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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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.”

 

FFA Week Fun

By Lesliann Boucher and Stephanie Castillo

February 22 to February 26, William Penn’s Future Farmers of America hosted an FFA week, where students went down to the FFA room, on February 26th and walked around the room, interacted with the animals, and played games to see what they knew about animals. Students were welcomed by Tyson the dog, Mrs. Ferruccis pet. In addition to her pet, Mrs. Ferrucci also had different varieties of animal including a mouse named Shadow, bunnies, and a chinchilla.

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Photo by Lesliann Boucher One of the animals in Mrs. Ferrucci’s class sits in his open cage for students to interact with. 

FFA Week was all about showcasing the agriculture class to students who were about to do class scheduling. A junior student of Ms. Ferrucci’s Nicole Webb said  “It gives the students outside of agriculture a chance to really experience our class.”

Another of Mrs. Ferruccis students, sophomore Jessica Knowles stated, “I love animals, I always wanted to be a vet and this is the only course that lets me get a hands-on experience with those animals while still learning. I love the interaction I get with the animals.” In FFA, the career pathways can range from groomer to Veterinarian to raising dairy/beef cattle.

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Photo by Lesliann Boucher Students in Mrs. Ferruci’s class pose with animals in W108. Students from other classes were given the opportunity to meet all of the animals Friday, Feb. 26. 

FFA week was a huge success for the class; the classroom was packed and excitement was in the air to learn about what FFA had to offer.

Penn Welcomes New Ag Science Teacher

By Derioushe Johnson and Nahja Faucett

On January 4th,  a teacher of animal science and intro to agriculture Ms.Ferrucci became the new FFA advisor for William Penn High School, allowing the students of FFA to have a vibrant atmosphere of experiencing and learning the aspects of agriculture.

An Agriculture liaison/FFA Junior, who happens to be a senior Colonial as well, Malcolm Washington, had stated that he was very pleased to be advised by a teacher as great as Ms.Ferrucci and he looks forward to the great results she may bring to the table!

Washington claimed, “The new FFA advisor is a great addition to our team.She brings great knowledge of animal science and agriculture. We are so happy to have her here and we look forward to great results.”

Washington states that he does not wish to change anything hopes to increase the knowledge and abroad the mindsets of Ms.Ferrucci’s students.

“With the new FFA advisor she expands the horizon of the teams mindsets and brings much knowledge. And I am excited to receive the work ethic and mentality she is bringing to William Penn High School.”

Before becoming an FFA teacher Ms.Ferrucci was an exotic animal teacher for children. Her motivation to become an FFA teacher was to give opportunities to students despite their different backgrounds.

Ferrucci states, “This job allows me to give opportunities to all students from all types of backgrounds with all types of interest. The current students enjoy challenges because I know they will step up to the plate because it’s really the students that improve in FFA it’s just my job to help guide them in a positive direction.”

She has future plans she would like to succeed for the program. She said, “ I would really like William Penn High School FFA to be recognized as a positive leadership opportunity within WPHS, the local community, and the state of Delaware.”

The First To Draw Blood

By Stephanie Castillo and Lesliann Boucher

Senior Med Lab IV students practiced drawing blood to become certified Phlebotomy technicians. Once certified, they are able to draw blood if a doctor needs to run tests.

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Photo by Lesliann Boucher Sergeant Miller gets his blood drawn by  senior Med Lab IV student Taj’lynne Jesse.

William Penn High School is the “ first school in the state of delaware to get approval for this type of training” according to Ms. Hudson, who is one of the Med Lab IV teachers.

In order to get ready, students learned the basics such as the different types of tubes, needles such as the straight 23 gauge and the butterfly, steps, and techniques. Students practiced first with fake arms, until they became comfortable to do it on real people.

With the blood, they tested for blood types as well as coagulation testing.

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Photo by Lesliann Boucher Med Lab IV teacher Mrs. Hudson gets her blood drawn by senior Alex Haber. 

Senior Taj’lynne Jesse is one student who is now a certified phlebotomy technician. “In the beginning, I was honestly really scared, I was shaking compared to the patients, I was stuttering but actually now I’m comfortable.”

Med Lab IV students must get 30 successful draws to become certified. They will continue to draw blood through January to reach their certification requirements.

Colonials March at Hershey Park

By Chase Chandler

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The Marching Colonials perform during halftime of the homecoming game. 

The weekend of November the 8th the Marching Colonials competed at their championship competition at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. All the marching bands around the area were there to compete for the bragging rights and a trophy in their division. The marching band has been feverishly practiced to prepare for their shot in the spotlight.

In addition to practices on days off and Saturdays, the band has competed in other competitions to prepare for the championship. “We practice all the time. We eat, sleep, think band. When we are not practicing we should be practicing,” sophomore Amanda Hopkins, a former saxophone player in the band stated.

The band performed for the judges at Hershey and unfortunately got last place, although they are in a tough division.

Sophomore Flutist Josie Taraskus stated, “The band practices a lot but it seems like after a while we all drift off and we need to take it more seriously when something like this is coming up in the near future”.

Hopkins said, “We have practice all the time and we benefit from that a lot in the end. Even though we almost have no social life, we wouldn’t have it any other way.”  These are examples of how dedicated these Marching colonials are to their craft. The championships closed out the Marching Colonial’s season, but many of the band’s members continue to participate for the indoor colorgaurd and drumline.

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