Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School

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Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School
Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School logo.gif
500 South Broad Street

Cumberland County

United States
Motto"Tradition, Pride, Excellence"
SuperintendentMark K. Leidy, Ed.D
PrincipalDavid Harris
Enrollment1,158 (2016-17)[1]
Student to teacher ratio14:1
Color(s)Maroon , steel
Athletics conferenceMid-Penn Conference, PIAA
RivalsRed Land, Northern York
NewspaperThe Torch
YearbookThe 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.


Mechanicsburg Area Senior High (MASH), which accepts students ranging from grade 9–12, serves several communities, including the Boroughs of Mechanicsburg and Shiremanstown, Upper Allen Township, and the villages of 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[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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-1980s, a wing was added to the current building to suit capacity needs. In 2002, the current building underwent extensive renovations.

On July 6, 2010, then-Governor Ed Rendell publicly signed Pennsylvania's $28 billion budget at Elmwood Elementary.[4]

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.[5]

Academic achievement[edit]


In 2014, Mechanicsburg was ranked 49th in the state of Pennsylvania (1,869th nationally) by US News & World Report and was awarded "silver medal" status.[6] In 2013, Mechanicsburg was ranked 68th in Pennsylvania, and 2,239th nationally.[6]

Rankings in the Pittsburgh Business Times, based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing, and science:[7]

  • 2013 - 79
  • 2012 - 77
  • 2011 - 91
  • 2010 - 90
  • 2009 - 103
  • 2008 - 96
  • 2007 - 113

Graduation rate:

  • 2012 – 97%[8]
  • 2011 – 93%[9]
  • 2010 – 98%
  • 2009 – 89%[10]
  • 2008 – 90%
  • 2007 – 90%[11]

PSSA results:

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High's Graduation Rate and Standardized Testing (PSSA) results are provided to the public by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Percentage of students proficient and above
Year 11th Grade Reading: MASH 11th Grade Reading: State Average 11th Grade Math: MASH 11th Grade Math: State Average 11th Grade Science: MASH 11th Grade Science: State Average
2012[12] 85 67 84 59 62 42
2011[12] 78 69 80 60 55 40
2010 73 67 77 59 53 39
2009 75 65 72 56 58 40
2008 67 64 68 56 46 39
2007 74 65 65 53 n/a n/a

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.[13] 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.[14] 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 offers 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.[15][16] Additionally, 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 program 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.[17]

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.[18]


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 home-schooled, 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.[19]

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.[20] However, as of the 2011-2012 budget, those programs are not funded by the district and never were.[21]


Mechanicsburg High School sponsors a variety of extracurricular clubs and teams focusing on academic development. As of the 2012-13 school year, the high school sponsored chapters of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, National French Honor Society, National German Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and Tri-M. Students also annually publish the Muse literary and arts magazine, the monthly Torch newspaper, and the annual Artisan yearbook. Students can compete with interscholastic academic teams in Quiz Bowl, Speech, Memory, and Math. In 2013, the Memory Team won the High School National Championship of the USA Memory Championship in New York City.[22]

Mechanicsburg hosts a variety of fund-raising and social awareness events throughout the school year. Lift For Life, a charity weightlifting competition is held in early March at the High School to raise money for kidney cancer research, in honor of Don Shirley, a Mechanicsburg High School baseball coach who died of kidney cancer. [23] Mechanicsburg also sponsors a chapter of Key Club.

Music program[edit]

Marching band

The Mechanicsburg High School Marching Band is a marching band who are called the Wildcats.[24] Mechanicsburg has a rich marching band tradition going back to 1929.[25] They began competing in the Tournament of Bands in 1989. The Marching Wildcats have won 11 Atlantic Coast Championships, including four in Group 4 (largest classification of marching band by total musicians) and five 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. In the 2015 season, The Marching Wildcats placed 1st at the USBands National Championships for Group 5 Open.

Indoor Percussion and Colorguard

Mechanicsburg is noted for its indoor percussion ensemble, a competitor in the Winter Guard International and TIA Percussion circuit. In 2012, they won 2nd place at the WGI tournament in Dayton, Ohio with a score of 96.10.

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.

Mechanicsburg Indoor Guard was started in 1997 by Kristy Templin and Bart Sword. It was started with a handful of kids and has continued to grow from 1 program to 3 indoor color guard programs. The color guard program has won 13 out of the 16 years it has been in existence. 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 began to compete in Scholastic World, the highest class of competition. Locally, the Color Guard has dominated the Keystone Indoor Drill Association's Blue Class for years, however recently a new Platinum Class has been created for colorguards of this caliber. In 2011, Sal Salas, Joe Heininger, Kristy Templin and Jeff Kahley joined together to design the shows. The color guard placed 2nd in the Nation in Scholastic A and brought home the silver medal. As a result of their placement,the color guard was promoted to the Open Class Division. In 2012, they were a semi-finalist in the Scholastic Open Class Division.

Musical Theatre

MASH is well known in the mid-state area for its musical theatre department, which has been under the leadership of Eric Dundore for more than two decades. Dundore retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year and was replaced by his friend and colleague Gordon Kaslusky, who was the music and chorus teacher at Mechanicsburg Middle School.


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. 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.

Retired numbers[edit]

  • 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 Class AAAA classification of the PIAA,[26] and are members of the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference (formerly Mid-Penn Division II and South Penn Conference). The Wildcats claim 13 conference championships, with the most recent in 2008. Six of the Wildcats' championships come after the foundation of the Mid-Penn Conference in 1982, including three of the first five in the conference's history. 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 3. In addition to being ranked 42nd on the Pennsylvania's all-time winners list, Mechanicsburg is the fourth-youngest program to reach its total.[27] In 1986 Mechanicsburg won its 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 3 playoffs in 9 times (most recently in 2012) and have an overall record of 7-8 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.[28][29] In 1995, Mechanicsburg fielded a female kicker, a rarity in American football.[30][31] On September 21, 2007, Lichtel died after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.[32] Due to the timing of his hospitalization and passing, current head coach Chris Hakel, a 1986 graduate of the school, 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.[33] Hakel (27-28, 2008- ) was hired as full-time head coach in January 2008. Hakel was named Mid-Penn Coach of the Year in 2008[34] and has made the playoffs three times in five seasons as of 2012 (2-3). As of 2012, Mechanicsburg has had at least one athlete named all-state since the 2008 season;[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] in 2004, Zach Frazer was named Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA Player of the Year as one of three Wildcats named to the AP Class AAA All-State team.[42][43][44]

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, financed entirely through private fundraising efforts by the Wildcat Foundation.[45]


The baseball program is considered one of the most storied scholastic baseball clubs in the Central Pennsylvania region.[46] The program has existed since at least 1914 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 participates in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and competes in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. 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.

In October 2005, the Wildcat baseball family lost 471 win, 32-year head coach Don Shirley to kidney cancer. 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.


The boys' basketball program is listed in the AAAA classification in the PIAA, and competes in the Mid-Penn Conference's Keystone Division with rivals Cedar Cliff and Red Land. The program has claimed Mid-Penn championships in 1986, 1987, 1994, 1995, 2005, and 2017 and won the PIAA District 3 AAA title in the 1994-1995 season. The program qualified for the PIAA state tournament under the AAA classification in 1995, 2004, 2005, 2006 and again in 2008 under the AAAA classification. They also qualified in 2017 under the AAAAA classification. In the 2007-2008 season, Mechanicsburg had 20 wins and lost in the second round of the PIAA AAAA Tournament. In the 2016-2017 season, Mechanicsburg had 23 wins and lost in the second round of the PIAA AAAA Tournament

The girls' basketball program won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 2000, 2010, 2014, and 2015.



The school's soccer programs are listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The teams play 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 boys' program has won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 2006 and 2010, and the girls' team was champion in 2011. The boys' team has qualified for the PIAA District 3 playoffs 16 times, including every season since 1999. The boys' team was PIAA District 3 runners-up in 1986, 1989 and 2005, and the girls were PIAA District 3 runners-up in 2011. The men's advanced to the PIAA state tournament in the 1986, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 seasons. The girls' 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, currently with Ängelholms FF, on loan from FC Dallas, and a former Stanford University player.

Both the boys' and girls' 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.

Cross country[edit]

The boys' and girls' Cross Country programs are listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. The boys' team won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 1983, 1986, 1988, 2001 and 2005. The team runs meets at Soldier and Sailor Memorial Park. In 2005, the boys 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 3 Championships in school history.

Track and field[edit]

The boys' and girls' Track programs are listed in the AAA classification in the PIAA, and compete in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. The teams run meets at the High School track facility. The girls' team won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 1983, 1994 and 1995. In 2018, the boys team won the Mid-Penn Keystone Division title and the District III AAA title.

Swimming and diving[edit]

The boys' and girls' swimming teams are listed in the AAA classification of the PIAA, and compete in the Mid-Penn Keystone division. The boys won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 1983, 1984, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002. The girls won Mid-Penn Conference championships in 1983, 1984, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2011. In 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Water polo[edit]

The boys' and girls' water polo teams at Mechanicsburg have only been a varsity sport for a short amount of time compared to their other sports teams since their acceptance to the varsity line up in 2003. The team practices five days a week after school in the Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School Natatorium. They also host the John Quigley Memorial Water Polo Tournament, in honor of a former player John Quigley who died one year after graduating from the team while attending Penn State.


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

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni Association[edit]

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."[48] 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.[49] 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.[50]


  1. ^ "Mechanicsburg Area SHS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Archives
  4. ^ Press, Associated. "Rendell signs $28B, election-year budget in Mechanicsburg". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  5. ^ William J. Murray
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide Ranking 2012, April 4, 2012
  8. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2012
  9. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2011
  10. ^ Mechanicsburg Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children - High School Graduation Rates 2007
  12. ^ a b "404" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 2, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report Pennsylvania Department of Education January 2009
  14. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  15. ^ Dual Enrollment Guidlelines 2010-2011
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Grants 2009-10
  17. ^ "Explore Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School in Mechanicsburg, PA". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  19. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  20. ^ Dolsen, Erics, Mechanicsburg school board agrees to fund water polo and boys' lacrosse, The Sentinel. April 13, 2010.
  21. ^$file/2011-2012%20Athletic%20Fund%20Budget.pdf
  22. ^ "Hershey, Mechanicsburg high school students heading to USA Memory Championship". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  23. ^ Sentinel, Siobhan o’Grady, The. "Mechanicsburg students Lift for Life to raise money for kidney cancer research". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
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  26. ^
  27. ^ "EasternPAFootball - Your # 1 Source for High School Football in Eastern PA". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
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  30. ^ 2002, Davin Coburn October 25,. "Opinion - A league of their own?". Retrieved October 28, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  31. ^ "PowWeb". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  32. ^ "Mechnicsburg football coach Rich Lichtel dies". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  33. ^ "Hall of Fame induction dinner on tap Friday". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  34. ^ 2008, staff reports, December 22,. "Mid-Penn football all-stars: Colonial Division". Retrieved October 28, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  35. ^ 2008, Associated Press, Dec. 19,. "Three local football players earn Class AAA All-State honors". Retrieved October 28, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  36. ^ "Pennsylvania All-State Football Teams 2009". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Mid-Penn Conference puts eight players on Class AAA all-state team". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  39. ^ "PFN All-State AAA 2011". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  40. ^ Press, Rod Frisco, For The Associated. "Mechanicsburg's Barr earns first-team All-State football honors". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  41. ^ "PFN All-State AAAA 2012". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  42. ^ "List Of Goals Keeps Frazer Focused". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  43. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ " Jeremy Boone Bio :: Official Athletic Site of Penn State :: Official Athletic Site of Penn State :: Football". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  45. ^ 2008, Travis L. Pickens, August 2,. "More than just a football field". Retrieved October 28, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  46. ^ "Chasing legends: Jimmy Spanos 'is a winner' for storied Mechanicsburg program". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  47. ^ The MASH Soccer Website
  48. ^ "Home". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  49. ^ "Hall of Fame". Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  50. ^ "Scholarship Winners". Retrieved October 28, 2017.

External links[edit]

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