The Penn Post

Culinary Prostart Heads to Nationals

By Samantha Stevenson 


Chef Matthew Vaughan and Prostart competitor Kaitlin Luciano pose in front of the culinary classroom March 20. Luciano has been taking culinary classes since her freshman year. 

Since October the culinary room has been filled with delicious smells produced by William Penn’s Culinary ProStart team. The state competition held on March 10 in the Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront featured high school culinary teams from across the state.  Both Penn teams placed first out of the 11 schools that competed.

ProStart is the culinary curriculum that is taught to high school students. Tryouts for Penn’s team were held in September and the team officially started in October. Kaitlin Luciano, a senior in William Penn’s culinary program stated that for tryouts they each had to make a dish with gnocchi.

“For you to join, you have to be devoted on Tuesdays and Thursdays and any other kind of additional practice. You also have to work long hours and to work hard,” Luciano said.

This dedication has helped with the future skills of students who wish to pursue the career. “It gave me a reason to come to school,” Luciano said.

In addition to the motivation, it has impacted her career choice as well. “In fall I’m going to Johnson & Wales University for Culinary Arts,” said Luciano. 

William Penn have three chefs that guide students in the culinary program: Matthew Vaughn, Kip Poole, and Ian  Baker. These chefs help students prepare for the intense competition. For the competition, students are broken up into two teams: cooking and management.

“Culinary team has to produce 3 dishes in one hour. They have to do an appetizer, entree and a dessert. They are only allowed to have 2 camp stove burners and no refrigeration. No electricity, no battery operated. It’s very hard,” Vaughan said. “

Students made an octopus appetizer (Spanish octopus over a heresa quinoa with puffed masa tortillas), a lamb entree (lamb loin over top of a potato risotto, pea and mushroom ragu), and  a donut dessert (a beet glazed donut with a goat cheese creme and orange whipped cream and a raspberry sauce and pistachio). 

Since the Colonials won first place, the Culinary ProStart team made it to Nationals held on April 28 in Charleston, South Carolina. Students will be gone for a week and they will compete against schools from all over the country. Last year the students got to go to Las Vegas to eat at restaurant run by famous chefs. The prize for winning is scholarships to help the students further their career in cooking.


Chess Club Offers Challenge, Competition

Challenging, thought provoking, and fun—all words that are used to describe William Penn’s Chess Club run by science teacher Jon-Eric Burgees and senior Hayden Rhudd.

The two made the decision to run chess club due to their love of chess. Burgess said he has been playing chess for 30 plus years; Rhudd, since the 2nd grade.  

There are other benefits that come from being in chess club besides learning how to play chess. While most can use it to improve their game, the group around them is entertaining as well. “It’s a great group of students, it’s a lot of fun. We really have a good time together,” Burgess said.

Everyone is welcome to join, no matter the level of experience. The only skills that would be good to have are the ability to think ahead, be a good sport, and learn to enjoy improving your skills and techniques by losing.

“In order to join, you just need to go and show up and sign the sign in sheet that is passed around and once you signed in you are officially a member of the Chess Club,” Burgess said.

Chess Club meets on Thursdays after school in E118 until four o’clock when students take the four o’clock busses home. Chess Club started back in October 2016 but students are still welcome to join.

FFA Week Features Penn’s Future Farmers

By Trish Vo

Last week, William Penn’s Future Farmers of America (FFA), led by William Penn teachers, Karen Ferrucci, Kelly Vaughan, and Kathleen Pickard, celebrated FFA week—an event meant to identify opportunities available to students in a way that engages them, all while celebrating the club’s history and the skills learned within it.  and The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. It is the largest Nationwide Youth Organization in the world.

FFA week was planned and executed by the student officers—Nicole Webb, Laura Hernandez-Ojeda, Sydney Poe, Semaj Bungy-Carter, Damien Cook, and Ashlyn Jordan.

During FFA week, club members have fun dress up days. The themes decided upon were College Gear Day, FFA Gear Day, and Blue and Gold Gear Day, with an open house held on Friday.

A Greenhand Mock Training was led by the student officers within the club that highlighted the history and opportunities of FFA, and, in interest of community involvement a leadership training workshop was held, put on by their FFA President: Webb. Another meeting was open in the evening for parents to make gratitude flower arrangements. On Friday, other classes had the chance to look in on the class and get involved in agriculture.

Participation in FFA lets students gain leadership and teamwork skills, helping students become college and career ready. Their students gain knowledge in class about their chosen career, which they can apply to a more specialized area of interest through their Supervised Agriculture Experience projects (a self-chosen project that they complete outside of school.) FFA gives them the opportunity to attend leadership workshops and participate in various Career Development Events throughout the year. Career Development Events are competitions that are directly designed based off of career required skills expressed by employers.

Through FFA, parents can learn about the different opportunities available to their students. FFA Officers earn requirements towards higher degrees and awards through the Delaware FFA. The students earn high level degrees with FFA; two were earned last year, and seven were awarded this year. The club cultivates a relationship with George Read Middle School and considers itself very diverse.

William Penn’s FFA is still growing, though—the number of members have increased from last year to this year, and they also have more students attending the upcoming FFA State Convention in March. FFA is always welcoming new members.

French Students Expand Horizons

By Jeremy Krakowski

French students at William Penn get to experience not only the French language and learn about the French culture in the classroom, but also for just $800 dollars students get the opportunity to travel to Quebec, an area heavily influenced by the French.

Both students and parents have the change to take a long bus trip. Lefort Petit and Antonia Strickland, world language teachers at Penn, will be taking the students who sign up..With the everlasting French people’s occupation of Canada could be a great learning opportunity for French students.

Petit believes this particular trip which occurs in May could be a yearly occurrence if the trip goes well. “We’ve always thought about what trip could teach students a good amount about the French culture in general,” Petit said.

This is the first year this field trip is available, but William Penn students in other courses have the chance to travel to Spain, England, and South America.

Students Use Saturday School To Get Back On Track

By Nina Giberson 

Some students feel that school is too long, while others feel as if they don’t have enough time for school and the course work.

Seeing this, Principal Erskine initiated the idea of Saturday School. He believed that students might be more productive in an alternate learning environment.

Saturday school is an opportunity for students to bring their grades up. It gives the students a chance to retake a test or complete missing work. Teachers feel as if some of these students are so far behind in their classes, they can’t keep up with the assignments and the students feel the exact same way.

Kristi Dionne is a special education teacher who dedicates her time at Saturday School. She says that there are sometimes complications with it. “One of the challenges is that sometimes you expect more kids to show up than who do.” The kids who do show up actually complete the work that their teachers assigned, though. “The only problem I find is that some students are behind in so many classes that they can’t keep up with each of their missing assignments,” Dionne said.

Though Principal Erskine was the one who brought it to everyone’s attention that they needed teachers for Saturday School, the staff seemed to appreciate the idea.

“I think the staff likes it. I find when the kids come in, that, believe it or not, they work a little bit harder for that teacher. It’s interesting to see,” Dionne said.

Latavia Todd, a student who takes part in Saturday School, explained that her attendance at saturday school had improved her grades. “Saturday School has helped me get my grades up in all of my classes. I was influenced because my grades were really low and I wanted to raise my GPA,” Latavia said.

When asked if she would continue a regular attendance at saturday school, she responded with a confident, “as many times as they have it.”

Saturday school can benefit many who attend. Those students who are struggling in one or more of their classes are very much welcome to attend. It’s been shown that students have benefited from the program.

Insight into Penn’s Innovation Center

Any individual that has walked up the main staircase to the right of the entrance and down the N2 hallway knows that the library is under construction. However, not many students actually know what is going into the new library.  

There has been a lot of speculation going on about the library construction. However, most of this speculation is not true and many students do not know what is true and what is not.

Tynahja Savage, an 11th grade student at William Penn, said that the only thing she knows is that they are building a cafe inside the library. “But no one really talks about it,” she said.

Misconception 1:There was little effort to inform the student body.

Truth 1:  Kevin Wright, an instructional technology teacher at William Penn, said, “We did make an effort to get word out to students and parents at the back to school nights, open houses, board meetings and through the Principal Newsletter and social media pages.”

Misconception 2: That there will only be a cafe in the library.

Truth 2: Wright described what is going into the library including the addition of new furniture with modern tables and chairs, along with more work spaces and computer desk. There will be alcoves along the walls which will be the new collaboration rooms with collaboration tables, and the rooms will be enclosed in glass. These collaboration tables will be equipped with smart screen monitors and in table hookups for students to use while collaboration on school work. There will also be new glass enclosed class that will be occupied by the “distant learning courses.” The students will be able to participate in new courses that the school can’t put in full time. The area where the circulation desk was will become the student run “Bistro-lite.” The Bistro-lite will offer healthy snacks that will be available to both staff and students. The library will of course have books as well. The book count for the fiction genre will be an estimated 46,000 with new orders happening in the spring and summer.

Misconception 3: The school got rid of all the books and there will be no more.

Truth 3: The truth is that they had only gotten rid of the books that were deemed inaccurate. “We did have to downsize the library’s collection, but we did our best to save the books that were commonly used and checked out. Clearing books out of circulation is a common process called weeding and while ours was large scale we did our best to preserve books that were newer and still accurate,” Wright explained.

Misconception 4: The district does not have enough money for this project.

Truth 4: In actuality the district is not paying for most of this project. The district and Discover bank card are in a community partnership to cover the cost. Wright had said that their investment in the library is designed to help the students get the most out of what they will do with their life, whether it be college or a career after graduating.

The old library was a very popular place for many of students to hang out and complete a lot of work and print that work off before class would start. Savage said that she had used the library before and once it is complete that she would continue to use it. The library is a very important place for most students who don’t have printer or anything at home and once all of the additions are made, these additions will make it even easier for students to complete work online.

Colonials Fly Past St. Elizabeth

By Christopher Brown

On Tuesday January 10 the William Penn Colonials beat top ten  ranked St. Elizabeth at home  59 to 48. William Penn was led by  junior Gerard Wall with 14 points and  senior Jermal Crumel with 12 points.

The game started with intensity and the Colonials had  the momentum on their side, senior point guard Jermal Crumel said,” I believe Gerrard Walls buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter turned the game around because we started seeing the ball go in which gave the whole team confidence.”

Part of the Colonials success was holding  a top ranked team to 8 points in the first half.  That showed their  defensive performance, a real team effort. The head coach , Steve Christensen said, ” I, thought we were real good job defensively. There are some things we can work on like clean up the 4th quarter and offensively do some things better. I am happy with the effort and happy with the team  coming along.”

This win against a ranked opponent boosted the confidence of the team  Crumel said,’ I believe we learned we can compete with anybody in the state & possibly bring home a championship”

The past two years William Penn has had records of 16-4 and 17-3. Both years they had a lot of varsity experience. This season is different with 4 of the starters this year .” Last year we had guys with some significant varsity experience, this year we only have a few guys with any experience and only one starter from last year. Everybody is adapting to their new roles are figuring out how they fit.”
The rest of the season will be a battle for the Colonials due to the difficult schedule they will face 5 of the current top 10 teams to end the season. But if the Colonials play like they did tonight they should have no worries. The next game is Thursday 1/12 5:15 at William Penn

Leaving a Legacy: Senior Legacy Project Impacts the Community

By Marie Gourdet

About three or four years ago an idea was introduced to William Penn, which was mostly for the seniors.  This project, which became the Senior Legacy Project, was to help seniors strive for success in the future.

These projects urge students to work with their communities.  It gives students the chance to create a successful path for them at Penn. It is important for students to do because these seniors represent William Penn. It’s important for seniors to start somewhere which will get them ready for the next challenge in life beyond high school.

These students have more opportunities given to them and it’s up to them to grasp every one of them. Students tends to think that they’re not old enough to leave a mark so they could be well remembered. They believe that they still have time pursue their dreams, either going to college or with them graduating and being in the “real world.” Honestly, isn’t this the real world? Ever since we became a high schooler we were in the real world. This high school experience is an eye opening experience that should push us to the edge where we create and learn so much about ourselves.

With the project being presented, many wonder who was the one that found this living idea? Daniel Becker, a senior English teacher at William Penn High school, was one of the teachers responsible for bringing the project that each senior has to do every year before they graduate.

The senior legacy project is about being productive and helping the community however they can. Teachers want to help students to leave Penn with a legacy whether they will stay in Delaware or not. It’s not guarantee that kids will be remembered forever because of the community service hours they did maybe a day or two, but it’s about continuing influencing the community they live in.

Becker stated, “I don’t want say guarantee but it [the senior legacy project] would increase the likelihood that kids pursue endeavors that could become legacies, be it an actual project that gets picked up in later years or maybe some kid does a project they end up pursuing for their whole life because they love it so much or they decide to open a non-profit these are viable routes to success, and I think we increased the likelihood that a student pursue something that could lead to a true legacy now versus years ago.”

Becker stated that not all students wanted to complete this project and this is something he usually tell them to convince each one that it’s worth doing.

He said, “One it’s for grades, that’s usually pretty convincing for most kids. But any kids that actually tell me that they want to do it just for a grade, I try to explain to them It’s an opportunity beyond than just a grade, it’s a resume write-off. I had a girl wrote a Paws for people project last year by herself and she was able to put it on her resume for both college and job applications. That’s just one example. The personal gains are tremendous. Gaining confidence and speaking with adults, just confidence in yourself. There’s so much potential for this project to help a student grow.”

This project also helps improve people’s perspective of Penn.

“At this point, with pushing kids into the community to do things and assert themselves, we’re hopefully creating more positive impact, more positive opportunities and examples for community members to see William Penn students at work as opposed to before which was happenstance. Now we actually have a project that pushes them to be that positive role model in the community,” Becker said.

Overall, this project is tied to Penn’s own legacy, especially in it’s 50th anniversary.  nonetheless and Becker explained how the project connects with Penn’s legacy over the 50th anniversary. William Penn has continued to create more opportunities for students over the years and that’s what makes William Penn successful.


Penn JROTC Builds Leaders

By Davinson Ariza

The Junior ROTC group at William Penn High School is a great way to gain leadership, honesty, responsibility. The JROTC group, stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training corp, students build character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership and diversity. This can also help students gain disciplinary military experience.

One of the requirements  for students in ROTC is  to wear uniforms specific days they are told. They have to have to have their shoes polished and their uniform fresh and clean. They also have to learn military commands which many people find difficult to do in order to become a member of the rotc group

For example, ROTC sophomore Abdoul Konate said, “There are a lot of commands to remember, they all sound very similar”.

Students in  ROTC can receive ribbons to show their rankings. The rankings are C/Airman, C/Airman 1st Class, C/Senior Airman and the final highest ranking is a C/Staff Sergeant.The ROTC student says his current ranking is a C/airman 1st class.

To be in the program it takes a strong mentality because the discipline is that serious, there are moments when students are unmotivated but still have the support from sergeants.

C/airman 1st class man  Konate said, “My commander is very understanding when I mess up. She motivates me to work harder so I can make her proud”.

Although when you first arrive to ROTC it is not as easy as some  think there may be a couple of times where students need to keep cool because they may not be used to the discipline.

When speaking about his freshman year Konate said, “The commanders are always complaining and nagging so it’s very difficult to keep my cool and listen.”

Even though Konate has said he does not want to have any future in the military he is taking this as a learning experience by saying “The people around me have made me a better leader.”

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