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McKean students run at EUP on Saturday

Fri, 2017-01-20 13:15

McKean Elementary’s Run Club has been preparing for its final run this Saturday.

While increasing overall fitness through flexibility, strength and endurance, students have been practicing for their culminating run at Edinboro University Dome on January 21. Students in first and second grade race at 1 p.m. and third and fourth grade race at 1:30 p.m.

Elementary teacher Lisa Roberts runs this program, with the help of parents, Edinboro University athletes and their Health and Physical Education students. Students in grades k-4 participate in each winter session on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Edinboro University athletes and coaches help with this program by speaking with the students and helping them train.

The McKean Elementary Run Club and the Spring Recess Laps program started as part of McKean Elementary’s 2013 grant from the ING Run for Something Better School Awards Program. Roberts started the program to help students increase their physical activity.

January Board Appreciation Month

Thu, 2017-01-19 15:18

January is Board Appreciation Month, and we honor the contributions of our school board members.

Too often we neglect to recognize the commitment and hard work of these men and women who serve as advocates for our schools. The staff and students of our district are asking all members of the community to take a moment and tell a school board member: “Thanks for caring about our children.”

Years of Service to the GMSD

Timothy Wise – 33

James Bucksbee – 31

Peter Dobrzynski – 6

Carrie Crow – 5

Amy Eisert – 5

Shari Gould – 2.75

Andy Schulz – 1

Brad Pattullo – .5

Linda King – .5

To read more about Board Members and their roles, please check out this week’s Lancer Letter.

Six advance to Region Choir

Tue, 2017-01-17 11:58

Congratulations to Delaney Gatenby, Geneva O’Bannon, Henry O’Neill, Samuel Petkac, Melina Walter and Isaac Petkac! All six participated in PMEA District Choir this past weekend AND qualified to move on to Region Choir!

Here are their placements:

Delaney Gatenby | Alto 1–10th chair
Geneva O’Bannon | Soprano 2- 8th Chair
Henry O’Neill | Bass 2–7th chair
Samuel Petkac | Tenor 1–4th chair
Melina Walter | Alto 2– 4th chair
Isaac Petkac | Tenor 2–1st chair

Good luck at Regionals, which will be held in Freeport, PA on Feb. 23-25!

McKean Kicks off Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Campaign

Fri, 2017-01-13 15:54

McKean Elementary School kicked off their Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Campaign. Through the first week of February, there will be many fun heart healthy activities for the students to learn the importance of the heart, how it works and how to take care of it.

Students are encouraged to raise money through the first week of February. The goal is to raise $5000 in fundraising for the American Heart Association. The class who raises the most money will receive a physical activity and “healthy” pizza party along with a special treat from the American Heart Association.

Any questions please contact Mrs. Roberts at: or 273-1033×4020.

Foreign exchange students leave lasting impact

Tue, 2017-01-10 14:19

When General McLane alumna Judy Gnagi Lawrence (’62) was in high school, she became close friends with a foreign exchange student, Oemar Mustafa.

The two stayed connected by writing letters after he returned to his home country of Indonesia.

The correspondence ended, however, a couple years later when Mustafa was killed crossing a busy street in Jakarta.

Although Mustafa was gone, he continued to have an impact on Lawrence. It was his influence that fueled her interest in Idonenesia, a place she finally had a chance to visit in January of 2015.

“Never, ever did I imagine that more than 50 years later, I’d be visiting his native Indonesia. That’s the power and reach of a General McLane High School (and Edinboro University) education, literally taking me halfway around the world,” said Lawrence, who spoke about her trip to the Erie Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at the Jefferson Educational Society.

In one of Lawrence’s last letters from him, Mustafa expressed his desire to come back to the states and teach her how to swim.

“Since Indonesia is a series of islands, for him, swimming was a natural thing. So, he was always going to come back and teach me how to swim,” she said. “Well, when I visited Indonesia, I went swimming) after having learned to swim at the YMCA).”

Mustafa was the first foreign exchange student at General McLane High School. After it formed in 1960, the District approved its first exchange student through American Field Service in 1961.

When the foreign exchange program in the District first formed, one way that the District elicited financial support for its foreign exchange students was through student shares. Arranged by General McLane Student Council, General McLane students could be part of the experience by purchasing a share.

“I don’t imagine they raised that much money, but it also allowed for students to be part of it. We had a vested interest in our foreign exchange students,” Lawrence said.

In return, students received a certificate that declared “dividends will be paid, to the holder, in the form of rich satisfaction and friendship in welcoming and sharing our school and community with the student from abroad.”

“The last sentence was so true, that clearly happened,” Lawrence said. “The added bonus was the life long experience that it afforded. That’s not written here. But who could know that in 1962, we would have these experiences that can be traced back to our early exposure to foreign exchange students.”

The following year, the High School hosted Eva Mohlenbrock from Sweden. After a year-long process of applying for a scholarship with the American Field Service, Mohlenbrock finally received her acceptance letter.

“When it said that I was to live with a family in McKean, Pennsylvania, I tried to find it on my map-in vain,” said Mohlenbrock. “I was envious at first of some of the other exchange students who were going to California and other exciting places I had heard about, but when I compared my experience with those who had stayed in big cities and gone to equally big schools, I realized I had drawn the winning ticket!”

For General McLane students, this experience was equally as rewarding.

“There was no internet, no cellphones, no way to really get in touch with the rest of the world except newspapers and the half hour of world news on the t.v., but it was just as important at that time to broaden our horizons. Eva really helped to do that for us,” said Joan Kappelt Zalonis (’62).

Mohlenbrock lives in three different places throughout the year, but reunited with classmates just four years ago during the General McLane 50th Reunion, thanks to the research done by Maia (formerly Joan) Chisholm (‘62) on Eva’s whereabouts.

“When I have told my children and grandchildren about my year in the US, about school dances, games, drive-in movies, going to McDonald’s for hamburgers and milkshakes, they say it sounds just like A High School Musical,” Mohlenbrock said. “And so, when I received a phone call a couple of years ago and was asked if I wanted to come to the 50th anniversary, I immediately said yes.”

The passed time didn’t make a difference.

“Fifty years had passed, but we recognized each other immediately and started talking as if no time had passed,” Zalonis said. “When I was 17 years old, I thought, ‘Wow, in fifty years, I will be such a different person with different interests.’ Then, you look back and realize you are the same person just with different experiences.”

Through the reunion, Mohlenbrock was able to revisit General McLane.

“It was a very emotional moment to be guided through the school by the principal. General McLane has of course grown and developed so much over the years, but walking down the hall to our old home room still felt very much familiar,” she said. “I also had the opportunity to re-visit Edinboro and McKean and drive up to the old farmhouse where I stayed. Again, it can’t be said often enough: to be part of a small community, where everyone seemed to know each other, and where so many people went out of their way to make me feel at home, has made a tremendous impact on my life, and formed the picture of the US that I have tried to spread at home.”

It was during this reunion that Mohlenbrock invited her classmates to come visit her. Some of her classmates took advantage of this invite.

Lawrence and her husband Floyd visited her in France that fall, and Zalonis and Chisholm visited Mohlenbrock and her husband in Provence, France last September. This past summer, Zalonis made another visit, this time to her home in Gothenberg (Goteborg), Sweden.

“Who would have thought that more than 50 years later, we would be together south of France with our husbands, having lunch at a nice restaurant and just reconnecting and talking about current times? It was beyond anything I could have imagined happening,” Lawrence said.

Since hosting its first exchange student in 1961, the District continues to host a handful each year. For the 2016-17 school year, General McLane High School is currently hosting seven students from France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Finland.

The addition of foreign exchange students to the General McLane High School student body offers many benefits to its participating students, the students of General McLane, its teachers and community.

“We were told by the American Field Service to act as student ambassadors for our respective countries,” Mohlenbrock said. “I don’t know if I managed to explain/correct some aspects/misconceptions of Swedish life, traditions, and politics, but as my senior project I chose to write about the Swedish welfare system, and called it ‘It ain’t necessarily so.’”

During these experiences, participants often build close friendships with not only their host families, but also classmates from the hosting schools. General McLane’s alumni experiences are no different.

“These experiences you had during high school, they simmer in the background of your brain, sometimes for many years, but they can really influence your future and friendships and choices,” said Zalonis. “Partly because of Eva, I really wanted to travel. She was the first person I had gotten to know from another country. Immediately after college, the first thing I decided to do was start traveling.”

Zalonis wasn’t the only one inspired from her experience.

“My experiences knowing Oemar and Eva planted an early seed to discovering the world through travel and reading on my own,” said Lawrence, whose first trip was during the mid- 80s and has since explored many different countries and cultures.

“Our exchange program ignited my interest in other countries’ customs and people,” Lawrence added. “These students expanded our vision of the world. I learned tolerance, understanding and appreciation of people who are different, and yet similar.”

JWPMS adds new PE technology to improve student fitness

Fri, 2017-01-06 09:57

James W. Parker Middle School is engaging students through interactive technology to improve students’ cardiovascular fitness.

Through the IHT Spirit System, students now have the opportunity to manage their individual health and fitness. The technology includes heart monitor watches, docking stations, PC’s to run the IHT Spirit system software and the software itself. The watches are intended to motivate students by instantly sending them an email with their heart rates throughout the period ensuring that they challenge themselves and hit specific heart zones.

The first step? Inspiring students through an artistic new room – thanks to a joint project between the health and physical education department and the art department.

A former storage room, the health and physical education department’s new Exercise Technology Room connects the middle school physical education curriculum with the IHT technology.

Seventh-grade art students participated in the collaboration by creating wall murals for a one-of-a-kind activity-themed design in their new room. The theme for the room is movement.

Although many students were involved with the project, there was a main group of students who dedicated their time and came in during homeroom to make this project a reality. Those students include Lyric Shaw, Regan Luebbert, Bella Dorman, Sydney Farbotnik, Hannah Haddix, Zelie Maloney and Emily Moran, Kaitlyn Dubynskiy.

What a wonderful job by all involved!

Kindergarten students make gifts for classmates

Fri, 2017-01-06 09:55

Edinboro Elementary’s Kindergarteners made gifts for their classmates.

Each students drew a name of their classmate. After creating gifts for their parents (the snowflakes), students then created jewelry specifically for them.

This was part of Mrs. Kupczyk’s Kindness Tree. Each day throughout the week before holiday break, the students engaged in a random act of kindness.

HS band visits elementary schools

Fri, 2017-01-06 09:43

The General McLane High School Band visited McKean and Edinboro Elementary Schools for a holiday concert!

EE All-School Christmas Singalong

Fri, 2017-01-06 09:41

Edinboro Elementary School had an All-School Christmas Singalong before the holidays.

Each grade level learned a song in Mrs. Smith’s music class and and then they performed it. Mrs. Androstic and Mr. Marafine read a few Christmas stories, and Mr. Smith was a guest reader. A highlight was the entire school singing and signing (in American Sign Language) “Jingle Bells”.



EE Receives Grant to Bridge K and Preschool Curriculum

Tue, 2016-12-20 13:12

Handprints Graphic

The Pennsylvania Department of Education selected Edinboro Elementary School as one of the recipients of a $4,000 grant to help foster the vital collaborations and connections necessary for student success from birth through grade 3.

Edinboro has three early education programs in its region: the Growing and Learning Center housed at Edinboro Elementary School, the YMCA of Greater Erie’s Early Learning University housed on the campus of Edinboro University, and Jack and Jill Preschool housed at the Edinboro Presbyterian Church.

Through this grant, Edinboro Elementary School will work with its area preschools to bridge between kindergarten and preschool curriculums through regular meetings and professional development. The goal from these continuous efforts is to meet students entering kindergarten where they are to increase student performance, align assessments to Early Learning standards and have teachers well-versed in best practices.

The collaboration will allow Edinboro Elementary to forgo the standard assessment for incoming kindergarten students and instead begin conversations through student portfolios with Edinboro preschools regarding students’ strengths and needs and to better prepare programming.

For more information on the grant, please read the entire release here. 

Congratulations to Edinboro’s P-3 Team on receiving this grant!

2nd graders ride the Polar Express

Mon, 2016-12-19 15:21


Edinboro Elementary students celebrated the magic of Christmas and rode the Polar Express Train ride.

Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book that was later adapted into a feature film, the Polar Express is a story of a young boy’s trip to the North Pole.

Mimicking the book, Edinboro students wore their pajamas and enjoyed their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and their very own sleigh bells. Students boarded the train, listened to a reading of The Polar Express and performed the “Hot Chocolate” dance after being greeted by their very own conductor. The students also signed an entire Christmas song.

This journey is part of the second grader’s big Polar Express unit done each year in December. This has been taking place for more than 10 years. For more pictures, please visit our Featured Photos Page.

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EE host Fourth Grade Plays

Mon, 2016-12-19 13:48


Edinboro Elementary School hosted their annual Fourth Grade Play on Friday.

Students created or adapted a story or poem they had heard or read before and applied what they learned about plot line, characters and fiction writing to help their story make sense.

They typed the scripts and made the costumes, props and background sets. Students then performed their plays lives for parents, friends and family members.

From Santa getting help from the other holiday mascots to live news casts to a family finding the true meaning of the holidays, all of the student-created plays were quite entertaining! 

For more pictures, please visit our Featured Photos Page.

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McKean Elementary Giving Tree raised more than 200 items

Fri, 2016-12-16 15:44



McKean Elementary School’s Annual Giving Tree raised 201 items for the Mercy Center for Women in Erie, which provides safe and supportive transitional housing, education and counseling for homeless women with or without children.

The Autistic Support Classroom hosted this annual fundraiser through the beginning of December until Friday.  Students, faculty and community members brought in 91 new hats,  73 gloves, 13 scarves, 18 blankets, four socks and two snow pants.

Other miscellaneous items were donated such as hand towels, books, picture frames, puzzles, markers, etc., which were not counted in the 201 items. The Giving Tree started in 2012 and has since collected hundreds of items that have been donated back to the GM and Erie community. Last year, the Giving Tree raised a new high in donations, with a total of 184 donations.

Kids to Kids finishes first lesson at Elementary Schools

Thu, 2016-12-15 12:49


General McLane High School students in the Kids to Kids program visited Edinboro and McKean Elementary Schools the past two weeks to educate first and third graders on living a healthy lifestyle.

The high school students put on a puppet show to teach lementary students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This is part of the Kids to Kids program, where high school students are given extensive training and are taught how to explain refusal skills to the younger students. After training is complete, students in this course will travel to the elementary and middle schools to implement the training. The program travels to both McKean and Edinboro Elementary Schools, as well as James W. Parker Middle School.

Kids to Kids gives one lesson in December and then another lesson in January.

The Kids to Kids program began at General McLane High School in 1996 due to the death of Stan Scarlett, a GM alumni. Originally, the program only included grades 4 and 5. In 1997 it was expanded to include all elementary and middle school levels (1-7). High School students are the instructors, teaching drug and alcohol prevention lessons to their younger audience. In 2001 character education lessons were added to the Kids to Kids program. Kids to Kids teaches children and young teens valuable life lessons they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

For more pictures, visit our Featured Photos Page.





Makerspaces come to General McLane

Thu, 2016-12-15 12:15


Gone are the days where libraries expanded imagination and creativity through only books and publications. Now, libraries are incorporating makerspaces for student enrichment and these have officially made their way to General McLane School District.

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.

In its first year, McKean Elementary School has five Science, Technology  Engineering, Arts and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) stations throughout the room. Each station has 6-10 different activities that are available for students to choose. From Experiment Labs to coding a mouse to grab the cheese to making something awesome in the Creation Station, students are encouraged to imagine, create, build and explore.

The stations were implemented in the beginning of the year for students in grades first through fourth. Students in Kindergarten will be introduced to specific activities in the next few weeks. The activities are the same for each grade, however, there is variation in levels to accommodate students as they progress.

Students use the stations during the last 15-minutes of their library visit. Third and fourth graders also have the opportunity to use participate in a STEAM Recess.

A space is also making its way to James W. Parker Middle School, with hopes to be up and running during second semester. JWPMS librarian Christine Massey in the midst of collaborating with various teachers to make this a school-wide project and is currently collecting supplies from the community. Supplies include legos, craft supplies, Kinex, magnets, etc. The Scholastic Book Fair will also have some kits.

For more photos, please visit our Featured Photos Page.

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Annual Senior Citizen Luncheon takes place at GMHS

Fri, 2016-12-09 15:59


General McLane High School hosted their annual Senior Citizen Luncheon today.

Hosted by the School District, the Principal’s Cabinet and the GM instrumental music program, members from the Edinboro Area Senior Citizens group and McKean Lions Club were invited for lunch and a performance by the General McLane High School jazz ensemble.

This event started nine years ago as a way to show gratitude to the District’s senior citizens for what they’ve done for the General mcLane School District as taxpayers. Through this luncheon, students also have the opportunity to interact with instrumental members of our community. There were about 40 people in attendance to this year’s event.

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HS students learn programming through #HourofCode

Fri, 2016-12-09 15:36


General McLane High School students practiced computer programming today through #HourofCode.

This one-hour introduction to computer science inspires students to learn computer programming. Students in Mr. Reed’s Algebra II Accelerated classes started with a video about the importance of programming and then practice coding and animating birds through Tynker.

This is the third year that students participated in this annual campaign, which is organized by® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 10% of all students in the world, and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States.

This event takes place during Computer Science Education Week, which is December 5-11, 2016.

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Holidayland Kid’s Shoppe opens at elementary schools

Thu, 2016-12-08 13:59


The Holidayland Kid’s Shoppe took place this week at both Edinboro and McKean Elementary schools. Students were able to come in and get some gifts for their family members and friends. Students select from more than 125 different items for all ages, ranging from .25 to $10.

Edinboro Elementary’s shop continues through Holiday Fun Night, which takes place tonight. This year’s holiday-themed event includes a Giant Kid-Friendly Raffle. Families donated $5 – $10 items for the basket. There are also pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Both the holiday shoppe and Holiday Fun Night at Edinboro were sponsored by the Edinboro Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). McKean Elementary Parent Teacher Association (PTA) hosted McKean’s Holiday Shoppe and Pictures with Santa, which took place Thursday.






Education Academy students tour EUP

Thu, 2016-12-08 11:20


General McLane students in the high school’s Education Academy program toured Edinboro University yesterday. After their tour, students met with EUP professors in regarding their specific career interest.

Students in the Education Academy explore careers in education. They gain experience in the field through tutoring Edinboro Elementary students.

General McLane alumn Matt Astorino guided the tour. He currently works in the University’s Admission Department and serves as an EUP Football Coach. He is pursuing a Masters Degree in Secondary School Guidance Counseling.