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Dress code, part II by Hannah Hayes and Liz Sharrow
We’ve all heard plenty of complaints about the dress code at Westside. Maybe a friend or classmate has forced you to listen to their unfair encounter with getting dress coded, or maybe you’ve had a headbutting with dress code yourself, but no matter whether it was yourself or someone else, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced dress coding to some extent. Last time we wrote an article, it was stories from you all that we recorded and wrote to share, but this time we’ve decided to hit the source of all our problems: our teachers and administrators.
(For the privacy of our teachers, these interviews are going to be kept anonymous.)

Teacher 1:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A ) Maybe once a month; Shorty shorts (usually cheer)

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A) Not really

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A) Sometimes it can be, but I think most teachers can keep it fair.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
A) I tell all my players they can't wear their shorts if they are not (to) dress code but I've gotten onto about four cheerleaders.

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) I focus on the time. If I know they just left PE or athletics and they are 1 class away from the bell, I let it slide.

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A) I don't enforce the holes above the knees that often. 

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A) Uh, yes. Some teachers pick on kids that just left PE or a sport and have one class left in school. I mean seriously -- it's 45 more minutes.

Teacher #2:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A) I do not generally dress code people.

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A) Yes

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A) In some ways, yes. I think that women/girls bodies are hyper sexualized in our society whereas mens are not, so it affects society’s view of clothing regarding gender. Since men are not generally viewed as "sexy," they are allowed to show more skin without judgement. However, I also feel that there are some ways of dressing that are not appropriate for school/work like excessive cleavage, visible undergarments or excessive amounts of exposed skin. In general, I feel that dress codes try to put into place rules that help all students to feel comfortable in the environment and do not single out one gender more than the other on purpose.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
A) No

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) I do look for short/skirt length and issues with cleavage.

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A) I think that tank tops/spaghetti straps should be allowed as should leggings.

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A) I am not sure.

Teacher #3:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A ) I usually only see obvious dress code violations. I don't always catch if there are holes too high in jeans or if shorts are just barely too short, but if it is something obviously indecent, it will stick out. Most of what I have reported involves revealing shirts or short shorts on girls, or hats/hoods on guys. I have not intentionally let a rule slide, but if it is not an obvious violation, I may not always notice.

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A) I do feel that there are more rules that apply to girls, but I don't feel like it is a bias as far as the rule-makers go. Society has different expectations for girls and boys, and generally the dress reflects that. For example, I have not had to turn a boy in for shorts being too short, but that is because the manufacturers do not make them that way.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
A) I have probably had to address girls more often than boys, but it is probably because more of the rules seem to apply to girls. Because athletic shorts are generally shorter for girls, I can see where that would be an issue, but I also remember having to bring sweatpants or longer shorts when I was a student to make sure that I could slip them on quickly over my practice clothes and still follow the dress code, so there is always an option for that.

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) I look for things that are either a danger or a distraction. If I am distracted by something, other students usually are as well, so I will usually address those issues. Other things I will address if I notice them, but if it is not as obvious, I may not realize that it is a violation initially.

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A) I feel like the rules that in place now have gone through careful consideration, and it is much more lenient than it used to be. I wish we could just say "dress appropriately," but unfortunately what is appropriate for one person is not appropriate for another, so there have to be very specific guidelines.

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A) I'm sure there are teachers who make observing dress code a priority, and they are following the rules by doing so. Personally, I do not have time to check every single garment on every student when they walk into my classroom, so I am more likely to miss something less obvious. I do feel like the rules are necessary, and we need some of those people to catch those violations so that we don't have a bigger problem with students breaking all of those rules.

Teacher #4:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
 A) I will do so anytime I notice a problem. Most of the time it is for either shorts or skirts/dresses too short or holes in pants.

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A) No. It doesn't matter if I agree with the rules or not; they are rules. Therefore, I follow them. However, I don't always notice problems, and they slip by me.
Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A) No, not really. Neither guys nor girls should be immodest. However, because popular styles for girls do tend to have holes or are designed to be low cut, I believe they are probably called out more. Too, I think the same item of clothing on one person may not be called out on one student but will for another student because the girls' body types are different causing the clothing to look different on each girl. For example, long/short legs affect skirt/short length; bustier girls may show more cleavage without trying to be provocative; heavier girls may get coded for yoga pants but skinnier girls won't. Viewer perspective plays a part.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
 A) Girls who change clothes for sports get coded when they try to wear certain sportswear to other classes (ie. too short shorts). This wouldn't be a problem if the code was enforced in the PE classes and athletics as well. For example, if short shorts are against school rules, why are students allowed to wear them at all, ever at school?

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
 A) I don't "look for" anything, so if I notice something, it's either because someone else drew my attention to it or because it was SO noticeable that the infraction was distracting.

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
 A) Absolutely to both questions. For example, why are volleyball shorts actually the equivalent of panties, and that is considered okay? It's not! They certainly don't meet dress code, but no one does anything about it. Yet, yoga pants are considered too form fitting to be decent. What a contradiction! Too, yoga pants seem to coded more often when the person wearing them does not look as good in them. Hmmm, that's a problem. Are there other examples? Of course, but you only asked about dress code.
I realize that the intent of all of the rules is to ensure the best environment for all students to learn. Therefore, I follow them.  Fair is not always equal though, and I try to be fair.

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
 A) Some teachers do enforce dress code more than others, and I don't think they all do so fairly or for the same reasons. If they are doing it unfairly, it's wrong; however, I don't think you can enforce a rule "too much." If it's a rule, it should be followed. The better question might be if it should be a rule at all.

Teacher #5:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
 A)  I hardly have to get on to anyone about dress code, if I do it is for their shirt not covering their rear while wearing yoga pants or leggings. I verbally get on to them and then will tell them to not let it happen again. I've only had one student I had to send to the office and that was for ripped jeans that were super inappropriate. I guess it really depends on the code that they are breaking. I try to go by the rules; that's the only way to be fair to everyone--especially if I have a repeat offender. 

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A) I treat the rules as if it's for boys and girls;  if a boy is wearing shorts that are the correct length, I would get on to him just like I would a girl. If a boy has on a tank top that is breaking the rules, I would get on to him just like I would a girl.
Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A)  I think I am harder on the athletes because I know that it gets stressed to them more often than others on NOT breaking the dress code.  I used to tell my softball players that if they got in trouble, they would get in double the trouble with me.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
 A) During the moment of silence, I have my students stand and I check for dress code violations. If I see someone breaking the dress code in the hallway, I will pull them aside. I don't "look" for dress code violators per say, but if it's bad enough for me to notice walking down the hall, that's not good.

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
 A) I know there is an argument over Nike shorts- Nike shorts can look different on each person.  If we allowed students to wear them and they were super tight and short on one person and loose and just the right fit for another, we wouldn't be able to enforce any code on anyone.  I understand that style is different now days, and it's hard to find clothes. I just wish we could find a happy medium and everyone go with it.  We have students that try to push the limit sometimes, and that's where it affects everyone around.  A code violation that is not enforced enough would be leggings and yoga pants.  If it's a rule, we need to enforce it; if it's not, then remove it.  It can't be based on the person or the size of the person if they can or can not wear them.

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
 A) Yes, I do. I see some students that come to my class 3rd block, and no one has gotten on to them all day for their outfit.  I will verbally get on to them and let them know that they will be sent to the office if it happens again.  

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
 A) I used to see more vulgar shirts in the past, hidden meaning shirts and so on, and that doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.  I do feel if a girl is wearing an off the shoulder shirt but has on a tank top or something underneath that appears as straps, they should be able to wear that.  I'm fine with yoga pants and leggings as long as everything isn't showing for everyone to see.  I do know that some people get in trouble for certain violations because of their shape compared to other girls.  For example, a taller girl for getting in trouble for her shorts compared to a shorter person.  For the dress code to work, we need to make sure that, even if you don't agree with it or think its right, for everyone to be treated fairly, they must be enforced.  

Teacher #6:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A ) I will get onto someone more than once a day usually. Hats and short shorts mostly. 

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A) No

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
A) NOPE (more boys wear hats and get into trouble and more girls wear short shorts); it's about [being]equal.

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
A)  Mostly those wearing hats

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) The spandex pants with the top not long enough slides by because there are so many that wear it and nothing is said. 

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A)  I do not agree with the "no hat" rule at all. I think it should be up to the teacher whether or not the students should be allowed to wear a hat in the classroom. The spandex pants is not enforced at all. 

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A)  There is no such thing as enforcing rules too much. Rules are rules whether you agree with them or not. You can't pick and choose the rules you want to follow. If you don't like a rule, then try to have it changed, but you have to follow it as long as it's a rule. But yes, not all teachers are consistent and some are more strict than others. Some teachers also will allow one student to get by with something but not another. 

Teacher #7:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A ) Shorts or dresses too short... this includes holes in the jeans above the dollar bill length above the knee -- 2 - 3 times per week on violations... Why not show some modesty? Schools are business-like places that serve as a model for how you will need to act in your job. Too short shorts that distract from customers are bad for business.

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?
Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
A) It may seem that way, but it has more to do with fashion instead of gender. 

Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) We do not look for anything; we just know it when we see it. 

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A) No

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A) No

Teacher #8:
Q) How often do you dress code people, if ever? What do you get onto them for?
A ) I am usually watching most students especially in the morning before it goes all day. I get onto them for anything that is against the dress code

Q) Have you ever let a student slide because you think a rule is overkill?
A)  I try not to let things slide because more students will try to take advantage of the situation; the problem with most rules, especially dress code, is because it is not handled the same by every teacher. 

Q) Do you think the dress code is biased towards gender?]
A) I try to treat everyone the same; sometimes girls do not change out of their athletic clothes before coming to 4th or 5th block. If they can't come to school dressed that way, they shouldn't be able to dress that way for any class outside of athletics. ROTC also does physical activity and they did not dress that way, so it irks me sometimes. 

Q) Is there a certain type of person you dress code more often? (i.e Gender, whether or not they play sports [volleyball shorts])
Q) Are there certain things you look for? Are there certain things you let slide?
A) I try to look for all rules equally,  I personally do not like students wearing hats in the building, but most places it is socially accepted. 

Q) Are there rules you don't agree with? Are there some you don’t think are enforced enough?
A) I agree with the rules; holes in jeans above the knee is the one rule I feel is not enforced enough. I also think the rule against shirts with suggestive slogans is enforced enough.

Q) Do you think other teachers, not naming them, enforce this rule more than others or too much?
A) I'm not around other teachers very much, so I don't feel like I can answer that very accurately.  I think our dress code is pretty lax; I've worked at others school where it's been very strict.  Boys there could not wear shorts at all or have earrings, and folks could have no more than two holes in each ear, and no one could have facial piercings. So ours is pretty easy. 

By these interviews we have found that not only do the students have very strong opinions about the dress code, but so do some of the teachers. Some were very open to giving their opinion and others… well, not so much as you can tell… Most of them had all types of different feedback, from how they did think it was biased due to gender, to the fair and unfair treatments of athletes and students not in the athletic programs. We hope that you have learned a lot about what your teachers think and more about the dress code. If you have any questions, feel free to email and ask. We’d like to end this series with a special thanks to all the teachers and students who took the time to respond to our interviews. Your feedback was much appreciated.

Block Scheduling by Dawson Johnson
Howdy Miscreants! I’m back from Christmas break, and I’ve been thrown right back into the fray in Journalism. I was given the topic of block scheduling --is it good or is it bad should? Should we have switched to it in the first place? What do some people around the school think about it? So first of all I can’t simply say that it’s good or it’s bad because it isn’t something that’s black and white. So instead, I’ll go over the pros and cons of block scheduling. (Which believe it or not with what Mr. Graham says there are cons to this scheduling.) Though to be a glass half-full kind of guy, I’ll start with the pros first.
First of all block scheduling actually lowers student dropout rates and lowers failing grades. There is more class time in a day for student-teacher interaction as well as longer learning activities. That’s just a few, but I’m going over the basics of this, so on to the cons.
What you will notice is that these cons will relate to the pros in an interesting way.
One con is that even though drop out rates and failing grades reduce in size, the overall highest grades drop. So basically block scheduling raises the floor but lowers the roof, so you have less failures but also less exceeders. Next is that even though you have more class time in a day over the school year, you end up having less instruction time due to the day swapping thing that we do. With this you also have day long breaks from a class while you do other classes giving you plenty of time to forget what’s going on. So this overall hurts you in the long run, in my opinion.
After my research on this, I have decided that block scheduling makes school easier making it harder to fail but impossible to exceed, hurting the school and all its students in the process. Now that I’ve had my say, it’s time to hear from students and teachers around the school.

  • Andrew: “I think block scheduling is not as good as what we had before, but it’s ok.”
  • Kayla: “It’s pretty cool.”
  • John: “I prefer block scheduling over normal scheduling because it gives me more time in a class and makes me feel less overwhelmed because I have less homework to do.”
  • Logan: “What I think about block scheduling is that it has its advantages and its disadvantages. Like-- hey, guess what? I have more class time to do all my work, but at the same time you don’t see your teachers every day so it’s easy to forget information. I like it, but it isn’t perfect though.
  • Jagger: “I don’t really care about it; it’s pretty much the same so…”
  • Rachel: “It’s alright; it was confusing at first, but you got used to it.”
  • Mrs. Chapman: “I really like block scheduling especially with EAST because for the projects we do it gives us more time to work. I actually wish we had block all day instead of having it half block and half not.”
  • Mr. Graves: “There’s proof that it hurts the math department.”

As you see the majority basically said they were ok with it. Only a few thought it was a complete improvement, and then some just plain didn’t care. Though many who basically just said it was ok didn’t care much either because the outlook is that we’re students, so let’s just get the day done and get home. And if you think I’m completely against block scheduling,in truth, I’m not. I would prefer to go back to the original scheduling, but if we don’t, I’ll just keep on working because, like everyone else, I just want to get the day done and go home. Perhaps if more of us cared, if we showed that we prefer a different way, a difference could be made to improve the school for everyone. Until then, we’ll do whatever Mr. Graham and the school board comes up with.

  • westsideschools.org (image)
  • thoughtco.com (info)
  • jefflindsay.com (info)
  • educationworld.com (info)

"Global new year traditions"
Hello Westside! The year is coming to a close, and 2018 is just around the corner. America has its usual traditions of course: popping champagne, counting down the seconds, and starting the new year with a kiss. What about the rest of the world though? Let’s take a look at New Year traditions around the world!!!

Image result for thai new year
(tigermauythai.com, photographer not listed)

New Years in Thailand is a splash-- literally!! Celebrated on the 13th of April, the Thai New Year, or Songkran, includes festivals of throwing water! The tradition of celebrating with water derives from respecting elders. Pouring water over the palms of elders is a way to show honor and courtesy. In modern times, Thais will toss containers of water, use water guns, and hoses to drench each other on the streets! You’ll be in the splash zone, if you come within April 13-15! Festivals, like the one shown above, are also a holiday tradition. Too bad this holiday isn’t after Holi; it could wash off the colored powders and paints!

Image result for nowruz
(worthypause.com, artist not listed)

The Persian New Year, more formally known as Nowruz (عيد نوروز), is celebrated on March 20, or March 21, varying on the year. Nowruz literally translates into “New day” in Farsi, and also marks the first day of spring. Nowruz is celebrated by the majority of Iranians, regardless of race or religion. It has possibly been around since the sixth century B.C. ! Persians have a Santa-like character named “Uncle Nowruz,” an older man with a white beard, and his clown-like sidekick, “Haji Piruz.” Uncle Nowruz brings presents to all the children, and Haju Piruz sings whimsical songs and plays his tambourine in the streets. There are also many other traditions associated with Nowruz!
  • Spring cleaning- which is often in preparation for Nowruz
  • A Haft Seen table, which contains the following seven items:
    • Sabzeh (wheat grass)
    • Samanu (sweet pudding)
    • Senjed (sweet dried lotus fruit)
    • Serkeh (vinegar)
    • Sir (garlic)
    • Sib (apples)
    • Sumac (crushed spice made from genus Rhus)

  There are several other optional items as well:
    • A mirror
    • A live goldfish in a bowl
    • Orange in a bowl of water
    • Decorated eggs
    • Coins
    • Books of traditional poetry
  • Jumping over a large bonfire (but many people use firecrackers due to the dangers of this ancient tradition)
  • Counting down to the New Year, similar to Americans.
  • A large family meal, consisting of foods such as Kuku Sabzi, Ghormeh Sabzi, and Zereshk Polo (a personal favorite of mine).

The holiday is celebrated by more than 300 million people annually!

Image result for Ethiopian New Year
(officeholidays.com, no photographer listed)

The Ethiopian New Year, better known as Enkutatash, is celebrated on Meskerem 1 (Ethiopian Calendar), which is September 11 on the Gregorian Calendar. This calendar is also seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar, and is in 2010 presently. “Enkutatash” literally translates to “gift of jewels.” The name derives from the bible story where the queen of Ethiopia meets King Solomon, and brings him a large quantity of wealth and precious stones. When she returned, her local rulers welcomed her with wealth of their own. Enkutatash marks the end of the rainy season, and with the new sunshine brings a tradition: one of which that many of us enjoy in the morning. Ethiopians will fancy a traditional coffee ceremony, where coffee is brewed, served, and sipped. A tradition for the children of Ethiopia is to sing “Abebayehugn,” a song that means “I have seen flowers.” They play the song with hand drums, while boys present their own painted pictures. The children participate in this with promise of praise or gifts from adults.

Image result for chinese new year
(timeout.com, photographer not listed)
The Chinese New Year is one of the most well known, and celebrated, holidays around the world. The Chinese New Year, a holiday on the lunisolar calendar, does not align with American calendars. The day varies from year to year because of this. The next one is February 16, 2018. Traditionally, Chinese New Year is meant to be spent with family. There is usually a big meal, called the “Tuánjù wǎncān” (团圆饭), or “Reunion Dinner,” and is considered the most important meal of the year. The holiday has an ancient legend, and it goes like this:
Long ago, a great monster named Nian (年)  lived in the depths of the sea. He had sharp fangs and horns, and every new year he would come and eat the villagers. The villagers would flee every year, and would return to a destroyed town. One year, as the villagers were planning to leave, a wise old man came into town. He did not evacuate like the others, but instead performed a series of rituals. He put up red paper on the doors, burned bamboo to make a loud crackling sound, lit candles, and wore red clothes. When the villagers returned, they found their village was safe! Now every year in China, villagers perform the ceremony to keep Nian at bay. Nian also translates to “year,” so to overcome Nian is to also overcome the past year, and move further.

Other traditions include:
  • No cleaning the house, or showering. This is so you don’t wash away the good fortune and wealth of the new year!
  • Finding your Chinese Zodiac!  Check out the link here -> https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/
  • The Spring Festival, where parades with paper dragons and fireworks are held.

Religious New Years:
These are holidays celebrated by different religions, and not necessarily by country!
  • Hindu - Celebrated by Hindus on the first day of the Hindu month Chaitra (March 28th)
  • Rosh Hashanah- Celebrated by Jews on September 21, the first day of the Jewish New Year.
  • Hijri- Celebrated by Muslims on September 22nd, the first day of the Islamic Lunar Calendar

And finally…

Image result for usa new years
Here in our home, the US of A, we have many New Year’s traditions as well! We always count down the seconds to the New Year, and we often begin the new year with one (or more) of the following:
  • Fireworks
  • A kiss
  • Loud noise
  • A toast

There are other American traditions including New Year’s Resolutions, a feast with the family, and raves/dance parties. While many cities hold New Year events, the most famous is the Times Square ball drop. Famous singers come to perform, fireworks are lit, and the streets are filled with tourists and locals alike. The event’s most famous time is the ball drop, where everyone counts to ten as the heavily lit ball makes its way down. As for the rest of our lovely American traditions, I’m sure you’ve experienced them yourself.


You’re probably wondering, “What is Oktoberfest?” It’s basically a huge festival in Munich, Germany. But why is there a festival on the third weekend of September every year? It all began in 1810 when there was an important wedding to attend. The crown prince, Ludwig, later to become King was marrying Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. All of the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the Royal festivity. In 1810, the main event besides the wedding was horse races, and so from then on it became a tradition. But by 1811 they added an agriculture show to help boost the Bavarian agriculture. But by 1818, they decided to add a carousel and two swings; small beer stands were also set up. But later in the years about 1896 the small beer stands became beer tents. It became a fairground trade and continued to grow and develop in Germany. But now in 2017, they have carousels, rollercoasters and other fun things for all ages. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Oktoberfest. It sounds really fun and maybe just maybe you’ll end up going one day.


Animals associated with Halloween

Black Cats
We’ve all heard the superstition that bad luck will follow if a black cat crosses your path, but how did this begin? In Medieval Europe, black cats were associated with the devil. This was due to their bright eyes contrasting against their dark fur. Also, many poor/vagrant women who took care of these cats were suspected of being witches, and as a result, accusations circulated that the cats were evil. People believed that witches could shape shift into black cats. When you see Halloween decorations of witches and cats together, this is why. Also in Medieval Europe, Pope Innocent the VIII ordered millions of cats to be rounded up and slaughtered. Any individual caught with a cat as a pet was subject to execution. As a result, having a cat cross your path at this time was not only frightening because the belief in witches and the devil was valid but also because you could potentially be killed for associating with cats at all.
Bats have been associated with vampires, although only three species actually drink blood. Vampires and witches are said to be able to shapeshift into bats, which is why they’re often paired together somehow in Halloween décor. It’s said that seeing a bat flying during the day is an omen that someone close to the viewer will die. Likewise, if a bat flies into your house and instantly hangs on the ceiling, it’s good luck. If it circles twice beforehand, it’s bad. If at any time a bat flies three times around your head, inside or outside, it’s said that your life will soon end. Killing a bat is supposed to shorten your lifespan. In fact, it’s illegal to kill several breeds throughout our country.
In the past, owls have been associated with witches who supposedly transformed into owls, so they could catch newborns and drink their blood. Hearing an owl hooting at night is still an omen that the death of a newborn could result in the hearer’s family. Likewise, seeing an owl during the day is attached to omens of death, but if the owl is white, it’s good luck. If an owl perches on your rooftop, someone in the household is said to expect very bad luck and potential death. If an owl hoots during a burial service, the deceased person’s spirit is rumored to rise from the grave and haunt whoever is present. In England, some believe that if a person looks into the nest of an owl, he/she will be depressed for life. If an owl is spotted near an abandoned house or structure, the location is supposedly haunted.

Interestingly, spiders have little negative superstition revolving around them, which is surprising because most people have some degree of arachnophobia. In Native American myth, the world was said to have been created by a giant spider woman who webbed existence. Some superstitions claim that spiders are female ancestors, so harming them is the same as harming a respected elder. In some cultures, a spider web is associated with money. Spiders are thus referred to as, “money spinners.” The time of day also seems to play a role in a spider’s message: “A spider seen in the morning is a sign of grief; a spider seen at noon, of joy; a spider seen in the evening, of hope.”

Snakes receive a bad reputation due to their association with Satan and the Garden of Eden. Some cultures consider snakes to be immortal because they shed their skins. Hanging a snake skin inside your house is said to help prevent fires. As with the black cat, seeing a snake pass your path is a bad omen. In the past, snakes were said to have healing powers. Today, this is why they’re incorporated on the medical professional emblem (two serpents wrapping around a staff).

Dress code: what are the students’ thoughts?
By Elisabeth Sharrow and Hannah Hayes

As dress code rules become more enforced students input becomes less heard. With the intent of changing that we interviewed some of your fellow students to see how they feel about dress code here at Westside High school. Here is what they said:
We asked a 12th grade, female student if she thinks the dress code is biased. She stated that dress code rules tend to target larger students over skinnier students. Here is what she said, “Me and my friends, we’re bigger, so we get dress coded for wearing leggings but skinny girls can wear them all the time and not get dress coded.” When questioned about whether or not she thinks teachers in the normal classroom setting enforce dress code rules she told us, “if they’re skinny no, if they’re bigger then yes.” This student also feels that shirts are just as much a problem when it comes to bigger students vs. skinnier students. In our interview she stated that crop tops get pointed out when larger students wear them but not when skinnier students wear them.
Another student we held an interview with is 9th grader Irene Hood. Irene stated, “I think they’re a little too pushy on it. You have girls wearing leggings with long enough shirts, and teachers will go down the hallway to tell you to put something else on. I think they’re a little too strict on it.”
Both of the female students we interviewed said that they have been recently dresscoded. The first female student said, “We (she and her friends) get dress coded for leggings...” Irene stated that her code experience wasn’t exactly fair either. She said,“I was wearing jeans that had holes in them, but I was wearing leggings under them. I was told that the leggings under the jeans were inappropriate and had to take both pairs off.”
When asked if they were biased both Irene Hood and our male student, David McAndrew, said they didn’t think dress code targeted anyone in particular. David said that, “It doesn’t target anyone because it’s set for everyone, like, if you’re wearing this, it’s not good regardless.” Irene reported that, “I don’t think it’s really biased, I think they do it to everyone, but even for everybody they’re still too strict on them. I don’t think they’re too biased about it.”

Now for the readers: have any of you had issues with the school’s dress code? Do you think it was unfair? Do you think after all the issues and complaints they should change some of our dress code rules? If so, which ones? We’d love to have input!


🎼Senior high band banquet 🎵 by Kali Gipson

The senior high band banquet is scheduled at 6:30 pm, Friday, May 12 and is taking place at Bono Church of Christ. This will include 8th through 12th grade students.
Pictured above Bono Church of Christ 101 Craftsbury Lane, Bono Arkansas 72416

The price is $5 per person with the exception of seniors who get in free. This charge is to cover the cost of the awards. The band parents will be providing the food and decorations. Food being served will include boston butts, cole slaw, chips, dip, cheesecake, cupcakes, soda, and tea. The band banquet awards band members for their hard work and dedication through the year. The banquet will also be the last event for seniors before graduation and their penultimate goodbye to Mr. Bratten. At the end of the banquet the band slideshow will be shown and pictures will be taken.

~Kali Gipson


Food grown in strange ways by Jaycee Hughes

Pineapple - Here is a shocker to many people: pineapples grow from the center of a bush. They are also considered to be a berry since they grow in clusters. (They are expensive because it takes 2- 3 years to grow.)

Cacao/ Cocoa Beans - The cacao bean is grown from a tree, but everyone just focuses on what is inside--the cocoa seed (chocolate); before it can be ground up to be made into chocolate, you must first roast and ferment it.

Vanilla - Only one type of bee can pollinate this orchid; it is only found in Mexico and Central America. Other vanilla must be hand pollinated. ( This is the reason it is so expensive.)

Asparagus - It regrows like tiny, skinny trees. It is a “perennial” plant, which means that in the right conditions it will grown back every year even if you cut it. After a long period of time, it grows leaves to resemble a fern and grows toxic little red berries.

Cashews: They grow on trees. The cashew nut is encased in a shell at the base of the cashew fruit-- commonly known as the cashew apple. In some countries the ‘apple’ is made into jellies, drinks, and sometimes distilled into a liquor.

Peanuts- Peanuts are actually not a nut. They are actually legumes, putting them in the same grouping as kidney and lima beans.

Coffee- Most people know the famous look of the coffee bean, but how many know of the cherry like fruit that the seed comes from? It is grown on a plant that many describe as a bush or small tree. It is called coffea arabica (which also inspired Herbal Essence to mimic the smell for one of their new natural scents).Most people ignore the fruit that the seed is encased in, but it can be brewed into a tea that is used for prayer to Muhammad, and they would also grind the entire fruit to make flavored coffee. In Africa the berries are often chewed to gather the strength from the seed without the extreme bitter taste of the coffee seed.

Artichokes: They are actually a flower that hasn’t bloomed yet.  It is also hidden in the middle of a cluster of flowers.

Brussel Sprouts: They are a part of the cabbage; they are edible buds that grow on a stalk rising about 2 - 2 ½ feet tall. When at full maturity, in many organic stores, you can actually buy the brussel sprouts on the stalk that you pick off yourself. (It is actually pretty fun, but it is sometimes hard to get the sprouts off without a knife or strength.)

Sources from the text:


Chromebook financing

Some of you may wonder, “how much money is put into the chromebook budget annually?” Well, although we cannot answer this directly, after some research, we can give you an understanding of how it all works. On average, about 10 people come in daily with chromebook issues. These issues can range from battered and broken chromebooks to software updates just kicking people off of the internet. The highest amount of money that a student will have to pay for a broken chromebook is $400. This amount is for total destruction of the motherboard, at which point the rest of the device is salvaged. The lowest that a student can pay is $50. There is no reason for this price besides just a general consensus of the school. We asked Mrs. Cooper what she thought of the chromebooks,and she replied,” For the abuse that they take, they are pretty high quality.”
After we gathered these estimates, we took it upon ourselves to find out if the chromebooks are recorded in our school's finances. To our surprise, we found that there isn’t really much that directly regards the chromebooks themselves. Instead it’s all broad terms for anything technological. We have many different revenue streams from which we get our money. The money we receive falls into four categorical funds, one of which is technology. Since the school has so much technology, narrowing the money down to one number is a hard task to do for chromebooks specifically. We found that a rough estimate on our technology budget is around $70,000 to $75,000 annually. The school then takes that money and draws out a plan on how to use it. We did some calculations of our own though. We saw that if you take the three people a day for 36 weeks, you have around $7750 on chromebook repairs alone. (Let us remind you that this holds no bearings to the information that we have presented to you; this is just what we calculated). Finally, we asked what the plan was for replacement computers in the future would be, as they no longer manufacture the motherboards needed for the current chromebooks. Mrs. Cooper said that “We would most likely move to a newer model of the chromebooks that would be a bit thinner, but would otherwise be about the same (as the old model).”

By: Brandon Smith and Marc Carter


An Inconvenient Truth review by Mason Jones

This documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, honestly changed my opinion on climate change. I’ve always had an issue with trust, especially when it comes to trusting a politician. The war between Democrats and Republicans has spread into almost every aspect of our lives, but there has to be somewhere to draw the line. There comes a point when the issue is so serious that we have to put aside our personal agendas, or the world we know will cease to exist and these issues will seem minuscule compared to the chaos created by climate change.
I feel like this documentary was created with one goal-- to enlighten people on the dangers we could be facing due to climate change. As hard as I find it to trust a politician, I’m almost the complete opposite about scientists. I feel like most scientists are in search of the truth. They are curious people who hate disinformation and who look for facts. One thing that scientists unanimously agree on is the fact that Earth is getting warmer due to the increase of C02 present in the atmosphere. This is an undisputed fact and was delivered for the most part as it should have been.  With Al Gore citing scientific data, real numbers that no one can argue with, I was starting to turn my opinion on the topic.
While the presentation shined on its use of facts, it was the delivery of said facts that made me question the motives of Al Gore. Charts were used throughout the documentary, and I liked it at first because it puts the data in front of you so that you can easily interpret it. But when I stopped and further examined these charts, I discovered that they were exaggerated. They seemed to lean further to propaganda than actual scientific research.  This made me wonder, why not show things as they are? Why stretch the truth to make things seem worse than they are?
I pondered that thought for a while as we revisited the video; it was still fresh in my mind. This time when we watched Al Gore was talking about how much sea levels would rise if the earth’s warming continued at the pace it’s going at right now. As Al Gore interpreted the scientific data, I understood why he used the exaggerated graphs. The earth’s sea levels are predicted to rise 20 feet. This could lead to over 100 million refugees, complete country's disappearing, and complete devastation. And it seems like no one is listening. No one wants to hear the warnings. I understand why he is trying to scare people. He has dedicated his life to this for 30 years, and we are on the same course.
I believe that we have got to change the way we live our lives, or we will regret it. Our children will resent us for taking away the world that we have now. Mother nature will hate us and punish us with natural disasters. Everything will change if we don't.


Strange Christmas traditions in India by Brooke Peyton

(Made by my boi Emily Diamond. It's a banana Christmas tree lol.)

Even with 25 million people, only 2.3% of the population in India are Christians. With such a small amount of Christmas celebrating Christians, it calls for some weird Christmas traditions. One of India’s traditions is that instead of having a traditional evergreen Christmas tree, they have banana trees or mango trees. Brightly lit banana or mango trees can be seen in many houses topped with ornaments and Christmas decor. Sometimes mango leaves are even used as a decoration in homes.

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(Young Indian children attend a Christmas celebration in their classes dressed up as Santa Claus)

The Christmas festivities don’t stop there in India. Christians in Mumbai and Goa like to make star lanterns. Star lanterns are a symbol of the North Star, which was used to guide the wise men to baby Jesus. Star lanterns and their corresponding nativity scenes are sure to be extravagant since people like to make sure that their manger scene is the best. Churches also decorate with Poinsettia flowers and candles for the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass service. To finish their nativity scenes, families make clay figures to go under their star lantern. Star lanterns could be hung outside between houses so that they float above you while you walk through the streets. Another Christmas decoration that Christians and churches put out is a small oil burning clay lamp that they put on the roofs of their homes. They do this to show their friends and neighbors that Jesus is the light of the word.

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(Star lanterns used as Christmas decorations)

For us here in the states, Santa visits in a sleigh led by reindeer. In India, Santa visits by a horse-drawn or camel-drawn cart. India’s Santa goes by many names such as Baba Christmas, Christmas Thaathaa, Christmas Thatha, Natal Bua, Christmas Elder Man, and Christmas Papa. In India, they also go Christmas caroling, just like us. Around a week before Christmas, Christians start caroling and go neighbor to neighbor singing Christmas songs.

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(Christmas camels in India)

Like our Christmas foods, Christians in India love sweets and cakes called Christmas Cakes(which are pretty much fruit cakes). One favorite Indian Christma treat is called a neureos, which is a small pastry that is stuffed with coconut and then fried. Another is dodol which is toffee with coconut and a cashew. Consuda is when people make sweets and give them as Christmas presents to their friends and neighbors.

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(An Indian Christmas cake, which is like a fruitcake)

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( A bowl of neureos, which is a traditional Christmas sweet in India)

On Christmas Eve, the main Christmas meal is eaten, which includes either roast turkey or chicken. After the meal, Christians go to church for the Midnight mass service. After the service is finished, the church bells are rung to show that Christmas day is finally here. At the Midnight mass service, many Christians celebrate Epiphany and the Wise Men’s visit to meet Jesus. Traditional Catholics fast from the 1st of December to the 24th, or until the Midnight service.

(An elephant painted up for a Christmas parade)



Mount Rainier by Austin Tyler

Image result for mount rainier

Mount Rainier has multiple names like Mount Tacoma, or Mount Tahoma. Mount Rainier is located in Washington, in the Cascade Range. It is home to many wildlife and is a state park. The mountain is a volcano but it has a special name, since it looks like just a regular old mountain. It is known as a stratovolcano because it stands so tall. It is over 14,411ft tall or 4,392m.

The mountain is over 500,000 years old, and it is still active. As a matter of fact, it is said to be the most dangerously active volcano in the area. Past eruptions have caused volcanic mud slides, which have been changing the landscape for thousands of years. The stratovolcano has erupted five times, but the last time that it was recorded was between November and December of 1894.

Mount Rainier is located on the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. The position that the mountain is sitting on the tectonic plate is what causes the land changing volcanic mud flows. Weathering and erosion have not changed the mountain that much since it is the tallest stratovolcano or mountain in the the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier is the most glaciated stratovolcano in the contiguous U.S and has six major rivers in its state park. It is also the most unpredictable stratovolcano in the U.S.

Sources: http://www.mountrainiermd.org/ , http://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier 


Save the bees please! ~ Emily Diamond

The native North American bumblebee might be added to the endangered species list by conservationists and wildlife officials. The nomenclature for this animal is Bombus affinis. Sadly, they are in severe danger of becoming extinct. There are thousands of other bee species that are becoming more extinct than the North American bee, but they are more concerned for this one. Over half of the midwest’s native bee species have disappeared over the last 100 years, according to a recent study.

In this type of species, the male and worker bees have a red patch on their backs, and surprisingly the female bees are the only ones that are able to sting. Humans swatting these poor bees is not the only cause of their extinction. They keep dying off because of farming, habitat loss, disease, climate change, and pesticides. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States,” which is very impressive.

If you have ever seen The Bee Movie you know how important bees are to our everyday life. They pollinate the flowers which gives us the oxygen we need to breathe. Flowers need to be pollinated to be able to reproduce. So without the bees we wouldn’t have vegetables, flowers, or anything else that needs pollination. We can save the bees if we plant gardens, use less pesticides, take away the non-native plants, and take care of the natural landscapes.


Being the light guy ~ Jey Riggs

In and most cases, when most people watch a play, they only think about what they see; they focus on the actors and the story. A lot of people don’t consider the hard work of the stage crew, makeup artist(s),  the director, the stage manager sound crew, and light crew. Even I didn’t until I was put into the position of being the one man light crew.

My first play was “Game of Tiaras.” I was cast as Guard #2, a minor role. This was pretty easy for me, and I had my lines memorized within the first few rehearsals. I really enjoyed being an actor; there was a lot of pressure, but it was also a really great time.

In the spring, the drama department decided to perform “Seussical: The Musical.” Jey Riggs doesn’t sing. Despite not having interest in being on stage, I still wanted to feel like I was a part of the show. Originally, I was going to be a stage hand, which is basically someone who moves props. Then, I was given the option of doing lights instead. I took this opportunity.

At first, I was filled with fear and anxiety of ruining the entire show. To my surprise, light crew was pretty simple. I just had to push a few buttons at the right time to correspond with the script. Admittedly, I screwed up quite a few times. However, for it being my first time ever touching that light board, I’m kind of proud.

Now, I’m the official light guy for all of the plays. I really kind of miss being an actor, but there’s less competition, and I have to go to fewer rehearsals, so I guess it really isn’t that bad.

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