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.

EMS LRG Disposition Days

Students at Ephrata Middle School are learning what it means to be successful in life by embodying the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of the District Life Ready Graduate profile during monthly schoolwide activities.

On a designated morning each month, students spend time self-reflecting on their growth in the various Life Ready Graduate dispositions, including integrity, resilience, and more and record their thoughts, feelings, and stories in an online personal portfolio.  The morning wraps up with collaborative activities, which could include a giant game of trivia, a school-wide scavenger hunt, or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) competitions.

“Overall, these days are a huge success!  They help to promote a positive school-wide culture for both students and staff and create meaningful peer-to-peer and student-to-teacher relationships,” said Mr. Pete Kishpaugh, Ephrata Middle School Principal.

To learn more about the Ephrata Area School District Life Ready Graduate profile that aims to prepare students to have a positive impact on an ever-changing world and enhance students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions beyond traditional content mastery and standardized assessments, visit www.easdpa.org.

State Geography Bee

Jacob Huntington will compete at the National Geographic State Bee on Friday, March 29 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.  As the top finisher of the Ephrata Middle School Geography Bee in February, he qualified to take a written exam and scored high enough to earn the opportunity to compete in the state competition.  The winner of the state competition will receive a $1,000 prize and a trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the National Championship.  Jacob will be recognized at an upcoming School Board meeting with a School Board Resolution acknowledging this achievement and his years of dedication, practice, and hard work.

Students’ Video Receives “Most Creative” Award

Students’ “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Video Receives “Most Creative” Award in Regional Competition Students will now compete at the state level

Do you have an answer to the question, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?”  If not, watching the award-winning video created by a team of five Ephrata Middle School students may help you find the answer.

The team, comprised of Melany Bedoya, Elizabeth Foard, Sawyer Jones, Arkadiy Khomich, and Hannah Logue, created a 2.5-minute video to highlight why manufacturing is “so cool” as part of a regional video contest.   After competing among 21 area middle schools, the Ephrata Middle School team received the “Most Creative” award, one of the top three awards that advances the team to the state level of competition.

When the students decided to participate in the competition, they knew exactly where to turn, Astro Machine Works.  “We began the process in October with a tour of Astro.  Then, we went back to do interviews,” explained Elizabeth Foard.  The group agreed to share the responsibility of each task, from writing the interview questions and filming video footage to editing content and marketing the video on social media.

Despite a few minor setbacks during the production process, the students continued to collaborate and use their creativity to come up with a finished product.  “The editing took much longer than we thought because we ran into some glitches with the audio,” said Hannah Logue.  Melany Bedoya also explained how the initial theme of the video was to focus around Astro’s Seven Core Values; however, after obtaining their footage, the group decided to go another route.  “After being at Astro in person and hearing each person’s interview, we thought it was better to tell the story of how manufacturing has changed over time.”

Once the video was complete, it was reviewed by a panel of judges from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, SCPa Works, and Purpose 1 and voted on by the public.  Hundreds of students, family members, staff, and contributing company representatives attended the awards ceremony at the Appell Center in York on March 6.  While nine awards were given out, only three award recipient teams – including Ephrata Middle School – will advance to the state competition at The Forum in Harrisburg on April 30.

“The passion exhibited by these students has obviously been well rewarded. Astro will be cheering and wishing the team the best of luck as they move on to the state competition,” said Astro Machine Works President Eric Blow.

To see the videos, visit https://www.whatssocool.org/contests/south-central-pa/

Coordinated by MANTEC, the purpose of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” contest is to raise awareness among students and parents about today’s advanced manufacturing environment and the rewarding and engaging career paths and high pay scale available in the manufacturing sector.  The project was funded in part by a grant from the Powder Mill Foundation.  Additional funding was provided by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and nine additional manufacturing supporters.  

You Be The Chemist Challenge

Ephrata Area School District students in grades 5 – 8 recently participated in the Lancaster County You Be The Chemist competition, an interactive question-and-answer challenge developed for students to enhance their science education

After multiple rounds of competition, Ephrata Middle School student Lillian Sharpe was named the third place winner.  Lillian is an eight-grader and will be participating in the state level of competition at Penn State University on April 27.  Seventh-grader Nathan Buehler finished in fourth place and is an alternate for the state competition.

Ephrata Intermediate School participants: Breelyn Beyer, Drew DiCicco, Nadia Drobot, Alex Diegel, Max Herman, Andrew Ingham, Alex Wilson

Ephrata Middle School participants:  Nathan Buehler, Desiree Buitrago, Natalie Newswanger, Nicolas Romaniw, Lillian Sharpe, Sophia Slater

“The You Be the Chemist Challenge gives students the opportunity to explore their chemistry interests outside the classroom.  Our students were strong throughout the challenges, and we are proud of their efforts and accomplishments in the program.  It is exciting to see the program expanding each year, due in part to the volunteer efforts of Brenntag North America,” said Miss Jennifer Trout, Ephrata Middle School teacher and You Be the Chemist Coordinator.

Ephrata Intermediate/Middle School students have been meeting after school to review science topics, including the scientific method, properties of matter, chemical formulas and equations, chemistry in the human body, and much more to prepare.

The You Be the Chemist Challenge was created by the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of the value of chemistry.  The program is sponsored locally by Brenntag North America, a chemical distributor in Reading.

North Museum Science & Engineering Fair

High School Awards

Animal Science

  • 1st Place: Maxine Bodnari


Earth and Environmental Sciences

  • Honorable Mention: Abigail Zorrilla


Environmental and Mechanical Engineering

  • 2nd Place: Micah Weaver


Material Sciences

  • 1st Place: Ciara Deemer



  • 1st Place: Reagan McCarty



  • Honorable Mention: Sarah Pereverzoff


Plant Science

  • 2nd Place: Aubree High
  • 3rd Place: Katelyn Sauder
  • Honorable Mention: Kali Holloway


Robotics, Systems Software and Embedded Systems

  • Honorable Mention: Chandler Eby
  • Honorable Mention: Loi Nguyen


High School Auxiliary Awards

  • Clara Bollinger: Lancaster County Ag Council
  • Chandler Eby: IOLC, Indian Organization of Lancaster County and Society of Manufacturing of Engineers, Honorable Mention
  • Henry Gallagher: American Meteorological Society
  • Reagen McCarty: Millersville Alpha Theta Award
  • Loi Nguyen: Society of Manufacturing of Engineers, Honorable Mention
  • Katelyn Sauder: Farm and Home Foundation of Lancaster County, 3rd Place
  • Micah Weaver: Society of Manufacturing of Engineers, 3rd Place
  • Abigail Zorrilla: Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority


Middle School Auxiliary Awards

  • Hayden Leonhard: Lancaster County Fireman’s Association Award
  • Matthew Mathias: Lemelson Early Inventor Prize

Middle School Team Places First in STEM Competition

Students at Ephrata Middle School formed a team to participate in the annual IU13 STEM Student Competition and recently found out they received first prize in the grade 7-9 category.

The winning team of seventh-graders Tegan Grim, Gavin Haupt, Parker Loose, Montgomery Sensenig, and Lance Wilson proposed an idea to make the pedestrian crossing safer at the Route 272 and Academy Drive/Old Mill Road intersection.  They recognized how frequently students walk across the busy intersection, and suggested an overpass be created that would make it easier to walk from the campuses of the middle school and high school.

The students’ proposed solution was in response to the specific challenge of the competition – to identify and improve an area of their community.  The solution was to directly address an issue associated with community infrastructure and challenged students to think beyond “something as simple as adding an additional lane for traffic or faster internet.”

The students researched data, created a cardboard prototype of the overpass, and produced a video explaining their rationale and specifics of their proposed project.  All items were reviewed by a panel of IU13 judges before being selected as the winner.

Each winning student received a gift card valued at $100 and a certificate of recognition.

The STEM Student Competition is organized by STEM Solutions at Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13. The contest, for students in grades 4-9 from schools that are members of the IU13 STEM Consortium, aims to increase STEM-related educational opportunities for students within the region.  In addition, the IU13 STEM Consortium intends to raise awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through this consortium activity.