The Lancer Life Blog captures the life and pride of a General McLane student behind school doors. This District-wide Blog is a chronicle of news and events, as well as a platform to showcase the achievements and accomplishments of students, faculty and staff within this District. For story ideas, please e-mail Marissa Orbanek at

Senior shares experience at Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences

Posted on October 25, 2016


General McLane High School senior Joel Linebach attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (PGSS), a highly competitive five-week, in-residence summer enrichment program at Carnegie Mellon University. He was one of 60 students chosen from over 500 applicants.

“For students who love to learn and love the sciences, this is an outlet to pursue that passion,” Linebach said.

PGSS is known for its intense program in which the students take lecture courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science. Some of Linebach’s courses included Biotechnology of HIV and AIDS, Computer Science, Discrete Mathematics, Organic Chemistry and programming. While in programming, Linebach said he learned how to program Tetris and Tic-Tac-Toe.

In addition, students participate in their choice of one laboratory course in either biology, chemistry, physics, or computer science and engage in team research projects in one of the above five major discipline areas. Linebach was part of a research project in Chemistry and dealt with super conductors and x-ray diffraction.

“What was really nice was that it was set up like you’re in college,” Linebach said. “One of the things that the Governor’s School really offers students it the opportunity to excel where high school can’t.”

For example, he said that at General McLane High School, he could take Organic Chemistry or Special Relativity as independent study. But at the Governor’s School, he had access to the labs and high-tech equipment that is only available on a college campus.

“This gives that experience to high school kids who love to learn and delve into this type of stuff, while also seeing them flourish.”

The students also have the opportunity to take elective courses, participate in several field trips and hear from distinguished guest lecture series. Some of this year’s speakers included a Nuclear Engineer, a Geologist, a Rocket Scientist, NASA Scientist and computer scientist.

The program is free for students selected to participate. Previously, the state funded the program but funding was cut in 2009. Now, program alumni and supporters have joined together to form “Save PGSS.”

Linebach is a member of the National Honor Society, Study Council, Marching Band, Cross County and Track teams and Evironthon teams. He is also the Drum Major for the band, serves as the JETS team captain and is a dance assistant at Miss Lucy’s Dancing School. He plans to focus in Bio-Chemistry after high school.

Linebach presented his experience to the General McLane School District Board of Directors at their October Monthly Meeting.


Senior completes Eagle Scout Project

Posted on October 24, 2016


General McLane Senior Tony Damore recently completed his Eagle Scout Project.

Damore performed extensive repairs, beautification and the construction of a new shed at Golden Cemetery in McKean. He worked along with Lee Steadman, VFW Post 740 and many other community volunteers.

According to Damore, has been working on this project since his junior year and it took a few months to create the 10×10 shed. The biggest challenge for him was making time to do the project.

Damore has be in Cub Scouts since first grade and is very excited to complete his project.

The senior is enrolled in the Erie County Technical School for welding. He plans to enter the welding industry upon graduation.

Congratulations to Tony on a wonderful project and accomplishment!


Getting to Know the Service Center’s Nancy Ekstrom

Posted on October 20, 2016


Each Friday, we will feature an employee in the District so you can get to know the amazing individuals that work for General McLane School District!

This week, we are featuring the Service Center’s Nancy Ekstrom, who has worked as Transportation Services Manager in the District for just over a year. Prior to serving in our District, Ms. Ekstrom was the Assistant Location Manager for First Student in Millcreek.  Ms. Ekstrom has also volunteered for many different events and for organizations over the years.

What is your favorite thing about your job?
Overcoming the unexpected challenges — be it the weather, driver shortages or the concerns and expectations of parents. At the end of the day, knowing that all the kids have been delivered safely is one of my favorite things.

Why do you enjoy being part of the GM family?
The people in this community are fantastic, from coworkers and staff to the children and parents we service.

What is your favorite work-related memory?
The “belated 30th birthday” cake from the drivers I received when I turned 55 this year! 

Did you know ….
Outside of working in transportation, Ms. Ekstrom worked as a bank supervisor and stay-at-home mom!


4th Annual Zombie Run Slated for Saturday

Posted on October 20, 2016

Zombie Run copy

General McLane High School’s Wellness Club will be hosting their fourth annual Zombie Run this weekend

The race will be two miles through GM’s cross country course and takes place on October 22. The run starts at 10 a.m. and registration and free zombie makeup begins at 9 a.m.

Cost for this run is $2 for GM students. Registration forms are available online or at the High School and Middle School.


Pajama Day raised over $500 for JDRF

Posted on October 18, 2016


On Friday, James W. Parker Middle School’s 8th grade advisors hosted a Pajama Day to raise money for Juvenile diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Students donated a $1 to wear pajamas and teachers donated $5 to wear jeans to school. They raised $566.30.

This idea was developed through the MS PTSA. They will present the check to Mrs. Diane Sickles the NWPA JDRF branch director during a PTSA meeting on November 1.





Getting to Know McKean’s Jackie Wismer

Posted on October 14, 2016


Each Friday, we will feature an employee in the District so you can get to know the amazing individuals that work for General McLane School District!

This week, we are featuring McKean Elementary School’s Jackie Wismer, who has worked in the District for nine years. Prior to serving a fourth grade elementary teacher, Ms. Wismer worked as a GM Literacy Coach.

Before teaching in General McLane School District, Ms. Wismer taught in Wattsburg Area School District, Tennessee and Florida.

What is your favorite thing about your job?
Trying new things, the challenge of figuring out what makes my students tick and working with two amazing teaching partners … there’s never a dull moment!

Why do you enjoy being part of the GM family?
I love the feeling of being part of a community!

What is your favorite work-related memory?
Last year our 4th graders surprised us with a Teacher Appreciation Party – and it included a Teacher Gymnastics area!

Did you know ….
Ms. Wismer’s passion for teaching didn’t come about through an inspiring teacher or positive school experiences. Instead, school was a struggle and challenge for Ms. Wismer.

“These experiences have caused me to do everything I can to be attuned to each student and make sure school is a positive experience for them,” Wismer said.


GMHS goes to digital hall passes

Posted on October 13, 2016

Gone are the days of the old-fashioned hall passes – the digital hall pass has made its way to General McLane High School.

e-Hallpass is a  a software system for that allows teachers and administrators to provide hallway permission to students digitally.

Here’s how it works: Students submit a leave request using the e-hallpass web app on their iPads. Teachers review the request and then approve it. Through this process, the student’s name, destination details, time of departure, reason and length of time gone are recorded on the database. Teachers also receive arrival notifications if a student is visiting another teacher or office.

The product is meant to improve student security and accountability. Administrators and teachers will know which students are in the hallways and be able to track and monitor hall uses. Future versions of the product will allow administrators to initiate the creation of hall passes and send them directly to the students to replace the call-down system.

“We have the technology to do this and it seems like the paper system is now antiquated,” said General McLane High School principal Daniel Mennow. “This is a more modern, relevant and less-disruptive system.”

The new digital system went into effect after students received “training” on e-HallPass during advisory. The high school previously was testing this website with a sample group of students prior to its implementation.




Pizza with the Principals

Posted on October 13, 2016


James W. Parker Middle School students enjoyed some pizza with the principals to celebrate their participation in the PTSA Summer Reading Program.

To be eligible for this party, students entering grades 5, 6, 7 or 8 must read the equivalent of 6 chapter books and novels that are age and reading level appropriate. Students complete a summer reading log and turn their forms in by mid-September.

A participant from each grade was chosen at random to win a $5 Walmart gift card. Winners included: Owen McMullen (5th), Rylee Reichard (6th), Billy Sechrist (7th) and Dylan Throop (8th). Alyssa Radtke was recognized for having read the longest book — one that was 875 pages long. Dorothy Aulenbacher was recognized for having read 57 books, the most books read. Each of these girls got $10 Walmart gift cards.

This event is hosted by the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), a volunteer association where parents, educators, students and other citizens can be active in their schools and communities. JWPMS PTSA also donated all of the gift cards.


McKean celebrates National Walk and Bike to School Day

Posted on October 12, 2016


McKean Elementary School celebrated National Walk and Bike to School Day and being the recipient of a Safe Routes to School grant on Wednesday with an assembly.

The entire school gathered at the end of the day to hear speakers and walk a mile. All faculty, staff and students walked to represent the importance of safety, as well as the importance of 60 minutes per day of physical activity.

Speakers included retired GM /McKean Health and Physical Education Teacher Patricia Davis, Amanda Harkness from the Erie County Health Department and GMHS and EUP student-athletes and EUP.

McKean received a $500 Safe Routes to School grant that will be used to purchase helmets and educational safety materials for health. The school will have e a bike rodeo in the Spring to display the new material and show safe ways to bike in community.

For more photos, visit our Featured Photos Page.


Caring Place kicks off Grief Awareness Campaign

Posted on October 12, 2016

Caring Place

Last week, James W. Parker Middle School’s Pamela Swanseger and two students attended a luncheon at the Caring Place to kick off grief awareness. Each school in attendance brought two student representatives to learn about the Caring Place and how to raise awareness for grieving children and families. Ellie Conaway and Haley Bloomquist were selected as student reps, as they are part of the 8th grade advisors who are planning Grief Awareness Day at JWPMS on November 17.

Currently, students and adults can purchase a Children’s Grief Awareness Day T-shirt for $7 each (if paying with a check please make payable to JWPMS), with $3 from each shirt purchased being donated back to the Caring Place. Shirts will be on sale during ALL lunches and in the main lobby each morning on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week (Oct. 12, 13 & 14).

Sizes available are Youth Small & Medium — Adult sizes Small – 2XL. The last day to order shirts is Friday, October 14th in order to have the shirts here before Children’s Grief Awareness Day.

The Highmark Caring Place is a Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families that offers a safe place for grieving children and families to come together. The Caring Place offers these services at no charge to grieving families from throughout the community.

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