The Beacon The Student News Site of Dallastown Area High School Thu, 06 Feb 2020 20:30:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Love At First News Site Thu, 06 Feb 2020 16:08:05 +0000 Statistics say only 2% of high school relationships work out, but don’t tell that to these Dallastown grads.

Each year, The Beacon highlights “Cutest Couples” from the senior class in their annual senior issue. While some are no longer together, a surprising amount actually ended up married.

Laura & Matt Rae, Sarah & Aaron Hennigan, Allyssa & Cliff Churchwell, and Sarah & Brant Davis are just a few DHS love stories who have lasted the test of time. 

If the statistics are so low for high school relationships to last, what’s the secret? 

According to Sarah Hennigan, “The key to making it work is open communication, making sure you set aside intentional time for each other, being each other’s best friend, and honesty, even when it’s difficult.” 

(Left) Beacon Archives (Right) Photo Submitted
DHS grads Sarah (Hensley) and Aaron Hennigan lasted the test of time and went on to get married after dating in high school.

The Hennigans started dating their junior year in 2010 and went on to get married in 2015. This may be because they attended the same college. However, some, like the Churchwells went separate ways for college and still stayed together.  They started dating in 2005 and then got married in 2016. 

“We both chose to go to colleges in different states and to be honest, I think we both thought we would break up, but we were just a good compatible couple,” she said.

Churchwell went on to say that the key to their relationship was “having fun and not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. We never let being a couple hold us back.”

The couples who attended different colleges all agreed that it wasn’t always easy, but they made it work.

Davis said, “We did go to separate colleges, but at that point in our relationship we were committed to each other and had built enough trust. While distance is never easy, I think it ultimately strengthened our relationship and made our time together more valuable.” 

(Left) from Beacon Archives (Right) Nicole Daacke
DHS grads Sarah (Berger) and Brant Davis lasted the test of time and went on to get married after dating in high school.

While some say high school relationships won’t last, DHS grads say there are advantages to knowing someone that long. 

“It is still sometimes crazy to me that we have been together for so long, but we grew up together and helped each other become who we are today. I couldn’t picture my life without him. He’s my very best friend and the best husband and father to our two kids,” Churchwell said. 

The Hennigan, Davis, and Churchwell couples are not the only ones with this experience, Laura and Matt Rae also have a similar story.

The Raes started dating the summer of 2005 when they were 15 and went on to get married in 2013. They too found love at Dallastown and unexpectedly were together ever since.

“Even if we have moments where we may not “like” each other, we will always choose to love each other. There would be times where we’d question our relationship, but it’s whether you get through those feelings together that makes the difference,” Rae said. 

(Left) Beacon Archives (Right) Photo Submitted
DHS grads Laura (Murphy) and Matt Rae lasted the test of time and went on to get married after dating in high school.

At the end of the day, you never know where you will end up or who you will end up with.  

“I teach high schoolers now and I always say be careful who you pick to date in 9th grade because you could be stuck with them forever like me,” Churchwell said. 

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Unsung Heroes of Black History Month Thu, 06 Feb 2020 13:07:34 +0000 Parks. King. X .

These are still the household names that represent the Civil Rights movement for most Americans. But there are also many unsung heroes who made differences – big and small– and are still as relevant as they were more than half a century ago.

So let’s celebrate six African Americans who took part in these small and big victories for the black community.

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons License

Nannie Helen Burroughs created the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C. in 1929 after being denied a teaching job for being “too dark.” for the position. So, she decided it open a trading school, the school educated black high school and college-aged girls and included racial pride and community activism in its curriculum.  It was renamed in her honor in 1964.




Ruby Bridges

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons License

In 1960, Bridges was the first black female student to integrate into an all-white, public elementary school in the south. She was six years old at the time and had to be escorted by marshalls due to threats.  Only one teacher agreed to teach Bridges and there were no other children in her class but she still loved learning and never missed a day of school.


James Meredith

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons License

Meredith was a powerful figure in the Civil Rights movement. He fought against racial segregation in universities after being rejected by colleges because of the color of his skin. He was the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi. He even lead his own solitary protest march called, “The March Against Fear.” Meredith was shot by a sniper, but recovered and continued his fight for equality.



Fred Shuttlesworth

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons License

Shuttlesworth, an NAACP worker, worked hard to encourage African Americans to start voting. He created the Alabama Christian Movement For Human rights and established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) because he wanted the law to change in Birmingham about segregation. He received the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001 from then President Bill Clinton.




Mamie Till Mobley

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons license

In 1955, Mobley’s 14-year-old son Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi by two white men claiming he “flirted” with one of their wives. Till’s body was beaten and tortured. He was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River. The officers tried to hurriedly dispose of Till’s body but Mobley got the rights of her son’s remains before they could.

Seeing what they had done to her son, Mobley decided to have an open-casket funeral because she wanted “the world to see what they did to my boy.”

More than 100,000 people saw Till’s body and made a Civil Rights demonstration in American history. Mobley didn’t stop there, she stood up for underprivileged children. Mobley didn’t get justice for her son, but that just encouraged her to keep fighting for racial injustice.

Coretta Scott King

Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons License

After her husband Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, King took his place at a sanitation workers’ protest in Memphis. King continued her husband’s work in many ways. King fought hard to make her husband’s birthday a national holiday and raised millions of dollars for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. King also was an advocate for LGBTQ rights. King wants to be remembered as, “a complex, three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood human being with a rich storehouse of experiences, much like everyone else, yet unique in my own way…much like everyone else.”




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DASD Hires Coordinator of Marketing and Communications Wed, 05 Feb 2020 20:34:22 +0000 Nicole Montgomery, a former Dallastown student, has returned to her alma mater, but instead of taking classes and playing volleyball, she is now the Coordinator of Marketing and Communications for the entire Dallastown Area School District.

Although the position is new, it did exist in one form or another over the years, most recently as a Community Relations position which was dissolved in 2011 during budget cuts. The responsibilities were divided amongst other employees for several years, but when an increase in technology changed the way we communicate, the school district decided it was time to hire someone to oversee all media relations.

Much of Montgomery’s job involves overseeing the school’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, which requires a lot of time and monitoring.

“Social media is a 24/7 job. . . you never know when something’s going to happen,” which requires Montgomery to be constantly in touch with people.

She is required to communicate all emergency announcements, from two hour snow delays to bus accidents. She doesn’t make the decision about snow days, but is responsible for getting the word out to the community through social media, the school website, phone calls, and contact with local media.

“There is a difficult work life balance,” Montgomery elaborated as she discussed her two children and the times that she has to turn off her phone to relax.

Despite her difficult schedule, Montgomery seems to enjoy the challenges of the job. “I’m the type of person who always wants something to do [and] knowing what’s going on at all times is appealing,” Montgomery said.

Photo by staff
Nicole Montgomery, the new Coordinator of Marketing and Communications for DASD visited the journalism classes at Dallastown last month.

In addition to making all of Dallastown’s social media posts, Montgomery has been working on branding and marketing.  This involves researching and making suggestions to adjust the website, logos and uniforms to make the representation of the district as consistent as possible.

Montgomery, who graduated from York College with a degree in Public Relations and Speech Communications, has experience in marketing, previously working for York Wallcoverings to write product descriptions and aid in communications as they transitioned to online sales. She also worked for York College in Digital Communications, overseeing the College’s digital presence including the website, social media, and video marketing.

“Make all your accounts private,” Montgomery advised students as most employers will search social media of any candidates applying for jobs or internships.

The task of communicating with the entire school district is a difficult one, but Montgomery is highly qualified and excited to take on the task, and she’s happy to do it at the school from which she graduated.

“I’m a product of Dallastown,” Montgomery said. “This is where I want to be. I enjoy finding ways to communicate to the public the great things being done in the Dallastown Area School District.”



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“Roll Tide” Pride Reaches Dallastown Wed, 05 Feb 2020 20:33:05 +0000 On Jan. 17-19, 10 teams competed in the final round of competition at the 2020 UCA National College Cheerleading Championship for the title of All-Girl Division 1A champion at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, FL.

You’ve might of seen a familiar face in the competition cheering for University of Alabama: 2019 Dallastown Graduate Maggie Helmer.

This year, Helmer and the Alabama all-girl cheer team won the division 1A all-girl national champion title, second in school history.

This was Alabama’s fifth national title overall, as the all-girl cheer team won their first national title in 2015, just one year after beginning competition cheer in 2014. The co-ed cheer team also has won national titles in 1984, 2001 and 2015.

Although this wasn’t Alabama’s first win, it was Helmer’s first national win as a freshman.

“When we heard Alabama had won, there was an overwhelming sense of pride and joy and a little disbelief,” Helmer said. “Being a part of a team that was able to accomplish winning a national title was surreal.”

Helmer’s cheer coaches at Dallastown shared her excitement, as most tuned in on ESPN to watch the live competition.

“Being able to watch her compete for and achieve a D-I National Championship was amazing,” said Ms. Gable, Helmer’s high school coach until her coaching retirement in 2018. “We’ve never had anyone compete at quite that level before in college cheerleading, and she was able to do it at her dream school.”

photo submitted
Alabama’s All-Girl team celebrated their second National title this year. Alabama also has a Co-ed Cheer Team that participated in the competition, receiving second in the Co-Ed division with University of Central Florida taking first.

This national title win did not come without hard work.

First, Helmer had to make the cheer team. This consisted of attending tryouts to make the cheer team in early May 2019 along with 100 others who aspired to cheer for the D-I Crimson Tide.

After three rounds of cuts throughout the tryout weekend, Helmer found out she made the team.

Helmer spent part of the summer of 2019 training with her new team.

“We began training for competition from the beginning of the year with workouts twice a week to make sure our bodies are ready and working on skills that could potentially go into the routine,” Helmer said.

As the competition was approaching, the cheer team amped up the practices, having two, three hour practices everyday over Alabama’s winter break. 

At the competition, Helmer and the team had two practices the day before the first round of competition.

After the first round, the team analyzed their score and worked to perfect their routine for finals. Competitors scores are based on stunting, tumbling skills, crowd-leading abilities, and overall performance.

“Alabama was the first to compete in our division; the arena was packed,” said Helmer. “Our final performance was my favorite memory from  the trip because of the energy in the arena. Every person was cheering us on and wanted us to succeed.”

Helmer was not the only local cheerleader involved in the event.

Dallastown graduate Sierra Sammons competed with Kutztown University and DHS alum Talia Russell attended as head cheer coach of St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

In addition, Red Lion grad Judge Kunce was a member of the University of Central Florida team which brought home the National Championship in D-1 Co-ed, and Kait Groft of New Oxford won a Division II C0-ed Championship with her West Georgia team.

Along with competition cheer, University of Alabama’s all-girl cheer team cheers at home football games and women’s basketball games.

“As far as game day goes (for football games), it has been one of the coolest and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. At games, there are tons of children that look up to the cheerleaders at Alabama and want pictures and autographs,” Helmer said.

There are also people at home who look up to Helmer, including some of her former teammates. 

“From my freshman year cheering with Maggie, all the way to watching her compete and win college nationals, I’ve always looked up to her as a cheerleader,” senior Dallastown cheerleader Taylor Witmer said. “Seeing her do so well always pushed me to work harder and to improve. Of all people, Mags definitely deserved to be our first D1 National champ!” 

So, you could say Dallastown has caught a small case of Alabama pride.

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Australian Fires Mon, 03 Feb 2020 13:20:02 +0000 For what seems like endless months, there has been a fire raging and consuming forest after forest, destroying home after home without mercy in an endless wave of destruction. The fire has burned 14 million hectares (40,000 square miles) continuously for 4 months, since September of 2019 to, as of writing this article, January of 2020. If you want to help and try put out the fire, you can donate at


 There was a claim that 200 people were arrested for arson that deliberately aided in the bushfire’s spread across Australia, but it was proven to be false. Since November of 2019, police in New South Wales found 183 “bush-related offenses.” Of those, only 24 were found to be purposeful, the other 159 were failures to comply with fire bans that had been put in place. 


In Victoria, the police say there is no evidence to state that the East Gippsland and North East fires were caused by suspicious activity like arson. But unlike them, the Queensland Police say that of the 1,068 bushfires that were started since the month of September to the month of January, 114 were, “deliberately or maliciously lit through human involvement”. If you want to donate fire departments in Victoria, donate at For departments in New South Wales, donate one the government’s website at 


In response to massive climate change in Australia, Paul Read, a lecturer and natural disaster expert at Monash University, states that 90% of Australian bushfires were caused by humans, which can and does include deliberate arson or carelessness and recklessness. 13% of all the 62,000 fires a year in Australia are caused by lightning strikes according to Mr. Read, which had sparked the enormous Gospers Mountain blaze.

Locations of all the bushfires that have been burning since November of 2019.

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Who Will Win This Year’s Mr. DHS? Fri, 31 Jan 2020 13:21:06 +0000 Mr. DHS was created almost 10 years ago by two student council students. The idea was to put on a mock pageant, especially for senior boys, where the goal was to raise money from tickets and donate to a non-profit organization. 

Stephen Payne was the first-ever senior boy to be named Mr. DHS in 2011. And the most recent Mr. DHS was named to Jack Glattacker.

Fast forward to this year, and the student council is still hosting Mr. DHS, under the advisement of Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Huyett. 

Seniors Abby Langmead and Sarah Mtimet work behind the scenes to make the show happen. They are in charge of creating the group dance and holding after school practices. 

“Sarah and I have a lot of free reign over the dance, script, and practices. It wouldn’t be possible without Boyd and Huyett who trust us with so much,” Langmead said.

Practices are two hours long and happen twice a week. The practices start with rehearsing the group dance, which was choreographed by Langmead and Mtimet. Then they move into working on individual talents.

This year, it will be held on Friday, Feb. 21 and tickets will be $3 dollars. Money raised from tickets will go to support the prom after-party. 

The senior boys who will be participating this year include, Kyle Bruner, Peter Capobianco, Matteo Conigliaro, Luca Fimmano, Cade Fry, David Geppi, Kyle Reuter, and Gabe Wunderlich. 

During the pageant, the boys will be expected to do a group dance, individual talent, model, and answer questions. 

Capobianco believes that he has the “best dance moves east of the Mississippi,” and it will give him a great advantage to win the title of Mr. DHS.

“I am extremely outgoing and I am not scared to put myself out there,” Conigliaro said, on his biggest advantage against the other boys. However, the select panel of judges will decide who the final winner is.

This year, they incorporated a ‘dance moms pyramid’ where the boys are ranked best to worst based on their performance during practice.

“It’s definitely a lot of work for everyone involved but it’s my favorite event student council does because it’s really fun,” Langmead said.

Student Council hopes the Dallastown community will come out to show support and to see who will be crowned Mr. DHS 2020.

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Dallastown Takes on the Polar Plunge Thu, 30 Jan 2020 18:16:39 +0000 The Polar Plunge is a unique opportunity for individuals or groups to support the local Special Olympic athletes by jumping or running into icy cold waters.

The York County Polar Plunge is hosted by Special Olympics PA York County.

Special Olympics PA York County offers sports training and competition in 16 different sport categories throughout the year to over 350 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in York County.

According to Debra Gable, Algebra teacher, and nine-year Polar Plunge veteran, money is raised by plunging into the waters.

“All money goes to support the free sports offered in York County for individuals with intellectual disabilities,” Gable said.

Dallastown High School will be plunging for the Unified Track and Field team, Bocce teams, and Special Olympics York County.

Gable Will be accompanied by other Dallastown High School staff members, members of the Unified Special Olympics Club, and parents/friends of the athletes.

“Mr. Thomas Myers, Mrs. Beyer, Mrs. Leiphart (autistic support teacher) Mrs. Sunday, Mrs. Spicher (neurological support teacher), Mrs. Wolfe (life skills teacher), Mrs. Strausbaugh, Mr. Gable, Mrs. Lowery, Mrs. Werner, Mrs. Terroso, and Mrs. Trevino will be a part of Dallastown’s Polar Plunge team,” Gable said.

Matching t-shirts will be worn by the Dallastown High School team. Dressing up in wild costumes or matching outfits is a tradition at Polar Plunge events nationwide.

According to Thomas Myers, art and graphic design teacher, “The Polar Plunge is an amazing feeling, especially when your a part of a group of caring people who are willing to go the extra mile.

Dallastown Area Intermediate School will also be participating in the Polar Plunge with a team of their own.

Christopher Martin, Principal of the Blue Community at Dallastown Intermediate School, said,  “There are 49 staff members plunging to raise money for Special Olympics of York County.”

To donate to the Dallastown Intermediate School team click here.

“This is just one way we give back to the community that has been so generous to us,” Martin said.

Thomas Myers
Dallastown High School students, parents, and faculty will be teaming up to take the plunge with matching t-shirts. The design was created by Myers.

This year there will be nine plunges statewide to choose from. The Dallastown teams will be plunging on Feb. 8 at 12 p.m. at the river at John Wright’s Restaurant on the York side of the Susquehanna River.

For any students, staff, or community members interested in either joining the team or donating to the Dallastown High School Team, contact Gable at for further information or click here to contribute right away.

If planning ahead isn’t your thing, you can also just show up the day of the event at 10 a.m. and sign up with a $25 donation.

“The Polar Plunge is one of the most important things I do.  This is our only fundraiser for York County, and we need to raise $100,000 to support the 16 sports that we offer countywide,” Gable said.

So, go participate in the plunge and support the Dallastown teams by either donating or attending the Polar Plunge.

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Wildcats Join Angy’s Army Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:45:11 +0000 Heart failure is defined as the heart’s inability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, leaving the individual feeling weak and short of breath. 

In August, Red Lion sophomore, Angy-Mike Mossengo, felt weak and was rushed to the hospital. 

Once at the hospital, Mossengo was x-rayed. The doctors discovered an enlargement on his heart, and his lungs were filled with liquid. 

The ambitious, church-going wrestler was diagnosed with complete heart failure and would have to get a transplant surgery.

I never knew it was going to be this fast, but, with God, I have healed quickly, so I can come back.”

— Angy-Mike Mossengo

However, transplant surgeries are costly. 

According to the Very Well Health website, “A straightforward heart transplant can cost over $500,000, and a heart transplant patient who has complications and a delayed discharge from the hospital may have a bill that exceeds a million dollars.” 

With this in mind, a GoFundMe page was made to help his family and aimed to raise $500,00. 

Several donations were made through this organization, and his family could use all of the help that they could get. 

The endless support didn’t stop here.

Dallastown and Red Lion may be considered rivals, but Dallastown knew that it was important to help the 15-year-old as much as they could, especially because he was once a Wildcat. 

Mossengo attended Dallastown schools until eighth grade.

Student Council decided to sell bracelets to benefit the Mossengo family. They began selling them on Tuesday Jan. 21 for $2 each and stopped selling them on Friday Jan. 24. There are possible plans to do another round of sales, according to Student Council President Dylan Rexroth. 

“We are doing this because it is the right thing to do; the world is a better place when people help each other out. The cost of Angy’s transplant and medical care is in the millions, and no family should be forced into a position where they must keep their child alive at the expense of their livelihood,” Rexroth said.

Mossengo is grateful for everything that York County individuals have done to help during this hard time. 

He goes on to say, “It gave me motivation to motivate other people. Regardless of if you have an amputated leg or are missing an eye, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Your handicap proves that those people are wrong, and you can tell them that you can do it.” 

Mossengo credits his speedy recovery to his doctors and God. He is set to return to school Feb. 10, with hopes to show that people can overcome any obstacles along the way. 

“I want to prove to a lot of people, you can still make it to places you want to go, no matter what the circumstances are,” Mossengo said. 

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Harvey Takes Over PSU York Program Wed, 29 Jan 2020 18:40:36 +0000 Some people struggle to stay away from the sport they love for a long period of time.

Mr. Harvey is no exception to this stereotype

Former Dallastown Athletic Director Tory Harvey became head coach of the Penn State York Women’s Basketball Team this past may.

Just six months after retiring from Dallastown, Harvey took on the program with his assistant coaches Brent Harvey, Wade Smith, and Deacon Jones.

Harvey wanted to fill a void in his retirement life other than the Behind The Wheel Driving Program and Athletic Event Assistance he does part time at York Suburban, but he also simply missed the game.

I definitely missed coaching basketball and thought I still had something to give back to the game.”

— Mr. Tory Harvey

He previously coached at Penn State York for two years 1996 and 1997 before coming to Dallastown. He also has coaching experience at York Suburban, Solanco, Red Lion, and Dallastown.

Penn State York has improved their facility since Harvey was last on the staff. They also now have a full time Athletic Director, Jeff Barkdoll.

“We are extremely pleased to have Coach Harvey back at Penn State York. He has had a positive influence on so many students and colleagues… it will be great to see that kind of influence being shared with the Penn State York community as well!” said PSU York Athletic Director Jeff Barkdoll

The game has changed tremendously as well since his last tenure, saying, “The rule changes relative to moving from 20 minute halves to four 10 minute quarters and the three point line being moved back farther. The game has also improved in regard to player skill sets”.

Harvey is excited to be back at the helm, but it’s a little different this go around with being retired.

“I’m retired this go around with coaching so I can devote significantly more time to practice, scouting, game planning, recruiting, and assisting the student athletes.” Harvey state

He has an impressive coaching resume with earning coach of the year at both the high school and college level while leading his teams to division, league and district championships. Harvey has been missed on the sideline.

“It is great to see my brother back coaching. Its always been a passion for him and now that is retired , it is a great outlet for him to be doing something he loves and helping shape young women’s lives.” said Harveys brother and assistant Brent Harvey.

Harvey is giving all he has for his team, leading them to a 5 game win streak, including a big win against Penn State Brandywine, who is number one in their division.

Penn State York is where Harvey wants to be for the long run.

“I plan on coaching for as long as my health allows and for as long as im having fun and feel I can make positive contributions to the student athletes”

The former AD loves and misses Dallastown, where he spent 22 of his 35 years in education, saying he misses interacting with various people and staff at the school

Coach Harvey will look to lead the lady lions into finishing the season strong and in the future, add some more hardware to his already illustrious coaching career.


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Math-Kyle McAllister Tue, 28 Jan 2020 13:27:03 +0000 Math is one of the core subjects that every student takes classes in.  The Department Chairperson for this subject is Kyle McAllister and he has held the position for six years now.

“My responsibilities are to be the person between administration and the teachers, so if there’s a concern from the other teachers, I’m the voice of the department.  I’ll bring it to administration and then I’ll report back to the department,” McAllister explained.

However, there are many other responsibilities such as budgeting, scheduling, and other math related activities that Mr. McAllister has to attend to.

“Like any other curricular area there are certain things that are math specific. . . We do AMC testing, the American Math Competition, things like that,” McAllister elaborated.

His favorite part is not only the communication aspect but the involvement.

McAllister said, “I like being part of the conversations about the direction the school can go, not just at the high school level, but at the K-12 level.  Every year all the department chairs have meetings. . .  and try to craft the direction of where things are gonna go.”

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