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.


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.

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.

Racing to Success

By Jaden Reed and Geman Browne

When Roselynn Burke, fifth grade teacher at Carrie Downing, saw the impact the  “Let Me Run” program could have, she knew she it was an opportunity to help the community, to “teach boys integrity and empathy.”

Burke brought the program March 9th for boys to help them learn how to express themselves, reach personal goals, and improve their overall wellness. Carrie Downing’s program is only one of three in the state. The fourth and fifth grade boys met after school on the playground for about an hour twice a week for seven weeks. 

“I think our society and culture as a whole limits boys and their potential. Without even knowing it, we often send them the message to act a certain way and hide their feelings. We do this with comments such as “Be a man”. We also generally don’t hold high expectations. Hence, the phrase “boys will be boys”. I think our society as a whole needs to change that mindset and stop pressuring young boys to constantly prove their masculinity, ” said Burke.

Each of the seven weeks helped the boys prepare for their big race Saturday, April 30th at the Red Clay 5K. Burke stated that she ensured they knew the race isn’t about winning, but rather about meeting personal goals. 

Colonials Do Their Piece to Spread Awareness

By Kimberly Cushwa 

William Penn seniors Gary DiCiasare, Michael Needles, and Alexis Parker decided to run a t-shirt campaign to help inform the students of WPHS of the ever-prevalent affects of autism. This campaign is being run as to fulfill their Senior Legacy Project, a project required by all Penn seniors in order to graduate.

Autism, a mental condition characterized by a difficulty communicating and forming relationships with others, is widely known – but not many understand the deep-set effects it has on those diagnosed with this condition along with their families. Autism is stigmatized as a child’s disease, a relation that may be caused by television advertisements that cover autism awareness. This is a stigma that DiCiasare, Needles, and Parker are trying to disprove

DiCiasare decided upon this topic for his legacy project because he “wanted to help people on the spectrum especially with me living through it since I was two and a half. At two and a half years old I was diagnosed on the spectrum so a great way to for my legacy is to help those like me on the spectrum.” The spectrum which he is referring to is the scale of functionality which doctors use when diagnosing someone with autism.

Needles followed up DiCiasare’s statement by saying that he was motivated because he cared about his friend. “We want to help as many know about this as possible and so instead of doing this alone the three of us decided to do it together.”

Current statistics from the Society for Autism state that every 1 in 45 Americans is diagnosed with some level or form of autism and that none of these cases have been proven to develop from a vaccine given during childhood. Many Neurodiversity advocates speak on the need to not cure autism or change a person with this disorder, but for society to grow and learn how to both accept their differences and the unique intellect that an autistic mind has to offer.

Those students interested in joining this campaign may purchase a tee shirt for only 10 dollars from either one of the three students involved or Mr. Jenkins in room N209 until they are sold out.

College-Bound Seniors Celebrate

By Aleaha Cubbage

Photo courtesy of Ameena DiPersio William Penn seniors accepted into college sign a banner to celebrate the accomplishment in the lobby. 

On April 27, William Penn put together a celebration for all of the seniors that got accepted into colleges, trade schools, and the military.

Ameena DiPersio, a senior at William Penn said, “This celebration was meant to remind me of all the work I’ve done to get this far. in I feel that the celebration was a good way to get the seniors to get hype for going to their colleges.”

Photo by Aleaha Cubbage Counselor Rachel Handy created and displayed banners representing the colleges that accepted William Penn seniors. 

Rachel Handy, one of the counselors at William Penn was in charge of putting together the College Bound Celebration. Handy said, “According to the responses, about 230 of our Seniors were accepted to colleges, trade schools and the military. That doesn’t include, of course, those who didn’t fill out the survey. Counselors hope that these college-bound students continue making smart educational decisions that will continue serving them well in their future endeavors.”


The high school experience for the class of 2016 is slowly coming to an end. The ultimate celebration for these college-bound seniors will be graduation on June 9th at 6:00 p.m at the Bob Carpenter Center.


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.


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