April 2009 • volume 40 • issue 06 • Peters Township High School
R e a l March “Madness”
The month of March was filled
with not only basketball brackets
and dancing leprechauns, but also a
preponderance of trips. The PTHS
Music Department traveled to the
city of Chicago for the Heritage Music
Festival and brought home a slew
of trophies and plaques recognizing
their achievements. The Baseball
team headed to Sumter, North
Carolina to soundly defeat Lakewood
High School. Girl’s Softball went to
Hickory, North Carolina, but only
managed to play one game against
Trinity before they were rained out,
returning a day earlier than they
anticipated. The Girls Lacrosse team
had better luck in Virginia, beating
Western Albermarle High School 1110 in overtime.
Photos by: Paige Burris, Heidi Eltschlager,
Carly Ellis, Alex Boyer, and Taylor Lawrence
– Pages 4 + 5
Little Scouts Day
– Page 3
Sam Fortna speaks
out about the joys of
– Page 10
Awarded for Video
– Page 9
Eat What You
Smoke Signals is produced
eight times during a school year
by the students of Media II, III,
IV Journalism and extracurricular staff at Peters Towship High
School, 264 E. McMurray Road,
McMurray PA 15317. Telephone: 724-941-6250 x.5379.
Commentaries, reviews, and
opinion columns are the expressed opinion of the author
and not of Smoke Signals, its
advisor or the Peters Township
School District. Member of the
Pennsylvania School Press
Fill in the grid
so that each
and each of
the nine 3×3
digits from 1
to 9 only one
Gabrielle Brinsky, Amy
Burzotta, Averi Clements,
Conor Jackson, Ian Jackson, Colleen Lugar, Monica
Paterra, Kaitlyn Richert,
Matt Schilling, Matt Sikora,
Paige Burris, Shelby Miller
Wig Out Day
Dance Like A
Puzzle courtesy of: http://www.puzzles.ca
911 call dispatchers are trained to ask
certain questions in order to tend to the situation
correctly. According to the information they collect,
the police are able to look out for their safety
as well as everyone else’s. On April 4, 2009, a
Pittsburgh 911 dispatcher left out the fact that
Richard Poplawski was armed when she sent
police to a Stanton Heights home to respond to
domestic disturbance, causing three officers to
lose their lives. The Pittsburgh dispatcher, who
has had the job for less than a year, is currently
on a paid administrative leave and is attending
counseling. The 911 call taking center is now
taking more precautions and making it a priority
for dispatchers to report all information due to a
Early Saturday morning, around seven
o’clock at Stanton Heights, Margaret Poplawski
dialed 911 after she threatened to evict her son
Richard, 22. She called in a request for police to
come and take Richard out of the house. She had
already told the dispatcher he was armed with a
variety of weapons. When officers arrived at the
house, she opened the door, not knowing her son
was standing behind her. He was holding an AK47
artillery rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. Richard
shot officer Paul Sciullo, 37, from inside the home.
On the front stoop, officer Stephen Mayhle, 27,
was shot and killed directly after Sciullo. Arriving
for backup was officer Eric Kelly, who was also
killed. Poplawski also fired into two neighbors
houses and at nine other police officers.
Due to this incident, mayor Luke Ravenstahl
and Allegheny Councilmen are now correcting
the 911-call center and how it will continue to
operate. Ravenstahl plans to have a meeting in
order to discuss the new changes being made.
The call center uses a two-step process to assess
a situation. The call taker collects the information
from the incoming call so at any time in the call
the information can be forwarded to police, fire, or
EMS with one click of a button. Call takers and
dispatchers are slightly different; a dispatcher is
specialized for police, fire, and EMS, whereas call
takers are not. State law requires the 911 service
workers to ask certain questions prompted by one
of the multiple screens in front of them. These
questions are referred to as protocol; it contains
“tombstone information” and hazard information.
The call takers have something different shown
on each computer, including previous records of
the household, phone numbers, and maps. When
Pennsylvania hires new call-takers, they have
to meet very specific qualifications. They have
hundreds of hours training and are always being
cross-trained. As soon as their hours of training
are completed, if they are not ready to work, they
are immediately terminated. At all times, the 911
services have around twenty part-time call takers
Poplawski is being held without bond. His
hearing has been suspended and now faces an
April 17 preliminary hearing. He is being charged
with three counts of homicide, attempted homicide,
Photo by Stephanie Cotugno
By helping construct a paper-plate octopus during arts and crafts, junior Corinne Swoope and
senior Alexa Barabti work together to create a positive experience for the preschool children.
What In The World...?
To enhance the education of her Child
Development II students, teacher Mrs. Sprowls
created Little Scout Preschool with the inspiration to
not only offer care to young children, but to provide
an interactive learning environment for her dedicated
students. Little Scout Preschool is open on Monday,
Wednesday, and Fridays to children ages three to
five who live in Peters Township. Child Development
II students who have successfully completed Child
Development I, interact with children through activities
like free play, circle time, art projects, games, songs,
and story time.
“Being with the kids during the preschool is
such a positive experience. It’s not just fun for them,
but fun for us too. I love interacting with each of them,”
said sophomore Olivia Cramer.
Each Child Development II student is
presented with the opportunity to observe and
interact with preschool children through the Big
Buddy/Little Buddy program Mrs. Sprowls created.
Serving as role models, each student is a Big Buddy
to a preschooler, their Little Buddy. The one-onone attention is an activity the preschoolers really
look forward to. During their one-on-one time, Big
Buddies and Little Buddies can participate in the
many activities the preschool has to occur including
a chalkboard, toys, and a water station. As the high
school students also look forward to the three days a
week with the children, Tuesdays and Thursdays are
used to prepare lessons and activities. Mrs. Sprowls
dedicates those days to teaching the students about
leadership, responsibility, and compassion.
“Teaching is a lot harder than it looks,” stated
senior Michelle Munne.
The laboratory preschool was designed
to be a model setting for high school students who
are learning how to deal with children. With every
session, students develop behavior management
skills, appropriate disciplinary actions, and many
other useful life skills and qualities that the students
will be able to apply in their future like parenting and
Compiled by Katie Ellis
Bosnian man Miroslav Miljici blamed his mother-in-law for the break-up of his marriage, so he did what any logical human being would do: used a rocket
launcher to attack her home. When she survived the attack, he tried to use a machine gun to finish her off. Surprisingly, his mother-in-law got away with
only a few minor scrapes. Miljici has been sentenced to six years in jail for attempted murder.
“As shown in several results, women today are a complex combination of altruistic and materialistic, vain and insecure, loyal and self-serving … [highlighting] the dichotomy in all of us.” A survey of more than 2000 women ages 18 to 34 asked the age-old question: brains or beauty? 75% of women surveyed
said they’d be willing to shave their head to save a stranger’s life, but a quarter said they would make their best friend fat for life if it meant that she was
skinny forever. Half of the 18 to 24-year-olds admitted that they would marry an ugly man if he was a multimillionaire, though 88% claimed that they would
gladly give up their cell phone, jewelry, and make-up in order to keep a friendship. Women really are complicated, and this survey proves it.
A group of Russian women have become famous for performing a synchronized swimming routine – at their desks. After filming the routine during their
lunch breaks, the women won £3,500 for an Olympic-themed competition and the video attracted more than one million hits on YouTube. Worker Mosha
Dugina said, “Most of the time we just sit by our desks and all everyone normally sees is our top halves. …We got the chance to show off a little and show
people that we have beautiful long legs.” A copy of the video is on YouTube under the title “Office Synchronized Swimming.”
A man in Saginaw, Michigan was stuck in his gas tank for four hours after attempting to retrieve a piece of paper that had fallen inside. Victor Harris tried
to free his fingers before two hours before friends finally called the police. Another two hours later, Harris was pried from his Lincoln Navigator and taken
to the hospital, where he received two stitches. Harris said he’s “learned his lesson and won’t put his finger back in the gas tank.”
HOw DO you
“I carpool to
- Adam Meyers
Computers Go Chic
It was just a matter of
time until computer makers
designed a laptop small
enough to place in a lady’s
clutch, and Sony has done
just that with its introduction
of the Sony P-Series Lifestyle
PC. This handy little gadget
was initially intended to be
marketed to the woman of
the family. In fact, Sony’s own
marketing material states, “ It’s
designed for the fashionista in
all of us…The spacing between
the keys has also been
engineered to help reduce
typing mistakes, making it
perfect for long fingernails.”
Considering that most
laptops have a high cost, this net
book is priced at a reasonable
Though the screen
is a mere eight inches, its
resolution rivals that of 15inch monitors, only weighing
1½ lbs. About the size of a
business envelope, it certainly
fits comfortably in a book bag,
briefcase, or purse. A variety of
hot colors are also available,
including black, green, red
and white, which leads one to
believe that this little machine
can be more of a fashion
accessory than a powerful
processor. In fact, reviewers
are not impressed with the
boot-up time, and its processing
seemed to lag as well.
If you’re looking for a
convenient, portable way to
access the Internet, you might
consider the Sony P-Series
Lifestyle, for your day-to-day,
reliable computing needs.
By: Conor Jackson
Beyond the Bubble:
- Mallory Karavolis
“I turn the lights
off when I leave
- Becca Lee
We are living in a global economy. The days of American
dominance in production and agriculture are quickly fading into our
history texts, making way for a future of international communities.
And while this is an exciting transition into a new chapter of
civilization, such change comes with a cost. Unfortunately, job
outsourcing is not the only negative effect of this trend. An unfair
market of over-worked and under-paid farmers in struggling nations
are now reaping in the profits for a small group of powerful industry
owners associates; family farms are forced out of business, and
the common citizens suffer.
Equal Exchange is, as it’s name suggests, an opportunity
for struggling farmers of co-ops to trade their products in a
safe and honest way – thus benefiting both the farmer and the
customer. It is required for all family farms to use organic methods
that are both earth-friendly and economically sustainable, the
goal of the organization being to support both the family business
and the environment in which they call home. The democratic
farm environments supported by the co-ops provide high quality
coffees, teas, chocolates and snacks ( all harvested without the
use of harmful pesticides) that are sold at prices that enable the
farmers to support their families and eventually become selfsustaining producers.
Originating with it’s first established co-op in Nicaragua,
Equal Exchange has expanded it’s farm support to other countries
such as: El Salvador, Colombia, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia,
Uganda, and the Dominican Republic. Equal Exchange is
headquartered in Massachusetts, and has both MySpace and
Facebook pages where you can make a monetary donation or
purchase their products. They can also be contacted through their
Egg-O-Naut --1st place-Mike Malencia and Matt Malencia
Physics Lab --1st place-Beth Herder and Kerriann Laubach
Chemistry Lab --2nd place-Beth Herder and Kerriann Laubach
Technical Problem Solving --2nd place -Cameron Kasrare and Danielle Devine
Elevated Bridge --3rd place-Brent Mueller and Trevor Cowler
Dynamic Planet --3rd place-Abby Zrimsek and Mike Malencia
“I don’t go
Cell Biology --4th place-Brahim Shettima and Charanya Kaushik
- Matt Subosits
Fossils --4th place-Kerriann Laubach and Cameron Kasrare
Building Stronger Ties
Eco Is In
SAD students are participating in the
first annual Campus Connections program,
a unique project that takes the initiative to
benefit fifth and sixth grade McMurray students
by demonstrating a positive attitude and
developing student confidence. SAD adviser
Mrs. Gearhart is hopeful that the project will
have a favorable effect on the younger students
as well as the SAD members participating.
“The most important goal the high
school students and I would like to achieve is
to make a positive impact on the elementary
kids,” Gearhart stated. “We want the younger
kids to be able to confidently approach the
high school students. The McMurray kids
should be able to admire the older kids as
role models, but simultaneously, the SAD
members should feel that they have done
a phenomenal job in influencing them.”
The SAD members will not only
participate in tutoring the McMurray
students, but they will also play in a role
in developing key skills for the younger
students to digest in years to come.
“The key to the program is for the kids
to have fun and build positive relationships
with the high school students. Becoming
closer with the high school students will not
only build strong ties, but it also provides the
fifth and sixth graders with an opportunity to
experience meeting more people,” Gearhart
said. “Hopefully the younger kids will not only
look up to the high school students, but learn to
make responsible choices from their influence.
This way, the younger students will be more
confident in their actions and in their choices.”
The program’s success will not only
depend on the amount of encouragement
the fifth and sixth graders will receive, but
also the long-term impact of the project.
“My hope is that the older students
will be blessed in return,” Gearhart admitted.
I’d really like to see the positive attitudes the
SAD students portray become synonymous
with that of the younger students, because
then it will be ensured that the younger
kids really do look up to them. That’s
the number one goal of this program.”
The Buzz on Natural
trend of “going green”, more
makeup companies find it just
as important to satisfy the
environment as well as the
consumer. An already popular
brand is Burt’s Bees, one of the
largest environmentally friendly
companies on the market.
Other makeup giants such as
Almay, Physician’s Formula,
and Origins are starting to offer
eco-friendly products made
with organic ingredients and
packaging. For example, the
packaging in Organic Physicians
Formula is 93% biodegradable.
foundation is powder, versus
the messy liquid makeup that
clogs pores by trapping oil.
Most brands, if not all, have
UVA/UVB protection from
the sun’s rays into their
products. Even if the beach
does not look promising,
daily exposure to sunrays is
damage enough. A year of
unprotected sun exposure is
the equivalence of a week at
the beach without sunscreen.
Industry Leader Burt’s Bees
considers it the company’s
responsibility to present their
consumers with a product
that is respectful to them and
the environment. Following
natural standards is a must.
This means ingredient purity,
testing, and biodegradable
packaging. All of Burt’s
Bees products are between
95-99.5% natural. Half of
Burt’s Bees products are
currently 100% natural, and
the company’s main goal is to
make every product that way.
If you are looking
contribute to the environment,
Burt’s Bees makes a terrific
investment. “I use the honey
lip balm everyday and love
it! The scent and results are
wonderful. The price is right as
well!” said junior Beth Herder.
From shimmering lip
shades to soothing lip balm,
what more could a girl ask
for? Shampoos, conditioners,
and lotions plus lots more
are also apart of this people
and globe friendly brand.
Spring is the season for fashion to go green.
Over the past few years, environmental concerns
have been given to media attention. Because of this,
many companies in the fashion industry are using the
environment to make a profit. The new trend known
as Eco-fashion has modernized the fashion world,
creating clothing that uses environmentally sensitive
fabrics and responsible production techniques.
Some of the materials used to construct clothing and
accessories are cotton grown without pesticides,
bamboo, hemp, and plastic recycled from soda bottles.
Eco-fashions also do not use harmful chemicals and
bleaches to color fabrics and are made by workers
who are earning honest wages in a healthy workspace.
“Eco-friendly clothing has undergone a major
transformation”, according to www.environment.
about.com, “It has gone from ‘hippie’ to ‘hip.’”
Numerous designers have caught on to the
eco-friendly trend and are creating their own lines for
the warm months ahead. One of the pioneers of this
movement is designer Linda Loudermilk. Her “luxury
eco” line of clothing and accessories uses materials
made from exotic plants including bamboo, sea cell,
soya, and sasawashi (www.enviroment.about.com).
Loudermilk hopes that people will be
able to see that eco fashion can be “edgy, loud,
fun, playful, feminine (or not) and hyper-cool.”
Another fashion company gaining popularity is
EDUN, founded by U2’s Bono and Ali Hewson in 2005.
Their designs blend European culture with a tribalAfrican
feel. EDUN’s mission is “to drive sustainable employment
in developing economies” (www.edunonline.com).
Many other eco-frienly fashion is available
at www.whiteapricot.com. A variety of clothing,
accessories, and environmental news is available.
E I S N O
I C O M P
Z O R G A
M N D P O
B S R E E
P E E N G
U R C C A
N V Y H T
A A C H S
E T L T A
L I E D I
C O S Y S
U N R A T
A C U D E
T I N G S
C A N R T
U T I O N
U L O V E
B A L R M
O O L E N
E E U D O
D L P U R
B A H C I
Y H B E V
M R O L N
G R E N E
Soccer or golf?
Which kind of
music do you listen
Which is better:
chocolate or fruity
I prefer to work
I read the sports
section in the
Do you prefer red
or black licorice?
AP Calc or AP
Do you like reality
Do you like to
Are you more
hands-on or are
you a visual
I enjoy cooking.
Which ethnic food
I consider myself a
Are you a bigger
fan of the ‘70s or
Which is better:
Which Teacher are YOU most like?
Find out by following the spider web on the left. Simply choose the answer that best suits your
personality. After you find out which teacher is most like you, look to over here to read all about
the teacher you are!
Mr. Maize loves
almost as much as
he loves baseball
- he’s even read
novels! When he’s
not being a “Parrot
Head,” he relaxes
by watching Sports
Center. Mr. Maize’s
favorite subject in
high school was
Biology, but he
always excelled in
loves Grey’s Anatomy and Italian food.
In high school, she
excelled in English
and she is a big
fan of Toni Morrison and Amy Tan.
In what little free
time she has, Mrs.
Stevenson (with a
v not a ph!) loves
to garden or hike
with her grandson.
She loves the ‘60s,
is a huge fan of
Billy Joel and would
love to see him in
Mr. Farrell would
rather see the Beatles live in concert
than the Rolling
Stones, but he’s a
fan of heavy metal
music. The Penn
State grad is a very
active person, and
he usually exercises
when he gets home
from work. He loves
football, and his
favorite subject in
high school was
reading the newspaper, and eating
the The Simpsons,
and eating Indian
food are just a few
ways he spends
his free time. He
considers himself a
visual learner and
would rather work
alone than in a
group. Mr. Wilkinson has a soft spot
for mangos and
would rather wear
Mrs. Kowalczyk is a
who likes Austin
food, and Johnny
Depp. When she’s
not catching up on
Office, Mrs. Kowalczyk is spending
time with her family
or listening to music
from her favorite
band, Journey. She
received her undergraduate degree
from Carlow University and then
graduated from the
University of Pittsburgh with a Masters
degree where she
excelled in Biology.
“The present is
called the present
because it’s a gift!”
A graduate of Cal
U, Mr. Compeggie
an outdoor person
until the bugs start
to attack. He loves
Rascal Flatts and
would rather see
a Rolling Stones
concert than a
Mr. Compeggie is
an auditory learner
who prefers to
work alone, and he
loves The Notebook
and the Battlestar
Mrs. Wentzel is a
proud graduate of
Penn State University. She is
married with two
sons, Mitchell and
Elliot. She taught
at Cedar Cliff High
School for 13 years,
and has been at
PTHS for the last 3.
She loves Stephanie Plum novels
and sunning on the
beach. Mrs. Wentzel has a myriad
of pets, including a
cat, two fish, and a
describes himself as
an “outdoorsy” kind
of guy. He loves
fried chicken and
would rather go on
a ski trip than to a
beach. He considers himself a tactile
learner and enjoys
Monty Python and
Harry Potter. When
he does read the
usually turns to the
sports section, and
he’s a big soccer
has been teahing
chemistry at PTHS
for the past 9 years.
She is often seen
doing her very best
to convince her
students that it’s
the best class
around! Mrs. Gearheart is the proud
mother of three
children and she
loves her husband.
She can often be
found at home or
in the park running
and biking with her
Behind that scary
English exterior, Mr.
Walsh is a pretty
He’s a fan of
Clapton and his
favorite part of
the newspaper is
the comics. After
school, he exercises
at South Park and
cites his favorite
ethnic food as
“steak.” He’s a fan
of black licorice and
loves Huck Finn.
When he finally
does take a vacation, it’ll be somewhere hot so he
can sit on a beach.
Fishtank: Down to the Wire
Prom: Worth the Hassle
It’s that time of year again.
No, it’s not Christmas and no, it’s
not time for school to be over. It’s
prom time: the dance that empties out both girls’ and guys’ wallets. The dance that makes boys
palms sweat at the idea of asking
a girl to go with him. The dance
that requires hours upon hours of
preparation. Is prom really worth
all of the trouble? Yes.
Some students argue
what will be the most memorable
moment of prom, the huge hole
this dance will put in your wallet or
the awkwardness of the pictures.
According to parentingteens.
suite101.com, with the cost of a
gown, tux, tickets, limos, flowers,
hair, makeup, and photos, the total cost of prom could reach up
to $1,000. Although these factors
are not pleasant, prom is worth
the stress because there are
many great points to the dance,
such as getting pampered, wearing an elegant dress, and having a
great date. Buying a dress makes
you feel famous, and seeing your
guy clean-shaven in a nice tux
is always something special, no
matter how much it cost. Bonding with your friends over whose
hair looks the best and which guy
cleans up the greatest is always
a fun conversation.
“Prom can definitely be stressful,
but it’s just something that you
should experience. I understand
it costs a lot, but I still think it’s
something fun and different to
do.” says junior Leeza Tselepis.
So I ask again, is
prom worth all of the trouble?
Definitely. Although it’s expensive and at times awkward, it’s
an event that everyone should go
to. It’s something different to do
and usually you don’t spend that
much money, this is just a special
occasion. So save up some money, buy a beautiful dress, compliment your guy for changing out of
his grungy t-shirt, and smile big
for the millions of pictures your
mother is going to take.
Guide to Prom
Obama is Taking Away Our Rights
On August 21, 2008 a proposed regulation in 42 U.S.C. § 300a7 (collectively known as the “Church
Amendments”) was placed on public
display at the Federal Register by
the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS).
“This proposed regulation is about
the legal right of a health care professional to practice according to their
conscience,” HHS Secretary Mike
The regulation, also know as the
“Conscience Clause,” allows those in
the medical field to refuse to perform
an abortion, distribute emergency
contraception, or birth control if they
feel that it is morally wrong. This
does not limit hospitals and medical
facilities from performing abortions
or distributing pills either. It simply
protects the autonomy and religious
freedom of health care providers and
organizations from liability for refusing to provide or fund these services
Because this legislation was
released towards the end of George
Bush’s presidency, many leftists
have criticized the “clause”. This
was Bush’s “eleventh hour regulation,” wrote liberal journalist Jordan
Lite, “[it] allows healthcare workers
to nix treatments to which they have
Nancy Northup, president of
the Center for Reproductive Rights
stated, “In just a matter of months,
the Bush administration has undone
three decades of federal protections
for both medical professionals and
their patients.” While Bush did support the proposed regulation, these
extreme claims are inaccurate (www.
Since the ruling of Roe v.
Wade in January of 1973, Conscience Clauses have been enacted
by Congress. This is not new legislation. The regulation that Bush has
passed clarifies existing conscience
clause laws, which have been used
What is your Prom day routine?
Leave school early, take a shower,
get dressed, go to prom.
Is it better to go with a friend or
the person you’re dating?
Dating, it means more.
What’s the ideal place to hold the prom?
for the past 36 years. It requires employers to certify that they are actually complying with these existing laws
and it does not put new strictures on
the provision of abortion or any other
medical procedure (www.hhs.gov).
Also, many state governments, including Pennsylvania, have also created
conscience clauses in their state constitutions (www.ncsl.org).
The bashing of Bush in the media
and among liberalists has led Obama
to consider removing the conscience
clause from the constitution. Removing
this clause would force healthcare providers to do things that they believe are
morally wrong. This is a violation of our
constitutional rights to practice freedom
of religion. Even the slightest notion of
any political representative considering removing any constitutional right
should not be tolerated. If you would
like to join the fight in preserving the
conscience clause, add your name to
the petition list at ACLJ.org (The American Center for Law and Justice).
With Prom just around the corner,
girls from across Peters Township are sure
to be looking up the latest hairstyles and
makeup tips. And of course, before- and
after-parties are being planned down to
the tiniest details. Face it, boys -- Prom is
an event best left for the ladies to deal with.
Here’s what some of your fellow male Promgoers suggest for holding up your end of the
Don’t act like a pig at dinner.
– Sam Fortna ‘10
Always make sure you match your date.
-- Colin Mullett ‘09
Make sure you have the tux ordered plenty
of time in advance.
– John Flaherty ‘10
Leave school early on the day of prom; take
any excuse to be lazy.
-- Ryan Casaday ‘09
Don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth it.
– Joe Halo ‘10
Just leave all the planning to the girls.
– Ryan Schafer ‘09
Don’t say anything stupid.
–Zach Pfeifer ‘09
By taking the time to put in a
little effort of your own, Prom can be a
pleasant experience for everyone... even
for those (literally) wearing the pants in the
What is your prom day routine?
Get out of school early then go to lunch and go
get my hair and make up done
Is it better to go with a friend or
the person you’re dating?
The person you’re dating. Going with a friend
never works out.
What’s the ideal place to hold the prom?
What’s the best part of prom?
On a boat, like the Gateway Clipper.
What’s the best part of prom?
Getting all dressed up.
Staying Strong: Motivation Tips
for the Fourth Nine Weeks
With the final nine-week semester in full swing and the weather
finally getting warmer, many students are heaving a sigh of relief
as thoughts of summer vacation
and the freedom of college life
fill their minds. Now is the time
to sit back, relax, and enjoy the
final weeks remaining in the
2008-2009 school year… right?
Unfortunately, this is the time
for the final academic stretch:
a time when we need to put the
icing on the cake of what was
hopefully a good year. But as
the year winds down and sophomoreitis, junioritis, or senioritis
sets in (sorry, freshmen, but you
have no room to complain), it
can be hard to find the motivation required to live up to our
full potential. Luckily, there are
ways to summon up the energy
for that final push that is needed
to finish off the school year successfully.
School is a generally thankless
‘job’. Between the hours spent
at PTHS and the homework that
follows thereafter, most students
generally work the same amount
of time as an adult working fulltime. We, however, don’t receive
a paycheck, and despite what
parents may say about good
grades being the best reward,
everyone knows that’s a load
of rubbish. So if no one else
is willing to grant you a reward
for your hard work, take it upon
yourself to do so. Did you study
into the wee morning hours for
a big test one night? Spend a
little extra time on Facebook
the next night, or better yet, get
some well-deserved sleep.
Study for days in advance. After information is initially encoded into the brain, it
is important to make sure that
it can be easily retrieved during
the big test. While it may seem
like a pain in the neck at first,
taking a few extra notes or reading over your study guide about
a week before the test can be
extremely beneficial in the long
run (and put an end to homeroom cramming). This method
of studying makes the learned
information more familiar, and
therefore easier to retrieve. As
an added bonus, studying on a
regular basis will make reviewing information more of a habit
than a chore.
Set personal goals.
Whether you want to get a highpaying career, be accepted into
a picky college, or just make
your physics grade a little less
depressing, setting goals will
help push you that extra step to
make your dreams a reality. Start
off small to get your ‘can-do’ attitude going, and then continue
to push yourself harder until your
greatest ambitions are realized.
Setting goals helps to give even
the tiniest amount of reasoning to
why it is necessary to study such
things as imaginary numbers or
Pick a strategy that
works for you. While others can
offer endless amounts of advice,
the basic fact of the matter is that
pushing yourself is impossible if
your method of self-motivation
isn’t suited to your personality.
Take a brief moment to psychoanalyze yourself. If you live for
competition (and don’t mind being called a nerd), pick a supersmart friend and see if you can
beat their score on the next test.
Now that the weather’s improving, it might also help to lie out in
the sun with a glass of lemonade
as you complete your psychology study guide. You’re far more
likely to stay motivated if you incorporate enjoyable aspects of
life into your academic regime.
As visions of summertime
dance in our heads, it’s easy to
slack off. But with the right strategy, even the student who cares
the least will be able to push him
or herself to the fullest.
The Peters Township Media Department is proud to announce that six students and three videos
received TVT Awards of Excellence at the 16th annual Teachers of Video and Television student
festival on April 15th, 2009.
By: Emily Estep, Opinion Editor
Monsters Vs. Aliens
Thanks to the constant annoyance that was my
five dollar, dark, blurry, 3D glasses, I cannot remember all that much of Monsters Vs. Aliens. The
crippling effects of the glasses destroy any potential enjoyment that could be perceived during
this movie. Although the title is self-explanatory,
the film centers around four characters, the monsters, trying to take down a single alien. There
were a few laugh-out-loud moments, but most of
the attempts at comedy felt stressed. Even for a
kid’s movie, the plot made absolutely no sense.
Individual characters were entertaining, like
‘Bob the Blob’, but overall the movie fell short.
Easily the best movie to come out this month,
Adventureland was filmed in our very own Kennywood Park, and has the nostalgia to go with it.
The movie is about James, who has graduated
college but now needs money for grad school.
He gets a job at his local amusement park, and
he quickly falls for another employee, played by
Twilight’s Kristen Stewart. Adventureland is both
funny and sweet, catering to your comedy needs
while filling you with a sense of time well-spent.
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live
add just the amount of hilarity as managers of the
park to make the movie funny but not over the top.
Observe and Report
Public Service Announcement:
“If You Can’t Do The Time”
Photos submitted by Mrs. Hodgins Frick
I’m not entirely sure what to make of Jody Hill’s
Observe and Report. It was either the typical,
raunchy, Seth Rogen comedy, and was terrible, or it was a genius, dark comedy about
the state of America. Unfortunately, I’m pretty
sure it’s not the latter. Observe and Report,
about a mall security guard trying to catch a
flasher and win the heart of the make-up girl
at the same, tries to be edgy and dark but ultimately tries too hard, making it annoying and
almost embarrassing. Although it was miles better than its enemy, Paul Blart, Observe is a sad
valley to the many hills of Seth Rogen’s career.
Hurdling Over the Competition
order to run in each meet. You have to take it easy
The 2009 track season is officially
a day after two hard training days.
underway, and determination is the key to winning
MS: How often are your regular training
each track meet. Personal goals must be set by
track practices and what do you do in them?
each individual athlete to succeed. In order to
SF: Our practices are usually an hour
reach such high standards, the runners must stay
to an hour and a half long on any given day and
in shape year round. Track members must attend
each practice starts off with us running a couple of
practice and train on their own to participate in
warm up laps followed by stretching. Depending
each competition. Junior hurdler Sam Fortna
on Coach Scott’s mood will determine if he will
discussed what it takes to be in track and what
fans can expect from Peters Township
Matt Schilling: Let’s get
straight to the point. What does it take
to be in track?
Sam Fortna: Well, it depends
on the reason you join. If you plan
on being on the varsity track team,
then you have to be competitive to
actually participate during the meet.
The competition can be quite fierce.
We normally choose our best three
runners, hurdlers, and throwers for our
MS: What routines do you
do to keep in shape to compete for a
starter in track?
SF: Well, you must do your
regular training, of course, but you don’t
Photo By: Kayla Graninger
want to be killing yourself everyday in Ryan Crall and Steve Smith run the 100 meter hurdles in practice.
include crunches and pushups after the stretches.
After those warm ups, we will separate into our
throwing), and the coaches, depending on the day,
will have us run Indian runs, ladders (400m, 300m,
200m, 300m, 400m, etc.) or practice our form.
MS: After running at the required practices,
how often do you run on your own time?
SF: Not as much as I would like to; only two
to three times a week. I feel like I need
more, but at least I get the five days a
week from the mandatory practices.
MS: What kind of goals do you set
SF: I keep track of all my race times
and usually aim to simply be a little faster
than I was at the last meet but this year,
I actually had a chance to be in the top
three and compete so that was a serious
force that drove me this track season.
MS: Finally, do you have any
comments on track? Anything people
SF: I greatly enjoy running track.
There are plenty of fun times but it is a
competition-focused sport. Don’t come
unless you plan to compete, or you can
come along to hang out, but just don’t
expect to stay for the long haul.
Spring into Sports
As spring beings to peek
out from behind the clouds, athletes
from all across PTHS will begin
to show their talent. Freshmen
will be trying their hardest to
impress coaches for future years,
sophomores will continue to try to
push ahead of the upperclassmen,
juniors will be at the peak of their
high school athletic careers, and
seniors will be leaving their mark
on the athletic program before
they depart for college. With a few
of the sports in the spotlight being
track, boy’s volleyball, softball and
baseball, Peters students will have
plenty to talk about during the home
stretch of school.
The track team this year is
looking to defend their WPIAL title,
after wins at Mount Lebanon and
Bethel Park. When asked about the
future success of the team Coach
Scott said, “Right now, the girls are
undefeated and the boys are 2-1.
They changed the section this year so
it’s going to be tough. We’re looking to
win the Washington Green Coaches
meet. The upperclassmen are doing
very well so far, and the freshman
and sophomores are showing great
promise. I expect us to finish in the
middle of the pack.” The team seems
destined for another championship
with senior leaders such as Wesley
Groll, Christian Brandstetter, and
Katie Nerone, along with up and
coming junior stars such as Chas
“ Not a very good one.”
Brian Hayes ‘09
McCauley, Kayla Keddal, and
The Juniors boys volleyball
team is one that has stood in the
shadows for years, but this year is
showing some promise as possibly
being one of their best seasons
in years. Recent conference wins
include a 3-1 game against Mount
Lebo, a 3-0 shutout against Canon
Mac, and a win against Central
Catholic. The team already has
more wins this season than in their
previous three years and is now
looking for a chance to make the
Last, but certainly not least,
the boy’s baseball squad is ready for
their season after their first WPIAL
championship. Now its time for the
players to show what they have been
working on during the off-season.
Expectations are high for the squad,
and another shot at the playoffs is
possibly in the works. Head Coach Joe
Maize said, “Were going to take it one
game at a time. The team is going to
try to be successful in one of the most
difficult sections in the WPIAL, if not
the state. The past four WPIAL champs
have come out of our section. Our goal
is to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs and
then take it from there.”
With old titles to defend and
new championships to achieve, the
PTHS spring sports teams are needy
to give it their all as they face the
challenges of a new season.
What is the best football teamfan are you?
type of baseball in the NCAA?
“ A Battling Buccos fan …
rebuilding since 1992.”
Connor McNamera ‘09
“I am not a baseball fan at all.”
Luke Cellini ‘11
WBC: Hardly Classic
The first edition of the World Baseball Classic had
been shrouded in mediocrity, and this year’s was no different.
American fans once again hardly paid any attention to the
nationally televised games and the American team once
again grossly underachieved. Many baseball aficionados
agree that the WBC should be moved to a different time
of year to attract more viewers and not affect MLB’s spring
training. This is the root of the problem. Major League
Baseball’s owners do not want their best players playing in
an event prior to the season where they could possibly get
By moving the World Baseball Classic to a different
time of year, not only would the event be more popular,
but the American team’s performance would also have all
their best players participating. The American performance
in the WBC up to this point has been a travesty, with their
most successful finish being a fourth place this year. This
is simply embarrassing for a country that calls baseball its
national pastime. Jay Mariotti, a former columnist for the
Chicago Sun-Times and frequent guest on the ESPN
talk show Around the Horn, said they should just call
the event the “Asian Baseball Classic” because the
Asian teams take the event seriously and put their
best talent on the field. Nations like Japan, China,
and Korea have taken the event more seriously,
and because of this they have dominated the event.
Team Japan has won both World Baseball Classics
up to this point (2006, 2009), mostly because they
send all their best players.
Although the event is entertaining and is
played at a high level, it has struggled for support
and could be discontinued. The fact that many of the
games are played in the United States when most
Americans don’t even care that much about the event
is absurd. The teams that reach the finals should
have the right to host most of the tournament. This
might give the players something to play for, while at
the same time presenting a sense of national pride.
Hit it Hard
MLB in My Own Words
With the beginning of
each new MLB season comes
overwhelming optimism, not
only for teams like the Phillies
and the Rays but also for
grossly underachieving teams
such as the Tigers, Pirates,
and the Yankees. This season
could shape up to be one of
the most intriguing in recent
history, mostly because there
are few dominant teams. You
might be asking how that will
make it more interesting. Every
What was your best
B o eyr’ fso rBm aa n cke e etvbe a ?l l
“At tri-states I threw 196
and took 3rd place”
-Chas McCauley ‘10
G i r l ’Bs a B e b a lel t b a l l
“ When I hit two homeruns
in one inning”
The Peters Township Baseball pitchers in the rotation, including on his mind: winning.
team has a host of young and senior Jack Hareza, sophmore Austin
“I am feeling good and our
talented underclassmen like Austin Hancock, junior Ricky Falascino , seniors this year are looking very
Hancock, Ricky Falascino, Mike and junior Max Maszle. The need talented,” he said. The bat speed
Shumpf, Justin Bianco, and Will for solid pitching is crucial to the and strong arm of Hareza will make
McClure. With the loss of senior outcomes of games”
a big impact for the Indians’ chance
Returning senior starters for the section. In order to compete
starters Pete Ross, Jim Rider, and
Jordan Jankowski, the Indians will that will make a big impact on the in Section 3-AAAA they will have to
need to develop that talent quickly team are first baseman Andrew beat rivals Canon-Mac, Upper St.
to compete in their division.
Gavlick, third baseman Jim Sams, Clair, Bethel Park, and Baldwin. The
This means sophomores like and shortstop Jack Hareza are team will have to play every game
left handed pitcher Austin Hancock, seniors who will provide veteran like it’s their last.
who came off a tremendous year as leadership for the team. Hareza
“The teams we will be
a freshman- will have the opportunity missed last year due to an elbow up against are going to be tough,
to play a key role on the varsity injury and is back with only one thing but I think we have the talent to be
team. Will McClure, who
better than them,” said
is starting at catcher and
hitting the power in the
line up; McClure will need
The team traveled
to step up. The most
to South Carolina from
is Justin Bianco who had
March 29 and competed
five homeruns for the
against teams from the
freshman team last year
south. While the Indians
and will be the starting
were in South Carolina
they weren’t just having
fun-they were there to
entering his twenty third
win, and that they did
season as head coach
going 2-0 beating the
said, “We are going Photo By: Heidi Eltschlager
teams they faced by a
Max Maszle delivers a pitch to homeplate as Jimmy Sams plays
to having five starting third base.
team has a chance this season.
Teams from the Cardinals who
barely missed the playoffs last
year, to the lowly Royals all have
a legitimate shot to make the
playoffs. The only team in either
league that is a complete lock
for the postseason would be the
Red Sox, who sport arguably the
best rotation in baseball. With
no clear favorite to win it all, this
baseball season will provide the
drama that baseball fans only
get once every few years.
In addition to the level
playing field, there are two new
cathedrals for baseball in New
York, which will provide a nice
subplot this season. Citi Field
will be the new home of the Mets
while a new rendition of Yankee
Stadium will be the place the Bronx
Bombers call home. Although you
could argue that where a baseball
game is played does not matter,
it will be intriguing to see some
of baseball’s greatest rivalries
played out on new stages.
-Justin Bianco ‘11
“Hit a winning run during a section game”
-Olivia Bovalina ‘10
“ When my team came
back to beat Central
Catholic after losing the
-Grant Kocher ‘10
S w iem n i s n g
“When I won my first
-Ronnie Fortunato ‘11
“When our team won
games last year”
-Matt Kronkett ‘11
“I went to Virginia
and I blocked a lot of
-Anna Wassilchalk ‘10
Where would your ideal prom be?
Freshman Elise Bigley
“On the beach”
Sophomore Jillian DeBolt
“At a very nice hotel”
Junior Taylor DiBart
“In Peters Township”
Senior William Bowler
“Not where it is now”
Who would your ideal prom date be?
Freshman Brian Marchky
Sophomore Olivia Ross
Junior Anni Keffer
Senior Britney Miller
What do the Teachers think?
The PT Minute
Senior Jake Barney
What three words best describe you?
Weird, twisted, and enigmatic
What’s the weirdest word in the English Language.
What’s your favorite word?
Make up a word and definition.
Qwuahpowh-use as you please
What’s one word you can’t live without?
GAME (like the one you just lost)!
Senior Stacey Conners
What three words best describe you?
Friendly, generous, and honest
What’s the weirdest word in the English Language?
What’s your favorite word?
Make up a word and definition.
Dupidy. It means stupid
What’s one word you can’t live without?
Mummio and Daddio
With Mr. Repepi
What three words best describe
Outgoing, funny, and sarcastic
What’s the weirdest word in the
What’s your favorite word?
Make up a word and definition.
Curmugin - to make mistakes
What’s one word you
can’t live without?