The Penn Post


December 2016

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.”

Dancing Keem

By Fantasia Hernandez

Dancing can benefit people of all ages physically and mentally. It improves muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, muscle tone and strength. It can also give a person greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and better social skills.

At William Penn High School, there are many dancing opportunities such as dance troupe and step team, but many students seek the opportunities outside of school. One of those students is junio Dakeem Blackiston.

In the 7th grade, Blackiston was first introduced to dancing from William Penn’s dance troupe. He joined when he came to Penn, but gained more experience and became more skilled because of the dance class he teaches at Rose Hill Community Center . During these classes Blackiston makes choreography, teaches the dances, and works on his free-styling.

It’s beneficial to both the teachers and the learners. It teaches them how to dance and it makes me feel like a better person.” Without this experience and opportunity, Blackiston says he would not be the person he is today.

Those interested in dance have the opportunity to try out for the dance troupe at the end of this school year. They can also check out Blackiston’s hip hop classes Tuesdays from 7 – 8 p.m.

Struggling Students With Jobs

By Josie Taraskus

As a student with a job, keeping up with school work and actual work may be difficult. There are plenty of these students throughout William Penn experiencing this struggle called “growing up.” 

A school wide survey was conducted collecting data from 120 students. 30.8% of those students have jobs and out of that approximately 40.7% have had their grades drop since getting a job.

Junior Amanda Hopkins, who works at California Pizza Kitchen, works 2-4 shifts per week and her hours can include getting off anywhere between 8:30 and 10:30pm.

She can reach up to 20 hours a week which meets minors laws but for some students that isn’t the case. A small amount of the students, around 4.1%, reported working 30 hours a week. Those who selected the other option in the survey had hours per week varying from 25-60 hours a week. That was selected by 49% of the students who completed the survey. Actually with the amount of hours per shift only 20.8% said they work 5 hours per shift. The larger outcome for this was the 56.3% of students who chose other. Within that, two students said they work seven hours, five said they work eight, and two said they work nine per shift.

Working this much has to somehow affect the work of students. Students are able to find time to squeeze in for projects and homework assignments.

Most students get off from work pretty late at night. Many of them are faced with a decision: to stay up and do the work and be tired in school or not do it at all and get the sleep. Choosing sleep leads to the bigger problem. That’s when you ask yourself, “Do I just face the consequence of not turning it in?” or “Should I try to finish it in another class or in the beginning of the class?” No matter what, there is a consequence in there somewhere. 52% of students turn the work in late some of the time, 14% turn the work in late pretty often, and 8% turn work in late all the time.

“Teachers assign homework, but when they do on the nights I work, I am just way too tired to do it,” Hopkins said.

This leads to another point. Are students getting a good amount of sleep? A poor amount of sleep can lead to a pretty rough day at school the next day, from not being able to focus to just plain falling asleep in class.

It is a known fact that on average a human being should be sleeping 8 hours a night. A small 10.2% of working students are getting 9 hours of sleep each night. 32.7% of working students get 5 hours a sleep a night.

“I only get 2-4 hours a sleep a night,” Hopkins said. A small amount of sleep is accomplished after a night of working and completing homework and projects.

Something else that these students face is whether or not they get the opportunity to do after school activities. Would they rather be working or doing a sport? Although only 37.3% of working students are not able or cannot handle doing after school activities, it is still a difficult task to accomplish. The average schedule for a working student in one day could be getting up at 6 a.m., going to school, getting off at 2:15 p.m., going straight to practice, and by 5:30 p.m. they are working and not getting off till much later that night. Finally going to bed but just to wake up and do it again. Being able to have a weekend with your friends or family can even vanish. From either practicing all Saturday or even working all weekend around practice. Where is there time for a life, let alone school work?

Hopkins says she is able to do it by “working with teachers and the managers to get around hard scheduling.”

But not all things that result from being a student worker are bad. Some students reported better grades after starting working. It may have come up as just 8.2% of the students, but that shows with the right amount of effort it gets better. You hear many students in the halls complaining about dealing with the newest assignment in their English class and then having to go to work before getting to have the chance to do it. But in many cases working has led to having the motivation to do it, having the motivation to keep pushing. If you can juggle school, sports, and work then you’re going be just fine. If you work harder, besides the lack of sleep, you’re focused to keep going. You learn the lesson and what it is like growing up and doing things for yourself being independent.

Hopkins says her grades got better as she began working. In fact, she stated, “The way work is impacting my school performance is that it makes me do better. I am working harder.”

We need more students who can get to this. The question is not if students should be working, but what can be done to make students have an easier time being able to work and succeed earlier in life. Isn’t that what is expected? We as teenagers to finally grow up and become independent and mature? To be given more responsibility. 49 of 52 students said that there should be something done in order to help students maintain having a job and going to school. Some say there should be a program in school to help with studying and homework that work around your schedule, maybe even have teachers give out less homework in general, others just want a way to keep up motivation in general.

Having a job and going to school should not be something a teenager dreads having to deal with, but something a student thrives in doing and feels confident enough in themselves to do.

The Healthy Lifestyle

By Kayla Oats

165 students are impacted weekly during health corps class workshops. HealthCorps is an organization whose purpose is to decrease childhood obesity, and create a healthy environment.

At William Penn High School, Amber Rideout has been the head of HealthCorps for the last 2 years. Rideout identified the biggest issue related to health. ”From my experience the two biggest things teens face in regards to their health is being able to cope with life challenges and how to manage their stress in a healthy way. Another big issues is the access to outlets to explore physical activity and fitness. If students don’t participate in sports they are not being active and this is resulting in an increase in sedentary behaviors which lead to a number of chronic illnesses,” she said. 

Some of the activities in HealthCorps include Ambassador Club, Cooking Matters, Classroom teachers, Staff wellness, and Cafe O Yeas. These activities help HealthCorps achieve their mission.

“The best thing for me is being able to show youth that health is not just about counting calories, eating salad, or being the skinniest or bulkiest person around. Health is about the whole person and it is something that can be fun and attainable for any and everyone,” Rideout said.

Currently there are 25 students in HealthCorps Ambassador club and 12 students in Cooking Matters. At William Penn, HealthCorps can be found in the S2 staff center in the back office, and HealthCorps Ambassadors Club meetings are typically held after-school in Rm W100 every other Thursday.

October Tech Teacher of the Month

By LaTiyah Jones


Technology is the new thing, so why not be awarded for incorporating it into teaching? At William Penn High School,  teachers are awarded for their outstanding use of technology.

Economics teacher Carol Dunn won the “Tech Teacher of the Month” for the month of October. Because she won, she displayed the Golden Keyboard in her room for the month and received a gift card to Penn Bistro.

In Colonial School District, technology has become a big part of learning. For learning, it can be used in many different ways.

I’ve been using Schoology to not only access work, as well do formative assessments. I also use Kahoot to make learning more fun, for review,” Dunn said.

She is not the only teacher approaching learning like this. Many other teachers are also. Technology can help make students and teachers more efficient, but not all kids have phones, sometimes there aren’t enough computers, or even the wifi doesn’t work.


“The only issue is you don’t always have an access to technology,” Dunn said. “I struggled with using technology for years. One day, I was like let just go ahead and learn, because it’s not going anywhere. It’s just the expectation with kids. This is their world. Especially with the subject I teach economics, it is a fluid subject. Using technology help students to get the most up to date information. For example, on the economy and how it’s changing.”

Although Dunn admitted it takes her out of her comfort zone, she said using technology makes the learning more engaging and provides students with the most current information. Dunn’s nomination for this award was based on this willingness to work outside of her comfort zone to improve her use of it.

Sports Help Students Excel in School

By Chris Brown

High school sports can benefit students academically. They can help students get better grades by giving them organization and a reason to do well in school.

In many cases, the coaches offer their athletes opportunities to get help with the academics. William Penn senior athlete Dasir King said, “Coach offers study hall, personal tutor sessions, and time to go see teachers instead of studying. He wants us to understand that we are student athletes and student comes first.”

King has been in the program all four years of high school and is pursuing playing in college. Colleges pay attention to students academics especially the good colleges. “The higher GPA you have the better chance you have in getting into a good college.”

“It motivates me to keep my grades up because I want to be eligible and help my team win,” King said.

School sports can also help a student athlete manage his time and be more focused in the classroom because he knows he has no time to waste so you complete your work on time. “I know I have limited time to do assignments so I make sure I set up times to get them done.”

Student athletes devote so much time into  practices and games that they have very little free time. They have to take advantage of their time in the classroom. This helps prepare them not only for collegiate athletics, but also life in the real world. 

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