The Rocket Flame

New Coaches, New Attitude


Usually, a new coach for a team, creates a new attitude and goals for the season, this year the entire basketball program created new attitudes and goals. 

With the retirement of both girls’ and boys’ coaches last year, this left an opening for two new head coaching position. Coach Rebecca Miller (Faculty) and Coach Matt Piper were chosen for the jobs, both previously being Assistant Varsity Coaches.

“It is very challenging being a head coach, because it isn’t just about coaching one team,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes that you do that isn’t just on the basketball court.”

Most people think being the head coach is being the coach to one single team, but there’s much more than that. Having the head coach position, that means you also have to be paying attention to the middle school teams and even the elementary kids. Also adjustments and goals have to be made to better the team.

“We’re talking more about building a family and a unit,” said Piper.

The main goal for the coaches, was to do more than win games, but it was to grow as a team and become a family. Both teams have done things on and off the court to become closer.

During a timeout, Coach Piper encourages the boys to finish the game with a win.

“Everybody needs to have fundamentals and if you make your players be good basketball players, then it doesn’t really matter what plays you run,” said Miller.

With changes in the program and teams, the attitude for the players should not. Changing plays and positions is helpful, but the main idea is to just have good fundamentals and be a good ball player. 

“This season we are going to play hard and play harder as a team,coming in every day and doing our best,” said Piper.

Both coaches remain hopeful to become higher in their league and better not only the teams, but they program. 

Science Days


The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale MIller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

The ap chemistry class poses for a picture on the playground at St. Thomas Elementary. Carlee Jackson (11), Tanner Myers (11), Jordan Harbold (11), Alyssa Blair (12), Daniel Corcoran (12), Trenton Morgan (12), Amanda Sensinger (11), Dale Miller (12), Mackenzie Saunders (11), Alyssa Velasquez-Glant (12), Kayla Noll-Bader (12), Ella Jones (12), and Abby Carbaugh (12)

On May 16 and 17, The AP Chemistry class at James Buchanan High School went to TSD Elementary schools for a Science Days.  During Science Days, the Chem class walked the elementary students through two experiments to get them excited about science.  After the experiments JBHS students related what they did to a real-life problem and showed how scientists solve problems. On Thursday the students went to St. Thomas and Mt. View and on Friday they went to Mercersburg and Montgomery.  

The project was first introduced by the high schools Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty).  She has been taking her AP Chemistry classes to the elementary schools for a little over ten years.

“I think we had a very successful day,”  said Noah Wise (12). “My favorite part was how excited all the little kids got when learning about science.”

Miller got the experiment ideas this year from the teacher’s science convention. During the Toothpaste Challenge, the students had to empty out a bottle of toothpaste and used their problem solving skills to see how much they could get back into the bottle.  

Hunter Gayman (2) and Chloe Shew (2) work together to get toothpaste back into the bottle during Elementary Science Day.

“The toothpaste lab was my favorite to do with the children because it was fun to see them use their imagination to come up with different ideas to get the toothpaste back into the bottle,” said Daniel Corcoran (12).

This was supposed to replicate when scientists have to quickly clean-up spills that can be harmful to the earth, people, or animals.  

The Copycat Challenge was used to show students how scientist are copycats sometimes when it comes to making new inventions.  An example given to the kids was how scientists got the idea of airplanes from animals like birds, butterflies, and bees.

“The copycat lab was my favorite to do with the kids because we had to remember the color wheel and experiment which colors would  show a desired color,” said Owen Stoner (12).

The challenge consisted of the children mixing different food coloring colors to mimic the color of soda.

Colton Pine (2) and Trey Shandle (2) work together to complete the Copycat Challenge on Elementary Science Day.

After the experiments were complete, the students had time to discuss how they were related to science.  They also had the opportunity to ask the high school students any questions they had about high school.

“It was really fun when the students asked us about high school,” said Corcoran. “We were asked questions from “ Is the lunch at the high school good?” to “ What are your plans after high school?”

In the future, Miller has hopes of expanding and continuing the project. Whether it be going to more grade levels or going to the middle school too.  The elementary science days have an impact on the younger kids and can be very memorable throughout the kids educational career.

Reaching Past Teaching

Reaching Past Teaching

That Was Then, This is Now

After graduation, students go off on their own to make new memories with new people and, more times than not, go to new places. Every so often, there will be some students who tend to stay back or come back to their hometown to start a career. At James Buchanan High School, there are some individuals who have gone here to school and now have started their careers.


Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty) and Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty) are only a couple of people who attended high school at James Buchanan. None of the faculty members planned on coming back to high school and work here.


“It was one of those things that just kind of happened and it was almost like a domino affect,” Miller said. “The door will open here and a window will open there and things happen all of a sudden just by luck.”


During their high school Careers, Miller and Gustafson were both involved in sports and clubs. Miller played basketball and was on the Yearbook committee. Gustafson played football, basketball, and track. He was also involved in National Honors Society. Being a part of activities has played a big part in their high school careers.


“Academics and athletics were my full time jobs while I was in High School.” said Gustafson.


As time moves forward, changes tend to happen. Some of the events at school altered or faded out. Twenty years later, Miller still remembers having an event that she always looked forward to at the end of the year.


“One thing that I really liked when I was a student was FAD Day,” Miller said. “It stood for free academic day where there was like all of these field trips that you could choose from. You could go to Baltimore, you could go to a Pittsburgh baseball game; You could go to the mall, or to a bowling alley. It was a school day, but you picked a field trip that you would want to go on.”


James Buchanan still celebrates school spirit, but back then, they had different events than what we have now. Participation in high school was considerably higher than what it is today.


“This school district used to have Color Day/Week,” said Gustafson. “Each class would be responsible for decorating a hallway with a theme.  At the end of the week, parents/community members would come into the school in the evening and walk through the building so they could admire all of the decorations.”


Nowadays, there are aspects of school that changed drastically. Technology has played a big role in formulating school work.

The technology integration has been significant from having a few computer labs to now having all students with laptops.” said Gustafson.


Academically, there have been more class opportunities given to students who were thinking about going to college.


“The chance to get college credit has changed a lot,” said Miller. “Like the HCC dual enrollment and the Mon-Alto classes; I don’t remember any of that.”


Over the years, the school itself has changed with updates. Despite this, the attitude of the  student body have stayed the same.


“Some teachers say that kids are different,” said Miller. “I think kids are just like kids from twenty years ago. They still have the same things that they worry about and things that make them laugh. People are people and I don’t think that part has changed a lot.”


All-in-all, former students who are now teachers remember James Buchanan as the same as today except for minor differences. Both Miller and Gustafson have fond memories they acquired while attending high school at James Buchanan.

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Mrs. Rebecca Miller