The Penn Post


November 2016

Armed with Art

By Trish Vo

The thing about students in the art field is that they are never done learning.

Being an artist means that one has to continually practice their skill, continually learn, continually improve, continually get experience, continually create.

William Penn offers visual arts courses to those who are interested in developing their inner artist,“artist” referring to anyone who practices any of the various creative arts, and includes fields such as Graphic Design and Art.

“Most of our students come to us with limited experience and exposure to many differing aspects of Art as a whole, so the courses are designed to give them a range of opportunities,” Kimberly Davis, one of the art teachers at William Penn, said.

William Penn provides many opportunities for students to present their work and gain real-world experience.  Students have the option to take Graphic Design or Art when they are a freshman, or whenever they decide to pursue the visual arts field. Each class has levels 1, 2, 3, and 4, and there is an AP Studio course for art..

Davis stated that William Penn joined the Artisans Gallery, which she said gives students the opportunity to “work and gain hands on experience to be an independent artists, and working in a business to meet clients, communicate and conduct sales.”

Graphic design students have access to professional programs to develop their skills, and can complete commissions from clients right inside the William Penn’s computer lab.

Annmarie Novack, who teaches graphic design, said that while William Penn provides equipment, guidance, and opportunity, it is still largely up to the student whether they will succeed or not. “The field is competitive and, with any career, a student who is passionate about what they are involved in and is willing to put in the effort will succeed,” she said.

Just passing the courses does not mean success in the future, Davis believes. “Too many think: just take classes and that’s enough. Never!”

Like any other field, job security is not guaranteed. “There are hundreds of others out there doing the same thing,” Davis said. “So ask yourself: what am I doing to make myself stand out? If you don’t, you won’t!”

If it is truly the path that the students want to follow, William Penn High School will be sure to pave the path for them, to give them the tools for success.


Lights, Stage Crew, Action!

By Samantha Stevenson

Controlling the lights, making the props, fixing the mics, dressing the actors: all of these are jobs done by members of the stage crew.

There are at least 10 people in the room that all help out and put on a show. The teacher that works with stage crew is one of the art teachers in William Penn, Kimberly Davis.

“It’s important because, yes, the performers are the “stars,” [but] the show would not go on without us. , We build sets and run things that are needed to run the show,” junior Macie Murdaugh said.

Murdaugh, a junior at William Penn, is one of the students who is on stage crew. She did the lighting in the show last year called The Wiz. Macie has  done one show, but has also worked with other programs like the Penn Fashion Show.

“Before shows are always nerve wracking but after you feel very accomplished and hyped up,” Murdaugh said.

A way that students can join stage crew by contacting Davis. If anyone is interested, they run everything to help put on a show. It’s a great opportunity for those who don’t want to be on stage, but still be involved in the show.

A Wintery, Musical Event

By Sandy Soriano

At William Penn High School, the concert choir will be holding a winter concert December 1st and 7th to help the music department. This show is an opportunity improve not just the music department but the members of the choir themselves.

Sierra Carol, a sophomore choir member, described the song selection process and how every year the song selection is different.

“The teacher has all of us write down three to five song choices and then she looks over them next class period and then whichever songs that most of us chose that were the same we go through and they have to be school appropriate,” Carol said.

When there’s a big group of people in a room, throwing different ideas, there tends to be some crashing opinions, but surprisingly not so much in the choir room.

“People’s opinions are different from each other so we do kind of argue a little bit on what songs to chose but other than that we pretty much agree with everyone else and what everyone else is saying,” Carol said.

There is a lot of preparation that has to be done in order for them to be on that stage. Carol said choosing the songs to sing is just the first part in preparation of the performance.

“She teaches each section soprano, alto, tenor their part and then after that we just keep practicing over, over, and over again until the concert and then we have to practice posture and how we stand and how we act,” she said. 

Carol as well as some other member of the choir are serious about a career in singing and performing. They want a career after high school and while they’re here they try their best to join clubs in the music department in school and maybe things their community may be doing to give them that push or jump start to a serious career.

“We get help with things like that. Our teacher wants to do a songwriting class. We can teach each other how to play instruments, or write music together, read music, and we work together to figure out what we want to do.”

Performing this winter concert may be more important than just standing on stage and singing words, it means something to them that may impact their lives outside of schools.

Carol said, “ Music can help relieve stress and it’s fun so I think it makes them a little happier. For me, I think it helps me learn a lot personally I learn how to read music and you can experience emotion with music so it’s helpful and fun because you get to sing and have fun.”

The concerts William Penn have always raise money for important matters going on in school, and this year the money is going towards the music department to help them with new clubs they are hoping to have and with possible field trips being planned that the choir members truly deserve. Hopefully, people in the community will give the time to get more into the Christmas spirit and go out to see this wonderful concert at William Penn.


Mock Trial Team Offers Real-Life Experiences

The mock trial team at William Penn is lead by Francis Lusch, the criminal justice teacher. It is comprised of students who are split into two groups of six; one the prosecution, the other the defense to simulate a court case in the real world. The team helps students to just get a feel for the world of law and how it works but it builds public speaking skills, organization skills and it also helps the students make coherent arguments, all skills students need for the future.

“Mock trial team is now a statewide program where students are given either a criminal or civil case and compete against other schools legal teams to mock court 20 years,” Lusch said.

Lusch has been teaching in Colonial School District since 2001 and has been at Penn for 14 years. He teaches all students who major in legal studies at William Penn with Criminal Justice 1 & 2, Forensic and Genetics with a science teacher Jeffrey Bosco and Applied Legal Studies.

Students who are thinking of joining mock trial should possess certain interests and qualities.  “The students need a sense of commitment, a willingness to speak publicly and they must also have academic eligibility,” Lusch said.

The mock trial team can also help students to just get a feel for the world of law and how it works but it builds public speaking skills, organization skills and it also helps the students make coherent arguments, all skills students need for the future.

The mock trial has one competition they prepare for. This competition is in February over at the courthouse on 6th and King Street in New Castle County from early morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. The competition is over a two day period.

The competition include four rounds of court cases, with either defense or prosecution team competing. Lusch said, “Students also get an opportunity to meet a bunch of bright kids from other schools.”

In addition to the students getting these real life skills, William Penn gets to show off some of its students. Lusch said, “It strengthens the rep when schools get an opportunity to see what some of our students are capable of doing particularly since we are competing against charter schools, private schools and the like.”

Mock trial is a good opportunity for students who are interested in law to get experience in the field. Mock trial is open to all students grades 9-12. In order to sign up all the students would have to do is listen to the announcements in the morning or they can have teachers recommend it to them. However students do not have to be in the legal studies major in order to take his classes, the students would just have to sign up for the classes when the scheduling process starts at the end of the year.

Marching Band’s First Competition

By Josie Taraskus 

After long camp days and every day rehearsals after school, the William Penn Marching Band was led onto the field by Drum Major Mark Salvador and Band Director Michael Archer for their first competition of the season on September 24th.

Placing in 4th place out of five bands in their category with a total score of 69.64, the band left with a sense of pride representing William Penn. Salvador said, “I feel that our placement was where it should be.” Overall the band did exactly where they should be considering the show was not finished at the time. .

For the band, rehearsals are every Tuesday through Friday immediately after school till 5, they are always hard at work, even on their Saturdays. They continuously worked in preparation for their competitions. Archer said, “We need to prepare for a competition just like we do for any other performance.”

Every competition consists of different categories of bands based on size and skill. William Penn is in American Division Cavalcade of bands. As each band performs their 7-8 minute show judges either walk on the field and critique or watch from above in a box. Competitions take place at different high schools in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Utilizing the football field each band takes on the competition. Bands are critiqued on their musical, marching, and visual abilities. Each judge gives a score for each category and that is put together into a score out of 100.

So what can be done in the future competitions to be in a higher placement? Pretty simple according to Archer, the band just needs a finished show and a bit of improvement in technique. After every performance there is a meeting with the judges to inform on why they gave the scores they did. The band directors were informed of members of the band doing different marching techniques and some students out playing others. Minor fixes.

Salvador said, “The best thing I can do as Drum Major to help prepare for the competitions is to keep pushing them to do their best.”. The band needs to be pushing limits and “keep practicing— keep getting better.” As of the past few weeks the show has been completed.

Experiencing History First-Hand

By Olivia Hampel 

What was the immigration process like to the United States a hundred years ago? What were the living conditions? The Humanities class of William Penn High School did a field trip to New York City to find answers for those questions.

On September 29, the Humanities class of 2016/17 of William Penn High School went on a field trip to New York City in order to learn more about the immigration process to the US in the past.

“We decided to go to New York because the trip connected to what we were studying in class which was immigration and industrialization,” Beth Greenstein, one of the Humanities teachers, said. “We thought when the kids can see it first hand they would learn and internalize it better.”

But the trip not only had educational reasons, “It’s also a time for us to bond as a group and come together outside of the classroom to get to know each other. When there is a strong class community kids work harder and better,” Greenstein explained.

First, they went to the “Tenement Museum,” which illustrated how the daily life of immigrants looked like and how the living conditions were. Tenement houses are overcrowded apartment houses in poorer sections of large cities. “It was very interesting to see how people lived and the struggle they went through,” said Dasia Washam, a student who participated in the field trip.  The students were given the opportunity to walk through original tenements and to hear the stories of families who used to live there. “The museum was very different than I thought it would be,” Washam added. “I would totally recommend it for anyone going to New York.”

Next, the students experienced how it felt like to arrive to New York as an immigrant in the past by riding a boat to the Statue of Liberty and afterwards to Ellis Island. They were given lots of information about the process the immigrants had to undergo when they wanted to enter the US.

“I truly enjoyed the New York Trip,”  Jolie Noel, another Humanities student said. Her favorite part was the Tenement museum. “It allowed me to reminisce history and the way immigration was back in the 19th century”, she stated.

Homecoming Highlights

By Opemipo Giwa

Every year in William Penn High School, William Penn celebrates the homecoming dance in the school for the students.

 Oyinkansola Kehinde is  a student of William Penn , she is always excited to attend the William Penn high school homecoming dance because she feels it brings the teacher and student together.

It is not Oyinkansola first time to attend the homecoming dance but her second time and she is in eleventh grade. She said she thinks the event is fun and it help to change people’s mood.

“Some people might be having a bad day, the homecoming can make them feel better by dancing and making them forget their problems,” Kehinde said.

She is always happy to be in the homecoming dance because she always have time to spend time with her friends.

 Sadly next year will be Oyinkansola her last homecoming dance in William Penn High School because she will be graduating the following year.

 Dance tickets were $10 each for all the students in the school. Students of William Penn were allowed to invite other people from other schools or their friends. Student council  sold the tickets during lunch period.

 The homecoming dance started by 8:00pm and ended by 11:00pm. 

 Temilade Ogunfadebo also thinks organizing the homecoming gives both the teachers and the student an opportunity to have fun within school premises.

She believes that student should be appreciated for the hard work they perform in school by little break and having fun with their friends.”Homecoming gives the students the privilege,” Ogunfadebo said.

She is excited for next year’s homecoming because she observed that it is a different experience every year. She hope to hope and desire to come for next year’s homecoming because that will be also her last homecoming that she will be attending in William Penn.

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