The Rocket Flame

Benches for the Community

Benches+for+the+Community

Some students from the James Buchanan High School Art Club recently took on a new project to give people a colorful place to sit in the Mercersburg community. 

The Art Club was given the task by Dr. Elizabeth A. George, who is working alongside the The Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness and many others, to paint benches for a local trail in Mercersburg. The project includes four benches from James Buchanan, as well as four from the Mercersburg Academy. The benches were fabricated by Kyle Burdette of Burdette Ironworks in Mercersburg. Painting the benches allows the students to show their painting skills to a larger group of people other than just students at the school.

Kyla Shoemaker (11) a member of the Art Club, has taken on one of the benches by herself to benefit the community. 

“I’m painting a nature scene with local wildlife from the area, such as different types of trout and frogs” said Shoemaker. “I volunteered to paint the benches so that I could show my art and to give joy to the community.” 

Shoemaker spends a lot of her free time down in the art room working on the benches so that they will be done for the public by spring so that people can enjoy them when they start to go outside more.

“I’ve been working on the bench for almost six and a half hours already and I think it might take me up to eight by the time I am done with it,” Shoemaker said. 

There are a total of 13 students working in four groups on the benches. The project is entirely done by students like Shoemaker, with a little guidance from Mrs.Kayla Chambers-Matulevich (Faculty), the Art Club teacher and advisor at JBHS. The main goal was to illustrate local plants and animals.

“It’s mostly the students doing everything by themselves,” Chambers-Matulevich said. “The only thing I asked is that they do local wildlife to showcase local flora and fauna.”

Chambers-Matulevich, also thinks that the benches are a new and creative way for the students to demonstrate their talents to the community as a whole.

“When I was contacted, I thought it was a great project for the community,” said Chambers-Matulevich. “It’s a nice way to show the students’ talent and ability to people in the area.”

The students started painting the benches around the first week of February and are hoping to have them done by mid-March, so that everyone can enjoy them for the spring and summer months to come. The benches will be located at the Johnston’s Run trail on Oregon Street in Mercersburg once completed. The trail is open to anyone everyday of the week and is also handicap accessible.

Lighting a Path for New NHS Members

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Back Row: Owen Cooper (11), Addy Crouse (11), Alliah Fluent (11), Meredith Iverson (11), Kace Dorty (11), Colby Starr (11), Macen Wilt (11), Carlee Jackson (12), Tanner Myers (12), Aleesha Cramer (11), Jaide Wolfe (11), and Hailey Embree (11). Front Row: Kaitlyn Ebersole (12), Cameron Flemming (11), Bella Shupp (11), Brynn Taulton (11), Kyla Shoemaker (11), Ashley Dukehart (11), Morgan Shughart (11), Emily Horst (11), Alyssa Sensinger (11), Maddie Akers (11), and Kierra Griffith (11).

Imagine yourself feeling anxious as you wait for your name to be called. Your hands are sweaty and your heart is pumping at a thousand beats per minute. When your name is finally called, multiple hands clap in unison as they recognize and acknowledge your academic achievements and induct you into a society. This society is known as the National Honor Society, which highlights students who do well academically as well as showing the four pillars that define the society.

On January 17, 2020, 24 new members were inducted into this organization. Before a student can get into NHS, they must first get an NHS invitation and this is the first step of the induction process.

“In November of the school year, Mr. Stull and I run the GPAs for juniors and seniors…students need a 3.85 GPA for this year,” said Mrs. Jenna Sheaffer (Faculty). 

This is one part of the criteria that everyone cannot meet, but the advisors have discussed a change that can impact the inductees for next year. 

“Next year, the GPA is going to go up since the weighting  system might change,” said Sheaffer. “We have discussed with Mrs. Troutman of maybe allowing the top 15% of the class to apply for NHS. Because we didn’t change the weighting system this year, we invited 40 students to apply. This doesn’t show how the inducted members are a selected group of students.” 

If a student reaches the GPA requirement, they must also reflect the four pillars that define NHS.  

“Everyone meets scholarship (that’s the 3.85). Character is the harder one to talk about because we want students who are well-rounded and nice people. The other two are service and leadership,” said Sheaffer. 

Once students fill out the application, the induction process is determined by the Faculty Advisory Committee, who help decide who is ultimately inducted.

“There’s one teacher from the four main subjects – Math, English, Social Studies, Science,” said Sheaffer. “Then we have Mrs. Johnson who does the pool area, and Mrs. Martin from the tech/art department, and both Mrs. Troutman and Mr. Bradley helps out.”

In some cases, there is a limit to how many students get in, so not all applicants may get in the first year. At this point, the committee has to choose the best candidates.

“It’s a goal to have all four pillars, but no one is perfect, so there are times where we take things into consideration,” said Sheaffer. “For example, someone could be at school 15 hours a day and not have as much community service hours so we try to weigh the pillars.”

When the final decision is made, acceptance letters go out to the parents of those students who got accepted. From here, the parents often decide whether they tell their kids or they try to keep it a secret.

“It was very exciting to hear that I got into NHS,” said Colby Starr (11). “I get to see all of the hard work that I put in over the years and how it finally paid off.”

After the acceptance letters go out, the induction date has to be set and from there the planning process for the ceremony takes place.

“The planning of the ceremony gets stressful sometimes because you are planning a school-wide event and you have to tell teachers and we have to send out an alternate schedule,” said Sheaffer. “Mrs. Amsley does all of the RSVPs because we need them to hold seats in the auditorium of all the family that’s coming. We also throw in a cookie and punch snack time afterwards, so Mr. Stull and I have to order the food. Then we have to set up the stage with the chairs, the podium, and the table with the candles…Mrs. Blair irons all of the covers for us.” 

At the beginning of the induction ceremony, Mr. Samuel Dickey (Faculty) started off by thanking the people who put the event together. Then he invited Nicholas Alfree (12) to the podium to read off the names of the newly inductees and explain what they are a part of both in and out of school. 

“I did a mission trip with my church and I helped out at retirement homes by playing the guitar and playing games with them,” said Kierra Griffith (11). “It was important for me to get into NHS because I value my academic achievements and I want to help people as much as possible.” 

Once all of the new members have been introduced, Kamari Moser (12), Sarah Kimmel (12), Paige Hartman (12), and Megan Rummel (12) explained what each of the four pillars mean. After they spoke, they lit a candle to represent each characteristic.

After presenting the pillar of Service, Paige Hartman (12) lights the last candle.

           Finally, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty) had each member repeat the NHS pledge. The ceremony ended with pictures being taken and a follow up snack held in the cafeteria. 

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Kyla Shoemaker