By Molly Merson
News and Features Editor
The technology department received a grant of $5,000 from the Red Lion Area Education Foundation. The head of the department, Mr. Heath Neff, used the donation to purchase new equipment for his tech. ed. classes.
As of last year, the technology department had five welders with approximately only three of them fully functioning. “It was difficult to teach 18 students using only three welders,” Mr. Neff said.
When given the grant, Mr. Neff hoped to use it to it’s best efficiency for the department.
By Zachary Rhine
News & Feature Editor
Substitute teachers are often a class’s dream come true, but that dream may be in trouble as of late. In the past few years the number of substitute teachers in the country, and Pennsylvania specifically, has decreased by more than fifty percent, according to comments from the PA Senate and House Education Committees released in October.
Superintendent of Penn Manor School District, Michael Leichliter, spoke at the state Congress about this substitute teacher shortage. Leichliter explained that Penn Manor, a school only a forty five minute drive from Red Lion, doubled in the number of vacancies left unfilled from the 2013-2014 school year to the 2014-2015 school year.
“As our pool of substitutes has shrunk in relation to those needed just to handle routine sick day and personal day needs of teachers,” said Leichliter, “the number of professional days for teachers has grown, further contributing to our current crisis.”
Not only is the demand for substitutes at an all time high, but the fairly recent Affordable Care Act is also making schools hesitate to schedule the substitutes that they already have. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly known, redefined how many hours a full-time and part-time job entails.
If a substitute is scheduled for more than thirty hours a week then by law they are entitled to certain benefits, salaries, and are considered full-time workers. Schools now have to find a balance with how many teachers they can schedule and also manage an already tight school budget.
“With cuts in education, and hiring, and simply the diminishing of the substitute teaching state,” said Mr. Shue, Red Lion Principal, “the district certainly has been impacted.”
When asked if administrators ever cover any classes, Shue explained, “On occasion, but often students unfortunately have to report to the commons.”
Mrs. Joanne Bouton has been a substitute teacher for fifteen, going on sixteen years at both Red Lion and Dallastown. She planned on only teaching for a year or two, but ended up continuing because of how much she enjoyed it.
She said that she has noticed that the pool of her fellow substitutes has dwindled over the years.
“It’s a shame, too,” said Bouton, “because it’s such a joy to see the kids from elementary grow up, and see how they change going from middle to high school.”
Junior Levi Jones expressed concern about this year’s lack of substitutes. “When Mr. Smith was out for a week after his injury there were many days where we didn’t even have a sub; we were simply told to go to the commons. So now we’re behind from where we need to be.”
With all of the news and struggles that schools deal with day-by-day, few could have guessed that the seemingly bismal component of substitute teachers would cause such dramatic effects when their group began to vanish.
Now two things must happen if this stupple of public schooling is going to continue for future generations: schools must find the budget to schedule more substitutes, and more of the younger generation will need to be enticed to pursue substitute teaching.
By Zachary Rhine
Red Lion welcomes Mr. Andrew Thiry to the social studies department this year. The 2015-2016 school year is not only Mr. Thiry’s first year with Red Lion Senior High School, but also his first year as a full time teaching professional.
Mr. Thiry is teaching tenth grade government and an elective for eleventh and twelfth graders; presidential history.
“I want to show students other points of view. I want to help them build their identities,” Thiry said, “I want everyone to express their thoughts.”
Mr. Thiry graduated from Governor Mifflin and got his degree from Millersville. He comes from a family of teachers, many of whom reside in Twin Valley.
Aside from teaching, Mr. Thiry also enjoys sports such as volleyball and soccer. He also enjoys music, especially playing his guitar.
Thiry’s goal for this school year is to learn as much from the people around him as they are learning from him.
Moving up from the junior high to the senior high this year is Ms. Nicole Park. Now teaching tenth and eleventh grade English classes, Ms. Park will be inspiring students to expand their knowledge on language and literature.
This is Park’s twentieth year teaching, and fourteen of those years were spent at the junior high where she was in charge of the Cat’s Paw newsletter, the middle school’s version of the Leonid.
Park received her undergrad from Penn State’s main campus.
When asked why she teaches, Ms. Park responded with sincerity that she wants students to explore new paths of knowledge. “I want to inspire others to foster a new love of learning,” said Park
Her goal for this school year is to find a place at the high school. “This school is just so much bigger than the middle school! Even a walk to the office takes me a good amount of time. It’s exhausting,” joked Park. She went on to explain that the pace is also much faster at the high school.
Aside from teaching, Ms. Park also enjoys reading and learning about the human condition. She has one daughter that is currently a Junior at Dallastown.
By Ian Adler
“What’s going on in her body is now a battle.”
“Mrs. Smeltzer” has become an almost household name in Red Lion. Known to some as a health teacher, and others as a source of inspiration, “The Smeltz” has recently been tasked with her newest challenge in life: cancer of the cerebellum, spinal and meningeal fluid.
“On Feburary 9, I arrived at school with a migraine,” Smeltzer said in an email interview. “Very quickly, the migraine turned into something different. The school contacted my husband and I was sent to Cancer Care.”
After several scans and imaging, a small cancer spot was found on the base of Smeltzer’s cerebellum. The medical team also tested her spinal and meningeal fluid, where several other spots were discovered.
However, this is not Smeltzer’s first run-in with cancer. On Dec. 20, 2011, just 13 days after her thirtieth birthday, Smeltzer was tested positive for triple negative breast cancer. She received various treatments, including radiation chemotherapy.
“It was completely conquerable, and I thought it was just a temporary inconvenience for her,” Ms. Heather Fogell said, a co-worker and close friend of Smeltzer. “I was scared a little bit, but I knew that breast cancer is curable.”
Along with support from her students, staff, family and friends, Smeltzer won her first bout with cancer.
“It’s just not something you would automatically ever think would happen to somebody as young as her,” Mrs. Susan Hinkle said, another co-worker and friend of Smeltzer. “It was sort of a shock and reality check to everyone, but also a “why?” Why would she have this?”
Not even two years later, on June 13, 2013, Smeltzer had learned that the cancer had metastasized (spread) to the bones in her left shoulder, left collar-bone, sternum, both hips, and a spot on her right ribs.
After hearing the news of the second diagnosis, Hinkle described her reaction as a “wind out your sails” feeling.
“I really felt for her,” Hinkle said. “I really felt her celebrating to have it behind her. You automatically think when it starts going to other parts in the body, it gets a whole lot more serious. This isn’t something that you take just care of and it goes away, it’s going to be a challenge.”
Fogell also knew that this was “now a fight for her life.”
“I know that she is a fighter,” said Fogell. “At that point, I knew that she had responded really well to chemotherapy, so I knew there was a good chance for a good prognosis.”
For both the first and second rounds of chemo, Smeltzer received her treatment at Cancer Care at Apple Hill Medical Center.
After discovery of the cancer in her spinal and meningeal fluid and also cerebellum, Smeltzer received a radiation cycle from Feb. 12 to Mar. 5. “Needless to say, it has taken it’s toll on my head,” Smeltzer said. “My hair has thinned and actually started to hurt, like when you have the flu.”
“About six days after radiation, I told John, my husband, that I wanted to buzz cut my hair again,” Smeltzer said. “Let me tell you, hair is overrated. I love my buzz cut and the looks I get! Hair will always grow back, well, unless it’s in your genes to be bald.”
As of this March, she is undergoing intrathecal treatment every other week which is injected into her spinal column. Smeltzer also takes an oral chemotherapy pill called Xeloda to help combat and control the disease.
Fogell, along with Smeltzer and Smeltzer’s mother, have began to do their own research into different treatments for patients with similar situations to Smeltzer’s. “Now it’s gotten much more serious, and it seems a lot more permanent, but my concern is that she just takes time to enjoy life for herself, in the moment,” said Fogell.
“My life has done a 180 in four years,” Smeltzer said. “(The cancer) makes me slow down and suck up the little things. It has made me realize what is important in life. It honestly has made me a better person.”
Hinkle believes one of the most difficult things for Smeltzer is her absence here at the High School. “She really cares about her job. She loves being here, she loves interacting with the students and teaching what she teaches. It fulfills her life.”
“Anytime that we have sent her any messages or pictures or anything, you can tell it keeps her going, like she’s a part of things,” Hinkle said. “She doesn’t want to be treated with sorrow, she wants you to send her the funny text messages and she doesn’t want you to treat her any different.”
“Now I’m thinking that she is an amazingly strong person. Continues, daily, to help others, to be there for others, to give for others,” Fogell said. “I am still very hopeful.”
Smeltzer’s attitude is one of the most commendable aspects of her diagnosis. “It is what it is! I don’t care what I have to do, I just want to survive.”