Holiday shopping should be stopping

‘Tis the season once more kids, where we will all cozy up to our fall fireplaces, surrounded by loving family and friends, and discuss in excited murmurs what we dream of buying from the upcoming holiday sales.

Never mind sticking around after holiday meals to be with one another, we’ve got to go accumulate more material wealth!

Come on now, is this the holiday spirit we’re aiming for? We’ve all seen those horrific videos of fights that break out in Best Buy over the last item on the shelf. Is this what our classic American traditions have become?

Don’t get me wrong: capitalism and Christmas are as beautifully American as it gets, but at what point do our cultural values stop being marketable?

Holiday shopping is the same, painfully drawn out and blarringly advertized process every year. Companies sell us multitudes of fancy electronic gifts and high-end clothing to get fat with money under the guise of encouraging family bonding during the holidays. But I would argue that this detracts focus from giving to one another in the interest of sniffing out the coolest new thing for yourself.

Consumerism is not what it’s supposed to be about. Of course it’s nice to buy something special for your family, but don’t build your holiday around a deal.

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Heritage Troupe 3759 results from ThesCon

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Theater Company students in the final moments of the play. They worked for two and a half weeks to finalize their performance. Photos courtesy of Heritage Thespians

Sophia Johnson-Grimes ’17 qualified for Nationals in the category of Solo Musical Theater, she sang “Back to Before” from the musical Ragtime.

Theater Company put on a one act entitled She Kills Monsters and it received the highest possible ranking, accomplished.

Heritage’s improv team was also ranked as one of the top five in the conference, this includes Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Other Heritage students that performed individual events to be judged were, Katie Hart ’18 and Cameron Berry ’18 in Duet Acting Scene, Colie Lemon ’17 in Solo Musical Theater, Gwen Bassett ’16 and Tori Mudd ’16 in Duet Acting Scene, Savanna Johnson ’16 in Solo Musical Theater, Connor Mudd ’17 in Solo Musical Theater, Lauren Clouse ’18 and Brooke Robertson ’18 in Duet Acting Scene, Marleigh Sizemore ’16 in Costume Design and multiple students participated in technical challenges.

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Mac Lab begins construction

Planning to open in January of 2016, the Mac Lab at Heritage hopes to enhance the experience of learning for students and classes. The lab will be open for everyone but was originally started for the second year AP Capstone class, AP science research.

The mac lab is currently under construction and is planned to be done in January of 2016.

The Mac lab is currently under construction and is planned to be completed in January of 2016.

“The Mac lab will be available for groups so they can get together to plan and practice group projects or to study. Classes can also take advantage of class time to work and plan here, rather than in class or at home,” says Mrs. Heidi Dudley, Heritage Instructional Technology Specialist.

Everything in the lab is accessible to help students learn with hands-on activities. The Mac monitors will be wireless and the furniture will be laminated so that everything will be able to be written on in order to help students learn. White boards and screens will also be around the room, as well as a stage for presentations.

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Under by $1 billion

The entire country knows that the economy hasn’t been top notch in quite a few years. The national media reports on spending cuts in everything from social programs to protection of  national parks, but sometimes the real impact is hard to see in relatively isolated communities like ours.

Education, out of all things, may have taken the hardest blow from the struggling economy. And right here in Littleton a major deficit has formed out of the efforts exerted to save as much money as possible.

“We, as a school district, are short of our desired budget by one billion dollars,” says LPS administrator Patti Turner. “The class sizes are too big, the infrastructure isn’t up to date and we need new teachers.”

One billion is never a number that should be associated with a local school district in any way. This deficit is felt everywhere from enormous class sizes in high school, to worn gym equipment in elementary school.

“My mother and I volunteer at Highland Elementary,” comments Heritage student Emily Stuvel ’16, “and whenever we help out there’s never enough P.E equipment or playground toys or anything like that for everyone. It’s kind of sad, really.”

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Major construction is happening at Runyon right now, a project which has become much more expensive because of extra costs.

Stuvel isn’t the only one who’s noticed the decrepit environment in LPS. The district has been forced to entirely renovate Runyon Elementary School due to old architecture work: something that would have been done years ago if not for the deficit.

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Lydia skates to success

While most people spend their time after school procrastinating, snacking, watching Netflix or perhaps doing homework, this is not the case for junior Lydia Waterman.

Six days a week, for two hours and four hours during the summer, Waterman conditions and competes at the novice level for figure skating.

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She preforms in front of fans, doing what she loves and skating across the ice.

She competes once a month from March to October. Once it hits October, you can find her traveling across the country to regionals.

“I’m a gold medalist in USFS moves in the field, I have competed in sectionals and nationals in synchronized skating in 2010/2011,” says Waterman.

The awards and medals flow in at a heavy rate. With eight years of experience, she exceeds expectations by passing the Senior Moves in the Field test.

“This is such a great accomplishment since it is less than two percent of all skaters that start testing that ever finish their tests,”  says Julie Morris, Waterman’s coach.

Waterman has been skating for eight years and has enjoyed every minute of it.

“My mom took me to a public session and I loved the feeling of skating fast across the ice. I love learning new things,” says Waterman.

 

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Trump succeeds in polls due to terrorism

It seems a little ridiculous to many millennials in America that Donald Trump is not only running for president, but succeeding in polls so far.

And why is he succeeding? Most of his remarks are racist, and many professionals don’t believe that he has established plans for America’s future that will not only work, but work well.

Trump is racist and an extremist. Yet, the public loves the fact that Trump speaks his mind and stays true to his remarks-which is a change from many of the former politicians. He can be crude, but according to Telegraph, his unaccepting policies are grabbing attention due to the recent terrorist attacks around the world.

Americans are scared, and according to a recent poll conducted by CNN, only 60% of Americans have confidence in President Obama that he is going to defeat ISIS.

The public has not only lost confidence in the safety of the country but the ability of the President to protect them.

This makes Trump’s commentary more acceptable to the public. Trump speaks his mind ruthlessly, and many believe that means that he will not compromise the safety of the country in order to appease others.

Would Trump be this popular without the wake of recent terrorist attacks? He probably wouldn’t. He would most likely be labeled as a racist, and would be out of the running in the GOP.

However, as terror shakes the world, Trump is there for the public to depend on for safety. Trump simply makes his supporters feel better about the safety of their futures.

 

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Disney the True Message

20151217_084628As a child who grew up on Disney, I lived a constant fantasy of beautiful monsters, wicked villains, and dreaming princesses. Upon the realization of the horrors of Disney, I stood shocked. How could my role models growing up, have ulterior motives than being an adventurous story? 

Looking back now, the beautiful princesses, like Barbie, portray impossible standards for a healthy woman to accomplish. Along with their waist being smaller than the distance between her large eyes they maintain a constant dependence on the world and people around them. Marriage is a must in each princess movie, and while the princess searches for the handsome prince, the prince often sits in waiting, with his riches, career, and power over their kingdom as well as the princesses.

Pocahontas is a clear example of a story, simple, blown out of proportions and showing a deep sense of racism throughout. However there are many other examples of this as well.

So just keep in mind, even the most basic and beloved things in the world can be deceiving and deeper than you see on the surface. Keep your eyes open, but maybe not as wide as the princesses.  

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The Optimist

A poem by Miranda Kemme

All throughout the halls silence ensues

While children everywhere are singing the blues

Finals are upon us without a doubt

Students and teachers tend to pout

Extra credit is not given

Bleeding profusely because our hearts are riven

Living with the acceptance that your F’s will not become D’s

Students cry and fall to their knees

While some people have 4.0’s

I’ll be here blowing my nose

Hoping to graduate with the class of 2016

Seniors everywhere begin to scream

Freshmen experience their first finals

Praying to God and reading the Bible

Answers are not found, and the smiles turn to frowns

As the school as a collective hits the ground

josh laying on the floor

Only a few more days until it’s all done

The kids have lost and the teachers have won

Finally it’s break and it all gets to end

Watching Netflix, my one true friend

All of your families go on trips

I just sit here with my cat eating chips and dip

Just when I get used to the new lifestyle

We go back to school and the homework stacks up in piles

It’s not all that bad because our slates get wiped clean

A’s for everyone, even me

The stress is released and it’s going to be ok

Stop with the countdown and live day to day

Everything is fine, with a bright future ahead

And that’s when I realized I have to do it all again

 

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Anonymity blurs social norms at Heritage High School

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The After School app is widely used and affects a portion of the Heritage community.

With a cloak of anonymity social norms generally fade as people cannot be held accountable for their words. This phenomena is easily observed in an app named After School which allows students to post comments and images on message boards associated with individual high school campuses.

The app has a vetting process that accesses the user’s Facebook account in order to verify that the user is actually a student of the specific high school. This makes the message boards only accessible by high school community’s, so the question is how does this app affect the Heritage community.

“The After School app has definitely made it feel a little weird to go to school because you don’t know who will be talking about you later on and it’s also discomforting to scroll through the app and see your first and last name mentioned in a comment,” says Brianna Martinez ’17.

After School creates a situation in which cyber bullying can become extremely prominent and it also allows students to pass unsolicited judgments without any consequences or accountability.

“I have deleted the app for my phone because I would rather not know what people are saying but I know a lot of kids that keep it so they are in the loop,” says Martinez.

Rumors are quickly spread through this newly found anonymity which can add another level of complexity to one’s social life.

“A lot of the times student post nice compliments or even use the app as a place to vent about their personal struggles anonymously, but some posts are vulgar, insensitive and just things that people wouldn’t say in the real world,” says Anamarie Wright ’17.

Overall these message boards blur the line between right and wrong as social norms fade away, this ultimately affects the Heritage community not only after school but in the classroom.

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Biased media polarizes stories

The past year has been dominated by an expanding war on terrorism. However, this war reached a new scale on November 13, 2015 with an attack on Paris, France.

The world snapped into action, with world leaders immediately denouncing the terrorists’ actions and pledging full support. Facebook even created a filter for users to place a French flag over their profile pictures to show support.
media bias cartoon

What many people didn’t know is that 43 people died and 180 were wounded in Beirut the day before (ABC News). In April, 147 students were killed at a university in Kenya— more than any school shooting in the United States (New York Times). But these hardly received international attention.

It could be argued that this could be due to the fact that frequent violence from these areas numbs world leaders and news readers to the high number of deaths. But the bombing in Lebanon was the bloodiest in almost 25 years.

So why do these events lack proper attention? There were plenty of news stories about these events. They may not have been as publicized as the French news stories, but the information was there.

The deeper root of the problem is the human tendency to polarize an issue.

Many view the struggle in the Middle East as a matter of “Christians vs. Muslims,” but it’s hard to think that when ISIS attacks a majority Muslim country. Thus, Americans pay less attention the the stories that grey the lines.

Now, what?

Because this problem’s caused by ignoring these stories, the solution is to stop ignoring them.

The answer is to start discussions and to talk about the problems that make us uncomfortable.

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