Heritage musicians spread holiday joy

On Saturday, December 9, select members of the Heritage Brass Choir had the opportunity to give back and spend time with Make A Wish kids at United Airlines’ annual Fantasy Flight.

At the Fantasy Flight, young children with special needs or terminal illnesses are given the chance to fly to the “North Pole,” which is really an airplane hangar just a few miles from the Denver International Airport. Alongside Santa, the children met therapy dogs and Disney characters from Moana to Darth Vader, all while enjoying the music.

“At the beginning of the day when we had just started playing, Erin [Mortensen ’18], our conductor that day, allowed this little boy to come up and conduct with her. He looked so happy while doing it, and when the song was over he ran around and gave each of us a high five. I don’t know, there was just something about how happy that kid seemed to be,” says trombonist Nick Kelley ’19.

The ensemble also took the time to show students their instruments up close, as shown below. This is the second year brass musicians from Heritage have participated. They played a variety of Christmas songs as background music for the festivities.

“If there is one thing I took away from this experience, it’s just how kind people can actually be. Nobody is forcing all of these volunteers to come down and do this,but they come all the same out of the kindness of their hearts,” adds Kelley.

Alex Trautmann ’19 is the reason the Heritage Brass Choir was given the chance to volunteer at the event.

“My family has volunteered at the event for several years. My father works for the airline and two years ago I approached him with the idea of having a small group come and play. The airline loved having us the first year and asked for us back for this year,” says Trautmann.

The musicians loved having the opportunity to make such a special impact on children’s lives. They helped spread some Christmas joy to families and children who really needed it.

“One of the biggest highlights for me is getting to see the kids’ faces and how excited they get throughout the whole experience. It’s one of my favorite things to do every year,” concludes Trautmann.

 

Students demonstrate trumpet to a Make A Wish kid.

A brass choir member demonstrates her trumpet to a Make A Wish kid.

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Choir Sings a Festive Tune

As the holiday spirit begins to kick in, the Heritage Choir Concert helped spark some holiday cheer. Overall, the concert on December 7, ran very smoothly, and was a great success. A total of six choirs performed at the concert and many friends, families, and students showed up to support the music program at Heritage High School.

From the first day of school until the day of the concert, students spent their choir class time learning and perfecting several songs. Not only do they learn several parts but they spend the first part of class doing music theory. Music theory is a mixture of lessons that include exercises and many different elements of music. This was considered one of the major keys in preparing for the concert.  

“The major keys I think were focus and hard work, as well as music theory. It allowed us to get our skill levels up in order to sing successfully,” says Mr. Fischer, the choir teacher.

As a result, many believed that this was the best concert yet. A couple changes were made to the organization of the concert. For starters, there were no filler acts. Filler acts are a way to fill space in between changing choirs. Any student from school can audition and potentially do an act during the concert. Instead Mr. Fischer used one of the upper level choirs, Check, to sing in between different groups. He believed that it made the concert run smoother, as well as a bit faster.

The concert also was a great success this year because of the way each choir stepped up. Students dedication and work ethic really grew tremendously the first semester. It allowed for the choirs to learn and work on harder music as well as to grow as singers.

“This year it felt like everyone was more dedicated to the choir program, we ask lots of questions to make sure we do our best and improve,” says Sahvanna Rowe ’19.

As for the future, the different choirs have already started working on new songs and preparing for the next concert. The audience can expect to see several medleys as well as some group numbers where multiple choirs get together to sing a few songs.  
CHOIR PICTURE - online 2

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Dungeons and Dragons Spurs Creativity

There is a dark and dingy prison cell, an area of confinement, rats crawl and skamper the floors of the cells, gnawing on the corpses of the previous prisoners. There are three other prisoners in the surrounding cells, all of their worldly possessions have been confiscated in exchange for rags and a single bucket with a handle. Their urgency to escape has been heightened due to the fact that they haven’t been getting food, and hunger begins to drive their every action.

The obstacles that hold them back are the prison bars and a beast. The beast towers over the rest of the inmates, with four arms and a massive build with an open mouth on the top of its head. The monster guards the three prisoners.

This is one of the many in-game challenges that players of  Dungeons & Dragons player’s face. Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D, is a fantasy tabletop role playing game first published in 1974. Since then, D&D has become a fixture in the American counterculture, and has influenced countless movies, films and books that draw from fantasy settings.

The main concepts of the game is to work within a group, to problem solve, and have fun. The main story of the game is determined by an “all knowing entity” known as the dungeon master. The dungeon master determines the actions of the monsters and the environment through procedure, prior planning, and for entertainment.

“ I really like the roleplaying aspect of the game, I really like how you work as a team to complete a common goal,”states D&D president Scott Hackney ’20.

The game also promotes the use of creativity, something that is promoted in the daily application of life.

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A typical dungeons and dragons campaign sets, campaigns can last for hours on end.

“It’s the type of game that I wish more kids would play it helps the imagination and patience, compared to something like a video game,” says Mr. Joseph DeStefano, the club sponsor.Dungeons and Dragons meets Mondays and Thursday at 2:30 after school.

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Trip to Hawaii for Biology Students

IDPLMAL Physical science and biology teacher April Idar as well as the Jeffco School Board and Golden High School, organize a trip to Hawaii in June for students called the Big Island Marine Science course. Students must complete a full year of biology with a 90% or higher before the trip and must be picked by the instructor.

  It’s a two week trip in the summer, and students have to complete labs and assignments that relate to the ecosystem of Hawaii. Lectures are given in the morning and then students will have lab activities such as studying coral or fish underwater or studying the volcanoes of Hawaii. Students have composition books to take notes in that will be turned in at the end for a grade.

  Idar taught at Chatfield High School where they recruited her into the program. She liked it enough that when she started teaching at Heritage, it was a big goal for her to get the program started. She then talked to administration who approved it. Idar is also trying to get this approved by the district for science credit.

   Students at Jeffco schools that take this course earn a semester science credit.

  As Idar states, “I’m trying to get it approved by our administration so students at Heritage will earn a semester science credit since it is very academically rigorous.”

  Students would have to complete the course successfully to earn credit for this course.

  “The students who take this are working 24/7 for two weeks, and there is a midterm and a final,” she says.

  Students who took the course last year have the option of going on the trip again to be more of an instructor. They can also get their diving certification.

  Megan Deevy ‘20 who went on this trip last year, reflects, “doing what I love in a place I love hat has so much beauty and learning within it is truly amazing.” After the trip, students get together for a reunion dinner to reconnect with their peers in Hawaii.

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Finals Advice for Freshmen

  As finals week approaches, freshmen are left to try and conquer this new experience, with only Cram Fest to help guide them. All other grades have at least a year of experience, so sophomores have advice for freshmen about surviving through finals week. 

Miranda Pinales ’20 reflects on her time as a freshman during finals week and thinks of what she would have liked to have known then.

  “Finals are stressful, and I was not going to like them,” she says

  Jillian Villarreal ’20 agrees, saying “It’s a really big deal, and has a bigger impact on your grade than you expect.”

  Both agree that freshmen should study the most for finals for classes that are more important and that they have the worst grade in. A great way to decide which finals to study the most for is to use Rogerhub.com, a final grade calculator, to help figure out what grade is needed on the final in order to get the grade wanted for whichever class.

  When it comes to preparing and studying for finals, Villarreal highlights the most important thing.

  “Don’t wait till the last minute to study,” she says. “Understand the content first then study,” she adds.

  Pinales concurs, saying “I wish [last year] I would have studied more during the rest of the day after finals.”

  Overall, both sophomores agree that the two best things to do to be successful on finals week is to avoid procrastinating and don’t stress too much over the little things and instead focus on doing the best possible.FINALSStudents study for finals on their last normal day of school.

 

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The Road to MAD Week

One of the sponsors and a leader of Community Relations.

One of the leaders of Community Relations.

Sponsor

Mrs. Allison Smith sponsors the club

 

MAD Week is an annual event that is planned and run by the Community Relations Club. The president is Gabi Ahles ’18 and the Vice President is Ellie Callahan ’18. Its sponsors are Mrs. Allison Smith from the Language Arts Department, Mrs. Jaclyn Peach from the Social Studies Department and Mrs. Jessica Ferris from the Science Department. The club meets every Thursday after school from 2:30 p.m. to about 3:30. This year’s MAD Week is April 13 through April 20. The cause is Sierra Leone, but there is no further information. MAD Week is an opportunity for students to unify and give back to the community that has given so much to them.

“It really is student led,” Callahan emphasizes.

Once the cause is decided, the club divides into separate committees for each event. Each committee is overseen by a chair, and the project as a whole is overseen by the club’s officers. According to Smith, this allows each student ownership of the end result, instead of top tier ownership. The goal is to have every member involved in planning.

“We are all involved in different ways,” Callahan confirms.

Before the actual planning starts, the cause must be decided. In order to submit their non profit organization, the proposition-er must show a five to ten minute presentation to the entire Community Relations club. After the presentation finishes, there is a period of time open for questions. Once all of the propositions have been heard, the club chooses their top three. The top three are then put out for the entire school to vote on.

“We open it up to the entire Littleton community,” says Smith, highlighting the importance of unity in the entire process.

MAD week is planned in order to create a spirit of unity and giving back to the community.

“[The goal is] creating a school climate for this one week that is unifying and empowering,” Smith comments.

Student government has some involvement as well, with the student-staff basketball game and raffle. Thus, MAD week is designed around inclusiveness. Every event has the unique energy put into it by each student.

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Teachers take students to Europe

This summer, two teachers at Heritage have decided to take the opportunity to allow students to go on a comprehensive trip throughout Europe. The two teachers, Mrs. Cantwell from the Math Department and Ms. Peach from the Social Studies Department, have a strong enthusiasm for traveling, and want to give students an inclination to find the same. This will be Cantwell’s first time going on this trip, and Peach’s third time. The trip begins in Switzerland, and then goes through Northern Italy, Southern France, and the coast of Spain, led by the company EF Tours.

The trip is not sponsored by the school, and all students who decide to go will be traveling as private citizens with the teacher

This map outlines the rout that the students going on the trip will take. There is an optional extension to include the Alps for $85, which is highly recommended by Ms. Peach.

This map outlines the route that the students going on the trip will take. There is an optional extension to include the Alps for $85, which is highly recommended by Ms. Peach.

leaders and the touring company.

“This trip has a lot of benefits for students who decide to do it. I think just being exposed to other countries and cultures is a really positive thing for students to experience, and in addition to that, I think it really helps give students who may be interested in studying abroad in college an opportunity to get a glimpse of what life in another country might be like in their future. I definitely encourage students to look into this trip because I have traveled with EF Tours before, and I think they provide a solid, comprehensive look at other countries while also making it more affordable than a lot of other tours,” says Cantwell.

This trip has also piqued the interest of many students in the Heritage community, one of which being Mitchell Allen ’19.

“I love going on vacations to different places, and Europe especially has always been one place I have really wanted to go. I think that an opportunity to go visit a country so far away with some of my friends and teachers is a really good way to go about this, and I think that going with a touring company as well will give me a more in-depth look at life in some of these countries,” says Allen.

All in all, this trip is undoubtedly a unique opportunity for anyone who chooses to take advantage of it, and can hold a lot of long-term benefits for students who are able to go.

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Guys On Ice

Cory London '18, Jake Ladow '18, and Orin Gotchey '18 performing in Guys On Ice.

Cory London ’18, Jake Ladow ’18, and Orin Gotchey ’18 performing in Guys On Ice.

For the first time ever, Heritage puts on Guys on Ice, a musical comedy of three friends ice fishing in Wisconsin, alone with their hopes and dreams.

Marvin (played by Orin Gotchey ’18) and his friend Lloyd (Cory London ’18), spend their day in a shanty, bonding over cold root beers, the Green Bay Packers, women, their passion for ice fishing and their shared exasperation for Ernie the “moocher” (Jake Ladow ’18).

Guys on Ice, is packed with goofy songs that give insight to the simple ways of Midwestern fishermen like “Fish is the Miracle Food” and “Ode to a Snowmobile Suit”.

Marvin is overcome with the excitement of the possibility of being featured on a local ice fishing show. While waiting for the host, Cubby, to arrive for his interview, he practices what he’d say and sings along with Lloyd about how amazing it would be to appear on television.

While the play is a comedy, it has tender moments. For example, Lloyd sings “The One That Got Away,” a tear-jerking song about how he missed his chance to be with the woman he loved.

Despite the sad times, the play is still laughable and hilarious.

“My favorite thing about Guys on Ice is getting to perform in front of an audience and making people laugh and feel happy,” says Cory London.

Both on and off the stage, the Heritage theatre put their all into this performance.

“This show particularly, involves both on stage and moreso backstage, people who both respect each other and know what they’re doing; which, is a rare combination to find. Honestly the people who I get to work with are talented and amazing,” states Orin Gotchey.

Altogether, Guys on Ice is a wholesome show that has something to entertain anyone who watches it.

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An Opportunity to Attend a Water Conservation Program

Green Club is a small but determined group of environmentally-focused students hoping to make a change in the Heritage community. One of the more recent missions of the Green Club is reminding teachers to turn off and unplug their lights when leaving their classrooms. They ordered stickers that read, “Please Turn Lights Off” and have placed them on light switches in every room.

They have also picked up trash from around the school grounds and plan on placing posters in the bathrooms to ask students to not use as many paper towels and not leave the faucets running.

A club that might seem insignificant to the Heritage community has been given an opportunity by Denver Water who has provided four spots, all expenses paid, to a water conservation program taking place at Keystone Science School. Students will stay for three days at Keystone in April and be given personal information about how Denver Water works and educated on using water intelligently; they will also be able to tour a treatment plant.

Mr. Geoffrey Brinker, sponsor of the Green Club, explains why it is such a beneficial opportunity. “It is a chance for young people to learn about Colorado’s delicate water balance as taught by professionals in the field at Denver Water,” he says.

Laura Bianchi ’18, a member of Green Club, was awarded one of the spots and can’t wait to attend because she is very eager to learn about water conservation and how it applies to daily life.

“I’m very interested in the conservation of our environment and a large part of that is water care,” says Bianchi.

Denver Water hopes to raise awareness about Colorado’s water system and how water is transferred from streams to faucets. Hopefully Denver Water will continue to offer spots to Green Club in future years and educate young adults about the importance of water conservation and how to use it wisely.

A member of the Green Club places a sticker on a light switch reminding teachers to turn off their lights when they leave. This is one of the many projects Green Club has been a part of.

A member of the Green Club places a sticker on a light switch reminding teachers to turn off their lights when they leave. This is one of the many projects Green Club has been a part of.

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Annual LINK Cramfest is a success

 

A LINK Leader helps a freshmen study for a biology final. Cramfest is focused on providing mentoring for all subjects.

A LINK Leader helps a freshmen study for a biology final. Cramfest is focused on providing mentoring for all subjects.

   On December 14, LINK hosted their annual Cramfest event in the Student Center from 2:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. The event serves to help freshmen prepare for their finals by having the upperclassmen LINK leaders tutor them in various subjects.

   LINK is a program that gives some upperclassmen the opportunity to help freshmen assimilate into high school and create valuable bonds between peers. Amanda Glerup, one of the LINK Coordinators, comments on the importance of Cramfest in the LINK program.

   “I think the coolest thing about Cramfest is that LINK Leaders who don’t necessarily have a penchant for studying or a penchant for tutoring get the opportunity to help a freshman and so I think that’s the big connection between LINK Leaders and freshmen.”

   LINK leaders are given study guides for all freshman classes so that they may have access to the best resources while helping freshmen. However, a new addition to Cramfest is the “general studies” table, where freshmen can ask for general study tips from LINK Leaders so that they may practice essential study skills that will help them throughout their high school career. Tiernan Day 18’ comments on the new concept.

   “It will teach them better study habits that I wish I had learned as a freshman,” he says.

   A large amount of the freshman class came to enjoy snacks and assistance Thursday afternoon, and LINK was excited with the support they were able to provide.

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