Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School
"Tradition, Pride, Excellence"
500 South Broad Street
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Cumberland, 17055
United States
Established 1875
Superintendent Mark K. Leidy, Ed.D
Principal Mr. David Harris
Vice principal Mr. Jeremy Freeland
Vice principal Mr. Andrew Bitz
Grades 9-12
Student to teacher ratio 14:1
Athletics conference Mid-Penn Conference, PIAA
Nickname Wildcats
Newspaper The Torch
Yearbook The Artisan

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High is a secondary school located on 500 South Broad Street in the borough of Mechanicsburg, west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The school is part of the Mechanicsburg Area School District. The stated mission of the district is:

"The mission of the Mechanicsburg Area School District through the collaboative efforts of students, staff, parents and the community is... To promote relentlessly the processes of acquiring and applying knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for all students to become lifelong learners; To provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students; To address the diversity of each student's needs; and To instill in every student the worthiness of being a self-disciplined, responsible, contributing member of a rapidly-changing global society"



Mechanicsburg Area Senior High (MASH), which accepts students ranging from Grade 9-12, serves several communities, including the Boroughs of Mechanicsburg, Shiremanstown, Upper Allen Township, Grantham, and Bowmansdale.

The students begin at the Kindergarten Academy then proceed to one of the elementary schools: Elmwood, Shepherdstown (grades 1-2)/Upper Allen (grades 3-5), Northside, or Broad Street (All 1-5). They then progress to Mechanicsburg Middle School (6-8), and then Mechanicsburg High School (9-12).

School information and history

Mechanicsburg High School was founded and held its first commencement in 1875, with one graduate.

Mechanicsburg High School has been located in three different buildings since its foundation. The Simpson Street School (now a luxury apartment complex) was completed in 1872 and was expanded upon in 1929.[1] In 1957, the school had expanded past capacity, and a new building was built along Elmwood Avenue. The Elmwood Avenue school served as the high school for only 12 years, as the current building on 500 South Broad Street was built and completed in 1969.[2] The Elmwood building was converted to be used as an Intermediate School, and in 2005 was renovated again to be used as an Elementary School. In the mid-1980's, a wing was added to the current building to suit capacity needs. In 2002, the current building underwent extensive renovations.

The Wildcat

The school's mascot was first referenced as the "Wildcat" in a 1937 edition of the school newspaper, The Torch. Prior to this, Mechanicsburg's athletic teams were referenced as the "Steel-and-Maroon" or the "Maroon-and-Steel". No information is currently known as to why the school chose a wildcat as its mascot or the exact date when it was chosen.[3]

Alma Mater

Mechanicsburg's alma mater, an original piece, is as follows:

"Mechanicsburg High School"

Mechanicsburg High School,

You're the dearest school to me.

Mechanicsburg High School,

True to you we'll always be.

Fairest colors, maroon and steel,

Faith in you we'll always feel.

Dearest school beneath the sky,

Mechanicsburg High!

Academic achievement

Graduation Rate:
2009 - 89%[4]
2008 - 90%
2007 - 90%[5]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 75% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.[6]
2008 - 67%, State - 64%
2007 - 74%, State - 65%[7]

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 72% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[8]
2008 - 68%, State - 56%
2007 - 65%, State - 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 58% on grade level. State: 40% on grade level.
2008 - 46%, State - 39%[9]

College Remediation - According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 33% of the Mechanicsburg Area High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[10] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years.[11] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual Enrollment - The high school does not offer the Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. Over 400 school districts in Pennsylvania offer this state funded program.[12][13] However, the high school does offer joint programs with the Cumberland-Perry Vocational-Technical School, the Capitol Area School for the Arts, and offers a career internship programs for seniors, allowing for work experience to be taken for elective course credit.

Advanced Placement - Mechanicsburg offers several Advanced Placement courses and exams to students, which can be taken for potential college credit. In the 2008-2009 school year, Mechanicsburg students took AP exams in Art: Studio Drawing, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, European History, French, Latin: Vergil, Music Theory, Physics B, Psychology and Spanish.[14]

Graduation Project - By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[15]


The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.[16]

In April 2010, the school board chose to add 25% funding for water polo and boys lacrosse at the same time they cut five teacher positions.[17] However, as of the 2011-2012 budget, those programs are not funded by the district and never were.[18]

Music Program

Marching band-

The Mechanicsburg High School Marching Band is a marching band who are called the Wildcats.[19] Mechanicsburg has a rich marching band tradition going back to 1929.[20] They began competing in the Tournament of Bands in 1989. The Marching Wildcats have won 11 Atlantic Coastal Championships, including 4 at the highest classification and 5 in a row in Group 3 competition between 2005 and 2009. In 2005 and 2007, the Marching Wildcats scored 98.80, both records in ACC competition.[21]

Indoor Percussion and Colorguard-

Mechanicsburg is noted for its indoor percussion ensemble, a competitor in the Winter Guard International and TIA Percussion circuit. In 2006, they won 1st at KIDA Championships, and in 2007, they were promoted to the World class in the WGI circuit. And in 2008, the Percussion Ensemble placed 3rd in the TIA Percussion circuit at Wildwoods, New Jersey.

2006 Mechanicsburg Scholastic A class guard went to Dayton, Ohio for WGI (Winter Guard International) championships, coming out eighth in the world. They were subsequently moved up to Scholastic Open class. The 2007 season ended with the Open guard as semi-finalists at WGI championships. In 2008, the Mechanicsburg Scholastic Open colorguard broke top 15 at world championships, making them a WGI finalist. In 2009, the 14 girls went to South Brunswick, New Jersey and won the WGI Power Regional with a score of 87.6. When the guard competed at world championships, they placed 4th with a 93.3, missing the bronze by three tenths of a point. In 2010, the guard will be in Scholastic World, making them the number one color guard in Pennsylvania. The Color Guard has also exceeded the Blue Class in KIDA, and a new Platinum Class has been created just for this Color Guard.

Musical Theatre- MASH is well known in the mid-state area for its musical theatre department. Musicals they have done since 1991 include:

1991 - The Music Man

1992 - Bye Bye Birdie

1993 - Oliver!

1994 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

1995 - Annie

1996 - Oklahoma!

1997 - How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

1998 - Anything Goes

1999 - The Wizard Of Oz

2000 - Guys and Dolls

2001 - Hello, Dolly!

2002 - The King And I

2003 - Pirates of Penzance

2004 - Annie Get Your Gun

2005 - Les Misérables

2006 - Seussical

2007 - 42nd Street

2008 - Thoroughly Modern Millie

2009 - Once Upon A Mattress

2010 - The Music Man

2011 - Children of Eden


Varsity and junior varsity athletic activities are under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Currently, the district offers varsity and junior varsity opportunities in women's cheerleading, field hockey, and softball; men's baseball, football, lacrosse and wrestling; and men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. Currently, all athletics are paid for by the school district and do not require a "pay to play" fee, with the exceptions of men's lacrosse and men's/women's water polo, which were accepted as varsity sports in 2008 under such condition. The district athletic director is Andrea Turo Teeter '78, who took over in 1999.[22] The current athletic trainer is Alex "Sandy" Zettlemoyer '87, who became the school's head certified athletic trainer in 1995.[23]

Retired Numbers

  • 7 - Mike Edwards - baseball, basketball, football (retired for baseball only)
  • 8 - Don Shirley - head baseball coach (retired for baseball only)
  • 16 - Shawn Abner - baseball, football
  • 41 - Dan Lewis - football running back
  • 45 - Ryan Priest - football
  • 61 - Earl "Bud" Kohlhaas - football


The football program is currently in the AAA rank of the PIAA Classification system, and they are members of the Mid-Penn Colonial Division and formerly Mid-Penn Division II and South Penn Conference, which they were champions of 13 times, with the most recent being in 2008. The overall record of the program from 1919-2011 is 543-368-49, with only Steelton-Highspire High School having more overall wins in District III. In addition to being ranked 42nd on the Pennsylvania's all-time winners list, Mechanicsburg is the fourth-youngest program to reach its total.[24] In 1986, under the guidance of late head coach Rich Lichtel (160-121-3, 1981-2007), Mechanicsburg won their first PIAA District 3 AAAA Championship. They were also runners-up in 1983 and 2004. Since the influx of the district playoff system in 1982, the Wildcats have qualified for the District III playoffs in 8 times (most recently in 2009) and have an overall record of 7-7 in playoff games. The Wildcats appeared in the PIAA AAA State Tournament in 2004 and 2008. Although the Wildcats have never won a PIAA State Championship since its implementation in 1988, the program can claim championships in 1924, 1936, 1941 and 1954.[25] On September 21, 2007, Lichtel died after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.[26] Due to the timing of his hospitalization and passing, current head coach Chris Hakel '86 and assistant Jeff Costello were named co-head coaches for the remainder of the 2007 season, in which the Wildcats finished 3-7. In April 2008, Lichtel was posthumously inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.[27] Hakel (22-22, 2008- ) was hired as full-time head coach in January 2008. Hakel was named Mid-Penn Coach of the Year in 2008[28] and has made the playoffs twice in four seasons as of 2011.

The Wildcats play at John H. Frederick Field at Memorial Park Stadium (located in the back of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park). In 2008, an artificial turf surface was installed at the facility, which was paid for entirely through private fundraising efforts by the Wildcat Foundation.[29]

Significant athletic alumni and retired numbers

Chris Hakel (William & Mary, NFL 4th Round) - Current Head Football Coach at Mechanicsburg High School

Shawn Abner (Major League Baseball, Number 16 Retired)

Zach Frazer (University of Connecticut), PA single season passing record (3,674)

Jeremy Boone (Penn State University), 2009 2nd-ranked collegiate punter nationally

Mike Edwards (third baseman) (Major League Baseball)

Scott Erney, (Rutgers University, Big 33 Football Classic Quarterback)

Doug Erney, (William and Mary, Big 33 Football Classic Wide Receiver)

Bud Kohlhaas, (Penn State University, National Football League Number 61 Retired)

Dan Lewis, (school single season rushing record (2,246),[30] career rushing record (3,600), Number 41 Retired)

Ryan Priest, (Lafayette College Hall of Fame[31], Number 45 Retired)


The baseball program is considered one of the most storied scholastic baseball clubs in the Central Pennsylvania region.[32] The program has existed since the 1920s and has won 20 West Shore, CAC or Mid-Penn Conference Championships, with the most recent being in 2009. Since the influx of the PIAA District III Tournament in 1979, Mechanicsburg has made the playoffs 22 times, was district runner-up in 1984 and 1999, and was PIAA District III Champion in 2011. The team has made 3 PIAA State Tournament appearances, having a career record of 1-3 in state tournament play. The team currently participates in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and competes in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. In addition, Mechanicsburg won the Cumberland Valley Umpire's Association "George Wrightstone Sportsmanship Winner" award in 1990, 1991, 1996 and 2001, making Mechanicsburg the only 4-time winner of the award.

The program has sent several players to Division I Universities, including Arizona State, Georgia Southern University, University of Maryland, Penn State University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia. In addition, 1984 #1 MLB Draft selection Shawn Abner honed his talents at the school. Mechanicsburg has also trained 3 other Major League Baseball Draft choices, with two earning spots on Major League rosters. In October 2005, the Wildcat baseball family lost 471 win, 32-year head coach Don Shirley to kidney cancer. The current coach is Clay McCallister. The Wildcats play at Shirley-Rickenbach Field at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park, named after the late Shirley and Bill Rickenbach, present head coach for the Mechanicsburg Cardinals Semi-Pro Twilight League team.

Notable athletic alumni and retired numbers:

Shawn Abner (#1 Pick in 1984 MLB Draft by the Mets, Number 16 Retired)

Ben Abner (Drafted in the 5th round of the 1984 MLB Draft)

Wes Roehr (All-American at Penn State University)

Mike Edwards (third baseman) (Number 7 Retired)

Don Shirley (Number 8 Retired)

Men's and Women's Basketball-

The Basketball program is listed in the AAAA classification in the PIAA, and competes in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division with rivals Trinity and Red Land. The current head coach is Bob Strickler. The program won the PIAA District 3 AAAA title in the 1994-1995 season. The program qualified for states under the AAA classification in 2004, 2005, 2006 and again in 2008 under the AAAA classification. In the 2008 season, Mechanicsburg had 20 wins and lost in the second round of the PIAA AAAA Tournament.

The Womens' basketball program has been marked with recent success. The team was Mid-Penn Keystone champion in 2010.

Men's and women's Soccer-

The Men's Soccer program is listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and competes in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The current coach is Tony Lougee '88. The team plays their home games at Northside Elementary's "Cage" on the north side of town, which is one of the few soccer-only stadiums in the area with the capability to host night games. The mens' program has won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 2006 and 2010, and the womens' team was champion in 2011. The mens' team has qualified for the PIAA District III playoffs 16 times, including every season since 1999. The mens' team was PIAA District III Runners-up in 2005, and the womens' were PIAA District III runners-up in 2011. The mens' advanced to the state tournament in the 1986, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 seasons. The womens' team advanced to the state tournament in 2010 and 2011. Mechanicsburg has also trained a two-time PARADE High School All-American in Bobby Warshaw, current FC Dallas and former Stanford University player.

Also, both the Men's and Women's Soccer teams have gained recognition for their performance in the classroom. In 2006 and 2007, both teams were awarded the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom. A total of 332 soccer teams from throughout the USA have earned this award. To qualify, the team must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players. Mechanicsburg was one of 46 schools receiving the honor for both teams and one of the two schools in PA.

Men's and women's Cross Country-

The men's and women's Cross Country programs are listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The current head coach of the cross country team is Lucas Mellinger, along with assistant coach Carole Cremo. The team runs meets at Soldier and Sailor Memorial Park. In 2005, the men finished with a 19-3 record, repeated as the Big Spring Invitational champions, finished second at the Mid-Penn Cross Country Championships, won the Keystone Division title, and attained the highest team finish at the District III Championships in school history. Senior James Boyer qualified for the PIAA State Championships. In 2008, Senior Matt Nesmith and Junior Sarah Sulon both qualified for states for the second time. Freshman Alexa Gruschow also qualified. In 2009, Gruschow qualified for states as a sophomore with a 14th place finish at the District III Championships.

Men's and Women's Track and Field-

The Men's Track program is listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The Men's Track and Field team currently has no head coach due to the retirement of Colonel Karl Robinson but current assistants include coach Andrew Bitz. The teams run meets at the High School track facility. On May 6, 2006, Seniors James Boyer, Josh Foulds, and Brandon Lane, as well as Freshman Zack Benner broke the school's 4 x Mile Record at the annual Cedar Cliff relays by 6 seconds with a time of 18:36. On May 9, 2009, the team of Matt Nesmith, Zack Benner, Garrett Murphy, and Matt Steele broke the school's 4x800 record by almost 3 seconds with a time of 8:02.08 at the Mid-Penn Invitational at Central Dauphin. In 2010, Seabass Nicewicz, Nick Neverman, Matt Steele, and Jeremy Taylor broke the 4x400 record with a time of 3:27.

The Women's Track program is listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The Women's Track and Field team currently has no head coach due to the retirement of Colonel Karl Robinson but current assistants include coach Andrew Bitz. The teams run meets at the High School track facility. In 2009, Brittany George broke the school Javelin record and qualified for states in the event. Freshman High Jumper Kaila Baughman and Junior 800m runner Sarah Sulon also qualified for states. 2010 brought many new records for the Wildcats. Brittany improved her javelin throw to over 150 feet, ranking nationally. Alexa Gruschow broke the school record in the 300 intermediate hurdles and Caitlin Eberly cleared 11–0 ft on the pole vault.

Charity Fund-raisers

Mechanicsburg hosts Lift For Life, an annual weightlifting competition held in early March at the High School to raise money for kidney cancer. Don Shirley (below), the late baseball coach at MASH, died of kidney cancer and his son, Scott, thought of the competition and shared it with the fellow members of the Penn State football team. Both Mechanicsburg and the Penn State football program carry on the annual event. On March 1, 2008, Mechanicsburg's Lift For Life raised over $10,000 with teams from three high schools in the area.


The Mechanicsburg Area School District and Mechanicsburg Area Senior High have both a list of distinguished alumni and an active Alumni Association.

Notable Alumni

  • Tara Finkboner, critically acclaimed acapello soloist and former president of The Young Adult Race Relations (Y.A.R.R.).
  • Timothy White, writer (did not graduate from MASH).
  • Jack Houck ('56), co-author of SALT treaty.

Alumni Association

The Mechanicsburg High School Alumni Association was founded in 1883. Its stated mission is to: "The Alumni Association furthers community educational ideals by requesting, procuring, managing, and distributing the funds deemed necessary to meet the Alumni Association's goals. It meets its objectives by assessing the educational and financial needs of the student scholarship applicants; securing gifts, grants, or donations; and giving grants or scholarships to Mechanicsburg High School graduates."[33] The association operates its Hall of Fame, which honors Mechanicsburg graduates who have excelled in high school and beyond in either Service to Humanity, Loyalty to Mechanicsburg High School, Outstanding Achievement in Athletics, and Outstanding Achievement in a Chosen Profession. Currently, there are over 100 inductees since the Hall's foundation in 1967.[34] In addition to the Hall of Fame, the Alumni Association plans and finances its annual Alumni Dinner, which is in its 119th year and the annual Homecoming Party held before the Homecoming football game. In addition, the association operates the Mechanicsburg Alumni Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1980. Since then, the Fund has grown to a value of over $500,000 via donations from alumni worldwide, and is distributed in the form of several annual merit scholarships given to graduating seniors, and one scholarship given to a Mechanicsburg lineman.[35]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Archives
  3. ^ William J. Murray,
  4. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children - High School Graduation Rates 2007
  6. ^ Mechanicsburg Area High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  7. ^ Mechanicsburg Area High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2007
  8. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report on Science PSSA 2008 August 2008.
  10. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report Pennsylvania Department of Education January 2009
  11. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  12. ^ Dual Enrollment Guidlelines 2010-2011
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Grants 2009-10
  14. ^
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  16. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  17. ^ Dolsen, Erics, Mechanicsburg school board agrees to fund water polo and boys' lacrosse, The Sentinel. April 13, 2010.
  18. ^$file/2011-2012%20Athletic%20Fund%20Budget.pdf
  19. ^ T.W.Burger (November 1, 2009), Mechanicsburg Marching Wildcats take first place for fifth time in a row, The Patriot, 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^

External links

Coordinates: 40°12′18″N 77°01′02″W / 40.2049°N 77.0172°W / 40.2049; -77.0172

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