Volume 2 Issue 2
Volume2 Issue 2
Peters Township High School
264 East McMurray Road
McMurray, PA 15317
Meet the Staff
Managing Editor-In-Chief: Mike Schuck
Online Editor-In-Chief: Katie Denning
Layout Editor-in-Chief: Matt Sikora
Period 1 Editor-In-Chief: Erin Masta
Period 3 Editor-In-Chief: Gabrielle Brinsky
Layout Editors: Val Gobao and Joe Grossi
Entertainment Editor: Conor Jackson
Life & Style Editor: Molly Doehring
Special Features Editor: Christine Manganas
Sports Editor: John Galatic
People Editor: McKenzie Fritz
PT Focus Editor: Amanda Moore
Staff Writers: Layout Staff:
Jake Achenbach Katie Finn
Savanna Schweitzer Kurt Werner
Smoke Signals is produced four times a school year by the students of the Media II, III,
and IV Journalism staff at Peters Township High School. Staff Advisor is Mrs. N.
Sitler. Commentaries, reviews, and opinion columns are the express opinion of the author and not of Smoke Signals, its advisor, or the Peters Township School District.
What was your worst holiday present you’ve ever recieved?
“I have never really received a bad present.”
“Someone else’s pink
and purple socks.”
“A necklace that was
actually a keychain.”
Table of Contents
“A box full of socks.”
“One year my brother
took one of my shoes,
wrapped it up, and
gave it to me.”
“My mom put coal in
my stocking one year.”
“My crazy aunt got
me a needlepoint
kit with a cat on it.”
PT Hockey: Captain’s Tale
Blurring the Lines
Life & Style
12 Days of Break
DJ Clam & Handewzy
2010 In Review
Black Ops Review
CoffeeHouse 2010: “In the Beanginning”
This year's CoffeeHouse, held
December 9th-11th, included acts that
ranged from vocal solos and musical numbers to baton twirling and rock bands. The
annual show's theme was "In the Beanginning."
To be able to perform in the
show, each act had to audition before CoffeeHouse directors Mrs. Bockstoce and
“Every year, CoffeeHouse gets bigger and
better,” said Mrs. Bockstoce. “There always
seems to be more talent and enthusiasm as
the legend of CoffeeHouse grows.”
After auditions, all involved with
the show worked to make it a success. Performers and tech crew members designed
and decorated the set, created the table
centerpieces, and painted the backdrop.
The students started to practice a month
before opening night and had the chance
to watch each other act, sing, dance, and
play. A total of thirty acts performed over
the three nights to make the show a success.
"I loved getting the chance to see all of my
friends perform," stated sophomore Macy
To make sure that everything
was running efficiently during the show,
student co-directors Taylor Laster and Julia Norton, and stage manager Meredith
Karavolis worked behind the scenes.
“Even though being stage manager was stressful because I had so many
responsibilities, I loved seeing everyone
perform and I loved to help the show go
smoothly,” said Karavolis.
“Being co-director with Julia
Norton was very fun. I really enjoyed the
thrill of pulling together Coffeehouse and
keeping all the acts organized and ready
to perform,” said Laster. “It was very satisfying to see all our hard work shown on
stage. It was also fun to work with Mrs.
Kuhn and Mrs. Bockstoce, because they
put so much effort into making Coffeehouse happen, and it really pays off.”
Besides the acts, a big part of
CoffeeHouse was the food. Patrons ordered a variety of coffee and desserts, delivered by waiters and waitresses.
“This was my first experience
Photo by Katie Shultz
Photo by Katie Shultz
CoffeeHouse performers also practiced out of school
to prepare for the show. Members from the Into
the Woods musical number were working on their
with the logistics of Coffeehouse, and I
must say that it has been the performers
who had really made it great,” said sophomore house manager Carla Hoge. “They
have so much talent, and were easy to
work with as well! I've really enjoyed the
Of course, the show wasn’t complete without the hosts: Seniors Lauren
Spinabelli and Hardy Kern. The duo performed in between skits and introduced
“CoffeeHouse allows everyone in the
school to display their artistic talent,” said
What inspires you to play an instrument?
Grace Brandstetter, Grade 10
– I just like to play.
Emily Kipling, Grade 11
– My mom makes me.
Brock Burns, Grade 9
– I really like music and the
ability to do something I love.
H.B. Hull, Grade 12
–I play for Milt Barney.
A Toy Goes A Long Way
People say that the holidays
are about giving and receiving gifts
from family and friends, but what
they fail to recognize is that the season is more importantly about taking
the time to do good for someone you
know, or even someone you don‘t.
One of the most well known organizations around the Christmas season is Toys for Tots. Their mission
is to collect newly purchased or unwrapped toys, and give them to less
fortunate children in the community.
Every year, Peters Township School District takes part in this
event by placing enormous boxes
in each classroom. Day by day students bring in various toys ranging
from dolls to board games, but with
school work and extra activities on
their minds, some students are not
always motivated to bring in a donation for the organization. In response to this, a number of teachers
and faculty members take the cause
into their own hands and make it a
homework assignment, or a replacement to an in-class assignment. One
of these dedicated teachers who takes
Toys for Tots very seriously is Media
I teacher Mr. Bastos.
“I am very fortunate to have
a good Christmas unlike others, and
collecting just a small amount of toys
makes a big difference at Christmas
time ” stated Bastos.
My Life Is PT
A Parody of
Today, I came into Foods late. I had
to explain to Mrs. Powell that I was in the
nurse’s office with a heating pad on my neck;
I was practicing my “Whip my Hair” dance so
that I could look like Willow Smith.
Photo by Christine Manganas
Year by year, he has created
a competition between his Media I
classes to collect the most toys, and
the class who achieves this goal receives a reward.
A frequent donator for
Toys for Tots is junior Erica Gretz.
“ I feel that every child
should have something to open on
the holiday. Donating gives every
child a chance to open something on
Christmas morning” stated Gretz.
Not only can you bring
your purchased items to school,
but also to a participating Toys R’
Us store, the Peters Township Municipal building, Library, and Recreational Center.
Children all around the
United States look forward to
Christmas and waking up to see the
presents under the tree. No child
should be without that feeling.
Light Up the Tree
The annual Tree lighting ceremony
was held December fifth at the Peters Public
Library. People of all ages gathered outside of
the library to listen to the McMurray Elementary chorus sing and to light the tree truly
making the scene magical.
Today, I woke up and looked at the
clock which read 8:00. I started freaking out
because I thought I missed my bus and I was
late for school. I ran downstairs to see my
parents eating dinner. It was 8 PM and I had
already been to school.
Today, I went to an assembly and
Chad Smith put socks down his pants.
Today, I was walking down the hall
and I saw two boys in gorilla suits fighting
while Broadcasting students video taped
Today, I was walking out of choir
when a guy dressed head to toe in tin foil
walked past me.
Today, I walked into first period and
sat down. I then tried to put my seatbelt on. It
was a long day.
Today, a substitute teacher was
lecturing my English class. He was sitting
down at the teacher’s desk and when his hands
touched the desk, it completely collapsed.
He flipped over it and just sat there looking
surprised for a while before getting up and
continuing to teach the lesson.
Today, I went to the bathroom three
times during my first period English class due
to a stomach ache. Let’s just say my teacher
gives me funny looks now and it was a rough
Photos by Rich Weber
PT Hockey: A Captain’s Tale
It takes hard work to
be considered one of the best
high school hockey teams in
Western Pennsylvania. It is
even more difficult to lead that
team. However, for Mike Amelio, it is a fitting role.
When the season
started in early fall, Peters
Township was expected to be a
front runner to represent Western Pennsylvania in the class
AA Ice Hockey State Championships. There was only one
question: Who would lead the
team to that game?
“We knew it was going to be a tight vote between
five of the seniors, but we had
no idea who it would be,” stated
Amelio. After the ballots were
cast and Amelio was elected
captain, things started to take
shape. The team had their leader. Now it was time to figure
out how to recreate the offensive dominance that the team
displayed the year before.
“Losing Lison, Hough,
and Whitey hit our team hard.
Lison and Whitey were the best
goal scorers in the league last
year and Hough was virtually
unbeatable in the face-off circle.
Those are some pretty big holes
we will have to fill,” said Amelio.
Even with an offensive
relapse, the Indians ice hockey
team is starting to find talent in
their younger players. It is improbable to see any individual
Peters Township players lead
the league in scoring, but it will
be likely to see the team sitting
atop the standings.
“The Taylor Cox, Alex
Dagnal, and Cole Snyder line
is definitely a good replacement for the White, Boss and
Lison line. Ben Dachille, Mike
Glicksman, and Trevor Recktenwald are also part of a solid
line that has really stepped their
game up,” said Amelio.
With new players filling a roster that lost a Division
I college hockey player to the
University of Vermont, the In-
dians once again are predicted
to make a deep playoff run.
However, Peters Township will
have to make it through two
opponents often seen around
“Bishop Canevin and
Greater Latrobe are two teams
we will have to beat to make it
to states. We lost to Canevin
in the first game of the season
and Latrobe knocked us out of
the playoffs last year at Mellon
Arena. Latrobe will be a powerhouse again and are threetime defending state champs. If
we can play our game and beat
them, anything is possible,”
A difficult season filled with hours
of practice, thrilling games, and determination had finally paid off, when the Peters
Township girls’ soccer team won the PIAA
Championship. The Lady Indians defeated
nationally ranked Archbishop Wood High
School by a score of 1-0 in Hershey, PA. Senior standout Dani Hume once again carried the team by scoring the lone goal late in
This state championship capped
off a remarkable season for the girls, finishing the year with a 23-2 record. They had
reached the state championship in 2008,
when they came just short of the gold with a
loss to Conestoga that many seniors remember.
“We wanted it more this year. We
as seniors didn’t expect anything less than
winning. We all wanted to win states and
WPIALS for the first time, and we worked
so hard to deserve it,” said senior captain
Needless to say, the PT girls wear
that gold medal with pride. When they returned to school the following Monday,
their fellow students felt the same.
Photo by Mrs.Hume
The Girls Varsity soccer team poses for a team picture after winning the state championship at
Hershey Park Stadium. “We all wanted to win and I think it brought us closer together,” stated junior
Who will win the 2011 Super Bowl?
Caitlyn Bieda, 2011
Kenny Ward, 2014
Conor Bigley, 2012
Dallas Davidson, 2013
Lebron Vs Kobe
• 2 league MVP awards
• Carried his team to 5 playoff -appearances (1 final
• 7 all-star games(2 all-star MVP awards)
JA: Kobe’s five NBA championship rings are something to brag
about. He also accomplished that without the help of two other
superstars. Indeed the Lakers did have other players who are
also arguably superstars, but they did not have the talent and
skill that Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh possess. In Cleveland,
Lebron James was surrounded by only a little less talent. He
made it to the NBA finals once and was swept by the Spurs in
JG: Just a little less talent? Please. I don’t think Mo Williams and
Alex Varejao exactly share the same talent level as Pau Gasol
and Shaq in his prime. The Lakers are always loaded with valuable players, and yet Kobe still continues to be a selfish ball-hog
every year. As for Wade and Bosh, LeBron just started playing
on the same team as them this year. King James accomplished
great things before that. The bottom line is LeBron is accomplishing everything Kobe has at a much faster rate, and the
championship rings will come with time.
• 1 league MVP award
• 5 time NBA champion
• 12 all-star games(3 all-star MVP awards)
JA: The only reason the rings will come are because of
Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Stats don’t tell the whole
story. When it comes to overall performance, Kobe is the
one who always gets the job done. Kobe is the ultimate
game ending, clutch shooter. To say Lebron is the better
player is immature. It is similar to saying Alexander Ovechkin is a better hockey player than Sidney Crosby. Ovi scores
more goals but everyone knows points are not everything.
Kobe is the undisputed, best player in the NBA today.
JG: While I fully agree that Crosby is by far the better player,
your reference is nonsense. Ovi, much like Kobe, alienates
himself from his teammates and coaches by flaunting his elephant-sized ego. And yes, of course having Bosh and Wade
will be a helpful asset to LeBron’s championship quest. It’s
not like he is going to bring a team like Miami back to glory
by himself. Kobe had his superstar sidekicks when he won
his rings. While Bosh and Wade are amazing players, they
are not elite players like Kobe and LeBron. These two players
are very much alike in many ways, and therefore, must be
compared by the stat sheet. Advantage: LeBron James.
Rivalries Go Classic
Heinz Field has been
the home of the Steelers, Pitt
Panthers, and numerous concerts for almost ten years.
Considered to be one of the
rowdiest stadiums in the NFL
– thanks to “Steelers Country”
– Heinz Field will live up to its
reputation on January 1. Not
because the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Baltimore
Ravens or because the Pitt Panthers are playing West Virginia
in the Backyard Brawl. Instead,
Heinz Field welcomes a new
team into the stadium – The
The NHL Winter Classic has had much success in the
past three years. Fans have seen
the birth of the Winter Classic,
which featured the Pittsburgh
Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres.
Plus, two of the Original Six rivalries: Chicago Blackhawks vs.
Detroit Red Wings and Boston
Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers.
Although those three contests
seemed nearly impossible to
outdo, the NHL continues to
surpass expectations. This year
the NHL presents the fans with
two of the biggest rivalries in all
of sports wrapped up into one
game –the Pittsburgh Penguins
vs. Washington Capitals otherwise referred to as Crosby vs.
The NHL hopes to attract fans to see the two best
hockey players in the world:
Crosby and Ovechkin as they
take their rivalry outdoors.
“I like the fact that the
NHL is showcasing their two
premier players in what will
probably be the most watched
game of the season,” stated senior Jake Achenbach, whom
will be in attendance during
this year’s Winter Classic.
Some might consider
the Crosby vs. Ovechkin rivalry the most heated rivalry
the sport has ever seen, and the
NHL is embracing it. Having
this rivalry in the Winter Classic might be a publicity stunt,
but it will surely not disappoint
the fans on New Year’s Day.
Although some fans around
the hockey world may be upset with the fact that this is
the Penguins’ second Winter
Classic appearance, there is no
doubt that this is the most exciting matchup the NHL could
possibly put together.
Photo by Mrs. Sitler
Freshman Keenan Witmer poses for
a photo in his Pittsburgh Penguins
Winter Classic jersey. “The game is
probably going to be really close,
which is exciting for the fans,” stated
America as a whole is under the influence -- of media, that is. In particular, the youth of
the country spend the majority of their waking hours using some type of technology. Since media
represents such a significant portion of daily life, it is vital to view technology’s messages with a
discerning eye. The following is a short study of major media outlets and how they affect the daily
life of an average teenager.
Facebook is a major force in the modern world,
especially in the world of teenagers. The website is impartial,
allowing users to act in the same way that they would
in real life. As a result, many teens reference underage
drinking in their pictures and statuses. This excites the
herd mentality: ‘If all of these people do it, then it can’t
be that bad.’ However, many non-profit organizations have
found their way onto the social network and use it to raise
awareness of their respective causes. For example, the
suicide- and depression-prevention group “To Write Love
on Her Arms” has over 900,000 likes, many of which are
Teenagers can rarely go without texting. However,
it may not always be a beneficial social outlet, but instead
an avenue toward peer pressure. Most students use their
phones actively during their classes, which leads them to
influence their friends to cheat during tests. Also, texting is often used as a way to gossip about others. Sometimes teenagers even feel they need to send inappropriate
pictures of themselves to their boyfriend or girlfriend.
However, these “sexts” are often anything but private
and instead can be forwarded to people who were never
intended to see them. Then, they are discussed around
school and used to bully other students. Additionally,
texting conversations can be used to influence friends to
drink, smoke, and participate in other irresponsible activities. This social outlet provides yet another way for teenagers to pressure friends to make dangerous decisions.
One of the most powerful
representations of media influence is music.
The Top 40 alone shows how lyrics have
degraded from being a form of poetry to a
list of things to do when there is plenty of
money and little common sense. To be fair,
independent artists are starting to represent
a large part of the modern music industry.
These artists often act counter-culturally. In
other words, they view lyrics as a priority
and an art form. But the music most
commonly heard on the radio, at dances,
and in the headphones of teens everywhere
is incredibly shallow.
Movies present a fairly weak
influence, at least in comparison to other
branches of media. A trip to the theater is
rarer than sitting down in front of the T.V.
The only time a movie has a chance of having
a continuous presence is when it is released
on DVD or shown on television. Even so,
the most popular movies are of the action/
adventure genre, which is defined by special
effects and explosions, not references to
drugs and alcohol.
Most talk shows on television try to be major influences by distributing their opinions. But a more subtle and often
effective way for the media to manipulate teenagers is through
television shows. It may not be obvious, but the events that
occur in 90210, Jersey Shore, and Gossip Girl indirectly shape
our generation’s actions. In 90210, drugs and teenage pregnancy are glamorized and embraced as a common occurrence.
While Jersey Shore’s plot lines only revolve around drinking
and partying. Additionally, Gossip Girl suggests that being
rich, drinking, and smoking will make you popular. In one
episode, according to TV Fanatic, a bouncer asks Serena if she
has an I.D. and she nonchalantly responds, “I didn’t come to
rent a car.” These television shows influence teenagers to feel
that the only way to be popular is to participate in “glamorous”
activities such as underage drinking and partying. However,
they rarely portray the consequences that are likely to follow.
Life of a Christmas Tree
We place our gifts
underneath them. We hang
ornaments spanning generations from their branches.
We sing German carols about
them. We even have air fresheners scented like them. The
Christmas tree has been a
holiday focal point for hundreds of years, representing
the spirit of the season and
bringing everyone together.
However, rarely does anyone
think about where their tree
came from, how it started,
or any of the hard work that
went into getting it from a
pinecone to your living room.
Historically, Christmas trees were used by Christians to represent the starry
skies and heavens during
worship. The first Christmas
tree was decorated in Latvia
by Martin Luther in 1510.
The custom was adopted to
Christmas celebrations because the evergreen trees were
the only ones still in full life
by the time Christmas (in Lat-
via) came around. Originally,
the trees were decorated with
cookies, candies, and fruits;
things which hold little value
to us, but were considered
gifts by the common people in
the 1500’s. As people became
wealthier, gifts got bigger and
moved under the branches
instead of on them. For obvious safety issues, electric
lights have replaced candles.
A Christmas tree,
as all other plants, starts as a
seed. The seeds are embedded
in the pinecones that fall out
of the tree branches. Once a
seed begins germinating, it
will sprout after a few weeks,
and exist as a spindly stalk for
up to two months. The trees
need to be planted ten feet
from all others for optimal
root growth. They must be
watered and pruned every day.
“It’s not like you just
plant them in the ground
and leave them be,” says
Dale Johannson, a Christmas tree farmer in Monro-
eville, PA. “I’m in the grove
every day, pruning each
tree, watering each tree.
They’re like needy children.”
Pests and animals
are also problems for growing trees, especially saplings.
Certain chemicals must be
used to ensure the survival
of the tree. Insects such as
weevils often burrow into
small evergreen trees and
kill them from the inside out.
have taken root at around
two years of age, it is not
advisable to move them.
sensitive,” Johannson says.
Depending on which
of the 500 species of evergreens the tree is, and the
quality of care, the tree will
grow one foot every year. After five years, most trees slow
down, taking much longer
to grow than their younger
One eightfoot-tall Christmas tree was
roughly 11 years in the mak-
ing, according to Johannson.
“Once they’re done,
you either cut them and
sell them to a tree depot, or
you allow folks to come out
and cut them on their own.”
After reaching a desirable height or fullness, the
trees are cut down and then
sold in bulk to distributors,
such as tree lots and large stores.
In the United States
alone, between 25 and 30 million live Christmas trees are
sold yearly. When the season
is over, most are hauled out to
the curb and taken to a garbage facility. Some are composted, and some are even sold
to furniture manufacturers.
“I like the business because I like making people’s Christmas feel
real,” concluded Johannson.
So when you finally
find that perfect tree and prop
it up in your living room, take
some time to consider just
how much work went into
getting it there for you.
Sikora’s Stunner Fresh Scents
“These are the best, forget the rest.
All you need is a little bit of cash,
these won’t break your wallet.
Wear some of these after you dress
fly, and you’re sure to win., “ said
Life & Style
Fresh Winter Fashion for Less
We’re all so busy
with this cheerful season that
we tend to look less than perfect, which we all know is just
unacceptable in the fashion
world. Keeping this in mind,
the Peters Township News
Magazine has come up with a
few looks to accommodate all
of this holiday season’s events.
These tips will alleviate fashion
faux paus and help find your
inner fashionista, all while adhering to your budget rules.
In a stylist’s eye, you
should always look put together. Since this is the busiest
season of the year, it is a good
time to start following this
rule. Yes, this means saying
goodbye to your go-to sweats
and Uggs ensemble. Try a
cute trench with a cinched
belt. Macy’s carries one for
thirty dollars. Pair this with
your favorite pair of skinny
jeans and a pair of black ballet flats that can be found at
Forever 21 for around fifteen
dollars. Plus, both of these
purchases are classics and will
never go out of style, so they’re
Around this time of
year, it is common occurrence
to get invited to some kind of
dressy celebration or family
get-together. Instead of your
typical high-waisted pencil
skirt and blouse, try channeling an Audrey Hepburn type
of look. She was an iconic
trendsetter in the 1960’s, and
her style is still a style staple
A peacoat and
jeans make any
classy. It is not
only warm but
today. Macy’s sells a black
bouclé, sequined dress for
forty dollars that screams the
traditional “little black dress”
title. Add a pair of peep- toes
from Steve Madden that sell
for around eighty dollars. To
finish the look, put your hair
in a simple bun. With this
outfit you’ll be sure to be the
best-dressed girl at the party.
New Year’s Eve is
the biggest party night of the
year. It’s the perfect occasion
to break out the sparkles and
sequins! Sport a pair of dress
shorts that can be found at
Express for around forty dollars. They come in a variety of
textures including sequins and
tweed with inlays of sparkly
thread. Pair them with solid
You can never
go wrong with
black dress. It
is perfect for
black tights. Wear a blouselike tank from H&M that
costs around thirty dollars,
which dresses up the casual
shorts. Strap on a pair of heels
and some drop earrings, and
your get-up will be ready
for the count down to 2011!
Around the holidays
you have the right to look
stylish and present yourself
well. Don’t be afraid to strep
out of your comfort zone and
try something new. You deserve to splurge a little on a
nice outfit, so treat yourself.
Remember this important
rule: less is more; the simpler, the more stylish. Follow
these tips, and you’ll be the
Rudolph of the fashion scene
this holiday season.
Photos by Molly Doehring
After a long day of school, figuring out
what will keep you full through practice or homework is always tricky. Opening the pantry may
present a thousand choices, some of which leave
you hungry fifteen minutes later. In the months
of holiday treats, eating healthy is even more difficult. Healthy snacks are easier to find than imagined. Next time you reach for a bag of chips or
cookies, rethink with these simple solutions.
Fruit is an obvious healthy choice, but
it can get boring day after day. Switch things up
by trying a fruit smoothie. Combine your favorite
fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, or even mango,
with low fat yogurt, ice, and milk in a blender for
a delicious, cold treat. Adding one whole banana
to any smoothie recipe gives you an extra fruit
serving, as well as a great flavor. Another add- in
is a splash of vanilla extract for a sweeter taste.
If that salty bag of chips would hit the spot
for you, lightly salted pita chips are a great alternative. These crunchy chips are low in fat and taste
great dipped in hummus or sprinkled with
cinnamon. Hummus is packed with fiber,
sure to keep you full until your next meal.
Another option takes a little preparation, but the tasty result is worth it. For this
snack, start with your favorite kind of Triscuit.
Then select a light Laughing Cow cheese to
spread on top of it. Either enjoy the snack like
this or for an extra touch add salsa or a tomato
slice. In addition to the great taste, this snack
will keep you satisfied for hours.
Photos by Carly Beck
12 Days before Break
Around the Holidays, life get stressful, the
weather gets cool
Students count down the days until they’re free
This winter vacation, this song will be key,
12 days before break you’ll find these in PT…
10 soggy uggs
7 sick sopho
4 frantic juniors cr
3 pricey pres
11 extra p
8 exhausting exams
2 hour dela
5 freezing fr
DJ Clam and
If you are a student at Peters Township High school then
you have most likely heard of the new music sensation: DJ Clam
and Handewzy. This dynamic duo is made up of Joey Sypula and
Austin Hancock. The two started off by making a song to get a few
laughs from the football team in the weight room. Before they
knew it, the Dewzy Drip turned into a school favorite.
In the past, Sypula has created raps of his own, but
by mixing it up he has now gone official. DJ Clam (Sypula) and
Handewzy (Hancock) have stepped up to create the song “Dew
Da Dewz.” Sypula and Hancock use their broadcast skills and
experience to create something worth raving about.
Mrs. Frick’s Broadcasting Production class is producing
a music show called Studio 2. Due to the assignment in Sypula’s
broadcasting class he was able to incorporate something that
interests him as well as his friends.
“It was easy to create, we just asked a few of our friends
to help us out and participate as extras in the video,” stated Sypula.
DJ Clam and Handewzy plan to continue the path of mix
making as they begin producing new songs. In addition to the
other songs they have produced, this one has set a record for those
involved. The accredited crew includes, of course, Joey Sypula and
Austin Hancock, but also Harrison Hunter, Kevin Glod, Mark
Seraly, Grant Taylor and Alexis Pusateri. These students have
accomplished not only a music video, but the honor of having it
added on iTunes.
“Contacting a business that primarily promotes songs
was nerve-racking, but when they accepted it, I was relieved. They
then put our song on iTunes for .99 cents,” said Sypula.
Sypula and his crew plan to create another mix soon. The
song is titled “Mountain Dewzy” and the duo is guaranteeing that
it will be just as big of a hit as their debut.
Photo by Conor Jackson
Senior John McKay is using his knowledge to
reconstruct computers to send to Tanzania and other poor
African nations. He collects old nonfunctioning computers
to repair for needy children.
Bertoni is an AllAmerican
Photo by McKenzie Fritz
Photo by Brittany Grzejka
Senior, Laura Bertoni was recently chosen to play
with the U.S Army All American Marching Band. This
prestigious honor allows Bertoni to receive an all-expenses
-paid trip to San Antonio, Texas.
While there, Bertoni will play with 124 other
talented musicians during the halftime performance of
the All-American Bowl at the Alamodome, after a week of
In order to be included in this program, Bertoni
had to be nominated by her music teacher, Mr. Barney,
and complete audition forms and tapes, which was a very
grueling process. However, all of Bertoni’s hard work paid
off when she found out she had been selected.
“I am honored to be included in this program. It is a once in
a lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait,” stated Bertoni.
A New Spin on World Cultures Rockapella Rocks PTHS
Ms. Giaquinto (commonly referred to as Ms. G) is a new
part-time member of the teaching
staff this year. She is an outstanding World Cultures teacher and
there is no doubt that her students
enjoy her class.
shows her love for the Pens. Besides hockey, she enjoys watching
and participating in golf.
The Walt Disney World
Showcase at Disney World’s Epcot is her favorite vacation spot.
It houses the most popular tourist countries and exemplifies the
culture and cuisine of Italy, China,
Norway, France, Mexico, Japan,
and many others.
Two members of the world-renown group Rockapella visited the PTHS choir on December 6th. Scott
Leonard (the lead) and Jeff Thacher (the beatboxer) gave
the choir tips to make their concert a success. The choir
sang several of Rockapella’s songs, including “Here Comes
the Sun,” “I’ll Hear Your Voice,” and other Rockapella hits.
She is a Pittsburgh native and is a student at Canon Mac
alumnus. After graduating high
school in 2005, she continued her
education at Duquesne University and graduated with a degree in
“I love being able to expeSecondary Education Social Stud- rience many different cultures in
ies in 2009.
one place,”said Ms. Giaquinto.
She enjoys spending her
weekends by going out to dinner and movies with friends. You
can always find her at her favorite
stores, Ann Taylor and Barnes and
Noble, during her free time. She
also enjoys spending her time putting together jigsaw puzzles.
Christmas remains Ms.
G’s favorite holiday and at the top
of her list is lifetime supply of Kate
Spade purses. Like many students,
she’s also looking forward to some
of the holiday dishes, which includes her favorite, broccoli casserole. Ringing in the New Year excites Ms. G because she is looking
“I am a diehard hockey forward to learning and experiencfan,” said Ms. G.
ing new things.
The Penguins are her
“My New Year’s resolunumber one favorite team with the tion is to learn another language,
Blackhawks trailing close behind. such as Russian or Swedish,” said
Her signature Penguin necklace Ms. Giaquinto.
doubles as a fashion accessory and
Photo by Katie Shultz
Letter of Intent Signing Day
Photo by Brittany Grzejka
Photo by Brittany Grzejka
Senior Brady Sheetz signs his Letter of Intent to the
Senior Justin Bianco signs his Letter of Intent to the
University of Hartford for baseball. “I play baseball because it is
University of Pittsburgh for baseball. “I enjoy playing with all of
what I love to do,” stated Sheetz.
my friends and having fun playing the game,” stated Bianco.
A Year In The Bubble:
Who would have guessed last year that students could text during lunch? Over the past
year, a lot has changed. The Girls Soccer Team
won the state championship and the football
team even made it to the playoffs. The district
was recognized as a National School District
of Character. Can this upcoming winter match
last year’s record snow accumulation?The
loss of muffin day was a huge shock and now
students must roam the halls with empty
stomachs each Friday morning. Change is
inevitable, but 2010 was unforgettable.
All photos submitted
The new cell phone/iPod
policy allows students to
use cell phones and iPods
in study hall and during
lunch. “I like the fact that
the administration trusts us
enough to use cell phones,”
said senior Carley Adams.
Starting with the class
of 2013, students are required to
complete a project over the four
years of high school to be able
to graduate. The project focuses
on career exploration. Students
are required to research a career,
present a career speech, do job
shadowing and community service, and create a presentation
detailing the entire experience.
Sadly, Muffin Day was
canceled at the begining
The Peters Township
Dance Team took second place at Nationals
in Orlando, Florida this
past winter. The girls
worked hard all year
and hope to take first in
this year’s competition.
of the 2010/11 school
year. Many disappointed
students voiced their
protest. The “unhealthy”
Friday tradition will be
2010 In Review
For the first time in years, the
Boys Varsity Football Team made
it to the playoffs. After defeating
rival Bethel Park, the team ended
the regular season with a record
of 5-3. Sadly, they lost to North
Allegheny in the first round of the
playoffs, but hope to make it even
further next year.
In early February, PT
was truly a winter
wonderland. A record
22 inches of snow
blanketed the ground,
killing the electricity
and causing us to miss
four days of school.
The Character Education
Partnership named the Peters
Township School District
a 2010 National District of
Character. Peters Township
earned this award for
character education initiatives
in all of the schools. As a
part of the program, the
district was honored at the
National Forum on Character
Education and received a
The Girls Varsity Soccer
team won WPIALS against
Norwin and then continued
to the state championship
to beat Archbishop 1-0.
The Boys Varsity Soccer teamm won WPIALS
against Central Catholic
and progressed to quarter
finals of states.
Restaurant Review: Juniper Grill
Peters Township has limited options when it comes to going
out to eat. The common staples Max
& Ermas, Applebees, and Harrys,
although good, can become boring.
Thanks to Pat McDonnell, owner of
Atrias, The Juniper Grill truly is the
light at the end of the tunnel when
on a search for a different dining experience.
On November 8, 2010, Juniper Grill opened its doors to the
public in the Lakeview Square strip
center. The Southwestern-inspired
menu attracts people of all ages.
When walking through the front
doors, the intense smell of barbeque
fills the air and creates a southern
feel. The atmosphere is modern and
relaxing. Stone pillars and walls accompany dark wood flooring and
create a simple yet elegant ambiance. Huge flat-screened TV’s positioned around the bar give patrons a
chance to catch up on the scores of
the latest games.
When seated, friendly
waiters and waitresses make you
feel at home. The simple one page
menu is designed to give a variety
of choices without being overwhelming. Shrimp flatbreads, fish
tacos, California burgers, and decadent chocolate cake are a few of the
selections. This Southwestern style
of food, which is most commonly
seen in the west coast of California,
is displayed in both the burgers and
tacos. The mango salsa on the fish
tacos infuses this exotic taste. Juniper Grill also features guacamole,
fresh chili peppers, beans, corn,
and various meats throughout the
dishes on the menu.
“I ordered the fish of the
day from the featured menu and
really enjoyed all the tastes and flavors,” remarked junior Carly Beck.
Another interesting aspect of the Juniper Grill is the exhibition kitchen. While waiting
for food, customers can watch the
chefs busily chopping, grilling, and
rushing to get the meals on the table. This high energy atmosphere
and modern looking plates create
Photo by Erin Masta
the feel of an edgy, upscale New York restaurant.
Despite the loud alternative rock music, this establishment makes clientele feel at ease and comfortable.
The people of Peters Township can finally breathe a sigh of relief and change up their
usual restaurant locations thanks to the arrival
of the Juniper Grill. This eatery is a great place
for people of all ages to come and enjoy classic
American Southwestern-style meals. Hopefully,
this restaurant will pave the way for many more
to come to Peters and save us from our standard
pizza, burgers and fries.
Video Game Review: Call of Duty Black Ops
In the video game world, the
Call of Duty franchise gets every gamer’s
adrenaline pumping, and this year, the
new CoD game, Black Ops, is taking
the excitement to a whole new level. As
the sales suggest, it is the blockbuster
smash-hit of the year for reasons that
players must experience for themselves.
Upon launching the game,
players are thrown into the action
before they even view a menu screen.
Black Ops’ campaign mode is unlike any
Call of Duty single-player experience
some of the past. The story is a seamless
flow of ludicrous action, encompassing
a gripping story that jumps into various
war-eras on the fly. Most of the campaign
is spent playing as an ex-soldier named
Mason, who is suffering from post war
trauma. Held captive, Mason struggles
to remember a sequence of numbers that
his interrogators are forcing out of him.
The meaning of the numbers is only
discovered at the end of the campaign.
Overall, the campaign is gripping and
jaw-dropping, including the graphic
content. Be prepared for shockers.
Black Ops’ online multiplayer
feels fantastic. Following the formula
of CoD: Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops
retains the core experience while altering
and adding various features. The first
change is that new perks, weapons, and
upgrades are obtained via a currency
system rather than the typical level based
system, making upgrades immediately
ready to purchase. Secondly, there is
now a theatre mode that resembles that
of the Halo franchise. Finally, zombie
mode has returned and is entertaining
both solo or with friends. There are also
an abundance of new customization
aspects for your weapons and online character.
No hardcore gamer or first-person
shooter fan should pass up this sublime
experience that gives players much more than
their money’s worth.
Photo by Greg Marsh
A Glee-ful Holiday
Teenagers everywhere have fallen in love with Fox Entertainment’s hit television show, Glee. The show is about a group of
high school outcasts, from all difference cliques and backgrounds,
with a common passion for performing, who decide to form a
glee club. Glee is full of drama and surprising twists, as well as
amazing musical performances. While many may view the show
as controversial because one of the main characters is pregnant,
the producers of Glee have made it clear that they do not promote
teenage pregnancy in any way. Controversies aside, after watching
one episode of Glee, you will not be able to stop watching. Fox’s
program captivates its audiences, with fans who call themselves
“Gleeks,” week after week.
The producers of Glee are no strangers to television
and entertainment. Producers Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and
Brad Falchuk also founded the series Nip/Tuck, which airs on
FX. Thanks to their hard work, Glee was nominated for nineteen
Emmy Awards, and four Golden Globe awards. The show also
won the 2010 Golden Globe award for the Best Television Series in
the department of Musical/Comedy.
Based on the show’s success, the cast (in partnership with
Columbia Records) has released a Glee Christmas album, oh-sooriginally titled “The Glee Christmas Album,” which is available
on iTunes. The new album has not budged from its number eight
spot on the top hits chart since it debuted on November 16. It features classic holiday songs, such as “Baby, Its Cold Outside” and
“Jingle Bells.” Each song is performed by different combinations
of the Glee cast members. Thanks to the album, fans everywhere
will have a very Glee-filled holiday.
Matt Lison’s Classic
“Winter Wonderland” - Tony
“Sleigh Ride” - Ella Fitzgerald
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer” - Gene Autry
“Rockin’ Around the
Christmas Tree” - Brenda Lee
“A Holly Jolly Christmas” Burl Ives
Book Review: A Thosand Splendid Suns
The book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is a breathtaking story about two women growing
up in past and present day Afghanistan.
It begins with the story of a girl named
Mariam, who is forced to marry a man
much older than herself after her mother dies. Another girl, Laila lives a more
modern lifestyle where she is able to get
an education. Events take a turn for the
worse when the Taliban takes over. The
two women are brought together under
unfortunate circumstances and forced
to rely on one another to survive.
This book is very closely related to Kite Runner, another New York
Times best seller written by Hosseini.
However, Kite Runner is about fatherson relationships instead of a motherdaughter relationship like A Thousand
Splendid Suns. Hosseini does a wonderful job at portraying both perspectives
of a man and a woman in each story
and how greatly their problems vary.
A Thousand Splendid Suns attempts to show the violence crushing
down on not only Afghanistan but also
on many other Middle Eastern countries. Instead of showing it as an overall
perspective, though, the novel focuses
in on individual characters, making it
all the more heart-wrenching.
This riveting tale describes
the endeavors two girls must struggle
through just for a roof over their heads
and a meal. It illustrates the horrific effects the Taliban regime is having on
millions of individuals across the Middle East. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a
Photo by: Julia Gauthier
2010 Year In Review
Kurt Werner.Staff Writer
Throughout 2010, major international events made for a globalized year.
Events were marked by international competition, national pride, catastrophe, and
progression. Below are the five most influential events of the year 2010.
On July 11, Spain defeated the
Netherlands with a single goal in extra time
to put the finish on the 2010 FIFA World
Cup. The tournament began on June 11 in
the country of South Africa, which hosted
32 teams, with prospective winners including Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Argentina and Brazil. For an entire month, the
world paid close attention through the
group stage and all rounds of the tournament. Symbolized by Vuvuzelas, the new
Jabulani match ball, and popular songs
(Waving Flag and Waka Waka), the World
Cup prompted strong national and global
sentiment. The U.S. team displayed strong
potential in the Cup; it won its group stage
for the first time ever, but lost in the first
tournament round to Ghana.
On January 12, a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 brought cat-
astrophic destruction upon parts of Haiti.
Occurring only a short distance west of
the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the
earthquake inflicted extensive damage to
a very densely populated region. Reports
estimate that nearly three million people
were affected by the disaster and more than
230,000 were killed. In the wake of the
event, numerous relief efforts began. Aid
groups included the United Nations, individual countries, private and public organizations, and international agencies. Many
of the operations are on going, facing many
President Obama announced on
September 1 that the U.S. military would be
ending operations in Iraq. Approximately
50,000 soldiers are to remain in the country, they are there only to assist Iraqi forces.
Ultimately, American commanded combat
has been stopped and any further military
presence would be at the necessity of the
Iraqi people and government. Obama also
announced that the U.S. would continue to
rebuild the economy, ensure security, and
strengthen the new political system.
After spending 69 days almost a
kilometer underground, 33 Chilean miners were finally rescued on October 12. The
miners found themselves trapped underground after several collapses in the mine
blocked their exits. The miners respected
seniority and their usual hierarchy, while
exhibiting incredible resourcefulness. An
evacuation shaft reaching their position resulted in the survival of all the miners.
Throughout February, the XXI
Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver,
Canada. At the close of the games, the
U.S. finished with 37 medals, more than
any of the other 82 participating countries
(gold-9, silver-15, and bronze-13). Among
the most popular American athletes were
Shaun White, Bode Miller, Shani Davis,
Apollo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn and
Ryan Miller. Miller’s outstanding performance for the men’s hockey team earned
him an MVP and best goaltender awards
for the tournament. He and the U.S. Men’s
hockey team nearly won the gold medal
over the Canadians.
I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Hardy Kern.Staff Writer
While most of the green may have
gone away with the changing of the seasons, being green never goes out of style.
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate
during the winter months, here are some
very easy ways to save energy and carbon
over the winter months. If nothing else,
it’ll give you a few extra bucks to spend on
-For all of the cool students with
lanyards hanging out of their pockets, it’s
easy to save on gas and on carbon by checking your tire pressure. As it gets colder outside, the amount of air needed inside the
tires to keep them taut increases. By checking your tire pressure before the cold fronts
move in, and adjusting it accordingly, you
can save up to $5.00 per fifty miles driven.
Mug at Starbucks
-As the temperature falls, the
amount of trips to Starbucks rises. Instead
of getting a new paper cup every time you
visit, purchase a reusable coffee mug that
Starbucks can fill every time you go there.
You still get your coffee, and you help to
save on paper use.
Creative Wrapping Paper
-Break away from the regular,
store bought wrapping paper and use a
more creative material in your gift wrapping this year. Use old comic books, newspapers, or magazines to wrap gifts instead
of the plastic or petroleum based wrapping
papers. Your friends and relatives will appreciate the creativity and you will have
greatly reduced your carbon footprint.
-Make sure that any large cracks
in windows, spaces in window and door
frames, and any other openings to the outdoors are firmly sealed. Getting the problem fixed is the best solution, but tape or
rugs can work just as well. Preventing expensive heat from escaping your home will
save drastically on heating costs.
Renewable Christmas Shopping Bags
-It’s officially the season for shopping, and while you’re out getting gifts for
everyone on your list, keep the planet in
mind. Take your own reusable shopping
bags to the store, or reuse bags from shopping trips you have already made.
Unplug the Lights!
-Everyone is proud of their holiday lights once they’re up, mostly because
they decorated every gutter without major
injuries from falling off the roof. It’s great
to showcase your decorative talents, but
keep your lights off during the day and turn
them off around 10:00 at night. It prevents
wasting electricity, and automatic timers
are inexpensive and effective.
Photo by Katie Shultz
Be Weird (Like Chad Smith)
Katie Finn.Staff Writer
In November, PTHS got a
chance to experience the musical
magic of Chad Smith, drummer
from the world, famous rock band
the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He performed songs from their previous
albums and gave a memorable motivational speech about music and
his inspiring journey to reach his
“Even though I’m not personally into playing music, his talk
really inspired me to succeed in
what I love: tennis. To hear firsthand everything he had to work
through to become what he is inspired me to work ten times harder
at everything I do,” said junior Eleni Coleman.
This musical performance
was a lucky catch due to the fact
that it was a national contest sponsored by the Percussion Marketing
Council. It was entered by the local
music merchants and by chance the
music store, “U Rock”, won.
During Smith’s talk to
the students, he focused on being original and having your own
sense of individuality, or in other
words, being weird. This made students realize that if you enjoy the
same things as everyone else and
follow the crowd, they will never
reach their potential. Not only did
Smith perform for the entire student body, but the drummers of the
PTHS band and all the high school
and middle school percussionists
had the chance to participate in a
clinic sponsored by Smith himself,
and one other musician.
“I had such a great time
with Smith. He made me realize
that I really can go places with the
things I love, but I have to have
the perseverance and passion for
it, ”said junior Adam Ferraco,
who Smith referred to as his “little
Overall, the drummers
were excited to have an opportunity like this and to meet a famous
“Chad is a part of one of my favorite bands of all time, so I have a lot
of respect for him. To be able to
meet him was amazing, but being
able to learn from him was even
This musical experience will never
be forgotten by student body here
at Peters Township High School.
Photo by Julie Griffith
Photo by Julie Griffith
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith paid a visit to PTHS on
November 16, 2010. “He was cool because he didn’t care about what
anyone thought or had to say” stated Junior Mike Ranalli
What In The World?
In central Kentucky, two men
are being charged with probation after
forcing another man to eat his own beard.
The victim, Harvey Westmoreland,
said that he was assaulted by two of his
drunken friends over an argument about
a tractor. “Before I knowed it, there was
knives and guns,” stated Westmoreland.
After being held at knife point, the
aggressors cut off his beard and made
him eat it. “Well, did you ever chew
on a sponge? That’d be about what it
would be like,” he said of the experience.
Hong Kong is the center of
the newest McCraze: the McWedding.
Starting in 2011, couples will be able to
get married at three McDonalds locations
scattered around the city. The ceremonies
will be open to the general public.
These super cheap weddings include
“a personalized menu, decorations,
McDonald’s themed gifts, and an
apple pie wedding cake,” all for about
$129. The idea began when a couple
who met at McDonald’s decided to get
married there, turning the concept into
a Chinese trend. Who wouldn’t want to
get married at their local McDonald’s?
Ever wondered what happens
after the flush? Now you can find out
with Flush Tracker. The new Google
Maps empowered website allows you
to trace your fecal matter’s journey
through the local sewer system. This
website was created by the World Toilet
Organization and Domestos to raise
awareness of a sobering fact; 2.5
billion people do not have access to
proper sewer systems and toilets.
Defecation has never been so fun.
detained a goat for suspicion of
attempted armed robbery. That’s
right, a goat. According to a police
report, two men were seen trying
to steal a Mazda and were pursued
by vigilantes, “however one of them
escaped while the other turned into
a goat.” Black magic is to blame for
this mysterious occurrence. But, the
goat will not be formally prosecuted
until its transformation can be proven
by science, which, of course, is only a
matter of time.
An Artist’s Touch...
Marlea Plachecki, 11
Layout Design by Denée Renz
Nick Nee, 12
The Art department has some of our most
popular electives. In these art classes, students are
taught different techniques of using canvas and clay
while having the freedom to create pieces that express themselves and their style. Here are just a few
examples of the talent found in our Art department.
“It’s a Wonderful