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Rural students are missing out on extracurriculars

Plus: 36 Pa. counties in a drought watch, a free event on the Great Migration's legacy in Pennsylvania, and leafminers


September 1, 2022
PROPERTY TAX REBATE: Did you or someone you know get a property tax or rent rebate from the state in recent years and learn you no longer qualify? We want to hear from you. Your stories will fuel our reporting on the steady decline in the number of households getting help from a lottery-funded program that’s meant to help older or disabled Pennsylvanians with housing costs. Reach out to Spotlight PA reporter Charlotte Keith at ckeith@spotlightpa.org.
Inside this edition: Lack of access to transportation limits after-school opportunities for some students in Cameron County, 36 Pa. counties under drought watch, and a free event about the legacy of the Great Migration in Pennsylvania.
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Traveling long distances is a given for many who choose to live in Pennsylvania's more rural parts, but for some high school students in Cameron County, it's costing them their after-school activities.

Some live as far as a 90-minute bus ride from the high school in Emporium. While the buses ensure students are able to get to school and get home after classes finish, there is no transport for students who stay after school for athletics and band practice, said Wendy Goulding, assistant to the superintendent of the Cameron County School District.

The school district does not have a contract with Student Transportation of America, the bus company it works with, to provide rides later in the afternoon to accommodate after-school activities, Goulding said. 

“Say there is a football game on a Friday night, students have to get a ride both ways," she said, "and that’s quite a distance for them to have to get here."

A 2008 evaluation of 10 years of studies about after-school programs, published by the Harvard Family Research Project, shows that the programs have the potential to aid social development, prevent addiction and violent behavior, and contribute to a healthy lifestyle by increasing physical activity. 

Rowan Crisp, Cameron County’s recreation director, said a survey conducted for students in the Cameron County School District showed most of them don’t participate in after-school activities because they don’t have access to transportation.

The county recreation center has a game room and snacks available for children ages 8 to 18 that is open 4-8 p.m. There are roughly 100 registered students at the recreation center, but Crisp said about 15 students come in on a daily basis. 

Crisp attended school in Cameron County and said it was really challenging to plan out after-school activities. 

“If you’re far away and you notice a program that you want to be part of and your parents can’t pick you up, you’re stuck,” she said. 

Ashad Hajela, rural affairs reporter and Report for America corps member

📝 More From Spotlight PA
» Thousands of Pa. nursing home workers may strike despite $600M for care in state budget

» Your license plate frame is enough for police in Pa. to pull you over, court rules

» Major shift in medical malpractice rules in Pa. could help victims, but opponents fear the cost 

» New report on racial bias in Pa. State Police traffic stops delayed by data problems, officials say

» Pa.'s unreliable lobbyist disclosure website is getting a user-friendly upgrade

» PLUS: Join us Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. via Zoom for a free Q&A with Armendia Dixon, an educator in two states post-Brown v. Board of Education, and discussion on the legacy of the Great Migration in Pennsylvania, and the history of Erie’s Black community. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

» AND: Celebrating Spotlight PA's 3 years of high-impact accountability and public-service journalism
📷 Local Gem
R Thomas Berner shared this lovely photo and explained that "one of the first signs that fall is approaching is the changing of the color of sedum, which in this garden is white in the summer and looks like miniature cauliflower." Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
📰 In Other News
» Clinton County under drought watch (Lock Haven Express)

» Afield: Have you noticed trees turning brown in central PA this summer? Blame the leafminer. (Centre Daily Times)

» Plans for a gas station next to a bird-watching wetland in Huntingdon County spark opposition (WPSU)

» Penn State receives multiple reports of unwanted fondling at frats on same day. What we know. (Centre Daily Times)

» West Pharmaceuticals expanding, 125 new jobs to Jersey Shore (NorthcentralPA.com)

» Conemaugh Nason to end scheduled OB deliveries in October (Morrisons Cove Herald)
📅 Events
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Sept. 1: Have a laugh at the second annual Happy Valley XS Improv Festival in downtown State College.

» Sept. 2-3: Enjoy an evening of communal outdoor dining and live music on the waterfront at Bellefonte Under the Lights.

» Sept. 3: The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum hosts a Labor Day weekend Community Yard Sale.

» Sept. 3-4: Altoona at Work: Building the Horseshoe Curve shares the "comprehensive history of the engineering landmark" through re-enactments and educational programs.

» Sept. 4: Take in a fireworks display at Curwensville Lake.
🧩 The Puzzler
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, "spotlight" also forms "stoplight."

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

Good luck!

Last week's answer: Thing

Congrats to Tish M., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Warren D., Steve B., Donna D., Roe D., Annette B., Hugh M., Linda A., Ron R., and PJ H.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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