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Friday, March 14, 2014
Left, Brittany Kaler and Sadie Hadddad at Homecoming during their freshman year, and right, on the morning of the Pep Rally -Senior Year
What I Wish I Knew my Freshman Year
By Brittany Kaler High school, “the best four years of your life,” said no one ever. I remember walking through the doors of Watertown High School on my ﬁrst day as a freshman. I clearly remember the butterﬂies, excitement and nerves as I stepped into the unknown world of high school. Freshmen were hugging and jumping all around because they hadn’t seen some of their friends since the last day of 8th grade. I remember looking at the seniors and being mesmerized and thinking, “I can’t wait to be in their shoes.” Now that I am ﬁnally in the shoes of those seniors, the leadership role I must carry is extreme. The seniors are the example who not only the freshmen are looking up to, but also the sophomores and the juniors. Some days this is an awesome feeling, I leap up out of bed and can’t wait to go school but other days, I feel like I am being dragged through the halls and that I am ready to lash out at anyone who says something to me. Reaching my senior year has made me reﬂect on the previous years. There was freshman year, where you feel like you’re walking on gold, sophomore year, where nothing exciting seems to happen and of course, junior year, where you have so much homework you cannot find time to sneeze. If there’s anything I wish I had known when I took my ﬁrst steps into high school it would be that you do not get an instruction manual on how to conquer high school, you have to ﬁgure it out on your own. But there are a few tidbits that an average senior like myself can give to you. The ﬁrst piece of acquired knowledge is that you will not leave ninth grade with the same exact friends you came in with. Some of these friends will betray you while some stay right next to you. Be open to meeting new people because at least one of them will become a close friend. Try to talk to everyone; even giving a simple smile in the hall can help to make a connection. Second, your teachers truly care if you pass their class; it affects them just as much. However, it is not their responsibility to tell you to study, chase you for your work, cajole you to come to class or even remind you to pay attention. All of these aspects should be common sense, especially if you want to pass the class the ﬁrst time. Join clubs, even the one that your BFF isn’t joining. Go to sporting events (supporting your fellow classmates can mean a lot, not only to them but to you when they win.) The most important thing is not to be afraid to do anything that gets you involved. If you do, you will already be one step ahead towards having a successful life in college and the real world. The most important thing to me and it would have been life changing to know, is that what I thought about myself was way more important than what others thought of me. It was not until my junior year that I came to this realization. I truly wish I had been more open in expressing myself during the ﬁrst two years. High school does not have to be boring and you don’t have to dread going to school every day. Wake up every morning and decide that you will be in a good mood. You’re allowed to have bad days (everyone does) but try not to make others have a bad day as well. The next four years are going to go by quickly so whatever you do, do not waste time.
Friday, March 14, 2014
How the Beatles made it in America 50 years ago
50 Years After the Beatles Came to America, It’s Time to Celebrate What they Mean to Music
By Sadie Haddad Fifty years ago on February 9th, the most iconic band of all time, The Beatles, invaded the United States with their smashing hits and charming looks. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 by performing some of their biggest songs such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There”. They quickly became the most innovative and popular artists of their time and still remain so today. In honor of their 50th anniversary, CBS held a special on television last month called The Beatles: The Night that Changed America – A Grammy Salute. These two and half hours were filled with performances from illustrious musicians who covered some of their classics and showed their Beatles appreciation. While the only two living Beatles left, Paul and Ringo, watched, they were honored for their contribution to music and to American culture with a video collage of their concerts and their crazy fan frenzy back in the 60’s. Other living legends such as Stevie Wonder showed up to perform “We Can Work It Out” and even the Eurythmics reunited to sing “Fool on The Hill”. Modern pop artist Katy Perry also rang in the celebration with her version of “Yesterday”, while John Mayer and Keith Urban linked up for a duet of “Don’t Let Me Down”. More stars that shined on stage include Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr., Alicia Keys and John Legend while they paid tribute to the Beatles. It was the biggest tribute to a band in a very long time full of incredible renditions that kept both young and old people on
John, Paul, Ringo and George in 1963 before their trip to America.
their feet, singing along to tunes like “Yellow Submarine”. To end the Beatles bash, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed solo before coming together to sing “With A Little Help From My Friends”.
The Beatles most certainly did help other bands. Many consider them to be the greatest band of all time and they are known to have had the heaviest inﬂuence on bands after becoming solo artists. Will
anyone ever be able to compete with the Fab Four? We will just have to wait and see if it’s possible to overshadow Beatlemania and the legacy they have left throughout the past 50 years.
Is Good Music Still Being Overlooked?
By Caleb Whiting There is no doubting the popularity over the past few years of underground music. And with artists like Hollywood Undead, Mac Miller, and Chance The Rapper, there are no limits to how far they can push their popularity. But with all the success of underground music, is other good music still being overlooked? Even though the Grammys have been known for recognizing music of all types and creating new nominations over time, the system has had its ﬂaws. At the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in 1993, there was no ignoring Nirvana and their nominations. Known as one of the grittiest rock bands of all time, everyone predicted that they would win Best Rock Performance. Unfortunately, the award was given to the unplugged version of “Layla” by Eric Clapton. Now there is no doubting the greatness behind the song, but giving the Best Rock Vocal Performance to a soft rock version of a song around the time when the “grunge” era was popular just doesn’t make sense. The 2014 Grammys served as another example. At the ceremony, artists like Drake, Jay Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were nominated for Best Rap Album. Even though all of the albums did very well when it came to record sales, the one that stood out was Compton native, Kendrick Lamar and his album “good kid, m.a.a.d city”. With its commercial success with songs like “Swimming Pools (Drank)”, and “Poetic Justice”, his storytelling lyrics, and unique style, his debut album has already been declared as a hip-hop classic. But on the night of the Grammys when the award for Best Rap Album was announced, it was given to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for their album “The Heist”. Even though the hip-hop duo’s album was very popular with songs like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”, Kendrick Lamar’s album was given more critical acclaim from more critics and fans. So what do you think? Perhaps, the question is “Who is judging this music?” Are these individuals unwilling to give popular
Kendrick Lamar’s album “good kid, m.a.a.d city”
underground music a fair chance or will good music continue to be lost in the shadows?
Friday, March 14, 2014
Is Our Anti-Bullying Program Effective Enough?
By Andrew Davis In July 2013, the New York State legislature passed an addendum for the 2012 Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). DASA is essentially a law regarding instruction of tolerance and respect to those of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and sexes. This law for example, makes it illegal to make fun of a student for his/her weight or call them fat, as a place of education is supposed to make students feel safe. The addendum basically requires two things: that schools investigate cyber bullying and collect and report data regarding incidents of discrimination and harassment, and that schools have an anti bullying program in place. This is where Olweus comes in. At the beginning of October, 2013, the Olweus Committee composed of vice-principal Mr. Ginger and 12 teachers (essential for faculty and student input), set forth to help implement Olweus. The school could have chosen a different anti bullying program, or even created their own. But Olweus’ credentials, with its record for successfully dealing with bullying and its easy accessibility for students and teachers, ended up being picked. Every Wednesday, fourth period has been allocated for teaching and advocating the use of Olweus and learning how to prevent bullying within school. The anti-bullying program however, has received criticism from the student body. On February 4th, 2014, a survey was taken to gauge student response to the program’s ﬁrst semester. For the most part, the outcome wasn’t too spectacular. I talked with Mr. Ginger about the survey and Olweus itself on February 11th, 2014 and learned the origins of the program. I asked if he felt it seemed forced on students and teachers, how he felt it was doing, and where he and the rest of the committee planned on taking Olweus in the future of WHS. Frankly, what he had to say was honest and felt encouraging. He agreed that the program felt forced, as it was mandated by NYS last July, but went on to say he doesn’t regret having the program at WHS. He said that even if there’s just one case of bullying being prevented, that is, “better than nothing”. Mr. Ginger responded to the concern that taking up fourth period every week on Wednesdays is a burden to some students, and talked about the possibility of having Olweus meetings less often, even perhaps once a month in the future depending on certain variables. When I asked him what his plans for the future of Olweus are, he responded that his main goal is to “spark meaningful conversation between students and teachers, and ﬁnd out where we’re [the administration] doing it wrong”. He admitted that bullying isn’t always handled by teachers on the spot, and most students feel like it isn’t handled at all. However, Olweus is the key to solving that issue, as it encourages reverse peer pressure, and advocates that when one kid is being picked on, six others kids step in to help him out. Mr. Ginger said that if every case of bullying was treated like this on any given day, there wouldn’t even be the need for Olweus Mr. Ginger mentioned that there is no model for high school in the Olweus curriculum. It wasn’t made for teenagers 16 and 17 years of age, and that is ultimately why so many students mock and practically ignore the program altogether. Mr. Ginger stated he wants to try and create a model, with the assistance of the committee and with even further student input from Student Council and student representatives, to try and give Olweus something that high school students can talk about positively. Society has always tolerated bullying in school, and claims that it is just something all students have to go through growing up. He went on to say that in the adult world, harassing someone, going into a public area and calling someone names, can get that person arrested. It doesn’t make sense for students to have to deal with bullying when it only makes sense that in the adult world, bullying someone can end in serious ramiﬁcations, and it needs to be stopped. When I asked him what he had expected from the program at the start, Mr. Ginger claimed “I didn’t know what to expect, any program is only as successful as its audience lets it be. There’s no model for older students. We still need to ﬁnd an answer. There was just a desire to see better, and better is better than nothing. I expected the backlash.”
Teacher Word Search!
Try and ﬁnd all 67 Watertown high school teachers!
By Nic Price In advertising, there is a cardinal rule. Sex sells. This has become very apparent as of late, especially when the Super Bowl advertisers chose to sexualize both yogurt and soda. The more you pay attention, the more you see. Calvin Klein sells cologne by using women in bikinis. PETA tries to further its cause by showing us celebrities in the nude. Axe has women chasing and licking men because apparently Axe is made out of pure pheromones. Even Perrier, a mineral water, used a burlesque star to advertise by having her pouring it all over herself. Despite the seeming sexism, both genders are used for these advertisements. While curvy, hot women are used, so are muscular, attractive men for many clothing advertisements (like the Super Bowl commercial with David Beckham) among other things, such as Calvin Klein’s Colognes. By far, one of the worst offenders is American Apparel. They try to sell socks by showing images of girls wearing nothing but thigh highs. They sell many different types of clothing, and almost every single one is sexualized in some way. Many people even got angry when they put up a billboard in New York City’s Times Square, selling leggings by giving us an image of a woman’s bottom. The question is why? Why exactly do we have sex permeating our advertising? Well, as was stated earlier, sex sells. The human race is fascinated by sex, and apparently companies feel that the consumer will buy anything that relates to it. But many people have a question. Is it appropriate? Children are constantly exposed to commercials, no matter where they are. So, is it necessary to let our children see these things at such a young age?
E K UR G A A L R C P P S B O C X O N I F G H E L T R A E C G F NH I L D E OQ MJ J O B Y
L A K E U R L T T I J H S O F A H G W H A B R
H T C R I A R Z E C U A V E Y O F D O D A P B
H L A E L E S L N R A E Q D E R R L R R C E Z
H E N O T I E W S O Y V E U E B E T S A K T G
B T N T M V K T E L N N E K A M G N Y D S E Q
Q D A M E T O O T B L R E N A Y O A W E X R O
E H O R G N T B L N B E A N D U E R O B L S N
C N H R E G N I G B M B C L R E C B L B E L U
S E H O A U WB WA H B Q C C O WC C K I S E S E C S N C I OM R O A R R A V V N O D I C T
N P C Q L R W S O B E W C N N C N R H I B S H
I A K I K A X E A V Q R S O N L I P L W R C W I D O H R U O E A K T A G S F W L R A I R G I
R U N S H C U T E T T C D A O S O T W I O L L L V E I J A A F P F I T W A R B D C E R O R W
A W E I E O I H U X A I R X N S E E D K I M D
L P R S M M T O E P K A T H S R N H L Z V T A
A B H B A R N E S R E M O V E G S D S D O R L
Y E S N R A G H H H N S N N A J O N E S S R Y
K C I R T A P Z T I F E C W D L E I F M U R B
N E T T L E S E L O J E B O O M H O W E R A N
Read the whole paper! Then, complete this word search and return the completed word search with your name on it to room 324. The ﬁrst person to do so, wins a prize!
Friday, March 14, 2014
Sibling Rivalry: Same school, New Relationship
By Marina Rancourt Siblings, regardless of their thoughts on the matter, will always be connected through their shared lineage. But some are also linked by their education. Here in Watertown High School, as in any other school, many families have two or more children attending classes every day. To these students, this can be both a blessing and a curse. In a brief interview with the Medley sisters, Allison (a sophomore) and Emily (a junior) discussed the pros and cons of attending school with each other. “We’re close and we’re so alike that we do the same things, like sports, sometimes,” says Emily, a bit of fond annoyance and exasperation creeping into her voice. “It’s like we have sister mind waves,” she joked. Allison continued the thought with a smile, “We physically can’t get away from each other. I have to deal with her for two whole years.” Another student, fellow journalist Yerin Kang talked about how much she likes being in the same school with her brother. “It’s nice to go to the same school. We have about half of our schedule together. We’re together so much that we’re sometimes mistaken for twins. He’s my best friend,” she stated with a grin, “I’m not sure if he would say the same thing, though.” Chelsea Oakes on the other hand, explained her distinct lack of communication with her sister. She made it clear that she “doesn’t interact with her a lot in school” despite the fact that she sees her younger sister a few times over the course of a school day. Though there will always be instances of annoyance or rivalry between siblings or even the occasional fight, the fact remains that siblings are just that: siblings. There’s love and companionship, even if it’s buried under the refusal to acknowledge a sister or brother’s presence in front of friends or masked by an intense desire to achieve higher marks on a test or in a class. After all, being in school doesn’t change a person’s genetics. As someone once said, “Blood is thicker than water.”
By Marina Rancourt In an act of pure selﬂessness-one that many can look to for example-U.S. biathlete Tracy Barnes gave her Olympic spot to her twin sister, Lanny. The sisters, who had fought tooth-and-nail to show their best as Olympic hopefuls, had a tearful conversation full of gratitude and joy when Tracy announced that she was leaving her spot for her twin to take. According to Tracy, one of the principal reasons she gave her spot to her sister was due to Lanny’s unfortunate luck. Lanny was struck with a terrible cold that sadly coincided with the trials for the U.S. biathlon team and forced her to miss out on completing the required selection races. However, Tracy expressed her belief about Lanny (who had trained alongside her every step of the way) that Lanny was more than capable of making the team using these words, “She just had a bit of bad luck getting sick…I think she’ll do great things.” In a statement, Lanny expressed her awe and thankfulness towards her sister for forfeiting her dream, “It shows if you care enough about someone, you’re willing to sacriﬁce everything. This is her dream, what she’s been talking about her entire life.” As Lanny suggests, her sister’s act of kindness is the epitome of altruism- the sacriﬁce of a lifetime of dedicated work. While not everyone can offer someone else the chance to ‘get the gold’ like Tracy did, we can all take a page from her book. Selﬂessness is a gift that keeps on giving and one that should be used more often.
The Quest for a New World Order: 2014
By Jacob Khan What is the New World Order? It is believed to have originated in Europe. The New World Order reﬂects the desire for a one world government run on a single monetary system that was conjured up by a group of global elites, royals, bankers and corporate CEOs known as the black nobility which was dominated by the British crown. However, the plan for a one world governing body run by a one world currency has stood the test of time. Former president George H.W. Bush brought a renewed focus to the desire for a New World Order through various speeches he gave regarding the topic. One of President Bush’s most notable speeches on the New World Order was his 1991 state of the union address where he stated “…it is a big idea a New World Order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind…”.Former president Bush was not the only prominent ﬁgure to speak about the plan for a New World Order. Several other leaders and global organizations have also shed light on their persistent desire for a global order. These leaders and organizations include the Council on Foreign Relations which stated “we shall have world government whether or not you like it, by conquest or consent.” David Rockefeller speaking at a U.N. business conference was quoted as saying “we are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” Speaking of “the right major crisis” it is widely believed by conspiracy theorists that world leaders use fear as a form of control. These conspiracy theorists often claim that the New World Order is dependent on control of the global population to succeed. They cite past terror attacks such as 9/11, which they believe was a state sponsored terror attack that was orchestrated by the global elite alongside the U.S. government to place Americans in fear and ultimately under complete control and surveillance while achieving the eradication of personal privacy. Regardless of whether you believe the 9/11 conspiracy or not, the reality is state sponsored terror attacks are very real. A prime example is the Saudi Arabian government which threatened Russian president Vladimir Putin with Olympic terror attacks if Russia did not drop its support for Syria and the Assad regime. Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia stated in a meeting with Putin “I give you the guarantee to protect the winter Olympics. Chechen groups which threaten the security of the games, are controlled by us, and do nothing without consulting us.” President Putin responded by saying “We know that you support the Chechen terrorist for decades. And the support, of which you just spoke openly, is completely incompatible with the common goal of ﬁghting global terrorism. We are interested to develop friendly relations after clear and strong principles.” “Our point in terms of Assad will never change. We believe the Syrian government is the best representative of the Syrian people…” Not only has Saudi Arabia used fear propaganda as a tool to further their agendas, the U.S. government is no stranger to this phenomenon either. The Gulf of Tonkin incident which set the pretext for U.S. forces to march into Vietnam has now surfaced due to declassiﬁed documents by the U.S. government as an event that never took place. It was previously claimed by the U.S. government that on Aug. 4, 1964 US warships were attacked by North Vietnamese PT boats which set the stage for US involvement in the Vietnamese war. However, among the declassiﬁed documents was a statement from senator Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee in a closed session of the Foreign Relations Committee, where the senator stated “if this country has been misled, if this committee, this congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very great.” In the end the Committee decided to conceal the truth, aware of the fact that if the committee came up with proof that the event never occurred the consequences would in fact be great, so they decided collectively that “we have a case that will discredit the military in the United States, and discredit and possibly destroy the President.” With that simple statement any further investigation into the Gulf of Tonkin incident was dissolved. With substantial evidence supporting the idea for a New World Order it seems as though the plan for global governance does exist and the global elite do in fact attempt to use fear and the very threat of fear as a main method to control the masses. However, if it is to succeed as Brock Adams (director of the U.N. Health organization) claims “to achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogmas.” Then I sincerely hope that the people of the world will be able to raise the curtain of deception that has hidden the reality of the world we live in for so long.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Pawing Away at Stress
By Rachel Smith Pets are often referred to as “man’s best friend”. However, people don’t realize pets can be major stress reducers. Many people don’t realize the positive effects animals can have on stress. Stress is a person’s response to a stressor, such as an environmental condition, or a stimulus. Basically, stress is a body’s reaction to a challenge. There are two main types of stress. Acute stress, the most common form of stress, stems from pressures and demands of the recent past as well as anticipated pressures and demands of the near future. Chronic stress, a more serious form, is a “grinding” stress, one which over time will wear away at your mind, life, and body. Chronic stress will often occur when people can’t seem to ﬁnd their way out of a terrible situation. Regardless of the stress you may be facing, animals are here to help. In 1964, child psychiatrist, Boris M. Levinson, coined the term “pet therapy”, after observing the seemingly uplifting and positive effects his dog, Jingles, was having on his child patients. From then on pet therapy became a highly studied resource used to help relieve stress. In an anonymous study, people were presented with tasks that were stressful in four different situations- alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet. The lowest stress response paired with the quickest recovery resulted when they were only accompanied by their pet. Multiple studies however, have indicated that encounters, no matter how brief, are powerful forms of stress relief. In a medical study, patients who were faced with upcoming treatment operations spent a short amount of time with a dog and experienced a thirty-seven percent reduction in their anxiety levels. The animal’s presence and excitement helped distract them from their concerns. Animals, proved to be powerful stress relievers, have also proved to lower blood pressure and boost self assurance. These furry friends also lower harmful stress hormones such as Cortisol, a hormone which is associated with depression and anxiety. They have also proved to elevate beneﬁcial hormones such as Oxytocin, hormones often referred to as “happiness hormones” associated with the feeling of happiness and relaxation. Interestingly enough, the time needed to release this happiness hormone can be as little as ﬁve minutes. More than half of working adults and forty-seven percent of all Americans say they are concerned with the amount of stress in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Directorate in partnership with the National Women’s Health Resource Center and iVillage.com. Many colleges and universities have recently turned to animal assisted aid to cheer up their students and promote a positive atmosphere at the most stressful time of the year-ﬁnals week. From Macalester College in Minnesota to Kent State University in Ohio, therapy dogs have been issued to help relieve students stress and make happiness grow. Richelle Reid, a librarian who started Emory College’s pet therapy program after learning of one at the University of California in San Fran-
Ollie, a golden doodle, is seen here visiting Mary H. Gerken at Summit Village in Watertown, N.Y. Ollie has continued to provide nurture and comfort through regular visits with Mrs. Gerken.
cisco says, “It has had positive effects, helping [the students] to just have a moment to clear their minds and not have to think about studies, not have to think about books.” Special therapy dogs are even being “borrowed” from Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School through a card catalog, much like a book. Animals have a certain way about them.
Their friendliness, compassion, unconditional love; their lack of judgment towards humans and their reliability are all qualities that help to make them the perfect anecdote for stress, depression, and anxiety. Stress is a condition or feeling which can be hard to reverse however, animal therapy may be one easily found answer to an age old problem.
, e n l t n y e t h s
Who Wants A Scandal?
By Marina Rancourt Above is a bold, highly suggestive title meant to draw attention. It is a question I’ve found myself pondering in a slightly cynical manner. My answer is this: nearly everyone in our culture is searching for some type of salacious or disreputable gossip. Our interest in tabloid, sensationalist journalism is steadfast; even if the topics vary (The National Inquirer has a readership number over 3,000,000). One day it’s a government ofﬁcial, (dressed in an Armani silk suit, pulling nervously at his Windsorknotted tie) whose “skeletons in the closet” are being plastered nationwide; the next it’s a pop star with questionable morals standing stifﬂy while the cameras ﬂash in background. The reasons may differ. One might read the latest exploits of the troubled and famous for a good laugh, another to use later as an icebreaker (“Did you hear what Kim and Kanye are up to?”), or to make oneself feel better about his or her own position in life by seeing the public deterioration of some star. From my point of view, this appreciation (or need or love, whatever you want to label it) for the public’s humiliation and destruction of the famous is not at all pleasant. That’s not to say I haven’t partaken in it. Sadly, it’s become practically human nature to look down upon the misfortunate and this is doubly true when those people are stars with money, power, and/or fame. Still, the length we go to is a bit extreme. Not everyone has to turn away from discussions on the government’s ﬁscal plans to contemplate the chances of Lohan landing in rehab again or some other ridiculous drivel. After all, it’s also human nature to analyze (philosophers, scientists, and so on and so forth) and as such, I ask this question…who wants a scandal?
g s e t t e s h d e l n e f f
Friday, March 14, 2014
Overcoming Procrastination: How to Get Organized
By Vanessa Teamoh There have been several times in all of our lives when we’ve had a task that really needed to be completed, but for some reason, we’ve pushed it back and ignored it until we couldn’t avoid it any longer. This is called procrastination. Even though everyone does it, it is not the greatest habit to develop. It can actually cause several problems in your life. People procrastinate because they’re avoiding doing something they may not want to do or are anxious about doing, like studying for an exam or making amends with a friend. Procrastinating is normal to some extent, but it can become a problem when it prevents you from functioning normally. Putting things off too long is not good and can actually make a situation worse. You’ll probably have problems catching up on all of the things you have to do and stress yourself out. This is a terrible habit to carry with you, especially at school or at your job. At work, putting things off can make you seem irresponsible and unreliable. At school, continuously putting your work off can cause it all to pile up and before you know it, you’ll have three assignments due on the same day with little or no time to get everything done. Overcoming procrastination can be easy when you put your mind to it. There are several things you can do to break the habit. Try making a to-do list and checking off the tasks on your list as you go. Actually seeing everything you’ve accomplished in one day can make you feel really good. You could also try getting the hard things done first. That essay due at the end of the week isn’t going to magically disappear no matter how much you ignore it. Getting it out of the way will take a huge weight off your shoulders and you’ll have more time to do other stuff. Those little things you know you should get done but don’t really feel like doing even though it will literally take two minutes to finish? Do them! Forcing yourself to finish small tasks will keep you from being unproductive. Try not to get distracted by your phone or television when you know you should be finishing something important. Taking away distractions will help you get work done quicker. Finally, focus on the ending outcome instead of the amount of work. While you’re working, think about all the free time, relaxation, money, or whatever it is that you’ll get, when you’re finished. This will help you stay on task and keep working towards your goal. Taking steps to prevent yourself from procrastinating will help you now and in the future.
The Problem with Food
By Tylisha Gourdine In America one out of every ﬁve children is obese. The childhood obesity rates are increasing; in just twenty-eight years the rates have tripled according to Spank (a childhood obesity site). Between 16 to 33% of adolescents are now obese. That means one of three teens is obese. This a huge problem, as overweight children have a greater likelihood of developing type 2 Diabetes, which is the seventh leading causes of death in the U.S. Whose job is it to monitor the weight of a child? Is it the responsibility of our educational system? The Unites States Department of Agricultural obviously thinks so, as they are requiring major changes with the lunch menus. These menus must now include less sodium and more vegetables. I recently sat down with Mr. Orvis, the Food Service Director and asked for his opinion about changing the school’s menu. “The biggest struggle is making a menu that kids will eat,” he said. He also mentioned that the number of students purchasing lunches has dropped because of the dislike of the new menu choices. Mr. Orvis also added, “The second struggle is getting kids to understand that it’s good for them. This question is, “Is a simple change in school lunches enough?” The truth is that a school age child, who eats three meals a day, is consuming 33% of his or her meals at school. It would seem therefore, that monitoring a child’s diet should be the responsibility of the child’s parents and his or her pediatrician. Our school districts can and should reinforce good nutrition in health and science classes. They should not be responsible for doing a parent’s job.
Is a simple change in school lunch enough?
Friday, March 14, 2014
Are Good Manners a Thing of the Past?
By Erin Paciﬁci In today’s time, thinking before one speaks seems to be less and less common among most people. Surprisingly, it is not only children who do this, but adults as well. Often people speak with little regard for the effect their words can have. So with this problem becoming a rising issue, how can we revert back to a more effective form of ﬁltering what we say? Is it just too hard to think before you speak? Although this is nothing new, celebrities and other public ﬁgures often misspeak, some correcting themselves, and other times, standing by their incendiary comments. Statements public ﬁgures make, or anyone for that matter, can seem outrageous or out of line and may cause the speaker to receive negative feedback for their unpopular opinions. Uncommon opinions or thoughts are not wrong or incorrect, but if communicated inappropriately, can cause backlash. Anyone who wishes to communicate their own thoughts or feelings should do so in a polite and appropriate manner. Recently, multiple public ﬁgures have expressed their opinions, whether it be verbally or physically, and have received negative feedback as a reaction to their poorly thought out message. Marcus Smart, an NCAA player, is among the many individuals who have acted poorly in recent weeks while expressing his feelings on a speciﬁc topic. Smart attacked a fan after allegedly hearing a racial slur from this fan. Both the spectator and the athlete were in the wrong. First, if the words spoken by the fan were true, these words were very poorly thought out and were highly unnecessary. Surely a fan is allowed to be disappointed in a team or player, but there is no need for name calling by any means. Second, Smart was in the wrong for attacking this spectator. Clearly no individual should have to receive such hateful comments, but there are more respectful ways to express himself in defense against such comments. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is another individual whose poorly constructed expression received negative feedback from the public. While expressing his anti-gay feelings recently in an interview, Robertson received backlash for his statement. If only Robertson had given greater thought to what he was about to say and thought about how his words might affect others and make others feel, this whole situation could have been avoided. Before expressing one’s personal opinion, individuals should have greater insight into the effect of their words or actions. Although what one says may not seem out of place, the speaker must consider its weight upon the lives of others. What one says may seem harmless, but could possibly be truly hurtful to the feelings of someone else. It is not hard to give a little consideration to what you are about to say. Next time you think to express an opinion, think “how will what I am about to say affect other people apart from myself?” and “Is what I am about to say or do respectful and appropriate for both myself and others?” By thinking these things through, civility could potentially be restored to today’s society. And while this may seem strange or unnecessary in the heat of the moment, you never know the effect your words or actions can have on someone else.
Courtesy: Who Has It Anymore?
By Abby Wells Recently, I got my ﬁrst job as a cashier at Tops Grocery Store and I have been sadly surprised at what I have experienced: numerous customers, mostly adults, have been incredibly rude to me. Some of them have actually sworn at me because a sale item did not ring up or because they had to wait in line. I understand that everyone has a bad day; however, I also wonder if civility is really dying in our world. One saying that constantly a run through my mind is “Service with a smile” isn’t that what every boss says to you on the ﬁrst day? I admit it is hard to put a smile on when, most customers claim that things that go wrong are my fault. It seems no matter what I do, it isn’t enough. I never want to make anyone unhappy; but no matter what, after every shift I always clock out never being fully content because I know I have upset at least one person that day. Needless to say, my ﬁrst job is nothing like I imagined it would be. Even after enduring the rude customers I do thank them, because I know when I am in their position I will never treat anyone that way. Frankly, I have no reason to do so, but I know how to communicate with and treat others. My advice to future customers: I know that civility and respect is missing in the behavior that many of you exhibit, because you are tired or frustrated, but please put yourself in the shoes of the cashier and think about what you are saying when speaking to them. Also, it is our job to be courteous and friendly to you, but it is also very easy for you to return the friendliness. I personally remember every rude customer and every nice one; wouldn’t you rather be remembered as the nice one? Treat others the way you want to be treated; everyone has the ability to make someone smile and it might be your cashier who needs to be cheered up. The next time you are in line, smile and be respectful to whomever is serving you that day.
By Emily Leopard-Davis In the age of technology, it’s not uncommon to wonder if social media is changing the way we communicate: this can be looked at as a good change and a bad one. On one hand, social media is making it easier to talk and share things such as writing and art with people all around the world. On the other hand, it can negatively affect our face-to-face contact. Through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, people have been able to reconnect with old friends and classmates, as well as meet new people with whom they share common interests. Many people are dating and marrying people they’ve met over the many dating sites such as Match.com. The Internet has been able to make the world smaller. The downside? More than 1/3 of the divorces last year in America were ﬁled with some social media site listed as a cause of the divorce in the ﬁling. In my generation, most people have at least one form of social media. Through these sites they establish friendships and sometimes date. A student at Watertown High has entered a long-distance relationship with another high school student in Pennsylvania. They met over Tumblr and have been dating for six months. They have even been able to meet in real life three times. Based on a recent school survey many other students at our school have formed friendships with people in places such as Australia, Turkey, Canada, Asia, Germany, the U.K., Israel and other parts of Europe and the U.S. It appears that social media is a mixed blessing. In one way, it shrinks the distances between people of different nations. In other ways however, it seems to have limited the time that we have to spend in face-to-face communication with our own families and friends. What price will we pay for the time that we spend on our computer and cell phones? Only time will tell.
Friday, March 14, 2014
The Plight of a Single Mom
By Chelsea Bedard I am a daughter of a single divorced mom. She struggles with going to work at a full time job, keeping up with two teenage girls, my sister Courtney and I. I see and witness the constant struggle and stress she is under. Society mainly seems to give a great deal of credit to the fathers when it comes to ﬁnancial support. However, society seems to miss the struggles that moms have when they are forced to be both mom and dad. Some individuals in society have an opinion about divorced mothers; they view them as someone who lives off child support and doesn’t work. But that’s not the case. Single moms struggle the most in my opinion. Why? 82.2% of the time the mother is given primary custody and the other 17.8% to the fathers. When interviewing my mother, Jennifer Bedard, a divorced single mother, I asked a couple of questions dealing with her struggles as a divorced single mom: Chelsea- “How much stress are you under every day?” Jennifer- “On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, I give it about an eight. I am under stress about every day, but my daughters help out with that which does help.” C-“Does the father contribute enough? How does he play a part in your kid’s life and your life?” J-“My ex husband does not help out hardly at all, except with the bare minimum ﬁnancial amount, which is court ordered. He does not play a part in their (my kids) lives. He actually left us to be with someone else.” C- “How do you keep up with your own social life, but also make sure you are involved in your two daughter’s lives?” J- “It’s very hard to have a social life and very hard to keep up with my daughters. I try but sometimes I’m basically seeing them when they go to bed at night or when we have dinner, or on the weekend. We all work. I’m basically playing the dual parent now, but I know that is the case sometimes in situations like these.” Kudos to all of the single moms struggling to take care of their children and ﬁnding a way to do so. As the child of one of these mothers, I appreciate everything that she has done and have learned a lot about how difﬁcult it is to be a parent. She inspires me to work hard and to become the best individual that I possibly can.
Jennifer, Courtney and Chelsea Bedard
Korean Blood, American Soul
By Rin Kang I am a 1.5 generation Korean American. Simply put, although I was born in South Korea, I was too young to endure or even understand the struggle it took to ﬁnancially settle in America, which is a signature experience of the ﬁrst generation. As a four year old, coming to America was not something I questioned. I only questioned the loud tears, the constant domestic conﬂict, and long working hours of my parents whose concern for their children’s future brought them to a different country. Living as an immigrant was not an easy ordeal, neither for my parents nor me. However, while they were working to accept new American values and traditions, I was working to preserve my origins. My life up to then had been a push and pull of Korean parents and of an American environment. It was not until I moved several times across the entire nation that I was ﬁnally able to ﬁnd the balance within. In elementary school in Virginia, I had little issue with being Korean, until third grade. My mother had packed a Korean lunch of kimbap, a dish that is strikingly similar to sushi. During lunch, a vegetarian classmate looked over and gagged, for she mistook it for the Japanese dish and abhorred ﬁsh. I had never been so embarrassed. I repressed my origins from then on, only engaging in Korean culture at home. In ﬁfth grade, ﬁnancial chances brought my family to Montana where I met an amazing teacher, Mrs. Anderson. She was curious about my ethnic origins and encouraged me to explore them, even asking me to present the Korean alphabet, called hangul, to the class. The more I learned about my culture, the more I became proud of my ethnicity. We returned to Virginia and I spent the next two years as a Korea fanatic. When my parents rented Korean television shows on video from the local Asian market, I would obsessively replay them for days. When Internet came in the household, I was constantly on YouTube, scouring the site for Korean pop music and movies. However, even with the constant exposure, I treated the Korean culture as something alien to me, as if I were viewing through the eyes of any other American. Meanwhile, during my ethnic exploration, my parents had been struggling to open a small business, which later failed. Bankrupt and with the house foreclosed, my mother saw no choice but to enter the Army, and we were immediately whisked away to the islands of Hawaii. Hawaii. To many, this island paradise is merely a vacation hotspot, an escape from their mundane lives, a fantasy week of white sand and blue ocean. To me, Hawaii became my true home. For three blissful years, I engaged myself in the local community on Oahu and quickly melted into a tropical smoothie of diverse friendships and experiences. I had always stuck out like a sore thumb on the mainland, often being the only Asian in class. In Hawaii, however, I was just another among thousands on the island, just another shade of yellow on the sunny spectrum. Half the school listened to Korean pop, and Korean movies and dramas were a love shared throughout the entire island. Korea was a country and culture the local residents understood and loved. I was amazed. Thus, I solidiﬁed my identity as a Korean American and struck a balance between the two cultures in which I’ve lived and loved all my life. The acceptance I felt in the Asian-dominant society led way to my ethnic breakthrough. This feeling as a bi-cultural individual only strengthened when I recently received my American citizenship. As I signed the forms necessary for naturalization at the Immigration Services Ofﬁce in Syracuse, I knew I had gained a new piece of myself I will always treasure. Though my blood may be Korean, my soul has been forged in America, and henceforth I will be a citizen of two different but beautiful nations.
Rin in Hawaii