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MTAA Announces Reunions June 23, 2017

The Manheim Township Alumni Association (MTAA) has announced several upcoming Manheim Township High School class reunions.

The Class of 1962 will celebrate its 55th reunion on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Lancaster Tennis and Yacht Club. Class members are asked to send address, phone, and email updates to

The Class of 1967 will celebrate its 50th reunion from Friday to Sunday, Aug. 4 to 6, with a Friday evening barbecue at the home of Rich Weaver, a Saturday evening dinner dance at Bent Creek Country Club, and a Sunday brunch at Weaver's home. Class members who have not received information may contact Connie Orndorf Jeff at or 717-397-9888 or Weaver at or 717-824-5240.

The Class of 1968 is planning its 50th reunion for Friday to Sunday, May 18 to 20, 2018. The schedule will include golf on May 18, followed by a dinner reception at a downtown restaurant. On Saturday, May 19, a tour of the high school will be followed by dinner and music at the Stoner Grill. A food truck picnic is planned for May 20 in Neffsville Park. For more information or to register, readers may contact Carol Reichler at 717-572-5075.

The Class of 1970, which will celebrate its 50th reunion in 2020, is beginning to plan for the milestone year in hopes of making it a big celebration. The reunion is slated for Labor Day weekend, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 4 to 6, 2020. Event contacts are Dee Droms at and Walt Rowen at

The Class of 1972 will host its 45th reunion on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 7, 8, and 9. A golf outing will be held on July 7 at Conestoga Country Club at 1 p.m., and interested individuals should contact Lee Walp at 717-468-0470. The main event will be on July 8 at Conestoga Country Club from 6 to 11 p.m., with dinner served at 7 p.m. An informal lawn party will take place at the home of Gary and Christina Seldomridge on Sunday, July 9, from noon to 4:30 p.m. Attendees may bring instruments for a jam, and they may also canoe, kayak, and fish along the Conestoga River. Basic food will be provided, but guests may bring additional food and beverages. For more information, readers may contact Karen Horning at

The Class of 1977 will hold its 40th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Emerald Foundation e-Center (formerly the JCC), 2120 Oregon Pike. Tickets will include music, dancing, heavy hors d'oeurves, and beverages. There will be a discount through Saturday, July 1, with higher prices for tickets purchased through Friday, Oct. 6, and at the door. Tickets are available at, and the class also has a Facebook page.

The Class of 1978 is planning its 40th reunion in 2018. On Friday, June 29, 2018, Dr. Carol Polansky will give a presentation on her work at NASA, and there will be a Corsair Blue Jazz Orchestra concert featuring classmates Joe Chestnutt, Lon Prosser, Doug Rhorer, Lydia Thompson, and others. On Saturday, June 30, chefs and classmates Sharon Rendina Murphy and Diane Gadbois will offer cooking fun, and there will be lunch at noon, athletic team and club reunion photos at 2 p.m. at the high school, progressive dinners beginning at 5 p.m., and a party from 7 p.m. to midnight featuring Jill Scheldrup, POOR Band (Dave Orr and Rich Nolan), KIWI Band (Ed Artz), and Dirty Blondes Band (Christy Seagle). Details are available at and

The Class of 1987 will have its 30th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, at The Pressroom Restaurant, 26-28 W. King St., Lancaster, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The event will be a drop-in with appetizers. For more information, readers may contact Melissa Deiter Werner at or search for "Manheim Township HS Class of '87" on Facebook.

The Class of 1997 is planning its 20th reunion for Friday, Nov. 24, at The Emerald Foundation. For details, readers may contact Lisa Spang Humphreville at

For more information or updates, readers may visit


MTEF Awards Grants June 23, 2017

Twice a year - in the fall and in the spring - the Manheim Township Educational Foundation (MTEF) disburses contributions from area businesses and individuals to implement educational programs that are applied for by school district educators. In the spring of 2017, the MTEF board of directors voted to approve the grant committee's recommendation to award 13 grants totaling $101,849. Recipients are as follows:

Artist in Residence - AP World History Survival Guide at Manheim Township High School (MTHS), Tammy Sweeney, received $1,575. The project is to create a video survival guide for the AP World History course, led and directed by current students with assistance by the South Central PaARTners.

Mobile Learning Initiative - smart TVs in Manheim Township School District (MTSD), Anthony Aldinger and Jessica O'Gorman, received $64,219 to provide a smart TV in all classrooms and instructional areas in order for teachers and students to wirelessly share information from their electronic devices.

Bucher Stream Study - Hands-on Science (Bucher), Jessica Burkett and Kristen Rychener, received $1,290 for the project, which will offer students in grades two through four lessons presented by a county conservation officer that cover state standards in environment and ecology.

Buddy Bench (Nitrauer), Jennifer McMullin and Missy Weaver, received $3,558 to provide a bench at each elementary school. The grant is made possible through the Artie Shirk Memorial Fund. The Buddy Benches will give students a place to go when they are seeking support from a peer.

Bullying Prevention Program Standardization for elementary and Landis Run, counselors, received $6,594 in order to standardize bullying prevention lessons.

Headsprout Early Reading for elementary, Sharon Schaefer and Kim Kichline, received $2,549. The supplemental early reading program is a phonics-based program that reinforces and reteaches the concepts and skills outlined in the reading and language arts curriculum. The program has been expanded over the past 10 years and is now in place in the kindergarten classrooms at all six elementary schools in the district.

IHT Spirit Adidas Zone Heart Rate Monitors at MTHS, David Ammon and Brad Landis, received $4,495. The system will allow physical education students to exercise within heart rate zones appropriate for their individual fitness levels and to be graded based on their personal effort and fitness improvement.

MT Astronomy Club (MTAC) Little Dippers - Creating Interest in STEM Through Star Watches at MTHS, David Farina, received $6,449. The plan is to create MTAC Little Dippers at the elementary level and MTAC Big Dippers at the middle school and to add telescopes to the new STEAM labs at each elementary school.

Manheim Township Middle School STEM Club, Brian Smoker, received $1,270 to provide students with a fun, interactive, and educational opportunity to explore and enrich their interests in STEM-related topics.

PAES (Practical Assessment Exploration System) Program for Students in the Life Skills Program at MTHS, Cara Sawyer, Ashley Cooper, and Joni Lefever, received $3,450. In a work development lab, students earn simulated money to explore multiple work areas using real work lessons in order to better prepare them for success after high school by learning important career, vocational, and life skills.

Reist Family American History and Agriculture Day at Schaeffer, Jennifer Smith, received $400. The Reist family will work with fourth-grade teachers to provide learning stations that teach Pennsylvania and American history.

Schaeffer Garden, Sarah Phillips and Christopher Zander, received $3,600. The goal of the project is to restructure the ecosystem of the current Schaeffer pond into a stream to help students at all elementary schools study the ecosystem in a safe, hands-on way.

Summer Yearbook Camp at MTHS, Nicole Schiffhauer and Kimberly Wolfe, received $2,400. Current yearbook advisers and four students will have the opportunity to attend a camp to learn how to better their design, writing, editing, photography, photo editing, sales, and public relations skills.


Harlacher Wins First Place June 22, 2017

Joanna Harlacher of Mount Joy won first place in the Senior Individual Website category at the national finals for the National History Day Contest. Her project was titled "Beyond the Cardigan."

Harlacher, a member of the Class of 2017 at Donegal High School, was presented with the honor on June 15, the day celebrated as #NationalHistoryDay. The first-place award is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and each recipient receives the designation NEH Scholar.

More than half a million students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia competed in the 2017 National History Day Contest. Middle and high school students created documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites based on the theme "Taking a Stand in History." The top entries from the contest in each state/affiliate were invited to the national contest held at the University of Maryland, College Park, on June 11 to 15.

To create their projects, students spend hours researching, writing, editing, and using analytical thinking skills. This fall, students around the world will begin creating entries for the 2018 contest, themed "Conflict and Compromise in History." For more information on the contest and how to enter, readers may visit


Students Win Silver Medals June 22, 2017

Four Manheim Central students - Andrew Rajaratnam, Ethan Smith, Brycen Armold, and Sam Witmer - each received silver medals for placing in the top 16 of their respective grade level competition in the Math 24 State Championships in Harrisburg. The students were led by teachers Aaron Fry, Matt Huber, and Rachel Ramsey. During the event, Andrew was able to have his a photo taken with the inventor of Math 24, Robert Sun.

The students had previously participated in the Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 Math 24 tournaments on May 23 and 24.


Students To Attend National Convention June 22, 2017

Four Manheim FFA members will participate in the National FFA Convention as a result of their first-place finish in the Agricultural Sales Career Development Event (CDE) competition held at Penn State University in June. This is the school's eighth Pennsylvania agriculture sales team to earn the state honor in the last 11 years. The team is composed of 32 Manheim FFA members.

The national event will take place in Indianapolis, Ind., from Tuesday to Saturday, Oct. 24 to 28. The Manheim students who will attend are Danielle Fittery, daughter of Larry and Heather Fittery; Marie Bryant, daughter of Patrick and Elizabeth Bryant; Heidi Strausbaugh, daughter of Matt and Kris Strausbaugh; and Alec Hess, son of John and Jacy Hess.

CDEs are competitions designed to help prepare students for careers in agriculture by demonstrating the meaningful connections between classroom instruction and applied agriculture industry workplace scenarios. Through the CDEs, students demonstrate their skills and build on what is learned in agricultural classes and through the FFA.


Students Learn About Legislature June 22, 2017


Recent Graduate Achieves Perfect Attendance June 22, 2017

Aron Possler was one of more than 220 students who graduated from Lampeter-Strasburg High School on June 1, but he was one of the few - and possibly the only - with a perfect attendance record stretching back to kindergarten.

Aron, who is the son of Franz and Amber Possler of Strasburg, has a passion for learning.

"Aron thrives on becoming more knowledgeable on any subject," Amber said. "Missing a day or two really impedes that process."

Franz, in particular, influenced Aron's desire to never miss a day. As a first-grader and again as a ninth-grader, Franz missed the first three weeks of school, thanks to family trips to Europe. Amber noted that missing that much school at once was difficult because Franz had so much material to catch up on in a short time.

Aron's dedication to scholarship has paid off, as he was inducted into the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. He served as the president of Tri-M, and he was also a member of Thespian Society, Pioneer Interact, the Heroes program, and the Outdoor/Environmental Club. Aron put his musical talents to use in the concert band, concert choir, orchestra, jazz band, and the marching unit, in which he served as section leader of the pit. Additionally, he played mallet percussion in the pit orchestra for "Annie Get Your Gun," and he sang in the ensembles for "Pippin" and "High School Musical." He also auditioned into the competitive Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators Association county chorus and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association district chorus.

If all continues to go well, Aron will maintain his perfect attendance streak this fall when he enters the University of Delaware, where he will major in biochemistry.


Scout Completes Garden Project At Friendship Elementary June 22, 2017

Branden Shaffer recently completed his Eagle Scout Project as a member of Troop 116, which is sponsored by Hibernia United Methodist Church. The project was completed at Friendship Elementary School in the Coatesville Area School District. The building is not only the place where Branden attended elementary school, but it is also where he was introduced to Scouting as a member of Cub Scout Pack 36.

For his Eagle Scout Project, Branden created gardening beds at the school's entrance to enhance the appearance of the front of the building. "When we did cleanup days with the Cub Scout Pack when I was in third grade, we re-mulched all the beds," he recalled. He added that he became familiar with the area again since his sister, Emily, is a student at Friendship.

The project began in January of 2016 when the Scout met with Brad Bentman, school principal. The work on the garden bed took place in the spring of 2016.

"It took over a year to completely do the project and the workbook that is required to get the (Eagle Scout) Award," Branden said. "You have to (get approval) from the Chester County Boy Scout Council and get the beneficiary to sign off on the project."

The work took place over four Saturdays. "The first day we removed all the existing plants and cut down three holly trees that were overgrown. We could not put the beds in without getting rid of them first; that was part of the demo," Branden recalled. "On the second day, we laid out the beds and put down landscape fabric. The third day we picked up and planted all of the plants, and on the fourth day, we mulched."

He noted that the plants he chose are considered low-maintenance. "One of the concerns we had is that there was no (staff) to maintain the front of the building, and we took that into consideration when ordering the plants," Branden stated. "We planted things that do not need a lot of water, like dwarf plants and drought-tolerant plants, like daylilies."

During the planning phase of the project, Maria Toth, who had been the secretary at Friendship Elementary School, passed away. "She had worked at Friendship Elementary School for 20 years, and we decided to include in the landscape design a rock with a commemorative plaque (in her memory) that would be donated by the teachers and staff," Branden noted.

In fact, he pointed out, the school was involved in the planting project from the moment that Branden presented a sketch of the proposed garden beds to the school. One of the teachers, Sarah Shaver, helped with the work and also leads a garden club that will help maintain the area.

"The majority of the mulch was donated and given to us at a reduced price by a local business. The plants we went out and bought," said Branden. "We fundraised through family members, and the school did a fundraiser by selling lollipops. The teachers also had dress-down days where they could help pay for the project."

Troop 116 will hold Branden's Court of Honor at Hibernia United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 22. Although he has "aged out" and can no longer be considered be a Boy Scout, Branden said he wants to remain involved with the troop. "I am no longer a Boy Scout, but I can be an adult leader," he said. "I can still go on camping trips and teach merit badges."

Branden, 18, a graduate of Coatesville Area Senior High School, plans to attend West Chester University in the fall, where he will study computer science.


NHS Provides Year In Review June 22, 2017

Garden Spot High School's National Honor Society (NHS) chapter has posted its year in review. NHS exemplifies the four pillars of character, leadership, scholarship, and service.

Members must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher during their freshman and sophomore years of high school in order to join. They must also keep that GPA or risk being on probation.

Students volunteer in their free time to help those in need. All members must provide proof of volunteer service in order to join. They also are required to continue their service throughout the year.

This year, the Garden Spot chapter of NHS accumulated nearly 725 hours of service. Each member is expected to complete at least 10 service hours each semester, two of which must be completed in a project that supports the club. Some members had more than 50 hours of completed volunteer service. Other members volunteered at multiple organizations, including Garden Spot Village and Garden Spot Health Council.

Members also participated in numerous projects, including the Garden Spot Parent Night, National Junior Honor Society induction, Brubaker Park cleanup days, Read Across America, the GSHS Mini-THON, wrapping gifts for CrossNet Ministries, a concert series for dementia patients at Garden Spot Village, the Garden Spot Marathon, the blood drive, and graduation.


FBLA Members To Compete Nationally June 21, 2017

Seven members of the Oxford Area High School (OAHS) Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter will attend the organization's National Leadership Conference from Thursday, June 29, to Sunday, July 2, in Anaheim, Calif. The conference will bring together 5,000 FBLA chapter members from across the United States who will participate in a week of workshops, competitions, sightseeing, and social events. The OAHS chapter adviser is Kim Webber.

The chapter members qualified for the national conference based on their performances in business-related competition at the 66th annual Pennsylvania FBLA State Leadership Conference held in Hershey in April. Qualifying for the national conference were Class of 2017 graduate Maggie Walsh, second place in the Future Business Leader event; the team of Class of 2017 graduates Rachel Hannum, Sarah Johnson, and Emily Quesenberry, third place for Social Media Campaign; the team of Class of 2017 graduate Zibby Harvey and rising senior Sarah Wilkinson, third place in the American Enterprise System event; and Class of 2017 graduate Gabrielle Murphy, sixth place for Job Interview. Zibby also qualified for the National Leadership Conference by placing fourth in the Client Service competition.

Twenty-eight Oxford students were among the approximately 4,000 FBLA chapter members from high schools across Pennsylvania who attended the Pennsylvania State Leadership Conference. The students qualified to attend and compete at the conference after placing first through fourth in competition at last fall's Pennsylvania FBLA Region 9 Competition.

Placing in the top 10 of their event in Hershey but not qualifying for the national conference was the team of juniors Grace Tipton, Sarah Robinson, and Meghan Pitney, who earned eighth place in the Community Service Project category.

Zibby Harvey qualified for her second straight national conference; however, she will be unable to attend, as she will begin her first year of service at the U.S. Naval Academy. At last year's national competition in Atlanta, she advanced to the finals of the Job Interview competition and placed 14th. This year, she placed first in the state for Job Interview.

Zibby and Sarah Wilkinson began planning for the American Enterprise Week event last summer. During American Enterprise Week, they organized events at the high school and gave presentations to younger students and community members about the American enterprise system. They also created a Twitter account for their project, and they wrote a 12-page photo-illustrated report, which they submitted to the state FBLA. They then created a PowerPoint presentation for the state competition.

Gabrielle Murphy will attend the national conference for the third year in row and the second straight year as a participant in the competitive events. This year, she qualified after placing first for Job Interview at the FBLA Region 9 competition held in December at Oxford Area High School and sixth at the state competition, after which she was bumped up to nationals.

Maggie Walsh made her first trip to states after four years in FBLA, finishing second in the state in the Future Business Leader event.

For the Social Media Campaign event, Sarah Johnson, Emily Quesenberry, and Rachel Hannum were required to promote an original TV show or movie through social media. The team came up with a subscription channel they called fblaTV, where they would air a reality series called FollowAlongTV, and filmed trailers for each episode.

All five graduates plan to continue their education after returning from Anaheim. In addition to Zibby's service at the Naval Academy, Maggie will enter the Smeal School of Business at Penn State's Main Campus, Gabrielle will study international business and political science at Olivet Nazarene University, Emily will study nursing at Liberty University, Sarah will attend Stanford University to study math or science and play field hockey, and Rachel will attend either Penn State or the University of Pittsburgh.

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