IS CLASS RANK IMPORTANT?
Class rank is the measure of how a student's performance compares to other students in his or her class. High school students learn their class rank in their junior year. While many private schools are forgoing class rank, public schools are still sticking with it. Why?
What are the reasons for having class rank? Class rank shows students where they are compared to the rest of their class; students who will be their competition for college and in future years may become their competition in the job market. It is also easier for schools to figure who will be the valedictorian and salutatorian based on their class rank. Another reason to keep class rank is that many colleges and universities require it to help them decide whom to accept and how large a scholarship they should offer.
Are there reasons not to have class rank? Possibly. Some students only take easy classes so that their grades are higher, which may improve their class rank. These students would rather not challenge themselves with AP and weighted classes for fear of getting lower grades, negatively affecting their GPA and class rank. On the other hand, some great students may not do too well in AP and weighted classes, thereby lowering their class rank and causing elite colleges and universities to overlook them.
There are valid reasons why schools have arrived at different decisions about whether to keep or eliminate class rank. More and more colleges are no longer requiring class rank, just as they are making SATs optional. Instead, they are looking at the “whole” student, not exclusively at academic rank.
WHY DO STUDENTS CHEAT?
When I was in jr. high, I never thought twice about cheating on a test. Only bad kids cheat and I’m a good student. None of my close friends cheated either and the only people I knew who cheated were the ones who got caught. I was terrified to plagiarize even a little bit on my book reports.
Now that I’m in eleventh grade, which is arguably the hardest grade in high school, I know a lot of people who cheat and the variety of ways they accomplish it. I also barely hear about people getting reprimanded for cheating. So if no one is getting caught and everyone is doing it, then why not cheat?
Most people would argue morals. I have a friend who refuses to cheat on tests, but willingly copies my other friend’s homework constantly. This friend prides herself on being honest and taking the high ground, but isn’t copying homework cheating, too? Most kids would admit to copying homework and not call it cheating. Teachers might even expect students to cheat on their basic homework. With technology there is so many cheating options available. A simple Google search and the answers to that exact worksheet are found. If Google doesn’t help, then students who took that class in the past sometimes keep their old assignments and give them to their younger peers. If that fails, copying your smarter friend’s homework is a tried and true option.
From there the cheating only gets riskier. Cheating on tests is a tricky ballgame and the consequences will be so much worse if you get caught, but students do it anyway. I’ve heard of kids writing on their thighs and hiding it under a skirt. Other students just secretly use their phone during an exam. I’ve seen tons of kids cheat and never get caught, which begs the question: If no one is getting caught and everyone is doing it, why not follow suit?
Why students cheat, besides it being easier, is also interesting. Some cheat because the grading system is rigged against them. One bad test and your whole grade is destroyed in some classes. Tests are worth seven times more than homework, so even if you put in the effort and still fail a test, your final grade is only a reflection of that failed test. One failed test and you can drop two letter grades. Some students justify cheating because of this. They put in the effort and tried to learn the material and still fail tests, so they cheat as a last resort. Some also justify cheating because it has a superior end goal. By cheating, they guarantee themselves good grades and good grades guarantee acceptance to college.
Another common reason students cheat is to level the playing field. Countless times I’ve been in a situation where everyone in my class is planning to cheat. If I don’t cheat and take the moral high ground, I’m giving up an advantage everyone else has. How is that fair? While I put hours of studying in, my peers know the answers and get a better grade than me. This is a classic example of how peer pressure and the pressure to exceed weigh into whether to cheat or not.
Students cheat because it’s convenient and the pressure to get good grades is tremendous. Because of technology and teachers lack of attention on test days, cheating is easier than ever. We’re taught to be resourceful and try our best and cheating is the surest way to guarantee we succeed. So more often than not the kids who cheat aren’t the bad kids you remember from jr. high. It’s the ones nervous about their futures and anxious about the advantages other kids hold over them. A friend of mine once said, “If you're not cheating, you're not trying,” and this backward logic rings true for today's generation.
The 2018-2019 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program and Art Contest is a great way to spread awareness for natural resources provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This is an avenue that allows today’s youth to make a personal connection with nature through science and art. This year, the Maplewood art program got involved in this competition to display their artistic talent. Ms. Courtney stated that she was extremely proud of her students and all that they accomplished, as they are all, “very well qualified artists.” All students involved had the chance to win $1,000 and have their artwork featured on the 2019 mail stamp sold by the Wildlife service. Maplewood students, including Summer Mitchell, Madison Mitchell, Emily Hope, Sylvia Brawley, Sarah Neely, Madalyn Sands, and Cassidy Mangus, all submitted a piece, and all received some type of recognition. Sylvia Brawley earned second place, which is a very impressive achievement especially considering she was competing with students from all over Pennsylvania. When asked what her favorite part about participating in this contest was, she responded, “I really liked seeing everyone's different interpretations of the ducks.” Receiving third place awards are Madison Mitchell and Sarah Neely, which is also a great accomplishment. Finally, Emily Hope, Summer Mitchell, Madalyn Sands, and Cassidy Mangus all acquired honorable mentions. Congratulations to all these students for their hard work in creating these beautiful pieces of art which now proudly displayed in our hallways for all to enjoy.
WHAT’S THE POINT OF FRIENDSHIP?
A friend is a person who is close to you and you enjoy being around. But in fact, there are actually many different kinds of friends. They can range from being someone you know socially from a team or a club to someone with whom you share secrets. Finding a good friend can be hard, and so your friendships might change throughout middle school and high school. After you graduate, then you may make new ones. Sometimes you stay in touch with old friends and other times you realize you may lose contact. Having friends is an important part of high school because they help shape who you are and what you become.
Friends stay with you through the good and the bad, and sometimes, bad times allow you to grow closer than good times. There are well-known stereotyped groups of friends: “popular kids”, “nerds”, and “jocks”. We have all seen or at least heard of these high school stereotypes in movies and books. At Maplewood, some students claim that our school does not have the cliche clicks and permanent groups like the movies say. Since our school is so small, everyone knows just about everyone else; only being friends with certain people is shortsighted because our school is compact and full of diverse students. Friend can be different from one another, meaning they do not have to be polar opposites but be different enough to not get “bored” with each other.
I think it is better to be in a group of diverse friends who you hang out with instead of just having one best friend with whom you spend all your time. This is because it is easier to talk to some people about certain topics. For example, I have different friends in different sports and activities. My basketball friends talk about different things than my band friends; I cannot choose between them because they are so different and I like hanging out with both groups. My “friend group” consists of basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball players as well as those in band, chorus, and theatre. I like having a large variety of friends because we always have something to talk about, whether it’s extra-curricular activities, or classes, or personal lives. It is never boring and it breaks the high school stereotype that you can only be friends with people who are exactly like you.
All in all, having a diverse group of friends can make high school seem more interesting and sometimes even fun. I know -- having fun in a depressing building for seven plus hours a day -- I can’t even imagine it! Even though I do not have close friends in all my classes, seeing them in a class or hallway makes the day go by a lot more quickly. Finally, during the four years of high school, it is important to make memories with all your friends, memories that you can share day to day as well as for years to come.
CARRYING BACKPACKS IN SCHOOL
A few years ago, wearing backpacks in Maplewood throughout the day was banned unless they were mesh or clear. Now, all bags are banned from being carried around the school - without special permission. Keep reading to learn how backpacks in school can be useful to students, but also why they were banned.
Maplewood, like many other schools, has lockers, but these lockers are only so wide. It is a struggle to get bulky bookbags into them. Furthermore, having to use the combination every time causes students to sprint to class so they will not be late. If one were to walk down Maplewood’s hallways, they would see bags, notebooks, and other items piled on top of the lockers. Many students do not have time to fiddle with their lockers between classes, so they just pile everything they need on top of their lockers so they can avoid the hassle. Even more important, at the end of the day students have to run to their buses because they do not have enough time to open their lockers and get everything they need into their backpacks.
Here are some positives to allowing backpacks to be worn in Maplewood’s halls and classrooms. First of all, they are convenient. Students have everything they need in their bag, which means there are fewer trips to lockers, saving three to eight minutes for working in class. Second, having bags saves time. There would be less tardiness to class from the overused excuse, “I was at my locker” or “My locker wouldn’t open.” Another way backpacks are convenient is that they make carrying textbooks, binders, notebooks, and everything else students are required to have for class more manageable.
On the other hand, there are a few downsides in carrying backpacks to class. First, backpacks are banned because they can physically hurt those students who have them too full and wear them for too long. If a bag weighs more than ten percent of the student’s body weight, it can strain their lower back muscle, which can make it very difficult to carry healthily. It also can cause muscle strain where the straps dig into the shoulders. To some extent it can ruin the student’s posture and cause back problems, making it harder to move. Second, backpacks are banned for security reasons. Some schools have found knives and guns in students’ backpacks. Forcing students to keep their backpacks in their lockers can prevent others from getting hurt or threatened.
These are some pros and cons of allowing backpacks to be carried in school. Do you agree with Maplewood’s ban?
Cinderella and the Glass Slipper
This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend Maplewood High School’s annual Boar's Head Carol dinner theatre. All members of senior high chorus, assisted by advanced theatre arts students, worked together to achieve one common goal: a great show. While cast members were pushed considerably due to time constraints, learning all parts and lines in less than two months, they prevailed and pushed through to put on a quite successful play.
In the lead role of Cinderella was Karlee Mihailov. Her performance was wonderful, highlighting her beautiful singing voice. As a senior after the show Karlee stated, “It was fun but also challenging to play a ‘nice’ character like Cinderella, as in the past I have always played the role of loud and obnoxious characters, so it was a nice change”. Yet another senior, Amber Burchard took the role of the evil stepmother. It was nice to see how incharacter Amber was, taking her acting to a new level. When I asked Amber what her favorite part about the show was she responded, “I enjoyed being evil. And I liked that we returned to the Canterbury style of dinner.” Amber also had a little to say about the future of the theatre, “I'm glad we could do it this year and hopefully interest in the theatre will continue to grow at Maplewood so the tradition can progress and keep going.” In the role of Prince Charming was sophomore Alex Hyde, a big role for a young actor, relatively new to theatre. Nonetheless, Alex pushed through his reservations and did a great job. The comical relief of the night was provided in large by Nick Thomas-Brandenburg playing the role of Major Domo. Nick took his almost simple character and put his own spin on it, bringing a lot of smiles and laughs to the audience. Yet another source for comic relief was the evil stepsisters played by Sidney Kircher and Regina Troyer. These girls did a great job bringing a lot of life to the play.
All things considered, many thought the play was very well done, not to mention the food was delicious and the service was excellent. Congratulations to everyone who contributed, and a special thank you to Mr. Zurcher for taking the time to direct.
Drake and Cake
Mr. Drake is back at it again with his AP Biology class. He baked a magnificent six-layer cake simply on his student's requests. The layers follow the colors of the rainbow and are filled in between with tons of white frosting. He claimed it weighed 25 pounds because the shape of the cakes forced him to layer the frosting thick on the sides. He wants to let everyone know that if they want to bake a layered cake, that they should leave a depression in the middle of the pan so that your cakes can stack up without too much space on the sides. The AP class, as he says, must have been laughing after the class because a six layer cake takes hours to make. He had to bake each cake individually, and when the dust settled, Mr. Drake finally put his oven mitts down past midnight, but it was all worth it because the class enjoyed a beautiful rainbow cake.
Mr. Drake does a lot for the school. Earlier this year, I wrote about his AP class collecting thousands of acorns. He does tons of research projects with acorns, planaria (the cutest acoelomate in the world), insect display projects, and multiple dissections with his classes. He’s also planning on bringing his students on a forensics-focused STEM day on the 28th of February. In the spring, Mr Drake is part of coordinating the Riparian Zone Restoration where students plant shrubs and trees to protect ecosystems from erosion. These are just some of the many examples of Mr. Drake’s contributions and dedications to the school.
Literature and Love
Mrs. Douglas is feeling the love this year with her Va“LIT”ines. Her Honors 12 and AP English-Lit classes celebrated Valentine’s Day by making literary valentines that pertain to the characters in different books they have read together. Students were excited to be engaged and apply their knowledge of the stories with creative outlets, the students got to chat and work amongst small groups in this pleasant class occasion. “It was a breath of of fresh air from our other stressful classes, it was nice to sit down, relax, and get a little creative,” said Sophie Varndell, a senior in AP English here at MHS.
“I have had the idea for years, if it hits right next year, I’ll do it again. I like the opportunity to see you guys take a break and I enjoy seeing the artistic ability. I wanted to tie the history in. I haven't designed an assignment for an anti-valentine but I would like to incorporate that into next years,” said Mrs. Douglas.
According to nces.ed.gov, or the National Center for Education Statistics, high school dropout rates have decreased from 10.9% in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016. With dropout rates decreasing, the new trend among high school students is cyber schooling. I’m not saying that all students who choose cyber school are the type disinterested in their high school education like high school dropouts of the past, but there is a high percentage of cyber school students failing.
Based on a statistic from www.paschoolchoice.org, there are approximately 16,000 students enrolled in the twelve cyber charter schools Pennsylvania has to offer. This is a continuingly increasing number. The high percentage of students choosing cyber wouldn’t be a problem, but their graduation rate is a noticeably lower than traditional schools. An article on www.mcall.com says, “Cyber charters had a cumulative graduation rate average of 47.7 percent in 2015-16. The statewide average is 86.1 percent.” Cyber school students are also performing worse on statewide reading and math comprehension tests than their traditional school peers.
Cyber school does have its benefits despite its lower graduation rate and test score performances. According to www.theodysseyonline.com, the pros include flexibility, accomodation to a student’s learning style, the location and time no longer being an issue, and the learning always being available even if the student moves. Most of the benefits praised about and the individual accounts of cyber schooling’s appeal are more aimed towards younger kids. Students who start cyber school during their elementary school years seem to have a higher success rate than those who choose to go cyber during high school.
Cyber schools in PA also have the lowest credit requirement. This seems to be the biggest appeal for high school students. Through cyber school they can graduate an entire year earlier, which is why it probably appeals to students who are sick of attending school, but don’t want to be stuck with the stigma of being a high school dropout.
- Contributing Writer -
THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMEWORK
Is homework a waste of time? Does it improve one’s education? Homework by definition is the work or study done in preparation for an event or situation. In school, it is what teachers give you to prepare you for the next class, and for the next year, all to help you in the future, but it is also a way to help you now?
Different teachers have different courses, which result in variations in types of homework. Of course, you may get lucky and have a teacher who does not give you homework; whether they do not believe it helps or are just lazy we will never know. But most teachers will assign homework. Homework assignments can range from easy to hard, from essays to projects. While homework should not be easy, it also should not be impossible. How long it takes to finish certain assignments versus how long you actually spend doing those assignments is also important. There is no time limit to finishing your homework, but if you are stuck on a problem or having a writer's block, take a break. Come back to it later.
Even if you do not like homework, there are some advantages in which you should be aware. If students do homework to their best of their ability, they will improve their understanding of the subject. When they learn something and feel confident about it, there is a greater chance they will like the subject. When students like a subject, they become more open-minded and even enjoy learning. Enjoyment of the subject will usually help them on tests and exams in the future.
On the other hand, homework has its disadvantages. There is not enough time to spend hours on each subject as some teachers might wish. There is only so much time in a day; you can’t spend it all in school and on homework. Students may also find homework stressful, which can prevent them from finishing their assignments and from getting a sufficient amount of sleep. At worst, homework can make students hate a subject and even school. There are students who are too embarrassed to ask for help in school and do not get any help at home.
Here are some tips to help you with homework. Make yourself a homework place: it should be comfy and cozy, but it should also have a desk or a flat table to work on. You should not do homework on your bed, though. You will not get as good of sleep it you do so, because your brain will remember your bed as a work place, not a rest stop. Furthermore, set yourself a time range to do your homework, and follow it. By doing this, you will force yourself to become a good, responsible student. In addition, you should try to finish your homework promptly and not wait until the last minute. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment. These tips can help you finish your homework at a reasonable time and successfully. It is up to you, however, how much effort you put into it.
WE'RE NUTS ABOUT ACORNS
For the last 15 years, Mr. Drake has organized an effort with his AP Biology class to collect as many acorns as possible. This year, their goal was to collect
around 1,500 viable acorns per student, but they surpassed it with a grand total of an estimated 60,359 acorns with an unusually small class. They will be sprouting and growing many of the acorns and the trees will be planted on private properties, shelters, and many will be donated or given to those who ask for them.
The acorns they collect are from the white oak tree. It’s a slow-growing climax species common to Pennsylvanian woods. The trees can grow to have a trunk diameter of six feet and over 100 feet tall. They are valued by wildlife for the energy-rich nuts they produce and are an important part of our ecosystems. Mr. Drake urges people to grow more of these trees.
His main goal by collecting the acorns was to, “Get students outside spending time around forests and plants,” because he’s noticed a trend where students gradually have a weaker understanding of the natural environments so common to our area. Students will also be conducting long-terms research studies on the acorns. Mr. Drake is trying to plan an event where he will take his AP class to the elementary school to show off what they’ve done with the acorns and other things in the class. He also would like to tell everyone that “Maplewood is the best high school in the world."
DIFFERENT SCHOOLS, SAME EDUCATION?
What are the differences between a public school, a private school, and homeschool? How can someone compare these different kinds of schools? I interviewed six students: Five go, or have gone, to public school. Four go, or have gone, to Maplewood. Three go, or have gone, to private schools. Two go, or have gone, to Meadville. One has always been homeschooled. Here is what each of the six had to say about their schools.
Maria Burns was homeschooled in kindergarten through first grade. Since then, she has attended Maplewood and is currently on the soccer team (as a right defender). She does not want to go to private school because it would be too expensive. She is happy with the wonderful friends she has at Maplewood, and she likes her teachers as well.
McKenzie Means went to a private preschool, but she doesn’t count that as “going to private school.” Since then, she has gone to Maplewood and is on the soccer team, and she participates in both marching band and jazz band. Although she is content with Maplewood, she would not mind going to a private school or being homeschooled because, as she says, “I’m still going to learn and make friends, so what’s the difference?”
Melanie Cosdon first attended East End Elementary School in Meadville, then went to a private school called the Learning Center though eighth grade, and now is at Meadville High School. She enjoyed the Learning Center when she was younger, but as she has gotten older, she has appreciated going to Meadville. She has made new friends at Meadville and still has friends back at the Learning Center.
Haylie Willis went to First District Elementary until three years ago, when she started going to Mercyhurst Prep in Erie. She is currently a sophomore on the cheerleading squad as the flyer. She feels that she is now better prepared for college because the structure of the curriculum is that of a college. She likes the one-on-one connection between the students and teachers that she could not get at Meadville. Her peers now are more motivated to learn, whereas in public school, some students were disruptive and disrespectful. Furthermore, you can tell that the teachers at Prep enjoy their jobs by how they teach.
Gavin Irons is starting his second year at Cathedral Prep as a sophomore on the football team. Although he attended Maplewood for years, he believes he is now better prepared for college due to how he is being taught and the amount of work he is being given. Cathedral Prep’s students and faculty are nicer, in his opinion, because they will not tolerate bullying in any form. All the students are like “brothers.”
Abrianna Philips has been homeschooled her whole life and does not want to go to public school because she likes her flexible schedule, ability to choose courses not offered at public or private schools, and she gets to work at her own pace. She loves being homeschooled. On the other hand, she does not feel better prepared for college because she has never been in a regular classroom or had to make a presentation in front of a class. She is unfamiliar with a school atmosphere and the demands of a regular school day, so college could be difficult for her to adapt.
THE SCOOP ON GROUPS
Group Projects: you either love them or hate them, have a “good” group or “bad” group. In this article you will be seeing the positives and negatives of group projects. Four interviews. Four minds. Two teachers. Two students. One question: Do the benefits of group projects outweigh the deficits?
Regina Troyer is opposed to group projects because she feels like she has to do, “all the work.” She ends up having to force people to do their part of the assignment. Even though students are intellectually capable, if they know that someone else in the group will do all the work, they will rely on that person to get them a good grade. Since this is an unfair system, Regina does not like participating in group projects. Of course, if Regina is in a group with students as responsible as she is, she could actually benefit from participating.
Kaysea Thomas likes group projects simply because she likes to bounce ideas off others. Instead of feeling like all the pressure is on her to get it right or wrong, when other people pitch in, then she thinks there is a greater chance to get the answer right. “I feel like you can base your opinion on someone else’s and it makes me feel like I’m not wrong,” mentioned Kaysea. When she is put into a group project, her team divides the project evenly; everyone does their part of the work, and if they do not, she tries to motivate them.
Holley Casey does not like giving group projects, but her students love them. Many students do not realize that teachers can see who is doing the work and who is not. She often does not give group projects because "too many people mess around, and others take change and do everything." Even though group projects are not her favorite, she believes that if they are well planned, they have the potential to help students improves on working together; giving students the opportunity to become leaders, to increase creativity, and to be able to work collaboratively.
Jim Bulman generally dislikes group projects because they do not work well for teaching writing or literature. Years ago he stopped assigning group work when he realized that students do not know how to help one another. Instead of loitering in the classroom while students pretend to work but actually socialize, he now spends the hour teaching writing skills and close reading. Furthermore, “I find group work unfair to those students who participate fully, because other less motivated students simply go long for the ride and are given the same grade undeservedly,” stated Jim. For him, group projects can be beneficial if and only if the students work cooperatively. Students in a successful group have to trust one another and take responsibility as individuals to get good results.
THE TROLLEY PROBLEM
Ethics is “a moral principle of beliefs that govern a person’s behavior or conducting of an activity.” Specifically, ethics influences decision making. We’re told to make the right decisions, but sometimes the right decision varies person to person. Variables such as emotions, circumstances, and your role in the decision all play a part.
To better understand ethics and how it affects people, I conducted my own small survey using a popular ethics question. It’s called the trolley problem and below is a short explanation of it:
A trolley is moving toward five unconscious people on the tracks. You are beside a lever that can redirect the trolley to another track. If you redirect the trolley, the five people will be spared, but on the second track is a loved one of yours, such as a relative or friend. You can either do absolutely nothing and let the trolley kill the five people or pull the lever and save them, but intentionally kill your loved one.
I interviewed five people (Lily Bulman, Arilyn Hicks, Raeleigh Hammond, Liliane Moorhead, Devyn Bossard) to see what their choice would be. Four of the five chose what is considered the more ethical option. They saved the five people and killed their loved one. When I asked Raeleigh Hammond why, she brought up guilt. She would feel more guilty killing the five people because they have families. Liliane Moorhead argued a similar point. She acknowledged that the five people have loved ones of their own and she would rather have the guilt of one person on her conscious than five.
Lily Bulman would only save her sister and Arilyn Hicks would pick the five people. I was curious why they wouldn’t save their parents over five strangers, so I asked if age would change their decision. What if the five people were old?
All four students I interviewed would save their loved one over the five people if they were old. This is an example of how circumstances play a role in ethics. If Lily had to choose between her dad and five people of a similar age, she would choose her dad. Liliane said she would only save her loved one if the five people were at least one hundred. Arilyn’s answer was interesting. She would only save the loved one if they were a young adult and the five people were elderly. She argued the teenager has more potential.
The only person I interviewed who would save their loved one over five people no matter their age was Devyn Bossard. This is an example of how emotions influence our ethics. For some people, it’s easier to kill five strangers you have no emotional connection to than a loved one.
Similar questions to the trolley problem have been asked. For example, in the TV show the Good Place, the transplant question was broached. You’re a doctor and five patients need a transplant. You come across someone who matches all five people’s transplant needs. Is it ethical to kill the one, healthy person to potentially save the lives of five? This is an example of how your role plays a part. As a doctor, you took the Hippocratic Oath promising to never intentionally harm someone.
What both questions and other ethical questions bring attention to is the idea of greater good. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of one. If this was followed perfectly, the five people would always be chosen. But that’s not realistic and everyone has a different set of ethics.
This passing week we recognized International Epilepsy Day! March 26th is a day that is set aside to spread SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) awareness and support those who are affected by the disorder. SUDEP is a fatal complication of epilepsy and epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects 1 in 26 people. The disorder causes a person to have unexpected seizures, which are often fatal. SUDEP can affect people of all ages and there is no cure at this time. Of the 65 million people in the world, 3.4 million people in the United States, and 470,000 children are diagnosed with epilepsy. Although these numbers are vast, SUDEP has affected a family right here in our hallowed halls.
Jaclyn McCoy, or as we know her Mrs. McCoy, was a health and PE teacher here at Maplewood for many years. This past year she was moved to Cambridge Springs High School and her presence is missed immensely here at MHS. In 2016, the McCoy family suffered the tragic loss of their two year old daughter Addelyn, due to epilepsy. The loss was devastating not only to family and friends, but the entire community. In the years that followed, many sports teams and organizations in PENNCREST have showed their support by wearing and selling purple “McCoy Strong” and “Team Addelyn” shirts to show support and raise awareness for SUDEP. Every year since then, the community comes together and wears purple on March 26th in support of the McCoy family, who is so near and dear to our hearts. Whether there will be a cure for SUDEP or not is uncertain, but one thing's for sure, we will always be “McCoy Strong”!
HOW IS SCHOOL STRESSFUL?
How many times each day have you said or felt that you were stressed out in school? Around five. Why do we get stressed so quickly? The definition of stress is a mental or emotional strain or tension. There are two different kinds of stress: positive and negative. Positive stress is motivational: for example, when you study for a test or quiz to get a good grade. Negative stress can cause you to tear yourself down, to “shut down,” or even to give up. Here are some examples of what can cause stress and how it can affect someone.
The first one is being overworked. When your plate is too full and you do not have enough time to finish everything, it can cause you to overwork, which is not good, especially if it is ruining your eating and sleeping schedule. Students spend an average of seven hours at school and then either go home to do homework, go to an after-school job, or go to practice/ lessons -- and sometimes all of the above. Having a packed schedule is stressful because humans have a need to push the pause button, enjoy life and relax and sometimes our hectic schedules do not allow that.
The second example is that sometimes, you think you have to feel stressed, but it is all in your head. For instance, when you have an important event coming up, you may stress yourself out because you do not want to mess up. I personally do this all the time with my homework. To finish my homework and feel good about it, I normally stress myself out until it is done (positive stress). On the other hand, if I worry about a test coming up but delay studying until the last minute, I feel anxiety (negative stress). Stress means different things to different people. For some, stress can be motivational and lead to good results. For others, stress can make them want to tear their hair out but does not achieve good results.
School is stressful because we make it stressful. It is as simple as that. The important part is that when you feel stress, make sure it is positive stress. That way you will get your work done and keep all the hair on your head. Here are a few ways to prevent yourself from being stressed. First of all, if you are overloaded with schoolwork, sports, your job, etc, make a schedule for yourself. Second, know what can keep you calm, whether it is a workout -- running, lifting weights, yoga -- or meditating in peace and silence. Last, make sure to have fun once in awhile. It loosens you up so that when you are in a stressful situation, you know that the time will come when you can goof off with your friends, watch TV/ movies, or just read. These are simple things you can do to keep sane while being completely stressed out.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HIGH SCHOOL?
High school is full of memories and challenges. But what is the most important part of high school? Is it the education, friends, responsibility, preparation for the future? Keep reading to find the most important part of high school through the eyes of our knowledgeable seniors and our novice freshman.
As clichéd as it sounds, senior Maud Bulman believes the most important part of high school is making mistakes and learning from them. Making mistakes is important to high schoolers because they are still transitioning from being treated as kids to taking responsibility as adults; they are surrounded by their peers who are undergoing the same transition. Making mistakes can teach students something new about the world or about themselves. As Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power.” Maud believes that the more mistakes students make in high school, the greater amount of knowledge they will gain.
With a more academic focus, senior Anthony Rice thinks the most important part of high school is being exposed to a vast amount of knowledge in class as well as developing the ability and freedom to find a “calling” in life. Students learning all they can helps them narrow what they want to do in life and opens their eyes to a whole world of choices. Being exposed to competition in the classroom prepares them for competition in college and for jobs in the future. However, high school should not be a place students resent. Instead, it should foster self-confidence and teach them how hard work can make a difference in their lives.
In the opinion of freshman Breanna Heme, the memories students make are the most important part of high school. Memories with their friends -- especially messing around at dances, games, and in class -- are what they will take with them after they graduate into the next chapter of their lives. They will keep these memories engraved in their heads longer than some of the academic subjects they have learned. These are the stories, pictures, and videos that will remind them of their teenage years.
With a more practical emphasis, freshman Dustin Lesueur believes that learning life skills is the most important part of high school. Such skills include practicing teamwork with all different sorts of people: this will help students learn how to work with some cooperative people and some who are difficult. Either way, it will teach them to be patient and understanding. High school will also teach students to respect their teachers and peers. Respect is necessary to having good working relationships. Most of all, students will “learn how to learn,” according to Dustin. These simple life skills are crucial to enforce in high school, so that when students graduate, they will have learned basic skills that they will need for the workforce.
These are the most important parts of high school. Make the best out of the four years you are here.
BEING ILLITERATE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Why is reading one of the most important life skills to learn? We are taught how to read when we are four, five, and six years old. Then we practice reading all the way up to when we graduate from high school. Those who go to college or enroll in other programs after graduation, continue to develop their reading skills. Some may spend up to 16 or more years mastering the art of reading. Yet somehow we take this skill for granted. According to lifescience.com, only 14% of American adults are illiterate - people who are unable to read or write. Not everybody has the opportunities that Americans have, however. Approximately 774 million people worldwide are illiterate due to high poverty levels; and because some countries deny women the right to an education, 67% of the illiterate are women.
How does illiteracy affect the futures of those 14% of Americans? Being illiterate limits the jobs they can do and limits how long they can keep them. They will also have a higher chance of making mistakes because they can miss signs and safety labels. This can be dangerous not only for that certain individual but for others as well. The ability to read is very valuable. It can improve your life by allowing you to get a better job with higher wages and more health benefits than you would get if you were illiterate.
Despite these benefits, Americans are reading less. The numbers of those who read for pleasure have decreased most sharply. According to The Washington Post, pleasure reading in America dropped by 30% from 2004 to 2017. Many more males stopped reading during that period than women: the difference is approximately 11%. On the other hand, the average American watches two hours and 45 minutes of television a day; that is ten times the amount of time spent reading. Americans in 2004 used to read an average of 23 minutes a day; by 2017, the average reading time dropped to 17 minutes a day. Furthermore, much of this reading now occurs online, but reading online is only 20% as effective as reading a book or magazine in hard copy. Clearly Americans are not taking advantage of the literacy they learn in school.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
A New Year’s Resolution is a tradition, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve your life. The three most common resolutions made each year are to eat healthier, exercise more, and save money.
The making of New Year’s Resolutions began with the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. Instead of the new year starting at the beginning of January, the Babylonians celebrated it in the middle of March, right before the crops started to grow. This would be a time of hope and expectation. They would make promises to their gods for good fortune in the new year. To keep their promises, they paid their debts, such as returning borrowed objects.
Even though the Babylonians started the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, Romans also made promises to their gods. The ancient Rome emperor Julius Caesar established January first as the beginning of the new year in 46 B.C. The month of January was named for Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. The Romans offered promises and sacrifices in hopes of gaining the gods’ favor in the upcoming year.
Why are New Year’s Resolutions so easy to break? Most of the time, people make virtually impossible resolutions, such as working out at the gym or losing a lot of weight quickly. Many people break such resolutions because they do not have enough time in their busy schedules. Another common reason why people break their resolutions is that they make too many to keep track of. In addition to those reasons, people have a lack of patience. If they cannot see instant results, they quit trying.
Only 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions.Out of those few people, only 8% actually achieve their goals. Many people just give up on them too easily, or the resolutions were too hard to accomplish. Did you know that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week of February? A New Year’s Resolution should be something that you really want to achieve and yet is still manageable.
Respect is one of the most important values we can receive and give. Since we were in elementary school, we learned the golden rule to treat others the way we want to be treated. The basic ways of showing respect are to listen, encourage, congratulate, be helpful, and have good manners. As Laurence Sterne once said, “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” But when it comes to how students treat teachers, behavior can become disrespectful. Common ways to show disrespect include interrupting, refusing to help, or not paying attention to someone who is talking.
How does respect between students and teachers vary from elementary school through college? In general, students respect teachers more when they are younger because they have not yet learned to test boundaries. In elementary school, children tend to treat their teachers with good manners, in part, because they are too afraid to get in trouble for talking back or refusing to do something.
As they age, however, it is more common for students to push the boundaries between themselves and their teachers because adolescents are learning to test the authority of adults. This disrespect may take the form of acting out in anger, being a class clown, or getting out of having to do something. High school students often “befriend” or joke around with some of their teachers, and vice versa. Furthermore, high schoolers have fewer consequences when talking back and mouthing off to teachers, so disrespect is more common.
In college, the lack of respect students sometimes give to professors is not as vocal. For example, instead of pushing a professor’s buttons, they will skip class without a reasonable excuse. More commonly, however, between professors and students there is a mutual respect, even though some students may show it better than others. Students are paying a lot of money to go to college, so it makes sense for them to get the most out of their classes, which means paying attention.
At all levels, students should respect their teachers, the people who give them more help in life than they get credit for.
STUDENTS OF THE SEMESTER
Being student of the semester means that a teacher has noticed how hard and diligently a student has worked in class. The teacher nominates a student, and then all the teachers take a vote for the final twelve for the title, two students for each grade. In this article, you will be reading about how some of our selected students feel about their nominations. The twelve include Gerrett Dewey, Emily Frazier, Alison Hunt, Eryka Kindervater, Eve Beuchat, Lily Kaplan, Janelle Bickel, Lydia Sleeman, Daphne Atkins, Arilyn Hicks, Megan Prenatt, and Elizabeth Zuber.
Eryka Kindervater, an eighth grader, is new to our school and she likes it. Her favorite subjects are band, communications, English, and science. She participated in basketball in the fall and is currently playing the trombone in jazz band. Eryka believes that she stands out for her hard work, for being a good student, and because she is new to the school. She is glad to be one of the students of the semester.
Eve Beuchat, a freshman, loves school and learning. She already has the perfect qualities of being a good student. Her favorite subjects are science and math; she is currently in Global Science and Algebra II. Even though she is in volleyball, basketball, softball, and multiple clubs, she keeps her grades up by giving 110% in everything she does. If she did anything less, she would be disappointed in herself.
Lily Kaplan, a freshman, loves going to school, learning new information, and hanging out with friends. Her favorite class is American Cultures II. She is fascinated about learning the history of our country throughout the centuries. As well as being a passionate student, she also managed the cross country team and is currently in Key Club. Lily thinks that she was chosen student of the semester because of how hard she works and how passionate she is about learning.
Lydia Sleeman, a sophomore, enjoys school other than having to wake up so early in the morning. Her favorite classes are English and history; she is currently in 10th grade Honors English and AP US history. She also participates in marching band, jazz band, Key Club, and takes voice lessons. Lydia believes that she was chosen student of the semester because she challenges herself by her efforts and by taking hard classes, as well as being personable with her teachers.
Daphne Atkins, a junior, also loves school. Since she is interested in science, her favorite classes are chemistry and biology. Other than being a good student, she also is in basketball and on the prom committee. Daphne’s work ethic and attitude towards school helped her become student of the semester. She is that rare student who has the same positive outlook in every class.
Arilyn Hicks, a junior, says that her favorite subject is English, but biology runs a close second; she is currently in AP Language and Advanced Biology Theory. Earlier this year she also was on the cross country team. After she graduates she wants to go to college with a dual major in Biology and English. Arilyn stands out to teachers because she gets really passionate about things that interest her.
Elizabeth Zuber’s favorite subjects are biology and band. She is a senior who has spent two years as drum major of the marching band and is currently in jazz band. After high school she plans to attend college to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After college, she wants to move far away and get a job as a nurse. She believes she was chosen for student of the semester because of her open mind in class and positive outlook on doing school work.
Congratulations to all the students of the semester! If you see any of them in the halls be sure to congratulate them on their hard work.
In school, grades define who you are; if you have high grades, you are a nerd, and if you have low grades, you are not trying. Even having high grades does not mean you are learning what you need to know; and having low grades does not mean you are not working hard. You could do everything right, finish homework, and ace tests but not actually learn the information. More or less like a robot, you are programmed to remember what will be on the next test but nothing more.
The Penncrest School District’s grading system is based on numbers and letters and how well you are doing in your classes. Many students do whatever it takes to get the highest grades: getting extra credit, working all night, or even cheating. Grades dictate how students learn. People with open minds are more engaged in the classroom and absorb more than students who only listen to what is “important.” Even though the open-minded students might not get all A’s, they think more about what they learn and challenge themselves to understand what the teacher is actually saying.
Many students are intellectually smart but do not test well. Those who work hard and get help may still not receive the grades that they want. Others, on the other hand, can slack off on homework and not pay attention in class and still pass the tests with a high percentage.
Even though teachers say grades are not the most important thing, most students still care whether they pass or fail. I believe that students should not be graded by numbers and letters but by how much they have learned or improved.
Alverno College in Milwaukee, according to Professor Richard Runkel, has a curriculum that is ability-based. To be able to pass their classes, the students have to demonstrate the eight core abilities such as analysis and communication. “One of the main advantages of this system is the clarity of expectations and the implicit belief that all students can be successful. One of the disadvantages is that some students figure out that they can do minimal work to be ‘successful’’ (email dated 10/16/18).
If someone gets a better grade than you on a test, good for them. As long as you tried your best, you should be proud of what you did. I know this may sound cheesy, but that’s my piece of advice for this week.
THE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM
Many of you realize that some students are regularly gone from school on Fridays; this is because a handful of students go to Allegheny College for the Gifted and Talented Program. The Gifted and Talented Program involves selected students who go to Allegheny for the day to take three enrichment classes. There are many classes to choose from. They range from Archeology to Sign Language, from Public Speaking to Slavery and Segregation Through the Supreme Court. If you keep reading, you’ll find out what two participants think of the program.
Abby Palotas has been part of this program for six years, ever since she was invited to join in the sixth grade. This year she is taking the following courses: Secrets of Languages and LInguistics, Today’s Political Climate, and Philosophy and Application.
Secrets of Language and LInguistics is taught by Danuta Majchrowicz. Even though the class has only met one time this year, Abby is already interested in learning “why we have the speech patterns we do” and learning in depth about culture. The reason she signed up for this course is that, having had only two years of Spanish, she wanted a better understanding of different language backgrounds and cultures. Furthermore, Amber Burchard, a close friend who took the course last year, made it sound interesting and fun.
David Miller and Julie Wilson teach Today’s Political Climate. Taking this class will educate Abby about the political conflicts occurring in various parts of the world. Especially frustrating to her is learning how unfairly women are treated around the world because feminism is important to her.
Philosophy of Application is a yoga class, but not only that. It is also a journalism class. This class is taught by Carrie Morda. When I asked Abby why she wanted to take a yoga class, she replied, “After high school I need to stay active. Yoga is a peaceful physical activity, good for your mind and body. It will help me to relax and chill out more.”
Liliane Moorhead, a freshman, has also been going to Allegheny since the sixth grade. She is taking Bridge, Creative Writing, and the humorously titled This Class Needs to be Taken!
In the Bridge course, students will be learning the basics of Bridge, a popular four person card game. Liliane is taking this class because past students have said it was fun and they learned a lot; plus, the teacher, Barb Grzegorzewski, is really nice.
Lora Zill teaches Creative Writing. For the first day of the Gifted and Talented Program, she had each student write down one of their own “quirks” (or a made up one) on a sticky note and put it on a wall with with other sticky notes from earlier classes. Then they had to take some random sticky notes off the wall and write a description of a character who has those certain quirks.
This Class Need to be Taken! is a second level language class, which means that students will be learning the history and meaning of words in different languages or linguistic cultures. For example, a joke in American English might not be funny in Australian English.
Liliane does not plan to take any of these classes in college, but she is glad she is learning what it is like to be in college by having to find her own classes, being able to walk around campus, and learning time management. Although she wants to be a part time novelist, she at the current time she does not wish to take any writing classes instead she is focusing on the non traditional courses.
WELCOME BACK, NOODLES!
As we enter a new school year, many of us are overwhelmed with the new schedule. We go from sleeping in until noon to waking up at six o’clock, from spending our afternoons playing outside to doing homework. It’s such a drastic change that we must get used to right away. Here are some tips to help you adjust to a new school year smoothly.
- Buy the proper study resources to help you complete your homework assignments.
- Need help remembering homework assignments for all of your classes? Agendas are a good idea!
- Create a comfortable study area.
- Clean up your desk and throw out old papers from the previous school year, unless of course the papers contain information that could help you study this year.
- Your desk should be organized to help you keep an organized mind and should not have any electronics nearby, unless it is being used for schooling.
- Your study area should be quiet and well-lit.
- Communication is an important part of entering a new school year.
- If you’re nervous about the new school year, talk to your parents/guardians. They will help you adjust smoothly to the new school year and encourage you throughout the year.
- If you are struggling with homework assignments or not understanding classwork, etc. ask for help or talk to your teacher. Teachers are there to help you learn, not to let you fail. Always ask for help!
- Set goals to motivate you throughout the school year.
- Setting goals and accomplishing those goals gives you a feeling of success and may motivate you to keep working harder.
- Be positive!
- From experience, negativity leads to a negative lifestyle. Negative lifestyles lead to carelessness and that may result in a bad school year. Start the school year off with a positive mindset!
- If you find it hard to stay positive, some things I like to do are to search for a positive quote and constantly remind myself of that particular quote. I also surround myself with positive peers. Positivity is contagious! For other tips to stay positive, visit https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/.
- From experience, negativity leads to a negative lifestyle. Negative lifestyles lead to carelessness and that may result in a bad school year. Start the school year off with a positive mindset!
If you need more tips for starting the school year strong, try out these websites!
Maplewood has added two new teachers to our Tiger family.
Many of you already know our new PE and health teacher, Patrick Bradshaw. He is split between Saegertown and Maplewood because our district has been having a budget crunch for the last four years. When a teacher retires from Penncrest, instead of hiring someone new, the district often moves teachers from one school to another or, like Mr. Bradshaw, who has taught at Saegertown for five years, splits them between two schools. Mr. Bradshaw is not only a PE and health teacher, but he is also a wrestling coach at SHS and the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP).
Even though he has taught at multiple schools in the past eight years, he can tell that Maplewood has great school pride and positivity that radiate from the students and teachers alike. Of course, he was not thrilled to have his teaching split between schools, but he says it only took him one day to feel at home. Now in only his second week at Maplewood, Mr. Bradshaw says, “I feel blessed to be a part of such a great school.” Since almost everyone takes PE, let’s make an effort to show how glad we are to see a new face in the halls.
Maplewood has also welcomed a new math teacher, Ben Frable. Before moving to the Penncrest School District, he taught 8th grade math and geometry in Maryland. He has been working at all three Penncrest schools, starting with Cambridge Springs High School five years ago. He taught Pre-algebra, Algebra 1 (A and B), and consumer math for three years. After cuts to the faculty, he was assigned to “teach” In-school Suspension at the Central Office in Saegertown for two years. Now, he is teaching geometry and Algebra 1 at our wonderful school. He is very serious about education but will try his best to make math fun and tolerable.
Unlike most students, when Mr. Frable was in high school, his best subject was math. What inspired this delightful man to become a teacher? It was his own high school math teacher, who made a life-changing impact on him. Mr. Frable would like to give students the same opportunity to enjoy math that he had.
Graduating from Edinboro University forced him to improve his time management skills between classes, being a college athlete (swimmer), and student teaching at Saegertown, where he got to know the Penncrest School District. Even as a freshman and sophomore in high school, he divided his time between classes and the pool, where he was a swimming teacher and lifeguard.
There is one thing he wants out of our school: to belong. So don't be scared to say “hi” to him in the halls or to ask questions whenever you need his help. He will do whatever he can to help you. Many of us will not have the opportunity to be in his classes, but make sure to welcome him to our school and show him how grateful we are to have him as a member of the Maplewood family.