By Tori Austin
Physical education is an assigned course that students are required to take two days a cycle every year--but that will all be changing next year.
During a meeting on Nov. 3, the school board approved a plan that will completely alter the way science labs and gym classes are set up.
Under the plan, physical education will become a semester-long course students take every day of the cycle. However, students will only be required to take three semesters of gym class throughout their high school career. This change means that students could have a senior year free of gym class.
Meanwhile, Advanced Placement (AP) science classes with double lab periods would move to having a lab period every day for a full year. During the first three marking periods, under Mr. Mark Shue’s outline, the lab period would be used for an extension of classwork. In the fourth marking period, however, the class would explore a specific science elective that the teacher deems relevant to the end-of-the-year AP test.
A note from Superintendent Dr. Scott Deisley: It is nearly impossible to encapsulate a life in a few words. It is even more difficult to capture the impact and contributions of Jeff Fix to the Red Lion Area School District. A few days after the senior high prom, Mr. Fix wrote an open letter to the students of the senior high. I think his words best sum up his love for this district and our students.
Dear RLASH Students:
I am often asked why I would want to serve on our school board. There are many long meetings, complex issues that must be resolved, balancing our budget with limited tax dollars…and we don’t get paid to do it! But I think I can speak on behalf of the entire board, both past and present, that the opportunity to serve YOU, our students, and assure that you get the best education possible is well worth the effort.
We are constantly reminded of the outstanding things you do. Whether it’s your academic accomplishments, the excellence you achieve in music, athletics, and other extracurriculars or the many ways you give back to our community. Mini-THON and the Habitat House are two great examples of how you go way above and beyond what is expected.
In my nearly eight years on school board, there have been countless occasions when I have been overwhelmed with pride in your accomplishments, but perhaps never more so than on the evening of April 25th. Each year, you select a Prom Queen and King who always represent the very best of who we are at Red Lion. And this year, you did so again by selecting Lauren Bankard and Cody Woods. Both are great kids and very special people.
In addition to being special in the general sense, Cody is uniquely so, and it is not his needs that make him special nor define who he is. What makes him special is the joy, the enthusiasm, and the positive spirit that he brings to school each and every day. Thank you for bestowing both Cody and Lauren with this honor.
On behalf of the entire school board, we are enormously proud of your gesture. I believe that we as a school district are perhaps best defined by how well we include our special kids in our lives. In that regard, you have set a very high standard. You are truly the best!
Jeffrey E. Fix
Red Lion Area Board of School Directors
Jeff understood the need to run a fiscally sound district. Although he worked to not raise taxes, he never wanted to give our students less--only more. He valued academics yet recognized the importance of extracurricular activities. He was proud of our facilities from our stage to Horn Field to the Fitzkee Center. He loved to brag about the opportunities that our students have. His 32 years as an unpaid tennis coach speaks to his commitment to our students. In addition to providing our students with a world-class education, Jeff was deeply concerned about uniting the entire Red Lion Area School District. Although Jeff was elected to represented Red Lion Borough, he worked to actively include the other two regions when making decisions. He dreamed of a united district where all students were able to participate equally. He did not like to hear that some students were unable to participate in activities because of a lack of transportation or funds. To that end, he gave freely of his time and energy.
Certainly, Jeff loved this school district. He loved serving our students especially as the President of the Board. Truly Jeff represents the best of our school district. The blood that coursed through his veins undoubtedly was Gold and Black.
Our district is a better place because of him.
By Ian Adler
Mr. Jay Vasellas, a former student and teacher at Red Lion, is planning to run for school board in this year’s upcoming election.
Vasellas taught various American history classes at the high school for 38 years, and with the exception of college and pre-kindergarten days, spent all of his life in the district as well. In addition to teaching at Red Lion, Vasellas also teaches American history classes at York College, and has been doing so for 13 years.
“I’ve just got a passion for this school district,” Vasellas said. “It’s defined me, it’s defined my family and any of the accomplishments and opportunities my family has had have been generated by this school district.”
However, Jay isn’t the first in the Vasellas family with interest in a school board membership. Vasellas’ mother, Norma Vasellas, served on the school board for 16 years.
“I saw what she could bring in background knowledge and how teachers feel about certain things,” Vasellas said. “It’s a different thing.”
Norma was a teacher at Dallastown, in addition to her Red Lion school board membership.
Currently, there are no teachers or former teachers on the school board, as no paid employee of the district may serve on the board, as outlined in the school board member applicaton. This obviously can raise a few issues between the two groups of people, from communication to wants and needs.
“Sometimes, I feel like the communication between school board and teachers can be enhanced, almost as a translator,” Vasellas said. “Teachers and board members sometimes just do not speak the same language.”
In addition to the standard expectations and activities that all school board members carry out, Vasellas has some ideas of his own to contribute.
“My priority is going to be how do we best implement mandates on the local level when they come from above,” Vasellas said. “How do we do the best job we can to teach kids in the classroom?”
Currently, Vasellas is an Interim board member. He was named to temporarily fill a position that someone had resigned from.
School board primary elections were held on May 19. Vasellas placed first among both republican and democrat voters. Mike Rowe will be his opponent for the seat in November elections.
In addition to Vasellas, four other candidates are running. Clair Weigle, James Clark who is currently on the board, Kevin Downs and Michael Rowe.
By Adrianna Clinton
Inconsistent is perhaps the best word to describe Pennsylvania winters. Sometimes, the Keystone State gets the brutal cold with torrential amounts of snow, other times just the sub-zero temperatures. No matter how bad the winter, however, seniors have to graduate at some point come June, and like the senior class before them, the Class of 2015 had a lot of uncertainty about the date of their graduation.
In April, the school board finally set the graduation date to be June 3 at 6:45 PM, with baccalurerate at 7 PM on June 2. The last day for seniors will be May 28.
In the future, it is the hope of both seniors and administration alike that the uncertainty surrounding graduation will become a thing of the past, as new programs are being implemented statewide to help eliminate added-on school days.
In the event that inclement weather does bring a cancellation in future school years, the school district has applied to the state and has been approved to allow Red Lion to use “flexible instruction days.”
This program will allow districts to “employ non-traditional strategies to provide a continuity of instruction on regularly-scheduled school days during which circumstances necessitate an alternative approach,” according to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education website.
This program, currently in pilot stages, could be online or offline; should an element of the districts’ program rely on technology, an equal option will be provided for those who do not have access for whatever reason. Ultimately, the FIDs can help school districts plagued with cancellations to set a graduation date much earlier.
By Adrianna Clinton
At the May 1 school board meeting, the board of directors approved the scoreboard replacement at Horn Field with a 7-2 vote.
The entire project will cost an estimated $201,948. The cost of the board will be covered by fundraising efforts and advertising with no tax dollars being utilized, according to District Marketing and Communications Manager, Don Dimoff.
The scoreboard model is manufactured by Nevco, who will perform the primary installation. A video screen will accompany the standard display on the scoreboard. The purpose of the screen is to enhance advertising opportunities for local companies as well as to provide an educational platform for students by having them produce a live feed during sporting events. The live feed would include elements such as live shots, instant replays and advertisements.
The scoreboard will be installed over the summer and be put up in time for the first sporting event of the 2014-15 school year, according to Athletic Director Arnold Fritzius.
The original long-standing scoreboard was sent down by straight-line winds last fall, resulting in the usage of a small borrowed scoreboard from York College for the remainder of the fall sports season.
Red Lion Area Senior High School journalism student, Ben Otte, recently received accolades from the prestigious 2014 Student Keystone Press Contest. Otte placed in five of sixteen possible categories in the statewide competition.
Otte, a senior and co-editor of The Leonid, found out about winning the awards when he was congratulated in a tweet by a reporter from a local newspaper late Thursday, February 20, just after covering a school board meeting. He checked the contest’s website to verify the story.
“I was surprised not only that I won one, but five categories,” Otte said. “It’s definitely an honor. It shows that hard work pays off. I have big dreams in my life, and they are what drive me. These awards bring me a few steps closer to those dreams.”
Otte received two first-place awards. One is in the News Photo category for a picture from the Leonid’s Dec. 2013 issue entitled, “PRIDE Looks to Encourage School Spirit, Improve Atmosphere,” a photo of two Red Lion students making holiday cards during PRIDE period for hospital and nursing home patients.
The other is in the General News article category for “Conrad: More than a Game”. The article highlights former football coach Pat Conrad’s contributions to the Red Lion football program.
Second place finishes were recorded by Otte’s for his video feature story, “2011 Grad Surprises Former Teacher, Cancer Fighter,” a tear-jerking video in which Senior High health teacher Carrie Smeltzer receives a check from the proceeds from t-shirt sales in her honor.
Also in second place was Otte’s sports story, “Young Highly Ranked Vaulter in PIAA,” which featured 2013 grad, Amanda Young’s high school pole-vaulting career and college plans.
In an extremely proud moment for The Leonid and Red Lion technology education, Otte took second place in the state for the school paper’s website, TheLeonid.com, which Otte designs and maintains as part of Journalism III class.
The contest, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania News Media Association, “recognizes high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers,” according to the contest rules. Judges consist of Pennsylvania newspaper editors and college level newspaper advisors.
“I could not be more proud of Ben,” said journalism teacher and Leonid advisor, Mrs. Carol Kelkis. “He works around the clock to find news and produce media products that are professional, exciting and thought-provoking. He is a quadruple threat with his skill in writing, photography, broadcasting, and editing.”
Otte will be attending Temple University beginning this fall to major in Media Studies and Production at the School of Media and Communication.
Plaques were awarded to students during the Student Keystone Press Awards Luncheon Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The graduating senior was also recognized at the April 3 Red Lion school board meeting.
By Adrianna Clinton
In his 18 years of teaching, Red Lion physics teacher Eric Wilson has never seen schools lose this many days from the wrath of winter weather.
As of Mar. 4, Red Lion has lost 12 school days this year due to the worst winter in recent memory, with some of the most recent cancellations brought about by the Nor’easter that dumped over 20 inches in parts of York County, the fifteenth storm this year alone.
Though the weather has been tough on local municipalities finding money within their budget to clean up the storms’ aftermath, it has also had a harsh effect on schools and how their teachers teach, especially with the May Keystone exams weighing on their minds.
Wilson’s most recent unit in physics on work and power was supposed to take two weeks, but because of the continuous cancellations, it took well over a month to complete.
While it has been a “very hard yet new learning experience” for teachers, Wilson is thankful that not only are there no physics Keystone exam, but also that the school board was able to change what remains of this years’ calendar to ensure that students will not be going to school until the end of June (June 30 to be exact, which is Pennsylvania law.)
On Feb. 6, the Red Lion school board met, proposed, and approved a calendar that would change the last day of school, pending additional cancellations, which at the time was June 13 to June 6, by instituting the following make up days: President’s Day on Feb. 17, a staff development day on Mar. 7, and Apr. 21, an extension of Easter vacation.
The Red Lion school district requires the district to be in session for a total of 182 days, but was amended to meet the 180 day requirement issued by the Pennsylvania Board of Education.
Should Red Lion see any more snow days through the remainder of winter, superintendent Dr. Scott Deisley said that they will think creatively, with the worst case scenario being adding 20 minutes to each school day. Going to school for a half day on Saturdays was an option as well, according to Deisley.
Despite all the concern over when the last day of school and graduation will occur, senior Katelyn Witmer said these cancellations have not increased her ‘senioritis’ at all. “Sure, the timing wasn’t great to have one of the worst winters we’ve seen in a while fall on my senior year, but I love snow and I wouldn’t change it at all.”
The continual postponement of graduation doesn’t upset fellow Chris Knorr too much either; “We can’t get mad about all the days off because we can’t control the weather...we are going to get out eventually.”
However, Chance Wonder is antsy about the graduation date, because he leaves for Army boot camp shortly after school ends. “If I lose my graduation after all these years of schooling, I’m going to be upset.”
At the Feb. 12 senior class meeting, Mr. Shue addressed the seniors anxiety over their graduation date, saying that the administration is trying to set their graduation date, but a decision cannot be made at this time.
Regardless of when the seniors will officially move on from high school and Red Lion, Wilson has said that the school district is in fact “doing [their] best to make sure all students leave with a proper education, hopefully on time.”
Hall Talk: Are you tired of the snow days?
Leonid Staff Reporter Adrianna Clinton live-tweeted from Thursday's school board meeting. The tweets were organized in a Storify post, created by York Daily Record Sunday Editor Scott Blanchard, which you can view below:
You can view the Feb. 20 board meeting minutes by clicking here.
By Nicolas Stoneham
On November 7, the Red Lion school board met to discuss some of the issues and improvements occurring in the district. A lot of these changes involve costs and improvements regarding the school buildings and programs for special education students.
Tonja Wheeler, the first member of the board to speak, shed light on the fact that Red Lion is currently the third poorest school district in the county. According to Mrs. Wheeler, we have been improving our economic situation throughout the past two years, and are continuing to do so by saving more money. Saving up money each year and only spending when absolutely necessary has profoundly helped the well-being of the district.
Krista Antonis, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, then shifted the focus of the discussion to the students of Red Lion by bringing up the many changes and improvements for “at risk” and special education kids throughout the district. One of these changes includes conducting a universal screening for schools to identify students who may be at risk so they can get the extra help they need.
Mrs. Antonis also brought up the issue of technology. In recent years, the use of iPads and Smart Boards in the classrooms of Red Lion have become increasingly popular and very useful. The problem is not every teacher is getting the opportunity to use this new technology, especially the special education department and teachers of at risk students. It was stressed that every teacher should be given the advantage of these devices, not just certain teachers.
Superintendent, Dr. Scott Deisley shared that $10,000 was raised for Habitat for Humanity throughout the district, referencing Tonja Wheeler’s previous statement that we are one of the poorest districts in the county. Deisley described the Red Lion community as generous and kind regardless of how low the district ranks economically.
Afterward, board member Jeffrey Fix brought up new changes regarding security systems in the school buildings. With recent tragedies such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the safety of students and staff is top priority, according to board members. Deisley noted that a future $25,000 grant from the state would be used to implement new state-of-the-art security systems to all district buildings. It was said that a major security system being looked into is SchoolGate Guardian Security Systems.
Throughout the meeting, members of the board brought up some very necessary points such as the improvements for special education students, budgeting, technology, and school security. All of these issues are very important in making the school district strive and work towards being a great learning environment for all students.