Who is Tyler?

By Tessa Jones

Tyler Preston St.Clair - who is he? You may know him as a friend, an acquaintance, or a lover, but Tyler does not yet know who HE is: a pilot or a preacher? As college season is coming up, Mr. St.Clair finds himself at a crossroad of which to pick for a career. During this difficult time, I came bearing questions to find out who he truly is, and who he will become. But to do this, I had to start at the beginning.

Tyler St.Clair was born to Tim and Jennifer St.Clair on November 4th, 2000 in Roanoke, Virginia. Tyler is actually one of five siblings, all of them boys. Tyler’s brothers are Zachary Shane St.Clair (20), Nathan Louis St.Clair (13), Andrew Charles St.Clair (12), and Lucas Williams St.Clair (12). With all of these boys at home causing chaos and getting into trouble, Tyler had an eventful childhood full of fun.

He attended Greenfield Elementary School where he excelled in his classes. Tyler even became enrolled in the Journey program! This program was also part of the cirriculum at Central Academy Middle School (CAMS) where Tyler continued to be challenged in an academic environment. As a student athlete in middle school, Tyler was able to successfully balance schoolwork and his athletics with ease, making him one of the smartest kids in his class. No wonder he’s in a pickle with two excellent career choices - he’s just making another smart decision!

Tyler kept up the academic rigor into James River High School, enrolling in AP and advanced studies courses. When I asked him if he was smart, Tyler said “sure.” He’s smart AND humble! But at the end of his junior year, Tyler began to think about his next move in life. Sure he wants to be a pilot, but is something else calling his name?

As a child, Tyler didn’t want to be an astronaut or a rockstar; he actually didn’t have a plan at all. “I was just living my life,” he says. He first became interested in piloting when his older brother considered it. “My brother actually looked into it before I did (Zachary). And so, as he was looking at it, I also started looking at it as a possible career path. I decided engineering wasn’t for me, that’s what I had been doing, so I was like hey, might try something new,” Tyler says. Soon after, Tyler flew his first plane at Smith Mountain Lake. “I went up with an instructor because I had never even been in a plane before, and we got up into the air, and he let me fly for like 15 minutes.” After that experience, he knew a pilot was what he wanted to be. Tyler even says this first flight “flew” him towards his dream.

Even though Tyler was very much set on piloting planes across the world, a very recent gathering of friends put a slight damper in his perfect plan. At a get together hosted at a friend’s house, Mr. St.Clair found himself preaching the night away to his friends. Luke, Matthew, Genesis: he preached it all. Because I was at this get together, I saw the pure joy on his face as he preached the good words of Jesus to his friends. I later asked him what came over him to do such a thing, and he replied with “The Lord just came to me, and I just couldn’t help myself.” Now, with two different passions for two very different career paths, what was Tyler going to do?

“Well, they both have their pros” Tyler said. “I think preaching was more fun, but as a practical career, probably flying.” I could see the heartbreak on Tyler’s face as he had to choose between his two loves, so I jumped in with a resolution so that he wouldn’t have to lose either one. “Have you ever considered delivering sermons while piloting? For example, a Christian-only airline?” I asked. Immediately excited, Tyler exclaimed “I could be a preaching pilot!” As he sat there beaming, I realized that he already had a job at the local Kroger. I asked him if he’d be willing to make such a sacrifice, but for his dream, Tyler said “I would fly right out of there.”

Anticipating a very successful career as a preaching pilot, keep an eye out for Tyler Preston St.Clair as he makes history doing what he loves. But also be inspired at such a story. Knowing that Tyler can do what he loves for the rest of his life should motivate others just like him. So whenever you find yourself at a crossroad, not sure of which road to take, just think: what would Tyler do?

World Domination in Second Block

By Brooke Moran

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

In the midst of March Madness, a second block elective class at James River High School is playing their own type of tournament. A tournament with the game of Risk.

This is the first year an International Relations class is being offered at the high school. International Relations can also be known as global affairs or global studies. The class focuses on how different diplomacies react to others. It gives students the opportunity to know what is going on between various countries around the world, not just what is being aired on the closest news station.

Mrs. Cox is one of the history teachers at the high school. She has taught at James River for 15 years, and this is the first year she has been given the chance to teach this course. This second block class is very small, having 13 students when all are present. The grade levels range from sophomores to seniors, but the group mostly consists of seniors. To help the class further understand the idea of global interactions and foreign policy, the students are competing in a tournament against each other with the game Risk.

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

If you think the board game Monopoly takes a long time, try playing Risk with teenagers who aspire to win. The game of Risk is known as “A game of strategic conquest,” and basically world domination. The goal is to take over countries, and eventually a continent until a player's armies have taken over the entire game board. This “world domination” is also determined by chance. When taking over countries, the opposing players have to roll a dice, and then the team with the lowest roll loses an army piece. The more countries a player has, the more cards they receive. These cards can eventually be traded for more armies. Once players take over all the countries in a continent, they receive more armies every turn. More armies mean the player has a higher chance of their invasion being successful. When playing, the students have the choice to play in a group with others or play alone. By having someone work with you, it is easier to strategize and bounce ideas off each other.

The way this class has the tournament set up is simple. In the beginning, there are two boards set up with the students divided onto each board. One board has students that are working in groups while the other board consists of students that are playing without partners. On Friday, the winners from both game boards will combine and play in a championship game while the teams who lost will play on a different board. When the game first starts, the students seemed to be very laid back. Slowly, as the game went on, the players become agitated and want to win. Students start raising their voices and making alliances with other groups while also trying to gain territories and more armies.

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

Photo Courtesy of Donna Cox, James River High School

The entire reason for this Risk tournament is to better understand foreign policy. Foreign policy mostly consists of treaties, conflicts, resolutions, sanctions, and embargoes. While the game does not have sanctions or embargoes, it helps to understand more and why treaties and resolutions are so important. In the game, sometimes it is helpful to ask for assistance to try and defeat an army rather than taking them on alone. An alliance is how I got my armies pushed out of a country. Two teams joined together to try and force my armies out. This is how treaties and alliances work. Even though making an alliance can be beneficial at the time, there are a couple of issues with making an alliance in this game. One reason is, to be the winner of the game, you have to take over the map. This means the alliance will be broken at one point or another. Another is that it is very easy to get pushed into making an irrational decision when it is not needed. The game is based on change, so students should try and think logically before making an alliance that will ultimately fail. This game helps students understand, on a lower standpoint, how important one move can be.

This tournament is helping students get ready for their next big assignment; running a country. In pairs, the students will be acting as leaders of a country and will be making government decisions. One team acts as a peacekeeping mechanism while others act as empires or countries. The assignment is the same idea as Risk, minus the hostile takeovers. The tournament is helping the students get ready for a situation where they decide the outcome of an entire country full of people and its armed forces.

Is Fish Considered Meat?

By Elizabeth Rice

Many different groups of people have different thoughts on the debate if fish is considered meat or not.

Vegetarian/Vegans/Pescetarians

Fish is considered meat to most vegetarians according to the Vegetarian Society (a british registered charity which was established on September 30th, 1847 to promote vegetarianism). The group that eats fish but not other animals are called pescetarians.

Religion

Lent (Religion: Catholic)

Most Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent, but they can eat fish. In fact some churches host many fish fries on Fridays during lent. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops considers meat only being land animals such as cows, pigs, chicken, and sheep. This means fishes fall under another category of food. Saint Paul wrote in Corinthians 15:39 “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.”

Kashrut (Religion: Jewish)

Kashrut which is the body of Jewish religious laws concerning the suitability of food. The Kashrut says meat and fish should not be eaten together therefore saying fish and meat are different.

Halal Foods (Religion: Muslim)

Halal means permissible in Arabic. Halal food is the permissible food for the Islam law. Fish and meat are not the same according to the Halal food. However, the permissible fish must have scales and fins.

Ahimsa (Religion: Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism)

The religions of Jains, Hinduists, and Buddhist believe in Ahimsa which is the “ the ethical principle  of not causing harm to other living things” defined from the Encyclopedia Britannica. This is why some Hinduisms follow a lacto vegetarian diet (a person who does not eat meat, fish, or eggs but does drink and eat some food from milk defined from Cambridge Dictionary). However, some Hinduisms do eat fish.

Definitions out of Dictionaries

According to many dictionaries fish is meat. Dictonary.com says meat is “the flesh of an animal used for food.”

The Vocabulary.com went as far as directly stating that fish is included as meat. The Vocabulary.com definition of meat is “the flesh of an animal (including fishes and birds and snails) used as food.

Delishably.com’s Survey

According to the survey conducted by Delishably.com, sixty five percent of people choose “Yes. Fish is meat,” six percent choose that “My religion has taught me to think of fish as something different from meat,” four percent choose “I refuse to think of it that way because I want to eat it, but I don’t eat meat,” nineteen percent choose “Yes and no. Fish is made of meat, but it’s still not the same as beef or pork,” and five percent choose “I still don’t know.”

Classmates survey

I took a survey asking if fish is meat, and five out of eight people (sixty two and half percent) people said that fish is meat.

Anastasia Meadows (who is a vegan):  “I think fish are considered meat because they have been more recent studies of fish feeling pain.” Extra fact informed by Anastasia Meadows: “Also I know that because of microplastics being washed off from clothing (like polyester ect.) and waste entirely has made fish contain microplastics as well, so while eating fish you’re consuming plastic.”

Anonymous (who is Catholic): “I had never honestly thought about fish being meat. I have always grown up being taught by my religion that fish is ok to eat on Fridays during Lent therefore I concluded fish is not meat. However, one day when I was eating at a restaurant with my friends this discussion came up which made me question the whole debate.

Maggie Stickler: “FISH IS NOT MEAT!!!! It’s not land animals therefore it’s not meat.”

Tessa Jones: “Fish is NOT a meat!!! Because fish is a fish, not an animal so therefore, a fish is not a meat.”

Erin Walker:  “I think 100 percent that fish is a meat! A fish is an animal therefore, to me it is a meat. However, I respect the certain religions that don’t necessary classify it as a such and see both sides of the argument.”

Emma Butler: “I’d say that fish is a meat because it’s made of muscle just like cow and pig meat.”

Colleen Peery: “Yes I think that fish is meat because it came from an animal that was once living.”

Meaghan Hix: “I think fish is meat because I looked up the term meat and it said the flesh of an animal”.

Is Your High School Considered a “Small Town High School?”

By Evelyn Melvin

Many things can factor into this decision. Whether it be, where it is located, how many people go there, or simply how small it is. There are many things that can sway you to think your high school is a “small town high school.” So, to help you make a decision, I have put together a quiz! Be sure to answer truthfully to get the mostly correct answer.

Where is your high school located?

  1. In a city

  2. Right next to a field of cows

  3. Near some fields but also not too far from a bigger city

How many kids go to your school?

  1. 800 - 1000

  2. 350 - 600

  3. 600 - 700

How many people do you know in your school?

  1. Only like 4

  2. Mostly all of them

  3. 50/50

Is there ever more than 10 big trucks in the parking lot?

  1. Rarely, if ever

  2. ALL. THE. TIME.

  3. Sometimes, but not more than 10

Are your high school athletics all anyone comes to?

  1. Not really

  2. Oh yes! Athletics are like the Super Bowl here

  3. Depends on the sport really

How many dirt roads do you travel on to get to the school?

  1. Absolutely none

  2. My high school is almost on a dirt road, what you mean?

  3. Maybe like 5

Does absolutely everyone know your business?

  1. No No No, I keep my stuff private

  2. YES, I can’t even fart without the whole school knowing

  3. Sort of but some things are kept secret

Does anyone know what the town your high school is located in, outside of the town?

  1. Duh!

  2. Absolutely not

  3. Sometimes if I explain in detail

Have you had the same friends all four years?

  1. No! I change friends like underwear

  2. Yea, pretty much

  3. A couple, but some are new

Does everyone have a designated seat in lunch always?

  1. No, I sit somewhere new every day

  2. YES! You better not sit in my seat

  3. Yes, but sometimes we sit different places

If you had siblings that went to your high school, did your teachers remember them?

  1. No, they can barely remember my name

  2. Yes, in fact they call me by their name all the time

  3. Depends on which teacher it is

Did your teachers double as coaches?

  1. No? Is that a thing?

  2. Yes, all the time

  3. Sometimes

Have you ever got stuck behind a tractor or a bus on your way to school?

  1. There's things called tractors?

  2. EVERY. DAY.

  3. Sometimes depending on the road I took

Does everyone know most of your embarrassing stories?

  1. No. heck no

  2. Yes… sadly

  3. Depends on the story really

Does sickness run rampant in your school?

  1. No, it barely makes it across the hall

  2. Yes, someone coughs in one hallway and everyone is now infected

  3. Sometimes but usually not

Are you friends with people below you and above you in grades?

  1. No? We are always separated

  2. Yes, we even have some classes together

  3. Some of them

Did half of the people you graduated with go to the same elementary school?

  1. Only like 6 people

  2. Almost all of them

  3. I’d say usually

Did you pick a small university so it was an easy transition?

  1. I don’t even know the definition of small

  2. Yes … I am ashamed

  3. Some of us

Is there only two carnivals year round that everyone goes to?

  1. No there’s like 5

  2. YES!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Eh, usually 3

Do you almost always see someone you know at the store?

  1. No not at all

  2. Yes, every single time

  3. Sometimes

If you got mostly A’s, your high school is nowhere near small. In fact it's enormous compared to many other high schools. But don’t worry, I am sure there is many things great about your school no matter how big it is. It is just the fact that it is not a small town high school. So, as I said before, your school is not a small town high school at all.

If you got mostly B’s, YOU ARE DEFINITELY in a small town high school. From the farm full of cows right next door to everyone knowing everyone, you’re high school fits the picture completely. You may think now that nothing could be worse than your high school, but trust me you’ll miss it when it’s gone. Never give that small town vibe up, because in the end it is what makes you who you are.

If you got mostly C’s, you are so 50/50. So basically you are a medium size high school, with both characteristics of giant and small high schools. That is the best way to be, because you can kiss someone and no one will know who you kissed except like 5 people. All of your secrets are safe with the friends you surround yourself with.

All in all, any size high school is what shapes you in to the person you become in the future. Your friends you meet in high school with stick with you till the end. After all, high school could be some of the best years of your life, if you live them how you want.

Soda Be Nasty

By Summer Williamson and Adaline Bisese

A clip of an orange vested woman joyfully sipping a can of Coca-cola is aired intermittently during the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournaments. An unhealthy beverage ironically promoted during an athletic competition. The slew of advertisements for soda beverages feeds the poor habits of those frequently drinking those sugary beverages. Despite the population’s general awareness of the negative effects sweetened sodas have, they continue to consume the harmful beverage. A deeper understanding of the nutritional science behind sodas is perhaps necessary to encourage people to cut out sodas from their diets.

Sodas are generally a sugary, sweet drink that are acceptable in moderation, but when consumed on a regular basis they have the potential to more than double your recommended sugar intake. One twelve ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar; that’s about ten sugar cubes. For another comparison, the recommended daily sugar intake for women is 25 grams and 38 for men. One can of Coca-Cola quickly exceeds the daily recommended sugar intake of both men and women.

Diet sodas, which are “sugarless,” are no better than regular sodas and do not help weight loss. Many of the replacement artificial sweeteners cause alarm for health issues worse than true sugar. In fact, artificial sweeteners might lead to weight gain. Psychologically, when a person is given a food that they are told is healthy, they are more likely to eat it in excess. Furthermore, they contain chemicals that disrupt the hormones in humans. Hormones negatively affected include, but aren’t limited to, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that decreases someone’s appetite, making them feel full. Ghrelin, on the other other hand, increases a person’s appetite. While artificial sweeteners have no effect on ghrelin, they are found to suppress leptin, leading to a craving that is almost never satisfied.

Diet sodas frequently contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute for its sweetness and ‘zero calorie’ characteristics. There are claims that aspartame is related to health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, birth defects, lupus, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, attention deficit disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Health concerns aside, the disgusting truth of aspartame is that it is essentially E.coli poop. Aspartame is formed from the amino acids in the feces of cultivated E.coli bacteria. In addition to problematic health concerns and weight loss, there is evidence hinting that the sweetener can lead to metabolic syndrome, which can cause enzymes in the gut to stop breaking down fats during digestion.

The majority of sodas have artificial coloring of some sort. Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi are just a few to name. The caramel coloring in sodas has shown evidence of leading to vascular issues and is carcinogenic (meaning cancerous). Caramel coloring added to sodas can contain 4-MEI, a known carcinogen, which is formed during the production of some foods. The amount in sodas are small, however 4-MEI is still a carcinogen that is consumed by forty-four to fifty-eight percent of people over six years old. About half of all people over the age of six consume at least one can of soda per day.

Along with the large amounts of sugar in soft drinks comes the prevalence of obesity in the United States. The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, estimates that one in five children aged six to nineteen has diagnosable obesity. They suggest the main factors leading to obesity are genetics, metabolism, amount of sleep, physical behaviors, and eating habits. It is recommended that schools encourage students to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, limiting empty calories. Empty calories include sugary items that are devoid of nutritional value. The CDC also recommends sixty minutes, if not more, of physical activity a day.

Soda is also acidic in nature, which can cause damage to the gut, bones, and cells of the body. The acidity of some sodas is as low as a pH of 2.5, while battery acid’s pH is 1. . . not much of a difference there. Phosphoric acid leaches bones of calcium and vital minerals, making the density dangerously low. Women that drank soda were shown to have a much lower bone density than that of women that did not consume soda. The calcium to phosphorus ratio within the body causes an imbalance of nutrition. The acid in sodas have also be proven to erode the enamel of teeth and cause heartburn.

Despite the corruptive nature of the acids in sodas, the beverages are commonly packaged in aluminum cans and plastic bottles. While aluminum cans will degrade after a long period of time, plastic bottles will not. Plastic bottles do not decompose, and as a result the first piece of plastic ever created is still on planet Earth today. Plastics that are not properly disposed of by the consumer will integrate into the environment. The bottles and cans in which sodas are kept in are often lined with plastics that contain BPA. The acids in the soda wear away at the plastic packaging and cause the chemicals from the plastics to be released into the drink which is later consumed.

There are many negative factors of sodas that should be taken into consideration the next time one of those sugary beverages appears in the fridge. They are in no way healthy to the consumer even if it is ‘diet,’ and there are no loopholes around the sugars and artificial sweeteners in them. In conclusion, all forms of soda should be avoided as much as possible, and in the least, consumed sparsely.

Senioritis Kicking In?

By Sydney Newcomb

It’s your final year of high school, the stress has gotten to you, and you can’t do it any more….you have SENIORITIS. Some might consider senioritis an actual disease, but as stated in the dictionary it’s “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” So basically, Senioritis is being lazy and wanting to get the heck out of high school your senior year.

Some of the common symptoms of senioritis include:

  • Lower grades

  • Lower GPA

  • Cutting class

  • Lack of motivation

  • Not completing assignments

Although none of these symptoms are fatal, they can definitely affect what colleges or universities you may get into.

So how can you avoid senioritis? THINK LONG TERM! Most of you are still going to be going to school for another four years, so why slack off now? You’ll have all summer to hang with your friends and not worry a bit about school work. Yes, you might be tired of your teachers pushing you, but at least they care. Most of your college professors won’t care about your grades, much less your attendance, so be grateful for great teachers while we have them.  

Need more reasons to not get swallowed by senioritis? You have work your butt off, especially your junior and senior year. Whether you took AP, Advanced Studies, or just a regular courses, they all matter! Some of you already have college credit, so don’t flush it down the toilet now. Keep not only your grades up, but your attendance as well. I know the last semester can be especially tough, but give it everything you have.

One of the most important things to remember when you think you’ve caught the senioritis bug is that colleges can withdraw your acceptance. Let’s say you got into your dream school and your last semester of senior year you starting slacking off because you’re already accepted and know that's where you’re going. That college could still change their mind based upon your grades.

Senior year is definitely one of the most stressful times; you have scholarships, picking a school, picking a major, and still work along with that. Using some of these tips will hopefully help you not catch the bug:

  • Stay focused

  • Stay organized

  • Remember all the hard work you’ve already done

  • Keep your eye on the prize

  • Fix bad habits NOW

  • Remember grades still matter

  • But most importantly, make it your best year yet!

Senior year can be stressful to what feels like no end, but the biggest thing to remember all throughout your last year of high school is to make it your best year. You’ll never see some of these people ever again so build relationships. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Be in the school talent show, go to school dances, have a blast on fun day, get involved in clubs, go on field trips, and just have fun!  

Throughout senior year try your very best to live in the moment. Try not to get caught up in the stress, think about the best parts of senior year instead of the worst. You might not think it now, but once you’ve taken on the real world, you’ll miss it. You’ll realize they really were the best four years of your life.

Top 5 Vines

By Tessa Jones and Erin Walker

Vine was one of the most beloved social medias before its discontinuation. Everyday, kids around the world quote and share their favorite Vines, ensuring that its legacy will live forever. Today, there are hundreds of Vine compilation videos on Youtube that include some of the most iconic videos that were ever created on the app. Because we (Erin and Tessa) love to watch those videos and laugh together, we thought it was important to share our favorite Vines so that others could enjoy them as well.

Erin’s Top 5

  1. You Messin’ With My Truck?

    The most chaotic energy ever is housed within this vine, you almost can’t watch it more than once. A middle aged man named Paul Hinton steps up onto the top of his truck’s cab, nunchakus blazing, and says, “You messin’ with my truck? You messin’ with my truck d*pst*ck?” Hinton is known around the internet as “Nunchaku Dad” and has had many pieces written about him. Let’s hope none of the interviewers messed with his truck.

    Creator: Paul Hinton

  2. If Your Name Is Junior

    This is arguably the most catchy vine and it can frequently be heard hummed by several students on the track and soccer team. When you begin the vine, you may think its a roast of the little boy, Junior, because so does he. However, the singer quickly turns the lyrics around and says, “If your name is Junior and you’re really handsome, come on raise your hands!” Cute!

    Creator: arnoldthepipeknight

  3. Zach STOP!

    This vine opens up with a man, Zach, wearing what looks like Tevas brand sandals, kicking around a parking lot and sidewalk. The cameraman, apparently someone with greater self awareness than Zach, pleads with him to stop. “Zach stop! You’re going to get us in trouble!” A jump cut reveals that this warning proved true, as Zach is surrounded by police with their guns drawn and his hands behind his head. Zach DID get in trouble. Some light research on Twitter showed that the origin story is crazier than the Vine itself. Zach, mistaken for a murder suspect, was apprehended (the scene with the police) and his friends filmed it. Since he was not the murder suspect, he was let go and the great idea for this iconic Vine was conceived.

    Creator: Joel Golby

  4. You Don’t Wanna Post Up

    The sheer energy this little girl gives off is almost catastrophic. She’s obviously speaking the truth and anyone should hate to be on the receiving end of her unbridled annoyance. The girls are sitting around bikes during what appears to be summer. The Post Up girl, who looks at most 10, is mad and confronting another girl who has supposedly been talking bad about her behind her back. She then says the iconic phrase, complete with hand motions, “When I leave you wanna keep doin’ this, but when I come around you don’t wanna post up!” People quote this video frequently and it has been remixed countless times into more videos.

    Creator: Aaliyah Davis

  5. Hi, Welcome to Pizza Hut

    The Vine opens up with a waiter saying, “Hi my name’s Derek, welcome to Pizza Hut” in a weak shaky voice. The video continues with, “Let me guess, pizza?” and he passes out onto the floor. The whole thing is hilarious, from the script to the execution. While this isn’t one of the more popular vines, it certainly is iconic in its own right.

    Creator: Dan Curtin

Tessa’s Top 5

  1. Picking Grass with Feet

    Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest Vines ever made. It begins with a man picking a clump of grass with one of his feet. Once the blades of grass are secure between the toes, the man then starts making monkey noises as he takes off across a sidewalk. This Vine is a masterpiece that will forever inspire and make kids laugh.

    Creator: Nick Colletti

  2. Kid Running in Backyard with Knife

    This Vine is not only relatable, but it’s hilarious! A young boy, no older than 4, is running in his backyard when his mom sees him holding something. Upon a quick investigation, she finds out it’s a knife. The mother, panicked, yells “NOOOO!” and chases after her son. Sometimes, you just have to run really fast with a knife in your hand to live life to the fullest.  

    Creator: Madison Meyers

  3. I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This  

    A man (or boy really) is sitting in a chair wearing sunglasses and ties wrapped around his head. He whips off the sunglasses, indicating that he’s about to get into a serious topic, when suddenly, his roommate or friend punches him in the face! Outraged, the first guy says “Ah f***, I can’t believe you’ve done this.” Not only do the viewers get a good laugh at this scene, but the British accent of the punchee adds a nice touch.

    Creator: PWee28

  4. Girl Swinging to Wii Bowling

    The thumbnail for this Vine is downright adorable: a picture of a sweet little girl on a swing set. After clicking on it, the video shows that same girl laughing, having a good time at the playground. But things escalate quickly. She suddenly falls backwards off of the swing, doing a backwards somersault onto the ground. Because people on the Internet are witty and good with technology, someone edited a smooth transition from the fall backwards to this little girl rolling down the Wii bowling lanes and getting a strike! This video is always a go-to for a good chuckle.

    Creator: OMG its Richiey

  5. Girl Spills Juice on Carpet   

    As the Vine begins, a cute baby girl is holding an apple juice bottle without the lid on as she bends over to pick something up off of the ground. Her mother is recording and witnesses her daughter spill some of the drink onto her carpeted floors. Immediately upset, the mother exclaims “OH MY GOD,” but because her daughter is as sassy as she is cute, the little girl (without any hesitation) turns over the bottle, spilling all of its contents onto the ground. This Vine is a whole mood and undoubtedly relatable.

    Creator: SPECIALK

How To Have the Perfect Bucket List   

By Sydney Newcomb

Most people don’t think twice about a bucket list until later on in life or until they get some not so good news. But why should we wait until then to do things we’ve always wanted to do? Go skydiving as soon as you’re 18, go to Bora Bora, learn how to surf, go snorkeling, do it all! Don’t let anything hold you back from accomplishing your biggest and wildest dreams.

Having a bucket list allows us to set goals for ourselves. According to Lifehack.org, we are more likley to stick with our goals and resoultions if we write them down. so go ahead write your bucket list down and keep it somewhere you’ll look at it almost everyday to remind yourself of all the things you're going to do. Whether you write it down on sticky notes and place them around your room or just write them down in your special notebook either way they will both remind you to accomplish your goals not only faster but better.

Some of the most popular things on a bucket list include:

  • Go skydiving

  • Learn how to fly a plane                                       

  • Visit every continent in the world

  • Visit every state in the U.S.

  • Learn a new language

  • Get a six pack abs (or just be healthier)

  • Visit their dream city/country

  • Climb a mountain                      

  • Go to the Super Bowl

While there are millions of activities to accomplish that thousands of people will never do, you can make them possible by simply making a bucket list. Things as simple as making good grades this year in school or waking up 30 extra minutes to get a quick workout in are great starters. It’s smart to start your bucket list off with smaller desires such as these in the beginning. If you start out small and gradually get larger, you will be up to skydiving and traveling the world in no time!

One thing that hold people back from accomplishing them from completing their lists is fear. Yes, this world is scary. But if you let fear stop you from doing everything else you wouldn’t be able to do anything much less try and accomplish some of your wildest goals. You have to live absolutely every moment like it’s your last. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone every now and then, it will make you a stronger person mentally.

Bucket list items are never really meant to be achieved, what are you supposed to do once you reach the end of your list? You can’t just stop living your life to the fullest when you accomplish them all.  One of the biggest things to remember when making your list is to have options. Don’t just make your list a bunch of bizarre things that could take you years to complete. Make sure you incorporate some goals that are more achievable such as cutting your hair, trying a new food, or becoming a morning person when you most definitely are not. Making your bucket list a variety will allow you to accomplish goals all throughout your life.

Remembering some of these simple things will help you succeed in fulfilling your bucket list maybe even a little faster. Just stay focused on what you want to accomplish, but make sure to add some of your wildest dreams on there too!

Is Community Service Important in High School?

By Rachel Epperly

Growing up nowadays high schoolers have many readily available opportunities for volunteering through their church, community, school, etc. Doing community service can make you feel more connected to your community and help you build relationships with new people. It forces you to go outside your comfort zone and take challenges head on. Volunteering can truly help shape what type of person people turn out to be.

If students volunteer through churches, some get the experience to do mission work, construction, or babysitting. Through this mission work and volunteering students can get a better understanding of how to handle and take care of kids or peers and can all in all show students how blessed they are.

Others volunteer through clubs or their community. For example, you can volunteer at Capernum through Young Life. This gives students a chance to spend time with disabled and special need students. Doing something like this can help you see the world in a different way. These children are some of the sweetest and have the most pure hearts. Despite the challenges of life this gives students the opportunity to spend time, love, and give attention to children that might not get as much as others.

Volunteering may not seem to matter much in your early years of high school, but as you get to your senior year and start applying for colleges, jobs, and scholarships they matter more than ever. Nowadays most of the scholarships, if not all, in some way ask you about your community service and volunteering experiences. There are a lot more than there used to be that are even focused solely on volunteering. One hard thing of not realizing how important community service is that you may be doing it for years but never keep track of it. When you start to fill out scholarships and they ask you about what you have done during high school you probably will not be able to remember everything you have done in your high school career. One smart thing to do your freshman year is start a spreadsheet, chart, or some kind of log to keep track of any community service or volunteering you do throughout the years.

For example, here is a chart with an example of community service hours and how you can keep track and log what hours you are doing, when they were done, and who to contact if more information or references are needed.

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Making one of these charts will help you in the future when you have to refer back to what you have done in your high school years and it is a great way to stay organized

Volunteering can look good on applications, but it can also help you in shaping your character. When you volunteer it can make you feel a sense of worth and like you are making a difference. Volunteering can help reduce stress and keep your mind stimulated. It can challenge you to do and help with things you could of never saw yourself doing.

All in all, volunteering has a way of shaping people and without it many people would be very different than they are today. It is very important for those that haven’t gotten involved in volunteering and don’t join these opportunities to change that and start being a part of volunteering in their community. When you’re done volunteering you get a feeling of accomplishment and like you did something to make someone’s life or day better. This feeling is one of the greatest and young people that don’t take part in these opportunities are truly missing so much and should start taking part in the opportunities available to them.

Should Graduation Cords Be Limited to Academic Achievements?

By Elizabeth Rice

Graduation cords should not be limited to only academic achievements. There are currently only two cords. The white cord represents a GPA of 4.0 and above, and the gold cord represents a GPA of 3.5 and above.

While it is important to recognize students academically, there are other recognizations that should be made such as leadership, service, and extracurricular activities. High school is more than classes. It’s also about involvement and making new connections.

This should be shown at graduation. More honor cords will show a variety of colors and diversity of accomplishments on graduation. This will also encourage more students to get involved.

Students who work hard in helping out in the community, participating in activities through the school, and in general putting in much effort and time into events should be acknowledged.

Other agreeing opinions:

Mrs. Marshall (the inspiration for this article): “I believe that students should be given the opportunity to earn a cord in academics as well as other areas including CTE (Career and Technical Education), the arts, and clubs in which they excel. By recognizing a variety of clubs, academic, and career and technical related areas, we are recognizing that all of these areas are important in the development of a child’s school experience.”

Bailey Marshall: “There is more than high school than your academic performance. Being a good student means being well rounded and being involved within your school and community, not just going to classes and acing tests. Extracurricular cords provide an opportunity for well rounded students to showcase what they have done that is meaningful to them during the time in high school.”

Erin Walker: “I think the honor cords are a great way to showcase the other achievements of the student body instead of just their grades. I think every club and varsity sport athletes should hand them out.”

Megan Hill: “I think that cords for service, leadership, and extra curricular activities would be a good way to recognize all of the time and effort people put into them. Not everyone excels academically but still deserve to be recognized for their hard work.”

Meaghan Hix: “I think they are good because it shows people that you can achieve whatever you want if you put your mind to it. Also it may make some people feel better about themselves.”

Jessie Rocha: “Yes there should be more opportunity to get a cord.”

Adaline Bisese: “Maybe sports, if you did more than a specified number.”

Summer Williamson: “I think cords are small, yet effective symbols of accomplishments. They show the interests, achievements, and success of students, and it would be great if they offered a wider array of cords.”

Lexxi Bursey: “I feel that community service volunteers in our community and high school student body should be more recognized for their willingness to give back to the community; however volunteering is something you do out of the kindness of your heart, and shouldn’t just be done for the opportunity of recognition. Graduation cords for extra curricular classes and courses would be a good addition; however you have to pay already for the National Honor Society cord as is, I feel all cords should be free to the student who completed these classes and serve solely as a recognition for the student in whatever field it might be.”

Ben Rice: “I think having honor cords is very important as leadership and activities are just as academics. Having more cords I think would be a good way to show that there are other ways to succeed than just with grades. It also honors people that might not make the greatest grades but still do an exceptional job in other areas. However, that doesn’t mean grades shouldn’t be recognized as acknowledgement is important. I think having a number of cords for both is just as important.”

Cheyanne Forson: “I think that is nice for recognition of hard work, but in general not the best investment. After the graduation. Besides you and maybe some friends people aren’t going to remember what colors you were wearing. To some though that might be important to them since they see it as an image thing like how athletes feel about their letter jackets. The different cords besides academic is a good idea since it shows students who have other skills and interests than specific gpa.”

Disagreeing opinions:

Maggie Stickler: “No, that’s why we have varsity letters.”

Colleen Peery: “I think the cords are a neat traditions that they have. I think it is a good way to show off your achievements and show everyone what you have done. I am not sure on the difference in them, but I know that it takes hard work to get them and you can get all sorts of colors depending on what you all have done! I don’t think clubs and sports should have cords too because then kids who are super active and did a lot of things would have a tone to wear at graduation, and it might look tacky.”

Five Facts About Each First Responder

By Alyson McCullough

Overview of First Responders:

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a first responder is anyone who is responsible for going immediately to the scene of an accident or emergency to provide assistance. These include the local firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and police officers. These wonderful men and women put in hours of work and have to go through countless classes to become trained to be able to act accordingly in certain situations. Our first responders are some of the bravest people someone could meet because their job is to risk their lives to save another person. They are the people that are going to take care of your loved ones if they have been robbed, in a car accident, or their house caught on fire. These men and women are here to protect and serve our country in our towns and cities while our military is fighting for us overseas.

Firefighters

  1. Merriam-Webster definition: a person who fights fires; fireman or firewoman

  2. 70 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers, and 41.8 percent of volunteer firefighters have been volunteers for ten or more years. 7.3 percent of firefighters are women (NFPA: National Fire Protection Association).

  3. There are 58,750 fire stations across the United States (NFPA).

  4. Firefighters have to go through countless hours of different training classes before they can legally go into a burning building or be truly productive on any scene.

  5. Over forty-five percent of firefighters that die while on duty die of heart related issues (Skysaver).

Police

  1. Merriam-Webster definition: a member of a police force

  2. According to USA Today, there were 144 police officer deaths in 2018. 52 were firearm related, 50 were traffic related, and 42 were related to something else. These fatalities led to the Stand Behind the Blue campaigns with the thin blue line trend.

  3. Not all police officers are horrible people. They are just like anyone else, there are good ones and bad ones. Just because one encounters a poorly behaved officer does not mean they are all terrible humans. This also applies to the claim that police officers are racist.

  4. Police officers can also be volunteers, but they are not heard of as much as the others.

  5. Twelve percent of law enforcement officers in the United States are women (Fact Retriever).

EMS (Emergency Medical Services)

  1. Merriam-Webster definition: a specially trained medical technician certified to provide basic emergency services before and during transportation to a hospital.

  2. About 5 percent of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are also volunteers and 70 percent of EMTs are male (Premier Health).

  3. EMTs have a dark sense of humor because they have to get through all of the horrific things they have seen somehow. They will make jokes that seem like an awful thing to say but they do not mean any harm by it. They use it as a protection mechanism to get through the stresses of their jobs. They also struggle with leaving work at work. They take it home with them because they can not help but remember everything they have witnessed (Perfect Imprints).

  4. EMS training never really has an end to it. They are constantly encountering new circumstances, new medicine, and better ways to approach certain situations. These all play into the training that EMTs have to undergo to be able to be active on the scene (Premier Health).

  5. The number of emergency medical technicians have declined since September 11, 2001 (Premier Health).

Overall Take Away:

These fearless men and women deserve all of the love and appreciation in the world. It is always a wonderful feeling for these amazing people when someone acknowledges their hard work. When someone shows their appreciation, it keeps them going and wanting to continue working for the people they care about. When someone criticizes them, it makes them not want to do what they love because most of them would not want to deal with all of the drama that would come along with it. There are always going to be ones that make others look bad, giving people the wrong impression, but they are all still very important to our society. Without them, we would not have professionals that their job is literally to respond to your emergencies. They are doctors that can be there within minutes of a call and they are trained men and women that know how to protect people and their families from other people, like police officers, or from fires, like firefighters. Take care of the first responders in the local community and let them know how important they are to the world.

Prom: The Most Stressful Night Turns Best Night of Your Life

By Sydney Newcomb

For some juniors and seniors, prom can be the most magical night of their whole high school career. For other, it’s nothing but stress upon stress. Finding a date, the perfect dress, making sure you look flawless, the pictures, all of it can get pretty overwhelming. Should a silly little dance make us feel so stressed and force us to feel like we have to look perfect for a couple of hours? Let your night be as stress free as possible, let loose and have a good time!

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Finding a date, or simply a group of your best girlfriends to go with is the first step to making the night perfect. Don’t get too caught up in all the promproposals. Yes they might be cute, but sometimes it’s just better to go with your gal pals. If you do have a significant other, think about the time you’ll have boogying the night away with them!

The next, but possibly the most stressful step to having the perfect prom is finding the perfect dress. Although there aren’t many places in the roanoke area to purchase the dress of your dreams, there are several that include Patina, Proms Pageants And Pretty Things, and David’s Bridal. Other places which might be a bit of a drive but so worth it include Amanda's Touch (Waynesboro, VA), Reflections Bridal (Harrisonburg, VA) and Becky’s Bridal and Formal (Buena Vista, VA). The key to finding the perfect dress is remembering it's what you feel good in and what you like. Don’t feel pressure to buy a white dress just because your a senior, go out of the box and get that floral dress you love.

The morning of prom is probably when you’ll start to feel a little stressed out. Typically girls start getting ready early in the morning starting with hair and makeup. A helpful tip would be to start early, 10:30 or 11 am are normally good times to start with your pre-prom routine. Remember to try and stay as stress free as possible, this night is supposed to be fun!

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Hair is the first thing on your to do list. Another helpful hint when getting prom ready is to wash your hair the night before, this allows your stylist to work with your hair more easily. Make sure you take pictures of hairstyles you’ve looked at and like so your stylist has a good idea of what you want.  Pinterest is a great place to look not only for hairstyles, but also makeup which is your next appointment!

It’s getting a little closer to prom time, so that means it’s makeup time. There are many places you could go in the Roanoke area to have a profession do your makeup including places like Bare Minerals and Sephora in the mall. If you’re looking for someone a little more local, there are plenty of people that advertise prom makeup on social media for very low prices. Just like when you get your hair done, make sure to have pictures of the style of makeup you’d like as well.

Now you’re all dolled up, so it’s time for your dinner plans. Most couples and groups choose to go out to a restaurants ranging from Cheddars, to Olive Garden, to even Chick-fil-a! Personally my favorite thing to do is get with your group or your date and have your family cook a nice dinner for you. You don’t even have to get dressed until after you eat, so no worries if you’re messy like me you can keep like dress sparkling all night long!  

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Even doing just something as simple as turning your Grandmother’s basement into a new restaurant can be just as fun as going out! You don’t have to worry about crowds, getting to prom late, or if you’re messy like me getting food all over your dress.

After dinner, it’s time to strike a pose! Picking a spot to get the perfect pictures can sometimes be difficult, but don’t stress too much there are plenty of beautiful places between here and Roanoke. Some of the most popular spots are Hotel Roanoke, The Roanoke Star, Farms and fields throughout Botetourt, and your own land makes great pictures. Even if your pictures don’t turn out quite as good as you expect, don’t let it ruin your unforgettable night!

Some of my favorite picture from any school dance where taken at my aunts farm in Buchanan. Although it’s very simple, it gives off a very rustic vibe that we both loved!

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It’s time to head to the dance with your spify date(s). One of the most important things to remember at prom is you only get two of these your whole high school career, so make them worth it. Don’t be embarrassed to go bust a move on the dance floor. So what if you’re a bad dancer, nobodies even watching you their too busy busting a move themselves!

The ride to prom gets you more and more excited to dance the night away. Already blasting music and getting ready to see all your friends all dressed up, what’s better than that?

Of course dancing is definitely top three things at prom, but within the other top three is hanging with your friends. Seeing them all dressed up in their dresses and having a good time, you can’t help but smile. You’ll look back on these days and remember just how sweet they were dancing with your friends at prom. You’ll think how silly it was to stress over prom once your dancing the night away because you’ve made unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!

A Bachelor’s Guide: How To Binge Watch TV Like Royalty

By Ian DeHaven, Tyler St. Clair, and Jackson Mabe

Television is a hallmark of American pop culture, and streaming services like Hulu and Netflix have made immediate consumption of entire series as easy as the press of a button. Follow these tips here to make the most out of your binge-watching sessions, whether they serve the purpose of burning through a unoccupied long weekend or desperately catching up on your favorite characters before the next season premiere.

1. Make sure your place is clean beforehand

Even though for the time being your focus is going to be wholly centered on the exploits you view on screen, as a human being you can’t forsake your worldly duties in their entirety. Binging can make the hours seem like a matter of minutes, and nothing is worse than realizing late on a Sunday night that you need to clean everything up before you can go to sleep and prepare for your daily routine all over again; take it from us, it’s better to get this out of the way preemptively.

2. Dress comfortably

In binge-watching, comfort is the name of the game, and its necessary to take precautions to ensure that you won’t be constantly standing up to readjust your clothes. Depending on the region where your binging takes place, your uniform could take the form of gym shorts and a tee shirt, or even some pajamas. Remember not to get too cozy though, as you don’t want to accidentally drift off to sleep and miss crucial plot points.

3. Watch with company (optional)

While binging a new series is often a spontaneous and therefore solo undertaking, it’s not always possible to have a peer on hand to share the experience with. However, nothing can enrich the experience of diving into a new world on your TV quite like having someone else in the real world to speculate with once the inevitable cliff-hangers start.

4. Have snacks within arm’s reach

If you want to ensure maximum attention on the television and not your immediate surroundings, your best bet is to put all of your snacks within arm’s reach. Lazily extending for some pretzels is much easier than walking all the way to your kitchen -- prepare your area for the binge, and minimize the amount of time you are away from your current favorite show.

5. Stay adequately hydrated

Though binge watching a day should have you focused entirely on the show, one ought to drink water throughout the day -- you do not want to get possibly dehydrated in front of the television. Drinking water will make you feel refreshed even though you are vegetating and sinking into the couch, and will reduce the inevitable guilt of sitting on the couch all day. At least you were drinking water!

6. Pick a good show

If you are going to dedicate a precious day in your life to watching a television show, it better be a good one. Whether you discover it from the recommendations on your preferred streaming platform, word of mouth, or JR Knightly News articles, binge watching is best done on a worthwhile show. If at any point you feel your chosen show is not worthy of your time, change it! You have a limited time on this earth. Optimize it to binge watch only the best television.

7. Get up and move around periodically

If you don’t move around every once in a while and get your blood pumping, you will feel fried by the end of your session. Getting up and doing simple things such as stretches or planks will reduce the horrible internal feeling of being a lazy slob. Don’t let yourself fall into this pit -- just stay minimally active by doing something such as push ups or jumping jacks between episodes.

8. Have a backup show or two in mind

The last thing you want for your day of binge watching is to run out of episodes to watch. The best way to prevent this unfortunate end to your day, is to start with more than one show or movie in mind that you would like to watch. With many shows, you may have multiple seasons left before you are at the end, in this case you should be fine. But if you know that you are nearing the end of the show, always have a backup in mind.

9. Eat a proper meal

Before starting your binge watching, make sure you have eaten something to keep you going. While you may have a line up of snacks ready, you should always eat something a bit more substantial before you begin your snacking to create a solid base.

10. Cut yourself off late at night

Finally, if your binge watching takes you late into the night, you want find a spot to cut yourself off. Not only is this good for your health and your sleep schedule, but if you are in the middle of a show that you really care about, staying up late and watching while you are tired will make you miss key points in the show that you are watching and you may have to go back and rewatch everything you have already seen in order to catch yourself up.

Hopefully these ten simple tips will allow you to get the most enjoyment out of your binge watching experience!

Depression and its Toll on High School Students

By Evie Melvin

According to The Merriam Webster Dictionary, depression is described as “a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.” Depression can affect anyone at any time, but the numbers of depressed teenagers has risen over time. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “an estimated 3.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. This number represents 12.8 percent of the US population in that age group.” That was in 2016; now being 2019, the times and numbers have changed.

How do you know if you are depressed?

According to Katie Hurley of psycom.net, “in children and adolescents, the mood is more likely to present as irritable than sad.” These two symptoms are not the only ones though. Other symptoms can be, according to Katie Hurley of psycom.net,

  • Angry outbursts and irritability

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities (sports, interests, even sexual activity)

  • Significant weight loss or weight gain due to changes in appetite

So why are teenagers these days depressed?

There are many reasons that stand out in the teenage community. Some of those being at home problems, and others simply being stressed from work or sports. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), what they discovered is that “social media is a primary source of anxiety and pressure for adolescents. According to one undercover student, teens become depressed when they compare. And teens often compare their lives to the people they follow on social media.” The social image of how life should be is causing students to become more depressed than usual. One might think, that social media is always the problem in these cases, but there are more things that lead teens to become depressed.

One of the bigger ones is bullying. According to Jennifer McClellan, of USATODAY.com, “A third of students say they were bullied last school year, according to a report released today by non-profit group YouthTruth. That’s an increase from two years ago, when just over one in four students had been.” That article was published in 2018. The numbers are crazy.

There are still many others such as, home life and relationships. Teenagers these day do not know how to handle relationships. Some come from an awful home life and learn from their parents about how relationships are supposed to be. If this is the case, what if one of the parents is completely dependant on the other and would not “survive” without them? This teaches the children to think that having a significant other is the most important thing, and or if their partner leaves they have nothing left. Which in turn can lead to depression.

Why is recognizing depression so important?

Depression is considered a mental illness. According to Tom Wootton of psychology.com, “depression is resistance to what is. Depression is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relationship, and career/financial pain.” It is important because it not only is a disorder but can cause physical damage as well. Depression can change the way your brain functions, because your emotions are running wild. According to WebMd.com, “Depression affects much more than moods. These are a few of the most common physical symptoms of depression:

  • Increased aches and pains, which occur in about two out of three people with depression

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Decreased interest in sex

  • Decreased appetite

  • Insomnia, lack of deep sleep, or oversleeping

Letting these symptoms go can ultimately hurt the person more and more; it could lead them to suicide even. It is important because according to Leonard Holmes of verywellmind.com, “depression and suicide are linked, with an estimate that up to 60 percent of people who commit suicide have major depression.” Suicide will never be a joke, and that is why recognizing depression is so important.

What can we do to help those who have depression?

Helping those that are depressed can in turn help them learn that suicide is not the answer. Though this may seem small in the moment, it can lead to saving someone’s life. Some things you can do as a friend is talk to them, let them know you are concerned, and help them understand what their options are. Some cases of depression are too extreme for friends to handle. If this is your case, seeking help from a professional is wise.

If you are experiencing anything like the things mentioned above, please reach out. Let someone help you through this time. DO NOT think suicide is an option or a way out because it is not and never will be. You may think that ending your pain that way will work, but it will jumpstart someone else's. If you feel alone and are thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Get A Jumpstart on Your College Career: Which Program is Best for You?

By Brianna Baldwin

Many policies are up for change this year in our small school, James River High School. All of the math Dual Enrollment classes, along with other various Dual Enrollment classes, are not going to be offered. This comes with anger and general upset as Dual Enrollment was one of the few ways our school helped students get started in college and pay less for college level classes but James River has made a plan to replace Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement or AP classes. The school is planning on not only replacing the classes they have decided to do away with with AP classes, but adding some new AP classes as well. AP classes are a great option for students but it does not always grant college credit. At the end of every school year, AP students have to take a comprehensive test, that costs over one hundred dollars, and if they do not receive a specific score or better, colleges will not accept credit. So this leads to the question, what other options does James River High School have for students who want to begin their college career early? The answer: STEM-H, Roanoke Valley Governor's School, and Jackson River Governor’s School.

STEM-H

STEM-H is a program in the Botetourt County school district that provides classes for all four years of high school, the first two at B-Tech and the last two at Virginia Western Community College. STEM-H stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health. The three programs offered to Lord Botetourt and James River High Schools are IST, Engineering, and Nursing. Each of these programs offer college credit but not all credits are equal. The Health program offers enough credits for any student to receive their associates degree when they graduate high school, but they have to take some classes outside of the program. The Engineering program offers a similar amount of credits but not all of them are able to go towards the same degree. The IST program offers little to no transferable credits and does not travel to Virginia Western. In an interview with Anthony Etzler, a former STEM-H Engineering student, he made note that not all classes are required and the student is able to drop them at any time but it comes with a catch. Any classes dropped will either be labeled as Withdrawal or as Failed, depending upon the circumstances such as when the class was dropped. They offer mathematics classes such as Precalculus and Calculus but only offer basic engineering classes otherwise. STEM-H is also not funded by the school, meaning the students have to pay for classes, textbooks, etc., adding up to close to $1,200 per semester. Anthony added that the teachers are helpful and work hard to teach every student.

Roanoke Valley Governor’s School

Roanoke Valley Governor’s School program is similar to STEM-H in the sense that it is offered throughout all four years of high school, but is different when it comes to how many students are accepted. The number of students accepted change every year depending on how many students graduate or leave the program each year as well as how many seats each county buys, “My year had 9 seats, this year only had 3,” said Shannon, a current Roanoke Valley Governor’s School student. Each class taken is Dual Enrollment but there are some classes that students have the option of taking as an AP class. According to Shannon, most of the mathematics classes, besides Multivariable Calculus, are offered in AP, as well as all science classes offered except Biology. With the classes offered, the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School program sounds very similar to other programs but the same interview mentioned above, Shannon said, “The main difference is that this program is research based.” She also commented on how helpful the teachers are by stating that “Most of the teachers are there every morning a half-hour to hour before class starts incase students would like tutoring or help with a recent homework assignment. The teachers will also listen to students about their interests and show the students various opportunities to explore said topic more. This includes giving the students information directly or even finding summer camps that deal with said topic for the student to consider. And what does this cost the student? Nothing! The Roanoke Valley Governor’s School program provides the students with not only payment for the classes but textbooks as well.

Jackson River Governor’s School

Jackson River Governor’s School is the only Dual Enrollment program offered at James River through Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. Through this program, students receive a Certificate of Math and Science and allows students to take all of the mathematics and science courses a student needs to fulfil a General Science and Mathematics Degree, leaving only english, history, and elective courses for the student to take in order to finish their Associates Degree. Although this sounds like a large number of classes, some students have been able to take the classes necessary for their degree, not offered by the Jackson River Governor’s School program, online and finish their degree before they graduate from high school, meaning they can apply to colleges as transfer students rather than as freshmen. This program is offered for only Juniors and Seniors at James River (some other schools that attend the program allow Sophomores as well), and requires an application to be submitted. Applying alone does not guarantee admission; students have to do well in school, work hard, and show that they are able to handle college-level work along with their high school work. Once admitted, students are able to choose whether they would like to take Biology or Chemistry their Junior year. Once they make this decision, they are enrolled into classes. These classes are Statistics, Precalculus 1 and 2, Biology or Chemistry 1 and 2, and Research. Senior year students have the option of taking one of the science classes they did not take, or Physics. They also are enrolled into ITE 115 as well as Calculus 1 and 2. There is one condition: students must receive a grade of 70 or higher by the end of every course in order to stay in the program.

Each of these programs have positives as well as negatives and each has opportunities not offered in the other programs. There is no definitive “best program” of the three, as every student prefers different ways of learning and not every student is able to join these programs, so students should look into each of these programs and apply to any that interest them.

Environmental Conservation in College

By Fallon Bursey

Environmental conservation doesn’t have to be on an industrial level. In fact, conserving our resources could be better managed at home. Many people admit there is a lack of environmental care; however not many are up for actually engaging change. You don’t have to completely change your daily life to make an impact in a simple manner.

Stores are drifting more and more away from plastic bags. For example, at a dollar store in Roanoke, they are placing a small ‘fee’ per plastic bag you use. This is becoming more and more so, with more urbanly-located stores implementing a more heavy fee per bag. This is all in hopes to prompt consumers to buying a reusable bag and tagging it along for their shopping trips. The small fee at some of our local stores may not be enough to deter us from using them, but it is a start of a revolution into better care for nature. Some stores, such as Target, offer a discount for using a reusable bag for your shopping trip.

Plastic bags are often reused in homes, but after a few uses they either tear or they consumer is throwing them away. These bags can end up anywhere, due to the lightweightedness of the bag. They can drift off from landfills and end up in countless areas such as the ocean, rivers, creeks, yards, and more. These bags, while relatively harmless to us, are a big threat to animals. They can be mistaken for food or animals could get trapped in them, causing them to suffocate.

Reusable bags have more than just one purpose, too. People often find themselves using them on trips, going to the beach, or moving. Many may find themselves struggling to remember them before leaving the house or being in situations where they don’t have their bag on hand. An easy solution would be to keep some in your car.

Another way to ease up on the environment would be to print less. As we have moved more away from paper mail towards electronic mail and paperless documentations, we are helping the environment. Most excessive printing occurs in offices and schools. Teachers often print out long class works and give a copy to each student, usually failing to print on both sides of the pages as well. There are millions of schools across the United States, and even more in the world. That’s a great abundance of students to each have a 20 page copy of a story each. Teachers often assign long essays in a hard copy format, too. While they may be unbudging to allow an electronic copy to be submitted, it never hurts to ask. Maybe they will at least let you print on both sides if you explain your cause.

Recycling is also a beneficial way to preserve natural resources. There are centrally  located recycling centers across towns and cities for easy access. If there is not a recycling center near you and you want one, many trash services also offer a recycling service. You could call the company and see if you can get a center started for your community. We are going off to college soon as well. If there is no recycling availability you should contact your RA to see if it can get started. Also take the time to locate recycling bins around campus so you won’t be throwing away recyclables into the trash bin.

Another easy way to conserve is buying a reusable bottle and food containers. If you buy water at the store, try buying it in a large gallon to save plastic from the bottles and wrapping. Alternatively, you could purchase a filter if your tap water is the issue at hand. If you buy sodas, try buying it bulk, or a larger container to save on plastic, too. Bulk is often cheaper, if your worried over your budget. If you’re using a non-reusable bottle, reuse it! Fill it back up with fountains before tossing it aside and breaking open a new one. Coffee shops usually have a discount if you bring in your reusable cup as well, such as Starbucks.

Don’t throw away your old class notes, either. You can either recycle them or donate them. Teachers may want your notes for future use if you took great notes. There are also resources for students who recycle the notes for future student’s use. Some organizations even buy old notes from a course. If you took neat and detailed notes, they could be reused by another student through several ways.

6 Things To Do Before Leaving for College

By Sarah Lam and Brooke Moran

It’s finally here, your last semester ever of high school. 3 more months until you leave this place and never look back. This can be a really happy, exciting, or sad time for students. Everyone has big plans for life after high school. Some people are going to medical school, some are going straight to the workforce, some are going to community college; the list goes on and on. One thing we can agree on is that this is your last summer before real life starts. Here’s a bucket list of things to do this summer before adult life is in full swing.

Plan a Vacation With Your Friends

Your friends have been there for you through thick and thin. In the fall you are all going to go your separate ways. You might not see each other for months, or even years. Take the time to schedule a week or two with your closest friends and travel to your own paradise. It could be the beach, a city, or even a camping trip in the woods. Bring all the necessities you need and soak up the sun while making memories that will last a lifetime. Once they leave, you won’t have many opportunities to do this again.

Go to a Concert

We all know that music is good for the soul whether it be rock, country, pop, or anything else in the world. Music probably got you through some tough times during your high school career. Take the time this summer to get tickets to you favorite music artist and attend one of their concerts. Take tons of pictures and videos, but mostly live in the moment and enjoy the feeling of singing at the top of your lungs with thousands of other people. You will look back on this day and remember how much fun it brought to your last summer back home.

Go to an Amusement Park

If you’re reading this, there's a good chance that there isn’t an amusement park right down the road, so you don’t get to visit one often. Take a road trip to the nearest one, it will be well worth it. Get over that fear of roller coasters and ride every single ride in the park. Play some carnival games and win that giant stuffed gorilla, even if it takes fifty dollars to do so. After all this fun, finish it off with a nice cold lemonade and a fifteen dollar cheeseburger. Yes, this one might be expensive, but the thrill you will feel going through your body when you’re sitting front row on your favorite coaster will be worth it. Make sure to put your hands up in the air and scream as much as you want meanwhile.

Spend Time With Family

For some people, going to college means going as far away as possible to another state. Sadly, your family will not be able to embark on this journey to adulthood with you. This means you will be away from them for months at a time. Spend as much time as you possibly can with your family this summer. Organize a family reunion to bring everyone together in the same place or have a cookout in your backyard. No matter what, just make sure you make as many memories with them as you can. They will be waiting for you when you come back home.

Go Hiking On Your Favorite Trail

Every state and town is different from one another. One might have mountains, one might have skyscrapers, and one might have sandy beaches. Pick out your favorite trail and go hike it for one last time. Once you reach the top, take the time to just relax and enjoy the scenery. Let the views take your breath away. You can even pack a picnic and bring a friend or your beloved childhood dog along. This might be the last time you see where you grew up for months, so just take the time to enjoy it.

Late Night Bowling

Blacklight bowling + friends + wanting to win = a whole lot of fun. There is something about staying out late with a group of friends until the closest bowling alley closes. This late night bowling trek along with ice cream and a late night sleepover is the best way to start a summer weekend (or in the middle of the week). Plus, the later it gets when you are out bowling, the cheaper it gets as well! Glow in the dark lighting and cheap prices are the way to go especially when you are having a summer on a budget. Make sure to add this fun experience to your summer bucket list.

Take a Chance to Travel

By Rachel Epperly

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If given the opportunity to go across the globe, would you take it? I got the opportunity to travel to Peru in the summer of 2017 and it has changed my whole view on traveling. Traveling to another country was so much different than I imagined it would be, and I learned some key factors that helped my experience go so smoothly in another country.

1. It won’t be as easy as you think.

Peru was a life changing experience, but it was also a workout on our bodies and minds. Peru is filled with high mountaintops and steep slopes to hike. Between the altitude and me not being in the best shape, hiking the mountains were the hardest part of the trip. The mountains of Virginia were nothing compared to the height of these. Just standing on the high mountain tops could make you out of breath.

Don’t be afraid to take your time as you go through these new experiences because you might’ve not been ready for how hard they actually are. Take your time, don’t get discouraged, and keep a good mindset as you go through the trip no matter what obstacles you face.

2. Your tour guide could impact your experience.

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When we got to Peru we had an awesome tour guide named “Jamie” who loved taking us to the best restaurants where we could hear music and have great food. Everywhere we went Jamie went with us with a smile and was enthusiastic throughout the whole trip.

Our tour guide impacted our trip in a positive way by informing and exciting us about the new places we were seeing and going to. With a negative energy during tours and sightseeing, the trip might not be as fun or enjoyable so make sure to read reviews and choose your tour guide wisely.

3. Who you go with could affect the outcome of your trip.

I had a lot of great memories and laughs on the trip because fortunately I got to go with some of my best friends. Even before we left the airport out of Roanoke Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Jones, and Mrs. Williams were all as eager as we were to see and learn about the peruvian cultures and geography.

Surrounding you are people that could impact your trip in a positive or negative way. Some people are more open to trying new things than others. If you get to choose who goes with you on a once in a lifetime trip choose someone that will be outgoing and open to anything that comes your way.

4. Step out of your comfort zone.

One of the main things we did in Peru was hiking. We hiked up the mountain to Machu Picchu, the Incan Trail, and other smaller sites. These hikes were so much higher and unsafe than we realized. One morning, we hiked the Incan Trail. Being only 8 foot wide and thousands of feet up in the air, it was terrifying. Jamie took us through the trails and hand made bridges that the Incan’s used to travel on. We were walking on the 8 foot wide path and just looking at the gorgeous views when we realized how lucky we were that we got to hold a rope so that we didn’t have to share the same unsafe experience as some of them did.

These experiences were definitely not in any of our comfort zones, but they were all well worth the chances and fears we faced. Sometimes you have to break through what you are comfortable with and go out on the limb and try new, heartracing things.

5. The beauty of the new place will be like nothing you have seen before.

Traveling will show you the true beauty of this world like no other. In one of our last days in Peru we took on a sunrise hike to the top of Machu Picchu. After a lot of breaks to sit down and catch our breath we finally made it to the top. At an elevation of 9,000 feet we watched as the sun came over the points of the mountaintops where we were standing. For the first time in that trip our whole group was silent and breath taken by the view around us. As we looked around we all realized just how small we were and how beautiful the earth truly is. Surrounding us were enormous mountains bigger than anything we’d ever seen before, a river cutting through them, and below us a civilization where hundreds of years before was booming with people living their everyday lives. Sitting there in silence to take in the true beauty of nature had to be the best part of the trip.

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By traveling to new places you will get to experience so many new things and cultures that you wouldn’t have before and maybe get the chance to realize the true beauty of the earth. Whether it be going to a city or a mountain top, the views will all be unique in their own ways.

Peru was a once in a lifetime experience full of awesome people, a really sweet tour guide, and breathtaking views. If you get the chance to travel anywhere take it and keep your mind open to the new experiences and opportunities that may come while doing so.

Take a Step Back from Social Media

By Adeline Bisese & Summer Williamson

It pulls you in, it addicts you;  you let it control and dictate your every move. Social media is a rabbit hole of entertainment purely designed to appeal to your esteem and draw you in. It is touted as a superior means of connecting friends and acquaintances, but as the populus’s addiction and obsession to digital media grows, are these platforms really a benefit to our society?

The attraction of social media is rooted in the neurons of the brain. As notifications ding and chime, the brain releases chemicals, most commonly: dopamine, the hormone associated with reward and motivation. Each notification presents the chance to interact, which means every time you oblige a response, dopamine levels in your brain increase and recharge the addictive compulsion. It is far too similar to the philosophical concept of  Pavlov’s dogs. Interacting through social media becomes habitual as the frequency of checking for notifications and browsing through feeds increases.

While social media allows people to perform the vital action of communication and develop personal connections, more and more studies have accumulated evidence that its negative effects outweigh the positive. These platforms have been shown to cause detrimental effects on self-esteem, mood, social connections, memory, sleep, attention span, mental health, and safety. Eventually it leads to lowered self-esteem and the feeling of isolation.

Self-esteem

Social media poses, perhaps, the greatest threat to the self-esteem of its audience. Viewing, and ultimately comparing yourself to the glorified lifestyles and carefully constructed personas of whom you follow creates space for self-doubt which manifests as envy. Comparisons made to these online friends only works to assuage insecurities and develop unreasonable expectations. When self worth is derived from judgements solely made on a few heavily filtered photos selected for aesthetic appeal, you sacrifice happiness and confidence. Abstaining from social media and in the least, consciously monitoring your usage of it, leads to more feelings of satisfaction.

Socialization

While social media was designed to connect people to one another and strengthen communication, it has begun to contradict its original purpose. Communication has become more consistent and nearly instant, but the constant influx of response has become a major distraction. People prefer to socialize through their phones rather than in person, and have tendencies to disregard their surroundings and the people in them.  

Memory

The distraction of the media prevents us from being in the present and forming valuable memories. Often, people find themselves spending excessive amounts of time attempting to capture a perfectly pleasing photo to post rather than truly absorbing what is around them. Upon retrospect, there are mental blind spots and unsatisfying experiences.

Browsing through profiles and into collections of posts from the past can stimulate feelings of nostalgia, but it can also cause negative memories to resurface. Social media allows you to return to periods of your life, but only in the distorted, glorified forms selected to be shared with the world. It can falsely alter how you perceive your life.

Sleep Troubles

Studies have shown that the brain activity social media stimulates has created health issues regarding sleep. Many people have habits of using their phones prior to falling asleep, however, due to the blue light that phones produce, the production of melatonin is suppressed. This inhibits sleep from easily occurring naturally. The best method of resolving this is to avoid the usage of your phone at least half an hour before going to bed.

Attention Span

Along with creating problematic sleeping habits, social media has caused difficulties regarding attention spans. It has opened a chasm of endless distractions so easy to get lost in. Social media provides an infinite surplus of instant information that continually feeds into the temptation to be quickly entertained. If you find that your productivity is being hindered by time spent on social media then silence your notifications, put your phone on airplane mode, or simply turn the device off.

Mental Health

A decrease in mental health has recently been connected to the excessive use of social media. Not only is it linked to unhappiness, but the growth of anxiety and depression as well. Many people experience unhealthy amounts of stress as unsustainable standards and expectations are set by the media. During the month of March, 2018, a survey of 1,000 members of Generation Z reported that 41% experienced depression, anxiety, and sadness due to the use of social media. In a study done by Pew Research Center, it was confirmed that social media, despite its provision of entertainment, induced more stress than it relieved.

Personal Safety

Stalking, cyberbullying, and threats are crimes commonly committed through social media. As people expose more and more elements of their lives on social media, their risk of becoming victims to these unlawful acts has increased. However, crimes such as stalking have often normalized through media. Netflix recently aired a new series You which portrays the stalking of a young woman through the eyes of the stalker. In addition to the growing threat of stalking, cyberbullying is another crime committed through social media. The problem with cyberbullying is knowing when it becomes a legal matter. It is difficult to define when comments turn truly hostile. People tend to allow actions to turn into threats before any legal action is taken.

Another offense carried out through social media platforms is the buying of contraband and illegal services. The dark web has a large list of crimes, but 33% of all of those crimes internet crimes are performed through social media. Of those crimes 50% are against minors. Along with those chilling statistics, a surprising 25% of all Facebook users are under the age of ten. There is a one in four chance of finding a child under the age of ten when using the media platform

Fraud

Acts of fraud are facilitated through social media platforms as well. In a 2011 court case, a judge declared that using another person’s Facebook is considered identity theft. This ruling was given after a teenaged boy logged into a girl’s Facebook account and proceeded to post obscene comments. The boy was sentenced with ninety days to a year in a juvenile detention facility. Due to the ease at which criminals can log into other’s accounts it is not wise to give out personal information such as passwords or usernames to anyone. Along with keeping an eye out for unusual activity on a personal account, precautions should also be taken to eliminate false accounts. If a person creates an account using someone else’s name, it should be reported.

Robbery

Vacation robberies aren’t just from Home Alone. For many people, robbers will steal from them while they vacation. People are being robbed while they are away from home because of their presence on social media platforms. Some social media apps will share your location to everyone on the app. Criminals use the information gathered from online sources to locate homes, places of work, and current locations of people. In fact, the website you are currently viewing this article on tracks the location of your IPN. Because it is easy to locate the origin of servers and other media tracking devices, 78% of burglars use social media to locate potential victims. For this reason, it is important to turn off location when using certain apps and choose the apps allowed to use location wisely.

Final Notes

It is not necessary to totally reject social media and delete all of your accounts, but its effects on your well being should be taken into consideration. If you are experiencing any of the negative consequences above, then it would be best advised to ween yourself from using the platforms for set intervals of time. A small change in your usage of social media could do you much more good than imagined.

Moving Out

By Fallon Bursey

The decision of choosing where you want to live may not be your top priority as of right now, being you’re still in high school. However, it is never too early to start finding out what environment you feel best in, and which one provides you more with your needs.

Living in the country, it is a lot less chaotic than a city, or even a town. The benefits of living in a country, or rural, environment have been thoroughly studied. According to Laura Mueller, studies have shown that rural life is beneficial to your mental, but also physical, health. It is said that a giant portion, 97%, of the land in the United States is rural areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of the 97% or rural lands in America, only about 19% of that rural land is housing the American population. This creates a variety of rural areas to choose from across the country that each will provide you with a copious amount of room and privacy.

Rural areas are known for clean air because there are less, if any, cars and traffic, or factories to clog up the air around you. There are also more trees and grass in rural areas to filter the air. According to Laura Mueller, there is also the possibility of phytochemicals from fungi, plants, and microbes. These phytochemicals are said to improve cells in the body. The pollutants released in the air in the city contain harmful substances from vehicles and factories. Rural living can prevent diseases like asthma, or even heart disease as compared to living in a city, due the pollution differences..

Crime rates are also lower in the rural areas than the cities, or anywhere that's densely populated. According to Laura Mueller, these crimes include assaults, robberies, and thefts. Part of the statistics of lower crime rates in rural areas are due to the fact that there are simply just less people. However, the country is less worrisome over crimes than cities because there’s not many people around to do so.

According to the article by Laura Mueller, rural living also results in better psychological health. Due to the bustling, busy, non-stop environment of cities, residents of cities can feel overwhelmed and stressed, possibly leading to poor mental health.

Life in the country is also much cheaper. This includes housing, insurance, food, and even transportation. However, it may be more beneficial to live in a more urban area depending on your life needs. Someone who might be an interior designer might want to live in more populated areas so their career can flourish more. Those who want to be closer to their work should probably choose the city, due to there being less areas of work in the country.

With the open space of living in rural areas, you have access to organic foods. You could get your produce from farms or your own land. This would save money from the higher priced foods in cities, which are less likely to be “home-grown”. In the city you can’t as easily have your own food sources as compared the country.

Gym access is not as easy in rural areas, however it is still possible. If you aren’t the type to work out on your own property, the gyms are still available to you even in rural areas. While the drive may be linger, it is still an option. Cities provide their residents with short distances from home to gym. However, running is safer in the rural areas, for there is less traffic and people. There is also more ‘natural’ scenery and the air is cleaner.

Going out to eat will take you a longer drive in the rural areas, while living in the city allows walking distance to your favorite places. Suburbs will provide a more halfway distance to go out to eat.

Overall, deciding where to live depends on many factors. Your job location, your career, family needs, your own needs, and more. These two places are completely different from each other and each have their pluses and downfalls. Before deciding where to reside, take into account all possible needs, even the distance to the nearest hospital.