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Move of Highspire students to Middletown still in limbo

masd logoNo decision has been made regarding a request from a majority of Highspire residents that their children be allowed to attend Middletown Area School District schools instead of those of the Steelton-Highspire School District.

Moreover, the Pennsylvania Department of Education isn’t saying when a decision will be made.

The issue has been in PDE’s hands since shortly after August 2014, when the Highspire Education Coalition filed a petition in Dauphin County Court as the first required step toward getting PDE to consider the request from the coalition that their children — more than 200 — be transferred to MASD.

The Highspire residents want the transfer because they believe that the schools in the Middletown district can do a better job of educating their children than the schools in the  Steelton-Highspire district.

A flurry of public activity took place after the case first went to PDE in August 2014.

The Steelton-Highspire school district conducted its own survey of Highspire residents. The results seemed to back up that a majority of Highspire residents supported the transfer, but experts said that the low response to the telephone survey rendered the effort largely invalid.

Both school districts then went on record opposing the transfer, for different reasons.

Steelton-Highspire said the move would cripple the district financially because all the revenue now coming to the district from the Highspire residents would go to Middletown.

Middletown district said that the transfer would cause overcrowding in its schools and add to the district’s own financial burden — concerns that the coalition has sought to reject as unfounded. 

But since that point — roughly mid-2015 — about all that has been heard publicly about the transfer petition has been the sound of crickets chirping in the night.

On Monday, Jan. 30, PDE spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman emailed the following statement regarding the status of the transfer petition, in response to a request for comment from the Press And Journal:

“The Highspire petition is still being reviewed by the Department, and there is no timeline set for when a decision will be announced.

“Over the past several months the department has continued a thorough evaluation of the petition which has included speaking with leaders from the districts, and reviews of academics and curriculum, assessment and growth, and capacity issues, like classroom space and technology. There is potential for an official site visit, however none has been scheduled at this time.

“The Department is focused in ensuring a decision is made based on the educational merit of the petition and a decision that best serves students.”

The understanding from the law firm handling the case for the Highspire petitioners is that the petition is “pending,” said Brian Carter, a lawyer with the firm.

“We’re still at (the point) of PDE determining if it has educational merit,” Carter said. “Everything was submitted to PDE in March of 2015. In August of 2015 PDE asked for information regarding parental involvement in the schools. That was submitted by the end of August 2016.”

In 2016 lawyers for the Highspire Education Coalition filed papers as part of the county court petition saying that Sen. Mike Folmer had been told that a decision would come by about mid-summer of 2016.

That time has come and long gone. Folmer himself has not been able to get PDE to say when a decision will be made on the transfer request, Fred Sembach, Folmer’s chief of staff, told the Press And Journal on Feb. 6.

At the time — mid-summer 2016 — Folmer had sent a letter to PDE suggesting that taking two years to make a decision had been long enough.

PDE responded with a briefing that basically amounted to saying “we are working on it,” Sembach said. Department officials added that the department could not say much more, even to Folmer, because of the matter being “in litigation,” referring to the county court petition, Sembach told the Press And Journal.

One other possible factor is that the number of students who would be transferred from Highspire to Middletown — 229 — would be among the most involved in any such transfer that has occurred in Pennsylvania in recent memory, Sembach said.

Carter also noted that PDE’s consideration of a site visit is also relatively rare when it comes to such transfer requests, possibly also indicative of the size and scale of the petition before PDE compared to others that have come before the department.

Folmer respects that the process involves another branch of government and, as such, Folmer is reluctant to interfere, Sembach added.

That being said, the expectation is that PDE will make a decision on the petition — eventually — Sembach said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 08:54

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Middletown Area Middle School announces honor roll

The following students made the Middletown Area Middle School Honor Roll for the second quarter.


8th Grade 

Distinguished Honor Roll

Jenna Alford, Mahnoor Azim, Angalina Black, Madalynn Brittelli, William Brown, Nathan Burkholder, Alyssa Bush, Ryan Chhun, Nathaniel Cooper, Quinn Dworchak, Abigail Grimland, Jacob Hottenstein, Kayla Kauffman, Morgan Klingeman, Jordan Knaub, Antonio Koser, Amanda Lee, Emma Lovell, Ayden Miller, Haley Reed, Riham Sghir, Collin Shaffer, Isha Shah, Troy Stein, Deaisha Stevens, Melanie Wagner, Timothy Wagner and Dylon Zettlemoyer.


7th Grade 

Distinguished Honor Roll

Sara Dintiman, Skylar Garza, Sydney Garza, Maya Herneisey, Alexandra Hess, Dagan Hughes, Nathaniel Kinsey, Khyra Little, Kyleigh Messner, Sydney Miller, Alexander Monroig, Cynthia Ortiz-Sanchez, Benjamin Rine, Marissa Romberger, Ian Sipe, Mason Swartz and Matthew Wagner.


6th Grade

 Distinguished Honor Roll

Marquis Beasley, Amari Betha, Emily Boyer, Parker Cihak, Nicholas Crognale, Triniti Davis, Melanny DeLaCruz, Aurora Demko, Lena Emigh, Kaley Hileman, David Hinojosa, Amos Hnin, Braelan Huber, Amiyah Humes, Peyton Hunt, Jaron Imler, Gabriella Jackson, Joseph Korsak, Jade Lesisko, Layna Lighty, Cadence Lines, Isaac Lupp, Jessica Matincheck, Jordan Miller, Samuel Miller, Peyton Moyer, Miranda Nolen, Marco Ortiz Sanchez, Morgan Pacheco, Jasmine Peiffer, Victoria Peters, Dasani Ritter, Kaydance Rote, Ashley Rusnov, Nathan Russo, Alexa Saul, Aidan Shaffer, Keziah Shickley, Madison Smith, Kiley Stoltzfus, Mia Thomas, Aidan Torres, Ethan Witmyer and Katherine Yoder.


8th Grade Honor Roll

Hooda Al-Talal, Alicia Clemens, Olivia Cochran, Robert Cordova, Micaela Gallagher, Karen Gantz, Suzanna Gomboc, Dillan Gray Maxwell, Serina Gurm, Gavin Hickoff, Zach Hiner, Alexis Jefferson, Alexis Knerr, Natalie Krupilis, Janelle Leggore, Shivam Patel, Caden Prisbe, Jaqueline Rentas, Julio Rodriguez, Belinda Schroll, Seth Smith, Kaden Sweeney, Michael Tuffy, Damien Weigel, Jeremy Wells and Lacey Zimmerman.


7th Grade Honor Roll

Lavina Balliet, Hayley Bartholomew, Chasey Baumbach, Lauryn Baylor, Rico Benavidez, Taylor Brady, Lyndsay Carnes, Presley Carnes, Brandyn Davis, Laila Deimler, Carly Dupes, Marly Fox, Ashley Gamble, Zoe Green, Jason Grob, Gavin Guckavan, Carter Headley, Tate Leach, Jayson Leeper, Joshua Luther, Camila Martinez, Karly Mather, Faith Matter, Wyatt McKenna, Emma Mitchell, Dane Molander, Jason Moser, Nyalah Parker, Gabriela Przybylski, Grace Rico, Isaiah Rogers-Keeney, Jalen Rowley, Taya Scott, Kira Shafer, Kennedy Sharon, Madison Sieber, James Smith, Ryan Souders, Benjamin Staker, Selena Stoker, Jayson Stoner, Jaheem Thornton, Jonah Troup, Owen Wealand, Tessa Weigel, Keira Weise-Torres, Noah Wertz, Charnay Wesley, Madison White, Austin Wolf, Doron Yospa, Madison Zettlemoyer and Carly Zimmerman.

6th Grade Honor Roll

Jaxon Appleby, Ryleigh Atticks, Logan Bartakovits, Arkel Batts, Yandel Beltre, Katherine Bolden, Alexus Bowers, Daniel Brenan, Julian Brenner, Ashley Brittelli, Kalie Brown, Isabella Buehrle, Isaiah Burns-Schulte, Jessica Caban, Jordan Caban, Charity Cochran, Daynara Colon, Sebastian Dash, Charlize Dawkins, Aleeha Donicker, Brayden Dunn, Alana Escobar, William Fulmer, Brandy Gamble, Jackson Grimland, Tristan Handley, Ayden Harper, Damian Hoover, Julia Hughes, Gracyella Ippolito, Ryli Kifolo, Ella Killen, Fairnoh Koleh, Brian Kreiser, Delayni Landis, Brandon Lindsay-Traino, Jurnie Little, Natalie Maneval, Alyssa Mather, Dylan Maxwell, Kevin McClure, Kelsey McKnight, Logan McLinn, Christine Miller, Josiah Molina, Abigail Moore, Mikayla Neidig, Avery Newton, Ciara Neyer, Isaiah Plaunt, Leah Popernack, Jaelyn Rankin, Alexis Reiseg, Samantha Rice, Mehlia Rinesmith, Ava Russ, Noella Schanke, Hannah Seiders, Jacob Senior, Nolan Sessa, Ali Sghir, Caden Shomper, Chad Sipe, Alyssa Smith, Decaeli Smith, Bailey Snyder, Molly Strite, Sa’nya Togans, Minelly Viera Simmons, Lilyana Wallace and Marli Welsh.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:01

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Spaghetti dinner, spring musical preview set for Lower Dauphin Middle School

Food and fun are on the menu at Lower Dauphin Middle School from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.

The cast of Lower Dauphin High School’s spring musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It” will serve a spaghetti dinner in the Lower Dauphin Middle School cafeteria. At several points throughout the evening, students will perform songs from the musical.

The show features plenty of familiar songs by George and Ira Gershwin including “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” and of course “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”

Students will perform at the spaghetti dinner where diners will enjoy “all-you-can-eat” spaghetti with a choice of meatless or meat sauce, as well as bread, fresh salad, an assortment of hot and cold beverages, and a wide variety of home-baked desserts. Organized by a group of parent volunteers, the spaghetti dinner fundraiser has become a tradition for the Lower Dauphin spring musical.

Tickets for the dinner are available from any cast member or at the door, and cost $9 for adults and $6 for children younger than 10 and senior citizens. There is a special of $15 for two adults. Proceeds help cover the costs of producing the show, such as costumes, programs and set construction.

The musical will be held March 2-4. Show tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $10 for adults and may be pre-ordered by calling 566-5393.

A sneak preview for senior citizens will be held Wednesday, March 1, at 9 a.m. following a complimentary breakfast at 8. Senior citizens interested in reserving a place for the preview show and breakfast may call 566-5330, ext. 1028.

The performance on Friday, March 3, will also feature a dinner before the show to benefit the Lower Dauphin Falcon Foundation. The dinner theatre will feature a one-plate buffet meal with salad, sides and dessert. Tickets for the dinner theatre must be reserved by Feb. 21 by calling 566-5393. Cost of tickets for dinner and the show is $15 for students and $25 for adults and includes admission to the show that evening.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:37

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Students of the Month: Elizabethtown Area High School

web students of month

Elizabethtown Area High School seniors Sydney DePoto and Simon Munyan recently were selected as the Elizabethtown Rotary Club’s students of month for January. DePoto and Munyan were honored for their high academic achievement and extensive involvement in school and community service activities. 

DePoto is the daughter of Joe and Lori DePoto of Elizabethtown. She is a member of the National Honor Society. DePoto has also received several underclassmen awards including in the areas of Spanish, honors English, and anatomy and physiology

She is active in numerous school activities including student council, Mini-THON (major events captain), and girls soccer. As part of the soccer team, DePoto was named to the Lancaster-Lebanon League academic all-star team.

In the community, DePoto has taken part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Conference. She is active in her church, where she serves as a second grade Sunday school teacher’s assistant.

After graduation, DePoto plans to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy, specializing in pediatrics.

Munyan is the son of Daniel and Leslie Munyan of Elizabethtown. He is a member of the National Honor Society. Munyan holds leadership positions in numerous school activities. He is president of the Math Club and team captain of the science Olympiad team. He is also active with Quiz Bowl, Chemistry Olympiad and German Club.

Munyan has garnered numerous science awards including the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, the Sahd Metal Recycling Award, and a first place award in the area of astronomy at the Science Olympiad.

In the community, Munyan has been active with the Mennonite World Conference, where he was a volunteer audio technician. He has also been active with the Eisenman and Drexel Materials camps.

Munyan plans to attend college and major in material science and engineering.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 13:23

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Botterbusch nominated for U.S. Air Force Academy

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, recently announced the list of 28 nominees from Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District to attend the United States service academies. 

Barletta’s list of nominees includes Abel Shedwick Botterbusch, Middletown Area High School, Middletown to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Securing a congressional nomination is a vital step in the process, but does not guarantee admission. Each service academy will make final determination of which students ultimately are admitted.

Botterbusch.Abel.PhotoAbel Shedwick BotterbuschAbel is the son of Bill and Emily Botterbusch. He is involved with football, wrestling, track and field and mini-THON. He is an academic football captain and runs his own landscaping business.

Students may be nominated by their member of Congress, both U.S. senators, or by applying to the vice president of the United States.

Students who expressed interest in attending a service academy were interviewed by an independent review board of community leaders and representatives of the military community, which made final recommendations. Factors such as academic achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character, and motivation were taken into consideration and compared with other applicants. 

The academies include the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require a congressional nomination.

“This group of bright, motivated young Americans represents the best of what our part of Pennsylvania has to offer, and they are to be commended for choosing to begin their adult lives in service to this nation,” Barletta said. “We should all be proud of what these young people have already achieved, and await eagerly to see their future successes. I wish them well as they continue through the rigorous process of seeking admission to our prestigious and elite service academies.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 13:20

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