Friday, October 29, 2010

New Year, New Paper

So, this is senior year and my second year on the Eagle Quill staff.
Just a little update: This year I am Co-Editor of the Opinions Section with one of my good friends Tiffany Brookover. The paper has gotten off to a rocky start, but I'm confident we will pick up, the second issue went somewhat better than the first.
I will put the stories from the first and second issue up probably this Sunday (Happy Halloween everyone!)
I am still writing things other than the stuff for the paper and if they have some credit (or if I just really like what I wrote ;), I will put it up.

Thanks and keep reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pursuing artistic path

In the middle of the steady efficiency of the Photography 2 class, senior Ashley Wood picks up a purple colored pencil to practice hand-coloring one of her latest photos. It is one of the many techniques that she has learned in her eight art classes. But she's not stopping there.
So far, Wood has taken: Sculpture, Design, Ceramics 1 and 2, Drawing and Painting 1 and 2, and Photography 1 and 2. Design, ceramics and photography are among her favorite mediums. "Each one has opened up another art form," Wood said.
Although Wood has experienced many different mediums and techniques, she enjoys colored pencils, oil painting and design. "With such vivd colored pencils, I can draw whatever [I am thinking]. It frees my mind."
Her inspiration comes from her Nana. "[One] influence on me is my Nana, she is amazing at art and she has helped me with a lot of it," Wood said. "My Nana is mainly a painter and she likes to do a lot of sewing and quilting. She likes to make purses and crafty things. My Nana and I are very close; she is one of my favorite people in the world, [and] she is always there for me."
With such an extensive art background, it is no wonder that Wood has been accepted to the Rocky Mountain Institute of Art and Design (RMCAD), one of the highest accredited art and design schools in the region.
"The Rocky Mountain Instiute of Art and Design selectively admits students who have a desire to explore new possibilities, work hard to realize their personal best and who are eager to produce original, innovative work," states the RMCAD websssite, It also states that, althougha variety of criteria are used to make admissions decisions, evidence of a student's passion and potential as an artist or designer, are the most important factors.
Wood said that she is looking forward to attending RCAD because, "the teachers are outgoing, the schedules are flexible and I am going to be able to express myself through art there."
RMCAD offers degrees in: Animation, Art Education, Fine Arts, Game Art, Graphic Design and Interactinve Media, Illustration, and Interior Design. Through RMCAD, Wood hopes to pursue a career as a designer while also working with photography on the side.
Wood, along with her Nana, is excited about RMCAD and what she will be able to accomplish there. Wood said, on ehr feelings about art: "Art is beautiful and can be expressed in many ways. Art is the values of life and it only takes and imaginative mind to create wonders."

Students fight with silence

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"There are always rude comments made. I had someone tell my best friend that she shouldn't go to prom with me because he was afraid of everyone thinking she was gay too," junior Kyrie Larsen, who is an open lesbian and student at Eaglecrest, said. "My friend since seventh grade told me that we couldn't hug anymore because she was worried that people would think lower of her."
For Kyrie, and millions of other middle and high school students, this is the case. A sense of bullying has escalated from physical mockery to personal, physical and even sexual attacks on sexuality and lifestyle.
We've al heard the speeches , taken the classes, seen the movies and TV shows that had then made us fear middle school; bullying has been a part of each and every one of our lives. Since first grade, we were told that bullying one another is wrong and that when we see it happening, we need to stop it.
Just because motive has changed doesn't mean that bullying has become permissible; bullying is still wrong and we need to take a stand.
On April 16, approximately 7,500 middle and high school students across the nation did just that. Participating in the National GLSEN Day of Silence, they "spoke out" for those who have been bullied or are afraid of expressing themselves because of their sexuality.
The Day of Silence was put on by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which is focused on creating safe learning environments for LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) students. GLSEN reports annually on school climate for LGBT students; the 2007 national School Climate Survey reported: "9 our of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school."
The survey also found that 30 percent of respondents report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. That is a startling number of students mission out on their education because they fear what might happen in a place where safety is supposed to be top priority.
For Kyrie, however, she is proud of who she is. "Being an openly flamboyant teenage lesbian is quite an exhilarating high school experience." In a narrative Larsen wrote for her English class, which is published on her blog at, she said, "If given the choice, I would never have been in the closet for any amount of time."
Yet, for many students struggling with their sexuality, the threat is still prominent. Many of their "scare speeches" include the cases of Matthew Shepard and Larry King, two students who were harassed and killed due to discrimination against their sexual orientation.
The time to step in and speak out for all of those forced into silence out of fear for their safety at school, is now. Whether you are straight, gay, bisexual, travsgender, or questioning, no one should be forced to hide who they truly are.
The Gay/Straight Alliance at Eaglecrest is in the process of organizing an LGBT Day of Silence for Eaglecrest exclusively.
We as a student body need to realize that we are all different. each student believes something different, loves something, or someone different, and unless we realize this now, students will have a rude awakening in the world ouside of high school, where there are four times as many people who believe different things than we do.
It's time to make peace with people we see every day before we lose ourselves trying to change every single person who is different from ourselves in beliefs, as well as lifestyles. If we don't, Kyrie and thousands of other LGBT students will be harassed, bullied and isolated from high school. It's time to take a stand and "speak out" for those who have been forced into silence by the cruel hand of fear.

Facebook deemed useful for protests

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You log on to Facebook. There's a new notification awaiting you in a red number on the tool bar above the page. You click on the tab, and find that one of your friends has referred you to a page they think you would like. You click, and join.
This was the process for millions of members who joined Kameron Martinez's Facebook group.
Martinez, who is currently a freshman at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, created a group on Facebook to help generate excitement about hiscause. Martinez was an a quest: to couonter-protest the Westboro Babtist Church (commonly known for their extreme hatred of gays and lesbians) as they traveled through the Denver Metro area, preaching their beliefs.
Martinez created the group one night, and woke up the next morning to 50 members- 50 members soon grew into 300, which soon grew into more that 4,500 passionate protestors, ready to show Westboro how they felt about their ideals.
Martinez and the rest of the protestors, who came together on Facebook, met the church at each of their 15 sites to counter-protest. The church was outnumbered in supporters at every site.
Facebook was an essential tool in the organization and effectiveness of this protest.
"It was a beautiful thing to raise awareness and support. Before the group was started, most of the current members did not even know what WBC was," Martinez said. "I am glad they are now informed and that so many of them became passionate about counter-protesting and took the initiative to really get involved and take information from the group."
Although many feel that society has become too dependent on technology, the advancement of it cannot only make our lives easier, but more effective in make a difference.
Facebook is a networking site, which means that, no matter what the cause, those seeking to raise awareness have the capapbility to reach numerous people who feel the same way- Facebook is a worldwide phenomenon.
"Facebook was extremely affective when it came to these counter-protests," Martinez said. "Most of the people at the counter-protests were there because they or someone they knew was part of the Facebook group I created."
Most importantly, Facebook helps create a place where like-minded people can "gather" to talk about beliefs, raise points of view and, ultimately, make an impact. Because of the freedom Facebook offers to its users, people who want to raise awareness about their cause can describe, update and preach about their group. They can inform people of the opposing viewpoint (Westboro), organize events to take online discussions out on events to take online discussions out and into society (counter-protests) and make an impact in their society.
"I don't like to say that I made a difference over the past three days, I like to say that we made a difference. Colorado really came together and supported diversity, peace and acceptance," Martinez said.
And it all couldn't have happened with Facebook or the technology that we have today.

Arizona dust storms contaminate rain, dirt covers neighborhoods

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April showers are supposed to be refreshing and a sure sign of spring. However, the past few showers we've had, have been contaminated with dirt that then sticks to car windows, mailboxes and even flower petals.
Many may unjustly blame the volcano that eruped in Iceland, as reports of unsettled ash keep rolling in. However, experts say that it is unlikely that the dust traveled that great of a distance because winnd patterns prove that the dust would've likely gone out of the rain clouds.
According to University of Colorado Geology Professor Jason Neff, in an interview with 9News, "The winds roll across the desert, and the dust gets picked up and sort of surfs along right behind that storm. When it rains, or snows, then that dust falls out of the atmosphere on to you windshield."
Experts have also reported that there are more benefits to these mud showers, than there are downfalls.
The dust in the rain is good for our lawns. Colorado's richest soils originate from dust, and tis dust actually fertilizes our soil. With gardening season coming up soon, the lawns and rich soils will be ready for cultivation.
The muddy precipitation is also helping clean the air we breathe everyday.
According to Deputy Director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, Mike Silverstein, in an interview for CBS 4 News, "The rain acts as a cleansing of the atmosphere, so that's a good thing."
However, there are some cons to this "dirt rain."
The dirt is not good for your car. Many have been worried about the coating of dust, contaminating and damaging the paint and windows. Whether you go to a car wash, or wash it yourself, it is best to get your car clean as soon as possible after one of these mud showers.
Neff advises that to clean off your car, it is best not to scrub the car because some of the soil particles are abrasive and they can scratch off the paint on your car. Instead, he advises that you take a hose to the car, or go through the automatic car wash.
Experts say that these dirt rain showers usually happen only two or three times a year. So, if you wake up to another brown windshield or mud-coated car, remember to wash it off as soon as possible to avoid any scratches, chips or erosion.

Pictures taken for fresman varsity spotlight

Freshman Jamie Griffin's father has been her main coach so far, but she is looking forward to improving her game with the help of coach Ron Paolucci and assistant coach Bonnie Zadigan. Griffin played in Varsity's first game at Lone Tree Golf Course, where she scored 91.
"It was intimidating, but it was a good experience," Griffin said. At the last Varsity tournament, held at Spring Hill Golf Course, Griffin scored an 84, where par, the number of shots that you should score, is 64. Griffin is looking forward to playing in more tournaments, as well as improving her game and strategies.

Small winter guard steps up to compete

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"5 and 6, and 5,6,7,8," the flutter of flags sounds in the gym as everyone counts out their twists, twirls and throws. The small team of eight practiced their routine to the music of Lady Gaga that plays from a small radio on the far side of their half of the gym. The mat lies on the floor along with the other flags they may use today. They practice the first eight counts, and then they practice them again. As they continue, one girl attempts a throw of a flag. she barely retrieves it. There is a squeal and a jump, as she celebrates her first catch. This is Winter Guard.
Winter Guard is a dance team that performs with the marching bband in the fall season, but is on their own in the winter. The equipment: flags of all different colors made up of "the pole, silk and crutch-tips." The music: "Imagine" by John Lennon and sung by Avril Lavign. The space: half of the East Gym. The task: perfect the routine.
"[Winter Guard] is a lot of hours and technique work," junior Esther Shufutinsky said. "It is a lot of ballet, dance, unison and staying on count."
Winter Guard is made up of eight members, one of who, Peggy Holm, is in eighth grade at Thunder Ridge Middle School. "I came to watch my sister and fell into the team," Holm, sophomore Ashleigh Holm's younger sister, said.
For some, the attraction is the routines, for others it is the music, but for junior Liz Goranson, it was the combination of both that drew her to Guard. "The moment I picked up a flag, I fell in love," Goranson said. "I was able to combine my love of music and dance, and it gave me a feeling of accomplishment. It's the best feeling in the world."
The team says it is upsetting and frustrating having such a small guard, but with encouragment from Director Devin Stevens and Assistant Director Seth Dean, they are confident that they have the potential to advance in their class. As a team, Winter Guard said, "Even though we have a small guard we can still be awesome."
The Guard's current routine uses three flags and is performed to the song "Imagine." "[With this routine], we are trying to convey a sense of peace around the world," said Shufutinsky.
They performed this routine Saturday, Mach 27 at the Finals competition.
Despite taking seventh out of seven teams at Finals, Winter Guard is determined to make it to the top level of this trying sport, and they are confident that all of their late-night practices, determination, and passion will help them on their way.
And that one completed catch was just the beginning.

Sophomore captain leads young girls' varsity soccer team

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It's not just strapping on those pads and cleats every February, and heading on to the field at game time. It's not just lying around through the winter, and coming out to win every game, without doing a single push up or lap around the thir floor during bad weather. Girls' soccer is a year-round commitment.
"[Soccer] isn't just a one-season sport,"coach Greg Watts said. "Girls are dedicated outside of school as well." Watts is coaching the varsity team and thinks they have the potential to go as far as the play-offs with a current standing of 5-2 and 1.
This is the team's first year with multiple freshmen on varsity; there are six freshmen on the roster, of which two are starting players.
"That is where the talent was," Watts said. "It is a young team, and we're trying to build for the future."
There are, however, some disadvantages to having such a young team. Freshmen do not have as much experience at the high school level of competition as some of the juniors and seniors.
"Experience makes a big difference," Watts said. "However, they have nothing to lose."
The team is also yount in terms of leadership. The captain, sophomore Melissa Westhoff, is already being looked at by division-1 colleges.
"She is very committed," Watts said. "She's not scared to get in people's faces, and she performs in the classroom as well as the field."
Having a young team has not caused any problems so far.
"At the beginning of the season, the expectations of the girls were clearly laid out and they have done well in keeping up," Watts said.

"Old Magic" bewitches readers

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"Harry Potter," "Bewitched" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch;" witches and witchcraft have become very prominent in today's pop culture as a part of our imagination, Halloween, and our dreams of making things happen exactly the way we want them to.
And the newest addition to this influx in our obsession with magic is Old Magic by Marianne Curley. It is the story of a girl, Kate, with extraordinary powers to feel the emotions and thoughts of anyone around her. Shee meets her match in Jarrod, a new comer, with extremely bad luck and his own hidden talents. When Jarrod's power spirals out of control one day in science class, their relationship soon escalates to jealousy, dangerous adventures, medieval battles and romance.
However, is there any truth to it?
Wicca is an earth or nature based religion that deals with the elements (earth, air, water, fire and spirit), and channeling positive energy into everything you do. Wicca also deals with all of the things we see in these modern interpretations: chanting, spells, being known as witches and the Craft.
"I researched... [the] history of witches, their current lifestyle and religion; spells, including creating and casting," Curley said about the research she conducted for Old Magic.
A normal Wiccan ritual includes: chanting, meditation, praying, candles and, depending on the type of ritual, herbs and other tools for spells.
There are some striking resemblances between Wiccan and the book Old Magic.
Curley writes about cleansing spells, which Kate actually performs on Jarrod to rid him of a curse that is haunting his family. In Wicca, when practicing with tools such as amulets or other materials, you must cleanse them to rid them of any past energy. The two rituals are very different; however, they were both designed to rid the objects of any negative energy, or curses in Jarrod's case.
Also, later in the story, when Kate's grandmother Jillian is performing a spell on them, she casts a circle that is marked by one hundred candles. As Kate and Jarrod enter the circle, they may only enter through a certain part of the circle. This is the case in most Wiccan rituals. A circle is cast to create a confine of healing energy until it is released. According to, candles are usually placed around the circumference of the circle and are usually oriented to the four cardinal directions. People who must enter or leave the circle during rigual must enter or exit through a specified passage or break in the circle in order to not disturb the energy in the circle.
However, there is a point in the book where religious rituals end and fantastic imaginings begin. In the beginning, when Jarrod's powers spin out of control, his emotions control the weather around him, which we all know would be cool, is ultimately pure fantasy. Also at the climax of the novel, we see an element of time travel through magic, which also adds that element of fantasy.
"It's important to know the difference between fiction and non-fiction, and I believe most people do," Curley said of Old Magic. "It's a made-up story meant to feed the imaginations of readers, to entertain and give people time out from their everyday lives and everyday problems."
Old Magic has just the right amound of reality and fantasy to balance out the story of Kate and Jarrod. The book has all of the appeal of Harry Potter fantasy, the almost-Twilight-style romance, the medieval, "magical" history, and the ultimate journey through the darkest of times to self awareness and discovery.

Education should not be subject to sexual orientation

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"Glossing over our differences on essential matters, and pretending that crucial issues are irrelevant, is not tolerance," said the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School on his blog (
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School recently disallowed a child from readmitting to the school because his/her parents are lesbians.
The Archdiocese was quoted as saying that the parents' sexual preference went against the school's beliefs and teachings.
However, is it right to discriminate against a child due to his or her parents' lifestyle? Religious discrimination against LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) members has been going on for centuries, sometimes escalating to a point of violence and killing. Now, this prejudice has come to a point of hurting people who are close to them.
Sacred Heart needs to realize that the child who is trying to attend the school and follow the Catholic faith, is almost entirely separate from his or her parents and he/she himself is not violating the rules.
And as if open discrimination against LGBTs wasn't enough, depriving a child because of what his/her parents believe, is crossing the line.
I agree that if a religion teaches that something is "wrong," then let people believe that. However, when it comes to the point of deprivation of something as crucial as education, that is when religion needs to take a rest on its preaching.
Granted, as stated on the parish's blog, "If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad."
However, why wouldn't the school jump at the chance to teach a child who lives in this kind of environment? It is a chance for the church to "turn him the right way," "teach him the will of God..." help him see the light.
Yes, the parents probably knew the feel Catholic doctrine sends toward gay couples. however, that teaching should not diminish the desire to follow a certain faith. Yes, maybe he/she will be taught that the way his parents live is "wrong," and yes, maybe he/she will grow up in the mindset that homosexuality is "wrong." But, isn't it better that the child is exposed to different views and ideas?
We, as a collective American people, complain about the close-mindedness of the people around us. Yet, when an opportunity such as this arises, an opportunity for a child living in the midst of contradictions to experience both sides of the story, we shun it. This unique situation has provided us with an opportunity to raise an open-minded person- a person who is Catholic, but accepts the things that his faith cannot. And as they continue to grow and learn about the world, they will then see that, it may be against the will of God, but if their parents are happy, and they are not hurting anyone, then maybe, it is okay.
Maybe mommy loving mommy isn't the end of the world.
As the parish said, "Glossing over differences... is not tolerance." However, realizing that there are different people in the world, who lead different lifestyles, and believe different things, is.

Juniors opt for early graduation

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You stand, holding your breath, along with all of the others. Clad in cap and gown, they announce the graduating class of 2010, and you walk out into the cavernous auditorium. Some juniors will be joining senionr for the big day: graduation.
A few juniors have considered classes, requirements and futures to get to this moment, and will be walking out into that auditorium to graduate early.
Nathan Wright is one such junior.
"I have decided to graduate early because I want to pursue my dream of becoming an English teacher in Holland, and graduating early will allow me to adapt to the culture and language of Holland," Wright said.
Students may decide to graduate for a variety of reasons, whether it's due to programs, such as cosmetology, schools such as the Center of Technical Education, or family reasons.
However, it may be harder to get into college if you choose the early-grad path.
"Ultimately colleges want to see that you've finished your four years of high school, and unless you have some extenuating circumstances, you have to consider what will be beneficial to you in the end," said counselor Jennifer Johnson, who also works in the College and Careers Center.
For some the decision to graduate early comes easy and those students go on to college and jobs as usual; the only difference is that they are younger, and they are achieving what they set out to do.
This was the case for Wright. "I was a freshman at the time so it seemed so cliche to graduate in four years, when it can really be done in three," Wright said.
For those who graduate early, there is no doubt that they will miss out on all of the fun of senior year.
"[Those who graduate early] miss out on the social aspect of senior year, because everything fun happens second sememster," Johnson said.
According to Johnson, students may also struggle later when they enter college; they may struggle with a college-level math course, because they missed that year of math in high school. Students, depending on how early they plan, may also miss out on a college due to requirements that they didn't get before they left high school.
Students have to consider the social, academic and personal aspects, as well as if they are prepared to live on their own and ready to accept all of the responsibilities of the real world. If you are considering early graduation, first ask yourself this: are you ready for college and all of the responsibility that comes with being on your own, a whole year earlier?
You should also talk to parents, counselors, teachers and the College and Careers Center for advice. Before you made any decisions about early graduation, get advice and make a plan for the future you want to see yourself in; whether you want to work, go into the military, or go to college, options are out there.
"After graduation, I plan to get my teaching degree in English as well as my masters... and move to Zwijnrecht, South Holland," Wright said.
Basically, when you think about that cap, gown and auditorium in your distant, or near, future, it all comes down to one question: are you ready for life after high school?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Diversity in Eaglecrest

A brave little African American girl marched her way through crowds of angry and distraught white parents who shouted despicable things at her on November 14, 1960. Guarded by U.S. Marshalls, her head held high, this six year old walked through it all on her way to her first day of school. Ruby Bridges was one of the first African American students to be integrated in to a “white” school. Diversity in schools was put into motion that November 14th.
Today, there is no longer just black and white. There is African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Indian, Iraqi, Asian, and so much more. High school has become its own melting pot, and Eaglecrest is certainly no exception.
“There’s so much diversity at Eaglecrest, it gets rid of racial issues for me and I can just hang out with people,” junior Rebecca Richardson said.
In the 2008-2009 school year, there was 0.6 percent Native American students, 7.9 percent Asian American students, 19 percent African American students, 13.4 percent Hispanic American students, and 59.2 percent Caucasian students that made up Eaglecrest, with the exception of many other different cultures and races that contribute to its student body.
However, today, diversity is all about the way you define yourself.
Senior Gurpreet Kaur, who defines herself as Indian, said, “We have a lot of different cultures and races at Eaglecrest and I think it helps the students because it teaches us about many cultures and gives us a preview of the real world.”
The majority of students feel that Eaglecrest does not have any racial problems or apparent division between races. Prejudice is not the problem; however, stereotyping may be. Everyone has been subject to stereotyping whether it was dependent on race or not. Despite her complete acceptance, Kaur said, “People should realize that not all Indians speak with thick accents. I don’t think I do.”
Junior Heidi Kim, who defines herself as Asian, said, “All Asian languages do not sound the same, and just because we’re Asian doesn’t mean we’re good at school.” Kim also stated, “The Koreans here are from SOUTH Korea and not North, so we’re not going to bomb you.”
Kim, who came to the United States from Korea, didn’t have as hard of a time as Ruby did, but it was frightening at the same; “I saw white people everywhere,” Kim said. “I had a lot of trouble understanding and my eyes kept wandering. I remember keeping my head down as low as possible. It’s scary to think of transferring schools, especially when you’re new to the language itself.”
Despite division and stereotyping, only good things can come from having a school as diverse as Eaglecrest. “Without the amount of diversity [at EHS], our students wouldn’t feel as comfortable,” junior Taylor Brown said. And, let’s face it, if students aren’t comfortable, they’re not going to excel as well as they could.
Things have definitely improved since the time of Ruby Bridges, we’ve mixed more cultures into our melting pot, and with this, Eaglecrest has nowhere to go but up.