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GM Drivers Accept ALS Challenge

Thu, 2014-09-11 11:24

The General McLane School District bus drivers accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday to raise awareness and donations for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). General McLane’s drivers further challenged Fort LeBoeuf School District drivers.

There was an estimated 30 participants from the District involved in the challenge to support a good cause and to honor the friends and family members that have battled with this disease. Driver Paula Sherwood participated in memory of her good friend, GM grad, Vietnam Vet, and former juvenile aid officer for GM, and Edinboro police officer, David Burgett.

In addition to the challenge, General McLane drivers are donating $175 to ALS Research.

GMHS Student Attended National Youth Leadership Forum

Wed, 2014-09-10 11:17


In March, General McLane’s Brenna McEntee was learning what defines ethical behavior and choices at the Rotary Club of Erie’s Ethic Symposium.

Fast-forward a few months and the current senior at General McLane was using what she learned to debate the ethical issues of test tube babies.

The exploration of ethical scenarios was just one of activities offered to McEntee during the National Youth Leadership Forum: Careers in Medicine (NYLF Medicine) program in Chicago, a nine-day program for a select group of high school students to explore their passions for a career in medicine.

“The experience itself was very interesting,” McEntee said. “I really wanted to make connections with students who are also interested in the field of medicine, and I was able to do so at this program while learning a lot of great things.”

The program took place at the University of Chicago and students were introduced to issues in public health, medical ethics, research and general practice, visited top medical schools and facilities and listened to guest speakers talk about their experience in the medical field.

This year, there were forum sessions being held in 13 cities across the country to allow high school students to get a hands-on experience in and meet professionals from the medical field. NYLF Medicine is part of the Envision program, which has helped 800,000 students in 145 countries explore their interests and have one-of-a-kind learning experiences outside the classroom since 1985.

In 2014, only 5,000 high school students were selected to participate in 25 sessions occurring in 13 cities across the county including Boston, Miami and New York.

McEntee was nominated for the Forum by her math teacher, Mrs. Judy Scaletta. McEntee is a member of General McLane’s Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering Program, as well as the Band Manager and the President of the Mandarin Club.

Outside of General McLane, McEntee is an active member for the Young People’s Chorus of Erie, a youth outreach program at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College. YPC Erie is the only comprehensive youth chorus program in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Although McEntee said she enjoyed several things about the program, from learning about triage to learning about medical school and the life as a medical resident, one of McEntee’s favorite experience at the Envision Program was her visit to Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, a virtual care delivery setting, replicating all areas of patient care.

Jump introduced students to the many challenges and career options within the field of medicine – including becoming a simulation engineer. Demonstrations included the dissection of a fresh pig heart and lungs in the anatomical skills lab and a hands-on suture demonstration.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this trip, and I especially enjoyed the fact that they combined both the engineering and medical fields,” McEntee said. “We were also able to get a look at the trachea and heart of a pig – it was a great experience.”

McEntee was also able to apply what she learned at General McLane’s Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering Program, outside of the Ethics Conference.

“Several sports medicine practitioners visit Academy students during the school year and at this summer program, we were supposed to watch a live knee replacement. It was helpful that I had already learned about knee surgery from those visits. That surgery fell through at the last minute, and we watched a live kidney replacement, instead, but it still helped to have that previous knowledge,” McEntee said.

McEntee’s future plan is to go to Medical School, but she said she is keeping an open mind about what field specifically.

GMHS Junior Attends National Flight Academy

Thu, 2014-09-04 10:41

Mason Fitzsimmons (first row, far right) attend the National Flight Academy this summer.

Most high school students don’t come close to flying an aircraft carrier. Mason Fitzsimmons isn’t most high school students.

The junior at General McLane High School experienced aspects of Naval Aviation this summer through the landlocked, virtual aircraft carrier, Ambition (CVT-11), at Pensacola’s National Flight Academy.

This five-day summer program offers students in grades 7 through 12 the opportunity to practice everything from charting the routes of aircraft on humanitarian missions to flying jets for search-and-rescue efforts.

“It was a great experience. The Academy keeps you engaged and challenged and the same time,” says Fitzsimmons, who is a member of General McLane’s Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering. “The whole experience was pretty interesting because you get to see other aspects of flying – at no point do you fly anything combat-related, it’s all surveillance and transport.”

Students start at 6:30 a.m. and continue doing operations until 9 p.m. inside of Ambition, a 102,000 sq. ft. four-story, state-of-the-art structure located on the Naval Air Station (NAS), adjacent to the National Naval Aviation Museum, the largest naval aviation museum in the world.

Each deck of the CVT-11 is scenically and theatrically designed to simulate a modern aircraft carrier. The first deck houses the galley, mess deck, administrative spaces and the aircraft hangar bays. The second deck is dedicated to academic spaces including the operations and intelligence centers.  The third and fourth decks house berthing (crew quarters), lounges and activity rooms.

The National Flight Academy’s curriculum is aimed at advancing students’ knowledge of the high profile STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Instructors are from the University of West Florida, which offers three college credit hours in STEM to 11th and 12th graders who participate in the program.

Fitzsimmons earned a scholarship that covered the tuition of the camp, which is normally $1250.

Fitzsimmons aspires to one day be an aerospace engineer and work at Lockheed Martin, and he said his experience at the National Flight Academy will help him reach those goals.

“I’ve always loved planes and fluid dynamics and, more specifically, now I am looking at Aerospace engineering focusing on proposal engineering,” he says. “This camp gave me an opportunity to perform missions specifically in those areas.”

General McLane’s Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering was created to prepare students for careers in medicine and engineering. Through partnerships with local businesses, hospitals and universities, the curricula will be enriched with hands-on activities designed to provide students with quality, live-learning experiences. The Academy of Medical Arts and Engineering initiated a planning phase in 2011-2012 as a result of a district strategic planning goal to enhance STEM education.

GMSD: Our Exceptional Drivers

Wed, 2014-08-20 13:59


As students prepare for back-to-school, General McLane School District drivers are preparing to kick off the year.

Luckily, the General McLane School District is privileged to have an exceptional group of people on staff to transport students. From retirees in government and industry to small business owners to farmers and GM alumni to parents of GM students, the GM drivers are a diversified group with many on second or third careers. General McLane even is proud to have several veterans who have served our country and now proudly serve our District.

The drivers of our school district know your children. If your child has had a bad day at school, the driver may be the first person to offer comfort in the form of a pleasant greeting and genuine gladness to see them. If they’ve had a great day, the driver may be the person that high fives them and shares in their joy.

As the school year starts, please take a moment and consider what they do. Each day, they ensure that children arrive at school and return home safely no matter what the weather conditions may be. It’s a monumental task. Next time you see them, please wave at them to show your support.

GM Students Participate in Save-An-Eye

Thu, 2014-08-07 12:49

A handful of GM players participated in last week’s 76th Erie Lions Club Save-An-Eye All-Star Game, where the County defeated the City in a 21-14 win at Veterans Stadium.

Seniors Zach Fox, Chris Laird, Tyler Sanders, Clay Smith, Mike Suminski and Matt Costa represented General McLane.

Michael Suminski scored on a two-point conversion, after a 38-yard interception return from Bryan Divido, during the third quarter off a pass from Nathaniel Smith. Zach Fox had five carries for 14 yards while Suminski had two carries for zero yards.

The County’s victory ended a five-game winning streak by the City, which still holds a considerable 44-17-2 lead in the series’ current format. Before Friday, the County’s last win was 29-8 in 2008.

For a recap, please visit the Erie-Times article.

Way to represent, Lancers!

Summer Improvements at GMSD

Fri, 2014-07-18 10:08




School may be out, but GMSD is busy!

This summer, the District is undergoing a capital improvement project to replace the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system and the “building envelope.” Building envelope refers to all outside doors and windows.

The present HVAC system in the high school was installed during the renovation of 1991-1993. The new units vent halfway up the wall. They have a smaller footprint in the classroom and run floor to ceiling. In some rooms they will vent through the ceiling and in other rooms, a bulkhead will host the vents. We will realize energy savings and the ambient classroom noise from the units will drop about 15 decibels.

The thirty year old windows will be replaced in the building. The new windows, as well as the exterior doors, will be
much tighter and more energy efficient.

For more information on these projects, check out the Lancer Letter #189.

Innovative Educational Program: 6th Grade Autobiography Project

Fri, 2014-07-18 10:02

Nancy Wilkinson and Stephanie Fritts were part of the recipients to receive the William E. and Mary S. Smith Middle School Innovative Education Program Grant in March. The James W. Parker Middle School teachers used this grant to plan and implement the After-School Autobiography Project.

Due to Pennsylvania’s shift to PA Core standards, the 6th grade curriculum changed and eliminated the Autobiography Writing Project that had been done in the sixth grade for many years. In response to those who wanted to complete this project, Wilkinson and Fritts decided to offer an after-school activity that would allow students to create their autobiography with teacher guidance and encouragement. This project allowed the students to reinforce their writing skills in a high interest project.

The students met twice a week for four weeks. Mrs. Fritts and Mrs. Wilkinson guided, helped and encouraged students to create their autobiographies to the best of their abilities. Students were encouraged to write as many pieces of writing as they are able, to document highlights from their lives. The writing was assembled into a booklet, and students were encouraged to include photographs and/or mementos to illustrate their writing.

Fritts and Wilkinson teach language arts at the Middle School. The grant stems from former James W. Parker Middle School math teacher Bill Smith and his wife, Mary. These classroom grants provide middle school teachers with up to $500 for special projects/activities/enhancements. The remaining three projects will be shared over the next few weeks.

The General McLane Foundation was founded in 2005 as an organization exclusively for charitable educational purposes that will benefit the students of the General McLane School District. Each year, the Foundation hosts the Holiday Arts Fair and the Golf Outing – two major events that help fund scholarships to graduating seniors.

To learn more about the General McLane Foundation, visit

JWPMS Students Travel to Boston

Thu, 2014-07-03 11:18


School may be out of session, but that doesn’t mean the learning stops. Just ask a group of James W. Parker Middle School students.

Forty-eight seventh and eighth grade students traveled to Boston, Massachusetts from June 26-30, 2014 to gain an understanding the historical city of Boston.

On their way to Boston, the students visited the Retrotech, Inc., a company that engineers warehouse management systems. Students were introduced to several different careers in engineering and computer programming, as well as the company’s focus on sustainability. Geoff Hitchings, Director of Strategy for Retrotech, Inc., is a General McLane graduate and set up the tour of the facilities.

Following Retrotech, Inc., the students visited the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to hear about their sustainability program. RIT seeks to be a world leader in sustainability education, research, and practice. For the fourth year in a row, RIT was named one of North America’s greenest universities by The Princeton Review.

Matt Laser, Mary Anne Cousins and Kate Bakka organized, planned and chaperoned the trip. According to Laser, one of the student’s favorite experiences was the whale watching tour. They saw four different species of whales — including a large humpback whale named Hancock — and several other marine animals.

Other visits included trips to the New England Aquarium, The Freedom Trail, JFK Presidential Library and the oldest baseball stadium in America, Fenway Park. The students also participated in a two-hour improv lesson. The improv company taught the students how to perform improv and how those skills can be useful in their daily lives.

For a video from the trip, please visit this link.

For more pictures, check out our Featured Photos Section of the GM Website.  To have your photos posted, please send them to

Innovative Educational Program: 6th Grade Technology Education

Thu, 2014-07-03 08:41

Mark Niezelski was one of the six recipients to receive the William E. and Mary S. Smith Middle School Innovative Education Program Grant in March. The James W. Parker Middle School teacher will use this grant to help maintain the sixth grade Lego NXT Robotics curriculum.

According to Niezelski, the grant money will be used to purchase one Lego Mindstorms NXT Base Kit. This kit includes 431 elements including the programmable NXT Brick; three interactive servo motors; ultrasonic, sound, light, and two touch sensors; a rechargeable DC battery; a DC charger; connecting cables; and full-color building instructions. The purchase of this set will enable students to build and program real-life robotic solutions, which will provide cross-curricular opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), allow for creativity in design and enable students to explore the world of engineering by building complex control systems.

“The money will not only help maintain the current 6th grade Technology Education Curriculum but also enhance it by creating more STEM options, enabling the students to become more career and college ready by exercising their higher order thinking skills (critical thinking),” Niezelski said. “Whatever it takes for each student to reach their positive potential.”

The grant will also allow the purchase of one additional NXT Intelligent Brick, which is the robot’s “brain!”

Niezelski teaches technology education to students in grades 5-8. The grant stems from former James W. Parker Middle School math teacher Bill Smith and his wife, Mary. These classroom grants provide middle school teachers with up to $500 for special projects/activities/enhancements. The remaining three projects will be shared over the next few weeks.

The General McLane Foundation was founded in 2005 as an organization exclusively for charitable educational purposes that will benefit the students of the General McLane School District. Each year, the Foundation hosts the Holiday Arts Fair and the Golf Outing – two major events that help fund scholarships to graduating seniors.

To learn more about the General McLane Foundation, visit

Camp Invention a Success

Fri, 2014-06-27 10:27

2014-06-19 14.22.02

Camp Invention wrapped up its week-long camp Friday.

98 students from all over Erie County attended Camp Invention’s “Morphed,” where students in grades 1-6 built original prototypes, created motor-powered vehicles from scratch, even disassembled old electronics and turned them into pin-ball machines. The week ended with a showcase of their projects to their parents and friends.

The camp was founded by Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Programming was developed through partnerships with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention.

For more pictures from this event, please check out our Facebook Page or our “Featured Photos” section of our website.

McKean Elementary Creates a Candy Mural of General John McLane

Fri, 2014-06-06 14:18


McKean Elementary students took part in a community-oriented project that created a unique, unofficial portrait of General John McLane. This 5 x 5 portrait is made of 22,620 quarter-inch candy pearls.

Local and nationally known artist Franz Spohn donated his time to create this candy mural exclusively for McKean Elementary School. The portrait at McKean Elementary is one of only four Spohn portraits with the candy pearls to date.

Spohn designed a pixilated version of the General through his computer and then made a map showing where each color of the candy pearls should be placed. Each student at McKean Elementary then followed the map and stacked the colored candy into clear plastic tubes accordingly. The 156 4-inch tubes were then mounted next to each other to form the unique portrait. McKean PTA has offered to pay for the supplies.

Spohn, a professor at Edinboro University in the printmaking department, is a nationally known artist who is quite famous for creating wall murals using gumballs. His gumball portraits of President Obama, Michael Jackson, Robert Ripley and Dean Cain have been featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museums worldwide.

Spohn previously completed full-size gumball muralz for the Neason Hill Elementary School in Meadville and for the Erie Children’s Museum for First Night Erie about 16 years ago. The artist was originally involved with making mosaics out of cupcake sprinkles and jimmies, but he created the gumball murals when he was asked to devise a project for kids using candy as an art material for the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Spohn switched from gumballs to candy pearls in order to scale the murals down to accommodate more venues who don’t have the space or costs for a 6 x 6 mural – the cost of materials is less for the candy pearls than the gumball murals.

McKean’s portrait will be of General John McLane, the commander of the 83rd Pennsylvania Regiment who was killed on June 27, 1862, at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill during the Virginia Peninsula Campaign. General McLane High School was erected in 1960 and named after McLane, who was at that time still a colonel. The title of general posthumously conferred upon him April 4,1961, when the General Assembly of the State Legislature promoted to brigadier general.

Thank you to all of the students, faculty, staff and parents — and especially Spohn- for making this mural.

Innovative Educational Program: 7th Grade Social Studies

Mon, 2014-06-02 11:13

Matthew Laser and Kathleen Bakka were two of the six recipients to receive the William E. and Mary S. Smith Middle School Innovative Education Program Grant in March. The James W. Parker Middle School teachers will use this grant to purchase an Apple TV for the social studies classroom.  

According to Bakka, the grant money will be used to purchase an Apple TV for the classroom in order to allow the students to share their work and examples from their iPad with the entire class.  It will also be used to purchase some tripods and iPad Tripod Mounts that will allow students to film and create works within the classroom more easily.

The iPad program within JWPMS gives students an incredible opportunity to create and discover the greater world in which they live. These also provides students with the opportunity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information from non-fiction txt, a skill that is a major emphasis of the Common Core.

However, the iPad limits the class sharing different works and ideas. Through the concept of AirPlay with the Apple TV, Bakka expects students to be able to share their research and creations with the classroom in a matter of seconds.

“By doing this I am able to open the world to my students. Instead of just talking about these things that many of them probably will not experience, I am able to bring the world within the confines of the classroom walls,” Bakka said. “By being able to see these images and discover the stories and meaning behind them, it will allow the students to open their minds and become better global citizens.”

The grant stems from former James W. Parker Middle School math teacher Bill Smith and his wife, Mary. These classroom grants provide middle school teachers with up to $500 for special projects/activities/enhancements. The remaining three projects will be shared over the next few weeks.

The General McLane Foundation was founded in 2005 as an organization exclusively for charitable educational purposes that will benefit the students of the General McLane School District. Each year, the Foundation hosts the Holiday Arts Fair and the Golf Outing – two major events that help fund scholarships to graduating seniors.

To learn more about the General McLane Foundation, visit

JWPMS Students Give Back With Community Clean-Up

Tue, 2014-05-20 08:40


James W. Parker Middle School’s LSS class did a community clean up service project to “give back” to the community. The class cleaned Washington Township’s Peninsula Park and Wainer Park , and the Boro of Edinboro’s Chestnut Park, Billings Recreational Complex, and Lakeside Drive.  The students and staffed picked up trash from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. with a lunch break.

Thank you students for giving back!




Senator Sean Wiley Presents Academic Achievement Award to GMHS

Mon, 2014-05-19 15:06


State Senator Sean Wiley presented an academic achievement award to General McLane High School during the 2014 ‘You Make a Difference” Day at the high school. General McLane High School received state recognition for outstanding academic achievement and the award was presented at the annual school-wide assembly for all 800 students, teachers and staff. General McLane High School was one of only three high schools in Erie County, PA  to score above a 90.

Following the award presentation, the highlight of the event included the distribution of blue ribbons to staff and students who have made a difference in the lives of others at school. Students, teachers and staff were recognized for their efforts to create a position and caring school climate, as well as building positive relationships. Students from the GMHS Principal’s Cabinet have been working on creating a more positive school climate by using data from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey and utilizing the 40 Developmental Assets (protective factors) for positive youth outcomes.

General McLane High School has experienced higher levels of school connectedness and less problem behaviors as a result of the efforts of the students and staff involved.

“You Make a Difference” Day has been sponsored annually by Positive Youth Development of Erie County (Penn State Behrend/Susan Hurt Hagen CORE) and United Way of Erie County.

JWPMS Raises Money for Relay for Life Through Water Wars

Mon, 2014-05-19 14:29



James W. Parker Middle School’s 8th grade Advisors will participate in Relay for Life this year. To raise money, the school held a Water Wars Fundraiser based on Jimmy Fallon’s famous Water War game.

The Middle School had 30 teachers volunteer to have their names entered for the Water Wars game. Each teacher had a jar with their picture and name displayed in the front lobby. Students were then encouraged to bring in money throughout the week and place it in the jar of the teacher(s) they wanted to see participate in Water Wars Game, which took place at the end of the week on Friday.

Jimmy Fallon’s Water Wars is similar to the traditional card game War, with one exception: the loser with the lowest card in each round is doused with a cup of water. Within the JWPMS fundraiser, the teachers each had three cups of water. Whoever used all their cups on the other person first wins — and got to blast the loser with a super soaker. At the end of this fundraiser, one teacher had the chance to soak the other seven.

The top eight teachers with the most money were selected to participate in Friday’s assembly, when the Water War actually took place. Students gathered in the bleachers to watch the top eight teachers play Water War in a tournament-style until only one winer was left. The top eight teachers were: Mr. Sturgess, Mr. Buto, Mr. Mulholland, Mrs. Lindenberger, Ms. Brooks, Ms. Massey, Ms. Helsely and Mr. Warren.

In the end, Mr. Buto and Mr. Mulholland made it to the final round. Mr. Mulholland won the overall tournament and was the awarded the opportunity to soak the remaining seven contestants with a super soaker.

This fundraiser was held in conjunction with a student-made bracelet and lunchtime tributes sale (students remembered those that have cancer, have beat cancer, or have passed away from cancer). Between the three, the school raised about $835.00. Water Wars itself brought in about $545. All of the proceeds are being donated to the Relay for Life event.

General McLane’s Relay For Life begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at General McLane High School and runs to 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 1. Anyone can participate in this event regardless of whether they are part of a team. For more information please contact Diane Ducharme at (814) 476-1405 or