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

Six advance to Region Choir

Posted on January 17, 2017

Congratulations to Delaney Gatenby, Geneva O’Bannon, Henry O’Neill, Samuel Petkac, Melina Walter and Isaac Petkac! All six participated in PMEA District Choir this past weekend AND qualified to move on to Region Choir!

Here are their placements:

Delaney Gatenby | Alto 1–10th chair
Geneva O’Bannon | Soprano 2- 8th Chair
Henry O’Neill | Bass 2–7th chair
Samuel Petkac | Tenor 1–4th chair
Melina Walter | Alto 2– 4th chair
Isaac Petkac | Tenor 2–1st chair

Good luck at Regionals, which will be held in Freeport, PA on Feb. 23-25!


McKean Kicks off Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Campaign

Posted on January 13, 2017

McKean Elementary School kicked off their Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Campaign. Through the first week of February, there will be many fun heart healthy activities for the students to learn the importance of the heart, how it works and how to take care of it.

Students are encouraged to raise money through the first week of February. The goal is to raise $5000 in fundraising for the American Heart Association. The class who raises the most money will receive a physical activity and “healthy” pizza party along with a special treat from the American Heart Association.

Any questions please contact Mrs. Roberts at: or 273-1033×4020.


Foreign exchange students leave lasting impact

Posted on January 10, 2017

When General McLane alumna Judy Gnagi Lawrence (’62) was in high school, she became close friends with a foreign exchange student, Oemar Mustafa.

The two stayed connected by writing letters after he returned to his home country of Indonesia.

The correspondence ended, however, a couple years later when Mustafa was killed crossing a busy street in Jakarta.

Although Mustafa was gone, he continued to have an impact on Lawrence. It was his influence that fueled her interest in Idonenesia, a place she finally had a chance to visit in January of 2015.

“Never, ever did I imagine that more than 50 years later, I’d be visiting his native Indonesia. That’s the power and reach of a General McLane High School (and Edinboro University) education, literally taking me halfway around the world,” said Lawrence, who spoke about her trip to the Erie Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at the Jefferson Educational Society.

In one of Lawrence’s last letters from him, Mustafa expressed his desire to come back to the states and teach her how to swim.

“Since Indonesia is a series of islands, for him, swimming was a natural thing. So, he was always going to come back and teach me how to swim,” she said. “Well, when I visited Indonesia, I went swimming) after having learned to swim at the YMCA).”

Mustafa was the first foreign exchange student at General McLane High School. After it formed in 1960, the District approved its first exchange student through American Field Service in 1961.

When the foreign exchange program in the District first formed, one way that the District elicited financial support for its foreign exchange students was through student shares. Arranged by General McLane Student Council, General McLane students could be part of the experience by purchasing a share.

“I don’t imagine they raised that much money, but it also allowed for students to be part of it. We had a vested interest in our foreign exchange students,” Lawrence said.

In return, students received a certificate that declared “dividends will be paid, to the holder, in the form of rich satisfaction and friendship in welcoming and sharing our school and community with the student from abroad.”

“The last sentence was so true, that clearly happened,” Lawrence said. “The added bonus was the life long experience that it afforded. That’s not written here. But who could know that in 1962, we would have these experiences that can be traced back to our early exposure to foreign exchange students.”

The following year, the High School hosted Eva Mohlenbrock from Sweden. After a year-long process of applying for a scholarship with the American Field Service, Mohlenbrock finally received her acceptance letter.

“When it said that I was to live with a family in McKean, Pennsylvania, I tried to find it on my map-in vain,” said Mohlenbrock. “I was envious at first of some of the other exchange students who were going to California and other exciting places I had heard about, but when I compared my experience with those who had stayed in big cities and gone to equally big schools, I realized I had drawn the winning ticket!”

For General McLane students, this experience was equally as rewarding.

“There was no internet, no cellphones, no way to really get in touch with the rest of the world except newspapers and the half hour of world news on the t.v., but it was just as important at that time to broaden our horizons. Eva really helped to do that for us,” said Joan Kappelt Zalonis (’62).

Mohlenbrock lives in three different places throughout the year, but reunited with classmates just four years ago during the General McLane 50th Reunion, thanks to the research done by Maia (formerly Joan) Chisholm (‘62) on Eva’s whereabouts.

“When I have told my children and grandchildren about my year in the US, about school dances, games, drive-in movies, going to McDonald’s for hamburgers and milkshakes, they say it sounds just like A High School Musical,” Mohlenbrock said. “And so, when I received a phone call a couple of years ago and was asked if I wanted to come to the 50th anniversary, I immediately said yes.”

The passed time didn’t make a difference.

“Fifty years had passed, but we recognized each other immediately and started talking as if no time had passed,” Zalonis said. “When I was 17 years old, I thought, ‘Wow, in fifty years, I will be such a different person with different interests.’ Then, you look back and realize you are the same person just with different experiences.”

Through the reunion, Mohlenbrock was able to revisit General McLane.

“It was a very emotional moment to be guided through the school by the principal. General McLane has of course grown and developed so much over the years, but walking down the hall to our old home room still felt very much familiar,” she said. “I also had the opportunity to re-visit Edinboro and McKean and drive up to the old farmhouse where I stayed. Again, it can’t be said often enough: to be part of a small community, where everyone seemed to know each other, and where so many people went out of their way to make me feel at home, has made a tremendous impact on my life, and formed the picture of the US that I have tried to spread at home.”

It was during this reunion that Mohlenbrock invited her classmates to come visit her. Some of her classmates took advantage of this invite.

Lawrence and her husband Floyd visited her in France that fall, and Zalonis and Chisholm visited Mohlenbrock and her husband in Provence, France last September. This past summer, Zalonis made another visit, this time to her home in Gothenberg (Goteborg), Sweden.

“Who would have thought that more than 50 years later, we would be together south of France with our husbands, having lunch at a nice restaurant and just reconnecting and talking about current times? It was beyond anything I could have imagined happening,” Lawrence said.

Since hosting its first exchange student in 1961, the District continues to host a handful each year. For the 2016-17 school year, General McLane High School is currently hosting seven students from France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Finland.

The addition of foreign exchange students to the General McLane High School student body offers many benefits to its participating students, the students of General McLane, its teachers and community.

“We were told by the American Field Service to act as student ambassadors for our respective countries,” Mohlenbrock said. “I don’t know if I managed to explain/correct some aspects/misconceptions of Swedish life, traditions, and politics, but as my senior project I chose to write about the Swedish welfare system, and called it ‘It ain’t necessarily so.’”

During these experiences, participants often build close friendships with not only their host families, but also classmates from the hosting schools. General McLane’s alumni experiences are no different.

“These experiences you had during high school, they simmer in the background of your brain, sometimes for many years, but they can really influence your future and friendships and choices,” said Zalonis. “Partly because of Eva, I really wanted to travel. She was the first person I had gotten to know from another country. Immediately after college, the first thing I decided to do was start traveling.”

Zalonis wasn’t the only one inspired from her experience.

“My experiences knowing Oemar and Eva planted an early seed to discovering the world through travel and reading on my own,” said Lawrence, whose first trip was during the mid- 80s and has since explored many different countries and cultures.

“Our exchange program ignited my interest in other countries’ customs and people,” Lawrence added. “These students expanded our vision of the world. I learned tolerance, understanding and appreciation of people who are different, and yet similar.”


JWPMS adds new PE technology to improve student fitness

Posted on January 6, 2017

James W. Parker Middle School is engaging students through interactive technology to improve students’ cardiovascular fitness.

Through the IHT Spirit System, students now have the opportunity to manage their individual health and fitness. The technology includes heart monitor watches, docking stations, PC’s to run the IHT Spirit system software and the software itself. The watches are intended to motivate students by instantly sending them an email with their heart rates throughout the period ensuring that they challenge themselves and hit specific heart zones.

The first step? Inspiring students through an artistic new room – thanks to a joint project between the health and physical education department and the art department.

A former storage room, the health and physical education department’s new Exercise Technology Room connects the middle school physical education curriculum with the IHT technology.

Seventh-grade art students participated in the collaboration by creating wall murals for a one-of-a-kind activity-themed design in their new room. The theme for the room is movement.

Although many students were involved with the project, there was a main group of students who dedicated their time and came in during homeroom to make this project a reality. Those students include Lyric Shaw, Regan Luebbert, Bella Dorman, Sydney Farbotnik, Hannah Haddix, Zelie Maloney and Emily Moran, Kaitlyn Dubynskiy.

Read here for the full press release.

What a wonderful job by all involved!


Kindergarten students make gifts for classmates

Posted on January 6, 2017

Edinboro Elementary’s Kindergarteners made gifts for their classmates.

Each students drew a name of their classmate. After creating gifts for their parents (the snowflakes), students then created jewelry specifically for them.

This was part of Mrs. Kupczyk’s Kindness Tree. Each day throughout the week before holiday break, the students engaged in a random act of kindness.


HS band visits elementary schools

Posted on January 6, 2017

The General McLane High School Band visited McKean and Edinboro Elementary Schools for a holiday concert!


EE All-School Christmas Singalong

Posted on January 6, 2017

Edinboro Elementary School had an All-School Christmas Singalong before the holidays.

Each grade level learned a song in Mrs. Smith’s music class and and then they performed it. Mrs. Androstic and Mr. Marafine read a few Christmas stories, and Mr. Smith was a guest reader. A highlight was the entire school singing and signing (in American Sign Language) “Jingle Bells”.




GM wishes everyone a happy holiday!

Posted on January 6, 2017


EE Receives Grant to Bridge K and Preschool Curriculum

Posted on December 20, 2016

Handprints Graphic

The Pennsylvania Department of Education selected Edinboro Elementary School as one of the recipients of a $4,000 grant to help foster the vital collaborations and connections necessary for student success from birth through grade 3.

Edinboro has three early education programs in its region: the Growing and Learning Center housed at Edinboro Elementary School, the YMCA of Greater Erie’s Early Learning University housed on the campus of Edinboro University, and Jack and Jill Preschool housed at the Edinboro Presbyterian Church.

Through this grant, Edinboro Elementary School will work with its area preschools to bridge between kindergarten and preschool curriculums through regular meetings and professional development. The goal from these continuous efforts is to meet students entering kindergarten where they are to increase student performance, align assessments to Early Learning standards and have teachers well-versed in best practices.

The collaboration will allow Edinboro Elementary to forgo the standard assessment for incoming kindergarten students and instead begin conversations through student portfolios with Edinboro preschools regarding students’ strengths and needs and to better prepare programming.

For more information on the grant, please read the entire release here. 

Congratulations to Edinboro’s P-3 Team on receiving this grant!


2nd graders ride the Polar Express

Posted on December 19, 2016


Edinboro Elementary students celebrated the magic of Christmas and rode the Polar Express Train ride.

Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book that was later adapted into a feature film, the Polar Express is a story of a young boy’s trip to the North Pole.

Mimicking the book, Edinboro students wore their pajamas and enjoyed their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and their very own sleigh bells. Students boarded the train, listened to a reading of The Polar Express and performed the “Hot Chocolate” dance after being greeted by their very own conductor. The students also signed an entire Christmas song.

This journey is part of the second grader’s big Polar Express unit done each year in December. This has been taking place for more than 10 years. For more pictures, please visit our Featured Photos Page.

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