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The Wigmaster behind Cats

Fri, 2019-10-25 14:08

There are a handful of individuals behind the scenes adding their personal touches to General McLane High School musicals. This year’s upcoming musical, Cats, is no exception.

One of those individuals is General McLane alum and wig mistress Maggie Lasher (’13), who is in charge of creating, styling, fitting and maintaining the 30 custom wigs and hairpieces needed for the performance.

Lasher, who is a stylist at the SALON by InStyle inside JCPenney in Erie, started doing wigs four years ago for General McLane musicals and Broadway Dinners. She sits down with musical co-director Trisha Yates every year to research and develop their visions for the upcoming year’s wigs.

“As a General Mclane alum and someone who was involved in both the broadway dinner and musical while in high school, I wanted to get involved again and the Yates’s gave me the opportunity to do that!”

This year, we asked Lasher some questions about her work.

 What is the biggest challenge with this specific musical?

The biggest challenge is going to be making sure the wigs are extremely secure because dancing is super intense in this show.

What is your favorite part of the process? 

My favorite part of the process is watching the characters come to life. General McLane is full of talent, and we are all so lucky to have the Yates family to showcase those talents and to bring the highest quality of shows to life each year.

What’s been your favorite overall design to date?

My favorite wig to date was the Ursula wig I designed for Melina Walter (2017 performance). It took me about five hours total, and I still love it!

Tickets for Cats go on sale Monday, Oct. 28. 

The cast includes Julia Esposito (Grizabella), Kellen Smith (Munkustrap), Ryan Hess (Rum Tum Tugger), Abby Johnson (Jennyanydots), Jayda Plonski, Allison Walsh and Maddie Wager (The Andrew Sisters), Isaac Smith (Gus), Clara Enterline (Jellylorum), Aidan Regan (Skimbleshanks), Jack Mennow (Macavity/Admetus), Alyvia Carmosino (Victoria), Cassidy Comer (Bombalurina), Olivia Minner (Demeter), Gabe Bayle (Mungojerrie), Katelyn Crum (Rumpleteazer), Michael Corsale (Mistoffelees), Anna Chernicky (Jemima),Caleb Minner (Bustopher Jones), Lexi Langer (Coricopat),  Katelynn Langer (Tantomile),  Makaela Persons (Cassandra), RJ Benedict (Alonzo), Myles Bruce (Pouncival), Chandler Villanueva (Bill Bailey), Grace Honeycutt (Etcetera), Sophia Lehman (Electra), Faith Morrow (Exotica), Meredith Moore (Sillabub) and Emma Cannata, Aiden Dougan, Jade Graves, Alison Jones, Paige Vannoy  and JC Williams (CATS Chorus).

Tickets are $8 for students, $10 for general admissions and $15 for a limited number of “The Heavyside Layer”, which are the first 8 rows of the center section (about 120 seats per night).   

The tickets will be available to purchase on October 28 online or by calling the General McLane High School office at 814-273-1033 ext. 1900. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Coates recognized in 2020 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Fri, 2019-10-25 11:17

General McLane High School senior Elizabeth Coates has been named a Commended Student in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

Congratulations to Elizabeth!

McKean Elementary students visit Erie Playhouse

Tue, 2019-10-22 10:45

McKean Elementary School third graders saw James W. Parker Middle School fifth grader Avery Fiscus in action.

Fiscus plays in the Erie Playhouse’s The Wiz Jr, which runs through October 20. (For tickets or more information, visit Erie Playhouse’s website.)

Students saw the performance last week during a field trip.

McKean hosts ARRFS assembly

Tue, 2019-10-22 08:28

Last week, McKean Elementary hosted an ARRFS assembly on bullying, respect and saying no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Guests from General McLane High School and Edinboro University’s lacrosse team assisted with the program, in addition to McKean’s own ARRFS.

ARRFS stands for acts of respect, responsibility, fun and safe to be with. Each month, the team of students reinforced a monthly theme of respect for other students. This program is part of the anti-bullying program at McKean Elementary School.

JWPMS student debuts in Erie Playhouse

Mon, 2019-10-14 15:29

James W. Parker Middle School fifth grader Avery Fiscus made her Youtheatre Debut this past weekend in Erie Playhouse’s The Wiz Jr.

The Wiz Jr. runs through October 20.

For tickets or more information, visit Erie Playhouse’s website.

Congrats Avery!

General McLane hosts tailgate for alumni

Mon, 2019-10-14 14:50

For the seventh year in a row, General McLane hosted a free tailgate before the Homecoming game on Friday, October 11, 2019 for General McLane alumni. 

The event started at 6 p.m. inside Linden Field, before the football game, and included hotdogs, chips and water. There was also a photobooth for alumni and families. 

Following, the Lancers defeated Franklin 35-17 and added a Region 7 football win.

The tailgate was provided through the Lancers’ free Alumni Association. This association is part of the General McLane Foundation and provides alumni with four quarterly newsletters and invites to Foundation events. In addition, the Foundation provides funds to alumni reunions. 

The General McLane Foundation was founded in June 2005 as an organization designed exclusively for charitable educational purposes that would benefit the students of the General McLane School District. The Foundation is organized to provide funds through public support for three primary purposes: student scholarships; innovative educational programs including staff development, development projects and educational research; and Capital improvements of athletic facilities for the improvement of sports and physical education programs.

To date, there are more than 20 scholarships provided through the Foundation for General McLane students and give innovative educational programs. 

GM alumna designs activewear skirt

Fri, 2019-10-04 13:42

It was the outdoor activities that pushed Melinda (Kashey) Stefko and her husband to move to Colorado after graduating college.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Stefko’s love for the outdoor activities provided her with an opportunity to her latest adventure – designing a skirt for Skirt Sports, an innovative women’s athletic apparel brand.

“I like to wear shorter length skirts when I run and hike, similar to running shorts, but I felt self-conscious wearing them out and about to the grocery store or out to eat after a run because they don’t provide much coverage,” said Stefko, a 1995 graduate from General McLane. “There aren’t always places to change at trail heads, and I didn’t want to have to change after a run before going out.  That sparked my inner challenge to find a way to fix this problem. There are hiking pants that have zip off legs, turning them into shorts. Why couldn’t we have a skirt that does something like that?”

This past August, Stefko’s brainchild, “the Flirty Converty”, was released for sales. This zip-away tiered ruffled skirt is multi-functional, giving women two options in one skirt – a layer for more coverage and giving women the ability to zip off the bottom layer for freedom during workouts.  The skirt also has two pockets, a continuous drawcord and music ports on both sides. 

“I didn’t want my skirt to be boxy like the zip-off pants, I wanted the skirt to still look cute. The Flirty Converty marries these concepts:  it is cute, flattering, and converts from a longer skirt that is appropriate to wear out to dinner to a shorter skirt you can hike or run in without needing to change,” she said.

Stefko designed this through SkirtSport’s Sewing Room, a project where the company solicits apparel ideas from its customers, who submit designs for products they wished they could buy. Designs are then voted on and narrowed down to customers’ favorites. 

“I was so excited, and even more excited for it to become a reality,” Stefko said. “Since it came out in August, there has been an overwhelming positive response to the design. I can’t believe there wasn’t something like this out there sooner.”

A plant administrator for Noosa Yoghurt, Stefko enjoys mountain biking, hiking, running, yoga and downhill and back country skiing in her free time. She came across Skirt Sports’ products when she was trying to find something to wear with pockets for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a two-day fundraising walk.

Shortly after her first purchase, Stefko fell in love with the company and its mission and said she became an ambassador for the program.  

“In the world today where there are so many people knocking each other down, and jealousy tearing apart relationships, I found beauty in this company and appreciated their all-inclusive nature,” she said. “I was going through my own health setbacks that had caused me to not be active like I had been. […] Skirt Sports happened to me at the perfect time.” 

Stefko said she was inspired through the women she connected with through social media and gained a much more positive, mental state. 

Stefko graduated from Westminster College with her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and a minor in Biology and Peace studies.

She currently resides in Fr. Collins with her husband, Steve. 

Use this link tp purchase a skirt : (Use Discount Code: SSA777Mel)

GMHS extract DNA

Thu, 2019-10-03 14:57

General McLane High School students in the school’s Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering gained hands-on experience in genetics and DNA on Tuesday.

Students extracted DNA from fruits and vegetables as part of Edinboro University’s STEM Day, an annual event held by the Math and Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Technology, Geosciences, and Psychology Departments.

STEM Day is held on Tuesdays during Edinboro’s Fall semester for anyone interested in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. Students hear from professionals in the STEM fields on research and informative subject matter ranging from genetics to detecting deception.

General McLane testifies at Special Education Funding Commission hearing

Thu, 2019-10-03 11:32

General McLane School District’s superintendent and board president presented joint testimony to the Special Education Funding Commission on Tuesday, providing the state with General McLane’s perspective on the state’s special education funding formula.

The Special Education Funding Commission is co-chaired by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), House Education Committee Chairman Curtis Sonney (R-Erie) and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera. The commission is tasked with reviewing and updating the state’s special education funding formula under a 2013 law passed by the Legislature. 

Mr. Scaletta and School Board president Carrie Crow shared some of the following information:

  • General McLane School District spends approximately 3 million dollars more in special education costs than the subsidy provided by the state
  • For example, General McLane saw an increase in spending for special education of $425,408 during 2018-2019. The basic eduction formula state subsidy for 2018-2019 was $107,000.
  • Since the 2008-2009 school year, General McLane’s students with special needs has increased by 19%, with our students with autism doubling in population and the percentage of students with emotional disturbances increasing by 28%.

The Special Education Funding Commission held its second public hearing at the Northwest Tri-County Unit #5.

Act 16 of 2019, which became law in June, directed the commission to review and update the state’s special education funding formula under a 2013 law passed by the Legislature. The commission will issue a report to the General Assembly by the end of November making recommendations on how the state can distribute special education funding more fairly and effectively.  

Some other facts regarding public education and special education costs:

  • Public schools spent more than $4.7 billion to provide mandatory special education and early intervention programs and services to children and students with disabilities in 2017-18. That’s 73% more than 10 years prior.
  • In 2007-08 state and federal special education funding were 41% of what public schools reported spending on special education. By 2017-18 however, that percentage had shrunk to 28.5%.
  • Between 2007-08 and 2017-18:
    • State special education funding increased 11.5% 
    • Federal special education funding increased 71.8%
    • Local share of special education funding increased 109.4%
    • Special education expenses increased 72.8%.
    • More kids than ever before need special education programs and services. In the 2007-08 school year, 271,000, or 15% of students were identified for special education. By the 2017-18 school year, 291,000, or 16.9% of students were identified for special education. This is while overall public school enrollments were down more than 80,000 students, or 4.5%.

JWPMS art teacher writes for national art publication

Mon, 2019-09-30 09:13

James W. Parker Middle School’s Christina Martin can add “published writer” to her resume.

The art teacher recently had an article published in SchoolArts, a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts.

Martin’s article focuses on Emoji Shields, a project implemented a few years ago. Using recycled materials and connecting students to something they use each day, Martin had students create their own Emoji design.

“Given the culture of texting and social media, this lesson seemed to be a perfect fit for middle school students,” Martin said.

This is the second article Martin has published. 

Martin serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association and has had her fair share of accomplishments outside of the classroom. Martin’s 11-foot talk steel sculpture, made with perforated sheet metal, was featured in 2018 in the fourth annual sculpture exhibit at John D. Wittersheim Sculpture Park in Adrian, Michigan.

The Ohio State University graduate, who earned her teaching certification at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, is also one of six local artists/educators chosen to lead and create a public mural celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave U.S. women the right to vote. The mural will be unveiled in downtown Erie in August 2020, the 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment ratification.

Martin has been an employee in the District for seven years.

You can read here article here

McKean Elementary celebrates summer reading

Fri, 2019-09-27 15:51

McKean Elementary School celebrated its summer reading today.

Sponsored by McKean Elementary PTA, students who read 10 or more books over the summer received a free book and opportunity to participate in a Pizza Party.

There were 113 students honored.

Congratulations students!

Week 1 “Photo of the Week” winners

Thu, 2019-09-26 08:29

Freshman Abby Walker and sophomore Clara Marham were the winners of this week’s Photo of the Week Assignment for General McLane High School’s Photography 1 Class.

This assignment asked students to use single point focusing on their camera to capture a single focal point (subject).

Each week throughout the course, there will be a Photo of the Week Assignment for each class period. Students do a peer critique of all photos and then vote for their favorite photo from their class.

Photography I is an introduction to digital photography. Students learn to take well-composed photographs and post process them in Adobe Photoshop.

Congratulations to our students!

GMHS students use Stereomicroscope

Wed, 2019-09-25 13:20

General McLane High School students in Mrs. Oathout and Mr. Krizanik’s classes learned how to use the Stereomicroscope in Mrs. Yonko’s classroom.

First, students looked at various samples to learn how to focus objects under the stereomicroscope.  Then, students selected their favorite object and used their iPads to take a before and after image (before magnification and after).  

According to Mrs. Yonko, students often take pictures using their iPad because the ability to enlarge the photo helps students who struggle seeing organelles. This process also prevents eye strain because the students can sketch using their iPad pictures instead of staring into the microscope.  

The students’ artworks will be displayed in the Spring Art Show.

General McLane High School students launch student-run café

Fri, 2019-09-20 14:05

General McLane High School students are brewing their own opportunities with the opening of Java Café.

Created and run by students in Rhonda Kurczewski’s Fun Food Class, the new coffee shop on campus is housed within General McLane’s library and is open 7:30 a.m. until 9:10 a.m. each day. The students will gain hands-on experience in entrepreneurship throughout the nine-week course as they operate the café, learn to prepare food, practice customer service and learn the financial aspects of operating a business, all while using proper sanitation practices and following health codes.

“I believe that this is an awesome experience for the students to participate in – not only to learn the skills, but to have a sense of genuine accomplishment and ownership,” said Kurczewski. “It is amazing to see the excitement from the student participants and how much of the student body enjoys coming to the Cafe’.  I am extremely proud of my students and the effort they are putting forth.”

Java Café will serve muffins, cookies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cappuccinos. As the class progresses, more food options will be available, including items prepared from the students in class.

The class is a collaboration between Kurzcewski and Dan Kane, instructor of the GM Works program. Students in GM Works are a component of the café and assist with the day-to-day operations. According to Kurzcewski, she and Kane wanted to create a unique and valuable way to teach life skills in a variety of ways.

Students in Karen Hodas’ classrooms design all of the logos and marketing materials. Senior Caleb Luebbert designed the logo.

So far, the feedback has been positive, with sales increasing daily. 

The café is non-profit. All money raised funds future purchases and equipment needed.

Safety training takes place throughout District

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:46

Safety continues to be at the forefront of activities throughout General McLane School District, as it has kicked off the school year with a series of safety training throughout the District.

In the beginning of the month, General McLane School Resource Officer Jose Montes performed safety training for new staff and a refresher for returning staff at General McLane High School. The training consisted of intructor-led ALICE training, option-based response scenarios and a tutorial on NaviGate.

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. General McLane has eight certified-ALICE instructors within the District: Officer Montes, Superintendent Richard Scaletta and principals Daniel Mennow, Pamela Mackowski, Jason Buto, Justin Whitford, Michael Getz and Randy White.

NaviGate Prepared is a safety program that digitizes General McLane’s emergency response plans and allows General McLane staff to have access to them through an app that downloaded onto a phone.  It also alerts staff of a potential threat and provides staff with a reliable accountability piece in case of emergencies. To date, the District has practiced drill situations more than 10 times since the start of the year. 

This week, Officer Montes kicked off a series of training with Edinboro Elementary School students. He will continue the training next week with the remainder of the school.

Officer Montes will show students his Safety Video, created by GMHS teacher Tyler Stuyvesant and high school students:

Last year, Officer Montes provided this options-based training to high school students, which is an on-going training:

Buses equipped with First Responder Network Authority

Thu, 2019-09-19 15:19

Just a few weeks ago, a General McLane School District bus broke down on its way to a contest in Slippery Rock.

With a push of a button, the driver was instantly connected to both General McLane’s Transportation Manager and Head Mechanic to come up with a solution.

This immediate and reliable communication is thanks to new technology within General McLane School District busses — General McLane is now the first district in Northwestern Pennsylvania to get a major boost in its busses’ wireless communications with an upgrade to First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

This independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce will provide immediate and reliable communication from busses to our Transportation Director and Head Mechanic. It is also immediately connected to school resource officer Jose Montes and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for emergency situations.

Previously, the District had analog radios that often didn’t work as well within the more rural parts around the region. Now, the new technology uses cellphones that are kept in a lock box and attached to a speaker, allowing it to be an easy, push-to-talk system.

GPS is also in all of the vehicles and will be implemented soon.  It will allow the District to check speeds, locations, arrival times at stops, the length of time spent at the stop and additional pieces of information.  

Recognizing the Heroes of 9/11

Tue, 2019-09-17 11:58

In remembrance of the anniversary, Edinboro Elementary School third graders learned about 9/11/01 by recognizing the heroes from that day.

After listening to different books about the historic event, students wrote about their heroes from 9/11, their everyday heroes and their reasons why. Students had the opportunity to share their projects with the class following the activity.

Glow Run comes to GM

Mon, 2019-09-16 09:48

The first ever Glow Run is coming to General McLane High School grounds on October 4. 

Hosted by McKean Elementary Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), this is a fundraising event for McKean Elementary School. The event takes place from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. 

Participants will earn a glow bracelet for each lap they complete. There will also be the opportunity for students to race against McKean Elementary principal Michael Getz.

“We were talking last year about some ways to provide our families with unique experiences that bring excitement,” said McKean Elementary PTA president Emily Jonas. “Thanks to Mrs. Roberts, we are a very health-conscience school family, and this is a way for us to have some active fun in the fall, as well.”

McKean Elementary School has both a Winter Run Club and the Spring Recess Laps program that started as part of McKean Elementary’s 2013 grant from the ING Run for Something Better School Awards Program. Health and Physical Education teacher Lisa Roberts started the program to help students increase their physical activity.

Registration for the Glow Run is encouraged by September 27 to ensure enough supplies ahead of the race. Registration will also be available the night of the event. Registration is $5 for each participant. A special race shirt is available for $12. The GM Band Boosters will have concessions available to purchase. 

Register by mailing in a form in with cash or a check to McKean Elementary School. Online registration is also available:

Each May, McKean PTA teams up with Edinboro Elementary PTO to host a Community Fun Run. This past summer, theLittle Lancers Cross Country team was created and, between the two elementary schools, there are 70 runners K-4.  

General McLane launches Drone Program for high school students

Fri, 2019-09-13 15:37

Drone technology is steering its way into General McLane High School, offering students new opportunities to pursue pathways in computer science.

“It’s easy to attract students to flying drones. But, we want to prepare General McLane students to use the tool for careers beyond our doors,” said General McLane High School principal Daniel Mennow. “This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and now, General McLane students can gain familiarity with the drone industry right within our doors.”

Starting this fall, General McLane High School students now have access to new coding classes and opportunities to utilize 30 new drones purchased through Apple’s PASmart Targeted Grant.

“The idea is to elevate our computer science programming to the next level while preparing students for non-traditional pathways utilizing drone technology,” said General McLane technology director and consultant on the project Jeremy Dylewski. “If we want General McLane students to be able to leverage their skills in a high-tech world beyond high school, we need to provide them with the tools and training to work in some of these emerging fields.”

This new curriculum also includes partnerships with both Edinboro University and North Coast Flight School. Starting in the spring, General McLane High School students will be able to take Edinboro University’s “An Introduction to Unmanned Vehicles” through adual-enrollment program. This course, which will be co-taught by Bryan Loomis at North Coast Flight School, will provide students with anintroduction to drones, FAA regulations, operations, weather, safety and airspace. By the end of the course, students will be able to earn a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 Commercial Drone Pilot’s License.

“At the completion of this program, students will leave with a background in computer science and programming that can be utilized right away for immediate work or higher education,” Dylewski said. “There are a wide range of applications for programming and coding, so this new program will uniquely position our students to have a significant advantage beyond high school – not only for jobs that exist now, but for those that will exist in the future.”

Planning for the new program began in the 2018-2019 School Year as part of a district-wide initiative to create a cross-curricular STEAM project using coding or drone technology.

The drones will currently be utilized among students enrolled in Coding II, but there is also the opportunity to use the drones across curriculums within any of the current high school offerings, including Robotics, Astrophysics, Engineering Design, Graphic Design, Photography, Intro to Business, Computer Animation, Digital Literacy and Icehouse. Coding I is also offered to eighth graders at James W. Parker Middle School.

As the program advances, Mennow and Dylewski are hopeful that General McLane will form partnerships with local organizations and companies to further identify real-world application of drones in careers such as insurance, utility, construction, real estate, engineering and police and security.

With the partnerships, General McLane High School is also currently working on expanding its offerings for future school years to include courses in Geography, Cartography /GPS, Drone I, Drone II and Edgenuity Course Work: Financial Math, Introduction to Entrepreneurship.

The drones will also add to our student clubs and activities. General McLane High School currently offers Robobots, where students design, build and battle with remote-controlled robots. Now, the school will add a Drone Racingclub, introducing students to the world of FPV quadcopter racing.

General McLane School District offers a variety of programs and classes to empower students with 21stcentury skills for today. The Academyof Medical Arts and Engineering and Manufacturing Academy are individualized program tailored to meet student needs and joins our many STEM-focus programming. Ourrobust offerings, including entrepreneurship offerings, provide students opportunities to utilize our STEM Lab, which includes 3-D printers, CNC machines and CAD software.

Edinboro Elementary adds Lego Wall

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:48

There’s a bit of excitement over some new green at Edinboro Elementary School.

Edinboro Elementary School’s Library is making Lego part of its new Makerspace initiative.

Edinboro Elementary librarian Michelle Androstic, along with General McLane Service Center’s John Walsh , created a new Lego Wall from a portion of countertop and framed it in a place to hang Lego baseplates. The Lego wall is now made up of 42 10”x10” green Lego baseplates, and is a place where students can build and create during Makerspace time in the library.

This is a new trend in libraries all over the country. Since it’s opening, Edinboro Elementary students have been building and creating like crazy, says Androstic.

A makerspace is a sharing space where students gather to create, invent, discover — and most importantly, try something new through various tools and materials. Students use errors and failures to achieve success in the activities. Depending on the space, time and resources available, each makerspace varies and is unique to the school.

General McLane now has a maker space McKean Elementary, Edinboro Elementary and James W. Parker Middle School.