This year's Lions Club International Peace Poster contest invited students to "Dare to Dream" by creating a poster that explored and visually expressed how they’ll turn their dream of a peaceful world into reality. From the Junior High, three 8th grade students were recognized and received cash prizes by the Exeter Township Lions Club for their outstanding interpretation of this theme through their original artwork, including first place winner, Kylie Milshaw (left); second place winner, Nohelia Ortiz (second from right); and third place winner, Madeline Bieber (right). They were joined by a representative from the Lions Club this morning to receive their certificates and cash prizes as well as a hearty congratulations from the Lions Club mascot, Leo. Our warmest congratulations to our talented Eagles and our thanks to the JH's art teacher, Mrs. Kimberly Lopez, and the Lions Club for their yearly support of our students and this fantastic project!
Tuesday, December 12th at 6PM in the LGI in Exeter Township Senior High School
Mrs. Alycia Lenart, Exeter Township School District K-12 Student Support Coordinator
Sergeant Detective Rocco DeCamillo, Exeter Township Police Department
“Make no mistake, this is an eye-opening, worldwide problem affecting our students here in Exeter,” said Sergeant Detective Rocco DeCamillo to the faculty of the Exeter Township School District during a professional development session held at the Senior High last Tuesday. “To make things worse, we know there are a lot of cases here that are not being reported because it takes a lot of courage to go to a parent, a friend or to the police. This is why I think it’s important for you to be aware of this issue in case you have a student who considers you a role model and decides to confide in you.”
The issue is called sexting, and it can often lead to an even more serious issue called sextortion. “One can lead to the other one, but they are two very different things,” said DeCamillo, who was joined during the presentation by his colleague, Exeter Township Police Detective Anthony Pendell.
In short, DeCamillo explained that sexting is sending sexually-explicit messages, images or videos to another person. Sextortion, however, is a form of cyber blackmail where a perpetrator often demands money to refrain from publicly releasing sexually-explicit messages, images or videos of the victim. These issues, said DeCamillo, are ones that affect adults–as well as minors, too. “You might think of this as a high school problem, but we’re seeing sexting more frequently at the junior high level,” he said. “But what’s even scarier is that we’re starting to see it more frequently in preteens, too, which is scary. The victims–and their offenders–are becoming younger.”
To complicate matters, minors are very savvy with finding ways to hide explicit content and conversations from their parents–and perpetrators are just as savvy at finding their victims. Rather than using traditional texting methods, DeCamillo said that minors and offenders alike use social media, texting or gaming platforms to send or receive content, such as WhatsApp, XBox, Instagram, Playstation, Roblox and Snapchat. On these platforms, adults often pose as minors, cultivating trust and a following by requesting mutual friends. Once a relationship and trust has been established, DeCamillo said that perpetrators will often start by requesting selfies of the minor victim. “Younger kids–those who are 11 or 12–almost can’t help but send these selfies of themselves out naked. They think they’re talking to a 15 year old, but it’s really a 43 year old who is harvesting child pornography.”
Currently, the most frequently used platform is Snapchat. “Snap is the devil,” DeCamillo said as he discussed the app’s encrypted feature called “My Eyes Only,” which is a hidden vault that erases all content as soon as a user asks for a password reset. This, he said, even prevents law enforcement from finding and recovering those photos once a report’s been filed, giving kids a false sense of security about hiding–or sending–naked selfies on the platform. “Kids often don’t think of the ramifications of when they hit that send button there’s a whole lot of things that can come out of it,” he said.
Minors who send sexually-explicit photographs lack the understanding that this is a crime under PA law; however, DeCamillo stressed that the focus of Exeter PD is more on education rather than on the arrests of minors. “This is not a situation where we can arrest our way out of it. It’s not that simple, and arrest isn’t always the answer.” Instead, he said that the department works to educate minors about the pitfalls of sending sexts and how repeated or more serious offenses can get them in serious trouble. Beyond criminal or legal issues, he also warned that sexting can lead to other problems, such as, grooming, destroying a person’s reputation, sextortion or mental health problems. The latter, he said, is unfortunately common, and is something that profoundly worries him and his department. “If the messages wind up in the wrong hands, it can be so mentally damaging to an adolescent teen.” Reflecting on cases outside of Exeter, he said solemnly, “Sometimes, it’s so extreme that children have taken their lives over it,” he said. “Sometimes therapy doesn’t quite work out, their reputation is destroyed and they feel they have no other option other than suicide,” he said with a pause, “It’s heartbreaking.”
Superintendent Dr. Christy Haller and Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Dawn Harris organized the session with Detective Sergeant DeCamillo and Detective Pendell to bring a greater awareness to teachers of this issue, which is only growing, according to the figures the detectives presented. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of reports involving sextortion doubled, according to their report, wth 45% of sextortion perpetrators actually carrying out threats, and 25% of victims seeking mental health help following an incident.
Like last year’s edibles presentation, the professional development session proved to be so popular with educators that Detective Sergeant DeCamillo and Detective Pendell, along with the district’s K-12 Student Supports Coordinator, Mrs. Alycia Lenart, have decided to offer a similar session to parents and families so that they, too, could learn what police are seeing in the local community, as well as how to talk to their kids about sexting and sextortion. The parent and family session will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 6PM in Exeter Township Senior High School’s Large Group Instruction (LGI) room.
Starring (left to right): Top: Tanner Garret as Captain Jennings and Kailey Batzel as Captain Bree. Bottom: Zander Boardman as Professor Bidwell; Elizabeth Schwenk as Madam Prescot; Niko Frederick as Samuel Prescot; Jacinda Motley as Julia Prescot; and Ben Bulles as Admiral Moore
Showtimes: Friday, November 17th and Saturday, November 18th at 7PM with a free senior citizen performance on Wednesday, November 15th at 9:45AM
Huzzah! Shiver your timbers with the Junior High's swashbuckling musical comedy, "The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree!" When Captain Jennings (played by Tanner Garret) crew jumps ship upon sighting the lady pirates in the distance, he's left with a makeshift crew of motley prisoners and Fergus, a sailor who can’t swim, to protect his wealthy passengers, the Prescots (played by Elizabeth Schwenk, Niko Frderick and Jacinda Motley), from the inevitable attack. As the lady pirates, led by Kailey Batzel as Captain Bree, take over the defenseless Kayla May, you’re in for swashbuckling musical comedy with a host of hysterical characters, including Zander Boardman as Professor Bidwell and Ben Bulles as Admiral Moore, on deck and a spectacular Bill Francoeur score.
Tickets are $7 for shows on November 17th and 18th at 7PM in the Exeter Township Junior High School's auditorium. Purchase your ticket at the door, or reserve your seat online at https://exeterjhs.seatyourself.biz
Dozens of young Lords and Ladies from thee village of Exeter doth taketh over the PA Renaissance Faire in Manheim today as they made music, created art and acted amongst the commoners in a trio of competitions. Mistresses and masters from the Junior High's honors chorus sang with a combined orchestra from the Junior and Senior High. Meanwhile, Senior High art students Ellie Dougherty and Alizarin Capeland took part in a poster competition depicting Exeter and the Faire, respectively. After students had soaked up more post medieval history and noshed on the Faire's famous turkey legs and exotic jerky as well as other royal delights, the day concluded with students in Mr. Wickstom's Creative Expressions class performing a dramatic sword fighting scene from William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
At the end of the day, huzzah! Exeter's theatrical performance earned 2nd place with students in the poster competition taking home an honorable mention. Although the Junior High chorus and orchestra did not place, Mrs. Crotty said it was still a day that all of the students enjoyed as they immersed themselves in a unique era of history. "They love having the chance to walk around and see places you read about with your friends--it makes a huge impact," she said. "Add in jousting, turkey legs, a mud pit, a battle over the throne--history becomes so much more real and exciting." Huzzah Eagles!
Former NFL player Devin Wyman opened his assembly at Exeter Township Junior High this morning by asking students a thought-provoking question: "What size dream did you wake up with today?" And for the next 45 minutes, he showed students how small choices they make each day--with their friends, their efforts at school and their attitude--ultimately makes a huge impact on the achievement of their dreams.
Wyman is no stranger to having big dreams when he was a student and dreamt of becoming a professional football player. By high school, Division I colleges and universities came knocking on his door, offering him scholarships to play football or basketball. But he blew it all when he fell in with the wrong group of friends and decided to sell drugs, which ultimately led to his arrest before he graduated high school. "One $20 piece of cocaine cost me a quarter-million dollar scholarship," he said to the suddenly hushed group of students. "I made one wrong choice listening to the wrong voice. My mom said your friends are not your friends. What you do in the dark, will come to the light."
Wyman then held up a steel bar he brought with him and held it vertically to illustrate what it was like to live behind it as a prisoner. But he then told students the bar could also represent what it's like to be lifted to achieve your dreams when you are with friends who care just as much about your aspirations. Asking for two volunteers, eighth graders Nyla Salaam (left) and Jacinda Motley, were instructed by Wyman to grab the now-horizontal bar and hold onto as if it were their dreams. "If you let go of it, she's going to fall," he said to Nyla in reference to Jacinda. "And if you let go of it, she's going to fall," he said in reverse, illustrating how friendships can make all the difference. And with that, he lifted the girls to the stunned audience.
Continuing to use the bar as a metaphor, Wyman then further shocked the group of students by placing a towel around the center of the bar, placing it in his mouth, and then bending it--impossibly--into half. "I love football because it has two halves," he said as he traced his finger around the now u-shaped bar. "This," he said as he pointed to the curve at the bottom of the bar, "was when I was arrested. I was at my lowest point. It was the end of my first half." But he then said that each and every person has the capacity to ask for forgiveness, the power to change and the ability to latch back onto their dreams and work hard to achieve them. "This," he said as he traced his finger up the bar, "was my second half when I didn't give up on myself and I prayed for forgiveness." He then paused and told the students emphatically, "Don't you ever--ever--give up on yourself," as he told students about his release from prison and re-entry back onto the football field at a community college, eventually earning a spot on the football field at Kentucky State University. From there, Wyman was drafted in the sixth round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, where he earned two Super Bowl rings.
Wyman will bring his message about effort, education and excellence to students throughout the district during assemblies on Monday and Tuesday, with a final free and open-to-the-public presentation on Tuesday, September 26th at 6PM in the auditorium at the Exeter Township Senior High school. Wyman's presentation was brought to Exeter schools thanks to a grant from the Exeter Community Education Foundation.
Dear Exeter Families,
In our partnership with the Exeter Township Police Department, we have been actively monitoring the situation in northern Chester County and the search for the escaped inmate, Danelo Cavalcante. As many of you may be aware, in consultation with law enforcement, the Owen J. Roberts school district closed today following a reported sighting of a man believed to be Cavalcante in an area near their schools last night. Law enforcement also believes that he now has a firearm.
At this time, we have been assured there is no direct threat to the Exeter community and the search area for Cavalcante has not moved into Berks County. In our steadfast commitment to the safety and security of our school community, we want to assure you that our district’s Safety & Security Coordinator, Eric Seidel, as well as central office administrators, are in constant contact with the Exeter Township Police Department to receive the latest information and developments in the search for Cavalcante.
In consultation with the Exeter Police, we have been informed that there is no reason to change or disrupt the normal operations of our schools at this time. Unless otherwise advised, we will continue to hold outdoor athletics and activities (recess, physical education classes) for our students while we remain vigilant and watchful.
The PA State Police would like to reinforce the following security measures for community members to increase your awareness and caution:
Residents in the area are asked to continue to lock all external doors and windows, secure vehicles, and remain indoors. Please review your surveillance cameras and contact police if you observe anything suspicious. If you see him, do not approach. Call 911 immediately. Please call (717) 562-2987 with general tips and information.
Cavalcante is described as a male of Hispanic descent, approximately 5’0” in height and clean shaven. We’ve attached police-released photos of him. If you believe you have seen Cavalcante, please call 911 immediately.
The Exeter Township Police Department will continue to be a presence around our schools and our schools will continue to implement our universal safety procedures and protocols that are designed to keep our students and our staff in one of the safest and securest locations in the area.