Ruling Our Experiences!

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By Shawn McClenahan and Renata Radice 

ROX, or Ruling Our Experiences, is a fantastic new addition to the curriculum at Shenango High School. Led by Mrs. Lindsey Merryman, the goal of the program is “to equip girls with the information and skills needed to live healthy, independent, productive, and violence-free lives.”

Merryman first discovered the program from her mother, who is the principal’s secretary at Clarion-Limestone Elementary School.

“I talked with her principal as well as the teachers who had implemented it,” said Merryman. “I started doing my own research and really started to buy-in to the idea.” 

She was further inspired when she began to read the book Girls Without Limits by the author Lisa Hinkleman, founder of the ROX program. As she read deeper, she fell in love with the concept, so she knew that the curriculum would be even better. 

“I know that girls are going through so many different struggles in today’s society. There are such unrealistic expectations and pressures,” explained Merryman. “I wanted to bring something to them that could help them navigate all of this with confidence and support in order to be their best version of themselves.”

Merryman plans on expanding the program to give more girls the opportunity to be involved. She even met with Mr. Sumner, elementary assistant principal,  in an attempt to create opportunities for elementary girls. Merryman also intends to present ROX at the county-wide in-service in February to spread the word to other districts in hopes of helping girls outside of Shenango.

While the group received a grant this year, they are currently selling “School Band-Aid” first aid kits to become financially self-sufficient. Merryman is also looking for sponsorships from local businesses to fund the class in the future.

While the ROX curriculum has three key parts to it–strength, independence, and courage–Merryman says that the most important aspect of the program is that girls leave the room with more confidence than they had before they entered.

“I believe many of the decisions that girls make that affect them negatively are due to a lack of confidence,” Merryman stressed. “I believe that this program helps girls have better relationships with other girls, better relationships with boys, improves their confidence, teaches them self-defense techniques, and empowers them to create a better future.”

Appreciating Veterans

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By Carmen Medvit and Jordan Smith

Each year, Advanced Placement Government teacher Brian Cooper and his AP students hold an assembly for Veterans Day to thank all those who have served and are currently serving. “Honoring the veterans and seeing our student body step up and use their talents to do so” is Mr. Cooper’s favorite part of leading this tremendous effort of appreciation.  

“I enjoy bringing appreciation to a topic that a lot of the time gets overlooked,” explained AP student Sean McCormick.  “Veterans earned our respect and we should show that.” 

Ben Dottle shared this sentiment.  “I like to see the joy in the veterans’ faces because it shows we have a positive impact on them.” 

Three seniors spoke at the assembly. Cambyl Schry said that giving her speech about “What Veteran’s Day Means to Us” was extremely impactful to her because she was able to thank all the veterans first-hand. Another student speech was a story about a man who reminded his fellow prisoners of war what it means to be an American. The last speech shared the statistics of soldiers who fought, were wounded, and died in each battle. 

The playing of the taps by senior Jacob Benson was particularly touching for many in attendance.  “One of the most impactful parts of the assembly was when the Taps were played,” noted Eric Wallace.  “It was moving to see the dedication and honor the veterans show through it.” Chamber Choir and Treble choir sang powerful tributes, and alumni Nick Melillo and Anthony Vanasco played bagpipes.  

Mr. Cooper and his students work diligently to show honor and respect not only through the assembly, but through the showcase display in the lobby, the flags that line the school, and the ribbons that the entire student body wears in honor of veterans.   AP students also joined forces with the elementary to make care packages for Operation Veteran Appreciation.  

The veterans that attend are family members of students, and following the assembly, all of them are invited to a small brunch. This annual Shenango tradition gives students a cherished time with their loved ones.


The Tradition Continues

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By Mia Edwards and Haley Morgan 

On Saturday, September 21st, the Shenango Community Education Foundation (SCEF) hosted the 7th annual 5k and kids’ carnival at Shenango High School. 

 This year, the event included a new addition, the one-mile fun run for elementary students. The new elementary school cross country team was a large participant in the festivities.

 “The 5k this weekend was our 7th annual and another successful year. This year we started something brand new and added a children’s one-mile run,” explained board member Erica Bruce. “We had over 50 elementary-aged children participate. The whole morning is always such a fun way to kick off our fundraising year.” 

The SCEF is a non-profit education foundation that raises money for students and teachers through the distribution of classroom grants. The foundation also provides opportunities for student scholarships for graduating seniors or college alumni.

Another SCEF board member, elementary school nurse Paula Natale, added, “‘’The 5k is a great community event at Shenango that I have been involved with since the first one. I have seen SCEF do so many wonderful things for classrooms with the money that is raised,” she said.  “We have been able to purchase items for the classrooms and give scholarships to seniors. The 5k is a great community event that has something for all ages to enjoy.” 

Since 2013, the SCEF has donated a total of $94,302 to the students and teachers at Shenango, a remarkable accomplishment for a district the size of Shenango.  “Trying to raise funds year after year in a small community isn’t an easy feat, but we have so many generous sponsors that have supported us each and every year,” Bruce said. “We wouldn’t be able to pull it off without the numerous volunteers either.”

Of the many students that helped out, senior Jordan Smith stated, “It is very fulfilling seeing all the hard work paid off for a good cause.” 

Sports and School Unite

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By Shannon Linz and Grace Merkel

Shenango upperclassmen, especially those who enjoy sports, have a new option of an elective to take this year.  Human Kinesthetics, taught by Mr. Vecenie, explores the various sports and leisure activities within American culture and looks at their historical relevance.

“I started this class because I had room in my schedule and felt like there were limited options for electives in the junior and senior year,” Mr. Vecenie explained.  “I thought what could be an interesting topic that the kids could relate to that’s different than the current electives we have offered. Given my interest in sports and history, I thought I could design a new course.”

Multiple students speak highly of the new class. Not only does it help build writing, speaking, and debating skills, but it does so using a topic that many students are passionate about.  “I have learned a lot so far about sports history, and my typing and paragraph skills have improved as well,” noted junior Christian Maxwell.  

Every day in Human Kinesthetics looks different.   “We watch sports documentaries, we debate, we research and write articles about the school, and I teach about the history of the sport at times as well,” explained Vecenie.   One visible addition of the course’s impact is the weekly newspapers that show up around the lunchroom and classrooms as well. These papers give an overview of the top moments from the sports events that happened over that past week featuring spotlights on different sports and athletes.  

According to sophomore Emma Callahan, Mr. Vecenie, with his constant enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter, is perfect for the job.   ”I think Mr. Vecenie is an excellent teacher for this class because he was and still is an athlete and he’s very involved in the school’s sports.”

Skills for a Lifetime

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By Shawn McClenahan and Renata Radice 

One of the most exciting changes to happen this year at Shenango is the addition of the new life skills classroom.  Mr. Jeff Allay heads this program.  

“I’ve always known Shenango,” Allay said.  “It’s a great community and I wanted to be a part of it.” 

The life skills class is not only in place to help students with their own special-tailored learning needs, but also to practice skills useful for life, as the name implies. “I want [the students] to be able to live on their own,” explained Allay. “I want them to be financially stable on their own, and I want the kids to have employment on their own.” 

To this end, the students do tasks like coffee runs and help janitors with collecting the recycling from around the school. This is a step toward allowing the students to be autonomous in performing tasks necessary for daily life.

Dr. McCormick supports this vision.  Though the process of implementing a new classroom and curriculum can be time-consuming and tedious, McCormick noted that the benefits far outweigh the challenges, especially in regards to the number of students in Shenango’s population who will benefit from the program.  

The life skills program has been a wonderful addition to the high school.  On one hand, it has allowed several students to return to Shenango or stay at Shenango who would have otherwise had to consider going to another school,” McCormick explained. “We are thrilled to provide an opportunity for them to stay here as Wildcats.” 

One of the key elements of the program is the Students Helping Students initiative, which takes students with free time in the day out of their study halls and into the life skills room. 

“It is a phenomenal opportunity to build and strengthen character skills for the rest of the student body by working hand in hand with students with a wide range of disabilities and medical needs,” said Dr. McCormick.

Brianna DeSalvo spearheads this group, participating as the Students Helping Students president. 

“Just coming in every day and seeing [the students] smile and being so happy is the most rewarding part of being in Students Helping Students,” DeSalvo explained. “They’re just the sweetest kids ever and just coming in there every day and seeing them just makes your whole day.”

Help Students Thrive

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By, Ashley Warsing & Rachel Turner

Shenango High School should feel very accomplished when it comes to extracurricular activities. With the addition of the Students Helping Students Club, run by new life skills teacher Mr. Allay, many students have been getting more and more involved. Wildcats from all corners of the school are interested in the club. Anyone from jocks to cheerleaders to even the shy kid who sits in the back of the class can find a place in Students Helping Students.  

“A lot of the time when people are different, kids tend to stay away from them, rather than jumping in and getting involved,” stated Mr. Allay.  Thanks to the club, “(Shenango) students are starting to realize that they can really work with kids that are different or that are struggling.”

The Students Helping Students Club is open to students in grades 9-12. The members go down every day when their schedule allows, particularly during their study halls.  One of the main tasks club members assist with is the famous coffee bar. Thanks to life skills students and their peer helpers from Students Helping Students, made-to-order coffee is delivered to teachers every morning.  

Members of Students Helping students also help life skills students with other tasks such as homework. Students Helping Students Vice-President Alex Suber explained, “I enjoy the feeling of helping them out, and I love it when they smile after they do something simple.” It feels really good being able to help someone, and Students Helping Students makes that possible. 

Mr. Allay experienced a club like this at both his old high school and his previous job at Lakeview. He saw how it positively impacted those schools and decided to bring it to Shenango. Mr. Allay interpreted, “It gives kids who want a career in education, a chance to work with individuals that have disabilities before they enter their training programs after graduation.” 

This club has a huge impact on the school and its students. It especially has a huge impact on the members. Senior Maddox Smiley exclaimed, “I like helping the students and I feel like I’m doing my part by doing so.” 


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By Allie Mayberry & Callie Bruno

Early in September, five members of Shenango’s Peer Leadership program participated in a day of giving back to our community, The United Way Day of Caring. Picking up sticks, raking piles upon piles of leaves, and refurbishing a public playground were among the projects that these peer leaders took on. 

“United Way is a nonprofit that does so much for Lawrence County in itself,” explained Peer Leadership advisor Mrs. Kim Rudesill.  “It’s so important to give back because even if we don’t know it, they do a lot for the county.” 

Some of the important projects United Way is currently doing for our community include The Cascade Park Pool Project, multiple blanket drives, a summer food program for children, and of course, The United Way Day of Caring. Also, United Way is completely volunteer-based, which makes it even more important that we give back. 

Shenango’s peer leaders were a part of the landscaping project during the Day of Caring. Throughout the day, they completed small projects around Gettings Park in New Castle. Among these tasks were cleaning up the scenery and making it better for the public. The five peer leaders that participated were seniors James Cleaver, Allie Mayberry, Serena Sokoloski, and Devon Vanasco as well as junior Sydney White.

“We cleaned up a park. We picked up sticks and trees and moved them into the woodline so kids could play on the playground. I had fun spending the day with my friends. We even made a game out of it; seeing who could throw a stick the furthest,” Vanasco laughed. By the end of the day, the peer leaders were covered in dirt and sweat, but happy nonetheless to be helping their community. 

“It’s very important for us to keep our community a nice place, making it look nice and working together to do good for others,” White emphasized.  “It’s important because we all live here, we should all try to make it our best, and when you have people volunteering and United Way, it makes it even better.”


Homecoming Court 2019

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By Camille Alexander, Alexandra Columbus, and Abbi Zeigler

Adrienne Antuono, a fun-spirited girl, was honored to be nominated for Shenango’s homecoming court. “I was really shocked and excited when they announced my name for homecoming court,” she said with a smile on her face. Adrienne is involved with SADD club and Students Helping Students. She looks up to her parents, who always reminded her to keep up with school, and as a result, she believes school should be an important focus for underclassmen. After high school, Adrienne plans to attend college to major in education. 

The second member of homecoming court is Angelica Klein, a hardworking, involved student who was shocked to find out that she is a member of the court. Just a few of the activities Angelica is involved with are volleyball, track, SADD club, Students Helping Students, and NHS. All of these activities keep her busy and prepare her for what is to come in her future. She has big plans for her future, as she commented, “I want to be a nurse practitioner for dermatology or pediatrics.” In order to achieve this goal, Angelica follows her own advice to underclassmen, which is to get very involved in school activities and focus on maintaining good grades.  

Nominee Raquel Maxwell, who is a member of SADD club and varsity cheer, reminds underclassmen to stay focused on school. She exclaims, “No matter what, do not procrastinate. It will never end up well. Also, be sure to be prepared for anything.” Raquel likes to have fun with friends and family. This is one reason why she looks up to her mom and sister. Raquel also has future plans of going to cosmetology school in Pittsburgh. When her name was announced for court, Raquel said she was very shocked. She is so honored to represent her class of 2020. 

As a member of concert band, concert choir, treble chambers, marching band, Ellwood City varsity girls soccer team, SADD club, peer leadership, and the choir historian, homecoming candidate Allison Mayberry is clearly very involved: “I look up to my mom. I know it sounds cliché, but she makes so many sacrifices for me every day. She has driven me everywhere and has done everything I have ever asked for. She goes above and beyond and has done more than I have ever asked.” Allison plans to attend Westminster College to major in Biology and follow a pre-dental track. 

Kelly Nolan, another member of homecoming court, is a girl with a passion for performing, as she is involved with concert choir, treble chamber choir, mixed chamber choir, and drama club. Though Kelly loves to act on the stage, she does not have to act to impress her class, who chose her as a homecoming candidate. “Being on court means representing my grade. I think it should be about coming together and even though the group is very different from one another, we all were voted and I think we should all be united.” Kelly admires her parents and grandparents, who will support her wherever the future takes her. 

The final homecoming candidate, Alexis Prejsnar, is involved in lots of school activities. She states, “I’m in SADD club, NHS, STAT, Peer Leadership, and varsity softball.” During the year, Alexis likes to keep herself busy by keeping up with her grades, helping Mr. Heath, organizing Make-A-Wish, and playing softball games. These are some reasons why she tells underclassman to be prepared for what life will throw at you. Alexis also has bright plans to go to YSU to study engineering, Alexis is honored to represent the class of 2020 as a member of the homecoming court.  

Faculty Feud Takes the Stage!

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By: Kayla Suber & Chaslin Hoover

When it comes to granting wishes, Shenango students definitely know how to plan.  Throughout the years, the students of Peer Leadership have continuously managed to put on a different, entertaining show each and every February. In 2019, they’ve gone above and beyond and are planning an event that has never been done before.  The Peer Leaders and advisors have decided to match the Shenango faculty against the Laurel faculty in order to have a Faculty Feud game night.

“We thought we would capitalize on the rivalry idea and have the staffs battle,” explained advisor Mrs. Kim Rudesill. Each team will consist of eight to ten members who will face off in team and individual challenges. The audience will never face a second of boredom as the teams will work to complete ten different games throughout the night.

Senior Delaney Zarone emphasized that “being a part of Make-A-Wish was by far the best thing I have ever done.  When two schools come together to make a wish come true, it is truly magical.”

What Mrs. Rudesill is most excited about is “seeing the team members out of their comfort zones and having fun.” Although she will not be on a team, she of course thinks the Shenango Staff will come out on top! However, no matter who actually wins the night, the real winners will without a doubt be Hannah and Kosey, two local students who will hopefully receive wishes thanks to the efforts of not only Peer Leadership, but the entire community as well.  

“Come out and support two local kids as we try to give them the night of their lives,” senior Paige Seitam, vice president of Peer Leadership, advised. “Plus you won’t want to miss seeing your teachers making fools out of themselves!”    

Senior Joey Doughty added to Paige’s enthusiasm: “I just love how all of the hard work pays off when I get to see the happy look on everyone’s faces during and after the event.”

AP Honor Roll

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By: Melina Mangino and Zoey Angelucci

Following Shenango’s trends of success in academics, Advanced Placement students are both setting and raising the bar. This year, Shenango’s AP students have been recognized for their achievements in the Advanced Placement realm. College Board regulates and takes charge of the AP tests and everything centered around it. This year, the district and AP students have been recognized as one of 373 districts in the U.S. and Canada for their participation in AP classes and tests. Each year, College Board recognizes different schools that have increased participation and have bettered their scores. Here at Shenango, we have not only have a higher percentage of students taking AP classes, but also a higher percentage of students scoring a three or better on their tests.

In small schools like Shenango, having a strong AP program is an anomaly.  School counselor Ms. Garda emphasizes that “the commitment of the teachers and the students is a real testament to the strength of the program.” AP teachers build their curriculum specifically around the AP tests and what will best prepare their students.

There is no denying Shenango has grown in the AP realm over the years. Over the last six years, Shenango has added two additional AP classes, bringing the total number to seven AP opportunities. Shenango offers AP Literature, Studio Art, Chemistry, Biology, U.S. History, Government, and Calculus, each class offers the students vast opportunities for success. “I think our course offerings appeal to a wider range of students,” Garda notes.

Next year, Shenango is expanding their AP programs. The high school will add an AP Computer Science class open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  Certainly, Shenango’s AP program is a force to be reckoned with. Between being recognized by the College Board and completely doubling the size of the programs, Shenango’s Honor Roll distinction is completely deserved.   

“Our AP program has been one of the strongest in our region and state for many years,” Dr. McCormick noted.  “I’m extremely pleased to see Shenango join the College Board’s AP Honor Roll because that demonstrates that we have been able to expand our course offerings while maintaining our previously high levels of performance.”