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Reel adventures


After casting alongside the tranquil waters of the Little Connoquenessing Creek that flows throughout Seneca Valley’s secondary campus in Jackson Township, students at Ryan Gloyer Middle School (RGMS) were hooked as they participated in the school’s Fishing Club, with many catching their very first fish.

Seventh graders in the purpose program, Reagan Ponchek and Danny Kearney aimed to educate their peers on the significance of habitat improvement and cleaning local waterways while fostering a love of fishing. To achieve this, they wrote grants and collaborated with various organizations, making a meaningful impact in their school community through their year-long Scenario Showcase projects in Mr. Zeke Stroupe’s class.


Miss Ponchek received a $750 grant from Trout Unlimited for environmental improvement along the creek where she removed litter and worked to get the trail systems expanded making it easier for students to access the creek. Mr. Kearney received a total of $2,250 in grants from the Seneca Valley Foundation (SVF) through a Hart Mini-Grant and Trout Unlimited. These grants provided funding for stocking the creek with nearly 300 trout and hosting two fishing classes, garnering 25 RGMS student participants. After these classes, the after-school program and fishing clubs have enjoyed the program, bringing the total amount of kids affected by the program well over 100. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission granted the Fishing Club with funding through their R3 Education Grant Program which was used to purchase fishing gear like rods, reels, waders and tackle.

“The goal of the Fishing Club and all fishing activities is to allow kids the opportunity to experience local nature and biodiversity firsthand,” said Mr. Zeke Stroupe, RGMS Gifted Support teacher. “I feel that to protect any resource, we must have a personal connection to it. Personal connection equals personal value. This is the only way to help protect and even improve our local environmental resources. Furthermore, fishing, hiking, and enjoying nature are healthy life-long activities. I want kids to fall in love with these opportunities as a great way to unplug from the world and be able to find the peace that can be found outdoors.” 


Throughout the fishing classes, students learned about different trout species and their food sources, knot tying, casting and more. As soon as the class wrapped up, students put their new skills to the test by walking down to the Little Connoquenessing Creek with their guides in hopes of reeling in a fish. Trout Unlimited even sent a few guides stocked with fly rods and tackle to help teach the kids how to fly fish as well.

“My dream is that more people in the world will help clean our local waterways for the next generation to enjoy, and to accomplish my dream, I decided to get kids involved in my school in outdoor activities by fishing,” said Mr. Kearney. “Kids learned to respect the fish and the environment around them and even some of them got their first ever catches as anglers. They were thrilled by their experience and made them want to fish more.”

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for the Seneca Valley Fishing Club, please contact Annie Mersing, Director of Development for the Seneca Valley Foundation at

Posted May 24, 2024