Archive | May, 2013
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By: Kalea Jones and Alexis Gonzalez

29 May

By: Kalea Jones and Alexis Gonzalez

This is a podcast about Alexis Gonzalez’s recent diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. It talks about what she has done to cope with MS, and also about what is going on with her life right now.

Here is a link to the podcast

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It’s an A-B Schedule, Can You “C” Your Way Out of it?

29 May

The plan to eliminate C and D days to create a common schedule for the Watkins Glen schools.

By Caitlin Connelly

It’s going to be a blast from the past next year as not only new freshmen are coming over from the middle school, but the classic A-B schedule is making its appearance at WGHS.

With only 7th and 8th graders remaining in the middle school, it has become unnecessary to keep all the staff currently working in the school there for only two grades. Staff needs to be shared between the middle and high school and, in order for this to occur, the schools need to operate on a common schedule.

A committee was formed amongst the middle and high schools with representatives from each. They reached the decision that the A-B schedule would be the simplest solution. This schedule would consist of eight 42 minute periods each day. Students must attend the same classes everyday (besides gym and science labs). Rather than the typical six period days, there will be eight transitions for classes.

Attending the same classes everyday may seem beneficial, but with less time per class, students will not have more time to get their work done.

“Continuity is good in a difficult concept,” said Mrs. Coon, but shortened class periods means less time to assist her students. In-class practice will become homework and Mrs. Coon will lose the ability to help clarify concepts they may be struggling with.

Megan Daigle enjoys her “breathers” away from classes once every four days that decrease the stress from homework. Teachers prefer the longer class periods to cover complicated lessons. However, the concern 7th and 8th graders cannot adjust to the A-B-C-D schedule persists.

In the long run, it’s the A-B-C-D schedule that is preparing students for college. In college, students won’t be attending classes every day, and not for only 42 minutes. Less class time will require both teachers and students to adapt.

Juniors Matthew Gill and Natasha Patel are both concerned about switching to the A-B schedule the year before they will attend college. High school should prepare students for the college experience, not step away from it, these juniors say.

Teachers will need to rewrite their lessons for shorter class periods, and students will have to take additional responsibilities because of this change. Without a day of no class for certain subjects, students will need to seriously consider finding assistance when they need it. Less class time will also limit the time teachers have to work with their students individually.

“I think it is more time efficient to only have students switching classes 6 times a day, now they will have to switch classes 8 times a day,” stated math teacher Mrs. Debolt. “Being late to class won’t be an option,” due to the increase in transitions between classes and a “waste of time in the halls,” she continued. Students will need to get to class quickly to still have a functional amount of time to accomplish their work.

Most believe this will be a negative change for our school, not understanding why the middle school can’t adjust to the A-B-C-D schedule or have the two schools “meet in the middle” with a completely different schedule that has longer class periods. The middle school has never tried any other options besides the A-B schedule, some say. So why should we adjust instead of them?

However, the A-B schedule will be followed next year, so students are encouraged to at least give it a chance. This may be a positive change for the school system, but if problems with the schedules persist, Mr. Warren is willing to accept students’ opinions. He wants the best for the high school, and if they are determined to make a change, he is open to what they have to say.

This change will be relooked if drastic effects occur, but the A-B schedule will still make its appearance whether WGHS is ready or not.

The Physical Fitness Exam: Will You Make it or Break it?

28 May

Sit-ups, the shuttle run, pull-ups, and the ever dreadful mile. Without even saying the name, you already know what I am talking about—The Physical Fitness exam. The horrifying exam is made to test all the blood, sweat, and tears the gym teachers put into each class. It is required by the state that each student take participate in the exam.

Mr. Brubaker, gym teacher at WGHS, says that not every student tries their best on the exam.

“At least 50% of the students try their best on the exam,” said Brubaker. “No one student is the best on every test.”

The Physical Fitness exam gives kids a base line on their physical fitness year-to-year. The New York  State wants students to try and become fit. NYS is issuing the Carol M. White Physical Education Program local area schools that show improvement in physical fitness scores. This exam will initiate, expand, and improve physical education for students K-12. Recipients of the grant must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting the state standards. The grant can be worth $100,000 and up to $750,000 per school.

Mariah Brisbois, senior at WGHS, says that it is obvious as to who participates on the exam and who doesn’t.

“Students just want to prove that they don’t have to do it,” Brisbois said. “You should at least put effort into doing the exam.”

With the current distaste towards the exam, there will be more to come. The grant will require students to take the exam twice—once in the beginning of the year and once at the end. This will show the progress of the students through the course of the year and won’t affect your grade.

As for the participation of the students, having the exam twice a year might affect that percentage.

“I think the reason kids don’t participate is because they are too embarrassed about performing,” Brubaker said.

Some people do view the exam as a little easy and could be harder to text their level of fitness. The Physical Fitness exam has been happening annually for over 45 years and has recently involved 4th grade for the past 6 years. Hopefully, this grant allows the school to develop, expand, and improve the existing physical education. If students realized how the exam and the grant affect our physical education, they would participate and put effort into the exam.

“This is a good way to test your level of fitness and could be a little harder,” Brisbois said.

This is a fair test required by the state and not just a waste of time. In the years to come, we will be seeing more sit-ups, pull-ups, and a lot more running. So prepare yourselves for the most dreadful physical exam you have seen in your life.

By Abigail Rundle

Frozen Treats — Who Does it Better?

22 May

 

            Spring fever has officially hit! Temperatures are rising, plants have started to bloom, and the grass is returning back to its soft, springy self. While many are taking out their lighter wardrobe of sandals and shorts, a familiar delicacy returns into their minds: ice cream. Nothing tastes better on a warm breezy day than a frozen sweet treat.

            Recently, two very popular ice cream shops in Watkins have reopened for the season: The Great Escape and the Glen Dairy Bar. They both sell similar items, but what makes a person choose to eat at one over the other?

            To discover this answer, I devised an experiment in which a blind taste-test would be held. Four subjects were chosen, two male and two female, to sample products from each of the ice cream shops. Three staple items were picked to be judged. These included vanilla soft serve ice cream, a chocolate milkshake, and a cherry slushie.

            Sounds simple enough, right? I thought it was almost too simple, so I added an additional variable in the taste testing – Burger King! Not only are the two most popular ice cream shops competing, but they’re also being compared to a fast food restaurant’s products.

            The first sample consisted of each establishment’s vanilla soft serve ice cream. 75% of the subjects chose the Great Escape as having the tastiest. A few of the words used to describe the taste and texture were “really creamy,” “thick,” and “a very strong flavor.” Although three out of the four participants chose The Great Escape as having the best, all 3 of those subjects had strikingly similar descriptions of the Glen Dairy Bar’s vanilla ice cream.

            The second sample was of a chocolate milkshake. Surprisingly, there were complaints made towards all three of the different samples by all of the taste-testers. They didn’t like how sweet all the milkshakes were – one even claimed it tasted like straight chocolate syrup. 75% of the participants however chose The Great Escape again as having the most appealing milkshake. The deciding factor was that it wasn’t too sweet.

            The third and final sample was a cherry slushie from each business. The results from this sample proved very surprising. 75% of the taste-testers chose Burger King’s slushie over both ice cream parlors. They liked its bright color and how it was smooth, but still icy. All participants agreed that The Great Escape’s slushie was extremely unappealing. The Glen Dairy Bar’s had abnormally large chunks of ice in it that kept it cold for longer, but irritated many of the participants.

            It can be concluded if you’re looking for the best vanilla ice cream cone or chocolate milkshake, you can head on down to the Great Escape. However if a cherry slushie is of more to your liking, you may want to try Burger King’s “Icee.”