WGHS Host International Night

16 Apr

By Kalea J. and Alexis G.

On March 13, 2013, the Model UN students at Watkins Glen High School put on International Night. To hear some sound clips and interviews about what went on, click on this link.

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Nickel’s Pit BBQ: There’s a New Guy in Town

16 Apr

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         Famous for its natural beauty, thriving wineries, and racing background that spans from the 1940’s to present day, Watkins Glen bustles with tourists from spring to early fall. The popularity we receive is almost like a welcome-mat for small businesses.

                In 1990, Doug Thayer erected their company called “Rooster Fish Brewing.”  It began with a pub known as the Wildflower Café right downtown on Franklin St. Because Watkins is such a tourist town, he saw a flow of satisfied customers and began seeing huge success in numbers. Soon added to his company was the Crooked Rooster Brewpub. This restaurant provided exceptional dining and showcased his home-brewed ales with totally organic ingredients and water straight from Seneca Lake.

                Nicholas Thayer, Doug’s son, recently returned to the area and to his father’s business with a new proposition—BBQ. In a matter of a few months, Nickel’s Pit BBQ was created and the two began to prepare for opening for the 2013 tourist season.

                Currently, Nickel’s is only open on Saturdays starting from noon and then closing when they sell out (usually around 9 o’clock). The following statement is found on their website: “We serve up the area’s best BBQ along with award-winning craft ales, friendly and fast service, live music, and other various all-around awesomeness.”

                I wanted to see if Nickel’s lives up to the expectations they set.  

    

It’s a sunny Saturday when arriving to the restaurant. At around 2:00 pm, the typical lunch rush has passed and it’s becoming a bit quiet. Upon entering, I was greeted by a friendly hostess. She asked me if I had ever been here before and I informed her that I had not. She then handed me a laminated printout of their menu and explained that I should decide what I would like to order first, pay, and then choose a seat. I realized the only flaw with this is that there was no seating for that decision-making time period. You just had to simply stand there. It wasn’t such a problem for me, a one person party, but for large groups it might get crowded.

I decided to order a brisket burger with a side of macaroni salad and a soda. It totaled out to around $13. After I paid, I received my drink and a number to set on my table so that the waitresses could find me. I sat at a table in the center of the restaurant – behind me was the bar, in front of me I could see the brewery through an array of glass windows, and to my side was the man preparing my food. I was surprised by the open grill/kitchen. If I had desired to do so, I could have watched my food being cooked. I, personally, thought this was a neat attribute.

While waiting for my food, I took note of the chill atmosphere this restaurant provided. It felt as if I were hanging out in someone’s garage. The walls were brick, the ceiling black, and the floors stone. On the walls were rusty license plates and road signs. Two worn, vintage motorcycles were displayed up high and some alternative rock was playing at a gentle volume in the background. There was outdoor seating in front of what seemed to be a glass garage door. I was soon informed that once the weather warms up, the door will open. The thought of an open restaurant would be perfect for summer.

It took a short 5 minutes for my food to be served. The waitress was very friendly, but never mentioned her name. I found this slightly odd because in most restaurants it’s common courtesy for waiters to tell you their name.  I looked at what was presented to me and for a lack of words, it was huge. The burger was loaded with meat, lettuce, onions, and a special barbeque sauce. The macaroni salad was overflowing in the bowl it was given to me in. It was different in that rotini noodles were used in its making. I thought this was a neat touch. After taking a few bites of my burger, I soon realized that it was really messy. The paper towel rolls on the table came in handy. It was delicious, in simplest terms. Everything about the burger was perfect. The macaroni salad tasted a little dull, but with some additional salt and pepper tasted much better.

While eating, the waitress returned a few times to ask how I liked the food and to refill my soda. She was spot on and even took my plate when I was done. I sat a few more minutes after finishing and reflected on my experience. It was awesome; a perfect combination of a great atmosphere and finger-lickin’ good food. I’m looking forward to when they extend their hours of operation – I know I’m definitely coming back.

Dying to be Happy

15 Apr

By Abigail Rundle

In the past few months, you might have heard of a Sources of Strength group meeting over the loud speaker or from a friend. Sources of Strength is a student driven club that wants to spread awareness about anti-bullying and suicide by peer leadership. The peer leaders are there for students to go to instead of an adult. Often students don’t realize that teachers are open to talk when you are feeling sad or depressed. This group of peers aims to show students and/or anyone who struggles with depression or sadness that there are people in the community who will listen.

Mrs. Swinnerton, health teacher at WGHS, says that the group uses the idea of peer leaders to help kids open up.

“Students think it is uncool to focus on your well-being when it is most important,” said Swinnerton.

The group wants to show others how important it is to talk about thoughts of suicide.

“I feel motivated to help when suicide is brought up by an individual.”

Recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 4,600 lives are lost each year due to suicide: 45% from firearm, 40% from suffocation, and 8% from poison. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24. A shocking 157,000 youth receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries each year across the U.S.

There is also an increased risk of suicide in people who self-harm to the extent that self-harm is found in 40%-60% of suicides. However, generalizing self-harmers to be suicidal, emo, or attention-seeking is, in the majority of cases, inaccurate. People who self-harm are not usually seeking to end their own life; it has been suggested instead that they are using self-harm as a coping mechanism to relieve emotional pain or discomfort or as an attempt to communicate distress.

Self-harm and/or suicide can also be caused by relationships with friends or family, depression, social and emotional changes, body issues, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, or having trouble “fitting in.”

Sam Gill, junior and member of Sources of Strength, said she wants to help people that think that there’s no better way out or another way to deal with their problem.

“I joined SOS because I felt like if I needed to help someone or spread the word that there are people in the school that can help you, that I would do it,” said Gill.

The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. Research over the last several decades has uncovered a wealth of information on the causes of suicide and on prevention strategies. Additionally, CDC is working to monitor the problem and develop programs to prevent youth suicide.

Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. It can be prevented by talking with others and getting the help you need. Suicide is not something commonly discussed, but the more people do talk about it, the more lives that can be saved. It’s your turn to save a life.

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you or someone you know has portrayed any of these signs, please talk to a member of the Sources of Strength club, a teacher, or call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Whats All The Racket About?

15 Apr

ImageThe Varsity Tennis team has been cut for the spring 2013 season. Only five students signed up to play tennis this year, which was not enough to make up a full team. The tennis team has had four different coaches in the past four years. Seniors Katrina Swarthout and Braeden Fitch both agreed that having so many different coaches scared prospective players from signing up because they were scared of having a bad coach.

 Swarthout started playing her freshman year and this would have been her fourth year. She played a different position every year but never singles. She signed up for this sport because she wanted to have something to do after school but did not want to run in track.

 Fitch was in the same predicament. For Fitch this would have been his fourth year on a team but he also took lessons outside of school because he is so dedicated to the sport. He has previously played first and second singles. He was devastated to learn that there would be no team this year because he really wanted to play in his senior year.

 Mr. Gregory, athletic director, and Mr. Phillips, superintendent, agreed that it is unfortunate that the kids who did sign up would be unable to play however the elimination of the team had some benefits. Mr. Gregory could not justify spending money on transportation and other expenses for such a small amount of players. Mr. Phillips says that it relieved a lot of stress from having to make a budget for a team.

 If the tennis team had not been cut then it would have been the modified track team. However, with the money that the school was able to save Watkins was able to fund the modified track team. Mr. Phillips said that “the decision was based on student interest”. This is also not the first time that a team has had to be bumped it happened with the 2011 Varsity Football team.

 The football team had to forfeit the last few games because too many players had gotten injured and there were not enough people to make up a team.

It is unclear at this point if there will be a team next year or not. “The budget is the biggest factor when making this decision” says Phillips.

Armed Guards: A Practical Solution or Massive Mistake

15 Apr

Since the terrible events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a fairly new debate has caught fire; armed guards in schools. Millions of people have joined the debate on both sides, and no conclusion has been yet reached. Many people believe that armed guards will make schools become to hostile and cold. Armed guards will only lead to trouble and they will interfere with the children’s ability to learn. Students will not be allowed to have the childhood that parents have had because of the presence of military style weapons.
“Guns have no place in public schools. The recent incident at Highland High School where the resource officer’s gun accidentally went off could have been tragic. It was terrifying for the school community,” said Ms. Fitz.
Others think that armed guards in schools will only lead to safer schools and a reduction in mass shootings in schools. They believe that putting a trained professional in a school to help maintain security and provide support to staff and students alike can only benefit the school atmosphere.
About one week after the shooting in Sandy Hook, the NRA released its first statement, and in that statement was a plan for armed guards in schools across America. Many people and organizations immediately released statements that these measures were crazy, and that armed guards were in no way the answer to anyone’s problems, but is the idea really that farfetched?
In Watkins Glen Central School, along with almost one third of the schools in America, guards, often in the form of local police officers, who come into the school and provide support and security to the school. These men and women in no way interfere with the actions of the students and teachers, unless of course a threat is posed.
Another proposal that has seen large support is allowing the teachers and staff overall to carry concealed weapons, only with the correct certification and paperwork of course. In some states legislation has already been passed allowing teachers to concealed carry in school, and teachers are taking full advantage. Thousands of teachers have been purchasing firearms and attending training for said weapons.
Although this sounds like a reasonable and sometimes even perfect proposal to many people, there is a large amount of opposition to the idea as well. People are saying that arming teachers will only lead to more violence, and armed teachers cannot be the answer because they aren’t real police officers and they don’t know what it’s like to be in a firefight. They also say that having armed teachers proposes a direct security threat to the students and other staff members.
The argument on both sides provide very good points and no easy decision will be made as time passes on. Most likely, the decision will be left up to the local governments, and no federal or state level legislation will be passed.
When push comes to shove, the question the people of the United States must look around and ask each other is whether or not the safety of their children is worth a very minimal raise in taxes to fund the pay for the officer. Armed guards or police officers in school may not be able to prevent all violence in schools, but in no way can the presence of a trained professional hurt.

Trash Talking Trolls

10 Apr

Females harassed online while playing video games

By Ashley Gardner

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Founders of Silicon Sisters, Kristen Forbes and Brenda Bailey Gershkoovitsh. Photo courtesy of Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch.

The coach leaned in over her shoulder and smelled her. He asked her questions about her boyfriend and bra size and trained the tournament’s web camera on her chest, feet, and legs.

Last year Miranda Pakozda entered the Cross Assault video game tournament, a fighting game tournament. Miranda was the only girl on her team and during the six-day tournament  she found her coach’s harassment so difficult to deal with that she forfeited the tournament by walking straight into a competing player so she’d be killed off.  All of this happened on camera and shocked many people.

You may have heard about bullying in school, but now a new form of bullying is getting attention everywhere—bullying through video games, and the targets of this harassment, female gamers.  Throughout the years gaming has been labeled an “all male” hobby, but with the rise of female gamers, the harassment towards these females has increased.

Another shocking incident happened to Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic and creator of Feminist Frequency. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes (like the damsel in distress, the sexy villainess, women as background decoration and more) associated with women as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online games.  Anita started a kickstarter in May 2012 to raise $6,000 to document how women are portrayed in video games.(video found here ). Her YouTube and Facebook pages were instantly flooded with hate-filled comments such as death-threats, rape-threats, and violent personal threats. People later tried to hack her online accounts such as her website and kickstarter page. Anita’s wikipedia page was also vandalized with pornographic images. The violence got worse when a man from Ontario created an Internet game where players could “punch” Anita; this game showed an image of her getting bruises and cuts each click until the screen turned red.  All the harassment has yet to slow Anita down because supporters donated more than $150,000 past what she asked for.

Every day women are picked out and harassed with threats of rape, violence, and much more horrible things. Examples of what female gamers get on regular basis can be found at “Fat, Ugly, and Slutty”.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch one of the founders of Silicon Sisters a video game studio that is building games for women and girls says if you are getting harassed “call them out and go offline. Connect with other women gamers and form guilds with then. More and more platforms are coming down on “trolls” if enough people call them on it they will take action” She also wanted to point out that the guys that are harassing are by far the minority and that some of the best folks she knows in the pro-women movement in gaming are guys who are just sick of the “trolls” giving them a bad name. For Brenda this harassment has made her determined to bring change, ”Because we are more aware of the issue and many people are taking action, it is getting better, and no one should suffer in silence.”

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One of the founders of Silicon Sisters, Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch.
Photo courtesy of Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch.

Silicon Sisters has made two games in a series for teens called “School26” and is currently working on the third game set in the first year of college. They are also making a game called “Everlove” set in medieval times and is like a playable romance novel.  Silicon Sisters is making these games to appeal to women and girls.

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A screen shot from School26.
Photo courtesy of Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch.

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Another screen shot from School26, made by Silicon Sisters.
Photo courtesy of Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch.

Cutting Class

20 Mar
Zack Kelly and Jacob Slater Dissecting fetal pigs.

Zack Kelly and Jacob Slater Dissecting fetal pigs.

 

By Becca McIntyre

On Thursday the 7th Mrs. Bartholomew’s Ace Biology class dissected fetal pigs in the study of human development.

“Unlike frogs, pigs are closer in development to humans thus, why I chose them for this purpose,” Mrs. Bartholomew stated. “Since, we aren’t amphibians after all.”

Just after the A.C.E. Biology class Mrs. Bartholomew noticed there were still several pigs left to dissect.

“Unlike other animals used for dissection, the fetal pigs don’t stay as fresh for as long,” she said.

With this Mrs. Bartholomew had offered her next period class to dissect the extra fetal pigs. Mrs. Bartholomew noted that there were only a few kids in her next class when she said.

“All the kids were well behaved to start, however a student, one in particular, decided to ruin the privilege.”

The student will remain unnamed due to the request of Mrs. Bartholomew.

“He was violently cutting open the fetal pig while making oinking noises and crushing the internal organs,” Mrs. Bartholomew stated. “Not the best example of how to dissect an animal.”

The hallways reeked of a disgusting odor, “like dead flesh” a passerby remarked.

“The smell was so gross,” another one replied.

Other than the smell, Mrs. Bartholomew said that “most students were okay seeing and taking action in dissecting the fetal pigs. Though the scalpels were dull and the pig skin thick the students progressed well.”

Mrs. Bartholomew also stated that students who were uncomfortable with dissecting a “real” animal could leave and preform a virtual dissection in another room.

With the unfortunate occurrence of a student causing mayhem in the classroom there will no longer be anymore “traditional” dissection in Mrs. Bartholomew’s classes.

While the A.C.E. Biology class enjoyed dissecting the fetal pigs, cow eyes, and sheep hearts, it seems the classes to come are no longer allowed to enjoy this learning experience because of one student and his lack of knowledge when it comes to dissection do’s and don’ts.