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PURCHASE LINE: Classes team up to create historical trail markers

by HOPE HANKINSON and APRIL BOYER, Gazette Student News Reporters on May 02, 2014 11:00 AM

PURCHASE LINE — Students from social studies teacher Melinda Knapp’s eighth-period Teen and Law class and art teacher Steve Woodrow’s fifth- and eighth-period art classes are working together to make the third of three markers for the old Kittanning Path.

According to Terry Johnson, the artist in residence working with the students on this project, it is “An Iroquois nation footpath running in stops and starts from Frankstown to Kittanning that played a significant role in early American history as a major thoroughfare for first peoples, a trade route for colonial interactions and later the only route westbound for colonists.”

Woodrow’s students are contributing by using their artistic skills to help make tiles that will be added to the monument. Knapp’s class contributes by researching the background of the history on the Kittanning Trail. The monument will be placed at the intersection of Emeigh Road and Route 219.

“Very near the sight of the Kittanning village attackers, the British forces of Colonel Armstrong,” added Johnson.

Woodrow was recruited to host the project by Deacon Ann Staples, director of Coal Country Kids Youth Hang Out in Northern Cambria.

[PHOTO: Katelyn Parke, a Purchase Line High School senior, carved the hair and ear of her design into a tile, using her drawing as a guide. Parke first traced the drawing onto plastic, then traced it again with a stencil onto the clay. (Hope Hankinson/Purchase Line High School)]

“Deacon Ann came to me and asked if several of my classes could help work on the monument, and being the nice guy I am, I said yes,” said Woodrow. The reasoning for saying yes is because, “I thought it would be an interesting project for the kids to do and an opportunity to do something permanent.”

“Deacon Ann is the spearhead and grant recipient for the whole marker project,” said Johnson. “Deacon Ann recruited me from among the rostered artists of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts for my love of history of rural Pennsylvania. I am a master tile maker and have done a number of projects related to local history. It wasn’t until Mr. Woodrow and I were put together on this project that we discovered we share this interest in elevating the past.”

According to Knapp, “I asked the class if they were interested in helping and they agreed. As a department, we felt the information would be useful to any group of students and chose an elective in order not to interfere with a core curriculum course.”

Students were asked to research “information relating to our local area during the era around the French and Indian War. We looked for people, animals and locations that were important to the Kittanning Trail,” Knapp said. Students in Knapp’s class researched local history on the Kittanning Trail and then had the opportunity to work on the art work as well.

Junior Katelynn Donahey said, “I feel like I’m contributing to the community by helping to make a monument that will stand for years.”

Senior Monique Deyarmin said, “I’m glad we get to express some creativity.”

Junior Alicia Leasure said, “I enjoy learning new things, it makes me feel crafty.”

Senior Brandon Troupe said, “I feel like I’m making history contributing in the making of the monument.”

Woodrow’s art classes used tile skills they have learned throughout the year to help with the monument. The students are using a technique called clay reliefs in which they either take away or add to a slab of clay.

Sophomore Luis Ramos said, “I feel happy being able to contribute to the monument.”

Sophomore William Syster said, “It makes me feel good about myself that I can contribute.”

Sophomore Trinity Pearce said, “I feel lucky that I get to be a part of something great.”

Senior Katelyn Parke said, “It’s very cool that they pick us to make the monument, I feel special.”


Future Business Leaders of America members attended the State Leadership Conference in Hershey April 7 to 9. At the beginning of the school year, members were informed about competitive events and could choose to test in a variety of business topics. They could study ahead in Accounting, Introduction to Business, Word Processing and Computer Applications, to name a few.

In December, those who signed up took an online test at their own school and regional results were announced at University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown on Jan. 7.

[Alternate photo, click to view: Purchase Line High School senior Tyler Nu￱ez and juniors Haleigh Mason and Cassandra Boring, on the left, and sophomores Carly Mumau, Jordan Barr, Sierra Misko and Kelsee Lazor, on the right, attended the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference Awards ceremony recently in Hershey.  (Debra Fisher/Purchase Line High School)]

Any student who placed in the top three of their tested topic continued to the state level in Hershey. There, they spent three nights at Hershey Lodge and took another test for further competition.

“I enjoy taking students to the State Leadership Conference in Hershey and watching them meet with other students across the state,” business teacher and FBLA adviser Debra Fisher said.

“It’s really a positive growing experience, and in addition to watching the students broaden their horizons, I enjoy interacting with advisers from other FBLA chapters,” added Fisher.

Junior Haleigh Mason said, “I enjoyed the FBLA trip. It was a great experience to meet new people.”

Senior Tyler Nu￱ez elaborated, “This was the first year I went to states. As a senior, I wish I made it in previous years.” 

Senior April Boyer said, “Although I didn’t get to go this year, it was a very enjoyable trip last year. It was great to meet other students with similar interests who also tested in Accounting II. In addition, Hershey Lodge had interesting speakers and workshops for FBLA members to attend. The ones I went to discussed professionalism on the Internet and proper etiquette in business communication. On top of this, the lodge had a lot of recreational activities and souvenirs to buy.”

For the first two days of the trip, students took an online test and were judged the following day. Junior Cassandra Boring tested in Accounting I, and Nu￱ez and Mason competed in Accounting II. PL’s Introduction to Business competitors were sophomores Sierra Misko and Kelsee Lazor.

Other students who attended the trip were sophomore Carly Mumau for Business Math and sophomore Jordan Barr for Computer Applications.

Along with taking their test, each student was required to spend a certain amount of time at workshops and speaking events of their choice. Such options included performance events like “Teaming Up to Make a Difference.”

On the last day of the trip, students attended an assembly that announced which competitors would continue to the national conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Unfortunately, none of Purchase Line’s students moved on, but all of PL’s FBLA members did well in their respective events and appreciated support from the district. 

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