A parent wants to be able to brag about his or her child’s grades and grade-point average, but many in the Mountain Pine School District in Mtn. Pine, Ark., are wondering if a year-round school could help students make better grades and give a parent more bragging rights?
Studies are showing that there is a small grade-point-average difference between year-round schools and standard-year schools. Some people have come to the conclusion that maybe having a shorter break in the summer could help students remember information better than a standard school year. Studies have shown that a standard school year ends up reviewing for at least three weeks at the beginning of the school year, while the year-round schools only review for about a week. This could lead to better grades at the beginning of the year.
When asked, “Do you think keeping students in a year-round school helps students make better grades? Why or why not?” Alyce Hysell, a counselor at a year-round school, Elm Tree Elementary in Bentonville, Ark., responded, “I think students in the year-round schedule do well academically. Students have more frequent breaks and seem rested. Also, with shorter summers, students tend to retain information. When students come back in the fall, less time is spent in remediation or reviewing skills.”
When Chris Gray, a history teacher and softball coach at Mountain Pine High School in Mountain Pine, Ark. was asked the same question, he responded, “Initially probably not, but over time, I feel as if some students would, but some kids just never put an effort into anything they are doing, so no I do not feel as if it [year-round school] would help very much.”
While some may question a year-round school’s effectiveness, some believe that the nature of it being year-round could help in future careers.
When asked the same question Hysell replied, “My children went to a year-round school. I felt that more learning took place. My children never got bored during the summer either.”
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
Just in time for the snowman-building season, Disney’s 3-D animated film, Frozen, will bring out the kid in you as you take a musical adventure through the icy kingdom of an everlasting winter wonderland.
Frozen, which first premiered in theaters on November 27, has been a big hit worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, behind only The Lion King. The film won five Annie Awards, an Academy Award, and two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated feature and best Original Song of “Let It Go.” It is also the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win a Golden Globe for the category of Best Animated Feature. Following the tradition of other hit Disney animated musicals, Frozen: The Musical will soon be a must-see Broadway show.
Taking place in the Norwegian kingdom of Arendelle, two sisters live in the royal palace, and the oldest, Elsa, voiced by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, beholds a hidden power at her fingertips that allows her to transform everything into snow and ice. After a near-death accident with younger sister, Anna, the King and Queen of the kingdom isolate Elsa from any connection to the outside world, for fear that she may cause more harm if she does not learn to control her powers. During Elsa’s eighteenth birthday and coronation, the story takes a turn for the worst; Elsa and Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, get into a fight when Anna gets engaged to Hans, a stranger she only met a few minutes ago. As Princess Elsa’s anger boils, her powers spiral out of her control and a raging blizzard dawns over Arendelle as Elsa flees the kingdom, setting off an eternal winter. Anna embarks on a frigid journey up to the North Mountain to retrieve her sister from her icy kingdom of isolation and bring back the summer.
One of the characters along the way, Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, was a whimsical and hilarious snowman brought to life by Elsa’s magic. Aside from the goofy appearance of his crooked carrot-nose and disproportionate body, Olaf’s icy outer core covered the loving and childlike innocence of his personality. In his musical number, “In Summer,” he fantasized about seeing the sun beating down on him in warm weather, completely unaware of the consequences for a snowman in heat. The crowd erupted into laughter as Olaf sang, “put me in summer and I’ll be a happy snowman,” while he paused in front of a puddle. Anna also encountered a rugged mountain man named Kristoff, voiced by Glee’s Jonathan Groff, and his reindeer, Sven. The audience chuckled when Kristoff pretended to have a conversation with Sven, but instead created voice-overs to speak for Sven, while he sang, “People Are Better Than Reindeers.”
The animation used in the film closely resembled that of Tangled, another Disney animated film. The animators blended computer-generated images with the traditional hand-drawn animation. They also used the landscape of Norway and the feel of the winter season in Wyoming for inspiration. The three-dimensional style adds to the pearly effect of the ice and snow. The story line was loosely modeled off Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Snow Queen.
Despite catchy musical numbers and lovable characters in the film, it gives off a powerful message to its viewers. The movie’s musical hit, “let it Go,” sung by Elsa, is empowering and female-positive. Elsa sheds her skin and becomes comfortable with her powers and the icy world that she’s able to create for herself. She’s even emboldened enough to build herself a crystallized ice palace and a new wardrobe fit for an Ice Queen. The bond between family is also emphasized when Anna’s frozen heart can only be thawed with true love. The true love proves to be coming from, not the expected Hans, but her own sister, Elsa.
Frozen will captivate your attention until the end. Filled with catchy songs and lovable characters, you’ll find yourself singing along and smiling until Arendelle’s frigid wintery curse is reversed.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
‘Workers need a McLiving wage’ read the sign of one protester standing in a crowd of others in front of McDonalds, their goal: raising the minimum wage. In over 100 cities across the nation workers walked out on their jobs in an effort to have their voices heard and raise the minimum wage to $15.
Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 though states are allowed to raise the minimum if they see fit. In New York, the minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage, which, according to research, is barley enough to stay above the federal poverty line of $15,510 a year.
Most minimum wage workers work at fast food restaurants or stores that require customer service. A good example of this is Walgreens. Though these jobs were once mostly occupied by teenagers, today this is not the case as nearly a third of these workers identify as family caretakers, according to the New York Times. Raising the minimum wage would help workers rise above the poverty line and aid the declining economy. The economy can be stabilized if Americans buy American products. However, American products are known to be quite expensive, so Americans tend to buy foreign, mostly from China. With more people making more money, more people will be able to afford to buy American. Raising the minimum wage is the first step to getting America back at its economic best.
The fair minimum wage act, also known as the Harkin-Miller bill, could raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $10.10 if passed. President Obama supports the bill though the bill failed to pass through the House, with all 227 Republicans voting against it. The House tends to vote against our Democratic president, as most people acknowledged when the party differences recently resulted in a 16-day government shutdown. However, with more protests and petitions to state legislatures, the bill could be passed next summer. This may be plausible, as according to a poll done by hart Research, 80 percent of Americans support increasing the minimum to $10.10
Those against the increase of the minimum wage, like the House Republicans argue it would prevent the creation of 200,000 jobs and thus, slow the economy. This is because less money would go into the pockets of employers and therefore, they’ll find ways to hire less people. The rich need to stay rich, right? Those against the increase of the minimum wage argue that 99 percent of people in poverty will stay in poverty. But this is because 80 percent of full time minimum wage workers are just barley above the poverty line. Increasing the minimum wage will help these people rise into the lower middle class at least, and it will also aid the growth of our economy. The logical thing to do is to help those who can be helped right now. Raising the minimum wage can accomplish that.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
A young boy crouches in front of a shop display. He eyes the action figures in the window with glee before looking up at his father, confusion in his eyes.
“Why are none of them black?”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D knows it’s a problem, why can’t anyone else seem to get this right?
Representation of minorities in the media has always been an uphill battle. People of color are either grossly misrepresented or excluded altogether. Hollywood blockbusters, prime-time television, and even Disney films all seem to overlook entire groups of people.
The only way to find entertainment with any real representation of racial minorities is to watch television geared specifically towards those people. African-Americans can be seen on BET and in Tyler Perry movies. Latino people can be found on Mexican soap operas. Still, minorities are left out of major entertainment.
Disney is one of the worst offenders. People of color are left out of animated films for the sake of “historical accuracy” yet the same history is completely white-washed, disguising the true diversity. Of Disney’s princesses, only four are not white, and three of them are not actual princesses.
What is worse than the lack of representation is the misrepresentation of racial minorities. Often, People of color characters are made into nothing more than a joke. Native Americans are shown as primitive and unintelligent, African-Americans are shown as ignorant and confrontational, and others are reduced to their basic stereotypes.
This negative misrepresentation is an unfortunately common thing in the media. Charles Davis, a Sophomore at Murrah High School, said, “It definitely depends on where you look. If you’re watching something like the History Channel, it’s bound to be more positive. Comedy Central or something else is sure to be negative, though.”
By now, representation of minorities and diversification of the media overall should be a fact, not a goal. Our media is a representation of our society, and we are miles behind where we should be as people.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
On December 13th, 2013, Beyonce released a self-titled visual album for her subjects’ listening pleasures. Since its release, the album has received criticism for being too vulgar, but Beyonce is way more than any other album that was released in 2013. It’s not bubbly pop music; it’s art.
The album was released in the dark of night, with no promotion, pre sales, or radio singles. All 17 music videos and 13 songs, culminating in 144 minutes of absolute Beyonce-dazzled perfection, must also be purchased together. The music is a tribute to herself, her career, her husband, her daughter, and her fans.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone feels this way. The content of the lyrics and the videos have been attacked by many critics who describe the music as disgusting and explicit. They believe that Beyonce has degraded herself to the level of Rihanna or Miley Cyrus. Some go so far as to say they want the album banned, both on Youtube and iTunes.
Critics reduce her songs to consisting of purely sexual content. Yet songs on the album explore everything from pressures of society to be perfect, postnatal depression, death, love, and poverty. The album is a social and political evaluation of society and pop culture through Beyonce’s eyes. In the song ***Flawless, Beyonce even samples a speech made by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on women’s rights.
Critics are choosing to degrade Beyonce’s entire project into trash. I refuse to let the media portray Beyonce solely as a sex symbol. These critics equate Beyonce creating art and expressing herself with being unfit to be a role model. Not only does Beyonce own her own record label, she’s also an outstanding entertainer and vocalist, and balances chasing her dream with taking care of her family. What better example is there?
The album and the accompanying videos have shown her to be an intellectual, capable, multi-dimensional, high-achieving female. The album is wholesome, representing a real woman with real problems and a big heart. Beyonce is an amazing role model for girls and women and mothers out there because she’s showing that having a child doesn’t mean you have to lose or sacrifice yourself.
The album is a favorite of mine because it is so raw and personal. Beyonce put an art into pop music that hasn’t been seen in a long time. She brought the excitement and anticipation of buying a whole album back to the industry. She made Beyonce both an event and an immersive experience for fans everywhere. When I bought the album, I evaluated every lyric, every music video, and every costume change and then hit social media with my thoughts and perspective.
Still the only way to fully understand Beyonce’s album is to listen to her describe it herself. In “Self-Titled,” a mini art feature comprised of several parts that give a glimpse into the entire project, Beyonce talks about her mind-set and artistic vision throughout the making of BEYONCÉ. Since the album’s release, Beyonce has been too busy not caring at all what critics think of her. She is still on her international tour and recently penned an essay on gender equality for The Shriver Report.While most of the world catches up to Beyonce’s innovative genius, I’ll be grooving to the album and plotting to follow in her footsteps.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
Attending a four-year college isn’t in every student’s future. Whether it’s struggling to afford the pricey tuition, or just not being interested in the whole college experience, students still have other alternatives they can choose from.
“I’ve been accepted and enrolled in Davidson College. It’s always been my dream school,” says Senior Madison Dietrich.
In case of financial issues, students can find a job. Saving up for college could be pretty beneficial in the end. The money saved up from the small job can help make college more affordable. Also, having a job before jumping into college can help prepare for future careers by teaching students certain skills. For example, if a student worked as a cashier, they would have experience with handling money and they could work in a bank.
“I’m just going to a four-year college, nothing special,” says senior Josh Brown.
Another alternative would be traveling. If students were interested in exploring the world, they could always jump into a car or plane and travel to their heart’s content.
Some people are more into physical activity rather than mental activity such as school. Joining the military could be a great alternative for people who prefer physical action.
If you’re interested in the military, see Colonel Bergeron of JROTC | Photo by Christina Ostapovich
Last but not least, if college is still in mind but not for all four years, community college can be an option. Students spend two years taking courses and then graduate. It can save tons of money and the student can still get an education.
“School doesn’t really interest me. I just plan to get a job,” says Senior Nicole Edwards.
College isn’t for everyone, but there are many options that students can look at to ensure a bright future for themselves.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
Have you ever felt like you were trapped in a hole and there was not a single person nor thing that could save you? No matter where you were there was always a gut feeling as if things would be better if you weren’t there at all?
In Disney’s new movie “Frozen”, young princess Elsa had felt that way towards her family ever since she was a very young girl because that she was born with a very mysterious power to create ice and snow. This power could be amazing and beautiful to watch, but at the same time very dangerous towards the people who surrounded her if it wasn’t controlled properly. It had to be kept a secret from anyone outside of the castle gates. The king and queen didn’t want anyone to look at their daughter differently because at the end of the day she was just as normal as any other little girl her age.
Elsa also had a younger sister who was a very daring and fearless girl and absolutely loved adventure. Her name was Anna. As children they enjoyed playing with each other from dusk till dawn, often times using Elsa’s power to give them a whole lot of ice and snow. But one day things went awfully wrong and her magic nearly ended her sister’s life before her own eyes.
It is now up to Anna to set off on an incredible adventure to find her sister and set things right. With the help of a really kind hearted person named Kristoff, his royal reindeer Sven, and a very funny snowman whose name is Olaf. They encounter a lot of bumps in the road along the way but nevertheless fight till the end in a race against time to save their kingdom.
Disney has done it once again. Creating a well rounded movie that’s perfect for people of all ages to enjoy. Filled with all kinds of elements such as love, comedy, adventure, danger, and so much more. This kind of combination is made to have your eyes glued onto the screen the entire time just wondering what’s going to happen next. Not to mention that the Frozen soundtrack is absolutely amazing and goes above and beyond expectations
If you’re someone who enjoys watching Disney movies and/or movies that don’t have your typical fairy tale ending, this is definitely the movie for you to watch. I highly recommend the movie “Frozen” for all to watch next time you take a trip over to the movies. You won’t be disappointed in the end: I know I wasn’t. It shows us all that a little love and acceptance for who we are from the right kind of people can go a very long way and set things right.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
Most people know that both slavery and human trafficking are serious issues that we still face globally today. There are few, however, who realize just how prevalent these issues are. Slavery and human trafficking is closer to home than you might imagine.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The federal government defines human trafficking as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age”; or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”
The honorary month was established to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation that legally eliminated slavery in the United States on January 1, 1865. President Barack Obama proclaimed the national recognition of this month in 2012.
Slavery today exists throughout the world. The United States is no exception. Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being forced into prostitution in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
This January is a month to spread awareness about slavery in the United States as well as the rest of the world. There are many ways to help with the elimination of slavery today and the prevention of it in the future. Spreading awareness is a huge part of that. When more people recognize slavery in America, more people will be able to stop it.
There are also many organizations that are dedicated to the cause of freeing slaves and putting an end to human trafficking. If you have an interest in getting involved, go to freetheslaves.net or endhumantrafficking.org. Both of these websites have a place for anyone who wants to join the fight against slavery.
Get involved this month and make a difference. This January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Spread the word.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>
CLAYTON – From “Gangnam Style” to “Call Me Maybe”, catchy songs seem to be becoming more and more popular.
Recently, “The Fox” by Norwegian comedy brothers “Ylvis” was posted on YouTube. This quirky song has been played over 131 million times since its posting on September 3 2013.
Ylvis’ inspiration for his new hit song (Photo courtest Flickr/Rob Lee)
The song is an electronic pop dance song. The song was made to be comedic. ”The Fox” imitates typical club dance style music.
The two brothers, Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker, made the song to be featured on their show “Tonight with YLVIS”.
The original idea for a song about a fox was thought up in 2012, but was abandoned until this year. They since reopened the skeptical fox song. The two brothers had no troubles making up the lyrics for the song. all it took was some brainstorming together and some notes about the noises foxes make.
Some mistook it to be a serious song and had trouble grasping what the brothers were trying to say. In other places around the world, not many people have heard of their talk show, and are confused as to why the song was made.
This song has brought about great controversy, many liking it’s upbeat tune, and others hating its annoying fox noises.
“I hate it” Alexandra Daniels, a sophomore at Cleveland High said.
On September 20, Ylvis went on the Ellen show, and performed the beginning to the song.
On YouTube, TheFineBros have a channel called “teens react”, where selected teens are filmed watching and reacting to songs, and videos. They had teens watch “The Fox” and some of their reactions were “is this a legitimate song?” “I’ve watched this a lot,” “that was amazing” and some even sang along to it.
“It was very Weird, Random, But hilarious” Dylan Hinnant. Freshman, said after watching the video.
Edited by Ellyn E. Fulton]]>