Monday, October 7, 2013

What's the harm in listening to music?

Lauren Mangano

Opinions Editor

You’re walking through the hallway, earbuds in your ear, your favorite song bringing up a positive vibe throughout your whole body. A faint voice is heard in the background, and it’s time to make the music stop.
 Cell-phones and other technology are a part of the everyday lives of teenagers in almost every environment--including school.  At the start of the 2012-13 school year, cell-phones were allowed in the beginning of class, at the end of class, in the hallways, and were being used for things like music, texting, and popular games. As the 2012-13 school year went on, a dilemma with the once very popular iPhone app, SnapChat, changed the cell-phone rules. There were complaints from parents and students concerning misuse of the app, consequently removing many of our phone privileges as students. Following the rule change, cell-phones were not to be seen or heard, and even weren’t supposed to be seen in hallways.
 As the new school year rolled around and the new principal, Mr. Malone, came to New Hope-Solebury High School, the cell-phone rules changed yet again. Now, it is not even okay to have earphones in while walking in the hallway, disabling students from listening to music during their passing time in between classes. It is now just a little bit harder to enjoy ourselves during these four minute intervals we have during a seven-hour school day.
 This rule seems to actually be enforced, too. Many times I have seen a teacher ask a student to remove their earbuds. But what is the harm? Listening to music doesn’t take away from our vision in the halls, nor does it take away from our attention so much that it would cause any problems. I think that, of course, the “no cell-phones in class” rule is very understandable. Yet, I can’t think of any situation where music would be harmful. The no music rule, along with the many other changes that came along with this new school year, is one of the few decisions that seems unfair, purposeless, and is against the majority of the student body’s wants.
 I don’t think we can get this rule to be changed, but I think we as students can show that we will be more careful. Maybe we can use one earbud instead of both, that way things are still audible. Nothing bad has happened from listening to music in the halls, and we can make sure that things stay that way.

Inappropriate Conduct by Bristol Parents

Mia Kaminoff

On Sunday, Sept. 15th, the New Hope Varsity football team played against Bristol Senior High School at the home stadium field. Bristol’s football team is considered to be the best in the Bicentennial Athletic League, and hasn’t lost to New Hope in over two years. During the game on the 15th, New Hope beat the undefeated team 35-32. Although the win by New Hope was an achievement deserving much celebration, it was not the most surprising aspect of the game.
 In the midst of the student section singing and cheering congratulations to our players at the end of the game, multiple adults from the Bristol cheering section stuck up their middle fingers to the student section as they left the bleachers. Not only were the parents taking part in this inappropriate conduct, but the Bristol students as well, sticking up their middle fingers as they past the students. There is absolutely no reason that anyone, especially parents, should be taking part in unsportsmanlike conduct at a high school sporting event where most athletes and students present are still only kids.    
 Good sportsmanship is required by both the Bicentennial Athletic League and our athletic director, Mr. Harrington for obvious reasons. There have been many incidents in our country when bad sportsmanship has been taken too far. In July of 2000, a 44-year-old father named Thomas Junta beat to death Michael Costin, another father, during an argument over rough play during a youth hockey practice. Although he claimed it was self-defense, Junta received a six to ten year sentence for his crime. This incident exemplifies the painful toll that bad sportsmanship can lead to.
 Parents involvement in their children athletics has also been shown to have negative effects on a child’s emotional health. If participation in sports is effective, students have the opportunity to learn about teamwork, hard-work, and stress management. If parents and coaches push their athletes too hard, students can end up with self confidence issues and poor sportsmanship. Students, parents and coaches all must keep this in mind, especially when they are spectating.
 We all must remember that these athletic events are simply just games and that maintaining proper sportsmanship is what will allow them to continue in peace. It’s the responsibility of parents, students, and athletes to make sure their competitiveness does not cross the line to disrespect. Most of all, parents should be setting good examples for their children and for the future generations to come, or else we are doomed to copy this conduct and persist this inappropriate behavior, turning athletic events from fun competition into unpleasant interactions.     

Sports vs. School

Jacqui Vergis
Staff Writer

In New Hope-Solebury High School many academically successful students participate in after school sports. Most students happen to face the day-to-day dilemma of not having an appropriate amount of time to complete their homework because of their busy schedules. The term “student-athlete” implies that one takes on their duties of a student before becoming an athlete. This leads to the constant concern that an athlete must maintain their grades if they intend to continue in any given school sport. This is a major problem because with sports comes priorities, commitment, and most of all, a need for time in addition to school.
 In addition to this issue, no athlete looks forward to telling their coach about them being late to, or missing practices and games due to lack of time and an excessive amount of school work. Girls Volleyball coach Watson stated; “Being a teacher myself, I understand the need to occasionally miss a sporting event for school work.” Unfortunately not all coaches are as understanding as coach Watson in this regard, thus making day-to-day life challenging for athletes.
 These complications create potential scenarios in which a student athlete has to choose which is more important, being loyal to a team, or being loyal to their academic requirements. Speaking for many other student-athletes and myself, I believe that there should be a change in school policies to help better the lives of the student-athletes representing our school district. If possible I would love to take this issue beyond the Lion’s Tale, and take the initiative to provide ways to better simplify the daily struggles of our school’s athletes. After discussing this common struggle with several teammates, the proposal of extra homework passes, test extensions, and a potential block scheduling all came into mind. In conclusion, this issue should be further reviewed with teachers, parents, coaches, and Mr. Malone due to the fact that student-athletes should be allowed the time and support to get the things done that need to be done to make their high school years a success.

New Hall Pass Policy is a Terror to the Halls

Michael Iverson
Staff Writer

With the onset of a new high school principal, a slough of critical reception has come from students who despise new policies; especially the new bathroom pass policy. The policy, which requires a student to have their agenda signed to leave a classroom, replaces the former policy of teacher bathroom sign out sheets. As teachers and students alike are a bit frazzled by Mr. Malone’s new policy, which has been carried over from the Middle School, the policy has many questioning the benefits of the new system.
 The new policy, declared by Mr. Malone but not explicitly stated in the student handbook, has many students declaring it as an “immature” and “unnecessary” policy from the middle school. Amongst the reactions are those stating that “We are not middle schoolers” and therefore should “not be treated like Middle Schoolers.” With this in mind, many students have sought to undermine the passport program and unveil its flaws. Some of these comments including that “If the hall pass is used daily, you will run out of spaces.” and “If I don’t have my hall pass, I can’t leave and then what? Do I just pee in my seat?”
 Among the concerns is the argument that when there is a fire drill, teachers no longer have a definite record of where students are. Such documentation is pivotal in the event of an emergency because rescue must work quickly to not only clear the building but to also free anyone trapped inside. In the heat, and the stress, of the moment it is very likely that students and teachers who are fleeing from the building will forget, at least temporarily until they reach the sidewalk and do a headcount, that someone is missing from the class. Furthermore, the absence of the sheet won’t provide the information of where a student is definitely located during the emergency. And since many teachers simply sign at a glance, it is likely they would not know the missing student’s location. This within itself is extremely hazardous, and even life threatening, in an emergency situation.
 For everyone who is hopeful, a policy change is still possible. The student handbook states:
“If a student must leave class, a hall pass is to be issued by the teacher and the student must sign out and in upon his/her return to class. Students found in the hallways without passes will be returned to their classroom and disciplined, if appropriate.”
 The handbook never explicitly requires the use of an agenda passport system. Although passports allow the luxury of minimal classroom interruption for classroom breaks, since many teachers only require the agenda book to be signed without having the student raise their hand and then ask to leave, the dangers of the policy severely outweigh the benefits. Students and teachers should continue to voice their concerns towards the system to Mr. Malone if there is to be any change.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Methods to Curb Your Procrastination

Joshua Searle
Staff Writer

We’ve all been there, browsing the internet or doing some menial task knowing well that we have homework or a project to do, but choose to ignore it until the last minute. We then cram or come up with some crazy plan to get out of doing the assignment, when just doing it in the first place would have been exponentially easier. This, as many of you know, is referred to as procrastination, and it has affected nearly all school students one time or another. Speaking from a huge amount of experience, I know procrastination is a very difficult habit to break. However, when different methods are applied together gradually increase your productivity, you’ll turn your back on procrastination and have actual free time before you know it.
 Before you even unzip your backpack, find and set up an ideal working environment, with no distractions in sight and nothing near you that could interfere with your focus. Never work on a bed; procrastination is bad, but sleeping on the job is practically a step down in productivity. The first step is to get started on your actual assignment. This seems obvious, I know, but it’s the main reason that most students procrastinate late into the night, for we feel much less motivation to finish an assignment when we haven’t started it than when we are already working on it. As psychologist Carl Pickhardt says, “In the end, the antidote to procrastination is determination because when motivation becomes committed and effort is consistent, the engine of accomplishment is hard to stop.” He confirms just how much accomplishing a small amount of homework is a driving force. Another useful method is by rewarding yourself in intervals. The Pomodoro Technique makes use of a timer, in which you set the timer for 25 min. and take a 5 min. break afterwards, where you give yourself a small reward such as a snack or a listen to one of your favorite songs. Beware choosing your reward, however, for if it is a video game or the internet, you might choose to ignore the timer. You can gradually start increasing the work time to further increase your productivity as well, and, before you know it, you’ll have plenty of time to give yourself whatever rewards you wish.
 You should also be self-aware of your procrastination, for when we procrastinate, we often deny the fact that we are procrastinating, and think to ourselves that we “have plenty of time” to finish our assignments. We then keep putting off doing the assignment late into the night, turning that “load of time” we have into a few hours (or even minutes). Another technique is to set deadlines for yourself as you’re completing your homework (i.e. “I have to finish my math homework by 6 P.M.), as this will further motivate you to finish assignments right away. Preferably, write the deadline down so you can give youself a visual aid of what you need to do and by when you have to do it (what do you think your planner is for?). As you work, you should also try and think positively about the assignment. Instead of thinking, “Ugh, only 20 min. of TORTURE left!” try and think to yourself, “This is great! I’m being so productive right now! Look at what I’ve done already!” There are also tons of iphone and android apps out there to help you be productive, such as “(10+2)x5 Procrastination Hack” and “Focus Time” (the Pomodoro technique on your phone!), and also “Finish” and “Priority Matrix” (task sheets that list out what you need to do, if you want to be fancier than your planner). In the end, the only thing that can curb your procrastination is yourself, and your willpower to get things done early. Don’t be expected to do this by yourself, however, for if you put to use all of these techniques, I guarantee you’ll start to see significant improvements to your overall productivity

Do Motivational Speakers Work?

Taylor Selbst
Staff Writer

A motivational speaker’s presentation comes to an end and the audience cheers, but not too long after students and teachers start to wonder if the message was actually able to affect each student. Every student goes through challenging events in their lifetime. When motivational speakers share their stories with students, sometimes that specific event may not have been experienced yet by those in the audience. The speaker’s experiences and opinions on a certain topic may not impact some students as strongly as it might do towards others. Although there are many different kinds of motivational speakers who share their life stories with students, there is not just one motivational speaker who is going to help a whole school filled with many different kind of students.
Motivational speakers are not just available to tell students what to do, but they also serve other purposes. They can help students think of different ways of moving through obstacles. For example, when Laymon Hicks came to our school, he told us a story about a girl who flushed her pills down the drain after reading his book. The stories he told us were very powerful and the message that he was trying to get across was to never give up and if you want something, go get it. Although many of the audience members were not able to share the same experiences with the speaker, they were still able to sympathize, and there was definitely a positive impact.
On the other hand, some students may interpret the motivational speaker’s message in a different way. They may make a joke about it or twist the message the speaker is trying to convey. For example, Mr. Hicks told the school that his grandmother told him, “When you fall down, get back up.” Many students took this as a joke and did not get the message Mr. Hicks was trying to send. When this happens this may affect a student’s future if they do not listen to the advice that is given by a professional. Students may also not agree with the message the motivational speaker is trying to convey. While everyone may have their own beliefs, it is important to remember the motivational speaker’s message.  
People can interpret the message in a positive or negative way. Some situations will  affect students personally, while other situations may not connect with a person until years later. Sophomore Maggie Dougherty says, “I think that motivational speakers inspire students briefly, but their messages don’t stick for more than a week generally.” Junior Andrew Bove says, “Motivational speakers are good because they can change someone’s view on something in a good way and it cannot be turned bad.” To summarize, all motivational speakers have the goal of helping students; yet, how much students get out of it depends upon how the message affects each individual student.  

Food For Thought

Nicole Martin
Staff Writer

The bell shrieks through the hallways and students pile out of their classrooms heading to their favorite time of the day. It’s lunch time and people are expecting a mediocre meal because the cafeteria food is deemed inedible. With thorough investigation, this “rubber”, a reiterated term  spoken throughout the school, may not be as horrible as it seems.
 When asked about the quality of the food, Margie Charney, a cafeteria staff member replied, “There are many options, but the majority of people aren’t taking the healthy option. I can’t force you, so it comes down to your choice.”
 In other words, she means that the amount of options aren’t the issue, and it is the students who make the unwise decisions when ordering their food. In addition, she also added that the majority of the way the food is prepared isn’t unhealthy, which excludes all oil from the preparation process. Margie didn’t fail to mention that the produce is fresh and new supply comes every week from U.S Foods, a well-known distributor. Although the food is nutritional according to Margie Charney, questions were still raised whether the taste is up to par. During the period when she was questioned, she stated that there was an adequate amount of choices and never once mentioned the flavor of the food. This raised questions for students who voiced their distaste for the cafeteria food. The point is: who is going to eat the nutritious food if it doesn’t taste good?
 Moreover, most student opinions differ with the cafeteria staff members’ remarks. One student Maggie Czupich voiced, “When I buy lunch, I only buy packaged foods because I don’t trust the food and it doesn’t taste good.”Another claimed that Margie Charney’s statement of the food being fresh was false. According to a sophomore Hannah Mui  at New Hope-Solebury, “The produce is definitely not fresh, and fresh produce should be brought daily to increase the quality.” She among the others who were questioned also voiced their dislike for the flavor of the food. Lastly, Katie Steele, a New Hope-Solebury freshman expressed her opinion saying, “ The options do not differ, it is basically the same everyday.” Regardless of the wide range of opinions, it is a fact that cafeteria food does need improvement.  It may be nutritional according the cafeteria staff, but it lacks in taste according to most students. Whether lacking in the freshness of the produce, the quality of the food, or even the overall flavor,  it is evident that the school truly cares about the service and is willing to improve these faults.

 Speaking of improvements, our cafeteria is currently following the Pennsylvania guidelines and as these change, the offerings will change as well. The first lady, Michelle Obama has also taken initiative to increase the nutritional value of school lunches and these changes will be evident as time progresses.  As a result of these initiatives, Margie Charney predicts the commonly bought ice cream, pretzels, and other unhealthy options to decrease as these guidelines change. This is very important because as childhood obesity rises and the amount of students buying lunches coincides with this, it is critical to keep the student body healthy. In conclusion, the school lunches may not be gourmet, but they do contain valuable nutrients. As Hippocrates once said “ Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food,” and this should apply to the food we are being served everyday in our cafeteria.