DAVID MCELFRESH / SOPHOMORE LEAD EDITOR
I never thought that I would begin searching for colleges when I was a sophomore, but I now realize how crucial it is to have an idea about your plan after high school.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to do my first every campus visit; I was invited to tour the facilities of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Not thinking much of it, I attended both the tour and an essay workshop, and this opened my eyes to the college selection process.
I have put together a step by step process for all students who want to begin searching or applying for colleges and the essential information thereof.
Patience is key.
1. Make a list of the necessities
The best place to start searching for the right college is looking in yourself and discovering what you value. Do you want your school to focus on a particular field of study, or do you want a wide variety? Of course, make sure the school has your chosen major, but also look into the extracurriculars. As one who deems themselves at least semi-organized, I believe the best way to do this is with a short list. This, of course, will be subject to change as you progress with the searching process. Make three columns and label them Must Have, Should Have, and Deal Breakers.
Beginning in the Must Have section, list all the items that you definitely want in a school. Perhaps this will be a sport, a major, tuition, etc. In the Should Have column, write the items that you would like the school to have, but are not a necessity. Think about things that would be ideal, but not absolutely needed. In the final component labeled Deal Breakers, list all the things that you do not want in a school.
When making these lists, take into account the school setting, but also the social and geographical setting. Perhaps you want a school in a big city or one with a lot of clubs. Take the time to really dig deep. The more information you write, the easier it will be later on.
2. Use online resources
We use our phones for everything nowadays, so why not use them to make college searching easier? One of the most useful apps for this task is called Niche. It is a free app and provides you with a plethora of information. When you first load it up, it asks you to log in or create an account.
After signing up, it will ask you to list at least two possible colleges, (these can be changed at any time), your selected major, degree type, and some information about you. When this is complete, you can explore additional Niche resources, and let the website do its job. Niche will search for colleges that fit the information given in the sign-up process and will contact you about these schools. Additionally, the schools may send you emails, letters, or other resources. Niche also provides your information to prospective groups and organizations that may be looking for members.
Niche is an amazing tool, but there is more that can be done.
3. Visit a campus
The saying “you never know until you try it” is absolutely true.
Visiting colleges, even if you don't think that they are ideal, is a major aid that will help you see the reality of the selection process. Perhaps you thought about attending a school in a big city, but then, after a campus visit, decide otherwise. Visiting colleges may make you rearrange your list. Many schools don’t strictly do campus visits, albeit these may be the most beneficial events to attend. They may also offer picnics, workshops, or social gatherings for all possible students. These are great to attend as well, for they give a deeper insight on some of the things the school values.
Remember that the list you made in step one was tentative and all the information on Niche can be altered. They were designed to be flexible, so alter them as much as you see fit.
4. Apply for scholarships and financial aid
Cost is a major aspect when it comes to college, and it is wise to be a step ahead by applying for scholarships and financial aid. Research the policies for all of your possible schools that are pertinent to the financial aspect, and begin to apply.
To determine eligibility for financial aid, fill out a FASFA form on their website. Niche also has a scholarship tab that lists possible scholarships based on the information given. Remember that no scholarship is too low and that money adds up quickly. Apply for many, and, unknown to many, scholarships do not have to directly be used for tuition. They can be used for anything from supplies like a laptop to gas for your car.
The more money you can save before entering the school, the less money you will owe to the banks years down the road.
We use our phones for everything nowadays, so why not use them to make college searching easier?
5. Apply for multiple schools
Be smart in the application process. Apply for as many schools as you see fit, but make sure it is more than one or two. Have backups and backups for those.
Remember that you can apply for as many schools as you wish and that it is better to turn down 20 schools than to not have a single one to attend. Commit to a school only after you are sure that is the one you want to attend. Weigh your options based on your modified list, and wait for the inevitable acceptance and denial letters. Patience is key.
It is never too early to begin looking for your ideal college. This list was created to make the process exponentially easier, but modify it as you see fit. You will most likely be attending the school for multiple years, so make sure it is one you will have an overall idyllic time at.
Do not be hasty, and take advantage of all possible advantages.
KIERA DANKESREITER / SENIOR LEAD EDITOR
For those who are itching for a good read that isn’t a typical young adult novel (or for those bored in study hall and not able to use your phones anymore), this list is for you. I’ve compiled five novels I feel not everyone has heard of, but everyone should. I tried to stay away from novels that were a part of a series, or any recent bestsellers. Those are easy to find and many people have read or heard of them already, and I don’t want this to sound redundant. There is only one exception to this rule, and I included it simply because the author could have left the book as a stand-alone novel if they had chosen to do so (not to mention it was too good NOT to include).
5. Burning Issy, Melvin Burgess
This book is more of a middle school reading level, but I hold it close to my heart due to its content and message. I truly care for the book because it is an ode to those who lost their lives in the witch trials of Europe, and more specifically, to those who still practiced the old religion despite the influx of Christianity at that time in history. The foreword sets the tone for the rest of the novel, and it is a short, but delightful read with about 3-4 pages to a chapter. If you’re not an avid reader but need to pick something up for a class or independent book report, this is something I highly recommend. With an air of magic throughout the entirety of the novel, historically accurate depictions of “witches”, and a mysterious dream, it is still one of my favorite novels to date, and therefore falls at number five on my list.
4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
A required reading for Mr. Curcio’s class, this novel has truly become one of my favorites. The way Mitch Albom envisions heaven is something I admire and it is easy to imagine, myself. It just seems so perfect, and the lessons within just make it a truly great novel. This book made me cry and laugh (but mostly cry). It serves as a warning to the reader through an elderly protagonist to not ruin the limited time on earth you have and to be aware that your actions affect others around you, even if you do not realize it. No matter how old you are, the book serves as both a helpful reminder and a good read. I would also like to note that all of Albom’s books that I have read thus far are excellent (and quite short with not limited extravagant vocabulary).
3. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente
If I were to describe this novel simply, it would be “Alice in Wonderland, but with more plot and character.” It is an eccentric, fantasy novel that truly makes your inner child sing. The whimsical world and characters make the story worth reading and the plot itself is magnificent. And while this one is technically a series, I had to include it simply because it is truly that wonderful (and I didn’t know it was included in a series till I googled it to find out the author). I have only read the first book in the series, so I cannot speak for the rest of it, but I can say that if it is as good as the first installment, the rest would be wonderful as well. I cannot rave about this novel enough, and encourage everyone of all ages to read it, as its lessons and characters are appropriate for all ages, from middle school upwards.
2. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch
This one was a required reading for Mrs. Harr’s class, but I had read it previously for my own personal enjoyment. This novel has become the best life advice novel I’ve ever read and has ultimately made me look at my existence in a different way. Pausch’s writing is simple and straightforward. He writes like he talks, and that makes it all the more touching. His story is a sad one, yet he speaks his story like a true optimist. Books like this one don’t appear every day, and I encourage everyone to pick it up. You might be asking, “Why is it called The Last Lecture?” Well, dear reader, Pausch gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon, then used parts of it to make his novel (though the novel goes more in-depth). Which is inspiring in itself, even if you don’t want to read the novel. You can view it on YouTube by simply looking up, “The Last Lecture" or just watching it below.
1. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Fannie Flagg
Just as its synopsis declares, this novel is folksy and fresh! In this novel, you get a taste of the south through some delightful characters spanning generations. Every character seems like a real person, and while the plot is really interesting, it’s how the characters react to it that draws you in. This is a story you can get lost in and feel you are listening to the lives of people long passed through the eyes of the protagonists. It is magnificently written, witty, and does have an air of mystery for those who like a whodunit novel. I recommend this book to everyone, because I wholeheartedly feel that this book has something for everyone in it; a murder mystery, discussion about southern racism, romance, lessons about death and aging, and tales of friendship. It is my all-time favorite book for these reasons and so many more, and, for the record, I have read it about seven or eight times and plan to read it a few more for good measure. I cannot say enough good things about this book, and is above all the number one novel I recommend to absolutely everyone.
MARLEY SMARTNICK / STAFF WRITER
Over the past four years I have gone to around twenty-two concerts in total, ranging from some of the most popular singers over the years to hardcore rock concerts.
While I attended all of these shows, there were so many different people and different experiences with all the genres.
5. Chance The Rapper
When I went to see Chance in concert, I really didn't know what to expect. We had purchased pit tickets to be as close as we could, and the atmosphere it brought was amazing. I’ve been to concerts where the whole idea is to push other people around till you can barely move, but this concert wasn’t that at all. The people within in the crowd truly just wanted to enjoy the music, and that’s one of the biggest reasons it made this list. The performance itself was extremely good, with a huge influence from his album Coloring Book, but he did bring back songs from his mixtapes on soundcloud including Acid Rap.
4. Crown the Empire
This wouldn’t be considered a typical show for most people, with the post-hardcore music blaring through the small venue of the Altar Bar. While the music was more intense to most shows, I still was able to absolutely fall in love with the people in the crowd. Not only did I get to experience the show with my best friend of the time, but I ended up meeting one of closest friends now. There was an immense amount of crowd surfers, head banging, and mosh pits all over. It was one of the more wild shows I had been to, but it was one of my favorites to date.
3. Bad Suns
For me, seeing Bad Suns was a dream come true. I was influenced into their music after they were a supporting act for Halsey. Their music had the upbeat California vibe that so many bands try, but can’t seem to pull off right. Bad Suns had the perfect energy in The Club at Stage AE. It was a small part of one of my favorite venues, making the show so much more intimate. During my favorite song by them titled Rearview, the lead singer actually came into the small crowd and sung it with his fans surrounding him. That will always be an extremely memorable moment for me, and the performance in general was amazing.
I’ve seen Halsey twice now, and I was more than lucky to get the ability to meet her each time. Halsey has been such an empowering woman in my life, and her concerts instantly radiate her energy. Both times I have seen her, it was such a phenomenal show with the concepts of her albums completely maintaining such a key part in these shows. Not only are these shows concept filled, but Halsey has always made sure to relay the message that you as a person can change the world.
1. The 1975
I don't think I will ever experience a better concert than The 1975. They show such a strong stage presence when singing their music, it brings the whole crowd together. I have seen The 1975 twice and both times I have been in line with people who made the experience much better. They are very vocal about issues going on in our country, despite the fact that they live in Europe. The environment in these concerts in undeniably the best energy I have experienced in my life. The 1975 and their music gave me and so many other people a different look at their lives, while creating such a beautiful ambiance when playing this music live.
While I’ve been to many concerts, my top 5 were easy to distinguish from the rest. It takes a lot of stage presence to wow your audience, and all of these artists completed their goal with ease. For me, I was left with a lasting impression from the artist, as well as an urge to listen to more of their music. With a lot of popular artists you don’t get that, but I was lucky enough to see some amazing shows, from some amazing artists.
MARLEY SMARTNICK / STAFF WRITER
MICHAEL BOLISH / JUNIOR
Being in high school, students are offered regular, advanced, and AP classes. A lot of kids avoid challenging themselves with taking advanced and AP classes. The concept of taking college classes basically in high school is very scary to some people, but I plan on taking every single AP class offered at Derry.
As a driven student, meaning I care extremely about education and pushing myself to learn, I feel taking AP classes is very important. First, it allows students to get a feel for how hard college classes are, and how to begin to manage the stress and time it takes to complete assignments.
This relates to how I am going to be taking 5 AP classes next year.
Yes, I have realized that it is going to be time consuming but the benefits of doing so are so much higher than not taking them. Another way they help is the prices are a lot cheaper in high school than they are in college. AP classes can be used as dual enrollment credits, which have a high chance of transferring to other colleges that a student would want to go from a very low price.
I made the decision of taking an online summer class between junior and senior year. Not knowing how much college actually is, I applied for macroeconomics at the local college WCCC. After figuring out my schedule next year, I needed to have a study hall so I figured the best way of doing so is just taking a summer class.
After going through applying and changing my schedule through the guidance office I finally went to get my registration. At the end of the day I am paying 653 dollars for three credits and a book. Yes, taking pretty much seven college classes both senior and junior year is challenging but it is completely worth it.
While managing a social life, taking college classes, and working life can become stressful but that is how life is. Preparing for it early on is going to put me one step ahead of everyone not only by having enough credits to skip to sophomore year as a college student, but also learning how to obtain work ethic and time management. One of the hardest things to learn is those two things, but the application of the two is what decides who will be more successful.
Being intelligent on the field or career a person chooses is always a good advantage, but what decides who gets promotions or things like that is the people that work hard and have a good work ethic. Knowing these things are what really picks who will be more successful in life and knowing these early on is extremely beneficial.
As aforementioned, taking AP classes is hard I will admit it, and it is scary, but coming from a firsthand experience I will never regret my decision on doing so. I have learned so much from taking these classes both educationally but also as a person. I learned how to study better, how to time manage, but also I learned a vast amount of knowledge that I would have never known before.
So, I would completely recommend taking them, or at least considering the beneficial factors that really go towards it.
MICHAEL BOLISH / JUNIOR
ALEXIS SHEETZ / STAFF WRITER
5. LOVE HER WILD by Atticus
LOVE HER WILD is one of a kind, Its written by a man who wears a mask,literally. Nobody knows who he is or if his name is actually Atticus but we do know he's got a way with words. The book is separated into three parts: Love, Her, and Wild. Each section is made up of Atticus’ most famous poems that fit under the names of that section. It's very obvious when you read his poems that he practically worships the women he is with, he even calls her his muse. Most people have read at least one of his poems online, even if they don’t know it.
4. The witch doesn't burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace
Lovelace’s second book is just as inspiring and heartbreaking as The Princess Saves Herself in this one. However, it's very different but in a good way. It's about what it means to her to be a women and how women can do anything as long as they believe in themselves. She looks at her journey in a different light but it draws you in as much as the first book. Remember, A woman who’s slayed her own dragons can conquer anything, even her own mind.
3. Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell
Unlike the other books on this list, Pillow Thoughts isn't a story about the Courtney Peppernell’s journey to find herself ,it's more like a collection of deep thoughts and soul baring advice that’ll make you think twice. Each poem is its own story and neither tell the same one. The chapters are separated by feelings so whatever mood your in, you can find a poem that fits. It's a book that everyone can relate to in some way shape or form and everyone can interpret it in their own way.
2. The princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace
Amanda Lovelace has a difficult journey in The princess saves herself in this one, It's about a girl who had to learn to love herself before she could love anyone else. She writes as if she were in the room with you, telling her story herself. As the book goes on you can see her grow from a princess into a Queen, learning to love herself along the way. People are the most resilient species on the planet. After all, every dark tunnel has light at the end of it and an infinite number of roads that follow.
1. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Milk and Honey is Rupi Kaur’s first poetry book and is a huge staple in any poetry lovers library. Personally, I prefer Kaur’s second book The Sun and Her Flowers but you can't really understand her journey without reading the first one. Kaur perfectectly summarizes love,heartbreak, and women-hood in an astounding 208 pages. She tells her own story through her poetry but she does it in a way where each person can connect to it in some way, shape or form.
ALEXIS SCHEETZ / STAFF WRITER
MALLORY REITZ / STAFF WRITER
As you probably know, the world was supposed to end on April 18, 2018.
But, obviously we’re still here.
The “world was ending” many times so far in our lives, but will it actually ever happen during our time? People have predicted the world would end approximately 10 times since 2000 resulting from many different things.
Whether it was due to religious expectations, asteroids, or aliens, most of these theories seem pretty unrealistic. But actually, some of these crazy things really could happen. So next time you brush off the end of the world, maybe consider some of the theories.
One of the most recent theories included a giant asteroid crashing into Earth, and basically shattering our planet. Although there is only a 1 in 2,700 chance this asteroid, named Bennu, could hit Earth, some still believe this small chance is big enough.
Other theories also bring up another planet crashing into us, which is also possible. The chances of any of these things happening is very small, but the chance of it occurring during our time, is even smaller. But, the chance is still there.
The most recent theory stemmed from a Twitter user posting an unusual voicemail he had received that had a lot of people scared. The post was part of a thread explaining the whole train of events. The voicemail included a series of military phonetic codes, which was then coded out with the help of other twitter users. When coded out, the message read “S Danger SOS it is dire for you to evacuate be caution they are not human 042933964230 SOS Danger SOS.” This message then pushed Twitter users to believe that aliens were soon coming to our planet because based on the immense amount of galaxies and never ending planets, most people believe there has to be some other sort of living creature somewhere out there.
Whether they are single celled organisms or the typical green oddly shaped alien we are aware of, there is something out there. Others went straight to the “the world is ending” idea. They suspected these aliens would cause something on Earth that would completely ruin our planet. Some even went as far as to say these codes were hinting to the missing Malaysian airline coordinates. They believed the voicemail was a message sent from the plane as a call for help. The mysterious voicemail could have been a sign of many things. Although it was officially proven to be fake, it took a while for this to be confirmed.
Whether you believe these theories or not, chances are they aren’t going to stop spurring up, especially with the new technology introduced to us everyday. Which gives many people chances to come up with these things such as the voicemail, to scare some people.
Some do find entertainment in these “end of the world” theories, some don’t care, and some absolutely hate them.
But, it’s a good thing that we have the great technology so that we can figure out what is real and what is not.
MALLORY REITZ / STAFF WRITER
ALEXIS SCHEETZ / STAFF WRITER
Hi, my name is Alexis and for those of you who don’t know me, you probably have no idea that I am fully blind in my right eye.
A common misconception is that when you close your eyes, it’s like being blind, which is wrong. Anyone who can see cannot possibly imagine what it’s like not being able to. However, if you don’t see black then what do you see? Well, the answer is nothing. Surprising, I know.
When I was born the doctors thought I had a lazy eye, so they put a patch over my good eye. The patch is a common “cure” for lazy eye; the doctor places it over the good eye attempting to strengthen the weak eye. Shortly after I started crawling the doctors realized that it wasn't just a lazy eye. After testing, they discovered that I had a condition called Optic Nerve Dysplasia, also often referred to as Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.
I am one of the lucky ones...
Optic Nerve Dysplasia is a condition that arises when the optic nerves go underdeveloped as a fetus and is the single leading cause of permanent legal blindness in children in the world. I am one of the lucky ones, because they know what caused mine, whereas most of the children go on questioning how theirs developed. Mine is caused by another medical condition called Growth Hormone Deficiency, which is like the seed to the tree of all my medical issues.
Growth Hormone Deficiency, in simplistic terms, means the body can’t produce growth hormone on its own. Growth hormone controls growth as well as the regulation of sugar, fat metabolism, and possibly heart function. The growth hormone deficiency stunted my growth, which allowed for my optic nerves to go underdeveloped in the womb, which then caused my blindness in one eye. So by now, I’m sure you’re asking how this affects my vision in the good eye.
Sadly, there’s a high risk of it occurring in the future.
My good eye makes up for the bad one. What that means is that my field of vision is stretched to compensate for losing such a large window of vision. However, because my good eye over compensates, it’s at huge risk for my retina to snap. If that were to happen, it would cause me to go blind in my other eye, which as you could imagine, would be devastating. Sadly, there’s a high risk of it occurring in the future.
After all the science and the risk of it, is there anything that affects my daily life? Yes, there’s a great deal of it that affects my daily life. Without my full range of view, there are a lot of downsides. I have terrible hand-eye coordination and absolutely no depth perception.
For most people, being blind would seem like the end of the world. I however, am extremely grateful and lucky to be able to at least see out of one eye. It’s given me the chance to educate people and learn more about others along the way. In the scheme of things, it’s not the worst thing.
Besides, it’s always a great conversation starter.
ALEXIS SCHEETZ / STAFF WRITER
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
Hey guys, my name is Hope, as you all know. Currently I’m dealing with a bit of writer's block. So I decided to a list of useless random facts….You’re welcome
Smokers eat more sugar than nonsmokers do.
Dolphins nap with one eye open.
A moth has no stomach.
There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S, than real ones.
There are no words in the english dictionary that rhyme with “wolf.”
Banging your head against the wall burns 150 calories and hour.
A flock of crows is known as a “murder”.
Odontophobia is the fear of teeth.
Cats sleep up to 16 hours per day.
Karaoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
There are only 10 human body parts have 3 letters.
A skunks smell can be detected by a human from miles away.
Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump.
Diet Coke was invented in 1982.
(These are all completely useless)
Cats can hear Ultrasounds.
The elephant is the only mammal that has 4 knees.
7.5 million toothpicks can create a cord of wood.
Every human spent about a half of an hour of a single cell.
The plastic things on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet.
Most Americans car horns honk in the key of F.
Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.
The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; '7' was selected after the original.
7-ounce containers and 'UP' for the direction of the bubbles.
More Monopoly money is printed in a year, than real money throughout the world
Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it.
70% of all boats sold are used for fishing.
Non-dairy creamer is flammable.
A piece of paper can be folded no more than 9 times.
There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S that there are real ones.
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
MS. SMELTZER / SPEECH
My high school public speaking teacher told me that my problem would not be in figuring out what to do with my life, but what not to do. As I look back, I can honestly say, he knew me well.
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a teacher.
What it was that I wanted to teach changed many times as I grew up. I wanted to teach physical education for a while. After falling in love with wood working, I wanted to be a woodshop teacher. I think somewhere along the way I may have thought about teaching English, but eventually, because of that same public speaking teacher I decided upon teaching communications. Why communications? The program meant I could teach a myriad of subjects, not just public speaking, but journalism, television, theater and film media. Much like my interests, it encompassed a lot of what I loved growing up.
I graduated from California University of PA with a bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education-Speech Communications. The problem was, there were no jobs in PA for someone like me at the time. So, much to my parents’ dismay, I applied to the University of Pittsburgh to get a Master’s Degree in School Library Science. Why? As a student in high school I found a home in the library, not because of my passion for reading, which surprises people, but because I am a researcher.
I love to learn about new things.
I was familiar with what Mr. Vinopal was doing with his 3D printer, but I myself had no idea how to operate one, let alone design anything to print, but that kid who wanted to teach woodshop became curious.
That brings me to why I am writing this article.
At the start of the 2017-2018 school year I received a phone call from Mr. Ferencak. He wanted to let me know that the high school library would be receiving a 3D printer as a part of a grant. I was familiar with what Mr. Vinopal was doing with his 3D printer, but I myself had no idea how to operate one, let alone design anything to print, but that kid who wanted to teach woodshop became curious.
Mr. Vinopal was charged with teaching me and a few others in the district how to set up the BoXYZ 3D printer during an in-service day in the fall.
I have to admit, at first I was a little intimidated.
Later, I would go to WCCC with Mr. Vinopal to a workshop on 3D printing and got my first taste at designing with computer aided drafting (CAD) software. I was pretty proud of myself after designing a pawn during the workshop, but that thrill was short lived. When I returned and printed my creation, the top broke off as I was trying to peel away the supports needed in the printing process. That could have led to my throwing my hands up in defeat, but instead I became determined to use this new-found piece of technology in my freshmen block class.
I enlisted my first semester students to invent something that they could print, and then write a commercial for it. I knew from Mr. Vinopal that a part of the learning process would have to be trial and error. Designs would fail, but that was okay, that led to problem-solving. It took us a while, but the classes came up with different items that were printed, but I felt like the project itself could be better designed by me. So I went back to the drawing board.
I bounced a few ideas off Mr. Vinopal before I settled on “Operation Dog Biscuit.”
I challenged my second semester classes to design dog biscuit cutters that we could print with BoXYZ. Initially, my intentions were to have them draw their designs, print the cutters, try them with Play Dough, and then make a few biscuits. It soon grew into a full-blown Career Pathways project using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).
Once students designed their biscuit cutters on graph paper, each class selected those that would go into CAD and be designed for printing. Each group had to present a pitch to the class as to why their design should be chosen. We then broke each class down into four groups: CAD design, packaging, advertising, and sales.
Students were permitted to select the group they felt they would contribute the most to. As they began putting their energy into the project I decided to ask for permission to market the biscuits to the faculty and staff in the high school for a donation that would be given to Action for Animals. When I shared this idea with my students they were excited, citing that it made it even “more real” if they were going to actually use the biscuit cutters to make biscuits and fulfill orders.
I too was excited by the idea, but at the same time, I was a little nervous. “What if no one wants to buy the biscuits?” I thought. “The kids will be heart broken if no one supports them.” Then suddenly it hit me, what if the opposite happened...
What if we got more orders than we could fulfill?
Meanwhile, the designs began rolling off the printer. One-by-one, 12 different designs. Some large, some small, some, I thought would be problematic.
The print advertisements were impressive, as were the packaging ideas. The letters to the faculty explaining the project along with the order forms were ready to go. Slowly but surely the orders began to flow in.
Mrs. Myers was our first customer, and before I knew it we were up to 20 dozen orders. I was getting nervous. Another five, and then before we knew it 50 dozen biscuits had been ordered. 50 dozen sounds like a lot, but when I realized that meant baking 600 Pumpkin Delights (our product name), I began to fret.
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a teacher.
Mrs. Hower graciously agreed to allow me to set up shop in the home ec kitchens for a day to bake our biscuits. What I had yet to mention, I DO NOT BAKE! Up until last spring I had not used my own oven for more than 20 years!
When the day arrived, two students agreed to meet me first period and begin our first batches. Abbie Bolen and Tyler Seirka thankfully knew their way around a kitchen and they became my forepersons. They were two of almost 80 freshmen who worked on the project, followed the recipe, packaged and cleaned up the mess we made. Truthfully, although we did make a mess, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be, and my students helped clean up without much complaining. Mrs. Markle, Broderick McIntosh, and Mary Trinclisti also helped clean up when we were finishing up, and I greatly appreciated the help.
The results were one very tired teacher-librarian, and a donation to Action for Animals totaling $250.
The Operation Dog Biscuit was a success.
MS. SMELTZER / SPEECH
CLARA ZEISEL / STAFF WRITER
Hi, my name is Raksha. Not literally, but it’s the name I use. I am the new girl.
You may have seen me in the halls or in your bio class, but you never really noticed me. Well I’m going to tell you my story. I hope you enjoy and maybe next time you see me you’ll be kind enough to say “hi.”
My story starts in Aberdeen Maryland.
Not that I lived there after I was born, but it’s the hometown that I personally remember. Aberdeen is a little town outside of Baltimore. I was never really mischievous until middle school, but I did love my mediocre life. I started elementary school at George D. Lisby at Hillsdale, this also happens to be where I finished. I went to middle school at Aberdeen Middle and had always hoped to graduate at Aberdeen high.
Around sixth grade, I was 11, and my parents decided that they could no longer afford out one bedroom apartment. We then got ready for “the big move.” It was near or after Valentine's Day that they decided they would leave. I got expelled the week before we moved because I snuck into the winter dance.
So I left without ever saying goodbye.
The place that I landed next was Hayward Wisconsin.
Not only do I despise of cold weather, I also dislike the color white. In Wisconsin, every month other than June was winter. June was summer. Just like that, there was no in-between for spring and fall. This was only the first time I was the new girl.
Not only was I in sixth grade, but by the end of the year, I was the big thing to get made fun of.
My friend and I decided to sign up for the talent show where we would sing "Barbie Girl." On the day of the show, she simply said I’m not doing it and the teacher wouldn't let me back out. When Ken’s part came up, I choked and couldn’t continue.
My parents decided that it was time to leave once again and it was only June. I had just turned 12. My family moved to Brogue Pennsylvania.
If you think Hayward or Aberdeen was small at least it had its own schools. Brogue ran out of Red Lion Area and that was 45 minutes away from where I lived. I was living in a two bedroom trailer with my grandmother. If that wasn’t bad enough she walked me to the bus everyday in 7th grade.
I am the new girl.
Lucky me that nightmare also only lasted a couple of months.
My mom divorced her husband and got a new boyfriend (her ex-husband's best friend). The new place was called Seven Valleys and it, along with the rest of my moves, was in Pennsylvania. This was the place where I was determined to find love and belonging but that got me placed in alternative learning. I almost stayed a whole school year.
However, I moved to Dallas.
By now you’d think I was use to being the new girl; I never got used to it. Dallas is a really small town and I went to Lake Lehman High School. I was mostly country, so I didn’t have many friends. I lived there from June to September. I didn’t leave for no reason. I had to leave because I had a house fire.
Being a survivor of a house fire didn’t really impact me. I carried on with my life as if that was something that happened everyday. It led me to my next town.
I was at West Pittston.
West Pittston is well-known for its Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry Blossom Festival is held on May 5th and 6th. Community residents join together for a “fair day” along the bank of the Susquehanna River where our cherry blossom trees grow.
As much as I loved my small life in West Pittston, I had to leave. I moved to the lovely little town and woods of Tunkhannock. I was there for a total of two months. I didn’t even leave my house so there really isn’t much of a story there. During this time period, I was being home schooled.
Arby’s was a great place for me to expand my knowledge.
Next I moved to Muncy/Williamsport area.
This is where I got my first job. I worked at Arby’s, and it was a very interesting experience. I went out every weekend and went to the movies and shopping. However, nothing compared to me going to my job. I loved working and I loved learning.
Arby’s was a great place for me to expand my knowledge.
I stayed there from February to October. Then I moved back out near West Pittston. I was in the next town over called Exeter, and I loved it because I wasn’t really the new girl anymore. I was able to go back to hanging out with my old friends and being me. I stayed there until November of the following year. Once things started to fall apart with my friends, my family decided to move again.
My next place was in Jim Thorpe. It was by far my favorite. I earned my carpentry and animal care technician certificates from the Carbon County Technical Institute, which was an adult program. I also went hiking and kayaking out there and learned that I was a nature person.
That also lasted about a year then I moved to Pittston...
To Be Continued.
CLARA ZEISEL / STAFF WRITER
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
In my last article, I explained 5 different locations where bacteria can be found. In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can avoid receiving and spreading bacteria. Bacteria can cause infections and illnesses and it’s important that we at least try to avoid bacteria.
1. Wash your Hands
Washing your hands is very important in almost every situation. Touching raw food and touching other surfaces can easily spread germs around to other people if they touch that surface. After each meal you should wash your hands.
2. Clean your Surroundings
No matter what you should always clean your surroundings. Things like bookshelves, ceiling fans, and even your bed sheets, bacteria is so easy to spread in your own household.
3. Avoid contact with people who are ill
It’s always been a thing for others to avoid those who are sick. Avoiding people who are ill can definitely decrease your chances of receiving any bacterial illness.
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Your eyes, nose and mouth are the three main entry points for bacteria to enter. If your hands are not clean, obviously you should avoid touching anything or anyone if you don't want to spread bacteria.
5. Clean with soap and water
Obviously, you should always use soap and water when cleaning. Soap can kill 99% of bacteria, and can prevent the spread of sickness.
Bacterial Infections can range to not so bad to you need to see a doctor right away. The amount of people that have bacterial infections increase each other. By using simple things to avoid bacterial infection, you can change your life and other people’s lives.
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
MALLORY REITZ / STAFF WRITER
Black Mirror, a British Netflix series, has become very popular since its release in 2011 due to its strange yet exciting plot. The huge selection of episodes offered by the series varies greatly between episodes. Black Mirror creates a twist on current and upcoming technology to display intriguing ideas and conflicts in different forms.
The show focuses mainly on the future, but some of the episodes are clearly more technologically advanced compared to others. For example, in some episodes the focus is on very poor eras of a futuristic world, but at the same time, the technology is ahead of the current technological stance we’re at today. In other episodes, it seem like a perfect utopian world, the way that most people would imagine humanity in the future.
Occasionally, the Black Mirror producers will find a way to tie certain episodes together to make them even more appealing to the committed watchers of the Netflix original.
Each episode touches on many other common issues such as poverty, illnesses, and safety. Each episode introduces a new cast, plot, and idea so it is guaranteed that there is an episode out there to peak everyone’s interest. After all, Black Mirror’s almost perfect star rating isn’t there for no reason.
It is an excellent show to binge watch on any given day. For every episode, the creativity exhibited seems to swell, so it is very hard to step away from such an interesting show. With each episode, your curiosity for what is to come will only grow. Occasionally, the Black Mirror producers will find a way to tie certain episodes together to make them even more appealing to the committed watchers of the Netflix original. This creates a connection between the show and the viewers because unlike the other episodes, they are ideas we have already seen and are familiar with, and clearly enjoy if we are still watching it.
Taken from Variety.com
The top three episodes I would personally recommend are Fifteen Million Merits, Nosedive, and USS Calister. Fifteen Million Merits is about a group of people that must work hard by riding virtual bikes every day to gain “points” in order to buy certain things in life. The episode gets interesting when two people use their “points” to buy a ticket to try to impress a set of judges in order to get out of their boring everyday routine.
The two other shows tie in two forms of entertainment common in our modern world. Nosedive centers around the concept of social media, and would appeal to anyone who might spend a lot of time scrolling. In this episode, the community must compete to gain ratings based on their personalities, posts, and appearance. USS Callister has to be one of the best episodes based on ideology. This episode would definitely appeal to those who are interested in gaming. Conflict arises when a CTO of the gaming company “Infinity Gaming” manipulates the technology used to create his own game. He uses DNA of his coworkers to create them in his own made up game. He ends up causing self-inflicted problems for himself in his gaming life and in his real one.
After all, Black Mirror’s almost perfect star rating isn’t there for no reason.
The vast selection of episodes ensures that viewers will be able to find something to spark their curiosity. The more hobbies and interests someone has, the likelier that they will find episodes that they enjoy. Whether you have a lot of interests or a limited few, I would recommend Black Mirror to you. Who knows, maybe something you see will interest you that you might not have anticipated!
MALLORY REITZ / STAFF WRITER
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
Germs are everywhere you look.
Your home, your local school district, shopping centers and yes, even a doctor’s office.
On a positive note, 99% of bacteria cannot harm you. The other 1% can be a little uncomfortable and scary. Some can cause as much as a common cold or worse, life threatening diseases.
We don’t really pay attention to where bacteria can be located, mostly because we have other things on our minds distracting us like…”Oh I can’t wait to go to Olive Garden with my friends!” “I’m gonna be late for work!” or “I need to get this homework done right now!” The point is we don't take time to realize that almost everything we touch has some sort of bacteria.
Here are 5 locations where bacteria is surprisingly spotted.
Whether it would be in your bathroom or in your kitchen, tap water is ways away from being completely sterile. The metal aeration screen at the end of the faucet is like a total magnet for germs. If you accidently touch the screen it can leave bacteria behind. Over a week, bacteria can grow more and more over time.
The bugs on the bottom of peoples shoes can definitely spread on a mat. 96% of shoe soles had traces of coliform which includes fecal bacteria. Once bacteria hits the mat, anyone who walks on it can receive the germs on their shoes and can spread it around to their household.
What do are you cleaning when you use a vacuum? Dust, food crumbs, garbage, etc. Any kind of dust particle has some sort of bacteria. Using a vacuum cleans up the bacteria from your floor or furniture. Unfortunately, you have to clean the vacuum at some point which can cause you to get any type of bacteria onto your hands or arms and germs can spread to your entire body.
Cold and Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for 18 hours. A popular restaurant can have germs left all over the menus. The more germs that are in an area, the more it’s going to spread around, especially at restaurants; it can spread to your silverware or your cups or straws. They wash their dishes obviously, but have you seen them wash a menu? Notice that they wipe down tables with a cloth. You don’t know if that cloth is a new one or one that just cleaned food off 20 tables.
So, imagine them wiping down your menu with a cloth thats cleaned about 20 tables.
25% of public restroom soap dispensers contain fecal bacteria. Most of the containers don’t get cleaned off and hundreds of people go into public restrooms and each time you touch it your bound to get germs. Think about it, why do we wash our hands? To wash off bacteria.
Thank about it: you're leaving behind germs on the part where everyone else touches.
If you really think about it, no matter what - there are germs all around us. There are ways you can keep yourself healthy and clean to avoid those bacterial infections. If you want to know how you can avoid certain forms of bacteria, I will post a follow up about how to avoid bacteria next Tuesday.
HOPE MANSFIELD / STAFF WRITER
MR. HACKMAN / HISTORY
I recently had the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of opportunities and experiences that are a part of the United States Navy through my Educators Orientation Visit at the US Navy base in San Diego, CA.
The driving force behind the educator tours is the opportunity for the Navy to build relationships with our education communities.
The Tour included the following over the course of a couple of very active days:
This was a tour of the Navy SEALs compound with presentations with current Navy SEALs and retired Navy SEALs who are now trainers.
Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams. These teams demonstrated current technology and computerized robots now used in the military.
SWCC - (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman)
This team trains and works with the Navy SEALs. They are the extraction and insertion team.
Damage Control School
This is the Navy's fire fighting force. Here we learned the science behind fighting fires on ships - very different than the fire fighters we are used to in the civilian world.
USS Stockdale (DDG-106)
This included a tour of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.
We had the opportunity to learn the extent of the air power that exists in the branch of the Navy and had a presentation and tour of a helicopter.
ACU - 1 Harbor cruise
We boarded a small boat and heard from mostly enlisted personnel what it takes to follow their pipeline for training.
Coastal Riverine Group
This was our opportunity to see the medical fields of study offered in the Navy. This team also operates drones used in the Navy Intelligence teams.
Our group toured a submarine with nuclear power. This was a science based tour to understand the extensive training our nuclear engineers undertake when joining the Navy.
I generally thought the Navy was all about ships, submarines, and sailors.
The driving force behind the educator tours is the opportunity for the Navy to build relationships with our education communities. These tours are exceptionally exclusive. There is no way for civilians and many Navy personnel to experience this opportunity offered to the participants of the EOV. This was evident by the constant checkpoints and security personnel, I felt very secure.
My interest in attending this tour initially peaked because my dad was in the Navy on the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain, but also because I deal with military subjects in class, and I wanted to be able to talk about today’s military compared to the different times in history, as well as having a strong respect and gratitude for our military in general.
The best part of the experience for me was learning about and seeing so many various jobs and experiences that are available in the U.S. Navy. I generally thought the Navy was all about ships, submarines, and sailors. They are, but they are also everything from Helicopter technicians (repair and maintain) and pilots, to cooks, barbers, physicians, firefighters, security and almost anything you can think of.
There are opportunities to travel the world (former DAHS 2017 student and currently in the Navy, Harley Johnston is on a ship to Japan as I write this) and many opportunities for careers.
If there are any students that have questions about or interest in the U.S. Navy, I would be more than happy to talk about or help set them in the right direction to find answers.
MR. HACKMAN / HISTORY
DANIELLE LIBERONI / SENIOR
As I approach the end of my senior year, or for anyone approaching the end of their high school journey, you begin to reflect on what has made you who you are today; or the things that you will miss the most. As you reminisce, you begin to realize how large of an impact not only high school, but all 13 years in the public schooling system in general, have on you. In this letter, I hope to capture my personal gains, but also what others have reaped from this journey.
Thank you to our teachers for challenging us academically and as people. Thank you for taking the brunt of our ever-changing emotions, for devoting your time to our futures. Thank you for the letters of recommendations, for the scholarship opportunities, for the simple life lessons learned in the classroom. Thank you for not only making us better students, but better people.
Thank you for taking the brunt of our ever-changing emotions, for devoting your time to our futures.
There are two types of people in this world: those who love a small town, and those who can't wait to get out of it. Thank you Derry Area for helping me to decide that I want to continue my education in the same environment that I began it in. Thank you for showing me that knowing everyone by name and being able to say, "Yes, I knew that girl in high school, she was really nice," is more rewarding then, "Yeah, I saw her in the hall a few times, but I don’t know who she is."
Thank you to my sports teams, for showing me that 6am practices, and staying up all night to finish homework is worth it in the end. Thank you for teaching me to manage my time between school, work and sports. Thank you for showing me what it is like to work for others and not only myself, for the 3:00pm to 5:00pm practices that turn into 9:00pm sleepovers and 8:00am breakfast dates, for the teammates that turned into lifelong friends. Thank you to our student section who shows us what it is like to have unconditional support. Thank you for showing the beauty of a community coming together, for travelling long distances to our games and for giving us yet another reason to work so hard.
Thank you for small gestures such as giving me a pencil to borrow, a piece of gum or a warm exchange of smiles in the hallway; thank you, for becoming a second family.
Thank you to my class mates for critiquing me and making me look deeper into my own mind and even sometimes changing my opinions based on what you have presented me with. Thank you to my classmates who have become more than just an acquaintance, but rather a reason to miss high school, a reason to come back and visit. Thank you for giving me memories that I will some day pass on to my family whether it be an Uno rivalry in study hall or Dino's trips after sporting events. Thank you for small gestures such as giving me a pencil to borrow, a piece of gum or a warm exchange of smiles in the hallway; thank you, for becoming a second family.
My final thank you goes to Derry Area High School, for providing me with opportunities to build strong relationships, challenge myself academically, be a part of a team and showing me that there are many better things after high school, but I have many reasons to cherish the memories and time that I have spent here.
DANIELLE LIBERONI / CLASS OF 2018
MARLEY SMARTNICK / STAFF WRITER
On March 24th, 2018, I attended the biggest protest to occur on Washington, ever.
With over 800,000+ people in attendance, there is no doubt that everyone there was demanding change, for a movement kids my own age started. Upon arrival I was met with one of the most unfathomable experiences of my life. Everyone in attendance was connected as a whole, and our voices rung all throughout Washington.
This was my first ever protest, and it was a truly life changing experience.
While preparing for the march, I never expected it to be as big as it was. Most people expected around 500,000 people, especially due to the fact they were unable to reserve the National Mall. When we got onto the Metro to get into D.C. there wasn’t many on the train itself. At every stop, more and more people began to flood onto the train. By the time we reached our stop - the Archives - we were swarming the station with a whole new energy. There was a woman who had attended not only this march, but both Women’s Marches, and said she already knew this was going to be bigger.
She was more than right.
As soon as we got up from the Metro station, we were met with hundreds of thousands of people. Chants were being sung from every corner, and some extremely eye opening signs were being held up, with a indescribable pride. For once in my life, I felt completely welcomed in a place, where everyone demanded action. There were young children holding signs they wrote themselves, and that image will never leave my mind. We are fighting for ourselves, but this is their world too. We need to put in the change so they don’t grow up with this senseless violence.
As we began to worm our way through the crowd to approach the main stage - where everyone was speaking - I saw all sorts of people. We actually ended up running into a few people from Derry and met a lot more.
Everyone in attendance was connected as a whole, and our voices rung all throughout Washington.
When we finally got to the stage, we were surrounded by so much passion; so many emotions were shown that day. There was anger towards our senators for letting this come so far, a undeniable sadness because of these senseless tragedies, and an utmost happiness.
There were countless speakers that day, including young kids who had stared down the face of a gun, had lost their families to this violence, as well as survivors of attacks of these extents. Many children who had lived through Sandy Hook, some who had lost their siblings during the attack, openly spoke about their experiences, and left many in tears. Many believe the trauma of these tragedies soften as the years pass, but with more time, comes more raw emotion.
One of the most powerful speeches of the day came from Samantha Fuentes who has been shot in both legs during the Parkland attack. Not only had she been shot, but experienced damage from shrapnel from the bullets. As she got onto the stage, she began to read a poem written about the experience. When she began to discuss the shots themselves, she ended up throwing up, on international television. A huge gasp was released from the crowd, but moments later she returned to the stage. “I just threw up on international television, and I feel great!” She exclaimed, and then continued right where she left off.
I have never been inspired more by an individual than in that moment.
To end off her powerful speech, she sung happy birthday to her fellow classmate Nick Dworet, whose life was lost on February 14th.
He would have been 18 that day.
Once the speeches were coming to a close, Emma Gonzalez approached the podium to talk for the first time at the march. As she began her speech she stated the names of all the victims, and as we expected her to continue, we were left with silence. As the silence drew on, tears formed in the eyes of the crowd, and everyone began to understand. I had never seen a crowd brought to such a deep emotional level, with a connection to a moment.
I was in a environment of intense power that had surged from the brains of some of the most politically powerful children this country has ever really seen.
As we heard a timer ring, Emma began to say, that it had been 6 minutes and 20 seconds since she had come out on the stage. In that amount of time the shooter had done his damage, dropped his gun, and ran out of the school with the children. That’s when Emma finished by saying “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job” and left the crowd in silence.
This march changed my life in a way I can’t explain.
I was in a environment of intense power that had surged from the brains of some of the most politically powerful children this country has ever really seen. Within our society we have been waiting for the change, and we must protest until we see the change we want.
I personally want to thank Dale Hines, Linda Hines, and Carol Henderson for taking us to this protest, as well as Brennan Klimchock, who organized the whole trip, and Dan Henderson for coming along. They made my experience the best it could be. I can wholeheartedly say that this protest was the best day I’ve ever had, as well as the most memorable one.
If you get the chance, stand up for what you believe in, and participate in these political movements because they aren’t going away.
MARLEY SMARTNICK / STAFF WRITER
MRS. COCCHI / SCIENCE
Hello everyone. My name is Mrs. Cocchi and I am a science geek.
For those of you who don’t know me, I teach Chemistry, Mythbusters, and Science of Crime, and in a lot of ways, I’m very much what you would expect from a science teacher.
I own a periodic table shower curtain and blanket. I have a quote from my favorite sci-fi TV show engraved in my wedding band. My two-year-old daughter owns a set of chemistry books and blocks with the elements. I’ve pretty much been a science geek for as long as I can remember, so these things are probably not surprising.
I started out going through scraps of fabric and ended up with crooked seams, tangled threads, and broken needles, but to my dismay, not many finished products other than a few pillows.
What may be surprising is on top of all of that, I am a costume designer.
I have always been a very crafty person. When I was about 10 years old, my mom taught me how to use her sewing machine, mainly so I could start hemming my own pants, but I quickly had visions of all of the clothes I could make for myself and my dolls. I found out that somewhere in between the idea and the finished product, there was a lot of work, practice, and trial and error. I started out going through scraps of fabric and ended up with crooked seams, tangled threads, and broken needles, but to my dismay, not many finished products other than a few pillows. The wardrobe I had in my head never came to be, but I did gain important knowledge and life skills
Another fun fact about me: I have been involved in musical theater since high school.
I’ve done everything from singing and dancing, playing in the pit, working on sets, and even choreographing a few shows in college. In high school, I loved helping the costume designer. I didn’t do anything major, mostly just helping with decorations and details, but I loved being part of the process and watching a pile of raw materials turn into an entire show’s worth of costumes. When I got to college, I joined a student-run theater group called “The Company.” While “costume designer” was not an official position in the group, I did end up largely taking on the role of helping the directors make their ideas a reality. It was around this time that I decided to get back to sewing again, mostly starting with Halloween costumes for my sister and myself. It was an interesting process, being almost completely self-taught, but I did it! I finally completed actual, wearable costumes, completely from scratch with no instructions or patterns.
Fast forward to today, almost 5 years after graduating college, and I have learned so much more since my days of stumbling through trying to make my ideas a reality. I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone, challenge my skills, and apply to be the costumer for Derry’s musicals and have completed two shows, each with their own unique challenges.
My name is Mrs. Cocchi and I am a science geek.
For example, in last year’s Shrek¸ constructing Lord Farquaad’s legs took me about 6 weeks of trial and error and many trips to the hardware store. I figured out how to make a fat suit, and how to dress human actors as non-human characters.
In this year’s The Addams Family, the members of the ensemble were specific characters, but as ghosts, and the color scheme had to reflect that. It was also a challenge of having to recreate the iconic looks of the main characters. While the work I did on these shows took over my life and living room for some time, I am so glad I made the decision to take on these challenges.
As a society, we tend to put people into groups. We tend to not expect much overlap between the “scientists” and the “artsy-creative” types, but it’s OK to have a variety of interests and hobbies.
Science is great! I love science, but I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get from looking stage and seeing something that I made with my hands. I love getting to share my talents with my family and friends by helping them with Halloween costumes or other projects. I love that my mother introduced me to a skill that is both practical and a creative outlet.
If you’re lucky in life, you’ll find a career that you enjoy and find interesting, but no matter where you end up, you can always find a way to do the things that you love.
CHELSEA BISI / SENIOR
Your Voice Has Power.
Every day as I walk from class to class, I hear students talking about many issues they are passionate about.
Whether it be a Fortnite solo victory or their March Madness bracket, there is no denying that Derry students are willing to voice their opinions. This passion can be directly applied to our nation’s democracy. Millennials and Generation X have the potential to make up 31 percent of the official electorate and have the power to elect officials who bring change to issues that are important to young voters. Key issues in every election increasingly relate to the concerns of students and other young voters.
However, only 49 percent of the eligible voters from these generations voted in the last election.
Participating in politics is a hard-won right in our nation and building a relationship with the political process as early as possible is key to making voting a life-long habit.
“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”
Are You Registered?
Our school district is attempting to bridge the gap between the students who are eligible to vote and our nation’s political process.
Derry High School has partnered with Inspire US, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization. In the next month, with their support, we will plan and conduct peer-to-peer voter registration activities with only one goal in mind; to transform our student’s passion into action that improves our communities and strengthens our democracy.
In Mr. Kelly’s civics and economics classes, students will be given the opportunity to fill out the application and become a registered voter. A table outside of the cafeteria will also provide voter registration forms to interested students.
If 85% of our eligible students register to vote our school will host a public ceremony where Governor Tom Wolf or Secretary of State Pedro Cortés will present our school with the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award.
In order to register to vote in Pennsylvania, a registration application must be filled out along with a Pennsylvania state-issued ID or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Twenty minutes is all it takes to fill out the paperwork that will give you a voice in our local, state, and federal governments.
“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Make Your Voice Count.
Youth today often feel disenfranchised by the political system and cynicism of America’s political process.
They turn away from political involvement and civic engagement. So why should you, a senior who is at a turning point in your life, decide to play an active role in our democracy and register to vote?
With our graduation looming, it is imperative to prepare for the responsibilities that will accompany this monumental occasion in our lives. Voting is the foundation of our republic.
Nothing binds our nation more than our history of striving for freedom and our rights guaranteed by our constitution.
TEACHER / BIOLOGY
That is a daunting question.
How exactly do you prep for an exam of that magnitude? For me, that prep takes me back to when I was a student. As a student, I suffered from test anxiety. I would sit down to take a test, panic and completely blank. Then I would panic about panicking and the cycle would continue. Eventually I would calm down enough to be able to take the exam. This struggle was with me starting in elementary school and followed me into my college years. My standardized test scores were never reflective of my true capabilities leaving me feeling defeated.
I can still hear my mother’s pep talk she would always give me “You can do it! You have all the information you need, just try to relax and think it through”. This struggle is my driving force behind my teaching style. If I can lessen that test anxiety and stress for another person, then I will do everything in my power to do it.
The science teachers refer to it as the “moving target."
As for what materials I should teach, like all keystone tested teachers, I look to the standards and the released test items from the state. What content is actually going to on be the test, and to what depth that content will be asked, is a guessing game. The science teachers refer to it as the “moving target." Just because a topic was on the test last year does not mean it will be on it this year and vice versa. By examining the information that the state will provide us with, Mrs. Moser and I have fine-tuned the biology curriculum over the past few years.
Once the curriculum was set it then became a matter of how to get the information across to the students so that they remember it! I always try to give some sort of personal example or experience with the material to help the students relate with the information. This generally gets my students thinking and great questions typically arise from those brainstorming moments. If I can make it relatable, or if we have a great in class discussion, chances are the students will remember it.
You can do it! You have all the information you need, just try to relax and think it through!
Biology students also have to be trained in the proper way to read a scientific text. Reading a scientific text is not done in the same manner as you would a piece of literature. Not to mention that biology is basically a different language due to the sheer amount of new vocabulary. My students do a lot of scientific reading activities throughout the school year. Once the students are reading like scientists, I need to get them to think like a scientist as well. When those foundational skills are solid, I can then add in the application portion. To be able to apply your scientific knowledge shows that you truly understand the material.
A few weeks prior to the keystone exam the stress becomes evident on the faces of my students; so I start giving them the pep talk that my mother gave me so many years ago. “You can do it! You have all the information you need, just try to relax and think it through!”
ERICA WEIMER / SENIOR LEAD EDITOR
The first thing everyone tells you during your freshman year of high school is how fast it goes… and I never believed them. But now as a senior with less than two months of school left, I’m finally realizing just how quickly these past four years have gone by.
There were obviously certain days or weeks of school that seemed like each minute dragged on incessantly, and when every quarter ended a little bit of stress was lifted from my shoulders knowing that summer was slowly getting closer. I spent much of my time in high school waiting for Friday, for vacations, for holiday breaks, and for summer. It took me too long to understand that possessing that mindset won’t make time move faster or make you happy while you’re waiting for those specific things. You might as well try to enjoy school for everything it is because it’s going to end at some point.
The drama that high school entails is so mundane and trivial compared to everything else that actually matters in life.
Plenty of students don’t care about their grades or don’t put in much effort because they see school as a waste of time. High school only offers an education to those who seek an education, and merely just information for those who do not. The short amount of time you’re given to learn while only being a kid and student shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Even if I wasn’t interested in a certain class or subject, I still appreciate all that the teachers have done to provide for their students including myself. Your teachers truly do want to see you succeed, and I’m grateful for having such sincere, generous people play such an important role in my life for the past four years. They’ve taught me not only academic material but invaluable lessons that I will remember as I leave in June.
Although my education was at the forefront here at Derry, my most valuable school experiences weren’t academic. They were all about people.
Your teachers truly do want to see you succeed
High school taught me about social skills, self-worth, respect, empathy, realizing your own potential and much more that I can take away with me after I graduate.
The most cherished lessons I’ve learned in school are ones that help you grow as a person. The drama that high school entails is so mundane and trivial compared to everything else that actually matters in life. If being here for four years, those of which were filled with that nonsense, has taught me anything, it’s that you shouldn’t waste one second caring what other people think. I also learned to not take things too seriously and never dwell on the negatives.
With less than 40 days left until graduation, I’ll be spending the rest of high school enjoying each day as much as possible.
Thank you Derry Area High School for all the lessons and memories.
ERICA WEIMER / SENIOR
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