The Rocket Flame

Ready? Set? Race!

Who Will Cross the Finish Line First?


Sydney Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environment, Education, and Envirothon

Understanding JB’s environmental club: Envirothon


It’s found all over Pennsylvania and throughout the world and it’s here in our school. For over 35 years at least five students have represented James Buchanan High School each year by competing in Envirothon, a competitive program teaching students about natural resources and environmental sciences.


Every year on the first Tuesday in May, James Buchanan sends one or two teams of five to Cowan’s Gap to compete against other schools at the local level. From there if a team wins the local-level, they move on to the state-level, and from there they compete at a national level, which includes several international countries.


The teams work together to complete five different tests on each area of the environment, the areas of the environment being soils and land use, aquatics, wildlife, forestry, and a current popular issue in the environment.  


Each team rotates through five stations (one station for each topic), and they have thirty minutes to complete each station. The teams have to answer or solve questions varying from identifying wildlife pelts and bird songs to measuring the height and width of a tree.


Some may think knowing all this random information may not be important, but for the people of Envirothon, there is more behind the melody of a certain bird whistle.


“Exposure to nature and seeing how humans impact the natural world provide invaluable lessons for understanding ecosystems and our environment,” states Pennsylvania Envirothon on their website as they describe the purpose to Envirothon.


This club teaches students almost every little detail about the environment such as managing watersheds, finding sources of pollution, conserving habitats, identifying animal populations, evaluating landforms, or knowing soils that affect agriculture and development areas.  


“It’s applicable to a lot of fields. There may be students interested in going to be a game commission officer or wildlife biologist,” said Mrs. Jenna Ross (Faculty), the advisor for James Buchanan’s Envirothon. “So it’s an introduction to what’s in some of those careers.”


Ross has been leading the Envirothon for the past five years and is looking forward to bringing a team again this year.


Many members join the team to further enhance their knowledge in a career field they may want to pursue.


“I want to be a civil engineer and specialize in the environment; I want to know how roads and buildings impact the environment,” said Logan Rockwell (12), explaining how Envirothon is helpful in his career of choice.


This is the second year Rockwell has participated in Envirothon and is hoping to win this year’s competition.


Starting after Christmas, Envirothon members get together two times a week to practice and study everything they might need to know for the big day. Sometimes they might review with Kahoot or go outside to measure the diameter of a tree. Much of what they practice is a review since many of Envirothon members partake in wildlife classes that teach these topics.


This year the members of Envirothon are Brady Mickley (12), Logan Rockwell (12), David Clopper (11) and Alec Urban (10). Anyone interested in following a career path in the environment or is really interested in the environment is welcomed to join.


For what seems like a small club, Envirothon is packed with opportunities to help further students in learning about the environment and the natural world around them.

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