This is my short PSA on the dangers of drinking and driving especially during a busy holiday such as the Fourth of July.
Royalty Free Music: www.bensound.com
This is my short PSA on the dangers of drinking and driving especially during a busy holiday such as the Fourth of July.
Royalty Free Music: www.bensound.com
Aside from being a refreshing beverage, Coke has many household uses as well. It is used for science projects, removing grease from a garage floor, and removing gum from hair to name a few. Maybe the next campaign will be Share a Coke and a Helpful Hint.
I encourage you to open a nice cold Coca Cola while I share this simple tip: Coke can be used to clean off the terminals of your car battery.
With three simple steps you can have perfectly clean car battery terminals. Just open, pour and rinse.
It’s a use that does not immediately come to mind when looking at a bottle of soda, but it is both simple and money-saving. A bottle of cleaning solution can be purchased at the store for somewhere between three and five dollars.
You can pick up a single bottle of Coke at a gas station or grocery store at half the price.
Another benefit of using Coke to clean your battery terminals? Once you are finished you can enjoy the rest of the bottle while relishing in the satisfaction of a job well done.
Every young boy or girl dreams of one day growing up and going to school, graduating, and finding a decent job. This dream is easier to accomplish for some than it is for others. For some, they don’t have the amount of support at home that is necessary to keep a child successful in and out of school. This is where the Boys and Girls Clubs of America can help.
For over 150 years, BGCA has been offering after school and summer programs to children from lower-income communities and providing safe environments for the children to learn and grow. They offer a variety of programs including recreational programs, health programs, career programs, and more.
With well over 2,000 clubs across the country, the organization is always looking for help in providing the services it has previously given to almost four million children each year.
For someone looking to help support the organization and its cause, there are multiple options available. Clubs across the country always welcome volunteers and by visiting the organization’s website, you can easily locate a club in your area that may be looking for help.
Donations are a major part of what allows BGCA to continue to provide the amount of support it has for years. Celebrities and athletes such as Timbaland and Shane Victorino have been known to publicly support their local clubs.
To be a part of this incredible foundation, find out how you can make a donation or invite friends to make donations to their local organizations. For more information on the various programs offered through BGCA or how you can become involved, visit www.bgca.org.
On Monday, May 16 and Wednesday, May 18 FirstEnergy Stadium played host to the BCIAA baseball playoffs. With the Reading Fightin Phils on the road, the Baseballtown tradition continued with four high school baseball teams vying for a county title.
In the semifinals on Monday evening, the Saints of Berks Catholic High School faced off against the Eagles of Exeter High School in the first game on the card. Following the Eagles 8-2 victory, the Twin Valley Raiders and Governor Mifflin Mustangs took the field, with the Mustangs coming out on top 10-2.
Wednesday evening the stadium lights shone bright again as the Mustangs and the Eagles fought it out for the county title. The two teams split victories during the regular season, but the Mustangs came out strong and collected their second consecutive county title with a 9-0 victory.
For some players, it was a return appearance on the minor league field, for others it was a brand new experience.
“It’s priceless,” said Exeter High School athletic director Tom Legath. “Words don’t describe how awesome of an experience this is for everybody.”
Baseballtown and the Reading Fightin Phils have been hosting the county baseball championship game since 2004 and the final two rounds beginning in 2006, giving high school baseball teams in Berks County an opportunity that the majority of high school players never experience.
“I already told someone from Harrisburg this is the greatest thing, we’re playing at the Reading Fightin’ Phils FirstEnergy Stadium,” Legath said. “That’s where our county playoffs are and it was like, ‘wow, really?’ This is very special for us.”
The teams who make it to the semifinals and the finals are given the big league treatment. They prep for each game in one of the two clubhouses at the stadium. Pregame batting practice takes place in the Ryan Howard Batting Tunnel, located behind the right field stands.
During the game, pitchers and catchers warm up in the outfield bullpens while the teams get the chance to experience the view from a minor league dugout. As each player comes up to bat, his name is read over the public address system.
For those teams who are fortunate to make it to the championship game, the experience becomes just a bit sweeter.
During team introductions prior to the game’s start, each player’s picture is projected on the video board located in center field. As each player comes up to bat during the game, his picture is once again shown on the screen.
At the end of the night, while only one team can be named county champions, for all the players involved it is an experience that will remain with them for years to come.
“They will never, ever, ever forget this,” Legath said.
When Exeter High School senior Riley Haller began her freshman year of soccer, she had no inclination that she would only be eligible to play for half the season. A serious concussion, one of two that she has dealt with, ended her season early.
In late October, she found herself sidelined and unable to finish the season, along with a myriad of other side effects.
“The more serious one was my freshman year and I had to miss out on a lot of social events,” Haller said. “I fell very behind in school because I was out for three months.”
For those three months at home she was unable to read, watch television, use any electronic devices such as her phone, and she missed out on social events due to a sensitivity to light and sound.
Haller’s story is one that has become all too familiar in today’s society. Concussions among high school athletes have drawn more attention over the past few years in part due to the attention being brought to professional athletes who suffer from concussions and the difficulties that follow them.
In 2011, Pennsylvania passed the Safety in Youth Sports Act, effective July 2012, documenting the requirements for schools, student athletes, and the Departments of Health and Education when dealing with concussions in interscholastic athletics.
Therese Knabb, school nurse at Exeter High School, has noticed a change in the way the faculty and staff has handled students who have concussions. Caring for students with concussions has become somewhat easier in that the teachers know what to look for when a student is in class and they know how to handle the situation as a result of this law.
“I think we do a lot more than most schools do because we have Audrey who was part of the whole concussion training in Berks County,” Knabb said, referring to Exeter’s athletic trainer, Audrey Dickman. “The teachers are really well-versed on concussions in our school.”
Looking back at her freshman year of soccer, Haller noted that if she could go back the only thing she would do differently would be to duck.
“Playing soccer there’s always that risk, especially in that sport, just because there’s so much contact. There’s always the chance you could get hit in the face with the ball or you could fall,” Haller said.
Now a senior, Haller has not played soccer for Exeter since her sophomore season. Although she says another injury was the main cause of her not playing, the concussion from freshman year played a part in ending her time on the soccer field.
“With the concussion and another injury I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said.
After spending three months sitting in the nurse’s office at school all day and being forced to drop classes as a result of the concussion, she doesn’t seem to harbor any hard feelings about what she went through as a freshman.
Haller’s advice to fellow high school athletes is simple: “You just have to be aware that it can happen.”
Looking to repeat the success of the previous season, the 2015 Berks County Champion girls’ lacrosse team has jumped out to a 5-0 start on the season. With tough games still ahead against Twin Valley High School and Wilson High School, the ladies aim to make another run at a championship title.
“They have a very tough schedule,” Exeter athletic director Tom Legath said. “We are the defending Berks County Champion.”
Also looking to have repeat successful seasons are baseball and softball. The baseball team has started off the season with a 3-2 record including a win over tough rival Governor Mifflin High School. After making the county semifinals last season, the team is looking to return to FirstEnergy Stadium to play for the county title. The softball team is currently sitting on a 5-0 record after wins over tough rivals Twin Valley and Governor Mifflin.
“Starting out 3-0 and having a lot of kids back, we’re really excited,” Legath said. “They made a great run last year in districts to the district semifinal. We knocked off the top seed.”
Exeter’s other spring sports teams have had successful starts to the season and continue to hold their own against some strong teams. Track and field currently holds a 2-0 record while the boys’ tennis team is sitting comfortably at 3-1.
After facing some tough losses, boys’ lacrosse and boys’ volleyball are looking to turn around their records of 3-4 and 2-3, respectively.
Exeter athletics is coming off of strong fall and winter sports seasons that included numerous county and district titles, and the Eagles continue to carry that success through the spring season.
“The level of success is raised,” Legath said. “I’m hoping we can get at least three, four, or five county championship teams this spring. I’m very excited and we’re off to a pretty good start so far.”
On Monday, March 7, spring sports began at Exeter High School with the first day of official practice. Over the past few months, teams have been holding voluntary open gym workouts to begin preparing for the upcoming season.
As the season officially opened, many coaches wasted no time getting their teams out on to the playing field.
Practices began for multiple teams immediately following dismissal. Taking advantage of unseasonably high temperatures and clear skies the baseball, boys tennis, and track and field teams were able to hold practice outside.
With a turf field and all-weather track at Don Thomas Stadium, Exeter has the ability to have multiple teams practicing in the same place at the same time. While long-distance runners worked out on the track, sprinters conditioned on the turf and pole vaulters got in some early season practice vaults.
The boys’ tennis team headed over to an adjoining park to take to the courts and begin working towards a county title.
As spring seasons begin to take shape, two of Exeter’s nine teams are looking to continue the success they had during the 2015 season.
The baseball team is coming off of an exciting BCIAA semi-final appearance and looks to go one step further and make it to the finals. Girls’ lacrosse hopes to carry the success of their 2015 BCIAA Championship run into the 2016 season.
Coming off a successful fall season with long runs by the football team, field hockey team, and girls’ tennis team and two state medalists in the winter wrestling season, the Eagles hope to see continued success for the athletic program with their spring sports teams.
From the first time he picks up a baseball, every young boy dreams of playing professional baseball. For some, the dream fades early as they discover other interests. Others carry this dream as far as high school and college.
In Berks County, PA a select group of high school players get a taste of the professional life every year when the Reading Fightin’ Phils host the BCIAA High School Baseball semi-finals and finals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Four teams from local high schools are given the chance to play on the same field as the pros when they advance to the semifinals of the county playoffs. The two remaining teams then battle it out for the County Championship on the same field where the Fightins have previously battled for an Eastern League Championship.
“It’s a great experience cause the kids get to go watch professional baseball there and to have the opportunity to play on the same field the pros are playing on for them is a great experience,” said Justin Freese, the head baseball coach at Exeter High School.
For a high school team such as Exeter’s, the differences between the high school field and FirstEnergy Stadium are numerous. The distance from home plate to the left field foul pole is 307 feet at the home of the Eagles. In FirstEnergy Stadium, the left field foul pole stands 330 feet from home.
Talking about how the kids handle the difference in field size Freese said, “The second time we went we played in the second game at the stadium so we got there extra early so they could walk on the field and take notice that it’s all about the same it’s just a much nicer atmosphere than playing on a high school field.”
The size of the field is only one noticeable difference between the two ball fields. FirstEnergy has a capacity of 9,000 people. Exeter, like many of the local schools, has suitable viewing locations for roughly 60-70 people.
The list of differences could continue on and on to include the number of advertisements and the size of the scoreboard. To the players, the biggest difference and the one with the most impact is the experience.
Winning a county title is the goal of every high school team. Earning that title while playing at the home of the pros makes it a little more exciting. Playing in front of a larger crowd than usual, sitting in the larger dugouts, and getting the chance to use the professional clubhouses is all part of that experience.
“Last year was the first time we got to the stadium. The kids who are coming back now their goal is to get back there and play in the county final. It is some motivation for the players.”
With the end of football season the attention of sports fans everywhere turns to thoughts of baseball as professional teams prepare to head to spring training. In Reading, PA the Reading Fightin Phils front office is gearing up for another summer of minor league baseball and putting in place a heavy schedule of entertainment aimed at fans of all ages.
For Todd Hunsicker, the Fightins Director of Educational Programs, Music, and Game Presentation, this means lining up the multitude of musical acts that will grace the stage of FirstEnergy Stadium as a part of the Community Music Showcase.
In 2011 the Fightins teamed up with Ron Procopio, owner of The String Tree in Sinking Spring, PA. Procopio expressed an interest in becoming involved with the organization and together they created the showcase. While The String Tree was not looking to benefit from their involvement, each musician or group that participates receives complimentary game tickets on behalf of the business.
“We basically invented the community music showcase,” Hunsicker said. “Which was an opportunity to invite groups that might not otherwise have an opportunity to play here.”
During a time when music and art programs are being cut from schools across the country, being able to bring the community’s attention to the importance of music in education is a positive impact that has resulted from the showcase. Hunsicker has had the pleasure of seeing firsthand the impact this program has had on the community over the years, including playing a small part in helping to save an elementary school band program.
“The Olivet Clubs have come out and performed over the years,” Hunsicker said, “and hopefully that’s making people care a little more about what they’re doing and that’s turning into donations and support.”
From accordions, to banjos, to Irish folk music the stage at FirstEnergy Stadium has seen it all. There is no skill level requirement for participants in the Community Music Showcase. Any music groups are encouraged to get in contact with the Fightins and sign up for a night to perform. For more information call the Ticket Office at 610-375-8469 or contact Todd Hunsicker directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the 2010 census for Reading, PA the age bracket for people ages five to 17 years had the second highest percentage of the population for the city. This age bracket is the target age group for the Reading Fightin Phils and the education programs run by the organization.
The Crazy about Reading program is the larger and more involved of the two. Officially known as The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor’s Crazy About Reading program, the goal is to encourage students to read more and help them broaden their vocabulary. A group of the local elementary schools participate in the program in different ways.
“Roula Elliker at Muhlenberg Elementary Center has a great model, “ said Matthew Jackson, the performer behind the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor since 2004. “Each grade is challenged differently, but no matter what grade the students are in they learn a particular WOW (Word of the Week) word to broaden their vocabulary.”
The Words of the Week are shared throughout the school and are also represented in the community via the local radio station, WEEU, and on a local digital billboard. A sample of Words of the Week can be found in the image below.
As a part of the program at Muhlenberg Elementary Center, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, Screwball, and other local celebrities join the students at an end of the year assembly during which they play games focused on the Words of the Week and prizes are given out for student essays.
“The best part of the program is literally seeing how the kids’ hard work pays off through the expanded vocabulary and comprehension,” Jackson said.
In a letter to parents regarding the Adequate Yearly Progress and school improvement plan for Muhlenberg Elementary, the administration discussed strategies to improve instruction for the students including strengthening the reading program. Programs such as the Crazy About Reading Program are ways to make this possible.
Each student who participates in the program is also given a free ticket to a Redner’s Kids Club game and are treated to a special read-aloud featuring the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor and one of the Fightins players.
“It’s great because it allows kids to see professional athletes, people they see as role models and look up to, in a different environment and encouraging them to be successful in education and not just athletics,” said Ariane Cain, a 10-year employee of the Reading Fightin Phils. “It gives them different voices encouraging them to read and follow through with their education, not just their parents and teachers.”
Jackson has seen proof that the program has an effect on the kids in the years that he has been with the organization.
“I’ve been part of the program for years and have seen kids come up to me throughout the summer thanking The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor for coming to their school,” he said. “If they’re that excited to learn and read than I’m sure they are retaining the things they’re learning.”