Last night as Red Lion faced Northeastern in the second game of the season it set a different tone than in years past. Stands stood nearly empty as the referee blew the whistle to start the game.
While there were few fans to cheer on the Lions, the team played with fervor, not unlike years past, the night ended with a score of 53-36.
Red Lion Varsity came in strong keeping a steady lead over Northeastern. At the end of the first quarter, Red Lion led 16-7, and at half-time, 23-19. By the end of the third quarter, Red Lion led 35-28.
Standout players included senior forward Davante Dennis, the high-scorer, with 18 points on the nigh. Junior forward Mason Urey scored a total of 13 points.
The game ended with Red Lion emerging victorious.
JV began strong with four points in under four minutes. From there they continued their streak. At half-time Red Lion lead 24 -19. Red Lion kept up their lead in the third quarter but was neck and neck with Northeastern in the fourth quarter.
With 12.5 seconds left, both teams were tied at 40 points. At 6.0 seconds Northeastern gained 4 more points allowing them to take the lead 44-40.
In the end, Red Lion JV lost 44-40 against Northeastern Senior High.
Governor Wolfe announced a delay of the start of winter sports practices and games Dec. 13 as COVID-19 cases rose in Pennsylvania.
Signs in the gym remind anyone at the events to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Players are required to wear masks as well. Spectators are not allowed to attend. They can watch events as they are live-streamed.
After resuming the season Jan. 4, winter sports are in full swing. Boys and girls basketball had their first game and scrimmage Jan. 8. The boys won their game. Wrestling had their first match Jan. 10, leaving them 3-2 overall.
Upcoming home games include girls’ and boys’ basketball against William Penn Jan. 15. The wrestling team has a match against Dover High School Jan. 14. Also, the swimming team has a meet against Central York Jan. 21.
The bell rings causing you to rush to your first period class. A closed door and white sheet of paper greet you with a message to check Google Classroom and head to the Commons for a study hall period.
This is not an uncommon occurrence for students across the Red Lion Area Senior High School. Teacher absences have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a limited amount of substitute teachers are available to cover classes.
“We do a good job of controlling the exposure in the building,” Chief Legal and Operations Officer Mr. Gregory Monskie said in reference to the high number of teacher absences. “Part of the byproduct of us doing a good job is we have a lot of teacher absences.”
Many students find themselves having study halls or work periods instead of having a substitute teacher. “The main issue that goes back a number of years is a problem in the supply of substitute teachers,” Mr. Monskie said.
According to substitute teacher, Mr. Michael Scott Shelton, there are about three to four substitute teachers in the building every day. Last year there were enough substitute teachers to cover nearly every class. “As far as the teachers being out, it really provides us the opportunity to be here on a daily basis,” Mr. Shelton said.
“I don’t think there’s much the school district can do at this time, because the substitutes come from a third party called Substitute Teacher Services (STS),” Mr. Shelton said. “Their hands are kind of tied.”
STS provides substitute teachers for schools across Pennsylvania. Mr. Monskie says that nearly every school district in the county uses STS, and they are all experiencing a reduced supply of substitute teachers.
Substitute shortages are not a new problem. Schools across the country struggle with filling substitutes into absent teachers’ positions.
Mr. Shelton says the lack of substitutes is simply because of the pandemic.“It is actually due to COVID-19. There are some older subs that don’t feel comfortable stepping into full or half full school buildings.”
The supply of substitute teachers is decreasing according to Mr. Monskie. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, substitutes are more hesitant to come into school. “I think this is a systemic problem that has been going on for a long time that I think is being put under additional stress by what our obligations are in the current environment,” Mr. Monskie said.
“A lot of people don’t want to be substitute teachers right now and under these circumstances,” Mr. Monskie said. “On the demand side, we need to be more careful with our staff when they’re coming to work if they’re showing any signs of illness.”
People are supposed to quarantine when they are within six feet of someone who had COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes. While in quarantine, some teachers found their classes fell behind due to an inadequate supply of substitute teachers. Still, other teachers kept their classes on track.
Mr. Thomas Wise, school choral instructor, quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. “I would lie if I didn’t say more teachers are out now than they were last year, but it’s not a ton different. It’s really not. We’re lacking subs, period.”
Mr. Wise said his choir class did well while he was absent because the students stepped up and moved at a normal pace.
According to Mr. Wise, his music appreciation class needed more one-on-one attention. “They were actually reading stuff and doing work,” Mr. Wise said, “I would have to make sure that they were doing it, and it was not the same as lecturing.”
Technology provides opportunities for instruction that may not have existed in the past. Many teachers choose to use Google Meet with their students in order to give their students instruction time. Teachers “are able to teach synchronously with their students,” Mr. Monskie said, “and we are able to provide some in class supervision of the students so that that can continue.”
Both Monskie and Shelton agree the best thing for students is for a teacher or substitute to be present in the classroom.
“I think anytime the full time teacher is out,” Mr. Shelton said, “students aren’t quite going to get what they would if they were there.”
Many classes go to study halls and complete worksheets while their teachers are absent. Mr. Shelton feels teachers leave adequate lesson plans that keep their students on track. “I think a substitute in the room is much better than having kids just going into a study hall,” Mr. Shelton said. “I think they get a lot more accomplished if they’re in their classrooms.”
With a depleted supply of substitute teachers, the district struggles to fill absent teachers’ positions.
Since many classes cannot have a substitute in the room, many teachers are sent to oversee classes with absent teachers. Mr. Wise has had to provide coverage. “It’s not a whole lot different than last year because I’m covering study halls,” Mr. Wise said. “So it’s not a huge change.”
“I think they (the school district) are doing as best they can. And I’m glad we’re having school, so I’m not gonna complain,” Mr. Wise said.
Mr. Monskie said that the teacher absences are indicative of the district doing a good job with exposure to the virus. “I would caution you not to only see this problem as a symptom of people getting sick,” Mr. Monskie said. “It’s a symptom of us preventing people from getting sick.”
Grace Frain and Elizabeth Rogers work outside the LGI because of absent teachers and few substitutes. They find the work from their classes is sufficient and keeps them busy. Taken by Shana Carey
Just as Red Lion athletes were ready to tip-off their winter season, high schools across Pennsylvania heard the news that K-12 sports would be suspended until early January.
The suspension runs until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2021. Gov. Tom Wolf announced this and other changes during a press conference on Thursday in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The release noted that there has been a significant increase in cases among schools. Pennsylvania has seen an influx of cases since October with the number of daily cases and hospitalizations seeing record highs in the last few months as well as deaths per day, reaching the hundreds.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine explained the decision. “The virus continues to strain our health care systems, and the dramatic rise in cases among all age groups, including among school-age children, is alarming.” Levine said. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 37,500 cases among children age 5 to 18, yet 9,500 of those cases occurred in the past two weeks.”
This postponement is in hopes that daily cases go down over the next three weeks, making it safer for high school students to participate in winter sports. The release noted that because of the increase in cases among schools that it “increases the risk that asymptomatic participants will spread the virus at a game or practice, in the locker room, while traveling to and from events, or at team meals, parties or other gatherings.”
Dec. 10, 2020 marked the fifth time that Pennsylvania recorded 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day since Dec. 2, 2020. Before Oct., Pennsylvania had not reported more than 2,000 new cases per day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker and the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania has an average of 9,898 cases per day in the last seven days as well as recording that 78 people out of every 100,000 in the state have COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations has also risen to 5,877. Until Nov. 18, the highest number of hospitalizations was 2,800, on April 17. Since then each day has marked a new record high. Pennsylvania has the third highest number of hospitalization in the country after California and Texas.
This announcement comes one week after the Red Lion Area School District Board of School Directors approved a revised plan for health and safety for interscholastic sporting events at the Dec. 3 school board meeting. The plan lays out when and what materials get sanitized as well as how to keep coaches and athletes safe by social distancing when possible.
Democrat nominee Joe Biden has been projected to win the 2020 election race against Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
Biden is currently leading with 279 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 votes, according to the Washington Post. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris sets a precedent as the first female, Black-American, and Indian-American to hold the office of the Vice President.
Results are still being counted in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Biden is currently leading in Arizona with 0.4% of the votes and in Georgia with 0.2%. Trump is leading in North Carolina with 1.4% and in Alaska with 28.6%.
As of November 10 the Senate is split 48-48. Party control is expected to be determined after the results of two Georgia run-off elections in January. Alaska and North Carolina have not called their races yet.
The Democrats are expected to keep the 218 House of Representatives majority with a slim margin. They have lost four seats to Republicans, who currently have 201 seats.
Some races are still being determined as more mail-in-votes are counted.
Soccer attacking center midfielder Delaney Bittner won the October 15 GameTimePA YAIAA Athlete of the Week. Each week people get the chance to vote for the GameTimePA YAIAA Athletes of the Week at https://www.ydr.com/gametimepa/.
This is the second week that senior Delaney Bittner has been nominated.
She finished with four goals in last Thursday’s YAIAA win against South Western, which earned her a nomination. As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Bittner came in first place out of the seven girls on the poll. She won with a total of 4,750 votes.
Bittner has played on varsity all four years of her high school career. She started playing when she was four years old and has since been playing for the last 13 years.
Bittner has also accumulated multiple awards and accomplishments over the years. She won 2x First-Team All-County, 2x Varsity Captain, 2017 Varsity Newcomer of the Year, 2018 Outstanding Effort Award, and the 2019 Red Lion Player of the Year.
“I am honored to have been nominated twice,” said Bittner. “The support I got from my teammates, friends, and family was unreal.”
In previous years Bittner said that she struggled to move into an offensive role, but this year she has fully embraced it.“My biggest triumph this season has been my switch into more of an attacking role,” said Bittner. “I feel like in the previous years I have been more defensive minded, and didn’t really transition much into offense.”
Her success thus far was not always guaranteed. “My biggest struggle this season has been all the uncertainty with COVID,” Bittner said. “We didn’t know if we would even have a season for a long time, so it was hard to keep the intensity up while we would only be allowed to play each other.”
Her confidence since the beginning of the season has changed. “I also feel like the confidence my coach has in me has made a huge difference in my play,” Bittner said. “He believes in me which makes it easier to believe in myself.” “I would like to give a huge shoutout to my awesome teammates for being my personal hype up crew,” said Bittner. “And being amazing per usual.”
“There is no I in team,” is a common saying within many sports. Tennis, on the other hand, has its players compete in order to be ranked. While this happens on every team, every year, it still insights competitiveness between teammates.
Junior Sophie Lanius and freshman Alexis Lakatosh were two such competitors. At the beginning of the 2020 season they competed against each other for the number one ranked spot on the team. Lakatosh came out victorious taking the number one spot on the team.
Since then, Lanius and Lakatosh have been working together in doubles matches against rivaling schools. They are both 7-1 this season and plan on continuing to dominate on the court.
The relationship between Lanius and Lakatosh developed over time. “I knew it was going to be tough beating her in the challenge matches,” said Lanius.
“Sophie and I have been friends for around two years now since I’ve been playing since seventh grade,” Lakatosh said. “Sophie and I knew it was going to be tough battling each other, head to head.”
After the initial competition, the two have grown closer together and have been victorious in many matches against competing schools. But this teamwork did not come easily.
“Since we have been together every day over the summer and we’ve been playing all this time, it’s been really good,” said Lakatosh. “Our relationship has gotten a lot better.”
Lanius said that the hardest part for her was that they were not yet familiar with each other’s playing styles.
Lanius and Lakatosh competed in the county finals Friday, August 9, 2020. Both won their bracket and faced off for the champion title. Lakatosh beat Lanius in both matches, 6-2, 6-3.
Even though they started out as competitors, they have grown closer as teammates, with many nice things to say about each other. Lakatosh describes Lanius as energetic, caring, and funny.
“I see Lexie as a little sister and I have seen how hardworking, competitive and resilient she is,” said Lanius. “I really admire that about her.”
Cheers echoed throughout Spring Grove as the field hockey team celebrated Coach Carol Gillmen’s 300th win Wednesday, Oct. 7.
The team painted a poster to run through, signed a framed picture for Coach Gillmen, and wore matching yellow shirts to honor their coach’s hard work. According to Coach Gillmen, this was a pleasant surprise.
“That’s what people want,” Coach Gillmen said. “They want to work hard, be successful, and have fun.”
The lions earned that 300th win 4-1 against Spring Grove with their strategic and balanced offense. Kennedy Bratton, Hannah Downs, and Paige Griffin all scored that Wednesday night.
“Emma Waltemyer did a great job getting the ball off to her offense and trying to control her midfield,” Coach Gillmen said.
Though single players score a goal, Coach Gillmen emphasizes teamwork both on and off the field.
“One of the things we try to preach is that we’re going to be there for each other as a team,” Coach Gillmen said.
Her players notice her drive to meet the challenge. “Coach Gillmen is dedicated to what she does,” junior JV player Bryn Hughes said. “She’s in it to win it.”
Coach Gillmen started coaching at Red Lion in 1995 and says the time has flown by. She remembers former players.
“Over the years, there have been some really awesome families and athletes in the program.” she said. “It’s been really cool to hear from them, saying they have a lot of good, fond memories from playing field hockey.”
Having passion for the sport is vital to being a good player or coach. “Being an athlete is not an easy job,” Gillmen said. “Dedication and perseverance are needed to be successful,” Gillmen said.
The 300th win milestone gave Gillmen reason to reflect on her career as both a teacher and a coach.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be at Red Lion School District, teaching and coaching and (having) a lot of support over the years from the administration and the community,” Gillmen said. “I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.”
During the course of the pandemic, many students were isolated from the outside world. As our society fell into social and economic shambles, our whole situation changed. It would take over nearly four months before the citizens of Pennsylvania (PA) were allowed to exit their homes.
While I was stuck in isolation, I felt as if almost if I was in limbo. I’m used to the feeling of loneliness, even within large masses of people I always felt ignored; but that never typically bothered me. In fact I like to view my mind as a sanctuary, where I could ponder complex concepts, create alternate worlds, and conceive endless ideas without the bounds of the physical world. I feel a sort of bliss when I lose myself within my inner consciousness.
Life isn’t always on one side of the spectrum, the pendulum swings back and forth. Swinging back out of my mind, cascading into a bittersweet reality, 2020 is a year that will go down in history as the year in hell. Increasing cases and death, uproar against injustice in the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbey.
The momentum quickly turned into a front for chaos, and politicians continued to further the chasm between discussion and unintentional comedy as evident by laughable tweets, and debates turning into kindergarten level arguments.
The events transpiring seemed like the plot points in a novel, spiraling toward a calamity of a climax. Even if I was just a bystander on the sidelines of 2020, I felt a wave of anxiety, stress, and paranoia crash down on me. It was a ripple effect that I could tell was spreading across the pond of social media. My entire feed was covered in the most current events, headlines of depressing tragedies popping up one after another. I needed a break from reality, escapism was the only route I could think of.
Then I realized, in the greater scheme of everything, the issues of one year will not hinder the progress of humanity in the long-run. If anything I should be grateful for the time I’ve been given, I can allow myself to think. I can pursue goals I wouldn’t normally be able to do. Even in a stress inducing world, with threats still not yet fully realized. I still had time on my hands, with this, I could come out of this different, not just in skill ability from where I started before the pandemic.
But, also being smarter because of all the hours I poured into reading, or even being closer with my family.
At that very moment, I realized I could come out as a different person, because when I have so much time on my hands. I don’t always have to put my brain to work. I realized the importance of looking back, and examining the inner workings of my thoughts. Sailing down my stream of thought, running down the flowing of discourse of a thousand different ideas. I eventually came to the realization that the endgame of this quarantine is not to come out improved on the physical level. But to be revalued and come out stronger, level-headed, and sturdy on the mental level.
In the short span of around six months I feel like a completely different person. Of course I’m always going to maintain a consistent character, but now my headspace has been reset. I’ve diverted my efforts to areas where I feel they are important, and ultimately just readjusting. Especially with the world we live in nowadays, we have to change and adapt to the ever changing climate.
Like many others, every day I go through the motions of life, with energy varying depending on how I feel. And when I get a break all I worry about is recharging this energy and building up my stamina to this demanding world. When people actually have time to themselves, we’re always wasting away with entertainment. The only time I give my mind a break to let loose is when I’m in the trenches of the deep ocean of REM sleep. When do we ever decide to let our minds off the shackles of consciousness?
Where and when can we just rewind our memories, and ponder what those experiences gave us. Every few hours of every day, I would take some time off my normal routines to just relax and let my mind run. I looked back on what happened into my past, looping different events, breaking down the details of every little aspect. Sometimes I would replay those same events and run them through an alternate ending like some kind of choose-your-own-story game.
While this pandemic has been one of the most trying times in our history. In the end, we live in a sink or swim world where we need to take any chance we can to better ourselves. And mental health is a very important aspect that tends to get overlooked. In the worst circumstances, sometimes we gotta make the best out of our environment. And sometimes this means letting loose and letting your mind out of the cage.