Irish traditions continued in America

America’s gone green–no, not economically–but culturally. The fighting Irish are showing their true colors this St. Patrick’s day, and they are celebrating countless traditions.

These traditions started in Ireland countless years ago. Traditions such as corned beef are

The famous slogan is popular in American customs during parades and fun parties.

The famous slogan is popular in American customs during parades and fun parties.

a bit ‘Americanized,’ the real food focus is on Potatoes, one of Ireland’s staple food products since the dark ages.

The Pooka (or Puca), a fictional creature that takes the shape as a black horse, is a common topic to discuss. His mischief is beyond compare, and he is known for trampling crops and causing misery to small towns. Also known to take terrifying shapes such as a horned goblin, it inflicts fear upon farmers and apparently demands his share. Irelandseye.com mentions that    Farmers in Ireland to this day still leave small strands of their harvest behind in payment to the Pooka out of a small superstition.“This creature is the Pooka. Pay no mind to the shape he wears, for he’s none of his own, and no soul either. Ware him ever, trust him never, but when the wind’s right he has his uses. Never forget that you will never know him. The Pooka’s mystery even to the Pooka,” says Peter S. Beagle. He is the author of many fantasy fiction novels featuring Celtic mythical creatures.

Feisty little creatures, these are. Hidden throughout many landscapes (including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's dinosaur exhibit), these lovable little guys have made it into American pop-culture very quickly.

Feisty little creatures, these are. Hidden throughout many landscapes (including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s dinosaur exhibit), these lovable little guys have made it into American pop-culture very quickly.

As an iconic figure to Irish tradition, the Leprechaun remains at the top of the mythical movies list. Many movies, including Leaping Leprechauns, depict stories of their mischief and lives as they interact with their environments. They use their magic to steal food,

Not all traditions are based on quirky creatures; in fact some are based on historical events, such as Feiseanna. According to Celticdance.com, this festival symbolizes the end of

the Viking raids on Ireland around 1014, and is a massive cultural and political event. Now abbreviated as Feis, it is a Irish step dance competition that has made its way over to America as well. Michael Flatley, the creator and producer of Lord of the Dance, commented passionately on his dancing in his brief biography, “I can go back to when I was six years old, I was always getting in trouble for dreaming, and the things I got in trouble for dreaming then are the things I’m doing today.”

The Irish are known for their superstitions, and luck is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Irish are known for their superstitions, and luck is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Lord of the Dance is a dance performance that Americans continue to enjoy throughout the years, along with Riverdance. Riverdance has also been transferred into an ice show. The Celtic traditions carry on throughout the years.

 

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Personalizing art

Remember those days when you enjoyed scribbling with markers? Get ready to have fun making your own personalized mugs that look more “grown up”. Guys and girls will both have fun doing this easy project!

Materials you will need:

-A mug. Ikea sells good quality mugs for only $1.00. Black or white mugs work best.

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-Oil based sharpie markers. Make sure you get “oil based”. They are on the more costly side, but a good investment! Regular sharpies will not work because the color will immediately wash off.

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-Rubbing alcohol and Q-tips in case you make a mistake!

-An oven that is preheated to 400 degrees.

-Stencils to help with your artwork and design as well as other inspiration! Quotes, pictures, funny sayings and special remembrances.

First, have fun with decorating your mug with different colored sharpies. Swirls, polka dots, quotes, ect. If you make a mistake, dip a Q-Tip in rubbing alcohol and gently rub away the color. It will look brand new! When you are done designing, place your mug on a cookie sheet and place in your preheated oven. Your mug should “bake” for 30-45 minutes. This sets the color in so the design won’t wash away. After it bakes, carefully remove the mug. Be sure to use heat pads, because the mug will be very hot! Place the mug on a new cookie sheet and let cool for an hour.

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After using your mug you can either wash it by hand or wash it in the dishwasher. The color won’t wash off! This project makes a fun and thoughtful gift for someone, as well as a personalized mug for yourself.

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Youth soccer takes a new direction

As soccer begins to grow in popularity, high school affiliated teams are losing players to the more competitive club system. Instead of playing two seasons, one with each team, players are having to choose whether to play for an academy or for their respected high schools.

The United States Developmental Academy is a soccer program that is governed by the United States soccer federation. Its job is to pool the nations best players into one national league where the federation can control rules to keep the level of the games high and to keep players at a peak performance.

This league also creates a more professional environment for the players. The conferences are all national conferences so most games are played outside the state which forces tough schedules with frequent traveling that resemble profession and collegiate soccer. The training schedules are stricter and at a higher level which makes for a more competitive roster, which improves skill more than a high school environment. The college I will be playing for in the fall saw me play at an academy showcase, in fact most D1 schools recruit through the academy system.

High school soccer also provides a distinct experience unmatched by the academy. There is something special about representing a school and community playing while playing soccer. It is a local schedule so more people are involved close in the community that drives a unique spirit while on the pitch. Some of my best memories from high school come from playing soccer for Heritage. High school soccer gave me a special experience that formed me into the man I am. Even though the overall level is lower, I learned more life skills during my two seasons for high school than I have in the academy. High school soccer is about more than the game, victories mean more than points, and there are different motivations. There’s no feeling that will match seeing the stands packed with students to support the team, it is something that the academy can simply not match.

 

They both serve different purposes; while the academy produces more talent and better soccer players, high school provides an environment that reminds players of passion and the purpose of the beautiful game. Recently, the academy went to a 10 month season, restricting players from playing high school in the fall. Even though the academy has the greater ability to make a player better, this system is flawed.

The best two years of my life were my freshman and sophomore year where I could play high school in the fall and academy in the spring. I was able to fully grow as a person and not only as a player through the sport. It’s hard for a player with D1 or professional dreams to pass up the opportunity of academy for one season of high school, there is no reason that the same kid with the same dreams can not play both and still achieve them.

The Colorado Rush Academy talks before a game. The Academy has taken players away from the traditional High School soccer programs because of their extensive schedule.

The Colorado Rush Academy talks before a game. The Academy has taken players away from the traditional High School soccer programs because of their extensive schedule.

Sports are played for a purpose, yes sometimes that purpose is for a living, but the main purpose is to mature kids through community and hard work. Having a system that provides both levels will produce better adults, while not harming their soccer abilities.

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Kiss me, I’m Irate

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Heritage students celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green.

St. Patrick’s Day is probably one of the most misinterpreted holidays of all time. My last name is McCurdy and I grew up being very proud of my Irish heritage but when this day comes each year I am insulted by the way some people choose to “celebrate” it.

To understand my frustration we first need to look at the actual meaning of the holiday; it is a religious day for spiritual renewal and offering prayer for the missionaries worldwide. It’s not a day for wearing “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirts worn by a bunch of people who aren’t even Irish or drinking because the Irish are a bunch of drunks, which we’re not.

I become furious when people wear shirts with the offensive “Irish yoga” cartoon where there’s a bunch of drunken men passed out in strange positions on my holiday because they believe it’s amusing and an accurate interpretation of the holiday. That may be how some ill-minded people have come to understand the holiday but in all actuality it’s a day spent with family, going to mass, creating and feasting on a great meal and celebrating our heritage.

Today, instead of offending my heritage by not understanding what this spiritual holiday truly means, do some research please.

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Meteorites suggest Martian life

The topic of countless science fiction movies and novels as been the prospect of life on Mars. Now, a newly discovered Martian meteorite sheds light on the planet’s past.

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Looking at the barren surface of Mars, it is hard to imagine tiny organisms living on the planet. The secret to life on Mars, however, may lie in its very distant past. (photo courtesy of NASA)

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA website, biogenic evidence on Mars was announced for the first time after analysis of the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite in 1996. In February, a group of scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California have discovered evidence from another meteorite, the Yamato 000593, to suggest that biological functions may have once occurred on the Martian world hundreds of millions of years ago.

“I think that this information is really cool because if Mars could support life then, it could support life again,” says Celeste Borg ‘16.

The scientists found two distinct features in the meteorite. One feature was tunnels and micro-tunnels that show signs of curved shapes consistent with those of bio-alteration patterns from bacteria living in basaltic glass on Earth. The other feature was tiny spheres that are separate from the surrounding carbonate and silicate layers that have significant amounts of carbon compared with the surrounding layers.

“The unique features displayed within the Martian meteorite Yamato 000593 are evidence of aqueous alterations as seen in the clay minerals and the presence of carbonaceous matter associated with the clay phases which show that Mars has been a very active body in its past. The planet is revealing the presence of an active water reservoir that may also have a significant carbon component,” says Everett Gibson, a member of the research team that analyzed the Allan Hills and Yamato meteorites, on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website.

Although the new evidence discovered from the Yamato meteorite isn’t definitive proof of life on Mars, it is a starting point. With patterns and characteristics of the structures inside of the meteorite, it looks as though biological life may have existed on Mars, if only to the point of microscopic, single-celled organisms. The questions that these revelations raise could mean a definitive shift in how scientists evaluate the origins of life and the possibility that humans aren’t the only ones out there in the universe after all. What was once the topic of science fiction would thereafter be a topic of science “fact.”

“I think that if we discovered life on Mars, it would be very cool and would change the way we think about life and space,” says Amanda Carmichael ‘16.

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Reflecting on the years

Three women lead some of the most helpful upperclassmen in the school. Ms. Amanda Glerup, Ms. Patty Masciotro and Ms. Jill Rickard are the LINK sponsors at Heritage High School.

The Heritage LINK program is a selected group of  juniors and seniors that mentor the freshman throughout their first year in high school.

Glerup and Masciotro, both math teachers at Heritage, are going into their ninth year as

The LINK sponsors enjoy each others' company. The sponsors and their advisories gather in the gym on Wednesdays and Thursdays to study and play games.

The LINK sponsors enjoy each others’ company. The sponsors and their advisories gather in the gym on Wednesdays and Thursdays to study and play games.

LINK coordinators. Rickard, an English teacher at Heritage, is going into her fifth year.

By being sponsors, these three teachers are able to bond with the students outside of class.

“I wanted the chance to work with student leaders outside the classroom, and especially students who have the opportunity to shape the future of our schools by making all students feel welcome and accepted from their freshman year and by serving as role models for them, mentoring them about what it takes to be successful academically and socially in high school,” says Rickard.

Skye Smith ’15 has Masciotro as her math teacher as well as her LINK advisor.

“It’s fun having her outside of pre-calculus because she’s a really nice person,” says Smith.

LINK members along with the coordinators are able to bond with the new students and create a “family.” The LINK program uses the word “family” to represent the connection between LINK Leaders and freshmen, coordinators and freshmen, and LINK Leaders and coordinators.

“During my first year of teaching, I wanted to be a part of Heritage in some capacity. I love freshmen and saw that my energy would be best suited helping their transition to high school. I am also proud of Heritage and the things it does and I wanted to share that,” says Glerup.

LINK has taught the sponsors many things about each other as well as the long-lasting effects of interacting with the group.

“Kids who want to help other kids, that says something about who they are.  I am dealing with people who want to make the world better by helping others.  You can’t beat that,” says Masciotro.

“I feel blessed to work with two people who are dynamic, ‘kid-focused’ individuals who ‘walk the walk’ of all that we want LINK to be.  They each bring different gifts and different strengths to the program.  Ms. M is the organizer, the detail person while Ms. G is the ‘showman.’  They play off of each others’ strengths to provide an awesome program,” says Rickard.

 

 

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Heritage app launches

  Heritage High School has officially announced the creation of their new app through the SchoolInfoApp Company. The app is compatible with both Apple and Android devices, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Google Play by searching for “Heritage High School.”

According to the official press release regarding the app, it will enable parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff to quickly access all of the who, what, when and where for Heritage High School.

The app allows users to opt in to receive push notifications, keep up with the latest Heritage news, view events calendars, add events calendars to personal mobile devices, get directions for off-campus events, obtain contact information for teachers and faculty, and access quick links to school menus and Infinite Campus.

  The app also serves as a student planner, where students can enter assignments, due dates, and levels of priority. Students can also submit anonymous tips to the app regarding bullying, cheating or criminal activity that they notice around school.

  “It will be nice to have a reliable place to look for information about events at Heritage without having to go to the website,” says Andrea Manio ‘15.

The app is  now “live” and can be downloaded at any time.

“There’s so many great events around Heritage that go unnoticed. I hope the app will allow people to get more involved, attend more shows and games, see more art, raise more money, and turn in more homework. The things it can do are pretty amazing. These devices are already in student’s pockets, and if we can make them educational tools, I believe that we have the obligation to do so,”  says app programmer  Mr. Kevin Keena.

A Heritage students uses the new app to look for upcoming events.

A Heritage student uses the new app to look for upcoming events.

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Talent of the Month: Meagan Flinders

Flinders played Miss Dorothy Brown in the Heritage musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie." So far, it has been her favorite acting role.

Flinders played Miss Dorothy Brown in the Heritage musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” So far, it has been her favorite acting role.

“I plan to go to college to study Musical Theater. It is my true passion, and I don’t think I could ever give it up,” says Meagan Flinders ’14 about her love for the performing arts.

Flinders has been acting for four years, singing for ten and dancing for fourteen. She loves all of these but says that her favorite is acting even though she has been dancing and singing for longer.

“I never get sick of it, and there are so many ways to discover, develop and portray characters. Plus, I can incorporate acting into singing and dancing, which is an added bonus,” she said.

Along with these three talents, Flinders has one more to add to the mix: choreography. She helped to choreograph some of the numbers for Heritage musicals “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” She also does her own, personal choreography.

“Whenever I perform, I choreograph my own dances because I know what I like and how I want to move and how I feel the music, and I love it!” said Flinders.

Flinders’ favorite memory from singing was her roll this year in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” as Miss Dorothy Brown.

“The fact that it was my last show at Heritage and that I was performing with such wonderful, amazing, and talented people really made the experience—and now the memory—great,” she said.

Besides being a part of the theater program, Flinders has performed in filler acts for choir concerts and has done her own dancing in Hullabaloo three different times.

As this quadric-talented senior leaves Heritage, she looks to college to continue her love for the performing arts.

“I haven’t officially decided on a college yet, but I am definitely leaning the most towards Brigham Young University Provo,” said Flinders.

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Trader Joe’s provides unique shopping experience

Trader Joe’s: a California staple with Colorado style. It was all over the news as Colorado hosted the grand opening of three grocery store locations—Denver, Boulder and Greenwood Village—on February 14.

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Customers in the Greenwood Village location of Trader Joe’s stop by the sampling counter at the back of the store. The sampling counter is among many unique aspects of the Californian grocery chain.

This California-born chain of grocery stores has been long-awaited by many in the state. In all honesty, I was uncertain if it would live up to all the hype that surrounded its grand opening. While I was not dumbfounded by its marvelous West Coast-inspired inventory, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the traits it had to offer to the Coloradan clientele.

My first experience with the chain consisted of an outing to the Greenwood Village location of Trader Joe’s.

I hate to be negative right off the bat, but the size of the store proved to be problematic. Even though two weeks had elapsed since its unveiling, droves of customers still poured into the building and swarmed the already crowded aisles. Certainly this won’t remain an issue for long and once the novelty of the store wears off, it should be a more peaceful place to visit.

Size aside, I found the Hawaiian décor warm and welcoming, and it provided the atmosphere of a friendly neighborhood grocer. The decorative hand-drawn price labels and signs were a nice touch as well.

In regards to Trader Joe’s West Coast-inspired inventory, I felt that it was lacking in the selection of its products. While many unique products were offered, such as a vast selection of juices and numerous items of the low-price Trader Joe’s brand, I found that very few different types of each item existed. This makes sense, so as to fit all the products into the rather small storefront.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my outing to the local Trader Joe’s. I recommend you stop by, whenever you can find time—and parking.

An aisle in the Greenwood Village location of Trader Joe's features a wide variety of various juices. The store, along with two others in the state, opened its doors on February 14.

An aisle in the Greenwood Village location of Trader Joe’s features a wide variety of various juices. The store, along with two others in the state, opened its doors on February 14.

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Getting back to a passion

Heritage Varsity Soccer players celebrating after a goal.

Heritage Varsity Soccer players celebrating after a goal.

I have played soccer since the age of three, and have never taken a season off by choice until last fall. For the first time in 14 years, I decided to commit myself to other things besides the sport that I have put years of hard work and effort into.
After taking nearly a year off, I made a quick decision to play my last season in my high school career. Without running, working out, or playing soccer in a year, I went into tryouts nervous but also excited to get back to what I love. I was slow, my touches were off and I had never been so sore in my entire life. But slowly I am getting back into the swing of the game. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, and it’s painful, but with patience and adjustment I am back working hard toward a strong season.
I believe that no matter how hard something is to come back to, if it’s a passion that has been pursued for a long time, there should be nothing holding you back from what you love. Although it will be painful and hard, it will also be refreshing and exciting. All the hard work will be worth that game-winning goal or that flawless performance, and in the end, you will be happy and proud of all you’ve accomplished.
Do not let anything hold you back, get back to what you love.

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