Coach Griebel released, community speaks out

 

Karen Griebel  after addressing the board. Griebel also retired from her coaching position of the Eagle's gymnastics team.

Karen Griebel addressed the board about the release of her husband, Mike Griebel, from his coaching responsibilities.

   The school administration sent out a letter to all the Heritage Football Families saying, “Mike Griebel is no longer coaching for Heritage High School. He has formally retired from his teaching career at the end of the current school year, as well.”

   On December 12, 2013, the Littleton Public School Board heard the statements, letters, stories and arguments over the administration’s decision to release him from his football responsibilities. About one hundred people (combined of Heritage students, parents and alum) attended the meeting at the Education Services Center in Littleton. Over fifteen citizens spoke to the Board and many more had planned to.

Many people shared how well Griebel coached as well as proclaiming their dissatisfaction with his removal, knowing that he had coached for years.

“Coach Griebel’s firing will be the reason we leave the district,” said a Heritage football mom and alum.

Most shared their disapproval and pleaded for Griebel’s return during their speeches.

Karen Griebel, Mike Griebel’s wife shared her anger openly with the Board and crowd.

“This is like living through what would become a bestselling tragic novel. Mr. Griebel never resigned and he never retired from his coaching position. I don’t know what’s happening in our building,” said Karen Griebel.

“There’s a lot of passion in the room tonight whether it is a spoken word or just your presence, it means so much. I want to thank all the players that are here, past and present, Heritage parents, students, community members and especially my wife and family for fighting for what we believe in and care about,” said Mike Griebel.

   Also included in the initial letter, Stacey Riendeau writes, “Mike has had a long, successful teaching and coaching career here at Heritage, and we sincerely thank him for his dedication and service to the students, parents and larger Heritage Community. We wish him all the best in his retirement.” 

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3B Passes

Adult supporters of 3B post these boards in their lawns for publicity. Many boards circulated around Littleton and raised further support for the bill.

Supporters of 3B post these boards in their lawns for publicity. Many boards circulated around Littleton and raised further support for the bill.

Having been in the works for about two years, 3B passed with a 59.8% vote of support. 3B addressed the need for the Littleton Public School District to improve and update their schools. LPS’s intent for 3B is to keep their funding despite the tax decrease within Littleton. LPS is funded by property taxes, but since these have been decreasing lately, 3B lets LPS collect the same amount of funds as before, despite the lowered taxes. With the funds that they will take in, they’ll improve all the LPS schools including Heritage.

On November 4, 2013, 3B passed with the support of the school board, parents, teachers and students.

“A tremendous amount of parent support, financial support, phone banks and the political committee really helped to get the bond passed,” says Principal Stacey Riendeau.

After LPS gets their debt refinanced through the bond, the board plans on making the schools safer and more efficient. Over the summer, all LPS schools had undergone a check-up in which the school board and advisers looked for the changes that needed to be made.

For Heritage specifically, almost 1.6 million dollars will be going mostly into roofing, mechanical and irrigation systems, the grounds outside as well as the structural parts of the school like the windows and gym floor. These changes will help Heritage to be an updated school and LPS to be a renewed school district.

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Nelson Mandela’s legacy on Heritage

Mandela's funeral brought many South Africans out to mourn. Mandela was buried in the rolling hills of South Africa Credit: Associated Press

Mandela’s funeral brought many South Africans out to mourn. Mandela was buried in the rolling hills of South Africa Credit: Associated Press

  Born on July 18 in 1918, Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo, South Africa. According to biography.com, he was the first to go to school in his family, where he started to be interested in African history while learning Xhosa, English and social studies.

  According to biography.com, his decision to change the customs in South Africa stemmed not only from school, but also from a ceremony in which he learned that he and his village were enslaved in their own country by the white foreigners. Mandela soon after became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, joined the African National Congress, or the ANC, and then because of this, was arrested and confined to prison for 27 years.

  Due to his strength and courage when fighting apartheid, Mandela and then President Frederik Willem de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1991, a year after his release, Mandela was elected to be the first black president of South Africa, debated, and then finally became president in 1994. He remained in this position for 4 years before he decided to retire and not run for the 1999 election.

  According to NelsonMandela.org, after his death, he had been trying to improve the South African heartland by building schools and health clinics while establishing the Nelson Mandela Foundation. According to blackagendareport.org, a couple of years after his retirement, he had been hit with prostate cancer which was soon cured and then contracted a lung infection which was the cause of his death.

  On December 5, 2013, Mandela passed away at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. This news shocked the world and affected people over 10,000 miles away in Littleton, Colorado.

  At Heritage, Mandela’s effect reached students and teachers alike.

  “Heritage’s motto is ‘The first among equals.’  My hope is that Nelson Mandela’s relentless spirit to create equality, not only in his country but the world, should continue to drive and remind Heritage students to work for change that doesn’t necessarily affect them directly. His legacy of living up to our light should be our challenge and goal,” says Mrs. Katie Krumm.

  This influence that Mandela has left behind has endured and will continue to persevere in the face of darkness according to teachers and students at Heritage.

  “Although we’ve lost Nelson Mandela, the inspiration he’s left at Heritage still lives on,” says Marc Thompson ‘14.

  Heritage recently is also going through a major conflict as many students now consider themselves Arapahoe Warriors in their time of sorrow and worries. Mandela’s effect on Heritage brings out the hope and empathy in every student as they try to help in anyway they can.

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Melt with Meltaways

Meltaways

photo 2This recipe is a tradition in my family and it has been for as long as I can remember. The recipe makes 5 dozen cookies; I promise you’ll enjoy every single one!

Dough Ingredients:

½ lb of butter (soft)

¾ cup of cornstarch

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

1 cup of flour

Directions to make the dough:

Beat the butter, cornstarch, and powdered sugar well. Slowly add the flour and continue beating until everything is mixed thoroughly. Roll the dough into small balls (when I say small, I mean small!)  and place on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 350° for 12 minutes! As you make more you can adjust the baking time based on your own oven! Once the cookies are done, let them cool completely.

Icing Ingredients:

3 ounces of cream cheese

1 tsp of vanilla or almond flavoring

1 cup of powdered sugar

Directions to make the icing:

Beat the  cream cheese, flavoring, and powdered sugar until completely mixed.

Additional Notes:

You can add food coloring to the frosting only, if you want to make the cookies more festive. Also colored sugar crystals can be sprinkled on top of the cookies for another festive touch!photo 1

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Going Veggie

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Teens love their steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, junk food and flavored bottles of soda. Few teens love vegetables and fruit, and even fewer eat only vegetables and fruit for their diet. Being a vegetarian or vegan has become more and more popular in recent years. A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat any meat. That includes beef, pork, poultry and fish. Some teens use the word loosely and do eat chicken and fish.

Some vegetarians will eat other animal products such as honey, cheese, eggs, and milk. Others will not eat eggs, but will use dairy products. Vegans eat absolutely no animal products at all. Most teens who go vegetarian or vegan won’t eat or drink dairy products because even though cows aren’t killed during milk production, they won’t support any business or industry that confines animals for human use. Vegetarians, vegans, or teens who go dairy- free will use milk substitutes such as soymilk, rice milk, and almond milk.

Most teens who become vegetarians or vegans are concerned about the well-being of animals. Others care about the environment because meat production uses a lot of land, water, grains, and energy resources that produces pollution. A vegetarian diet will save energy, and a vegan diet is the most efficient in saving energy. Some vegetarians change their diet for their health. The American Dietetic Association has said that a vegetarian diet can be a nutritious way to eat, even for teens and children. For teens who are also gluten free, eating on a vegan and vegetarian diet will be harder. Many health food stores have options for bread, crackers, and other products that usually have gluten.

“As long as you understand that you get all the amino acids from the lack of protein. You need to understand exactly what you are doing and teens need to be fully informed before they start a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Teens should take supplements if they need them. The benefits of being vegan or vegetarian as a teen is that you will have a much lower cholesterol, which when you are an adult will help immensely” says Mrs. Mary Plath-Rice, Heritage’s librarian who used to work at a health foods store.

Vegetarians and vegans have quite a few options in what they eat, what lunches they take to school, and snacks to munch on. Fresh vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, and celery are fresh, healthy snacks. Crackers, rice cakes, dried fruit and nuts, popcorn, and applesauce are also quick and good snacks. Vegetarians don’t eat just vegetables. Rice, noodles, beans and tofu are frequently in their diet. The vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is not for everyone, but the teens who do spend time researching and making healthy and environmental wise choices, have found that it is fulfilling.

 

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Value of language

In a study conducted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, an estimated 13.3 million immigrants lived legally in the United States, each with their own unique culture and way of life, according to the DHS website.

Ms. Solís, a Heritage world languages teacher, teaches her Spanish IV class.

Ms. Solís, a Heritage world languages instructor, teaches her Spanish IV class.

In the face of this wave of cultural diversity, it is crucial to find ways to connect these distinctive ways of life. Language provides part of the key to this problem.

I feel that learning a language has its value in linking together all varieties of people locally and internationally. As highly social creatures, humans need to overcome the language barrier that is deeply afflicting our society. Once humans understand how to communicate with each other, the inherent confusion and anger that comes from different, and often conflicting, forms of speech disappear. It can be said that with understanding comes acceptance; therefore it can be said that with a grasp of language comes the evaporation of rampant xenophobia that is felt all around the world. Language provides the societal revolution that is needed to take the first steps into our halcyon future as a nation and planet.

While learning a language reduces the apprehension and impulsive vexation towards different ways of life, it also gives a sense of individuality that we as humans crave, especially now in the 21st century. The joy of language is that there are many of them out there; people just have to broaden their view. Spanish, French and English are just the start of a whole world full of diverse languages. Each one rolls off the tongue in its own unique ways and has its own distinctive sounds. In a world of overwhelming variety, it only does injustice to limit the list of languages down to those basic three. Look around, the thrill of the hunt only intensifies the search for that special language, or languages for each of us.

Diversity is what makes us human, and now it all comes down to embracing and celebrating that diversity in our homes and country, starting with language.

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Winter refreshes

Winter Park, CO

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

-Edith Sitwell

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‘Philomena’ a must see movie

   With huge blockbuster movies being released in the last two months of the years it is easy for small independent films like Philomena to be passed over by movie-goers but I would strongly suggest checking this one out.

“Philomena,” now showing at the local AMC, is a movie that tells the true story of Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith. Judi Dench is spectacular.

With huge blockbuster movies being released in the last two months of the years it is easy for small independent films like Philomena to be passed over by movie-goers but I would strongly suggest checking this one out.

Philomena is a drama with a touch of comedy that is significantly helped along by a heart-tugging screenplay (written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope) and a performance that proves why Judi Dench is a Dame. She handles the script with such ease that the viewer is holding on to every word she speaks and every action she does and they consistently hope for the best possible outcome for her.

Dench plays Philomena Lee who is an elderly, devout Catholic woman who in her teenage years had a son out of wedlock and for her punishment the church adopts her son to an American family without Philomena’s permission. The film tells the true story of Lee and Martin Sixsmith (played by Coogan), a recently unemployed BBC journalist, and their travels to America to locate her son and find out if he had ever tried to locate his mother.

This film leaves a lasting message about not only the Catholic Church but also about the importance of forgiveness and the effects it can have on a person’s life.

Philomena is directed by Stephen Frears and stars Academy Award winner Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It opened on November 22 in most theaters in the Littleton area including AMC 24.

 

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‘The Hunger Games’ catches fire once again

It’s a rare thing when I’ll go pay $15 to go see a movie. I’d usually much rather wait until it comes out on DVD and Netflix it. So it’s even rarer when I go to see a movie in a theater more than once. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, however, stands up to both re-watching and the cost of going to see multiple times.

While the first movie in the franchise, The Hunger Games, was a decent adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel, Catching Fire is an even better one.  The deviations from the novel the screenwriters made, such as making The Capitol and not District 12 the final stop on the Victory Tour, were minor and thoughtfully chosen. A change in directors also benefitted the franchise, with Francis Lawrence replacing Gary Ross. Lawrence’s style was more crisp, and he eliminated the shaky cameras that bothered some fans in the last film. However, even with the change of directors, the sequel still made a cohesive transition from the first film.

Casting for the film was close to perfection. Jennifer Lawrence again led the cast, delivering a believable and emotional performance as Katniss. She aptly portrayed the psychological impacts the last Games had on Katniss, as well as the complexity of her relationships with the other characters. Josh Hutcherson improved his performance of Peeta from the last film, and really dug into the goodness of his character. Added to the cast were Sam Claflin as Finnick and Jenna Malone as Johanna. Claflin also portrayed the complex emotions of his character well, especially with his compassionate treatment of Mags, Finnick’s mentor and now ally in the Games. In contrast, Malone played up the supposed lack of emotion in her character well, and  even improved from the character in the book. Her sassy comments also provided some much needed comic relief to the otherwise intense film.

Spoiler Alert! The film closes with a cliffhanger, with Gale telling Katniss that “There is no District 12.” While the audience is left to comprehend this, Katniss’s iconic Mockingjay pin lights up the screen, and the bird takes flight.  This powerful image is a perfect segue into the next film, Mockingjay Part 1,  which is set to come out next November.

Heritage students Kristin Good, Jenna Austin, and Bailey Dodd hang out with friends before going to see "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Heritage students Kristin Good, Jenna Austin, and Bailey Dodd hang out with friends before going to see “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

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Teaming Up

Team bonding

The Heritage Athletic department is attempting to move teams to use team bonding in a positive way and completely expel all hazing.

 

“I think it’s good to have team bonding like pre-season trips or camps that make everyone feel that they’re part of a larger community,” says Athletic Director Mr. Brock Becker.

Since hazing within sports teams has become more prominent in society recently, the Heritage Athletics Department is encouraging more team bonding and less hazing.

Hazing, according to Merriam-webster.com, is defined as the practice of playing unpleasant tricks on someone or forcing someone to do unpleasant things. Typically this is done to initiate new members onto a team or to make freshman teammates “earn their rank.”

Not only has this behavior hurt feelings and made people feel like “lesser” members of the team, but it sometimes has also caused bodily harm and frightening results.

Heritage is trying to promote better team spirit by a bonding style that is positive and encouraging instead of degrading and embarrassing.

An example of this is a pre-season spirit booster of sorts; something to make all participants see the value in the sport and in their overall team. It’s not something that separates athletes into levels of superiority.

The Athletic Department is trying to stress the importance of being part of a program and not necessarily just the “varsity team.”

“In the end we all have one common goal in mind: to represent Heritage, our communities and our families,” says Becker.

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