The Rocket Flame

Explore Your Major


On January 23, the JBHS College Ambassadors held their first Major Exploration Day.  Throughout the day the Ambassadors presented PowerPoint presentations and handed out pamphlets to inform students about different college majors and careers they may want to pursue.  Covering twelve different majors from International Studies to Health Sciences, there was information for everyone.

“At one of our weekly meetings the College Ambassadors choose different majors that they wanted to represent,” said Amy Violante (Faculty). “Then they made handouts visuals to share with the other students.”

The goal was to inform the student body about career paths you can choose and the different steps required to get there. Ambassadors were split up into four groups to collect information about careers and study up on various topics that they then would present to the student body.  

Cass Martin and Harley Rife (12) teach Hannah Zomak, Cormac Houpt, and Logan Williams (12) about Health Sciences.

“We had a lot of students come today interested in Nursing and Business,” said Cass Martin (12). “ We gave the students something to take with them so that they could go home and reflect afterward.”

Students came in and out of the library all day to watch the presentations and get the handouts created by the Ambassadors.  Anyone who participated in the Major Exploration Day by asking questions or listening to a presentation received a penate from the college of their choice.  Students were also added into a raffle for a chance to win a speaker or headphones as a prize.

“I really enjoyed getting to learn about my intended major, Animal Science,” said Rose Runyan (12). “Ms. Violante told me about the in-depth requirements and what I must do to achieve that major.”

Visuals shown during the Major Exploration Day showed schooling requirements for the intended careers. If there wasn’t a PowerPoint on a career selected by a student there was a bin full of miscellaneous careers that had information regarding the paths taken to get there.  The Ambassadors felt that they had a successful day with over 70 participants entered in the speaker raffle.

“The morning was a little slow, but thanks to some great study hall advertisement and some teachers who encouraged their student to come, we had a good turn out,” said Violante.

For more college advice and assistance, Ms. Violante will also be holding the next SATTea Time next Friday, February 1 for whoever is interested in registering for the spring SAT.  Also, there will be another FAFSA completion night on February 11 for any seniors who still need help completing financial aid packages.

Aria Jewel-Barnett (12) presents English and Education majors during Major Exploration Day.

10 Ways To Make Your Christmas Season Sleigh

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


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

Hershey’s Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Are You College-Ready?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

What You Don’t Know About 3:15 Student Ministries


Standing at the door of 3:15 Student Ministries, Jacquelyn Wagaman (11), Dawson Thomas (11), and Harley Rife (11) welcome attendees and guests.

Sharing testimonies. Listening to guest speakers. Reading the Bible. Inviting and meeting new people. These are all things that happen every Monday morning during activity period the optional student club, 3:15 Student Ministries.


3:15 Student Ministries is a club managed and run by students. The president, Jaiden Hart (12), has been recently elected and is already on the move for improving the club from last year.


“We are trying to achieve better leadership this year,” Hart said. “We put in a lot of care and our attendance is growing.”


Within a usual Monday morning, the club assigns a member to speak about a topic relating to the Bible or to share their testimony, which is a story about how a person witnessed the Lord. At the end of the meeting, the club opens up into discussion where any member can share what they would like, such as how they encountered God throughout the week.


On special occasions, the club will invite guest speakers to preach for the morning. On October 23, a youth leader from Air Hill Brethren Church came in and spoke. This meeting had a very successful outcome, so the club is planning on bringing in more speakers for the future.

Flipping through pages in the Bible, Harley Rife (11), shows Kali Rotharmel (11) her favorite verse.

3:15 Student Ministries is also starting to prepare for a big fellowship event they are holding in April. The event is called Overflow and the club hopes to have the event run smoother and to have stronger attendance than the year before.


“Overflow is a fellowship event,” Hart said. “We bring in different speakers and different musicians. We’ll sing songs and hear people speak. There’s food and games. It turns out to be a really great time.”  


The overall goal for 3:15 Student Ministries is to grow and to bring more students to God. The club tries to make nobody feel unwelcome by greeting everyone at the door with handshakes and jokes.


“Our goal is to spread love and the amazing works of our Lord,” said the vice president, Harley Rife (11). “We want to bring joy to the students in our school and community.”

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Harley Rife