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.

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.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky

Story by: Baylie Clevenger, Managing Editor
Photos provided by Samantha Russell

Samantha #5

It is no secret that within the walls of MVHS are many talented students. Whether it be musically, athletically, or theatrically, there is no shortage of gifted students.

For one MV student, her talent has taken her to professional theater.

Samantha #2This student is Samantha Russell, she does performances with Beef & Boards, a dinner theatre in Indianapolis. Currently they are working on the production of “The Addams Family.”
Russell was also very kind as to do a Q&A with the MV Current

Q: What is the best part about being involved in professional theater?

A: I think the best part is the people I get to work with and all of the knowledge I’m receiving from them about the business and life.

Q:  How do you feel it differs from high school productions?

A: Much faster and everyone is more prepared before we start rehearsals.

Q:  How long have you been performing in theater?

A: I performed in school productions off and on since preschool and I started performing outside of school the summer before my freshman year and ever since.

Q: How do you feel about your Beef & Boards experience?

A: “Everyone has been so welcoming and eager to help me succeed 🙂 I love it so much! “

Q:  Do you feel like this is something you’re going to do for the rest of your life?

A: Heck yes!

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years as far as theater goes?

A: I could say where I hope to be haha. My career path is so unpredictable that I’m not quite sure where I’ll be. I do see that I’ll have completed college and started auditioning, but I’m not quite sure what the rest will be or where life will take me.

Q:  What is your favorite show you have performed in so far? Why?Samantha Russell

A: “The Addams Family” because it’s such a fun show and I love playing Wednesday because she is the complete opposite to me.

Q:  What is the most important part of performing professionally?

A: Being directable and being pleasant to work with.

Q:  Do school and performances get in the way of one another? How do you handle the two at once?

A: They do conflict with each other but the thing that has really helped me is staying organized. I’m very conscious of my school work because I have to make sure that I keep my grades up since I’m currently applying for colleges.

Samantha #3Q:  Are there any other comments you have about professional theater or anything you want people to know about it?

A: Yes 🙂 to my fellow performers, don’t be afraid to audition for professional theaters because you never know what will happen. I just went to the audition just to get more audition experience and look what happened! For the non-theatre people, get out there and watch some shows! There are some amazing shows and you don’t want to miss out! I know Beef & Boards has a great season coming up so you should definitely check it out.

Samantha #4

Tuttles apples

Story by: Dakota Fisher, Sports Editor
Photo by: Dakota Fisher, Sports Editor

apple

Tuttles Orchard, located in Greenfield, Indiana is a great spot to indulge on all of your favorite fall sweets. Along with the traditional hot apple cider, Tuttles has several different variations of apple treats including caramel apples, apple muffins, and apple cider slushies.

Though there are many other things to do at Tuttles Orchard, the main attraction is apple picking.

tuttles sculptureCustomers of Tuttles Orchard can venture through 50 acres of apple trees, housing seven different varieties of apples. Those wishing to pick apples simply purchase a bag, either four pound, eight pound, or sixteen pound, and begin picking. Staff members direct customers toward the aisles with the apples that are ripe and may pick as few, or as many as they like.

“My favorite thing about working at Tuttles is the overall positive attitude. I absolutely adore working there,” said Tuttles employee and MVHS senior, Ryan Dockery.

While apples are certainly the draw, Tuttles also has various fall festivities including a pumpkin patch, cut-your-own sunflowers, and a corn maze.

UK in 11 days

Story by: Tess Barnett, Reviews Editor
Photos by: Samuel Jobe, Staff Photographer

UK group pic-Aug

To an Indiana girl who is used to small towns, the world can seem like a huge, intimidating place.

Halfway through my freshman year, Mrs. Schiller and Mrs. Zelencik announced that they would be taking a group of students halfway across the world to Great Britain in June of 2015. I immediately set my heart on going to see the place that I had read and dreamt about my entire life.

When June finally came around after months of eager anticipation, I was more than ready. The international flight flew by and before I knew it, we were landing among miles of green cow pasture in Shannon, Ireland.

The first thing our group noticed were the rolling hills dotted with fluffy Irelandwhite sheep. The change of pace was also obvious; there were few cars to be found and no packed freeways in sight.

During our brief stint in Ireland, we toured the Ring of Kerry, took a horse drawn carriage ride through Killarney National Park, and toured Blarney Castle. A few brave souls, myself included, kissed the famed Blarney Stone.

In Dublin, we had the privilege of touring the city, visiting famous landmarks like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Several of us were in literary Heaven during our visit to the Trinity College Library.

Our next stop was Wales, where we were amazed at the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia. Several members of our group spent the evening in our hotel listening to the language and cultural stories of Thomas, a Wales native.

We spent a day in the Lake District of Northern England, where we explored the beautiful gardens of Rydal Mount, the former home of WIlliam Wordsworth.

Scotland pic-AugScotland held a wealth of unexpected beauty and medieval magic in the Old Town. I find it amusing that we stayed in the New Town- which is 200 years old. We were all immediately astounded by the history of Edinburgh Castle and the blend of old and new.

After an afternoon of meandering the Royal Mile, we decided to climb up Arthur’s Seat, a mountain that overlooks Holyrood Palace. While the rest of us were struggling to make our way up, the group’s mountaineers were scaling the rocky side that towered above us.

After our antics were over, we had the honor of witnessing practice for the queen’s arrival the next day.

The night train that evening took us away from gorgeous Scotland and into the huge, crowded city of London. We were overwhelmed by theLondon-Aug enormity of the city, but unfortunately underwhelmed by London’s iconic sites.

The trip seemed to end far too soon, and before we knew it, we were on a plane again headed for the United States.

The trip opened my eyes, and I’m sure those of my fellow student travelers. We are eternally grateful to Mrs. Zelencik, Mrs, Schiller, and Mrs. Stindle for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity.

London 2-Aug

 

 

Study habits

Story by: Tess Barnett, staff writer
Photo by: Samuel Jobe, staff photographer

study habits

Today’s teenagers are constantly being bombarded with high stakes tests that have the ability to make-or-break their grades, or even their admission into college. Midterms, finals, Advanced Placement Exams, and college entrance examinations such as the SAT and ACT are sources of great stress for high school students.

While these stresses cannot be completely eradicated, adequate studying and preparing for these exams can certainly relieve the majority of the taker’s anxiety.

Researchers have found that one of the most important factors in determining a student’s success on tests is how they approach it. If students look at studying as an opportunity to learn and increase their knowledge, rather than as a necessary task, they are more likely to be less stressed and do better on the test. Also, positive thinking is crucial to success.

Repeated retrieval of learned information can do wonders for test performance and long-term knowledge.

“I find flashcards help me a lot in trying to memorize words and definitions,” said Brittney McVicker, 10.

Other obstacles to effective studying are the distractions in the environment where students study. Computers, televisions, and friends are all tempting distractions for students whose motivation is lax.

The thought of studying to prepare for a large exam is daunting. Most students do not know where to start, and are overwhelmed by the the amount of information that they have to learn and review.

To overcome this, divide the information into manageable pieces and set daily goals. Allotting time each day to put down distractions and pay attention to studying will make a huge difference in confidence and preparedness.