Looking Back: Franklin County’s history May 20th

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on May 20th.

25 Years Ago

May 19, 1996 – Monday

“Fifth Grade Speller is the King Bee”

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Chambersburg – Fifth-grader James Barra stretched his neck up to the microphone Saturday in the Chambersburg Area Middle School auditorium after two hours of correctly spelling one word after the next.  

A hushed audience of parents, neighbors, teachers and 49 of his spelling-mastering peers waited.  

Would James, of Falling Spring Elementary School, win this year’s spelling bee championship, or would Larissa Witmer, of Elementary?

The final word: chronological. 

The audience groaned as James slowly repeated the word and then enunciated each letter: “C-H-R-O-N-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L.”

The audience roared. “I was pretty nervous,” James said. “I’m still pretty nervous.

And so were the other 49 area fifth-graders who competed Saturday in the sixth annual Public Opinion Spelling Bee.

Students clenched the edges of their shorts and dresses.  Sneakered feet rocked and knees quivered.

Matthew Brubaker and Zachary Games of Shalom Christian Academy exchanged thoughts before the competition started.

“There’s like one kid at the end,” Matthew said to Zachary. “Everyone else is sitting and there’s just the one.”

The nerves were tough, as were the words and the rules.

Students not only had to spell each word correctly, but they couldn’t repeat themselves or start over.  They had to speak loudly and enunciate clearly.

“There’s a lot of talent here,” said Dalton Paul, director of the Franklin County Area Vo-Tech school, a spelling bee judge.  

“Not only are they great spellers, but they all spoke with such clarity and poise,” he said.  “They are all winners.”

Eleven-year-old Steven Seiders of Coldbrook Elementary didn’t win first, second or third place.  But his family cheered hard and with pride.

 Steven survived more than 10 rounds and finished in fifth place. He carried a picture of his father, Greg Seiders, with him for comfort.

Steven’s father died last June in a motorcycle accident.

“It was good,” he said of the competition, his mom proudly patting him on the back.

Steven studied his word lists every day for two weeks. But Saturday, “apostrophe” stumped him.

He said that he was glad to know that his dad was with him, watching with pride.

The Public Opinion Spelling Bee winners:

  • First place James Barra of Falling Spring Elementary
  •  Second place Larissa Witmer of Greencastle-Antrim Elementary
  • Third place Teresa Prentiss of Southern Fulton Elementary

The participating schools: Chambersburg Area, Corpus Christi, Greencastle-Antrim, Shalom Christian Academy, Shippensburg, Southern Fulton and Tuscarora.

50 Years Ago

May 20, 1971 – Thursday

“Senior Citizen Art Contest Planned”

An unusual art contest, limited to artistic senior citizens 65 years of age and older, is being conducted throughout the State in preparation for the 1971 White House Conference on Aging.  

The contest is similar to others being conducted in other states to select a program cover design for the President’s White House Conference on Aging in November, according to Herman M. Melitzer, director of the Bureau of Community Consultation, State Department of Public Welfare, and State coordinator of conference activities.

Melitzer said the contest is open to both professional and amateur artists 65 years of age and older and is confined to portraiture.

“Portraits of older people, painted by older people, effectively express their mood and can most dramatically be incorporated into the program cover.  Through portraits, senior artists will be provided the  opportunity to express themselves in their choice of technique, subject and mood,” said Melitzer, pointing out that the portraits need not be of faces alone but could be a figure drawing or painting which expresses the age and personality of the subject.

Entries may be in either color or black and white and the media are not restricted.  Size of the entry, including frame, is limited to 30 by 42 inches.

A three-member panel, headed by Vincent R. Artz, executive director of Gov. Milton J. Shapp’s Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, will select the winning State entry for submission in the national contest.

The winning State entry will automatically qualify for consideration in the national contest. The winner of the national competition, in  addition to the honor of having his work reproduced on the conference program cover, will be awarded an expense-paid trip t o Washington, during the conference.

Entry blanks may be secured from the Bureau of Community Consultation, Room 412, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg. The deadline for submitting entries is June 15.

100 Years Ago

May 20, 1921- Friday

“Federation of Churches to meet Monday”

Chambersburg – The regular quarterly meeting: of the Franklin County Federation of Churches will be held next Monday at 1:30 p.m. In the Methodist Episcopal Church of Chambersburg, and the prospect is that it will be unusually well attended.  At this meeting all the commissions will make their report, and business of great interest will be transacted.

 Mr. Brownlee, the superintendent of the Harrisburg District of the Anti-Saloon League will be present and will make an address.  

The progress of the Federation during the fall and winter month ban been most encouraging.  This progress will be reviewed, and Important work which will include the whole county will be outlined for the future.

The pastors of all the churches of the county whether their churches belong to the Federation or not as most cordially Invited, and they are asked to see that their churches are represented by laymen.  All those who are In any way Interested are always welcome at the meetings.


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