Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Run Through the Mile

by Dalton Waterman

Gym class can be fun from time to time. The reason most students will express their dissatisfaction with gym is because of the circuits. That is why the mile is hated in gym class, because it is not a circuit, it is worse, it is a fitness test. Fitness tests are certainly loathed among students, but perhaps the fitness test that students dread the most is the mile.
 Students hate the idea of sweating in school; it makes them uncomfortable in their next class, which leads to a distraction from learning. Students have enough mental exercise during the day, that they are not expecting to test their strength and endurance during the day.
 Now most of the students will say that they won't try on the mile, but once the teacher says go, many of them will change their minds. Part of that is because they realize the possibility of actually ending up failing gym class, but for the most part it is because of the competitive nature of the boys in the class. People try hard on the mile because they simply want to beat their peers. That competitiveness is what drives the students to run faster and push themselves ahead of their peers. Students also tend to use a peer as a sort of guide to help themselves keep a solid pace throughout the mile.
 A hot topic that surrounds the mile is the unfair scoring between the genders. Boys try harder because they need a 6:30 to get an 100%, and girls need a 8:30 to get an 100%. The boys have expressed their disgust with that, but it doesn’t look like anything will be done about it anytime soon.
 No matter how much the mile is scrutinized throughout the student body, it is then realized that they only have to do it twice a year if they are in gym class. Honestly, the mile is not that bad, and it can't hurt to get some physical activity during the day because students are sitting  at a desk for most of it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homework vs. Playtime: A controversial analysis

Zoe Russeck
Opinions Editor

Homework: (schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom), distinguished from classwork. We spend the majority of our young life in fluorescent lit, industrial classrooms, using our brains and expanding our knowledge. Learning is great; however, I am sure anyone reading this can understand the grief it brings students to have to continue this school work out of school and deep into the night. The time after school should be dedicated to our own wonders. It should be a time for students to cultivate other parts of life. Yes, homework has been part of life for generations, but does that make it right?
  The “Latino Perspectives Magazine” says that in the 20th century, the brain was viewed as a muscle and muscles need to be exercised. The logic behind that was that exercise can be done at home so students should be working their brains at home. In the 1940’s schools started switching from memorization to problem solving which lead them to believe that homework was just repetition of information. The 1950’s started rolling around and people started to think that homework would “speed up learning.” During the 1960’s parents became concerned that homework was putting a cramp on  their children's social lives which meant homework was put to a hault. Finally, this is where it all came together. This is where the homework trend had its takeoff. The 1980’s brought a higher standard of education. Homework was a way to “stem a rising tide of mediocrity in American education.” As you can see, homework has fluctuated throughout the years. It just so happens that my generation is being strangled by it. Hopefully in years to come, homework will simmer down because teachers, parents, doctors and psychologists will realize the massive, negative impact it puts on developing brains.
  I am not so sure teachers understand the impact that homework has on their students. Homework overload leads to students feeling stressed, frustrated, disillusioned and ultimately leads to students losing motivation to want to learn. We are taught for almost eight hours a day, five days a week. As is, most of the student body does not get the required eight hours of sleep recommended. The last six hours of the day should target staying active and spending quality time with our family and peers; not towards homework.

  If the majority of our day is consumed by school, where does that leave us when we get home? It leaves the student body in a stressed and frantic state. By the end of the day, we are mentally spent. If homework is going to be given, it should be for the sole purpose of studying for tests or completing projects that need creativity. You cannot have a creative mind if it is bogged down with homework. Is anybody listening? Play is a serious subject for developing creative minds
  Some of our world’s greatest advocates of creativity and knowledge are preaching to us that we need time to develop creative minds. Sheryl Sandberg, an American business woman and the COO of Facebook is preaching to the world in hopes that women will step up and use their creativity to sit in the front of the meeting rooms, take charge and run businesses! Another example of a creativity activist would be Sir Ken Robinson. He has redesigned school systems in Great Britain. Mr. Robinson wants to “cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. “Play” is a serious subject when developing creative minds. If we have no time to play, how will we form passion for something? Now, I am not saying that we are going to have millions of Sheryl Sandberg’s or Sir Ken Robinson’s running around but I, along with many other distinguished educationists and public intellectuals are saying that we need to rethink our education programs and shape them into more realistic programs. If we try to change this now, I foresee a better schooling system for the future generations to come.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Touching the Surface

Chris Brady and Alan Smith

Staff Writers
   Do you ever wish you could bring your desktop to school?
   The Windows Surface RT is the newest addition to the tablet market. Released on June 19, 2012 and priced at $350, it is very well priced when compared to with an iPad. These machines are built for fun, much like the iPad, but are also geared toward life on the go, and getting work done.
   The device comes pre-equipped with office home, mail, messaging, photos, SkyDrive, music, video, and much more.
   It also features a touch screen that can be used with a mouse and keyboard. Unlike the iPad, the Surface comes with a USB port. It is a customizable tablet, meaning that you can change the start screen icons, change its colors, set up a picture password, add languages, and sync all your favorites and settings between your various PCs.
   On the subject of fun, the Surface offers a number of games and connects to your Xbox. The Surface is small and light, making it easy to carry on trips and useful for school. But at the end of the day, the 720p screen provides great quality for watching movies streamed through the Netflix app.
    Although the Surface RT is the cheapest, there are many other models such as the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. The only noticeable difference between the original Surface and the Surface 2 is that the Surface has a 2.0 USB port while the Surface 2 has a 3.0 USB port. The Surface Pro, however, comes with a Surface Pro Pen and a much more powerful processor complemented by more memory. The price of the Surface 2 starts at $449.00, the Surface Pro 2 starts at $899.00.
    In conclusion this device is ideal for anyone who is always on the go and has some important work to do. It is the ideal computing device for the whole campus.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Limited Involvement in Syria Makes Americans Appear Weak

Daniel Locke
Staff Writer

President Obama has been placed with a difficult decision regarding military intervention in Syria; however, seeking Congressional approval was a major mistake. The Middle East has been in a fragile situation since the end of World War I, since the Arab states have been created, and when Israel had been created in 1948. In 2001, President Bush, after September 11, began the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban  and in 2003, the United States  invaded Iraq under the Iraq Liberation Act. Each time, the U.S. had invaded the Middle East we had fought against terrorism, such as removing Saddam Hussein from power, and Bin Laden, and freeing the people.

And while people may argue that we had destabilized the Middle East, and caused more volatile foreign relations, we had disarmed harmful terrorists, showing the world we do not accept terrorism.

However Assad, in particular, Syria itself, has presented a tough predicament for President Obama, as any action done on his part will have consequences. This time around, Obama is left in the dark, as not only is he not receiving any support from Britain, our strongest ally, he is now relying on diplomatic resolution with the help of Russia. After the Arab Spring, civil war had broken out as the muslim population, of which had been greatly angered at the Assad regime, and the Neo-ba’athist government. Beginning with his father Hafez-al-Assad, Bashar had followed in his footsteps his father’s authoritative manner, and as a result the tensions upon handling the pro-democracy groups and keeping the Ba’thist government alive finally it had broken out in what was the Arab Spring.

But the tables have shifted now because Obama has to take action against the Assad regime after he had said in the State of the Union address: “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them.” Obama, then decided it was in America’s best interest to have a limited air strike. He had yet to defend his statements to the “red line,” earlier in the year in March. He had stated: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.” However, he has not been so clear; seeking congressional approval made him appear indecisive as to whether Syria’s crossing of the “red line” was to lead to military action on part of the U.S.

Yet, in seeking congressional approval, he shows not only his indecisiveness in proceeding with Syria, it also showed a shocking character of the world itself. Ironically Russia, which had been supplying weapons to Syria for the past few decades was the country who had sought a resolution. They had taken the opportunity to make them appear as peacemakers, after Obama blinked, when in fact they had been part of the problem. Not only was this a slap in the face for Obama, but it was a slap in the face for the UN, and world, as no country had wanted to defend civilians being killed with Sarin.

Nonetheless, our president, as commander in chief has in his power the ability to strike Syria, but rather sought congressional approval. Why did he deem this necessary? Did he not have the guts to take an action that could alter the standing of our relations in the Middle East, and the economy, as we depend on the oil from them. And at the end of the day, he showed not only Assad, but terrorists groups, that we are weak as they have an advantage over us, and that is the power of fear, fear of repercussions if we become involved as evidently shown by Obama. Was he scared we were not going to be successful, was he afraid of becoming entangled in a similar if he had fired cruise missiles and placed troops on the ground a to the situation in Iraq, rather than Yugoslavia. For each time our troops were deployed, whether it be by Clinton, Bush, or even Johnson, and not one had decided to send troops after seeking congressional approval. And while the possibility of the use of force may had unwanted side effects, it can accomplish to a certain degree the goal of removing the threat of chemical weapons in Syria. But if Russia had not set up diplomatic resolutions, after Kerry had made statements during a press conference, essentially a throw away comment, where would Obama stand now? Would he still be afraid to take action without congress, and avoid the repercussions only to protect his name? Is this another attempt to dodge the issues confronting him in order to fend his reputation, because if something goes down, he does not want to be fully responsible.

Tim Rader Inspires Seniors with his Story

Dalton Waterman
Staff Writer

Over the years the class of 2014 has gone through numerous dull presentations about drug prevention. Every time some doctor or some person that knows about all of the negative impact drugs can have stands up there. They pour all of their knowledge onto the students and think that they will come to an epiphany and never do drugs again. The fact is that we listen to those presentations as they are happening, but immediately after there is harsh machery of the presentation; and not too soon after that there is complete forgetting of what was supposed to be an inspirational drug assembly. It was soon realized that in order to get to students about drugs, there to be a story behind it that teaches a lesson. On a day where the sophomores and juniors took the PSATs, the senior class was inspired by a motivational person, with a heartwarming and informative story.
Tim Rader is a former straight A student, captain of the football team, and one of the most popular kids in his school. He started off talking about his high school days. He kept going back to how he tried to please everyone and get everyone to like him. He talked about his football days and how he was going to get recruited and get a full scholarship. He talked about how he saved his little cousins life when he rescued her from drowning in the pool. He talked about all of the friends he had, and how everyone liked him. Its ironic because he succeeded in getting everyone to like him, but ultimately it is what ruined his life.
All it takes is a couple of bad choices to spiral your life out of control. He explained how he made those mistakes, but he thought that nothing would happen to him, and nothing did for a while, until addiction came back to ruin his life. Addiction will always decide when to come back and ruin you, even if you have it all. This was the biggest lesson he was trying to teach throughout his life story.
All of these drug presenters who come to our school drone on and on about the effects of drugs, but Tim Rader was not one of those guys. His story was inspirational and I think it moved a lot of people. He even said that if you don’t get anything out of this presentation take a couple of “I nevers” and hold onto them for the rest of your life, but I think that everyone did get something out of  this presentation because it was different. If there is one presentation about drugs that I think the seniors will remember I think it will be this one.