Be Our Guest TOMORROW!

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By Zoey Angelucci and Sam Miloser

Be our guest, be our guest, our Wildcat Craft Show is the best! December 8th… Don’t be late. Your experience will be great! This Saturday, December 8th, Shenango’s Drama Club will put on the fourth Annual Wildcat Winter Craft Show from 9:00-3:00. Venture over to the school on Saturday for crafts, food, entertainment, Christmas fun, and much much more.

All admissions money will go towards the Drama Club’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Putting on a show of this magnitude costs a lot of money, and the craft show raises just  a fraction of the overall cost. According to vocal director and craft show organizer, Samantha Leali, “We began this craft show to raise money for White Christmas, since it was the first time we needed to rent costumes due to their grandiose nature.” The Drama Club has found great success in this holiday event and has continued this tradition for the last four years.

As you can imagine, a craft show of this scope takes a lot of planning. Mrs. Leali explained, “We start in August and plan everything from vendor applications, ordering tables, scheduling entertainment, publicity, making a map, and, of course, ordering food. It is a full time job for Miss McNees and I.” This year attendees can expect even more vendors because the second floor will now be open. Seventy vendors are expected to attend, but there will be over 100 tables since many have multiple tables. In addition to the crafts, there will be tons of food, Chamber Choir carols, dances, and entertainment, a face painter and chalk paint artist.

Drama Club students get involved when it comes to running the craft show. Students are required to donate drinks, Chinese auction baskets, set up the night before, and help out during the craft show. Their jobs include assisting the vendors, working in the cafeteria, organizing the Chinese auction and selling tickets for admissions.

Senior Paige Seitam is celebrating her fourth craft show. “The atmosphere is awesome. Everyone’s happy and it’s almost Christmas! My craft show day will include running around making sure everything is how it’s supposed to be and singing with Chamber Singers and some small groups. There is a lot of shopping opportunities and many performers. There’s something for everyone.”

The craft show is a fabulous way to not only fund raise for the musical, but to promote local businesses and vendors. Attendees can expect many crafts, clothing, custom jewelry, handmade gifts, home decor, Christmas decorations, soaps and beauty products. There truly is something for everyone.

Shenango teacher Heather McKissick will be returning to the craft show this year after finding success last year. “Last year, I worked on my wood burning. I actually create pieces that can be personalized. This year I am continuing with my wood burning with wooden spoons and what not, and I will also sell my Arbonne products.” Along with many other vendors, Mrs. McKissick does “extremely well at our craft show and just enjoys it overall.” She admits, “My favorite part is watching the community come out to support our students and just the overall fun activities and different vendors.”

Be our guest, be our guest this Saturday, December 8th.

SADD Club Above and Beyond: The Friendship Bench

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By Melina Mangino and Dominique DeVivo

Soon, all eyes will be drawn to a new addition in our school courtyard. Under the direction of Ms. Shields, different activities are on the rise, including the yellow bench initiative. Shields expects an interactive SADD club to make its mark on Shenango not only this year but in the future as well.

 With the uprising active shooter preparations due to recent events in our society, the importance of developing positive relationships is paramount. Studies show most active shooters are outliers in their schools, so Shields thought the yellow bench would be the perfect way to help combat this feeling. The yellow bench promotes friendship with its bright yellow color.

“The whole Idea of the friendship bench is to promote friendliness throughout the school,” she explained.

   Shields first found the idea for the bench from a program that started in Canada. A company would donate a bright yellow bench to any school in Canada that reached out to them. Miss Shields contacted the program in hopes of getting a bench donated to our district, but unfortunately, they would not donate to an American school.

This was no setback for her, as she jumped right onto the next possibility, deciding to have our very own bench made. Our woodshop kindly donated a bench made in their shop, and some SADD club members were more than willing to donate their time to paint the bench a bright yellow.

This bench comes with hopes of providing a more positive environment in our school.

“The campaign is, yellow stands for hello,” Shields shared.

The bench has a welcoming meaning. If someone needs a friend, they are welcome to sit on the bench. If the bench serves its full purpose, hopefully another person will join them on the bench and spark a friendship.

As Ms. Shields shared, “The idea of even just looking at it or walking past it will hopefully just promote a more positive vibe. Maybe we’ll add yellow chairs in years to come,” she laughed.

The positivity doesn’t stop with the yellow bench; SADD club has so much more planned for the 2018-2019 school year. The club tries to do a different activity that the students can get involved with every month with a central goal of trying to promote awareness towards different causes. For example, Red Ribbon week in the month of October promoted not abusing drugs and alcohol, and SADD created a large awareness ribbon for students to sign outside of the cafeteria.  Mock accident is also coming up this year, but Shields said she doesn’t want to spoil too much, as she does change the activities up year to year.

“Every month is a different initiative,” said Shields, excited for the future of the Shenango SADD program.

Checkmate, Baby!

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By Ian Richard and Kailee Smith

A new club has recently taken on the after school hours of Shenango High School. Science teacher Mr. Flood is branching off his love for the game of chess to the students at Shenango. Held weekly right now, then eventually every other week, he is taking the responsibility and fun of teaching the intricate game of chess to those willing to learn.

Mr. Flood was a member of Chess Club in high school. Being a part of the club when he was a student made him want to pass on his passion.

“My dad started teaching me chess back when I was in first grade, and I loved it right away,” Flood recalled,  “It was always something my dad and I shared. We would sit at home playing many games of chess.” He expressed how he obtained numerous skills he thought were important in not only the game, but everyday life, and he wants to allow his students to adapt those same skills

During a typical meeting, Mr. Flood will teach the beginners the basic rules for chess and then let them play. The more intermediate and advanced players will play games on their own, and then winners will eventually take on Mr. Flood in a game to fully test their skills. With the organization of this club, he stresses the importance that no matter how advanced or how new a player is, their ability will grow with time and with practice.

Several strengths are learned from playing chess. “The biggest thing is thinking forward, anticipation, thinking outside the box,” Flood stressed. “Also, trying to get in someone else’s head to figure out what they are going to do before they even do it is a necessary skill of the game.”

Senior Bryce Enscoe, new member of Chess Club, summed up the enthusiasm felt by many of the novel players: “I have only played a few games myself, but I really enjoy it!”

 

Behind the Scenes at the Veteran’s Day Assembly

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By Zoey Angelucci and Isabella Cionni

Shenango’s Advanced Placement Government students worked diligently these last few weeks to prepare for the annual Veteran’s Day Assembly. Between crafting red, white and blue ribbons to placing flags in the school’s front yard, these students have done it all.

This lengthy production began with AP Government teacher, Brian Cooper, sending letters home with students and faculty with an explanation of the assembly and an inviation for veterans to attend. Along with this, Mr. Cooper orchestrated a brunch for the attending veterans and their families.

Next on the agenda, Mr. Cooper assigned his students jobs to involve them in the production. Decorating the display case, picking speakers, and distributing American flag ribbons for the school body were just a few of the myriad tasks these advanced placement students completed.
Four students, Paige Seitam, Lucas Olcott, Isabella Cionni, and Zoey Angelucci, also wrote and presented speeches at the assembly.

“It was such an honor to speak on behalf of my class at the assembly,” noted Paige Seitam, “and knowing that my grandfather, a veteran himself, was watching in the audience made my words all the more important.”

          Two students were in charge of picking a tribute video to soldiers and veterans while another had the responsibility of putting together the program for the Veterans Day Assembly. After completing most of the tasks at hand, Mr. Cooper took the AP Government class outside to place miniature American flags around the perimeter of the front of the high school.

           Two weeks of preparation went into getting organized for the Veterans Day assembly. At the closing of the two weeks, the day before the assembly, the class proceeded to the auditorium to have a practice run. This was necessary to make sure the special event ran as smoothly as possible.

“I am so glad this assembly was so successful! It was an honor to give back to our veterans this way,” stated Dominique DeVivo.

“We honor the veterans every year for the many sacrifices that they made to make our nation great.  Our students step up and show them the gratitude that we have for them,” Mr. Cooper said. “I think it’s our best assembly of the year.”

 

NHS Makes It Happen!

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By Kayla Suber and Domi Devivo

Work ethic and leadership are two core values that define the newest members of National Honor Society this year. These 23 prestigious students were chosen to be inducted into NHS on Wednesday, November 7th. The induction took place in the high school auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

“They first must meet an academic standard of 3.75 GPA,” noted NHS co-advisor Dr. Karen Matis. “They must also have evidence of service, leadership, and character.”

Many students work hard to maintain good grades, but not all portray the four character traits necessary for induction. These include strong moral character, leadership skills, service to the community, and academic scholarship.

This year’s induction theme was “Make It Happen.”  President Paige Seitam began the ceremony with a synopsis of what NHS is all about.  Seniors Hailee Sipe and Anna Bupp followed her comments with remarks that emphasized the theme. A musical piece, “River Flows in You,” was performed by Paige, and officers Addison George, Carlie Cardella, and Zoey Angelucci spoke about the four pillars of National Honor Society.

“Speaking about character and introducing  the new inductees is a great experience, especially because National Honor Society is such a prestigious honor,” Zoey shared.  The new inductees then rose while each individual name was called to receive their candle by three of the officers.

“It’s an honor to be inducted into NHS,” noted inductree Chaslin Hoover.  “It’s a great way to end my time as a student at Shenango.”

Once a member of NHS, students must attend two mandatory meetings each year and provide evidence of community service. NHS has already been actively engaged in serving at Glory Grille at First Presbyterian Church this past weekend.  

“It was enlightening to be able to take part in an activity that impacts my own hometown,” stressed Paige.  “I look forward to future opportunities to serve.”

A “SAFE” Place

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By Angela Prestopine and Kayla Suber

One of the school’s biggest priorities is keeping kids safe. This year, the word “safe” has a whole new meaning. With the addition of Shenango’s new SAFE Club, the school district is ready to assist as many students as possible.

Students Advocating for Everyone (SAFE) creates a safe environment for all students going through all different types of challenges or struggles. “Whether it be mental health or things at home,” Mrs. Merryman, club advisor, said, “SAFE creates a space for kids to come that is without judgement, without bias.”

This club is supposed to be a place where students who feel as if they don’t fit in or don’t belong can feel welcome.

Initiated by junior Hannah Hutchinson and freshman Alexis Koelliker, who wanted their voices heard, SAFE Club first began focusing mainly on LGBTQ issues, but expanded further into anyone feeling like an outcast.

“The big thing is to just get the word out there. You don’t have to fit into a certain mold to be a part of this group. It’s definitely accepting of everyone,” shared Mrs. Merryman.

According to Merryman, SAFE creates “an opportunity for an open forum where everyone can be heard.”  She hopes to build a community where everyone feels valued. “I want them to feel like they have a voice. We are talking about doing a school culture survey, and seeing what our problems are. As a SAFE Club, we are discussing how can we attack these issues so we can improve our school climate and school culture.”

The club had its first meeting this past Friday. Meetings will last about 30 minutes after school on assigned days. Any interested students should contact Mrs. Merryman for future meeting days.

Debut of STAT

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By Sam Miloser, Ian Richard and Paige Seitam

Technology is constantly growing in Shenango High School and now with the new addition of STAT, students can expand their knowledge even more.

STAT, which stands for Shenango Technology Assist Team, is an IT support team ran by the district’s technology director, Rob Heath, and supervised by the Computer Applications teacher, Michelle Whiting.

“I am a one-man-department supporting two schools, and at times it becomes quite hectic and difficult to keep up with all of the problems going on,” explained Mr. Heath.  STAT provides a medium for Heath to more efficiently support the entire district’s needs.

Not just anyone can be in this group. STAT is a prestigious class graded on a pass/fail standard for which only certain students qualify. Students are required to maintain a 3.5 GPA. In addition, Heath also evaluates the character of STAT students by talking to their teachers and advisors.

“I wanted to make sure I was getting responsible students,” Heath mentioned, “and even discipline-wise, you have to maintain a good disciplinary record.”

Senior Ashlee Keller described STAT as “challenging and fun.”  Each day in class can bring in different features of the technology field, she said.

“I enjoy exploring new technological methods and learning concepts that aren’t usually taught in high school,” added senior Addie George, another STAT student.

Skills that STAT students have learned so far include troubleshooting and setting up computers, Chromebooks, projectors, and printers, creating network wires, and responding to tickets sent to the Help Desk.

Hopes are high for this program. Heath has realistic expectations, considering it is the team’s debut year. The goal is for students to become self-sufficient in certain aspects of the technology field. When working with younger students, STAT can be viewed as a job, so in the future, STAT students prove to be strong in the area of technical support.

Heath hopes STAT allows students to reach out in the school and be active in areas other than technology.

“The organization works to improve the district, even if they aren’t direct technology difficulties,” he stressed.   

Haley’s 5k

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By Nadine Buckley and Veronica Rice

As you drive around the pothole-filled streets of New Castle, it’s not uncommon to see Shenango’s Cross Country team running along the side of the road clad in neon yellows and pinks, dodging cars and enduring both the hot rays of the summer sun and the cold winds of fall. One of the most prominent members of the team is senior Haley Earl, who has been with the sport since 7th grade.

Along with her Cross Country training and the amount of school work that comes with being a twelfth grader, Haley has chosen to take on the additional task of organizing a 5K for her senior project. However, it means a lot more to her than a grade. All proceeds will go towards the West Central Epilepsy foundation, a place close to Haley as she herself was diagnosed with Epilepsy when she was very young.

Haley’s recently taken on a cause that is very close to her heart.  She recalls that in elementary school, her friends would get mad at her when at times she would stare off into space and not respond for minutes on end. They were too young to realize that what they interpreted as rudeness was  actually a seizure. Haley’s parents eventually took her to a neurologist where they discovered she had epilepsy.

Now Haley wants to give back to the West Central Epilepsy Foundation for all the hard work and research that they have done for her and their many other patients affected by epilepsy.  Organizing a 5K was the perfect platform to pair her desire to support the foundation with her passion for running.

“Getting runners and helpers was a ton of work, but thankfully I had my parents, my teacher, Mrs. McKissick, and the community to help bring this together,” Haley said.  

Shenango’s Cross Country Coach Chris Thompson was very impressed and proud of Haley’s accomplishments. “Haley is an extremely hard worker who puts 110 percent in everything she does. This can be seen by what she has accomplished on the cross country course and her work in the classroom. She has put a lot of time and effort into organizing the 5K. The 5K is for a cause that is very important to Haley, and she has done a great job putting the event together.”

The 5K will take place in Pearson Park on November 10th. You can register early and guarantee yourself a T-shirt by sending a check for $20.00 to Laurie Earl (in the memo line write ‘Run to fight Epilepsy 5k”). Send the check to 649 Gardner Center Rd., New Castle PA, 16101. The cost on the day of the race will be $25.00. Check-in will be early in the morning, from 7:30 to 8:45. The race itself will begin at 9:00. The race is open to everybody, and awards will be given after the race to the following age groups; 11 to 14, 15 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, and 50+.

Contact Haley Earl at 724-944-6659 or at haleyearl15@gmail.com for more information.

 

Giving Blood, Giving Back

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By Annalise Ginocchi and Isabella Cassano

Shenango students gave back to the community this month by participating in the blood drive. On October 10th, several students and staff members gave blood during the school day. Giving blood saves lives and is an easy way to contribute to the community.

Composition and Research teacher, Mr. Mayo, who facilitates the drive, donates all the time. “It’s a way to perform a community service, which benefits others. It saves lives…literally!”

Throughout the day, students took time out of their education to help others in need.  “My dad was in an accident and needed blood; they struggled to get his type so it inspired me to give,” noted one student donor.

To donate blood, there were certain qualifications that needed to be met. Students have to be at least 16-years-old and weigh at least 110 pounds. They were asked questions about their everyday life to make sure they were healthy blood donation candidates. They also have to eat and drink before and after donating.

Once they are deemed eligible, they have donators lay in the chair to give blood. Afterward, students must sit for at least 15 minutes or until they feel ready to stand Sophomore James Clark may have stood up too quickly because he almost passed out! “They made sit back down and eat some chips.  My friend Lauren laughed at me,” he recalled.

Senior Gavin Pagley summed it up best: “It’s an easy way to save a life. It’s a great way to give back to the community that gives so much to us.”

Class of 2022 Shines on PSSAs

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By Zoey Angelucci, Haley Earl, and Chaslin Hoover

When it comes to standardized tests, Shenango students tend to outscore other schools. However, this trend shifted recently, and teachers were determined to change that. Last year, junior high students and faculty increased their workload in hopes of improving the school’s PSSA scores. New strategies and teaching skills were put in place to achieve this goal.

Eighth grade math teacher Mrs. Slamecka explained, “I think the biggest strategy change that we used was that we tried to talk to our students more about the importance of doing their best and about what to expect. We really tried to motivate them to do their best.”

Slamecka, along with other faculty members, used different strategies and incentives. She compared the scores of schools throughout the county to our students’ scores, treating it almost as a competition.

“I think in the years past, we weren’t quite as open with our expectations, so I think that was a major change.  We just tried to empower the students more than we have in the past and have them develop a sense of pride,” Slamecka emphasized.

She used the analogy of sporting events to help motivate students. “When we play some of the surrounding schools, like when we play Laurel in football or volleyball or basketball, we always want to compete with them, and we just tried to bring that into the academic realm. One thing that I did was I posted our scores and ranked us in comparison with the other schools. Two years ago, our ranking was really low in the county. We talked about it and were really open about making it a goal that we want as a group to collectively try to improve those scores to make us more competitive with the surrounding schools,” Slamecka stressed.  

As for incentives, last year, students had the opportunity to win tickets to get prizes. Mr. Sumner, the previous assistant principal, had a table outside of the lunch room where students could use their tickets to win prizes like Gatorade or ice cream. The staff plans to continue these incentives because it was very popular last year.

Mrs. Barron, 8th grade English teacher, worked just as hard as her colleague, Mrs. Slamecka, to improve students’ scores.

“To help students with their writing skills for the Text Dependent Analysis Essays, I added writing conferences,” Barron explained.  “Throughout the year, students were required to meet with me at least three times before or after school for fifteen minutes to work on improving a few elements of their writing.”

In addition to this writing focus, Barron also added interactive notebooks.  “To prepare students for the terminology they will see on the exam, I have been utilizing interactive notebooks, which help to increase students’ vocabulary and deepen their comprehension skills” she explained.

Both Mrs. Barron and Mrs. Slamecka expressed the importance of these tests. “They are so important just because it gives everybody, the public, me as a teacher, us as a school, an idea of our performance and how it compares to others in the state. In the past, we have gotten recognition, especially in our Keystone scores, that ranked our school within the top three to five schools in the entire state, which is an incredible accomplishment, not just from the student aspects but from all aspects of the school,” Slamecka said. “I think for me it shows that the hard work that we are all putting in–as students, as teachers, as administrators, as everybody–it’s just a way to see how we are in comparison. I don’t believe one test gives a full picture, but it gives a piece of a picture. It’s a nice to be able to see how we are doing versus other schools” stated Mrs. Slamecka.

Junior high teachers intend to continue these strategies to achieve even bigger goals for their students’ scores. While both teachers are proud of their students last year, they both know there is room for improvement and want to do better and try harder again this year.  

“I was very pleased with my students’ scores last year! Obviously, there is always room for improvement, but I know my students tried their best last year. I am so proud of them!” Mrs. Barron explained. A Wildcat student, freshman Katie Bober, who was of many that scored exceptionally well on the PSSA, mentioned, “You just have to stay persistent and try your best. Focus on one question at a time, not the test as a whole.”

Josh Bruce agreed.  “We all tried really hard on the PSSAs, and I think it really showed in our performance.”