The Rocket Flame

Walk Up For a Cause


Going over the powerpoint, Mackenzie Layton (11) explains their cause for doing the Walk Up.

Students across the country have taken a stand in what they believe by showing their support to the victims of the Parkland Shooting last month. On Wednesday, March 14, the survivors of the Parkland shooting, along with tens of thousands of other kids across the nation came together for a National School Walkout.

To remember those who lost their lives, Alyssa Blair (11) informs the audience of the students’ and teachers’ lives.


To show support to the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, James Buchanan held a ceremony to honor the students and teachers who lost their lives February 14, 2018.


Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), Kali Rotharmel (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) organized the ceremony during activity period, called Walk Up, Not Walk Out.  Students were able to go to the auditorium and watch a presentation focusing on the 17 lives lost a month before. Each victim had a poster with their name on it as well as a slide to remember their lives. Following this, there was also a moment of silence.

Posters for each of the seventeen victims were taped to the chairs.


Layton, Blair, Barnett, Rotharmel, and Siko organized plans for a walkout throughout social media.


“I went to Mackenzie, and asked her if she could explain the walkout to me when I saw it on Twitter,” Blair said. “She asked if I would be interested in planning and organizing a walkout, here.”


The girls went to the principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty), to discuss their options when it came to walking out of school. He informed them a protest that disrupts the school day could result in disciplinary actions.


“We saw articles about kids getting in trouble, and we wanted to do it in a productive way,” Blair said. “We still wanted to make a difference so we went to Mr. Benedick about it.”


The girls and Benedick worked together to formulate a way to support the Parkland victims but not cause a disruption to the school day. That is when they created the idea of a Walk Up.

To explain their cause, Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) made posters

“We wanted to show that no matter your political view, we could all come together and prevent it from happening again in the future,” Blair said. “We wanted to slowly make a difference in our school.”


The Walk Up was created for students and adults to make a difference in other’s lives, by showing kindness to strangers or people you may not normally talk to.


“The Walk Up isn’t going to end today,” Layton said. “We want it to continue throughout the year and throughout the rest of your lives.”


Students were challenged to walk up to 14 new kids and 3 adults they may not normally talk to, disregarding differences. Students were challenged to walk up to the kid who sits alone and ask him to join your group, to walk up to the kid who never has a partner.


They did not just stop at kids, but also walk up to their teachers and thank them.

In this way, the students of James Buchanan came together to make everyone feel a part of the school community.

Hannah Mellott

The Robotic Future of James Buchanan


Kiersten Siko, 11, displays James Buchanan’s drone in the Robotics club’s workshop.

Throughout the school year academics are praised, sport teams are highlighted, and every social event is brought to attention amongst the student body. However, lying behind the scenes is a small, yet upcoming club known as the Robotics club.

The Robotics club is a growing, high-tech club where a group of seven or eight students learn how to assemble and program different robots. The robot softwares used at James Buchanan are known as Vex and Boebots. The club also treasures their own drone, which is managed by the upperclassmen.


The drone is the biggest project the robotics club is currently working on. It is used to capture pictures or video footage of James Buchanan’s sports complexes or of the elementary schools. Students Whitney Deshong, 12, and Kiersten Siko, 11, describe how during a typical Robotics club session they either fly the drone or mess around with the drone’s software.


“Right now, it [the drone] is having software issues so we’re figuring that out,” Deshong said showing how problem-solving is an important characteristic of the club.  


The members of the Robotics club are also gearing up to enter competitions for the drone or for their other robots in the near future.

“We are learning how to program and build the robots in anticipation of entering several competitions across the state of Pennsylvania and Maryland,” said advisor Mr. Bill Brooks, Faculty.

The Robotics Club’s drone operated by the upperclassmen   

The members of the club are already preparing for these competitions, along with preparing for the Homecoming parade. They are planning on having their homecoming parade appearance have a movie theme to correspond with the Hollywood Homecoming theme. 


Although a lot of work and time is put into the robots, the members of the robotics club enjoy working with technology and learning more about it.


“It’s a fun experience. It’s really exciting when you see something you worked on for three weeks walk three inches,” Siko said.


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Kiersten Siko