Today we celebrate the students of Lancaster County and the 225th anniversary of this newspaper. Both come together in a fitting way as we publish the winners of Celebration 225: The LNP/LancasterOnline Journalism and Design an Ad Contest.

Formerly conducted under the banner of Newspaper in Education, this year’s contest challenged local students to create art illustrating headlines, to write news features or to pen editorials. We asked them to focus their work on journalism-related issues or the people, history, places, events and businesses — represented by enthusiastic advertisers — that make Lancaster County special, or that guide their lives here.

Our students did not disappoint.

Their talent and energy, as you will see on this page and those that follow, are a perfect way to help LNP/LancasterOnline continue its yearlong celebration of beginnings that reach to the year 1794 and the second term of President George Washington.

We publish the work of first-place winners, who will be honored at a reception tonight. They competed in the following categories: illustrating headlines, kindergarten and first grade; writer’s choice, grades two through five; news feature, grades six through eight; editorial, high school; and advertising design, all grade levels.

LNP/LancasterOnline journalists as well as local retired educators judged the journalism portion of the contest. Each Celebration 225 advertiser picked its first-place winner.

We thank the schools, teachers and advertisers — all are recognized on these pages — who made this contest possible.

Enjoy the work of the first-place journalism winners, below!

Happy life, bad day


Every day I go to school with my brother Brady. My other brothers are in the middle school so I don’t get to hug them before they leave for school.

So, I hug Brady before we walk to school. I have to walk with Brady because my mom doesn’t want me to get stolen.

One day, after school, I didn’t see Brady waiting for me so I told our principal Dr. Cox. She didn’t know where he was either so I had to go to the office.

Next, some of the teachers told me when you don’t get picked up you have to buy the teachers pizza.

They were just joking with me! Finally, my mom came and I got to go home.

Second-grader Lillian Evans is a first-place winner in the writer’s choice category of her grade level. She is a student at Eshleman Elementary School in the Penn Manor School District. Beth Kaplan is her teacher.

Rosa Parks


Someone I admire is Rosa Parks. I know this person because I read a book about her. She was brave because she went to jail. For example, she went to jail because she wanted to sit down on the bus.

Another reason why I admire Rosa Parks is because she was smart. An example of this is that she was a 70 year old teacher. As you can see, Rosa Parks is a person I admire. She is brave and smart. She is a hero to me.

Morgan Milisock is a first-place winner in the third-grade writer’s choice category. She attends Hambright Elementary School in the Penn Manor School District; her teacher is Lorien Gilbert.

The Fulton Theatre


The Fulton Theatre was built in 1852. It was first called Fulton Hall. It is on Prince Street.

It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is the oldest working theater in the United States of America. The Fulton Theatre is over (150) years old. It is located by the Lancaster City square.

They built it because there wasn’t a theater in Lancaster. The Fulton Theatre is very big. In the basement of the Fulton, there was a jail.

My school watches a Christmas musical there every year. It has a lot of other musicals that you can watch there too.

There are a lot of performers that perform a show for us. It is a very fancy place. It is like a mansion to me. It has a gold trim, red velvet chairs and shiny chandeliers. The stage lights are really cool because they shine on the people so we can see them better.

I wish I could go to the Fulton Theatre more often.

Isaiah Ortiz is the first-place winner in the fourth grade section of the writer’s choice category of Celebration 225. A student of Sylvia Buller, he attends Resurrection Catholic School.

Ready, set, hike!


The crowd cheering, the music banging and the teams getting pumped up. The sounds of a new football season in Lancaster County.

Hi! I’m Landon Adamson and I remember my first year playing football for Ephrata. The first couple of games and practices were a challenge. Learning the plays, new drills and a lot of other things. After a few practices, I got the hang of it. Then came game time. The nerves, excitement and the pride for my team.

Our first game was against Octorara. Then came the sound of the first play, “Ready, Set, Hike!” My number was 76 and I played defensive tackle. Sadly, we lost but I still had fun. I loved it so much, I decided to do football the next year.

My second year, we won our first game and our record was better than last year. I played defensive tackle again but this time my number was 9.

I will play football next year and each year I’ll improve. Football is my favorite hobby. I love football.

Landon Adamson is a first-place winner in the fifth grade portion of the writer’s choice category of Celebration 225. A student of Susan Izydorczyk, he attends Ephrata Intermediate School in the Ephrata Area School District.

Central Market


One of the most famous places in Lancaster County is Central Market.

Central Market ties into a lot of culture, history and heritage. It is full of stands that have been in business for years.

Central Market has been in service for 290 years. In 1730, a man name Andrew Hamilton donated the 120-square-foot of land. With that land, Lancaster city’s Central Market was born.

Farmers from all over the area would come to the lot to set up stands to sell their goods. The success of the market lot caught the eye of King George II. Lancaster was declared a market town. With Central Market’s development, the market became a popular place for farmers to bring their harvest; eventually it was requested to hold two selling days a week. In 1757, the first building was built. The building was open air with roof and supports. Finally a market house with walls and windows was built.

Lancaster Central Market is a piece of the city’s and county’s history, because it grew with the people and the culture in our society. The market is a piece of our culture because it represents the farmers and merchants in our community and allows many people to buy their goods and harvest.

LNP has written many articles over the years about Central Market. Articles about its history, its growth, the sellers and our community. We embrace our market heritage just like LNP embraces Lancaster’s past, present, and future.

Sara Hernandez is the sixth grade first-place winner in the news feature category. She is a student at Resurrection Catholic School; her teacher is Lori Smith.

Ever had a Sweet Cheek?


We all know the quote, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Most of us have eaten an apple, but have you expanded your horizon recently?

Like everything in the 21st century, the fruit market is continuing to evolve. A local Lancaster apple business, Hess Bros. Fruit Company, was not afraid to try something new.

They recently moved into a new facility, with considerably more cold storage space. This gave them lots of room to increase the volume of popular apples in the future, enabling them to take a leap of faith with this new apple.

They wanted it to be sweet, with the right amount of tartness, and juicy, with a perfect crunch. The vision was brought to life through the Sweet Cheek apple. Surprisingly, deciding on a fitting name was painless.

Former company President Fred Hess simply asked his wife. She thought the name Sweet Cheek suited the apple well. This hybrid apple’s parents are the Cripps Pink (Pink Lady) and Honeycrisp. Hess Bros. partnered with Willow Drive Nursery in Ephrata, Washington, to make the new variety.

They were grown for fresh eating, as well as for applesauce, apple pie, etc. Unfortunately, as a new variety, they aren’t commonly found nationally. They can however be found at your local Giant, Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Giant Eagle, Safeway, Lancaster Central Market, Meck’s Produce and the in-store location on Manheim Pike.

Give it a try. Based on early reviews, you won’t regret it!

Aiden Hess is the seventh grade winner in the news feature category of the Celebration 225 contest. A student of Gretchen Reasner, he attends Huesken Middle School in the Conestoga Valley School District.

The full experience


It started out as a small, traveling slideshow in rural Lancaster County, but has now become a thriving, family-owned business in the heart of small-town Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

This business is Sight & Sound Theatres.

Starting in 1964, Glenn and Shirley Eshelman, the founders of Sight & Sound, always had a vision. Sight & Sound was created when Glenn and Shirley sold his artwork, and eventually created a slideshow of his pictures. They traveled the United States until they moved to the Living Waters Theatre.

After they outgrew Living Waters, they moved to the Entertainment Centre. The Entertainment Centre burned down in a fire, but Glenn and Shirley persevered. They built the Sight & Sound Theatre, also known as the Millennial Theatre, that we enjoy today. As they continued to grow, they also established a new theater in Branson, Missouri.

Sight & Sound brings unique perspective to old Bible stories. They take the story and add elements to enhance the experience of guests.

Marketing manager Melissa Albright says “Sight & Sound has set the stage for connecting with audiences across many generations. The legacy Glenn and Shirley began continues, even as they passed the baton. The focus on ministry, craftsmanship and story remains consistent throughout the years. Every team within Sight & Sound’s culture creates wonder. That wonder exists in what we do and how we do it.”

Sight & Sound is a vital component of the Strasburg community. Sight & Sound has a bright future as they continue to expand their ministry of “bringing the Bible to life” on stage!

Gracie Albright is a first-place winner in the eighth grade level of the news feature category of Celebration 225. She is a student at Martin Meylin Middle School in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District. Her teacher for this project was Joanne Williard.

Societal issue of media illiteracy


We live in an era with information available at our fingertips. Whether it be via smartphone, tablet or laptop, different news sources can be accessed in a matter of seconds. The rapid increase in news consumption and production, however, comes with a serious cost — media illiteracy.

Under the First Amendment, people hold the right to freedom of expression, allowing them to post on these outlets, regardless of the validity of their claims. This often leads to consumers believing in inaccurate sources. These consumers, however, lack basic knowledge on how to properly evaluate their sources.

The purpose of media literacy is to equip readers with skills to understand and assess the credibility of the media they consume. Media literacy is not communicated well enough to audiences, but readers need to know how to identify and evaluate credible sources to become better equipped with the media they consume.

In order for readers to become more media literate, they must diversify news sources for consumption. If consumers allow themselves access to a variety of sources, they reduce risks of encountering individual bias from particular news outlets and improve skills on distinguishing credibility.

Additionally, audiences need to reduce confirmation bias. Readers can possess preconceived notions of facts, tending to search for articles confirming their beliefs, rather than ones ... supplying unbiased truth. Therefore, when searching for information, readers must do so in an objective manner. Integrating media literacy into school curriculum will provide students with better insight when evaluating sources, ultimately resulting in a more media literate society.

Students are our future, and if teenagers can become properly educated on source evaluation, future readers will be able to better distinguish accurate from fake news, making consumers better equipped to engage in our society.

Anisha Parida is the first-place winner among ninth graders in the editorial category of the Celebration 225 contest. She attends Manheim Township High School. Her teacher in this assignment was Martin Pflieger.

Overpriced votes


Every time you receive a campaign ad, a candidate is spending lots of money. Unfortunately, there are many people who have great ideas to help this country but cannot afford to do so. Today’s elections, local or federal, favor the wealthy.

The evidence is everywhere, including Lancaster. When U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker was running for re-election, he faced Chet Beiler (in the Republican primary). In the primary alone, (WITF reported) Smucker raised over $796,000 (through April 25, 2018) in campaign funds and contributed his own money as well to defeat Beiler, who spent $204,990 of his own money on his campaign: an obscene amount.

The advantage is also evident at higher-profile offices, such as U.S. Senate.

According to, in the 2018 American elections, the candidate who spent the most money won in a House race 88.8% of the time, and in the Senate, (82.9)%. This isn’t a new trend, either; in House races in 2000, the candidate who spent the most won 94.9% of the time, and in the Senate, 81.8% (“Cost of Election,’’ February 2019). Unless a candidate is willing to spend, statistically he or she has a very small chance to win. The rich are likely to overwhelm the poorer candidates.

While poorer candidates can raise money, raising money also costs money. It takes money to convince people to donate. Even when funds are raised, candidates almost always spend their own money as well. Charity alone is not enough to win an election.

Our voter system in America is broken. The solution is simple: Create a limit that a candidate can spend on a campaign, based on the office he or she is running for. This system has shown its effectiveness in professional sports leagues, like the NFL, where teams have a cap on how much they can spend. Otherwise, teams with huge markets could consistently overwhelm teams with small ones. However, the salary cap has leveled the playing field. America needs a spending cap to level the playing field.

Alex Blank is the 10th grade winner in the editorial writing category of the Celebration 225 contest. A student of Susan Fetterolf, he attends Lampeter-Strasburg High School.

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