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.

All-State Music Ensembles

For the first time, three Ephrata High School students will be participating in three different state music ensembles.  Juniors Jamie Chon, Braden Mulcahy, and Olivia Schmid have been selected for three Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Music Ensembles and will represent Ephrata Area School District as performers at the PMEA All State Annual Conference April 3-7 in Pittsburgh.

Jamie Chon will be participating in the PMEA All State orchestra.  She also placed as 3rd Chair Violin at the County Music Festival, 3rd Chair Violin at the District Music Festival, and 2nd Chair Violin at the Regional Music Festival.

Braden Mulcahy will be participating in the PMEA All State band.  He was also First Chair baritone saxophone at the 2019 District 7 Band Festival and the PMEA Region V Band Festival.

Olivia Schmid will be participating in the PMEA All State chorus.  She placed sixth as an Alto 2 in the Region V Chorus festival at Muhlenberg High School to qualify for the state ensemble.

“This is the first time that EHS has had a student from orchestra, band, and choir all in the same year participating at this level.  The impact of these programs will last a lifetime for many of these students,” said EHS vocal music teacher Mrs. Jackie Owsinski.

Robotics Team to States

The Ephrata High School Robotics Team has had another successful season of competition by continuing to attain superior schools in skills rankings and qualifying for the 2019 state competition.   Team members  –  Andrew Barnica, Alexander Bischoff, Nick Hoopes, Ashton Kunkle, and Derek Murphy – built two robots that they used in a variety of competition events at the State Robotics Championship on March 2 held at Norristown Area High School.

Additionally, Nick Hoopes recently won the VEX Amaze Award at the Knight’s Invitational Robotics Competition and the Skills Award at the Forest Hills Robotics Invitational.  These awards qualify Nick to compete in the CREATE Foundation U.S. Open Robotics Championship in Iowa in April.

All students were recognized by the School Board and received resolutions at the March 25 Board meeting.

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

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. 

Students Lead Schoolwide Monthly Positive Behavior Assembly

Ephrata Intermediate School has a schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support System that has been in place for the several years.  The system specifically encourages and incents students who demonstrate desirable traits, including respect, empathy, and positivity.  Each month a different trait is highlighted through an assembly and classroom lesson.

Compassion was the trait highlighted in February, which inspired three sixth-grade students to take the lead.  Rafaelia Mirsaidova, Morgan Alexander, and Emily White agree they are compassionate about dogs and wanted to use their passion to inspire their classmates.  “We wanted to show everyone in the school and our community that we can make an impact,” said Morgan.

Upon getting the green light from their principals to lead the February assembly, the girls began weeks of research to educate their classmates on animal abuse and inspire compassion to help combat the problem.  Their research revealed stunning statistics – both positive and negative – which they organized into a presentation before addressing over 600 of their fifth- and sixth-grade classmates.

Additionally, the students contacted KPets, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, PAWS, and PetValue to tie-in a real-world connection to their presentation.  KPets agreed to bring five dogs to participate in the assembly and visit classrooms.  The girls agreed having the dogs visit with students really helped connect the monthly trait of compassion to their mission of animal abuse awareness and prevention.

Finally, the students organized a donation drive – open to the public – to obtain pet supplies for local animals in need.  “It would mean the world to us to get the community involved,” the students said.  Donations may be dropped off in the Ephrata Intermediate School office during school hours.

The students hope the energy and support they have received will continue to grow.  “We could use help taking our ideas to the next level.  We’d love to get together with more animal rescues and continue discussions with our classmates and students in other schools.  It would be awesome if we could help organize a community event or pep rally to raise money for this cause,” they said.

EHS Scholastic Writing Award Winners

Ephrata High School students were recently named 2019 Scholastic Writing award winners.  The writing contest, sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, is a prestigious recognition program for students in grades 7-12 for achievement in visual arts and creative writing.


Abigail Kachel, grade 11


Tristan Swarr, grade 12

Abigail Zorrilla, grade 11

Elizabeth Martin, grade 12


Katherine Earl, grade 12

Regional winners will be honored at the Scholastic Award Ceremony in March at The Millersville University Ware Center.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization, recognizes teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent. The Alliance provides recognition, exhibition and publication opportunities, and scholarships. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 Regional Programs across the country to bring the program to local communities.