all this, school staff will continually come into her office asking questions and asking her about things they need done.

    The day I followed, she also called down a lifeguard that needed to sign their time sheet. Amsley also talked with the other secretaries about how to count the time of tardies and early dismissals. The discussion resulted in Mrs. Mary Cristafano (Faculty) making a cheat sheet for timing absences.



    10:00 a.m- 12:00 p.m. – Here Amsley takes care of a variety of things. Some days she might work on preparing a schedule for a new student, help prepare emergency drills, or fix any problems on the school portal. Every event that happens at the school is cleared and approved by Amsley; that includes pool rentals, music concerts, assemblies, etc. She finalizes the events by putting it on the calendar. Amsley knows everything that happens at the school.

    Amsley makes copies of coverages to handout.

    The day I followed, Amsley continued to work on the Christmas gifts that Benedick wanted. A student comes down asking for help to get onto their portal and Amsley quickly takes care of the problem.


    12:45 p.m.- 1:00 p.m. – At this time Amsley goes home for lunch and while she’s there takes care of her two St. Bernards: Copper and Gus.


    1:00 p.m. – Amsley continues emailing, calling and answering any questions that staff and students might have. Every day is a little different with different things happening.


    The day I followed, Amsley went to help Athletic Director Mr. Larry Strawoet (Faculty) with technology difficulties. When back at her office, Amsley and Benedict determined what the Christmas gifts should look like. Over the hour a few people came asking questions about attendance and looking to talk to Mr. Benedick.


    2:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. – Since each day is different, Amsley will work on anything that needs to be done. Once the bell rings for the students to leave, Amsley waits until all subs have clocked out and then she is able to pack up and leave for the day. At the beginning of the year, she deals a lot with schedule changes, like when students want drop classes or change lunches. She is also very involved with the food drive, communicating between the school and the families receiving the food. Amsley also prepares the rooms and proctors for all standardized tests in the school like the Keystones and PSATs. She makes sure every guideline is followed and correct. May is the busiest time of the year, with graduation, tests, and final grades all having to be completed.


    The day I followed a package arrived with a new receiver for the announcement board at the end of the road. The old one had fallen off in a storm and was ruined by the rain. Amsley called up TechOps to let them know it arrived. She also made a new ID card for a student that lost him and sent the Honor Roll list to the newspaper.


    What we learned-  From following the principal’s secretary, Mrs. Amsley, we learned that she knows everything that is happening and is a key component to running this school. She can help answer any problems that might arise, and every day for Amsley is a new day where she never knows what might happen.


    The truth of the matter is: nothing in this school happens without the help of Mrs. Amsley, and for that, we are grateful for all her help.

    Don’t Make Math a Task, Just Ask!

    45 minutes may not be long enough to understand the quadratic formula, but some extra help can go a long way.


    If you’re one of many students looking for extra help understanding the mysteries of mathematics then all you have to do is ask the math tutors.


    Every activity period in the library, any student is able to go down and receive aid in school work; all they have to do is ask one of the ten math tutors for help.  


    Their goal as a program is to encourage students to ask questions.


    “We want students who are struggling to realize we only got to where we are by asking questions,” said Nick Garbinski,12, one of the math tutors


    The advisor and co-founder of the math tutoring program, Mr. Michael Mele, Faculty,  is also a promoter of asking questions.


    “My job is to let them [the students] figure things out and ask questions when they need some guidance and clarification,” said Mele.


    The math tutors hope to achieve the focus and effort that is based on Mele’s beliefs and the objective of the math tutoring program overall.


    “I realized how much I enjoy being down in the library, helping others or receiving help,” said Jae-lin Carmack, 12, another tutor who volunteers his time every activity period.


    For the people who partake in math tutoring, asking questions has helped the program better answer similar concerns from other students.

    “I needed help significantly, and slowly but surely I’m improving,” states Colby Shingler, 10, currently taking Algebra 1. Shingler is a regular at the library and feels the tutoring program has played a major role in improving his math skills.


    The math tutors have anywhere between two to five people come to the library a day with questions on homework. They hope by promoting thought-provoking questions, more students will come asking for help.



    The math tutors will continue to aid others until the end of the year and start all over again once more with the new school year.


    Carmack advised, “Never be afraid to ask questions because without questions you get no answers and without answers everyone’s clueless.” 

      The Secret Behind Distance Running

      Getting up and running a 5k is not as easy as it looks, but the James Buchanan Cross Country team has it figured out.


      Rachel Kimmel

      James Buchanan girls start their race against the Boiling Spring bubblers on Tuesday Sept. 19.

      Each runner lines their foot up along the white line stretching across an open field. Everything is silent, except for the cicadas buzzing in the distance. They brace themselves as the official raises both the orange flag and gun.




      The gun is fired and the flag falls down as the runners start their long trek up and down hills and valleys and through forest and fields.


      This is just the start of any three-mile race that the boys and girls cross country team had to run this fall.


      The Cross Country team has successfully completed eight dual meets this month, as well as three invitationals. There have been numerous personal records from each runner and six boys and four girls from the team that has qualified for the district meet coming up in October. But none of this would have been possible without all the work and effort each runner has put into his or her race.


      Before the race season even began, the team was already running. Jerome Staniszewski, head coach of the boys’ and girls’ Cross Country team, stated, “Throughout the summer we trained three days a week.”


      Voluntary though it was, many of the runners showed up, giving them a leg up for this season. Their training consisted of a variety of running such as distance, speed work, fartleks, hills and interval training.  


      “Even though the race is only 3.1 miles, we want to get a lot of miles,” says Staniszewski.


      Each type of training improves the runner’s ability and endurance, which is all needed when racing.

      Rachel Kimmel
      Casey Dorsey runs the last few yards of his race.

      Not only do the runners train physically, they also train mentally.


      “There’s a large mental aspect to running,” Staniszewski explains as he goes into further detail about how to coach mental toughness.


      Ryan Haylett, the assistant coach, is the mastermind behind coaching mental toughness. He leads the team in talks about ignoring pain and staying focused on their running form, which in turn helps them run better.  


      “They’ll have us write write-ups about the races and different papers to keep us focused,” says Kaiden Stinson, 12, one of the senior runners who has participated in the sport all four years of his high school career.


      By writing about their races, the runners are able to reflect on their performance and determine what they need to do to get better. Haylett will also have them write other write-ups about who inspires and motivates them.


      Haylett also persuaded the team to do the steel commitment.


      “He’s doing this thing that every time he takes a shower, the last minute he turns the water on ice cold,” says Stinson as he describes Haylett’s steel commitment, which is meant to help develop mental toughness that can be transitioned into racing.

      Rachel Kimmel
      (Right to left) Brandon Boyer, Jacob Asbach and Kaden Stinson watch the finish of the boys race.

      From the efforts of physical and mental training, when the team has to line up to run any race, they always go in knowing they have worked hard and they should have nothing to fear because 3.1 miles has become a piece of cake.


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            Rachel Kimmel