EIS Student Wins First Place in Journalism Contest

Landon Adamson, an Ephrata Intermediate School fifth-grader, is a first-place winner in Celebration 225: The LNP/LancasterOnline Journalism and Design an Ad Contest.

As part of a class assignment that would then be entered into the contest, Landon wrote about his love for football and the challenges he has had to overcome since playing the sport.  “I was confident about what I wrote because I tried to include lots of details,” Landon said.  He noted his love for practice drills and what skills were necessary to contend with opposing teams.  “My mom helped me with editing, mostly with grammar,” he continued.  He wrote the two-page essay in approximately one week.

When Landon found out he was a first-place winner he said, “It felt amazing.”  He will attend an awards ceremony with his family and teacher Susan Izydorczyk where he will receive a cash award.

Landon’s work will be published in an expanded print edition of the LNP Schools section on Tuesday, May 21.  It will also be featured on LancasterOnline.com.

EIS Hosts First Area Rubik’s Challenge

Students in grades 5-8 from four school districts – Ephrata Area, Lampeter Strasburg, Penn Manor, and Red Lion Area – convened at Ephrata Intermediate School on Monday, May 6 for a first-time event, a Rubik’s Challenge.


The goal of the event was to provide students with an opportunity to increase their stamina, perseverance, problem solving, and self-esteem when engaged in the common task of solving a Rubik’s Cube. “Through the cube, students link visual spatial relationships with algorithms while working through the sequence of the cube. It is incredible to see the motivation that one small plastic cube can bring out in our students,” said Mrs. Nicole Reppert, Ephrata Intermediate School teacher and event coordinator.


The event was comprised of team and solo contests.  Teams of up to eight students attempted to solve 25 cubes collectively as quickly as possible, while solo competitors solved one cube as quickly as possible.

Practice sessions were held in advance, and many students utilized website tutorials to prepare for the event.  “Our students have remained motivated and have been working diligently to prepare. The resilience, perseverance, and task dedication to learn the cube has been impressive,” said Mrs. Reppert.

Grade 5 Solo Event

  1. London Reiff (Ephrata Area) 44.126
  2. Todd Weist (Ephrata Area) 47.107
  3. Izabel Musser (Ephrata Area) 54.296

Grade 5 Team Event (Solving 25 Cubes)

  1. Rubik’s Racers (Ephrata Area) 6:14.925
  2. Captain Cubers (Ephrata Area) 6:20.420
  3. Lion Cubers (Red Lion) 8:43.678

EASD Rubik’s Racers:  Adam Batzel, Jacob Buckwalter, Alicia Mcgill, Izabel Musser, London Reiff, Shelby Sensenig, and MacKenzie Thoeun

EASD Captain Cubers:  Haleigh Cline, Nadia Drobot, Ethan Garman, Ayden Kern, Graham Mendenhall, Peter Suhrbier, Kade Vernon, and Todd Weist

Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Reppert is an ambassador for Rubik’s and travels to colleges and conferences to teach the challenge to other teachers. Additionally, she hosts workshops and summer camps for students to show firsthand the benefits of cubing.

She initiated the event at EIS this year and hopes to see it grow.  As this was the first Rubik’s Challenge in the region, there was interest from schools as far away as New Jersey.  “Once feedback has been obtained from all involved in the event this year, I could see it being expanded to include more grade levels and occurring after school or on a weekend to allow for more districts to be involved,” she said.

One Book, One District

Students across all Ephrata Area School District elementary schools recently embarked on a collective reading adventure, One Book, One District. 

Funded by an Ephrata Area Education Foundation Venture Grant, every student in Kindergarten through grade 4 was provided a book – either Glamourpuss or Cheese – by Sarah Weeks.  Students were encouraged to read their book independently and at home with family members, in addition to reading it with classmates and teachers while in school.   The experience created a common bond among students, staff, and families.  Additionally, it inspired schoolwide comradery and shared conversations through a common book.

The culmination of One Book, One District was Ms. Weeks’ visit to all four District elementary schools during the week of May 9.  Students took pride in decorating their schools with themes connected to the author’s books and enjoyed interactive assemblies during her visit.  Akron Elementary School Principal Sheri Horner noted students’ excitement to meet Ms. Weeks.  “Students were very eager to learn directly from an author,” she said.

Sarah Weeks is the author of 59 published books.  Visit sarahweeks.com for more information.

2019 Coding Contest Results

Approximately 300 students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 participated in the fourth annual Ephrata Area School District Coding Contest this year. Students worked after school in small groups to create projects that demonstrated the use of code, which were reviewed by a panel of District administrators, teachers, School Board members, and community leaders.

Kindergarten – Grade 2

  • 1st place (TIE)
    • Lucynda Berkey, Rylan Lapp, and Cole McAnany (Highland)
    • Jubilee Mertz and Daisy Musser (Highland)
  • 2nd place: Zachary Stonebraker and Brylee McGarvey (Highland)
  • 3rd place: Kingston Fischbach and Bryce Thomas (Fulton)

Grades 3-4

  • 1st place: Zion Kapp and Maliha Martin (Clay)
  • 2nd place: Cooper Simes and Reece Wilson (Highland)
  • 3rd place: Ian Goehrig, Christopher Kohler, and Brendan Morrell (Akron and Clay)

Grades 5-6

  • 1st place: Anastasia Lehman and Sarah Taylor (Grade 6)
  • 2nd place: Ethan Garman, Landry Weidner, and Todd Weist (Grade 5)
  • 3rd place: Joshua Muhr and Wesley Jones (Grade 6)

Grades 7-8

  • 1st place: Nathan Brubaker, Moses Kapp, and Theodore Smith (Grade 7)
  • 2nd place: Clay Sholes, Micah Neff, and Collin Jones (Grade 8)
  • 3rd place: Lillian Sharpe and Kyle Swenson (Grade 8)

A signature project supported by the Ephrata Area Education Foundation, the Coding Contest was introduced to District students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 in 2016. It received very positive feedback, which created the desire to grow the event in 2017. The District has provided students coding education, including participation in the global Hour of Code since 2013. Coding activities include creating computer games, programming applications, building robots, and much more.

Why encourage children to code? Predictions are that computer science jobs already significantly surpass the number of individuals qualified for these positions.  “Almost every machine we interact with now is built

with code. Our children need to learn how machines work to be best prepared for the future. Plus, computer science is a top-paying college degree, and computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average,” stated Dan Mahlandt, District Coordinator of Virtual Education.

EHS Library Receives PA Forward Bronze Star

The Ephrata High School Media Center has been awarded a PA Forward Bronze Star from the Pennsylvania Library Association.  It is the second Pennsylvania school in the state to have received this award, as all other recipients are either public or academic libraries.

The Pennsylvania Library Association acknowledges libraries that are “community centers of information, technology, and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all citizens.”  There are five components to PA Forward, including basic literacy, information literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and financial literacy.

EHS Media Center Specialists Mrs. Jane Englert and Mrs. Samantha Hull completed a series of eight PA Forward professional development sessions to help earn this distinction.  Additionally, the operations of the EHS Media Center, as it aligns with the PA Forward initiative, provides the support and resources necessary for students to succeed as individuals inside and outside the classroom.

Mrs. Englert and Mrs. Hull are proud advocates of the PA Forward initiative.  They recently hosted the spring South Central Pennsylvania School Librarians Association meeting in the EHS Media Center to discuss their experiences with offering students more choice and personalized learning opportunities.

“In the coming years, we hope to increase awareness in one or more of the specific literacies and have goals set to hopefully earn silver and gold awards in the future,” commented Mrs. Hull.

PA Forward is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Arbor Day

Ephrata High School students recently collaborated with Ephrata Borough to plant 40 trees in honor of Arbor Day.  The students, who are part of two environmental science classes, planted the trees to be a riparian stream buffer in Moyer Meadow, located near the intersection of Penn Avenue and First Street in Ephrata.

The trees were donated by the Penn State University Extension for the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry were in attendance.

The Arbor Day celebration was made official with a resolution read by Mayor Ralph Mowen.  The mayor also noted that 2019 is the seventh year Ephrata was recognized by Tree City USA as one of the thousands of communities across America that understands and recognizes the importance of trees.  Learn more at www.arborday.org.

EIS Aevidum Club

A group of Ephrata Intermediate School (EIS) students is committed to their classmates’ well-being and has been working since February to create an Aevidum club at EIS.  “These students want to be mental health advocates and support anyone experiencing the emotional challenges of teen life,” said EIS School Counselor Mr. Jay Crow.

The word “Aevidum” means “I’ve got your back” and was the name of a club at Cocalico High School created more than ten years ago after losing a classmate to suicide.  This first Aevidum club has served as the model for clubs of the same name which are now located in schools across the country.

The newly created EIS club also sets a foundation for continued involvement in the future.  Ephrata High School has had an Aevidum club since 2011, and over 40 students are actively involved with promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention.   The Cocalico and Ephrata clubs often collaborate and join their efforts, most recently to create a network among all Aevidum clubs nationwide.

Students from EIS and EHS joined clubs from across the county and recently attended the Lancaster County Aevidum Conference at Rock Lititz.  Students learned ways to grow the Aevidum mission at their schools and positively impact their classmates.  “Students are now working with administrators to implement what they learned, including a mental health intervention called QPR or Question, Persuade, Refer,” said Mrs. Francie Wiker, Ephrata Area School District Home and School Visitor and EHS Aevidum Club Advisor.

“By talking openly about these issues and supporting one another we hope that we will never have to lose another friend or family member to suicide, again.  We also hope that individuals who have mental illnesses understand that they are not alone and that there is help for them to be able to live their best life. Ultimately, we wish to destigmatize mental illness and create a supportive environment to help our Ephrata Community,” Mrs. Wiker concluded.