Teacher who protected students during Florida school shooting is from Mount Carmel, Pa.

A teacher credited with protecting his students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday is from central Pennsylvania. Math teacher Jim Gard was born and raised in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, and graduated from Mount Carmel Area School District in 1978. He's been a teacher in Parkland, Florida, for 36 years. On Wednesday, some of his family in Mount Carmel saw him on television in a way they never expected. People were glued to their televisions as details of the Florida school shooting, which left 17 people dead and at least a dozen more injured, unfolded. "We were just trained in this three weeks ago," Gard said. "We went over it with all of our kids the day after we were trained." Gard gave his account of how the shooting unfolded to multiple media outlets and was even interviewed live by CBS Miami while he was still barricaded inside a classroom. Nick and Shirley Gard, Jim's uncle and aunt, said they were shocked when they found out the mass shooting happened at their nephew's school. "That's our family and we're a close-knit family," Nick Gard said. "Nick and I got very upset about it, how close, anything could have happened," Shirley Gard said. Read the rest of WNEPs story Continue Reading

Pennsylvania girls high school basketball rankings for week ending Feb. 25

Compiled by Jeff Reinhart, here is @PaGirlsHoops' top 10 state girls basketball rankings for each class through Feb. 25, plus honorable mention selections, with home district in parenthesis and overall record.CLASS 6A1. North Allegheny (WPIAL) 22-1 — last week: 12. Cardinal O'Hara (District 12) 19-5 — last week: 33. Cedar Crest (District 3) 26-0 — last week: 44. Penn Hills (WPIAL) 21-2 — last week: 55. Central Bucks West (District 1) 22-4 — last week: 66. Cumberland Valley (District 3) 19-5 — last week: 87. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (District 1) 24-1 — last week: 108. Central Bucks South (District 1) 19-5 — last week: NR9. Central Dauphin (District 3) 20-3 — last week: NR10. Abington (District 1) 20-5 — last week: NRMoving out: Boyertown, North Penn, Pine-Richland.Coming in: Abington, Central Bucks South, Central Dauphin.OTHERS TO WATCH (listed alphabetically): Altoona (6) 15-8, Bethel Park (WPIAL) 18-6, Boyertown (1) 22-4, Cedar Cliff (3) 18-6, Central Bucks East (1) 15-9, Central Dauphin East (3) 14-9, Central York (3) 24-2, Coatesville (1) 20-7, Council Rock North (1) 17-8, Dallastown (3) 13-12, Easton (11) 22-4, Garnet Valley (1) 22-3, Hazleton (2) 15-8, Hempfield Area (WPIAL) 14-9, McCaskey (3) 18-9, McDowell (10) 12-11, Mt. Lebanon (WPIAL) 18-5, Nazareth (11) 21-4, Northampton (11) 15-9, North Penn (1) 21-4, Norwin (WPIAL) 17-6, Parkland (11) 18-6, Peters Township (WPIAL) 14-9, Pine-Richland (WPIAL) 21-2, Scranton (2) 17-5, Souderton (1) 18-6, State College (6) 8-16, Upper Dublin (1) 19-6.CLASS 5A1. Archbishop Wood (District 12) 18-6 — last week: 12. Southern Lehigh (District 11) 24-1 — last week: 23. Trinity (WPIAL) 22-2 — last week: 34. Hampton (WPIAL) 22-2 — last week: 45. Harrisburg (District 3) 20-3 — last week: 56. Oakland Catholic (WPIAL) 21-3 — last week: 77. Springfield—Delco (District 1) 21-4 — last week: 88. Slippery Rock (District 10) 18-4 — Continue Reading

Images: Get wrapped up in our best high school sports photos of the week

See some of the best high school sports images this week from the Daily Herald. Photographers this week covered basketball and gymnastics. Dundee-Crown's Gabriel Bergeron is fouled by McHenry's Matt Ezop Wednesday at Carpentersville. John Starks | Staff Photographer St. Charles East fans surround Justin Hardy after his last second shot beat rival St. Charles North during Friday's game at East. Rick West | Staff Photographer Warren's Barak Diehl, left, and Mundelein's James Willman battle for a loose ball Tuesday in Mundelein. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer Buffalo Grove's Dagmara Sobolak competes on floor exercise during Wednesday's gymnastics meet in Mount Prospect. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer Barrington's Lauren Tenbrunsel is high fived by her teammates after her floor exercise at the girls M.S.L. Gymnastics Triangular meet at Fremd. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer Mundelein boys basketball manager Carson Beck, left, receives a letterman's jacket from Athletic Director Troy Parola before Tuesday night's game against Warren. The jacket came for the mother of 1986 Mundelein graduate Brian Ferguson. She wanted some deserving to have the jacket after her son had passed away. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer Geneva's Daniel Belzer and Streamwood's Brendon Marton battle for a rebound Tuesday in Geneva. John Starks | Staff Photographer Buffalo Grove's Caleb Mayhorn, front, battles for a loose ball with Palatine's Luke Garrett, left, Cortez Hogans, middle, and Johnny O'Shea during Tuesday's game. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer Hoffman Estates' Charlee Campos competes on the balance beam during Wednesday's gymnastics meet in Mount Prospect. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer Libertyville's Lydia Crow, left, and Lake Zurich's Maddy Piggott battle for a rebound Wednesday night at Libertyville High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer Dundee-Crown's Jordan Hairston gets tangled with teammate Gabriel Continue Reading

Jordan Lynch on taking Mount Carmel football job: ‘I have no regrets’

Jordan Lynch acknowledged the process of his hiring and coach Frank Lenti's firing as football coach at Mount Carmel could have been handled better. The 2009 Mount Carmel graduate, however, isn't apologizing for taking the job. "I have no regrets," said Lynch, who was named Caravan coach on Dec. 29. "I was up 100 percent up front with the administration and Frank. I had nothing to do with the whole process regarding Frank. This is the best decision for me and my family. I'm excited. I'll never apologize for the approach I took." It's an approach that Lynch said began in November when he was asked by Mount Carmel athletic director Dan LaCount if he was interested in succeeding Lenti. Lynch said the outreach came after the Caravan's season ended with a Class 7A semifinal loss to Lake Zurich on Nov. 18. Lynch, 27, didn't think much of it. A first-year running backs coach at Northern Illinois, Lynch was concentrating on finishing the regular season with an eye toward the Huskies' Dec. 26 bowl game in Detroit. "I couldn't believe they reached out to me," Lynch said. "I was in my first season as an assistant coach in college. Taking over the football program at Mount Carmel was the last thing I needed to think about. At that point, I had never thought about coaching high school football." The school followed up with a second phone call around Dec. 20, according to Lynch. This time it was school president Ned Hughes on the phone offering him the job. That's when the possibility of returning to his alma mater excited Lynch. "I started thinking about it seriously," Lynch said. "I talked to my wife about it. We're having a baby in February. We decided it was a great situation." According to Lynch, Mount Carmel's administration made it clear that they were going to hire a new coach — whether he accepted the job or not. "I have no idea how it went down with Frank," Lynch said. "Everybody would have liked Frank to go out on his own terms. I haven't been around in seven or Continue Reading

Disabato: Mount Carmel gets an ‘F’ for way it handled Frank Lenti’s exit

What is Mount Carmel thinking? I've covered dozens of high school coaching hirings and firings. Nothing compares to the ongoing soap opera at 6410 S. Dante Ave. In case you were on an extended holiday vacation to the moon, the school announced Friday it was replacing football coach Frank Lenti with 2009 graduate Jordan Lynch. On the surface, this has the appearance of a landmark transition: Replace a legend such as Lenti, who has won 374 games, 11 state championships and six Prep Bowls during a remarkable 34-year career, with one of the school's most accomplished alumni in Lynch. However, there was one major sticking point: Lenti wasn't ready to stop coaching. He said so in a statement. So what did Mount Carmel do? It pushed out the Vince Lombardi of high school football. And, in the process, infuriated many of its proud alumni and loyal fans. There's a chapter in the book "Public Relations For Dummies" that suggests it's not very wise to fire a coaching legend in good standing. Obviously, the people at Mount Carmel responsible for this decision skimmed over that chapter. Additionally, if you're going to replace a coaching icon, you hold a press conference to explain the rationale for such a move. You know, man up. Explain why you felt it necessary to send one of the most successful prep football coaches in the country to the unemployment line. You certainly don't send out an email, titled "Football announcement," to parents, guardians and students announcing the coaching change. That's what Mount Carmel did. Even more embarrassing, there is no attribution to the email. In other words, the email, similar to the firing, is void of responsibility. This is Frank Lenti you're removing, not a volunteer assistant coach. Understand, no one has had a greater impact or been more loyal to the school than Lenti. He is synonymous with Mount Carmel. I'm sure that's a hard pill to swallow for the people involved in this decision. Through success on the football field, Lenti has Continue Reading

After 34 seasons, Frank Lenti out as Mount Carmel’s head football coach; Jordan Lynch in

Mount Carmel High School's Frank Lenti — who led the Caravan for 34 years, amassing 374 victories and 11 state championships — is out as head football coach, school officials announced in a news release Friday. Lenti will be replaced by former Mount Carmel and Northern Illinois University standout Jordan Lynch, school officials said in the release. School officials described Lenti's departure as a mutual decision. But, in a separate news release, Lenti said the decision was made by school officials. "While I had hoped to honor the commitment I had given the Mount Carmel football student-athletes and families that I would coach them thru (sic) their time at Mount Carmel, the administration has decided otherwise," Lenti said in an emailed statement. "Contrary to what some may have heard, I am not retiring. I love coaching high school football and may pursue that at some point in the future. I will honor my commitment to Mount Carmel and will resume my daily duties in the Development Department for the time being." Mount Carmel President Ned Hughes, however, said in a telephone interview with the Daily Southtown, that the decision to step down as coach was Lenti's. "It was discussed between us (Lenti and Hughes) and Frank stepping down was the decision he made," Hughes said. "He's going to help in Jordan's transition, which is a good thing for the school." Lenti, who graduated from Mount Carmel in 1969, guided the Caravan to 16 state championship games, 11 Catholic League titles and six Prep Bowls. Up until 2016, the team qualified for the state playoffs in 30 consecutive seasons. Mount Carmel rebounded this season to advance to the Class 7A semifinals, falling to Lake Zurich. Lynch, 27, recently finished his first season as running backs coach at NIU after playing in the Canadian Football League. He set multiple NCAA rushing and passing records, including most rushing yards (1,920) and touchdowns (23), and passing yards (2,892) and touchdowns (24) in 2012. Continue Reading

Girl’s bubble gun center of ‘terrorist threat’ at Pennsylvania’s Mount Carmel Area Elementary School

A Pennsylvania elementary school allegedly suspended a 5-year-old girl for making a “terrorist threat” after the child told a friend that she was going to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty bubble gun. The unidentified kindergartener was initially suspended for 10 days following the Jan. 10 incident at Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Northumberland County, PennLive.com reported. FAKE GUN PROMPTS LOCKDOWN AT LONG ISLAND'S ELMONT MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOLFicker told The Daily Item. Google Maps Mount Carmel Area Elementary School reportedly suspended the girl for ten days at first, but then reduced her punishment to two days. The child was reportedly required to receive a psychological evaluation because of the suspension. The evaluation found that the girl did not represent any threat to others, Ficker said. MOM FOILS SON'S STICKUP ATTEMPT BY TAKING AWAY HIS TOY GUN: POLICEthe district told ABC News. On a mobile device? Watch here. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Carmel elementary schools rethink play time after studies show recess helps grades

Elementary schools in Carmel are rethinking students' limited play time during the school day after mounting research suggests it helps learning.The academically high-performing district has the shortest recess of the four largest districts in Hamilton County — setting aside only 15 minutes a day.By comparison, students at Hamilton Southeastern and Noblesville Schools are getting as much as twice the amount of recess time. Both districts report 20 to 30 minutes each day. Westfield Washington's recess is 20 to 25 minutes.Research suggests recess not only benefits children physically but helps them focus during class and improve grades and test scores. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of 50 studies found that recess, movement during lessons and extracurricular activities have a positive association with academics.  Ditching desks: These teachers say desks are bad for learning. What they’re using instead 'Fellow Freshman': Inside Day 1 as the new principal of Carmel High School Top schools: Carmel High School named in top 5 best Indiana schools by new ranking In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study in support of recess, calling it a "necessary break" from academic rigor. The study found the freedom to explore and socialize helps children be more attentive and productive in the classroom."The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development," the study said. "And, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons."Carmel Clay Schools also has the shortest elementary school day, by five to 10 minutes. Superintendent Nicholas Wahl said the district is not considering lengthening the school day, which is six hours and 25 minutes, to extend recess. Instead, he said teachers will include more unstructured play time as they see fit within the day. State law Continue Reading

The 2016 season on high school stages

It might feel like a merry-go-round, a musical treat with its ups and downs, but I look at the high school musical season as more of an up escalator, always moving forward, always moving up.Seniors step into leading roles before finishing their high school careers. Some directors, too, will be shaping their final shows before retiring. The big list: 2016 musicals, show by show A change of (theatrical) venue in Bronxville A yellow brick road winds through Holy Child's new theater​ In Hastings, a firmer theatrical footing Follow the musical season with us Other directors will be trying to fill big shoes left by the departure of giants in high school theater. Some schools will be treating audiences to new seats in new theaters while others will be making do with what they've been using for years.It's another high school musical season in the Lower Hudson Valley, and hope springs eternal. Here's a bit of what to expect.Two long-time directors are calling it a career after 20 years at the helm.Irvington's diminutive Diana Selenow will go out with "Shrek: The Musical.""Sometimes you just know when you're done," she says.At Croton-Harmon, Ivelaw Carrington has been directing and musical-directing, too, for 20 years. His first show, when he moved up from the middle school, was "Guys and Dolls," which is how he'll go out this year, the first musical he has repeated. Carrington retires in June after 37 years in the district.Meanwhile, new directors are filling considerable shoes.At Walter Panas High School, beloved theater director Jim "Flip" Filippelli retired abruptly last June, and is now building a performing arts program at Rockland's Dominican College.Karen Longwell steps in to lead the Panas Players as producer, artistic director and music director. The Broadway veteran spent 25 years in the profession, on the New York stage and in touring companies. She has been Filippelli's Continue Reading

FAITH IN THE CITY Visiting our communities of belief. Mount Carmel Baptist Church

Religious affiliation: The American Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention USA and The Protestant Council of the City of New York. Spiritual leaders: Dr. V. Simpson Turner Sr., who was the first black executive secretary of the Brooklyn Division of the Protestant Council of the City of New York, has been pastor for 41 years. The Rev. V. Simpson Turner Jr., co-pastor; and the Rev. Vivian Pittman, director of Youth Services. Size and character of congregation: "We have more than 1,000 members across the board, from young adults to senior citizens - predominantly African-Americans and Caribbeans," Turner Sr. said. Scheduled services: Sunday: 9 a.m., church school, 11 a.m. morning worship and 3:30 p.m. afternoon service; Wednesday: noon prayer service; Thursday: 7 p.m. Bible study, 7:30 p.m. midweek service. Biggest wish-list item: "We are working on the buildings across from the church. We own one, and are trying to get the other unoccupied one to do something for the community," said Turner Sr. Proudest moment: "When my son graduated from the seminary," Turner Sr. said. Most memorable wedding or other service: The church will celebrate its 80th anniversary of the founding of Mount Carmel Baptist Church today at morning worship and in the afternoon service with a guest minister and choir. Highest-profile visitor: "Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke at our church," Turner Sr. said. High-profile congregants past and present: "We have three brothers in one family, the Zollicofers, who are now medical doctors," said Turner Sr. Most popular after-service gathering spot: "We generally invite people to join us downstairs in the Fellowship Hall for a meal," Turner Sr. said. Other services and programs offered: The church's food pantry is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays. Year the church was built The church was founded in 1926. It moved to its current location in 1954. The main sanctuary of the church was destroyed by fire on Continue Reading