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.


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.

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.


Penn Spanish Students Explore Puerto Rico

By Aleaha Cubbage

Photo courtesy of Katie Strouss Students on the Puerto Rico trip pose at Luquillo Beach. 

Katie Strouss’s Spanish 3 students at William Penn took a trip to Puerto Rico during spring break. A total of 14 students left on March 26 and returned March 30.

Strouss, a Spanish teacher and a Student Council sponsor, put together and planned out the trip by herself.

“This is a good opportunity for students to speak Spanish in an authentic environment, see the Puerto Rican culture, and try new Spanish foods,” Strouss said.

Kameron Short, an 11th grade student at William Penn, was one of the travelers. Before the trip, Short said, “I’m most excited about learning more about the Spanish culture and getting to practice speaking Spanish.”

The group traveled to San Juan, Fajarrodo, Ponce, and Parguera. The group used Vamanos Tours for the many activities scheduled throughout the trip.

Strouss said, “We took salsa lessons while we were there, visited two beaches, and viewed the rain-forest. We were so busy everyday.”

Next year, Spanish 4 and culinary students will have a chance to take a trip to Barcelona, Spain.

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.

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.

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.

Colonials Pick Up the Fight On Drugs

By Kimberly Cushwa

Saturday, March 12 the William Penn Colonials joined the war on drugs. This year’s Community Health Fair, led by the William Penn Health Corps, focused on informing WP and the surrounding community on the toxic effects of modern drug culture.

Photo by Kimberly Cushwa Attendees of the Community Health Fair gather in Gym 1 at William Penn to speak with vendors March 12. 

The health fair also welcomed first year Health Corp. leader Ms. Rideout who released that, “The decision to focus on drugs was made by the [Health Corp.] planning committee. Their reasoning was because of an influx in drug usage surrounding the New Castle and Wilmington community.” With Zumba sessions, cooking demos, and over 53 community vendors offering free health screenings and massages, the fair made sure to offer information on general health and well being instead of just drugs.

Jennie McCarthy, a mother of 3 who brought her children to the health fair, said, “My favorite thing today was definitely the Kid’s Corner! It was great seeing my kids being able to interact with their favourite characters as they are much more likely to listen to Winnie the Pooh or Doc McStuffins than me about what is healthy.”

Jackson Bennett also commented on the event stating he enjoyed “the welcoming atmosphere and how nice everyone working this event appeared to be.”

WP Culinary Cooks Their Way to Championship

By Jaden Reed and Geman Browne

With two burners and one hour, seven teams created one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert at Delaware’s Prostart competition. Chef Poole, a William Penn culinary teacher, trained, mentored, and guided the WP team to victory. William Penn’s culinary team took first place in the event held at Dover Hotel and Convention Center on March 1st.

Chef Poole stated, “My students made a salmon tartare appetizer, a quail over polenta and a goat cheese cheesecake with different sauces.“

The management team was made up of sophomores Jolie Noel and Branden Fletcher and juniors Kiara Roach, Denisse Cruz, and Joey Kucharski.The culinary team members were juniors Jadaya Hayden, Monserrat Martin Del Campo, and Beatriz Balderas and seniors Brent Hillard and Luis Angel Ortiz.

Ortiz said, “We all contributed to make the dishes, to design the plates and stuff. I focused more on the entree. The judges were friendly and they loved our dishes. Our cheesecake didn’t come out how we wanted and it was broken and the cream cheese wasn’t smooth because we had 60 minutes. We had to rush it.“

With the win, William Penn’s culinary team will be attending nationals in Dallas, TX  April 29-30.


Gym and Health Students Learn to Integrate Technology

By Geman Browne and Jaden Reed

Ms. Minka  gym and health teacher took her students to the Apple store in Christiana Mall January 11 – 16, 2016  to assist them with their genius project with technology. The students had the whole store to themselves for about an hour. They broke up into five different groups and they learned how to do podcasts, Garageband, iMovie, and iBook.

Ms. Minka said,  “It was a awesome field trip. All students received a t-shirt and free apple earbuds.”

Freshman Brian North was one of the students who went on the trip.  “ I liked that I got to make a movie, talk to employees and just being around technology.”
This trip helped them learn about the new technology in society. They presented their final projects to their class in January.

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