Savvy Sydney

By Sydney Goldenstein

Each year, graduation requirements in schools change little at a time.

The RE-1 Valley Board of Education decided to make some slight revisions to RE-1’s requirements, including decreasing the total amount of credits from 29 to 27 for students enrolling in the ninth grade in the 2016-2017 school years.

Of those 27 credits required, one of the newest classes added was one quarter of Financial Literacy and one quarter of Employment Skills, adding up to half an academic credit.

Financial Literacy enables students to manage savings, investment, and checking accounts, to design and maintain a household budget, to manage personal debt, to understand and select among short term and long term investment options. This class is taught by Mr. Nelson Schroeder.

Employment skills teach students important skills to use in the work force, in applying for jobs, interviews, how to make a resume, and how to compose a formal informational interview. This class is taught by Mrs. Lynn Frank.

“I appreciate that we have the classes because a lot of graduating classes before us wanted them, but I would prefer not having to take them and being able to take electives instead,” said junior Katlyn LaPorte. “A lot of students didn’t really take it seriously, so nothing was really accomplished.”

I’m grateful to be in the junior class, since I got the opportunity to take these courses as actual classes during school hours, rather than doing it on my own time and not having a teacher there to help when a question arises. The seniors were not as fortunate.

Coming into the class, it wasn’t everything I expected it to be. I thought we would learn how to balance checkbooks, spend money and budget. We did go over some of those things, but we watched videos rather than actually practicing it, which was a bummer.

The Financial Literacy unit was interesting to me. We watched a lot of videos of Dave Ramsey giving advice about money management and how to use it wisely. It was cool getting tips on how to become a millionaire, how to invest our money, and how to budget, but I felt like everything we learned from them was more for ideal situations, not so much realistic. I mean, it would be nice to be a millionaire someday; however I wish we received advice for several different situations and how to handle them.

I thought that Employment Skills had some very valuable lessons to offer. We learned how to make up professional resumes and fill out applications the right way. Everything was hands-on and we had a lot of work time to complete everything to our fullest potential.

The best part of having these courses added to our classes this year is the fact that those who passed with an 80 percent or above in each class get to have a junior waiver during second semester.

The class of 2016 is required to take these classes as an independent study. They must complete six units on CollegeinColorado using the Money 101 section, including psychology of money, money management, spending, credit, paying for college, and identity theft. To complete each unit, students must take the end of the unit quiz for the section and score at least an 80 percent on each quiz.

Many seniors are luckily enough to have a senior waiver that can be used to complete the units. The library is also open during enrichment and after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students were also provided an additional three hours on Dec. 4, 2015 in the computer labs to work on their units.

For an independent study, the Personal Financial Literacy course must be completed by Feb. 25, 2016.

Kickin’ It With Katlyn

By Katlyn LaPorte

The definition of cheerleading in the dictionary is “to lead organized cheering, as at sports events.” In my opinion this definition is in need of some revising. Cheerleading is not only a sport to me, but my lifestyle.

Starting on the first day of summer vacation, every single weekday of June, July, and August I attend 6 a.m. morning practice. When school begins, I go to practice every single day after school. A common question I get asked is, “Why do you practice every single day, all you do are cheers.” This is one of the most common misconceptions of cheerleading.

The hardest, yet most rewarding part of cheerleading is stunting. A stunt group is formed by four main components: a flyer-the athlete who is lifted into stunts and pyramids and thrown into basket tosses, two bases-the athletes who lift and hold the flyers in the air, and a back-spot-the leader of each group who gives power and security by holding the flyer’s ankles.

Stunting is something that can be worked day in and day out but can never be completely mastered. This is the sole reason why it is so vital that we practice every single day.

Just like any other sport, cheerleaders compete in competitions. At our high school we compete in two; regionals, and state. Each year we hire a professional choreographer to come and teach us the routine we will be performing for our competitions. We learn this routine starting in July, and we practice every single weekday up until competition time in November and December.

Competitions are the best part of cheer. The nerves literally eat up any cheerleader’s insides before they step out on that mat, but from personal experience I know that once that two minute thirty second routine is over, there is no greater feeling in the world than knowing you gave it everything you had and left your whole heart out there on the mat, no matter the outcome.

Practicing for months and months all leads up to those two and a half minutes that determine the team’s fate. For those two and a half minutes, each and every cheerleader on the team has to go out on that mat, give it their all, hit every stunt solid, and even then the team’s fate is unpredictable, and in the hands of the judges.

Unlike most other sports, we don’t get four quarters, nine innings, three sets, etc. to come back in a game. We get those two and a half minutes to show what we’ve been working on for months. The pressure is undeniable.

I can say from experience that there is no better feeling than winning a competition, going to finals, or hitting every stunt in a routine, but the overall best feeling is knowing that your cheer team is not just your team but your family.

For the rest of my life I will remember the lessons cheerleading has taught me, such as trust, patience, dedication, teamwork and time management. Most importantly, I will never forget all the incredible bonds I have made with my teammates and my coach. They are more than my team but my family.

Now here is my revised definition of cheerleading: “an intense physical sport that takes energy, time, determination, talent, and heart.”

New Year’s Across the World

By Amber Antinora

AmberHow do you celebrate New Year’s? In Western culture, we celebrate by metaphorically cleansing and restarting, ready to take on the year. In China, people don’t necessarily make resolutions and celebration isn’t even in December but it’s just as grand.

Lunar New Year is a long tradition in China, it has been celebrated for over 4,000 years and lasts 15 days each year. Celebrations consist of huge, colorful festivals. Parades with intricate floats, fireworks, dragon and lion dances and other festivities. More casual traditions include cleaning the house, putting out flowers, tangerines, oranges and other symbols of good luck. A large part of Lunar New Year is traveling to be with family. It is predicted that 3.6 billion people will travel around China during celebration period via cars, trains and planes.

Lunar New Year has been celebrated for centuries and mostly focused on the household, ancestors and deities. Sacrifices of food and materials were offered, thorough cleaning and large feasts were the original traditions. In 1912, China adopted the Gregorian, or “western”, calendar, making their official New Year’s Day the same as Americas. Under Mao Zedong’s communist rule, people were not allowed to observe Lunar New Year. In 1996, China re-adopted the holiday and allowed a week-long break. The modernized version is now widely referred to as Spring Festival and doesn’t have as much of a religious influence. The holiday is more about a break from work instead of honoring ancestors and gods. Sometimes guests will present gifts but it’s standard to give two oranges as a sign of good luck. The family buys new clothes for the new year.

Chinese New Year in America is still celebrated by some Chinese Americans and in big cities. Since there is a Chinese population of around 2.7 million people, more casual traditions are observed by some ( visiting family, feasting, cleaning). In places with large “Chinatowns”,- New York, Brooklyn and many others- will have festivals similar to ones in China. The largest Chinatown in America is in San Francisco. Their Spring Festival annually brings in around one million celebrators.

The holiday has it’s own zodiac. 2016 is the year of the monkey. Each has personality predictions, love compatibility, fortune and suspicions. This Lunar New Year, feel free to celebrate and get ready for a prosperous year.

This editorial had the help of Naomi Blakely, an alumni from Sterling High School that was originally from Singapore! She influenced my interest in the holiday and gave me a lot of information.

 

 

New Year’s, New Teams

By Gracie Bacon

It is almost that time of year again where the thought of a new year excites us all. With New Year’s almost around the corner, the aspiration of conducting a new resolution for ourselves to “follow” is an enjoyable tradition. New Year’s can mean multiple things for numerous people. For me, New Year’s means new chances, new changes, and of course new teams. With this being my first year playing varsity came new faces and new talent. Not all of the faces of my teammates were new to me though. Throughout the last four years, I have played with these girls through school volleyball, club volleyball, and summer volleyball.

Within last year’s volleyball team and this year’s volleyball team the stats have changed from 17-10 to 13-14. Even though the stats went down, the relationships made a better and stronger team. Through every new challenge comes a new person prepared to help you succeed and push you towards your highest potential.

Each new season starts off something great. In volleyball, we had eight new players excited to play some varsity ball leading to a road towards a bigger challenge. The six returning varsity players not only pushed all of us to do higher quality work, but also mentored us throughout the season. Their patience and understanding made it possible for us new girls to focus on the main goal and allowed us to make a stronger bond then we thought could occur.

 

Gracie 3

Season of Giving

By Brynn Abernathy

Brynn

If you celebrate Christmas like my family does, then you know that the Christmas season is upon us. Many of our minds are preoccupied with glittering lights, warm fires, Christmas carols, holiday recipes and gift ideas. In the busyness and excitement of the time of year we often forget that many do not have trees decorated in sparkling ornaments, stockings hung from the mantle, piles of neatly wrapped gifts, a holiday feast on the table or even a home to celebrate in. Many go without the simple blessings that so many of us may take for granted or are facing hardships that are unimaginable. However, there are many ways to help the less fortunate this Christmas season and all year round. Christmas is truly about giving and not receiving.

The Salvation Army is a charity often associated with this time of year due to the Santa Clauses ringing bells for donations. The Salvation Army has 7,546 centers across America. During Christmas, the donations in the red kettles go to needy families, seniors and the homeless. According to salvationarmyusa.org, the money donated provides Christmas dinners, clothing and toys for families in need. The charity also works to provide gifts to those in hospitals and nursing homes and homeless shelters across the United States.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is another wonderful charity to support. The donations received by St. Jude ensure that the families of the patients do not have to pay for any treatment if they are not able to. Giving to St. Jude’s helps brighten the Christmas of many brave children fighting unbelievable battles and their families. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does not make families pay for any treatment they receive so donations are what make their work possible.

Local charities are also a great way to shine a light for those in dark times. Many churches and local organizations and businesses have food and toy drives that are very helpful to the needy in our community. The Cooperative Ministries here in Sterling is an organization that you can donate to and volunteer with to make a difference. Angel Trees are also great ways to help out struggling families in our own community.

So this Christmas season, the next time you see Santa ringing a bell give what you can because it is possible to impact those around us for the better. There are so many who go without the things we may see as insignificant. Give not only during the Christmas season, but all year long. Each of us has the opportunity to take what we have been blessed with and to becomes a blessing to others and that is all it takes to shine a light in the darkness no matter what the season.

Holiday Traditions

By Kirsten Hernandez

KirstenThe holiday time is here and it is time to start decorating. Time to string lights,
listen to Christmas music and spend time with family. My family decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. This is a tradition that my family upholds every year.

On the day after Thanksgiving we start out by setting up the tree. Then we string lights and beads around the tree. We decorate the tree with ornaments we have collected. One of the most important to all of us is our baby’s first Christmas ornament. When we have all our ornaments on we add some bows and other bulb ornaments. To top the tree off we add the star. We do some other decorating inside like hanging all of our stockings.

That afternoon we go outside and decorate the house. We string lights all across
the front of our house. We put our blow ups out. We decorate the living room window
with lights and window decals.

That evening after we eat dinner, we make hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie while enjoying family time and our Christmas tree. This family tradition is always upheld and it is something we all enjoy doing as a family. This is a great opportunity to spend time with each other and start the Christmas season out right.