The Floods of the Tussey Mountain School District
By: Shelby Lear
In September 2021 Hurricane Sam started 380 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. The aftermath was close enough to the Tussey Mountain School District that students were affected by the flood that occurred in the aftermath of the hurricane.
When the aftermath of the hurricane hit, students already knew it was coming. Some people had to call our local fire department to pump out basements, Joshua Defibaugh, a helper for the local fire department said “The rain kept me busy for 2 days pumping basements for other people” Maranda Hess who is also a part of the local fire department said, “Everytime we get done with one [basement] we went back to [pump out] another one.”
Most of the people that had something happen to them had their basement flooded. Some lost power for days. Elizabeth Park said “my basement got flooded…the walls of my room are ruined.” As an exception, Emma Childers’ faced damages to other parts of her property. Childers says, “The roof in our house is a little caved in from all the rain.” Another exception being Elijah Sprow’s account. Sprow says, “The river went up [near] our house and blocked the main road.”
Some people like Jordyn Raycroft, Mason Chilcote, and Tyler Lambing didn’t face any issues with the flooding. Though some people did lose power, most people just slept while all of this was going on. They weren’t concerned about what was going on outside their home. Some were fortunate enough to not have any property damage. Despite this, Lambing still says, “It was kind of nerve racking.”
Struggle of work and school is real
By: Mackenzie Droll
Once you turn sixteen you have more responsibilities.You are able to get your Pennsylvania Work Permit for Minors and a job. Many students get a job while in school. For some people it is easy but for others it is harder. Calab Sopher, a junior, works at the Saxton Market along with Trenton Louthian, also a junior. Sopher and Louthian see something different about balancing school and their jobs. Sopher says, “Yes it is [hard to balance] because I go to the gym almost daily and trying to do homework is even more difficult when I get around 2 hours ‘til I got to go to bed.” Louthian thinks it is kind of hard. Sopher and Louthian both are packers at the Saxton Market. Both Louthian and Sopher have worked a job or two before working at the Market. “I have worked three jobs before this one,” says Sopher. Louthian says, “It’s my second job.” Sopher has been working since he was 15.
Sopher has been working at the Saxton Market for almost three months, while Louthian has been working at the Saxton Market for a little over a month. Having a job and going to school at the same time is a lot of work. Some students struggle even when they are completing school online. Sopher and Louthian both go to school, which might be harder on them because they have to go to school for eight hours then work after school.
The 2021 School Experience
By Madi Mock
You might be wondering what school is like for someone doing online and someone going in person. Two Tussey Mountain High School students shared their experiences learning. Nevin Pulcine, a ninth grader doing online school, said that he wanted stay to online because of the virus, ¨COVID-19 made me not want to do it, and you know I’m kinda glad I [stayed home] because they have a case,” Pulcine explains. While a ninth grade in-person student, Karlee Horton, said that she wanted to go in person to “see her friends and to socialize”. Pulcine stated that immediately he knew he wanted to be online, while Horton had thought for a while before deciding to attend in person. Both choices have pros and cons, depending what is more important to you. Only time will tell whose grades are better in the long run.
Comparing Online Classes
By: Maranda Hess
When comparing this year’s online program to last year’s in the spring, I would have to say that the program being used for the online students this year is put together better and a lot more organized. This year’s online students use Canvas, Edgenuity, and Study Island. Last year for our classes we did them on Canvas and through Zoom meetings. “Placing a summary of what we do in each class each day on the announcements section of Canvas makes it easier for students to see what work they have missed if they were absent. Some teachers upload PDF files so students can download them and print them,” explains English teacher Mrs. Amy Snyder.
The work this year is harder, but I think that also may be because of the year/grade change and doing my school from home too. This year I have a lot more assignments for my classes for the week, but one thing that does help is having a free Friday every other week. A free Friday gives online students the opportunity to work ahead, get caught up in classes, or take the day off. I wouldn’t say online classes are more intense, though it is more work. If you really want to do well in your classes, you pay attention to the videos that are out there and do the readings and take notes as you go.
Students in school are also using computers. When asked if teachers were using online resources in case of a shutdown, Snyder explained, “Most teachers started this year showing their students how to navigate Canvas for each particular class. Students have learned where to find tests, review sheets, informative videos, and other activities teachers use.”
A lot of people are wondering what the school is doing about assignments if someone is sick. Snyder says, “We are now placing most assignments on Canvas to make it more convenient for students who are missing school. This also helps to cut down the spread of germs because we are not sharing papers or books. Remember, if students are sick in any way (not just covid ) they are encouraged to stay home. While they are at home, they can use the email feature through Canvas to communicate with their teachers.”
Reports from the school administration show there have been recent COVID cases within the district. This will impact the students attending face to face classes. “We have all been working very hard to keep things clean and safe in the school,” says Snyder. “We want to stay in the school setting as long as possible. If there is another shut down, I feel confident that our students know how to keep working in Canvas.”
Reach out to Rachel
By: Alivia Melius
Since 2005, National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month has been observed in the month of March, allowing for public education and advocacy for the neurological disorder. Unknown to many, students with cerebral palsy are represented in the student body at Tussey Mountain High School. Rachel Lankford is a freshman at Tussey with dystonic cerebral palsy. Dystonia causes involuntary muscle movements and postures and occurs in about one in every six cases of cerebral palsy. Rachel was born deaf, but she has a cochlear implant that allows her to hear when someone is speaking to her. Lankford understands American Sign Language (ASL) and communicates mainly through smiling, pointing and looking at objects or people. Through facial expressions, she discussed her favorite activities and interests.
“I like summertime,” Lankford expressed. “I love swimming; it’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m also an animal lover, but I especially like dogs.”
Like any other teenage girl, Lankford enjoys getting her nails done, getting her hair styled, and she likes playing sports as well. Growing up, Lankford watched a lot of classic comedy cartoons like Tom and Jerry which did not require audio to understand the context.
“She likes to go bowling,” her father John Lankford added. “Most bowling alleys have a ramp that you can put the ball on, and she pushes it down the ramp.”
“Her friends will call her, and they’ll come over and visit, or she’ll go to their houses,” her mother Rebecca Lankford said. “Austin calls her and asks if she wants to come play basketball.”
Sophomore Austin Peters is one of Lankford’s lifelong friends. Through mothers who were good friends and visiting the same church, Peters and Lankford became close quite quickly.
Lankford has accommodations and assistive technology that help her engage with her peers and family and helps her complete schoolwork. After her doctors realized Lankford was deaf around the time of her birth, Lankford received a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant (CI) is a small, complex device that provides her a sense of sound. Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sounds as they may be detected by damaged ears, cochlear implants directly stimulate auditory nerves, bypassing damaged portions of the ear and producing an electronic sound. Through a microphone, the voice of the person speaking to Rachel is directed to her CI.
“Rachel does most of her classroom assignments adapted,” Kimberly Batdorf said. “Instead of using open ended, she uses multiple choice of usually three choices…In group work projects, in just the same way that I ask Rachel to answer, [students] will ask her to answer, or they’ll give her a specific task within the group that would require making choices.”
Batdorf, who is part of Tussey’s Multiple Disabilities Support department, has worked with Rachel for three years.
“She does the same assignments that everyone else does, she takes the same tests that everyone else does,” Batdorf added. “It’s just the way she answers it that’s different.”
“I enjoy school,” Lankford expressed. “I really like STEM courses, like science class, but I also enjoy English class as well.”
Currently, Rachel has been experimenting with a Tobii Eye Gaze device; an assistive tool that tracks eye movement and analyzes it to produce a vocal response based on what is being looked at.
“She is working on learning how to use it,” Rebecca Lankford said. “The idea behind it is that she can look at something, and it will speak for her vocally.”
Students at Tussey Mountain expressed a desire to communicate more with their peers who are deaf and suggested that offering an ASL course at the school would be beneficial.
“You’re going to encounter someone who is deaf at some point in your life,” senior Mahayla Lazor said. “We have students in our school that we could communicate with easier if we had an ASL course. It would be nice to have this as a foreign language option.”
“If we started an ASL course at Tussey, I would take it,” junior Katelynn Hoover said. “It’s always been something that has been very interesting to me. [ASL courses in high school] are not something that you see a lot, and I think it would be nice to [take a class] that’s unique.”
“I think it would be important to know sign language because it would be useful if you ever work with or even have family members that you have to communicate with who use ASL,” senior Aaliyah Morales added.
“If ASL was taught, it needs to be done by a Deaf person or a properly accredited interpreter if there is no Deaf person willing to teach,” Tess Masood said. “Culture also needs to be taught within the class to fully understand the language.”
Tussey Alumnus Tess Masood is a college student at Mount Aloysius College working towards a degree in ASL/English Interpreting.
“When a lot of people see a physical disability,” Rebecca Lankford said, “they think mental disability automatically. She is not mentally disabled at all.”
“She loves when people talk to her. You don’t even have to be really specific about anything, just talk to her. Make her laugh,” Peters added. “She’s a funny girl with a good sense of humor,”
“She has tremendous empathy,” John Lankford said. “If someone’s happy, she’s happy. If someone’s upset, she’s upset. She mirrors whatever emotion is around her.”
“I think it would be important that everyone understands that Rachel can make clear decisions and has clear interests,” Batdorf said. “If somebody in the public who doesn’t know her would like to talk to her, just like you would go up and talk to any other teenager, you would start by introducing yourself and ask a question. Rachel answers pretty clearly by her facial expressions what her answers are. The questions just have to be phrased as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or choice-based questions.”
“Talk to her and spend time with her,” Rebecca Lankford said. “She understands, and she likes to be included. She likes people to talk to her, not about her or around her, and she doesn’t miss a thing. She has an amazing recall, so by telling stories that she remembers, she will laugh about it as hard as she did the first time. Treat her like you would anyone else.”
New Teacher at Tussey Mountain
By: Rylie Jacobs
At Tussey Mountain we have a fantastic new teacher! Her name is Bethany Hershberger. She is an English teacher for seventh through twelfth grades. Before she came to teach at our school, she taught at Northern Middle School in North Carolina. She taught seventh and eighth grade at her old school. She then went to work for Med Express as a medical secretary in Pennsylvania, and she decided to become an English teacher. When she was younger she found English to be really easy. She really loved writing stories, and she still does now.
Hershberger says, “I would say I am a pretty easy going teacher,” although she would like to be more strict. She says that her three main rules for her classes are “students are to stay seated in their desk, not to talk while I am talking, and ask questions if you don’t understand.”
She decided to get into teaching because she loves the interactions with all of her students. Her least favorite thing about teaching is “grading!” Hershbereger said. She explains she left her last job, “because I had my degree as a teacher, and I felt useless as a medical secretary.” Hershberger definitely likes this job way more than her last one.
Responsible 7th graders protect their egg babies
By: Makenzie Droll
For the first year, Valerie Morningstar had her seventh grade students do an egg project to teach her students about babysitting. Monringstar chose eggs because they are fragile, and they’re not expensive. Morningstar hard-boiled the eggs before the students got them. The students had to carry two eggs and act as if the eggs were babies. They had to name them, change their diapers, and take them everywhere they went. The students had an opportunity to get up in the middle of the night for extra credit. Students “parented” their eggs for three days, even taking them to classes. If individual teachers did not want the eggs in their classrooms, the students had to take them to Morningstar for daycare. Teachers had to check off that each student had an egg in their classrooms. They started carrying their eggs on Monday, January 6, 2020.Alexis Sumner, a seventh grader who had to carry the eggs around, named her eggs Hunter Mathew and Ash Marie. Sumner’s eggs survived the entire three days; they didn’t break. “I took my egg to my classes, on the bus, to gymnastics, and home,” says Sumner. Sumner earned one hundred and one points out of one hundred possible points on the project. According to Sumner, “ Anyone in the hallway, anyone is my classes, my teachers, and my family [are the only ones that saw my eggs].” None of Sumner’s teachers said they did not want her eggs in their classrooms. It was difficult for Sumner to keep her eggs safe because of the other kids. “[The meaning of the project is to] teach them responsibility and how to take care of another child,” says Moringstar.Twelve out of eighteen of the students lasted three days without breaking their eggs. The students who did crack their eggs only had one crack, and the crack was because of another student. The students who had a cracked egg had to fill out a form explaining how the egg baby got hurt (cracked).
TMHS student designs billboard for victim center
By: Alivia Melius
For some, it may be difficult to create artwork surrounded by such a sensitive topic, but Tussey Mountain High School’s senior classman Cara Defibaugh was up for the challenge. On Nov. 21, Defibaugh entered her sketch to Your Safe Haven for a billboard in Saxton, Pennsylvania. The design was drawn to spread awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault, showing local community members that resources are available to them through Your Safe Haven.
Your Safe Haven, Inc. is a crime victim center located in Bedford County. The non-profit organization provides services to citizens of the local area who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.Your Safe Haven offers counseling to victims, support in filing a Protection Form Abuse Order (PFA) and accompainment through the court system. They also provide similar services to victims of other serious crimes.
“Not everyone in the county knows what we do or even that we exist,” Executive Director Beth Hickey said.
To spread the word of Your Safe Haven, the organization has branched out using many forms of media such as radio advertising, television ads and billboards. Your Safe Haven reached out to schools across the county to participate in making billboard designs.
“A grant came out,” Hickey said, “and that’s when our team got together and hashed around different [ideas]. We talked about billboards,” Hickey said. “I was adamant that we go to the kids to get the billboards done. I didn’t want some computer-generated, generic billboard. I wanted something people respond to. They know that a child drew it, and they respond to it differently.”
Art departments in schools such as Chestnut Ridge High School and Bedford Area High School also submitted their signs, now placed in those communities.
Defibaugh’s design was original and was inspired by a story told by someone very close to her.
“A friend of mine who is a local firefighter and EMS responder gave me inspiration,” Defibaugh said. “He has done a lot of work up in Harrisburg, and he has also seen a lot [on] calls in places like Huntindgon,” Defibaugh said. “He explained one story, and I just drew it in the eyes of what he saw when he walked into the house [while responding for patient evaluation] to a call regarding traumatic injury,” Defibaugh said. “Everything I drew, I took his input on it. I wanted to make sure the way I drew it was exactly how he saw it. When I showed him the final result, he was surprised at how accurate it was to the actual event,” Defibaugh said.
“It brought a tear to my eye,” said the EMS responder. “I’m proud to be able to contribute my experiences for people to understand [the abuse from] the eyes of a first responder.”
Defibaugh received the assignment four days before it was to be completed after another student gave up the position.
“I’m thankful that [my art teacher] Mr. Adam Baughman trusted me with this project especially on such short notice,” Defibaugh said. “This was a very rewarding opportunity for me.”
The paper used for the artwork was set to specific dimensions for the ability to eventually expand it for a billboard. After the design was approved by Senior High Principal Janell Henderson, the sketch was sent back to Your Safe Haven. The next step is to create the actual copy for the billboard. The sketch will be sent to the Altoona branch of Lamar Advertising Company to be produced. The process is set to take two to three weeks, and the sign will be visible throughout the remainder of the school year.
“We know that domestic violence occurs in the Saxton area and in that school district; and hopefully if someone is a victim–child or adult–they can say, ‘You know what, I saw that billboard, let me look up Your Safe Haven’s number and see if they can help me,’” Hickey said.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime or is in need of urgent help, please contact Your Safe Haven, Inc. at (814) 623-7664 or (800) 555-5671.
Titans accept the challenge
By: Trista Lemin
The Challenge Program made an appearance at Tussey Mountain High School for the 2019-2020 school year. “The Challenge Program mission is to build sustainable Business/ Education partnerships with introducing students to careers in their communities,” said Jason Donaldson, a representative from The Challenge Program. The Challenge Program has been going on at Tussey Mountain High School for about 5 years and originated in Johnstown. The group works all over the state of Pennsylvania. They chose Tussey Mountain because it is not far from Bedford, Pennsylvania.
The Challenge Awards are given out to students in grades 10-12 for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), community service, improving scores and academic excellence.
Nine students from Tussey Mountain received awards this year. Caitlin Ceglar, senior, and Makenna Weikel, junior, were recognized for their community service; MaKayla Hinkel, senior, and Samantha Seace, junior, got their awards for improving their scores; Juniors, Liam O’Hagan and Amelia Felty were awarded for academic excellence; and Luke Hinish, junior, received his award for STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. Many teenagers stay inside on their phones all day on Snapchat or Instagram. Most teens think that getting their snap score up, streaks, and followers are more important than helping around the house, but these students made an effort to help others.
Junior Annie Feathers said, “[I got my attendance award because] I showed up to school every day. This was her first award from The Challenge Program. Amelia Felty’s award for “Academic Excellence” was also her first award from the Challenge Program; “I am proud that I was given this award. I feel as though my hard work in school has been noticed and rewarded,” said Felty.
This year the Challenge Program presented a student of the year award to Cole Nickolls, from Ringgold High School. Cole Nickolls started his sophomore year feeling lost, but hard work earned him the title 2019 Student of the Year. “My life is forever changed from this program,” said Cole Nickolls. Each year a student has a chance to be a Student of the Year. Everyone can be successful in The Challenge Program.
Just doing good things can earn students a reward. Could you accept the challenge?
Titans face viruses and vital deadlines.
By: Alivia Melius
Prepare face masks and hand sanitizer when visiting the Saxton area this week. Breakouts of Influenza A and especially B struck Tussey Mountain High School. A total of 131 out of 563 students in the middle school and high school were absent from school on Jan. 16.
Dozens of students at Tussey missed school that week with many leaving school throughout the day. Nurse Jennifer Akers saw approximately 50 students on Jan. 16., in comparison to the typical 30 students she tends to. With an average class size of about 70 students this is significant. “It’s been a little bit busier in the nurse’s office,” Akers said.
One of the several students impacted by the spread of illness was junior Samantha Seace. “I experienced a high fever, chills, and I couldn’t even speak for two days,” Seace said. The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) held their annual auditions for District 5 Chorus from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18. “[Due to getting the flu,] my district choir audition went horribly,” Seace said. “I couldn’t sing properly, so unfortunately I didn’t move on. I felt physically awful the next day, so I went home early.”
The number of students absent from school significantly affected class curriculums with many students scrambling to finish assignments during the end of the first half of the school year. “Since I teach seniors, I often treat my classes as if they are college-level courses and want students to be aware that a college professor will not just cancel a class due to students being absent,” senior English teacher Bree McCahan said. “However, with the marking period coming to a close, many students were plagued with the flu and missed many assignments during their absence. In fact, the flu wiped out half of my homeroom this past week, and I have never had that happen before. As a teacher, the last minute missing assignments that were turned in affected me because as the students were struggling to meet the impending deadlines, I, too, was also struggling to find time to grade all of the assignments before the marking period window closed.”
For students going to college and even the workfield, it can be helpful to know the correct ways to communicate with future professors or bosses when missing class or work due to sickness. “Learning how to send a professional email is an integral life lesson that will help students be successful at the collegiate level and will even benefit them in the next phase of their life after high school,” McCahan said. “With advancing technology and our fast-paced, busy world, sending a professional email has become a standard and effective means of communicating.” McCahan suggests students should contact their teachers via email when they are absent that includes an appropriate subject and greeting, a brief explanation on why they did not go to class, and students should politely ask each teacher what they missed.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), Influenza B/Victoria is circulating rapidly throughout the country and unusually early in the typical flu season. The effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine is unknown at this time for the B/Victoria strain considering this strain generally populates towards the end of the season. Pennsylvania is ranked at a very high risk for this virus along with several other states along the East Coast, West Coast and southern Midwest United States. The CDC reported that the 2019-2020 season is projected to leave an impact as severe as the 2017-2018 season, the deadliest in at least a decade.
Staying safe during the flu season can be very beneficial to anyone, even if they are not a student or teacher. “[You can improve your wellness] by keeping yourself healthy with good nutrition, exercise, washing your hands, and making sure you’re covering your mouth when you cough so that you’re not coming into contact with any of those flu germs that can make you sick,” Akers said. Despite great efforts to fight the flu, some may become plagued anyway. Akers said students should stay home until their fever is cleared for at least 24 hours or until their doctor advises. “I recommend [taking] cold medicine, but for me, cough drops didn’t help my throat either,” Seace added. “Hot or cold things made me feel better; a hot shower or hot tea. Popsicles and ice cubes helped me as well.” Getting lots of rest will strengthen the immune system and help students get back on their feet and on schedule again.
Tussey hires a teacher with hidden talents
By: Colton Butler
Filling a vocational vacancy made during the 2018-19 school year, Matthew Blackmon became the newest Tussey Mountain Jr/Sr High career technology teacher on August 21, 2019. Additionally, Blackmon teaches STEM classes and a product design class. “My skill set is hands-on. The difference between my content and a history or English teacher is that we work with our hands, and we get to build and I get to go over the other mediums, and the methods used to convey the information are different. We can create projects of our own,” explains Blackmon.
Teachers come to Tussey Mountain in various ways and for many different reasons. “I decided to become the metals teacher here because I thought it was a great opportunity to continue my career,” said Blackmon. “I also chose this position because I like to problem-solve, and I like to work with my hands.
Working with metals can be challenging. “I am not used to working with metals because I had to take mostly woodworking classes. I had to teach myself to work with metals such as welding and [learn] to notch metal. The metal industry is always changing, and to run a successful lab, you need to change with the times or you are stuck in the past,” explains Blackmon.
Regarding working with the students Blackmon says, “I don’t often have to punish the students if they go by the safety and the lab rules. The only time I really have to punish students is if they do something really bad and really dangerous.”
Freshman Mason Chilcote says, “Mr.Blackmon shows us how to use and do things correctly, and he pays close attention to safety gear and if anyone is horseplaying in the lab and causing safety hazards for us. Mr. Blackmon is helping us work the machines and showing us how to weld correctly. When he’s not helping any other students, he tries to do his own thing to learn how to do it correctly.”
Blackmon is a man of many talents. Blackmon speaks English and German. “ I am nowhere near to being 100% fluent in German; I am always trying to expand my vocabulary as much as I can. I am learning German because I would like to teach in Germany. If I were to teach in another country, I would teach in Bavaria, Germany because I have visited there and the countryside is really beautiful. I also enjoyed Munich, which is a decently sized city.”
Mr. Blackmon is a man with many talents, and we are really lucky to have him at Tussey Mountain Jr/Sr High School.
Accidents bring tears, safety brings cheer
By: Makenzie Droll
Student drivers are more likely to be killed in car crashes than older, more experienced drivers. Twelve percent of distracted drivers involved in car accidents are teens ages 15 to 19 according to Edgar Snyder. Texting, talking on the phone and changing the radio stations distract teens the most. Teenagers 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers over 20 years old to be in fatal car crashes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roger Conley, Tussey Mountain High School’s drivers ed and Behind the Wheel teacher, has been teaching Behind the Wheel for two years. Conley likes teaching Behind the Wheel. During the two years Conley has taught behind the wheel, no students have wrecked with him in the car. He says, “I have not been scared to get in a car with a student.”
According to Conley, “all of them” (teenagers) are the worst drivers; therefore, taking Behind the Wheel is important. “It helps the students; some kids don’t listen to their parents [so maybe they will listen to me],” said Conley. Conley takes student drivers all around the area including Altoona and Bedford. He tries to hit all the interstates. Noah Foor is a senior student driver who drives to school. Foor has his license and his own car. Foor says he was “very nervous” before the test and “very happy” after his drivers’ test which he took in Altoona. Foor says he took his test in Altoona because “it seemed like it was easier.” Foor did not take drivers’ ed.
Caleb Sopher is a tenth grader who drives to school and does not own his own car. He drives his dad’s truck. Sopher took his drivers’ license test in Bedford. “It’s not a very high populated area, and I wanted to take the easiest test,” says Sopher. Sopher has not been in an accident and is currently in Drivers’ Ed. with Conley. Sopher’s parents taught him how to drive, and he practiced driving up until he got his license. Sopher spent 60 to 80 hours on the road. One rule that Sopher remembers is to “stay 200 feet away from the person in front of you, because you never know when they will hit their brakes. If you hit someone [from behind], it is automatically your fault.” Sopher says, “Always stay calm and never freak if you can make mistakes. [Freaking] will increase your chances of getting in a wreck.”
The help of Behind the Wheel driving class in school, practicing more, and knowing the vehicle helps young drivers stay safe while driving. It is safer to drive and keep your eyes on the road. It is very dangerous to text and drive or take your focus off of what you are doing. Teens should check with their insurance company to see if successfully taking a driver’s ed. course will provide a car insurance discount.
TM alumni recruit students for the US Army
By: Chloe Ritchey
On December 19, 2019, Celeste Snyder and Scott Hamilton came to Tussey Mountain High School to help recruit for the Army. Both Snyder and Hamilton graduated from Tussey in 2019. They both just graduated in Dec. 2019 from basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
In basic training everything from making their beds to eating their meals is regulated. When soldiers make their beds, it has to be to a certain standard. When they are eating meals, “You have to sit at attention, you can’t lean over your plate. You have to bring your food to your mouth, your heels have to be together,” said Snyder. They are held at a high standard to teach them discipline. “If you can’t be trusted to eat with your heels together, like a simple task, how are you going to be trusted to protect your battle buddy next to you when you are being shot at?” Snyder explained.
There are varying opinions about what the hardest part of basic training was. According to Snyder, “Arriving on base and being processed as a new soldier” was the hardest part; however, Hamilton thought that “making friends that you’ll never see again” was the most difficult challenge.
Hamilton and Snyder also had parts that they liked best about basic training. Snyder enjoyed live hand grenade training the most. While away at basic training, they had to wait weeks until they were able to speak to their family. Snyder coped by staying busy and Hamilton wrote letters.
After basic training, they both went to train even further. Hamilton went to Fort Leonard Wood “because it’s home to the engineers.” Snyder went to Fort Huahuca, Arizona to investigate the intelligence field.
Hamilton and Snyder had varying reasons for coming back to Tussey to recruit. Hamilton came back because it “seemed like a good idea.” Snyder “was given the opportunity while I’m on leave from my current training,” and she could possibly get a promotion in rank. They both felt relatively the same about recruiting, “[I feel good about recruiting because] Uncle Sam always needs more souls to fill the boots,” said Hamilton.
Both Snyder and Hamilton had reasons for joining the army. Snyder joined because “ I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.” Hamilton comes from an army family; that’s why he joined. After joining Snyder now feels as though she has “a new home in the Army.”
Shortage of tickets or PRIDE?
By Caleb Sopher
A shortage of PRIDE tickets have caused an uproar among ticketless students.
Ronald (RJ) Zelenko, who is also involved in PRIDE, said,”I got invited to be a part of PRIDE.” Even though he is in PRIDE he has said that he does not get more PRIDE tickets. RJ explained that students spend their tickets on the pride store and waste the tickets on basic candy or soda. Spending too many PRIDE tickets means you haven’t saved to get into incentives throughout the year.
There are two sides of the coin in this matter. Owen Harclerode, a sophomore, doesn’t get PRIDE tickets regularly. He says, “I’m good most of the time,” and follows PRIDE. In his opinion, more often than not, challenging students get more PRIDE tickets than more disciplined students. Tiffany Black another sophomore gets a lot of PRIDE tickets. She says, “I get about 2 or 3 tickets a month.” She also sees challenging kids get more tickets than more disciplined kids, but she says that it makes them better people. This shows that when kids are rewarded their mindsets are influenced, and they tend to follow the rules. She thinks the whole PRIDE organization is “not bad; it does get people to act better.” The common belief is “students who act difficult get more PRIDE tickets than discipline students who follow PRIDE.”
Mrs Elder, the Biology teacher, says that even though she knows some students better than others, she doesn’t give them PRIDE tickets over others. When deciding on circumstances to give students PRIDE tickets, Mrs Elder explained, “I obviously look for students who show PRIDE, but I also look for students who are showing PRIDE and are more of the quiet type.” The evidence I explored shows that Tussey students are not using a consistent behavior, but they are working towards a more prideful environment.
Tussey Students Steal the Show at Bedford County County Choir
By: Ruthie Saylor
Through Sarah Johnson’s choir class, Tussey students came together in harmony for the Bedford County Choir. On October 24th through the 25th County Choir had taken place at Bedford Area High School. Those attending included 12 students from Tussey Mountain Middle School and their choir director Sarah Johnson.
At 8:00, the students and director left Tussey Mountain High School and embarked on the long bus ride to Bedford Area High School. When the students arrived they got their music and voices ready and began learning the arrangements.
“It’s really fun because you get to meet a bunch of new people,” said 9th grader Danika Black. “Meeting the guest director was really fun, [because] you don’t know who it is until you get there.”
“I felt like the odd one out [as the only boy from Tussey] because we had to sit in tables separated by different schools, so I was the only boy sitting there, but it was fun,” said 7th grader Noah Peck
The students gathered with the other schools in Bedford County, and learned each song one by one not starting the next song until the one they were working on was finished. After each break, the director Mr. John Briggs told a story about his experience and music history in general.
In total, all the students learned eight melodies directed by Mr. John Briggs. The arrangements include “Music of The Night,” “Sanctus,” “The Poet Sings, Oh Music,” “All Things Perish,” “Keep Your Lamps,” “Homeward Bound” and “The Rose.” Then the pupils left Bedford Area High School at 4:00pm and returned to their own school.
The next morning, they headed to the school again to practice and learn the music until dinner. After all the students ate dinner, they warmed up their voices in the cafeteria and made sure all their music for the concert was in order. They lined up in order, and waited for it to be time to start the concert. At 7:00p, the students walked silently to the aisle right next to the audience and started the concert. After the concert ended Mr. Briggs said kind words about the students that will settle in their hearts forever. And like that the two days ended along with County Choir, until next year when the time comes again.
“The people there were really nice,” Noah Peck said.
Eighth grader Alyssa Horton said, “It was really fun and a great experience, and was worth the time put into it.”
What’s “Fired Up” in Ceramics?
By: Rylie Jacobs
Tussey students are “kil-n” it in ceramics class. Due to a need for more electives at Tussey Mountain, art teacher Adam Baughman began providing a course in ceramics last school year. It is also a class that Baughman always wanted to teach.
Using white low temperature clay that they get from an art supplier and also a mining operation, students are able to create sculptures at ease.They also use brown terracotta clay that has a firing temperature of 2000 degrees. To make the clay into ceramic material, students must let it sit for awhile until it is completely hard. After it is dry, it can be sent into the kiln to be fired.
This year the ceramics class is making a real life sculpture of a human hand! The sculpture has to be life like and show emotion. Sometimes the ceramics class has a project called “artists choice” which is when they can sculpt anything they want that is appropriate.
Senior Ceramics II student Logan Runk enjoys “building all sorts of wacky stuff” in class. “I like that you get to express yourself,” Runk said. “I don’t really like [all forms of] art, I just like to build things.” One of Runk’s latest works is his wearable sculpture of the Infinity Gauntlet worn by Marvel’s character Thanos.
Boom! Spanish disappears
By: Makenzie Droll
While English is the language spoken the most, Spanish ranks as the second most common language spoken in the U.S. according to Bilingual Kidspot. Fifty percent of college students studying a foreign language chose to learn Spanish according to Mosa Lingua. Many schools have Spanish as a foreign language, and up to this year so did Tussey Mountain. There are nearly 8,200 Spanish language programs offered at high schools in the U.S. according to Rachel Bierly at the University of Pittsburgh. Tussey Mountain students who could no longer take Spanish this year, due to a vacant Spanish teaching position, could pick from any elective offered at Tussey. Tussey created another section of French to accommodate any students wishing to switch to another foreign language. The students also had options for online electives, business electives, vocational electives, and art electives. According to Tussey Mountain Online Learning Coordinator Sonya Browell, three seniors opted to take Spanish II online to finish their language requirements for graduation.
Tussey has been looking for a new foreign language teacher since January of 2018. Grades nine through twelve once had the opportunity to take Spanish and/or French, though no students took Spanish III. Academic students are encouraged to take at least two years of a foreign language, as many colleges require it for admission. Chloe Ritchey is one of the ninth graders who was in Spanish. When asked if she knows any words in Spanish, she replied, “ Not off the top of my head, they are written in a binder somewhere.” Ritchey is now taking psychology as her elective. Ritchey completed half a year in Spanish during her eighth grade year.
Sixty students began the school year in Spanish and had to switch classes. Some were not happy about it, but some were ready for a change. Twenty-one of the students were in Spanish II and couldn’t finish their second year. “A lot of students would rather take Spanish, thinking it will help them with a better future,” said Principal Janell Henderson when asked if Spanish is a popular language choice for students.
The most recent Spanish teacher, Stewart Roberts, started substitute teaching Spanish at Tussey at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. When asked what had happened to Roberts, Henderson said, “Roberts resigned and never came back and got another job. He was not certified as a Spanish teacher, so we couldn’t hire him [full time].” Henderson still hopes to find a teacher for any foreign language to offer as a course alongside French.
Other schools in the area are also advertising for various foreign language teachers, but Spanish seems to be the one with the most openings. For now, Tussey students can only say, “no hablo espanol.”
“SAT”urated with study and stress
By: Alivia Melius
As high school students are preparing themselves for their next chapter in life, the stressors of test-taking can be quite overwhelming. On October 16, 2019, Tussey Mountain High School students, as well as many other students across the nation, took the PSAT and SAT exams on the College Board SAT School Day. As of the 2018-2019 school year, Tussey Mountain High School began hosting a fall semester exam day for those taking the SAT and PSAT, giving students the opportunity to take the test at their own school rather than traveling to another. Senior high guidance counselor Megan Schneider arranges the SAT School Day for Tussey students based on a date given by the College Board.
Tussey students have been readily preparing themselves for this test for awhile. “Prior to testing I used sites like Khan Academy, which was recommended by Mr. Hummel,” said senior Logan Runk, “and through these sites I was able to adequately ready myself for the exam. I found Khan Academy very beneficial, as it covers every topic on the SAT. After reading an article or watching a video, the site will aid you by giving some example problems for you to complete. These problems are very similar to the format that is used on the SAT.”
Even so, for many it was still a nerve-wracking experience and wasn’t what they were expecting. “Despite studying for my SAT, I still felt very nervous,” said senior Emma Watkins. “The questions vary between each time [College Board] gives the SAT. My math section included a lot of trigonometry, which I definitely had to review, but the next round of SATs may have mostly algebra-related math questions,” Watkins said. This circumstance leads to much anxiety for those preparing to take a test.
Test-taking has many positive and negative effects on the human brain and body. “The brain and body are designed to change and react in stressful situations,” said psychologist Lisa Reed. “However, depending on a person’s tolerance to stress and pressure and their own ability to identify and implement positive healthy coping skills and decision making, stress can be very debilitating and lead to many mental and physical health problems [sic],” Reed said. “When we become stressed, our bodies make more cortisol, a hormone in the body. This increase can affect our memory and cause weight gain,” Reed explained. “The brain also creates more myelin, which can have negative effects on the hippocampus, [the part of the brain] that helps us learn new things and remember them. Physically, extreme stress makes us feel irritable and tired…however, some stress is good for you,” she said. “It is called Eustress. This kind of stress motivates us to do a good job, practice or study more and not be so hard on ourselves.”
Reed recommends several ways for students to help alleviate testing stress on themselves: “Some tips to help minimize these anxieties is to try and prepare yourself properly, and do some stretches and deep breathing or listen to some calming music right before the test. Change your attitude and say positive things in your head,” Reed said. Reed suggests to use phrases such as: “I can do this; I know this material; and I will do my best.”
“Parents and guardians may not realize or understand the stress their children are going through. Kids need to be honest and share their worries and concerns with the parents,” Reed said.
In an effort to reduce stress, students at Tussey Mountain are looking for a way to prepare for these high stakes tests. Last school year, an SAT preparation course was available at TMHS as an elective. “I couldn’t take the prep course last year, since it clashed with another class I had 9th period,” Watkins said. Other senior class members who took the SAT also believe that bringing back the preparation course at Tussey would be useful to them. “An SAT prep course could help students who need more of a one-to-one form of remediation. I had no problem studying online; however, I know many students who would feel much more comfortable being tutored by a teacher,” Runk added.
Many standardized tests, including the PSAT and SAT offer several scholarships to students who have taken those exams. “Make sure you try your hardest in school because standardized tests and grades go hand in hand, and you never know what you could get a scholarship for,” Tussey Mountain alumnus Tess Masood said. College Board offers scholarships for many different criteria including overall score excellence, overall improved scores, improved scores based on individual sections of the test, etc. As a result, these tests have even become more important as college costs rise. Academic and emotional preparation are the keys to success.
Stepping Back in Time to the Renaissance
By: Alivia Melius
Huzzah! Tussey Mountain High School’s Lords and Ladies Club traveled back in time–and to Manheim, Pennsylvania–for their annual Renaissance Faire field trip on Wednesday, October 10, 2019. Lords and Ladies Club is an organization at Tussey under adviser/teacher Casey Flaherty. The club focuses on learning about the history that is generally set in the Middle Ages. One of the club’s main features is visiting the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
There are many sights and attractions to engage in at the event. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the faire is the food. “I had poutine, a Canadian food,” said junior Mara Fluke, “It’s like fries with gravy and cheese curds.’ Many shops are located throughout the area of the faire as well, which include various medieval themed items available for purchase. I got a windchime and an ocarina,” said junior Brooke Notestine, “[When visiting the Renaissance Faire,] just look around and see what you like. Once you’re done looking, go back [later] to those items you really wanted and purchase them.” There are shows and reenactments throughout the day to watch as well. “I watched the ‘Irish Revelers’ show,” said senior Ty McIntyre , “It was like a musical. They were singing a lot of Irish music. It was really funny.” The actors and actresses at the Renaissance Faire are all dressed up, speaking with accents to fit their roles, and the visitors can get in on the fun as well. “I dressed as a naiad,” said McIntyre, “I think mythical stuff is really interesting.” Sophomore Bradley Spitler came dressed as a plague doctor.
The day always comes to a close with the excitement of the joust. This year, the setting in which the event took place was England in 1558, at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. “I watched the joust, but my favorite part is always when they bust out the explosives,” said senior Kaegan Thompson, “There’s something exciting about seeing a fifty feet tall fire cloud.”
By: Alivia Melius
What a royal display! The newly elected Tussey Mountain Homecoming King and Queen stand confidently for a picture just moments after being announced as this year’s reigning monarchs. Alongside them are the Homecoming Court.
Tussey Mountain High School held their 2019-2020 Homecoming King and Queen crowning on the evening of Friday, September 27, 2019 prior to the commencing of the football game against Juniata Valley. Crowned king was Tyler Rhodes (12) and queen Emma Watkins (12). The court consisted of seniors Amelia Felty, Makayla Hinkel, Emma Watkins, Alexis Weimert, and Chloe Wright running for queen. Those running for king included seniors Damon Clark, Matthew Leonard, Logan Reed, Tyler Rhodes, and Jarred Sipes. The senior high student body–grades 9 through 12–voted on who would be given the position on Thursday, September 26, 2019 during lunch period.
“[Just before the announcement] I was wondering who won. There was a lot of anticipation because there was a long pause. I was nervous,” said Rhodes.“For me,” interjected Watkins–the marching band drum major, “it shows young band members that you don’t have to be a football player or cheerleader to become homecoming queen.” After I was crowned, I stood up on the podium and conducted the alma mater,” she continued. “It’s an honor to be recognized by so many people for this occasion.”
The homecoming court also enjoyed the festivities of Spirit Week. “I saw the homecoming courts before me and thought, ‘Hey, I’d like to do that,’ so I ran,” said Logan Reed. “It seemed like it would be fun to participate in the homecoming games at the pep rally,” Matthew Leonard said. “It’s a pretty cool experience. Everyone wants to be on the court; only five people get the opportunity.”
As the week came to a close, the two heirs to the throne partied like royalty during the football game and school dance. “[In celebration of winning homecoming king,] I played a game of football with the boys and caught a dub,” said Rhodes–a running back and linebacker for the varsity football team, “It was a great night.” “I received many compliments on my way to Mrs. Elder’s room to change into my band uniform,” said Emma Watkins, “and during the homecoming dance, Tyler and I created a cool handshake to show the whole gym.”
Homecoming Pep Rally 2019
By: Trista Lemin
On Friday, September 27, 2019, Tussey Mountain High School had its first pep rally for the 2019-2020 school year for grades 5-12. It was the Homecoming Pep Rally. This pep rally got the school all riled up for the Homecoming Game that night. The Tussey Mountain Titans are undefeated so far this season (6-0). The Titans were getting the football players ready for the football game that night.
It takes a lot of planning to make the pep rally enjoyable and fun. It must be really chaotic for the planner for the pep rally, but the question is, who is the planner of the pep rally? Tonia Hinkel is the varsity cheerleading coach. Imagine being a coach and a pep rally planner as well. Getting your cheerleaders ready through practice, preparing the pep rally games, and then overseeing the whole pep rally is a big responsibility.
Freshman, Maranda Mutzabaugh said she thought “[the cheerleaders were] good [and] interesting to watch.” While freshman Ethan Howell said, “The band sounded like a professional band.” Howell thought this year’s pep rally was better, “because there were a lot of newcomers to show their Titan pride.” Seventh grader Tierra Greene shared, “[I liked] the cheerleaders because they do creative dances and my cousin is a cheerleader… their dances were amazing.” Most of the students enjoyed the pep rally this year.
Later that night the Titans won the game against Juniata Valley.
The enthusiasm from the Pep Rally could be felt at the game. Fans were yelling, “Touchdown boys!!” or “Come on boys, score!” More than just students at the pep rally got all fired up. There were many homemade signs claiming individual players and cheering them on. Never have we seen so much of the student section wearing red and black. The crowd that night held many fans who were even rowdier than the students! WTAJ named Bill Brown the Titan fan of the week!
A Time for a Change
By: Alivia Melius
Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, Tussey Mountain High School changes with the times in their new news approach. Tussey Mountain is working on several new amendments to their media program. The journalism department has launched an online-based school newspaper. The newspaper made its first public appearance on October 11, 2019. It was agreed between the advisors–Amy Snyder and Karen Gaston–and the senior staff members–Alivia Melius and Amelia Dibert–that the official name of the newspaper be changed to Titan Times from its previous name Titan Topics. “The newspaper is under new management this year, so we decided to go in a different direction,” said Gaston, who originally pitched the new name for the publication. “While Titan Topics is a great title for a school newspaper, we wanted to go a little broader with Titan Times,” she continued. “I believe it’s going to give more people access to what the students have done,” Gaston explained. “Previously, Titan Topics was simply the paper that was put out here at the school, and the community at large didn’t get to see or read anything other than what was published in The Daily News.”
Additionally, Tussey’s broadcasting division has also made some adjustments to their televised announcements that are presented every morning. Titan TV News has decided that this year they will begin to upload and live stream their daily airings to Youtube. “The initial reason to go with Youtube was to solve a problem in our building,” said advisor Amy Snyder, “Not all the teachers have the plasma TVs that are connected to the closed-circuit television. so we had to put a tuner in their rooms. That way, they could get a television channel with our closed-circuit signal, but TV tuners are really a thing of the past,” Snyder said. “The Youtube channel allows us to actually live stream on a computer and to project it through a projector.” “I’m excited for more possibilities and making it easier for me to do my job and to help others do their jobs,” said junior anchor, sound technician, and part-time director Aden Scott.
As of the 2018-2019 school year, Tussey began publishing news-related podcasts to Soundcloud. This is set to continue into this year as well, along with new things to come. The podcasts are created, interviewed, and edited by junior Nathan Estes. As the football season kicked off, Coach Anthony Sottasante proposed the idea of hosting a weekly podcast–known as “Inside the Huddle”–covering the previous game review, progress, status, and upcoming plans of the Tussey Mountain football team. Each podcast is recorded on Tuesday, and edited and uploaded by Thursday.
At Tussey, Press Club is not just a club, but also an elective course open to grades 9 through 12; and students from both the class and club are eager for what is to come this school year. “I would like to continue to grow in photojournalism in capturing basically what an article says in one picture.,” sophomore Amelia Dibert–a member of the club and class–said during an interview. “I’ve always been interested in writing,” said sophomore club member and stringer Tiffany Black, “so I thought that would be fun to get more in depth with.”
Is Tussey Mountain Online right for you?
By: Colton Butler
Cyber-school is a form of going to school through the internet. It’s convenient to be cyber-schooled if you have a sickness or you can’t always go to school and you miss a lot of school days each year. Mrs. Browell, Tussey Mountain’s cyber-school coordinator says, “There is a larger group of students that are cyber-schooled at the beginning of the year than at the end of the year.”
Jaivan Brumbaugh said, “It is easier than actual school because it helps if you have a sickness or a disease. It is easier to get school work done during the week. Also, you can kind of motivate yourself to do your work at your own pace; you don’t have to rush through all of your work at one time. You can just go at your own pace throughout the week, and you don’t have a deadline for all of your work to be done until Friday of that week.” If a person is suffering from an illness, they can do school work at any time of the day instead of 8:00 A.M. to 3:05 P.M. With that said, cyber-school is a way to be attending school without being in school.
The necessities for being cyber-schooled include: a computer, notebooks, internet access, and transportation to school once each week. The cyber school coordinator says, “Students have to come in once a week for an hour and a half. They come in, get set up [and work] till it is time to leave.” Mrs. Browell explains, “The subjects that are offered in cyber-school include math, English, science, history and various electives.” Javian Brumbaugh says she takes “math, science, English, and civics.”
Some students start cyber school, but they don’t go through with it because they miss their friends or they can’t keep themselves on track while doing their school work. For example, they get on their electronic devices and they see their friend has messaged them, so they open the message to reply, then their friend starts a whole conversation with them and they just can’t put their devices down. After they can’t put their electronic devices away they don’t get their schoolwork done.
Some students try cyber-schooling and they don’t go through with it. Cyber schooling is good for people that have an illness and can’t go to school so they do cyber to where they can get their education but without going to school and they can do it at any time they want. It is not good for others because they get distracted by their electronic devices and they never get their work turned in on time.
By: Maranda Mutzabaugh
Tussey Mountain Jr./Sr. High School has started a PRIDE Wall between the cafeteria and the middle hallway. The PRIDE Wall is a series of tiles on the wall with students’ names. Names are pulled from 12 different cups for a fair chance for each student to get his/her name pulled.
All of the student members of the Pride Team are from 7th grade to 12th grade. Jaycln Seace is a student PRIDE Team member. It is her first year being a PRIDE member. The PRIDE Team’s place in the school is to reward kids for good achievements and positive behavior. The PRIDE wall names are picked in a weekly drawing every Friday morning. Jaycln Seace says the PRIDE Wall was created “so kids who don’t have the time to come get their prize for the raffle still have a chance to win a prize either way.” Jaycln Seace says, “the PRIDE Wall is going smoothly.”
The wall restarts when there are 10 names in a row. Each winning row with 10 student names will receive a $20 dollar gift card for all different kinds of vendors local and online. Jaycln Seace explains, “PRIDE is important because it helps keep the school in order and makes the students want to do well in school.”
Key Change in Band Director Role
By: Makenzie Droll
In previous years the concert band has been directed by Adam Runk. This year Tussey Mountain’s concert band director is Bonnie Jenkins. Although Jenkins is the director for marching band, she made time in her schedule to direct concert band too, while Runk is now teaching science classes for the sixth and seventh graders. Jenkins favors marching band over concert band. Perhaps her many years as a band director makes marching band a more comfortable fit.
Jenkins started out as a director for band in Tussey’s elementary schools. Jenkins was at Tussey’s elementary schools for twenty-two years. Jenkins also taught at Bedford Elementary for eight years and has been at Tussey Mountain Jr. and Sr. High School since Robertsdale and Defiance closed. Jenkins teaches music for grades five through twelve.
Band practices are held during the school day, with Jr. High concert band practices during third period. Sr. High concert band practice is held during eighth period. Currently there are about 70 concert band members. Sixth grade band practice is held during tenth period. Jenkins teaches music for grades five through twelve. Jenkins likes being the new director. Jenkins said, “I like it; it’s very rewarding because I started the students when they were younger [in elementary school] and I like seeing them now.” Concert band member Rylie Jacobs said, “Yes, I like Jenkins. I think Runk let us practice more, but Jenkins pushes us to practice our songs and get to know our notes.” The change of directors can bring a lot of good opportunities to the concert band students.