As of mid-January, gym class has changed for Carlisle High School students.
Half the time they spend in each physical education course will now involve the pursuit of an individualized fitness plan for self-improvement.
The change was made possible by the recent development of separate fitness centers in the Swartz and McGowan buildings that now give every student access to cardio and weight training equipment.
The Swartz Fitness Center was the result of an expansion of that building’s weight room that more than doubled its floor space. That work was coordinated with a project to remodel the much smaller McGowan weight room into a fitness center. Both became operational in January.
Carlisle Area School District is trying to get away from the term “weight room” because it implies exclusive use by student athletes when the centers are open to all students, said Karen Quinn, director of curriculum and instruction.
Fitness centers have operated for years at the Lamberton and Wilson middle schools after those buildings underwent an extensive renovation and expansion project. Meanwhile, revisions were made to the health and physical education curriculum to allow for a 50 percent fitness component in grades 6-12, Quinn said.
While the middle schools had the facilities to implement the change right away, the high school had to wait until work was done to convert and reclassify its weight rooms into fitness centers. As a result, some middle school students entered the high school without a fitness center for their individualized fitness plans.
Under the curriculum, a teacher works with each student to develop a fitness plan suitable to their needs, abilities and goals, said George Null, program chair of the health and physical education department. Testing is done in the fall and spring to track the progress of each student.
“Teachers facilitate the plan by reviewing it, seeing where the gains are and offering suggestions on how to improve,” said Null, who is also the district athletic director. The idea was to start the fitness component in the sixth grade, carry it over in the seventh and eighth grade and eventually work it into the high school when the facilities come online.
But prior to mid-January, there were no fitness centers, so the high school lacked a fitness focus, Null said. “We did components of fitness, but we could not go all-out personal with individualized plans for kids.
“We did circuits,” he said. “But it was never something we could sustain over time.”
Now high school students have the ability to put together a prescribed program with measurable and obtainable goals.
Carlisle High School students are required to take a physical education course all four years, Quinn said. Each course is offered two days a week during a five-day cycle. The goal for the district is to divide up each section so that 50 percent of the students at any one time are rotated through the fitness centers.
Most classes for freshmen and sophomores are held in the Swartz building while most classes for juniors and seniors are held in the McGowan building. The Swartz Fitness Center is two-thirds larger than the McGowan Fitness Center because the McGowan center was limited by the physical footprint of that portion of the high school, Null said.
As a result, some of the larger physical education classes in McGowan would be unable to rotate 50 percent of the students into the fitness center at any one time, Null said. But he was confident the district could meet the goal of having 50 percent of their time spent in pursuit of an individualized fitness plan.
“Where we can, we will make it happen,” said Null, adding it may require the teachers to use creativity to make sure half the high school physical education experience involves some form of personal fitness.
For the first time in Bubbler Band history, a musician from its ranks will be taking a seat at the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association’s All-State Orchestra.
Adam Dieck, a junior at Boiling Springs High School, earned a place in the orchestra by virtue of an audition video. He will be playing his bass clarinet at the PMEA All-State Orchestra Concert at 2 p.m. April 21 at J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster.
Boiling Springs Band Director David Yinger said the honor was well-deserved.
“Adam is a great kid, I’m so proud of him. He has worked tirelessly toward his goals the past couple years, and it is all paying off for him now. As his teacher, it really is a pleasure to see this kind of success coming his way,” he said.
Dieck talked about the road to the state orchestra for this week’s five questions.
Q. What instrument do you play, and how long have you been playing?
A. My primary instrument, and the instrument I made state orchestra on, is the bass clarinet, but I also play tenor saxophone quite a bit and play sousaphone during marching band season. I have been playing the clarinet since fourth grade, but switched to bass clarinet in seventh grade and have been playing it primarily ever since.
Q. Would you describe the process for being selected to All-State Orchestra?
A. My route to state orchestra was a unique one. I tried out for district band this year for the fourth time, and since I got first chair overall at auditions I was selected for PMEA District 7 Orchestra in addition to district band. They usually do not take a bass clarinet for orchestra, so I was extremely fortunate to get first chair the year that they did. As soon as I found out I was in district orchestra, I tried to find out what the next audition orchestra for bass clarinet was in PMEA. Lucky for me, they were doing an “at-large” audition for instruments not usually featured in state orchestra, and bass clarinet was part of the at-large audition group for this year only. I had to submit and record an audition video of a selected excerpt and submit it before I went to district orchestra, and I found out that I had made it when I arrived at Region V Band.
Q. What was your reaction when you found out that you would be the first Bubbler to make the All-State Orchestra?
A. I was overjoyed when I found out that I had made it. At regional band, I was going to find out whether or not I made it before I had to re-audition for state band (you can only do one state festival, so if I made it to orchestra I would have to be marked as ineligible for state band). When the District 7 chair pulled my band director aside and told him that I had been selected for the all-state festival, there was an immense feeling of validation. This is my fourth year doing PMEA festivals, and it hasn’t always been easy to stay positive. I had made it my eighth-grade year, and so I expected to make it when I tried out my freshman year. However, I placed two chairs away from getting in and I was devastated. The next year, I was finally was eligible to go to regional and state festivals (freshman are not allowed to go to any festival level above districts; the order goes Counties-Districts-Regionals-All States) and I got first chair at district auditions. However, in my audition to go to regionals, I was beaten by three to four points and couldn’t go. This year, however, I made every festival I tried out for and got my first pick of state festivals in state orchestra. When I made it, it was like all of the years of hard work, disappointment, and auditions were worth it. To be the first from my school to make it to a state festival in six years and the first ever to make state orchestra is just incredible and I can’t wait to represent Boiling Springs in Lancaster this April.
Q. How would you describe the role of music in your life?
A. Unlike a lot of people who participate in PMEA festivals, my plan is not to major in music in college or to explore music as a career path. I certainly plan to play in college and probably for the rest of my life, but I don’t see music as something I’d be employed in. Because of this, the role music plays in my life is much more focused on the abstract and less on the concrete world of college auditions or music theory.
One of the major things it has taught me is that a good work ethic is key to achieving your dreams. If you want to make an audition band, you have to make sure that you have the music on time and you have the time to practice and perfect the piece. It has been a wonderful way to meet new people and talk with other motivated and passionate people about the same things you care about. I can confidently say I make at least one new friend at every new festival I go to. Sitting in a section and making music with people you’ve often times never met is an amazing experience and a great exercise in trust and teamwork.
Overall though, music is just something that I do to de-stress and get a break from the monotony of high school academic life. Every time I play, I am completely focused on the moment and the music, not on the homework I have due tomorrow or the test I have the next block. For that moment all I have to worry about is playing and listening. It’s such a great way to relax, and that is in itself crucial to my life.
Q. What advice or encouragement would you give younger students just starting out on an instrument?
A. The advice I have for people just starting an instrument is to identify why you’re playing it. The way you approach playing for a career and the way you approach playing an instrument as a hobby are very different. The key, however, is to have as much fun with it as possible. If you find yourself struggling to go and practice music, then you’re doing something wrong.
Experiment with different instruments, different music and different styles of playing the instrument. There is no “right” way to do it, whatever makes you happy is what is right. For some people, that means playing simple show tunes or pop songs in marching band. For others, that means striving to be the best at that instrument with intricate solos and etudes. Whatever you do, I recommend giving as many instruments as possible a try before deciding on “the one”. My advice is to have as much fun as you can while playing an instrument, whatever that means for you.
It was a proud crowd that gathered at Bosler Memorial Library on Sunday afternoon to recognize the top readers and writers of this year’s Buck a Book Literacy Campaign.
“We love being a part of this event every year,” said Melissa Killinger, the library’s assistant director of youth and family services. “It’s great to see kids doing the reading and writing in support of adult literacy.”
This was the 14th annual literacy campaign fundraiser benefiting adult education programs at the Employment Skills Center in Carlisle. The program is a joint venture between the center and Carlisle Area School District. Carlisle’s students in kindergarten to fifth grade raise funds for the center by pledging to read books for sponsor donations.
This year’s effort was one of the most successful campaigns, raising a total of $29,500 that will go toward job training and education programs at the center, said Employment Skills Center instructor Art Kunst, who coordinates the Buck a Book program.
“It’s unusual to have a nonprofit organization (like the Employment Skills Center) come into a school, but when you think about it, it makes sense. They believe in education, and we believe in education,” Kunst said.
The top three readers from each elementary school were honored on Sunday with the unveiling of their own individual poster. Each reader’s poster will hang for a year on the library’s wall of fame.
Also on Sunday, students published in this year’s “Wordy Worm” book read their work to an audience of friends and family. Each year, Buck a Buck participants are given grade-level writing prompts focusing on Wordy Worm, the campaign’s mascot. This year’s theme was “Wordy Worm Gets a Job.”
Entries were written late last year and judged by English honors students at Carlisle High School, said Malinda Mikesell, the school district’s reading supervisor. Of the hundreds who participated in this year’s essay project, 59 were selected for publication.
Evan Flickinger, a second-grader at Mt. Holly Springs Elementary School, recited his composition about Wordy Worm getting a job as a wildlife biologist as parents Luke and Jaimie Flickinger of Gardners looked on.
Nasia Carothers, a fourth-grader at Hamilton Elementary School, read aloud her essay about Wordy getting a job as a librarian. “I’m very proud,” said mother Rana Carothers.
This year’s top reader in the district was Maya Spease, a second-grader at Bellaire Elementary School, who read a total of 395 books during the two-and-a-half-week campaign in January.
Grandmother Linda Spease said Maya had actually read 395 chapters in young readers’ books during that time, not entire books. At the campaign’s second-grade level, reading a chapter counts as an entire book, such as Peggy Parish’s “Amelia Bedelia” series.
LeTort Elementary School was awarded a Wordy Award trophy for conducting the “most creative” Buck a Book Campaign by judges who visited each school. LeTort also will receive a visit from the Susquehanna Art Museum’s VanGo museum on wheels as a prize.
The Sentinel trophies were awarded to North Dickinson Elementary school for “most participation” and to Mooreland Elementary School for “most money raised.” Numerous pledge-level prizes also were distributed to students.
Finally, two classrooms from Mooreland and North Dickinson will get a trip to Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Person’s Concert for raising the most money on an individual room basis.
Kunst cited M&T Bank as the overall event’s main sponsor. Other sponsors were the Employment Skills Center, Leo’s Homemade Ice Cream, Cumberland County Library System, the Moose Family Fraternity, JW Music, Martson Law Offices, the Civic Club of Carlisle, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Cumberland County Historical Society, Amazon, Harrisburg Senators, the Exchange Club of Carlisle, Visiting Angels, Lamar and the Carlisle Family YMCA.
Under a proposal put forth Monday morning by Gov. Tom Wolf, all public officials would be subject to a gift ban, new campaign finance limits would be enacted, lawmakers would need to provide receipts for reimbursements, and top state officials wouldn’t be paid until a complete budget is passed every year.
Wolf unveiled his proposed reforms at a news conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, along with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. No legislators were in attendance and the governor said he anticipated the proposals would face opposition.
A number of similar proposals have been floated before, particularly in the wake of scandals or budget impasses — such as not paying lawmakers while a budget remains unfinished — but haven’t gained traction.
Wolf, a first-term Democrat seeking re-election, stopped the practice of accepting gifts among people under his authority when he took office three years ago, but that does not apply to state legislators and other elected state officials.
The governor wants limits on political campaign contributions and disclosure of donations made by people seeking government contracts.
Budget negotiations between Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature have been agonizing for the past three years, with none being completed on time and two of the three years wrapping up months late.
Wolf, a wealthy businessman, donates his salary to charity.
His proposal would freeze pay until a complete budget is passed.
Wolf also wants public officials to make public the source and type of any outside income, and the total amount.