Professional drone company markets to kids

In 2014, Parrot, a French drone company, released two products intended for kids. The company specializes in making professional filming drones, and the drones designed for kids came as a surprise.

The two drones, Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider, are intended for kids ages 14 and up. Jumping Sumo is a drone that stays on the ground and is equipped with a 1080p video resolution camera with live playback. This drone comes with a jumping mechanism which can launch it 180 centimeters high.

Rolling Spider is an aerial drone which comes with wheels for rolling on walls, ceilings and floors. Both drones are controlled through a cell phone and Parrot’s FreeFlight3 application.

Jumping Sumo is quite a fun drone, and the live video playback allows the user to direct the drone when it is out of sight.  However, after a few weeks of fun, the jumping mechanism on my drone stopped working.  The repair process was not expensive, but it was tedious.  Even after I took it apart and put it back together, the jumping mechanism still did not work.

The Rolling Spider drone is extremely sensitive, making it difficult to fly.  The touchscreen controls are not the best for a flying drone, and when Rolling Spider is crashed, it is easy to break.  I have had to replace two motors on the drone because of crashes, and once again the repair process is tedious.  In addition to the difficulty of flying, the battery life is extremely short.  The drone loses battery in a matter of seconds during flight, but on wheels it lasts a little longer.  I have found that I have spent more time on wheels than in flight,  due to the short battery life.

Rolling Spider is one of two minidrones Parrot has introduced. It comes with detachable wheels for ground or air operation.

Rolling Spider is one of two minidrones Parrot has introduced. It comes with detachable wheels for ground or air operation.

The company’s attempt to introduce younger kids to the world of drones does not reflect well on them.  Both drones are hard to handle and too brittle to last a while. These drones are certainly not for kids under the age limit.  For those who intend to buy either drone: the fun does not last very long.

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Heritage dives to perfection

Diving Photo

A varsity diver competes at a Heritage home meet.

When it comes to diving, perfection is nearly impossible.

The judges score a dive on four components: the approach of the dive, how precise the form was while performing the dive, the height of the diver and the splash made as the diver enters the water.

“The judges score you on a scale on one through 10. If you receive a five, that is an indication that your dive was fairly good, while a 10 means you have achieved absolute perfection. I have never seen anyone receive a 10 in my entire time diving,” says varsity diver Kaela Schandle ’16.

In order to qualify for state a diver must receive over 200 points in a smaller meet with six dives, or over 335 points in larger meet with 11 dives.

Schandle has already qualified for state this season and is on the Heritage varsity team.

Sarah Greichen ’17 is the only other girl on varsity, and she hopes to go to state as well.

“Kaela and I usually place 1st or 2nd in our meets. I think that we definitely learn a lot from each other, and I definitely look up to her as a diver,” says Greichen.

The diving team generally competes every week and they go to invitation meets on the weekends.

“I love diving because I discovered new ways to improve every time I step foot on a diving board. However, diving can also be frustrating because it is a very technical sport and it is extremely hard to feel like I have achieved a perfect dive,” says Greichen.

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Athletes play it smart

The Student Code of Conduct addresses the following punishments that apply to all athletes participating in a Heritage sponsored sport.

For students charged with drug or alcohol use, possession or distribution:

First violation:

Basketball—sit five games

Baseball, Belles, Cheer, Softball and Volleyball—sit four contests/games

Lacrosse and Soccer—sit three games

Cross Country, Football, Gymnastics and Swimming—sit two contests/games

Golf—sit 36 holes

Wrestling—sit five points

Second Violation:

Basketball—sit 11 games

Belles and Cheer—sit 10 contests

Baseball, Softball and Volleyball—sit nine games

Lacrosse and Soccer—sit seven games

Cross Country, Football, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis and Track—sit five contests/games

Golf—sit 99 holes

Wrestling—sit 15 points

Third violation:

All athletes will be suspended from participation in their sport for 365 days from the date of the initial violation.

Fourth Violation:

The athlete will not be allowed to participate in any athletics for the remainder of the student’s enrollment in Littleton Public Schools.

For the students who are charged with being in the presence of others using, possessing or distributing drugs or alcohol:

First Violation:

The athlete will be suspended from one contest

Any other violations after the first will result in suspension from competitions as if you were a student with drugs or alcohol use, possession or distribution

Student code of conduct

There are multiple punishments that can come from using alcohol or drugs, more details in the story

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The Pioneer Webseries Episode 103: Television Underdogs


Photo Illustration by Michael Neave

Click here to watch the episode.

January is a terrible month to be a fan of film, so instead of wasting our time watching trash at the cinema, we decided to tackle two awesome TV Shows from abroad.

On today’s episode we review two great TV Shows to fill the film void that is January, Broadchurch and Psycho-Pass.

Like the music you heard in this episode and/or others? This playlist contains most of the tracks used in the series to date.

The Pioneer Webseries is an accompanying journalistic/review internet series following various subjects that appeal to Heritage High School students. The show is co-produced by Heritage News Production and MACE|Film. The current Showrunner and Director is Michael Neave.

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Should the drinking age be lowered?

Pro Stance

By Reese Leiker

I believe that lowering the drinking age would be a step in the right direction for the United States. Here in America, we are obviously have a problem with underage alcohol consumption, but could the problem be solved by simply dropping the legal drinking age from 21 to 18? According to, more than 70% of people under the age of 21 have had “more than just a few sips of alcohol.” This statistic alone proves that the law prohibiting the possession and consumption of alcohol is ineffective.

In America, the age of adulthood is 18 years old. Being 18 allows a person to vote, smoke, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults and join the military. At 18 years of age a person in the United States is allowed to put his life on the line for his country, but not legally drink a beer in the barracks.

Lowering the age would eliminate the user from drinking in unsupervised environments because they would be allowed to drink in licensed locations, such as bars and restaurants, where the drinker is being monitored, instead of behind closed doors.

Fatalities due to auto accidents would decrease. In European countries with a lower drinking age, the auto fatality rate is far lower than that of the United States, according to

The economy would benefit heavily from the lowering of the drinking age because there would be far more legal drinkers in the United States who would purchase from licensed distributors such as bars and restaurants.

Although the idea may seem intimidating and dangerous to undertake, the people need to face the facts and stop denying adults the right to consume alcohol.

With the drinking age at 18, high schoolers would have legal access to alcohol

With the drinking age at 18, high school students would have legal access to alcohol.

Con Stance

By Thomas Wall

Lowering the legal drinking age in the United States could cause more alcohol related accidents and promote more underage individuals to drink.

Having the legal drinking age at 18 would allow some high school senior to legally acquire alcohol, and this would give younger high school students easier access to it.  Having direct access to alcohol within a high school age group creates easy distribution channels to minors.

The easier access minors have to alcohol would magnify the problems already associated with underage drinking, including car accidents, alcohol poisoning, binge drinking and negative effects on education.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 190,000 people under the age of 21 visited a hospital for alcohol-related injuries in 2008.  Alcohol causes teens to make less logical decisions, and according to the NIAAA, over 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year in alcohol-related incidents.

According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, binge drinkers are more likely to miss a class and fall behind in school.  A study at Bucknell University found that frequent consumption of alcohol has a negative effect on GPA.  In the same study, frequent drunkenness produces the most significant negative effects.

The results of using alcohol as found in these studies could be translated to high-school-aged kids.  High schoolers who drink more decrease their chances of getting into college.

Introducing alcohol to a younger age group greatly impacts the rest of their lives.  The negative effects become magnified when it starts to impact more than just one area of a person’s future.

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Health helps students make better decisions

Health Photo

The Heritage Health Class educates about different types of drugs and how they affect the body.

Drug and alcohol use is very prominent among the Heritage student body; however, by the time students graduate, they should not be ignorant of the health risks associated with substance abuse.

Health Education is a course every Heritage student is required to take.

“I think that Health really forces students to evaluate the effects drugs and alcohol have on the body. Students learn to classify drugs into different groups, such as stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens, and they study the varied effects each group has on the body,” says the Department Chair of Physical Education Mrs. Lori Lee.

Students also do a health inventory that helps to identify detrimental health patterns. Self-assessment is a helpful tool when educating because students may be more willing to alter health behaviors if they are able to recognize problems.

“It is important that students are honest with themselves when taking the initial health inventory and I try to create an environment where student feel comfortable being honest,” says Lee.

Some drugs such as marijuana are perceived to not create major health risks, and this perception has been more widely accepted among students since marijuana was legalized.

“I have had students tell me that marijuana is a better choice than drinking alcohol and that they do not consider it a considerable health risk. A large part of Health education is to get rid of some misconceptions like these,” says Lee.

Students learn statistics and facts about alcohol and drug use, helping to give students an idea about the dangers of substance abuse is.

“One statistic that really stuck with me was that alcohol poisoning is the third leading cause of death in the United States,” says Samantha Hennings ’17.

Educating students about health risks does not always mean students will make better choices. However, people will at least have the insight to recognize what they are doing to their bodies.

“Sometimes students will come back to me and tell me they are trying to quit smoking and it is very nice to know that this education is helping at least some students develop better health patterns,” says Lee.


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Heritage takes on AP Capstone

For the upcoming fall semester of 2015 Heritage High School has incorporated the AP Capstone Diploma Program.


“I want to take Capstone because it is the future of education and I want to be on the starting side of that,” says Adam Downing ’17. “It incorporates a new style of learning with the fun and freedom it offers students.”

The first class required is AP Seminar. In this class students will be able to investigate world issues while gathering information to create a viable argument. This class is being offered in the 2015-16 school year and needs to be completed before taking the second course.

“I want to take AP Seminar because I get to study what I want to study as well as showing off my public speaking skills,” says Downing.

The second course is AP Research. Students will conduct independent research projects in their choice of field to create an educated thesis. This class is not being offered in the next school year but will be offered in the 2016-17 school year. AP Research is going to replace Heritage’s current Science Research class.

“I am interested in being a part of a class that teaches me real world skills in terms of research and I can truly explore whatever I want,” says Jack Spangler ’17. “I will help a ton with college as well.”

When students have completed these courses they will have to take an AP exam, like all the other AP courses offered at Heritage. The students who receive a three or higher on both exams as well as four additional AP exams in whatever subject the student chooses receive the AP Capstone Diploma. Students who only take the two AP exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

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Healy rocks the stock show

Lauren Healy ’15 has been riding to success with the Westernaires, most recently performing in the National Western Stock Show that took place in Denver in late January.

The Westernaires is “a mounted precision drill organization composed of Jefferson County Colorado youth from 9 to 19 years of age,” according to the organization’s website.”

Westernaires provides training in western riding, precision drills, and horse care. It comprises various teams, including Healy’s, the Precisionettes, which travels both in state and out of state performing in rodeos and stock shows. Healy has been involved for five years, deciding to join after spending time around the organization due to her sister’s involvement.

“It’s basically people on horses riding really fast with flags to make cool shapes,” says Healy.

The Westernaires had teams performing in almost every event in the National Western Stock Show. The Precisionettes performed in the National Western Parade and the Cowboys Wear Pink pre-show. Healy enjoyed the adrenaline rush of riding in front of hundreds of people, as well as a unique part of their drill.

“For part of our drill they turn off the lights and we have to ride in the dark. We’ve practiced it before but where we practice it’s never completely dark. At the stock show there were no windows so everything just went black and it was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time,” remembers Healy.

Aside from performances, Healy’s favorite part of Westernaires is the team aspect.

“I’m also a figure skater which is such a solo sport,” says Healy. “It’s amazing to have a team supporting you instead of having to compete against everyone.”

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German students journey to Sprachbad

On January 22, nine Heritage German students and German teacher Mrs. Robin Mitchell journeyed up to the YMCA facility in Estes Park for the annual high school German language immersion camp known as Sprachbad.

Sprachbad is the only language immersion camp in the state of Colorado and is open to high school students taking German III or above.

“Sprachbad translated means ‘speaking immersion,’ and that is the purpose of the camp. It is a way for German students from across Colorado to meet other German students and practice speaking German with new people,” says AP German student Neil Prinster ’15.

During the weekend, students participate in a variety of activities, including roller skating, volleyball, mask making and short skits, all while speaking German.

“I loved the whole trip, but my favorite part of this particular trip was playing Cards Against Humanity during our free time. The cards were in English, but the dialogue had to be in German so it was interesting to say the least,” says German IV student Rita Passaglia’15.

The Heritage Sprachbad participants model the masks they made for Karneval. This was just one of many activities they participated in while in Estes Park.

The Heritage Sprachbad participants model the masks they made for Karneval. This was just one of many activities they participated in while in Estes Park.

Overall, the experience provides students with both the opportunity to practice their German speaking as well as meet new people.

“The experience was both fun and constructive. I was able to speak German with new people who I had never spoken with before, which helped me with my German by listening to people with different vocabularies and experiences in German than I had,” says Prinster.

Passaglia took away different lessons from the trip.

“One of the biggest things I learned is that some of the best experiences are way out of your comfort zone. I was not expecting to love the friends I made last year as much   as I do, it’s a random bunch, but a good one!” she says.

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Winter Spirit Week wraps up

As Winter Spirit Week concludes, the halls of Heritage are returning to normal. The juniors won the upperclassmen competition and the sophomores won the underclassmen competition.


The Class of 2015 prepares for the start of the Winter Spirit Week assembly.

The winter pep assembly consisted of an obstacle course, lip-syncing competition, a human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos, a class song competition, class dance off and a change war. A popular event among students was the lip-syncing competition. Teachers and students competed to a mashup of songs. Mr. Devine, Ms. Gudewicz, Mr. Ubowski and Ms. DeVries all took the floor during the assembly and represented each class.

For some seniors, the winter pep assembly was one of their last hurrahs of high school.

“Being in the middle of everything and feeling everyone’s energy makes it worth being away from my class. I would say getting to emcee with Hunter Bacon was one of my favorite parts,” comments Rita Passaglia ’15.

On top of coming together as a school for the last pep assembly, the student body of Heritage was giving back to a bigger cause. The Colorado Veterans Project was chosen by student government to be the beneficiaries of the profits raised during Winter Spirit Week.

“The best part of Winter Spirit Week was that we got to honor the individuals who have given up so much of their lives for a greater cause. I don’t know of a better way to honor our veterans than by putting on a high school spirit week and raising money for them,” comments Hunter Bacon ’15.


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