Thursday, April 5, 2018

EAST heading in all directions by Leticia Mancilla, Hailey Davis, Sam Crossen, Cameron Bandy, and Kaytlyn Ferguson

     Did you know in Nicaragua that approximately 30 percent of the population lives on $2 per day? This is such an upsetting number. Imagine doing that yourself. People are trying to help, and you should be a part of the movement as well. Yes, it seems hard, but we may have figured out a way that you can help. At Westside there has been a collaboration of ideas to help Open Heart Ministries in their mission to help people in Nicaragua make sure their daily needs are met by using agriculture.
One of our students, Jesse Clayton, is highly involved in Open Heart Ministries. According to the website, the main purpose of OH Ministries is to “exalt the name of Jesus and bring Glory to our Lord and Savior.” They’re using strategic manners to share the gospel with boys, girls, men and women in every nation in order to see how the love of the Lord can affect people in the best way. Every day they are working hard to get more people to help and grow their organization.
The EAST and agriculture program at Westside are helping Jesse and the OH Ministries accomplish their goal by getting the word out while providing the technology and also the scientific aspect of the whole project. EAST is producing a manual to efficiently and effectively show what our AG. program has in mind for helping the citizens of Nicaragua. There is a group of people with different agriculture knowledge trying to come up with a plan in order for the people of the country to have a better ability of getting things they need. They are using aquaponics and aquaculture to help the people use their indigenous crops and livestock. There are many ways they are trying to get food to these countries. Another planting system that they are looking into is a tower garden. This is costly compared to others, but with your help, that could be no problem. The tower garden’s main concept is that you put seeds into a starter plug that travels to the net pot that goes into a plant site. Once the seed gets there, four plants are in the growing pot. The growing pots are what make up the tower garden. This is just one of the ideas. They are also talking about building chicken coops, bee hives, wells, solar panels and getting a few of the communities tractors and trucks. They are figuring out the best ways to handle the livestock and crops. Taking care of these things is a big responsibility to have. In order to take care of them, price should not be the problem.
The costs are a little pricier than going outside and putting a seed in the ground. A lot of the prices range from $4,000 to $5,000. We would appreciate your help with sharing this information and helping Jesse gather information and reach the goals for Nicaragua and many other countries.

EAST making a difference by Marc Carter, Dawson Johnson, Emily Gann, and Bryanna Slayter

     Jesse Clayton, one of our Westside students, is co-leading a project to benefit the Open Heart Ministries mission project in Nicaragua. The project is implementing agriculture and technology to help the developing country gain more access to resources. Jesse’s main goal is to make a manual that will be translated into many languages. This will be used to help other countries as well. The manual includes how to make and use feeding centers, refrigeration, condensed aquaponics, irrigation, filtration, security fencing, barns, and grazeland. Other students helping on this project include students in EAST. There is a particular student named Dawson Johnson who is working on 3D models of a chicken house, aquaponics system, and aeroponics system. Dawson created the models to help explain what they will look like in Nicaragua. Emily Gann is contributing by drawing pictures for Jesse’s manual. Other students like Brenya Sutton are researching efficient farming techniques. Mr. Josh Parks is one of the agriculture teachers who has been working on the replica of aquaponics in the green house. He has successfully made it with the help of students in his classes. We could also use the help of our community. While donations are always appreciated, information and sources are just as valuable.The best way for you to help is to forward information to Jesse. Being able team up with our community could increase the efficiency of the project. If you would like to participate, you are able to contact Jesse and others to start creating a better life for people in Nicaragua and improve the agriculture in their community.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Civil war in Jonesboro by Adrian Guardiola

If you’re driving in the downtown area of Jonesboro, Arkansas, you are transported back in time to many interesting events. Many buildings are very historical and span almost 3 centuries. Offering a rich history. You may not know, but in front of the old County Courthouse where the WW2 soldier statue is, there was a skirmish on August 2, 1862. After Confederate Captain Mitchell A. Flair was sent home for rest, along with the Twenty-third Arkansas Infantry unit, they were ambushed by Union troops camped outside the ridge. Their goal was to attack all the county seats in Northeast Arkansas. There was only one casualty for the Confederates, and the Union had overrun 75 Confederate troops taking 24 prisoners, 31 horses, and 3 carriages. The remaining Confederate troops planned a raid attack the next morning. As Captain Flair ordered to fire as the battle raged forward. The Union tried to retreat while holding their ground at the same time to give their comrades a chance to get the horses. The Confederate soldiers,
that were coming home from the Battle of Shiloh learned the rebel yell and used it against the Union troops to confuse and scare them. Augustus Ellison of the Fourth Missouri Home Guard was killed by Union gunfire at the modern-day intersection of Union Street and Washington Avenue. He was the only Confederate casualty that day, while the Union troops escaped Jonesboro with only 8 casualties.

Bono park by Jacklyn Stringer

I am a resident of Bono, and I wanted to find more information on the new park being built. So I contacted Danny Shaw, the mayor of Bono, and asked him a couple of questions. I asked him first about how much time it would take to build the park, and he said that it would be under construction for a few more years, but they just want to get most of it done and add on as they go. In answering the rest of my questions, he said that they are hoping for a splash pad, outside stage, and a chat walking trail around the whole park, plus restrooms. He said that the park will be finished as soon as the money becomes available. They also want to make the road through the park usable and provide some parking areas, and this will be done soon so that we can enjoy the park. The total of everything being established at the park will cost about $250K. The park will also have hours, said Mr. Danny Shaw, “The park will be open during all the daylight hours. I hope we can shut it down at 9:00 p.m.”  “This,” he says, “will help deter vandalism.”       
       Mr. Danny Shaw is hoping that with the location of the new park there will be more supervision. He is hoping that a neighborhood watch program could help as well. Right now there is no park director. Bono received a grant for $194,500, and they still have some of the money left to finish some of the work. Spending so far has been on the following items for the park:  $100K for a playground, $20K on pavilions and covers, $25K has been spent on a basketball court, and $17K spent on the baseball enclosure. We received a donation from Wood Springs Pharmacy for $6,500, and that will pay for the walking track. We have so many different churches in Bono, but this particular church, the Methodist Church, has offered to have a big pavilion built inside the walking track. Then to complete everything needing to be done to the new park, the city will chip in about $4K.  Another question I asked was, “What will happen to the old park?” Mr. Danny Shaw responded with this, “The old park is used by many in the area.” He also said that the walking track at the old park is still being used, along with the baseball field for some of the little league teams to practice. The city has set back some money to put a new piece of equipment in the old park. Mr. Danny Shaw said, “I hope we can put a dog park in there as well so, that park will be maintained and remain a park.”

Super bowl 52 by Ian Mitchell

Super Bowl 52 is one for the books. The Philadelphia Eagles played the New England Patriots on February 4th, 2018. The game came down to the wire but let's talk about the end of the game last. The Eagles came in as the underdogs like they have been the whole playoff run because they have a backup quarterback running the team. The Patriots were expected to become tied for the most franchise super bowl rings.
The Patriots won the coin toss and elected to kick. The Eagles capitalized off this and scored their first offense possession with a field goal. 3-0 Eagles. The Patriots answered with a field goal of their own later in the quarter. 3-3 tie ball game. Then Nick Foles threw a shot in the end zone for Jeffrey and it was a completed touchdown. 9-3 eagles going into the second quarter after missing the extra point attempt. After getting the ball, the Patriots missed a field goal wide left. Later on, the former Patriot LeGarrette Blount ran all over his former team for a 21-yard touchdown. 15-3 eagles. Patriots are trying to comeback they answer with a field goal. 15-6 eagles. The Patriots then answer again with another touchdown after they got an interception. 15-12 eagles. The Eagles dig deep and pull a trick out of their bag, that they stole from the Patriots minutes before, throwing a pass to their quarterback Nick Foles and scoring. 22-12 eagles halftime. Patriots score on the first drive after halftime.22-19 Eagles. Eagles try to keep the lead and score. 29-19 eagles. Patriots score again on their second possession. 29-26 eagles. Time for the third quarter. All the Eagles can muster up this time, is a field goal 32-26 eagles. Tom Brady and the Patriots take the lead. 32-33 Patriots. The Eagles aren't done either though they answer with their own touchdown 38-33 Eagles. The Patriot's ball and they then turn it over to the Eagle's strip sack Brady and take over possession. The eagles capitalize and make it where the Patriots can only force overtime but not the game. 41-33 Eagles. The Patriots try but the game is over and the Eagles are the super bowl champs. This Superbowl broke the recorded for the most yards recorded ever for a game in the postseason and regular season.

Fantastic books and where to find them by Jacklyn Stringer

I have a few book recommendations I would love to share. Now, I’m not big on reading books, and if the book does not catch my attention in the first sentence, then I’m probably not going to read it. I’m terrible at reading, so I went to ask for recommendations, and Ms. McCloud recommended the following.
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman. This book is about 14-year-old Shawn McDaniel who has cerebral palsy and cannot speak or walk. Shawn begins to think his father is planning to kill him. Shawn is very happy and doesn’t want to die, but he can’t tell his father anything because of his disability. You can find this book in the library, AR points = 4, BL: 5.7.
Inside Out by Terry Trueman - A 16-year-old Zach has schizophrenia and he waits for his mom at a coffee shop when a robbery takes place, and bam! Zach is caught in the mayhem and becomes a hostage. You can find it in the library, AR points =3, BL: 4.6.

Religious intolerance by Emily Gann

       Religions positively fascinate me. Something about getting a glimpse of human culture, mythology, and ongoing beliefs through religion has always been an interest to me. When I was younger, I read about foreign mythology and religion, despite the disapproval from my father, and as I grew older the interest only grew. I love reading about all kinds of religions, and I felt that it has given me the insight of many cultures around the globe.

       That is why it absolutely infuriates me to live in the “Bible Belt.” I don't get to have an open discussion about religion because people either know nothing of the religion or are too close-minded to even consider discussing it. This brings me to Westside, as well as many other schools in the district. With the overwhelming amount of Christians that attend here, many students who aren't Christian are afraid to say so.

      I was in 6th grade back at Valley View. Granted, the bullying was worse at Valley View (sorry, just stating the facts as a journalist), but I was friends with five people, not counting the tons of people I didn't know, who were heavily bullied for their religion--not just by the students but the teachers as well.

       A few students who had moved to Arkansas were actually aware of the issue. I was making conversation with a new student, and the subject came up of middle names. I told him mine was Danielle, and he told me his was Muhammed. He immediately covered his mouth and whimpered,”I wasn't supposed to tell anyone that.”

       My stepdad is Muslim. It broke my heart to see an 11 year old boy hide something as simple as his name out of fear of bullying. When I told him it was okay, that my stepdad was Muslim and I completely understood, he was so relieved; it looked like he was about to cry.
  I had another friend who was Wiccan. At the time she was my best friend, and she trusted me enough to tell me. The only other people who knew were our teachers, who were supposed to keep an eye out for bullying. While in GT, our teacher started harassing her for not finishing a project. I'm not stretching the truth; the GT teacher was right in her face, raising her voice and implying that she was an idiot who had no right to be in GT. When my friend started crying and ran to the bathroom, the teacher rolled her eyes and told me to “go after her” before abandoning her and heading to the rest of the class. The students she treated well were the same religion as she and went to her church.

       I wish I could say that Westside was different, but religious intolerance still exists here (not to mention racism, homophobia, and spreading rumors…). The good news is, the teachers seem to be fairly tolerant, which prevents a lot of problems.. in most cases.

      In my world history class, we had a project at the beginning of the year involving major religions. Tons of religions, including philosophies not considered religions, were on the list. Islam, the second biggest religion in the world, was not. It wasn't the teacher’s fault; at the time she didn't have the credentials to teach history, and the school sent notes with students letting their parents know that the teacher was in the process of getting them. The fact that she had to leave Islam out of the list at risk of intolerant parents attempting to get her fired was horrible. Even when we were taught the basics of Islam in a general aspect, a child yelled,”Time to learn about ISIS!” and wasn't even scolded for it. None of it was her fault; she had to do it out of fear of losing her job due to intolerant students and parents.

       It's simply not fair to judge an entire religion by the few extremists. If all Muslims are terrorists, than by that very logic, all Christians are members of the Ku Klux Klan and Neo Nazi party who claim their violent protests are in the name of Jesus.  And that is absolutely false!

       I am also NOT saying that they should force other religions on us at school. But I’m also not saying that they should cut religions out of the curriculum. I feel that we should acknowledge major religions, as they are discussed in history, science, and cultural/social studies. I feel that all religions should be treated with respect. Religion is a core belief, and often makes up a lot of who people are. Just because someone believes something different than you, that gives you no right to shun them or tell them they must believe otherwise.

     A little PSA before I give these stats: I am NOT saying that all Christians are bullies or that being Christian makes you bad. This isn’t true at all! I am just trying to emphasize the reason why non-Christian students are afraid to state their beliefs (being outnumbered).

    So how many students at Westside are Christian?

A lot of Christians, huh?

  I also interviewed the same students to see if they found any problems with bullying over religious intolerance.

“No, I don’t think there are any problems.” - A Christian

“No, there isn’t any.” -A Christian

“No, I don’t think anybody really cares.” -A Christian

“No, there aren’t problems. I’ve never seen any.” -A Christian

“I think there are sometimes problems.” - Doesn’t identify with a religion

“Considering most students here are Christian, it creates an imbalance that can lead to bullying.” - Doesn’t identify with a religion

“A lot of people don’t talk about it because they aren’t comfortable with it. It also sometimes takes other forms like homophobia, which stems from religious beliefs.” -Doesn’t identify with a religion

“It’s not so much bullying, but an unsettling disposition when I explain to people that I’m Atheist. They look at me with disgust and say,”Oh… so you’re an Atheist?” They think I hate their religion or that I’m against them, when really I just want to have my own beliefs, same as them.” -An Atheist

Again, I just want to say that I am NOT trying to bully Christians. I’ve been ignorant to prevalent issues because it doesn’t affect me, and I just want to have awareness. The fact of the matter is that it can be, and is an issue (here, and at other schools). More than 85% of our students our Christian, so it’s important that a welcoming environment is still there for those who aren’t.

Just remember Westside, it’s time to:

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