Pi day

Story by: Baylie Clevenger, Managing Editor
Photos by: Zoe Jenkins, staff photographer

Pi Day

On March 7, the math classes of Mt. Vernon High School joined together for what is known in the math community as Pi Day. Pi Day is 3/14 and all of the math classes throughout the day with the exception of business math get together in the main gym for fun math related activities. It was held on March 7 because students will be out for Spring Break on the fourteenth.

Some of the activities included solving math problems for the chance to throw a pie at a teacher and “Pi Story” where students use words with the same number of letters as the numbers in pi. More examples include calculating the circumference of a basketball in “Sports Center” and corn hole in which students calculate the parabolic arch at which the projectile will travel before throwing it.

This is the third year that students have enjoyed Pi Day and it has been a success every year.

Pi Day 2

Band wins big at ISSMA

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photos by: Jennifer McGowen

Band ISSMA

The Mount Vernon High School band performed at Indiana State School Music Association, or ISSMA, on February 27. More than half of the band received a gold medal for their excellent performance.

Mr. Ellinger, the band director, was extremely proud of the band and explained how proud of the band he is for their performances at solo and ensemble.

“This is the only competition of the year where students prepare the music themselves,” Mr. Ellinger said. “While I provide some, very little, class time for this, soloists and small ensembles rehearse on their own time. So many students making it to state finals and receiving gold ratings is a testament to their talent and passion for music.”

band ISSMA medalsStudents work hard to prepare and perform at Solo and Ensemble.

“Students chose their own music with my guidance and approval,” Mr. Ellinger said. “To make it to state finals, students must select from a require list of repertoire to perform. This music is essentially the same you would perform to audition at a university’s School of Music if you were to pursue a music degree.

“About half of the students earning gold ratings at state finals were freshman and sophomores,” Mr. Ellinger continued.  “Knowing that so many freshman and sophomores are earning gold ratings at state finals on music typically reserved for seniors is a great accomplishment for Mt. Vernon.”

The band will work towards future events and to improve for competitions and performances. Band is a class with extracurricular performances that happens all year long and there is no off-season.

The band has a concert band competition on April 23, and this competition involves the entire band, not just solo and ensemble groups.

The wonderful members of Mt. Vernon

Story by: Sydney Shurman, Reviews Editor
Photo by: Sameul Jobe, staff photographer

new teachers.jpg

Mt. Vernon has many amazing, highly-skilled staff and faculty members who go out of their way to provide a great education and learning environment for students. However, some may not be as well known as others.

Working in a high school is no easy task, so it is important to shed some light and recognition on the newer or lesser-known members of MVHS.

The technology department is a very specific part of our school because it caters to a particular group of students and does not include any required classes. Mrs. Bravard-Johnson does some truly amazing projects with her students that are engaging and personal. Some projects include programming robots, superhero website assignments, and animated music videos. The overall favorite seems to be the Commencement Program, which is also referred to as senior memory books. They are essentially what the name implies: scrapbooks full of seniors’ favorite memories and photos.

“Since each year this project reached not just every Mt. Vernon graduate, but impacted their families as well, it is difficult to not call it the most loved project,” said Mrs. Bravard-Johnson.

Aside from teachers, there are other staff members at Mt. Vernon who are not usually recognized, like the custodians. They work behind the scenes to keep the school clean and running, which is one of the most important jobs. Since the custodians are not often visible, many students are likely to forget about all of the hard work they do, and it is important to give them the credit they deserve.

“I’ve been helping for a while here,” said Crystal Doll, a substitute custodian. “My favorite part is mopping the floors and taking the trash out. We use a technique where we put a hole in the trash bag to prevent it from bubbling. I live close by, so I always love coming here when I get the chance.”

A new addition this year is Ms. Naum. She works in the guidance department as an intern. Ms. Naum has been especially helpful to seniors, sending out emails and taking care of important college-related duties like scholarships. With graduation approaching, this is an imperative role in seniors’ lives, and she always does her job with a smile.

Every staff member puts in far more effort than the average student sees, so taking the time to show appreciation is important. The amazing members of our school deserve all the credit they receive and more.

The Force Awakens lots of theories

Story and Photos by: Dakota Fisher, Sports Editor.

Star Wars.jpg

With a booming franchise such as “Star Wars,” fan theories run amok and since the release of Episode VII, minds of fans, myself alike, have many theories.

My Theory

While I am not necessarily a “Star Wars” expert, I have seen all seven movies far more times than I would like to admit. What I will admit is that after the first time seeing “The Force Awakens” my mind was reeling, so naturally I saw it three more times and solidified my very own fan theory.

My theory is more of a combination of several different theories with a little twist of my own. I think that yes, Rey is Luke’s daughter, and here is why: When we, the audience, are shown Rey being left on Jakku in a flashback, she is wearing the traditional clothing of a Jedi Warrior. I believe that after Rey was born, she was enrolled in the New Jedi training that her father, Luke, created. Rey’s force abilities are so strong, there is absolutely no way that they just developed with no prior training.

It is also probable that Rey and Kylo Ren knew/know each other. Han tells the audience that Ren, his son, was part of the New Jedi and that he lashed out and murdered all of the padawans, resulting in the end of Luke’s New Jedi and pushed Luke into seclusion. It is my belief that In the midst of Kylo murdering everyone, Luke saved his daughter by putting her on a ship, wiping her memory, and sending her somewhere she could not be found.

In the battle between Kylo Ren and Rey, there were many opportunities for Ren to kill Rey but he did not, leading me to believe that he a) knows Rey and thinks she is the one who is supposed to restore balance to the force, much like how Anakin was supposed to restore balance to the force, which sure worked out well for him, and b) knew that if he killed Rey, the revolution would die.

Now, you may be asking, “But why would the bad guy want the good guy to live?” and the answer is actually not as confusing as it may seem. Kylo Ren is a bad guy. There is no denying that fact, but I think there is a reason. I think that Ren is playing an angle and trying to take down the first order, much like Anakin was playing both sides, working with Palpatine and the Jedi council, I think Ren is doing the same thing, just on a much larger scale.

“I know what I have to do; I just don’t have the strength to do it,” Ren told his father before that most fateful death of the fearless Han Solo.

I think that was true, but I do not think Kylo killed his father. I think Han pressed the button on Kylo’s saber (sword?) and killed himself.

“But why would he do that?” you may also be asking, but again, I can totally justify your speculation.

I think everyone knew that the only way to take down the First Order was to do so from within and since Ren had a call toward the Dark side, who better to do it? But as we can all see, that backfired. I think Ren wants to be a good person but he cannot because the call from the Dark side is so strong. He knows what he has to do and knows that he has to take down the First Order, but not only does he have to do so in secret, he also has to maintain his bad guy facade. I think Han killed himself because it was what Kylo had to do to prove his loyalty to the First Order.

I am sure there are a million holes in my theory and there is no way I am completely right, but I have a lot of faith in my theory (and the force) and I cannot wait so see what Episode VIII brings.

Star Wars 2Other popular internet theories:

Rey is Luke’s Daughter.

Possibly the most common, Star Wars fans have had a field day with this theory. Many people speculate that she is the daughter of Jedi master, Luke Skywalker, and believe that he fell in love with someone after the “Return of the Jedi.” There are also very obvious parallels between the storyline of Rey and Luke. Both were abandoned on a planet without their parents, both are led by droids to serve a higher cause, and most importantly, both are one with the force. Many argue that it is impossible for Luke to have had a child, but is it really? While it is against the Jedi code to have a family of any kind, Anakin married and had children with Padme Amidala,though we see how well that worked out, so there is defiantely a possibility that after “Return of the Jedi,” Luke Skywalker finally settled down.

Rey is Han and Leia’s Daughter.

While possible, this theory is one I’ve had some trouble grasping. Though Leia is the daughter of a Jedi- turned Sith-master, there is no way the force would be that strong in the offspring of a non-Jedi, making it hard to fathom Rey being her daughter. Not to mention, if she was her mother, then where was the motherly affection? Not once do Han or Leia show any sort of affection towards Rey apart from the ending when Leia hugs Rey after her return from StarKiller Base. If they were mother and daughter, wouldn’t Leia and Han have been far more excited to see their only daughter after so many years?

Fuller House

Story by: Claire Dorsch, Features Editor

The house down the street just got fuller, ladies and gentleman, because the American sitcom “Full House” is back with a twist.

DJ Tanner-Fuller was, at the end of the original series, only 18 and graduating high school. In the revival, she is a 40 year-old widow and mother of three. Her kids become too much to handle on her own, so she invites her sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy to live with her, just as her father had done in the original series.

The setting has not changed and the tall white and grey house with the red door is shown in the trailer, which shows the famous Golden Gate Bridge and the green lawn across the street from her house. The audience gets to see the kitchen and the living room with so much detail that was not in the original series. A puppy is scratching at a door when it hears the voices of the old cast, even one of Joey Gladstone’s catchphrases, “Cut. It. Out.”

Most of the original cast will be shown in all 13 episodes of the Netflix series, except for Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, which means no Michelle Tanner.

Nevertheless, the cast will be coming back better and ever with John Stamos, who played Uncle Jesse, as an executive producer.

There is much promise with the new series, which will be released on Netflix on February 26, which is just around the bend. Don’t forget to catch it when it released and see just how much fuller this house has become.

Hunter Lenk helps the homeless

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photo by: Caty McGovern, staff photographer

Hunter Lenk

Homelessness is a huge issue in the Indianapolis area, and Hunter Lenk is finding a creative way to solve this problem.

Hunter Lenk is a student from Mount Comfort Elementary school trying to make a difference in his community. He has been collecting blankets for the homeless and is bringing them down to the homeless at the end of the month. Hunter and his family have created a non-profit organization that is called ¨Hunters Hugs.¨ This is where Hunter collects any blankets, from adult to children, and donates them to the homeless.

There have already been over 125 blankets collected, and after donating them to the homeless, the remaining blankets will be donated to Wheeler Mission, an organization that helps the homeless and hungry in Indianapolis.

According to Hunter´s mother, Jordan Kiser, ¨Social media through Facebook this year has been tremendous this year. We met a lady from Anderson who donated 25 blankets.¨

Hunter came up with this idea last year with his step-mother because he wanted to make a difference in his community, and wanted to be known for giving.

He said, ¨When we’re all cold, they have to be really cold.¨

When he wanted to help the homeless, Hunter put his mind to work. He wanted to help and he knew that when we are cold we have a way to become warmer, the homeless did not have any solution for cold winters. He wanted to create a solution for them that solved their issue and helped them to be warm when the weather is cold.

This organization was started in December 2015 and has already grown very quickly. Now, Hunter is not only a student from elementary school, but a kid who has made dreams come true and created a solution for a huge problem in the Indianapolis area.

Next year, Hunter and his family hope to include not only blankets, but hats and gloves as well.

Cost of college is too high

Story by: Sydney Shurman, Reviews Editor
Photos by: Zoe Jenkins, staff photographer

college money

Across the U.S., applying for scholarships and student loans has become almost as big a tradition as Christmas. As a freshman in high school, college seems like an exciting but faraway wonder. Then, as graduation grows nearer, it begins to seem less exciting and a more stressful.

It is true that college is an exciting time, but it is also a time to learn information that will be vital to whatever career a person chooses. Whether someone wants to be a doctor, accountant, journalist or architect, their job is going to be important to society. However, none of those people got to where they are now without earning a degree.

While not everyone opts to go to college, it is becoming increasingly harder to find a job without having a college degree. So why are the costs of going to college rising?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 20.2 million people were expected to go to college in the fall this year, which is 4.9 million more than in 2000. Since so many people now go to college, it has become commonplace. Despite this, people are paying a fancy price for a commodity.

In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a ‘moderate’ college budget for an in-state public college for the 2015–2016 academic year averaged $24,061,” said collegedata.com. “A moderate budget at a private college averaged $47,831.”

cost of collegeJust 10 years ago, the average cost of a public university was $10,454. A private university was $26,908. The cost of college has gone up more than the cost of inflation. Yet these prices are looked at as normal.

USA today reported that the national student loan debt as of April 8th of this year was 1.2 trillion dollars. Across the U.S., Americans fresh out of college are paying those fees. Wealthy people who can afford to be in debt are not the ones having to deal with that. Average people who just wanted an education and do not even have a steady job yet are the ones bearing that burden.

Some people may argue that because higher education is such a valuable tool, it has to be so expensive. After all, professors have to be paid and there are costs of running a university. The U.S. has many great universities too, with 51 total universities on the top 100 list. However, this is relative to size. There are 2,618 colleges in the United States, only counting traditional 4-year programs.

Knowing this, some statistics courtesy of Business Insider may surprise some people.

The Netherlands has four universities on the list of top 100 universities around the world, and the average income is just over $28,000. This number refers to an average of every known income throughout the country, from people of all financial backgrounds. The typical cost of going to college there is $3,125 a year.

Germany takes it down quite a few notches, with the average cost of college being $933 a year. Just like the Netherlands, they have 4 universities on the top 100 list, with their highest-ranked university being placed at number 45. Even better, Germany recently passed a law saying that all American citizens get to study for free at any German university.

Finally, at an almost unfathomable price, Sweden’s average university cost per year is $600, with their average income being almost $21,000. Their highest ranking university places 32 on the top 100 list, and they have a total of 3 altogether.

“We pay way too much money for something that we’re not getting a good enough education in,” said Anna Grafton, 12. “On the one hand it’s kind of understandable, but on the other hand it’s just kind of ridiculous.”

The lesson to be learned here is that college does not have to be ridiculously expensive to be reputable, and it will always baffle me as to why college in the United States is so unnecessarily expensive.

Christmas traditions

Story by: Sydney Shurman, Reviews Editor
Photos by: Elizabeth Miller, staff photographer

Christmas treeOn Christmas morning, many children across America wake up early, eager to see which presents they have received from good old Saint Nick. What about other children who celebrate Christmas, though? What are they eagerly awaiting on Christmas morning, if anything?

Not every child pictures a jolly man in a red suit climbing down a chimney at night to deliver presents. On the flip side, some do not dread receiving coal in their stockings either. In fact, coal may seem like a pretty awful gift to receive, but punishments in other countries can be quite a bit worse.

For example, some children believe in a horned beast called Krampus, who is now becoming more well-known in America in light of the recent movie. The legend originated in Germany, but over the years has become popular in all of the Alpine countries. Krampus is a sort of anti-Santa, who instead of bringing a sack full of toys, stuffs bad children into a sack to take them away. He also carries birch sticks in order to swat at the misbehaving kids.

Greece also has some rather strange Christmas lore. According to their legends, there are goblins that live underground and saw away at the World Tree all year, which will eventually collapse and destroy the world. However, on Christmas, they forget all of their plans and come up to the surface in order to terrorize people. When Christmas is over, they return to their home to begin their mission again, creating an endless cycle.

On a more positive note, there are many festive and fun winter traditions too. St. Lucia is a festival of sorts which involves the oldest daughter in a household performing several simple but meaningful duties. She wears a white dress, red sash, and a crown made of twigs and nine candles. Then, she wakes up her family members and they eat breakfast in a candlelit room. Later, all of the people gather to have a parade with torches. At the end of the parade they all throw the torches onto a pile of hay to create a bonfire. St. Lucia originated in Sweden but is now celebrated in all of the Scandinavian countries.

Australians really mix it up by celebrating Christmas in the middle of their summer. People will even go to the beach or have a barbeque, in typical Australian fashion. Otherwise, the celebration is fairly similar to American traditions, with family gatherings, gift exchanges, and a nice meal.

Even within our own borders there is a wide variety of ways to celebrate Christmas. Some people opt out of putting up a Christmas tree, others go out to eat instead of cooking, the possibilities are endless.

holidays“We celebrate Chanukkah, which is a combination of Christmas and Hanukkah,” said Hailey Patton. “We celebrate it because my grandpa is Jewish, and the rest of our family celebrates Christmas, so for him we combined it and made it Channukkah. We still do the lighting of the candles on the Menorah and then we get ‘gelt,’ which is money, every night of Hanukkah. Then we also celebrate Christmas, but with an added Hanukkah gift to it.”

It may seem cliche, but everyone truly is different, and Christmas is made even more wonderful by all of the different celebrations. Whether someone says “Merry Christmas,” “Froehliche Weihnachten,” or “Feliz Navidad,” Christmas is a magical time of year.

Idioms on parade

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor
Photos provided by: Mrs. Stindle

idiom parade

An annual tradition, this year’s Idiom Parade was a success yet again. Mrs. Stindle’s English 10 Honors class put on a great parade with idioms such as “walking on sunshine,” “a little under the weather,” “a brush with death,” “don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” and “putting all your eggs in one basket”. This is the third year of the Idiom Parade, and it is fun for all involved.

The English 10H class members all choose an idiom and create a costume in attempts to personify that idiom. The classes that observe try to interpret the costumes as the students walk by.

“I wanted to find a creative way to make sure the students understood the Idioms we’ve been learning about all year,” said Mrs. Stindle, “and I think it’s pretty fun.”

idiom 2The parade was a break from the norm and a fun way to learn outside of the everyday classroom setting.

“It was awkward to have everyone staring at me,” said Amanda Aguado, 10, “But it was still a really cool experience.” Amanda portrayed the idiom “a piece of cake” in this year’s parade.

Prices raising for the holidays

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photos by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer

prices

 

Starting on Black Friday, a day where people crowd the street for deals, prices for products change dramatically. The day after Thanksgiving, for one day, prices are at the lowest, then they skyrocket.

December is when most people get their holiday shopping done. There is most likely not many people in October or even most of November shopping for holiday gifts. It all starts after Black Friday. Stores are crowded, lines stretch to the back of the store to get family and friends the best gift cards or the newest device that just came out.

Stores see this as a time to get customers to spend a lot of money on products. Stores raise prices as it gets closer to Christmas because people buying gifts very close to the holidays will sometimes be willing to pay more just to get what they want.

Why are the prices during eleven out of the twelve months lower, while the last month of the year has insane prices? Because the company knows the customer will buy them for gifts, if they are last-minute shopping close to the holidays.

Stores put their Christmas trees out as soon as Halloween ends with what they claim are amazing deals. Some people think this is too early, but are willing to the price. Others want the deal, and they want it quick.

Taylor Bragdon, 12, said, “They make special deals so that you buy more so you spend as much, if not more, than you normally would. I personally feel like it is better to start Christmas shopping earlier like during all the semiannual sales in July so you aren’t tempted to buy as much but still get a good deal.¨

The prices for anything, especially if it is holiday related, such as trees, ornaments, or lights, are going to be significantly cheaper in November than in December.

So it is time to think about when buying holiday gifts are more convenient, November or December, so customers are saving money, or the stores should just keep their prices at a reasonable price through the holidays.