Cranberry improvises with picnic

Cranberry Area High School went on with its yearly picnic for students on Friday, despite the manhunt that was taking place Friday morning and early afternoon for a prisoner who had escaped from nearby UPMC Northwest, where he was being treated for an injury.

However, for safety purposes, the picnic wasn’t held in the traditional outdoor setup.

“Usually, we have things set up outside and we have music and games,” High school Principal Ritt Smith said. “But due to the circumstances today, we are keeping the kids and the service lines inside the school. Only the staff is outside the building and we have security here with us.”

Despite the circumstances that had the community on edge for most of the day on Friday, the students and school district staff were determined to have fun.

Smith said he has spent “quality time” on the grill, in reference to his time as co-owner of Fat Dogs in Oil City, but he is “a rookie” when compared with Assistant Principal Kayla Loll, as the pair grilled about 550 hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch.

“Kim Daugherty, the head of our cafeteria, and her ladies got the grill going early this morning,” Smith said. “Out first lunch was at 10:53. The grill did not use gas, but wood chips for a natural flavor.”

The grill was made several years ago by instructor Chad Clark and his metal shop students.

The serving line was set up in the cafeteria and the students ate inside.

“I hope to be able to give the students a day to eat outside next week,” Smith said.