The Penn Post


April 2016

Bees Busy at William Penn

By Stephanie Castillo and Lesliann Boucher

On April 4, William Penn welcomed bees to their farm to help with the declining local population of bees, and aid in the pollination of the vegetables and plants. They were brought in at around 1 pm that day from California, with the agriculture students following behind clad in bee suits, while other William Penn students watched in awe.

As mentioned before, the bees came from California, and totaled to around 6 pounds. Karen Ferrucci, agriculture teacher, said, “Typically hives have 10’s of thousands of bees and each only has one Queen.” All the bees that are in the hive are females

William Penn students will be the ones to monitor the hives health as well as providing them with food.  Ferrucci said, “Since hives are very self-sufficient, student interactions will be limited. Eventually once the hive is healthy, we will be able to increase the hive’s size and collect honey.”

Of course, the question many have is what are the dangers of having bees so close to campus? And what are the precautions we’re taking? Ferrucci explained, “Stinging is the major danger. But this is the only danger and only if the person who is stung is allergic. Our students have undergone safety training to recognize the signs and what protocol  to follow or a person showing signs of an allergic reaction.”

The bees are priced per pound, and the district paid the final cost.  Ferrucci stated the bees will be located near the greenhouse, facing southeast without any blockades in front of them.

The Penn Farm, FFA , plant science, animal science, environmental science classes and regular science classes will be able to benefit from the bees. Normally the agriculture and environmental students go out and look at the bees, but in order for anyone to see the bees there a form that has to be signed by parents for safety reasons.


A Race for Hope

By Aiyana Holman and Rogelio Landa

Sunday, April 10th William Penn’s freshman Eddie Alvarez and special education teacher Vincent O’Donnell walked side by side at the 6th Annual Delaware Brain Aneurysm 5K and Wilson Walk.

Alvarez was diagnosed with a brain tumor by age 14, but had it for seven years. Once removed, it caused him to lose his sight and also have weakness on the left side of his body.

Photo courtesy of Vincent O’Donnell Eddie Alvarez and Vincent O’Donnell stand in Glasgow Park before the 6th Annual Delaware Brain Aneurysm 5k and Wilson Walk. The event, hosted by the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, raised more than $15,000.

O’Donnell stated, “When I found out about his situation, the first day of school we kinda just share each other’s feelings and we clicked ever since.”

O’Donnell was born with a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM). According  to the Mayo Clinic this is a, tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. In high school, he noticed a vein that popped on the side of his head. O’Donnell had surgery to remove it, but had to go back to the doctor when it came back again.

At the walk there were over two hundred people that showed up to support and walk alongside brain aneurysm survivors and victims.

“It felt good to complete all that,” said Alvarez.

The event was held at Glasgow Park and the run was over three miles long.

Lady Colonials Attempt to Improve

By Cairo Chambers and Kevin Martinez

On April 18, 2016, William Penn’s girls soccer team went up against their rival Newark High School. William Penn sophomore Brenda Reyes scored the only goal in the 1-5 loss against Newark High School. The loss made Penn’s record drop to 3-4.

Cairo 1
Photo by Kevin Martinez Sophomore Brenda Reyes tries to steal the ball from Newark player. Although the team scored multiple shots against the Yellowjackets, they finished with a loss. 

The William Penn girls soccer team kicked over five shots onthe Newark goalkeeper Alexis Smoot and had four corner kicks in the game.

Sophomore Vanessa Caudillo said, “A lot of players on the team are injured, so maybe that’s  the reason why they are having a tough time going up against other teams.”  

Caudillo also said, “To win more games, they have to move the ball around the field faster, communicate, and create more chances throughout the rest of the season.”

On April 20, the team went up against another tough opponent, Appoquinimink High School, at William Penn. The game ended 0-6.
The team is currently 5-5 and plays its next game away April 28 against Tower Hill High School.

Supper Club Provides Meals For Students

By Geman Browne and Jaden Reed

In October 2015, the Supper Club, which gives students the opportunity to eat after school, was made after William Penn received a government grant.

The program is run all week, with hot meals on Tuesday and Thursday and cold meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Teachers are able to sign their kids up the week ahead so Kelly Keister, a supervisor at William Penn, can organize it. The cafeteria workers then work to prepare the food every day after school for the students.

Photo by Jaden Reed Cafeteria worker, Ms. Dorenda, serves meals to students for Penn’s Supper Club. Meals include both hot and cold items. 

Dr. Erskine, principal at William Penn, and nutrition services came up with the idea for Supper Club. Keister was asked if she could help out and now runs the program all by herself with the lunch workers. On estimate, there are about 145 students that sign in and grab supper on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The program is useful because kids who don’t get the right nutrition at home get a good nutritional meal after school. Also, some kids get hungry after school, so they can get an after school snack.

Keister said, “I think this initiative is important because all students need full bellies to perform in and out of the classroom. Supper Club offers a lot of opportunities for all clubs, sports, and tutoring programs at William Penn and I think it really means a lot to the kids to get a healthy meal before they go home.

Photo by Jaden Reed Students select items from the lunch line as part of WP’s Supper Club. All items are provided free of charge to students involved in after school activities. 

Zaire Roberts, sophomore at William Penn attends the Supper Club every Tuesday and Thursday. He said, “I feel like it’s a privilege that we have this program and I like it because it’s a nice snack after school and it helps me focus on my after school work.”


Penn Players Find Their Oz

By Nahja Fassett, Derioushe Johnson, and SaTara King

April 20 through 23 the students and staff of William Penn High school joined together to convert the traditional musical The Wiz into a modern day extravaganza.

The Wiz is not only a play but also a movie based off the story of The Wizard of Oz about a young girl who is swooped by a tornado and taken to a strange city. The young lady- Dorothy, played by senior Christine Turvey, was told that her only way to get home was through the almighty Wiz, junior Sincere Thompskin. Along her journey to the Wiz, Dorothy made the acquaintance of three new friends who also wanted a wish granted by the Wizard himself.  Dorothy and her friends learned that it was not about the valuables you received in life but about the values of life and love in general.

Art teacher Kim Davis – one of the sponsors behind it all – worked behind the scenes. Davis stated her role was to ”work with [the] director to create the vision on stage.” Davis, with economics and theater Michael Renn and chorus teacherDonna Fesmire, spent numerous hours along side the cast and crew in order to make the show a success.

Davis exclaimed that the decision to do The Wiz was the simplicity of interesting aspects of the play. She said she was drawn to the ”fun show, variety of selection, appeal to audience, and good music.”

Davis also said she believed there was no doubt in having a successful play. “It is always successful and we’re always successful because we work hard.”

Turvey shared that she did The Wiz for the experience of it all. “I did Into the Woods sophomore year and Vision of Sound junior year, working with the director and getting critiqued really helped to improve my acting skills. Also working with Ms. Fesmire and Mr. Renn is great.”
Many teachers, students, and community members followed the yellow brick road to support the Penn Players, but will have to wait until next year to see them in action again.


Senior Class Committee Elects New Members

By Kimberly Cushwa

On April 7 the class of 2017 came together to elect their Senior Class Committee representatives. The students who were running gathered with their peers in the auditorium that morning to present political speeches on what they wished to do if elected. Once the presentations ended, students were able to cast their ballot on voting machines – a great chance to prepare for this real world experience.

Student officers have numerous responsibilities. Carolyn Smalls, the teacher in charge of the senior class committee, stated, “Elected officers are given a list of their responsibilities before they run for office so they are aware of what their duties are before they run for office.” This is important in not only making students aware of what they are signing up for, but also so those who are elected are unable to slack with the excuse of not knowing the work these positions entail.

Smalls also said, “The overall responsibilities of the officers and Senior Class Committee members are to plan educational and fun activities for the class of 2017.” Activities that have been planned by the current Senior Class Committee include a school wide “Shoes to Share” project which presented all William Penn students with the opportunity to donate shoes to be distributed to those who are in need along with senior only trips to Six Flags, a ski resort, and I-Play America.

Senior CLass committee is not all work, it is also a valuable learning experience. Students who participate in the senior class committee will learn to how work in a group, plan and implement activities, how our democracy works and, most importantly, how to become a well-rounded citizen

The Senior Class Committee of 2017 will include President Rajbir Bal, Vice President Erica Jones, Secretary Veronica Sacco, and Treasurer Alexis Ayala.


Introducing William Penn’s New Innovation Center

By KImberly Cushwa

This summer William Penn has the plan of bringing the library into the 21st century. Through many exciting modifications, the modernization of this space will leave it happily deemed as an Innovation Center. As it has been over a decade since the last full remodel, many members of the staff and student body have brought to the district’s attention the need for an overhaul. Funding for this project is currently being secured through private corporations.

Kristen Barnello stated, “Dr. Erskine has decided to approve the decision to remodel the library, but has been seeking input from a variety of people, at WP, the district, and other schools and libraries that have undertaken the transition to a 21st Century library model [to gain ideas on how to best update this space to benefit the students.]”

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The current plans entail many exciting additions, one of which includes a small cafe so students can sit and enjoy a latte as they read a book – others may just grab an espresso shot between classes if they need a little pick me up after a long night of studying. Four soundproof rooms are also in the plans. These rooms will be able to be used by students and staff to record podcasts, webinars, videos, etc. to be used as in class teaching material or for projects.

The biggest change to be implemented is the online course catalog that current social studies teacher, Mr. Kevin Wright, is putting together. This new selection of online classes will allow students who are interested in a topic not taught in a traditional classroom setting to gain original credit to be put toward their transcript for this subject. Others can take advantage of these online classes by adding them to their schedule when they are unable to take a traditional class due to it being filled or only being taught at a time when they have a previously scheduled class.

Wright said, “Many students are excited about the opportunity to access new courses and materials.  Students that are passionate about classes, but that have reached the top levels currently offered can use the new space to pursue independent studies. I sincerely believe that students are excited by the potential of a new challenging and rewarding program.”

Things such as the fiction section of the library will remain the same as students will be able to check out both recent titles and popular classics which spark their interest. The changes on this space are expected to be completed by the spring semester of the 2016-2017 school year.

STEM Showcase

By Derioushe Johnson, SaTara King, and Nahja Fassett

At William Penn High school students and teachers came together Thursday March 10th 2016 to showcase the important aspects of STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

“The STEM showcase is an opportunity for the district to highlight all the programs we have in the stem field. They changed the theme to stream adding arts to stem because people believe it’s a connection,”  stated Dan Bartnik, an assistant principal at William Penn High School.


Although Bartnik was obligated to present a project at the Stem Showcase, he said he also enjoyed seeing other presentations. He stated, “It was fantastic, a  great event. This year was the best year ever. It was a large turnout from our community and great opportunity to show positive things.”

Bartnik said he would not have changed anything about the showcase other than the location, “I would change the location of where it was held because it was hot where we were so visitors were unable to receive the full effect of the presentation because of the uncomfortable atmosphere due to the heat.”

Bartnik stated STEM is very important because it is evolving and more jobs will need to be covered. He said, “As we move further into the 21st century more and more jobs are going to be STEM-centric so it’s important to train the next generation in the field of STEM.”

“The robotics section was a definitely must see and Mr.Lamborn and Mr. Cole’s presentation,” claimed Bartnik.

Another group of participants of the showcase was Ms.Minka -a physical education teacher at William Penn High school – and her students.

Minka stated, “Our presentation was on physed and math, basically physical education students wearing heart monitors and getting instant graphical feedback on their hearts. I think the presentation was good and a lot of students wanted to wear the black straps as they went through and wanted to see their targets and progress.”

Minka and her students talked about the importance of combining physical education and mathematics.

“I feel as though STEM is important because it has so many real world applications, for instance Mr.Mcnulty’s math analytics club would come in and analyze our heart rates and crunch numbers from time to time,” exclaimed Minka.

The students and teachers of the William Penn STEM college put on a great showcase to teach about the significance of science, technology, engineering, and math combined. This event happens every year and highlights how Penn prepares students to be college and career ready.

Colonials Celebrate Pi Day With Pie

By Aiyana Holman and Rogelio Landa

Photo by Aiyana Holman Students in Mrs. Vaughn’s nutrition class tasted two different pies made by the culinary students March 14. 

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Big or small the circle it doesn’t matter; the ratio stays the same. Last Monday William Penn celebrated this national day with everything pi related. Mr. Vaughn had a special way to exhibit of the word pi through pie.

Chef Vaughn’s culinary arts students made two different types of buttermilk pie for Ms. Vaughn’s food and nutrition class. Each of the pies had a contrasting ingredient. For example; pie A had½ Cup of butter melted, ¼ Cup coconut oil melted, ½ Cup applesauce. The class was asked to eat pie “A” and pie “B” and figure out what really was so different about them. The students had no idea which pie was the regular and which pie was healthier.

Sophomore Kierston Hughart said, ‘’I liked pie B because it was less sweet and it just seemed better.”

Pie 2
Photo by Aiyana Holman Students compared and contrasted the qualities of the two pies tasted to identify which was healthier. 

Fourteen students voted pie “A” was the healthier and ten students voted pie “B”. When asked they had to rate the buttermilk pie by smell, taste, and appearance. The students said sample “A” was moist, very sweet, oily looking, looks like apple appearance. “B” was had a salter crust, less sweet, creamy, more dense, firm top.
From taking a pi day quiz to having shepherd’s pie for lunch many students experienced the 10,000 digits of pi.

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