Berner News Update
Who's That Tiny Teacher?
Check out the baby pictures of some of your favorite art and world language teachers. Do you see anyone you recognize? The answers are revealed at the bottom of the page!
Berner and Massapequa News
Autism Awareness Day
Autism Awareness Day, which was Monday, April 2, 2018, is a celebration for all people who are diagnosed with Autism on every single part of the spectrum. Autism refers to the varied degrees of struggle from social, verbal, or nonverbal communication, sensory processing, and repetitive restrictive behavioral structures. In easier terms, according to TheMighty.com, Autism is a disorder that affects brain development, so many people with Autism might think or work the same as everyone else. “Lighting It Up Blue” is basically the phrase used to raise awareness for Autism and is generally associated with the organization Autism Speaks; however, almost every organization uses this term to promote Autism awareness in their own way. Places from all over the world participate in this event and it is deemed as a truly unitizing celebration.
At Berner Middle School, the support of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign at Berner is immense. Students are encouraged to dress in all blue attire to show their spirit and appreciation for people of all ages with Autism. Sports teams at Berner also dedicate home games to the cause and host fundraisers to raise money for the charitable foundation. Each club is motivated to design a special puzzle piece to symbolize their overwhelming support for the cause, as the puzzle piece is the “mascot” for Autism. All of the custom-designed puzzle pieces have been displayed all around the school in the main hallway. This really demonstrates the effort poured into the Berner Middle School’s Autism Awareness campaign as everyone has a chance to get involved and is strongly encouraged to do so.
Overall, Autism Awareness is a very important celebration. It brings light to those who are different and praises their assets. It gives the Autistic the support and love that they always deserve. This campaign basically shows that no matter how different you are, you should always be accepted. “Lighting It Up Blue” is a lesson that shows that love and support should be supplied to absolutely everyone and that no one will tolerate intolerance of others.
Day of Silence
by Erin Tumminello
People in the LGBT+ community are silenced each day due to bullying and unfair treatment. On April 27, people all over the country participated in the GLSEN Day of Silence. This involves taking a vow of silence for the day to honor those who are silenced because of their sexual identity and sexual orientation. Students in Berner Middle School took part in this national event, as well.
The Day of Silence at Berner
In Berner, students in the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club and other students who wanted to be involved engaged in the day of silence by wearing black and not talking that day (unless a teacher spoke to them). They also held cards which gave a brief explanation of the day and why they were not talking.
The Breaking of Silence Ceremony
At the end of the day, people held the Breaking of Silence Ceremony. On a national level, people met and each spray painted a hurtful, silencing word on a large wall. After that, each person hit the wall with a sledgehammer until it came crumbling down.
Students did a similar thing at the end of the day at Berner. The GSA took a large, black piece of paper and wrote silencing words on it. Then they ripped it up, symbolising the breaking of silence. After that, the students’ vows of silence were over if they wanted them to be.
When is the next Day of Silence?
The GLSEN Day of Silence 2019 will be on Friday, April 19.
Berner Idol: The Finale
by Madelyn Breves
The moment that everyone has been waiting for has finally come. The singers will face the toughest test to find the best of the best. We all gathered in the auditorium to witness the beautiful voices of all the contestants. At 6:15, the lights dimmed and the excitement skyrocketed.
Twelve brave and exceptionally talented souls from each grade poured their hearts out into their songs. They all wanted to win Berner Idol, but only three could win. There were new songs like Grenade performed by Kristen Sculley and Believer by Jesse Findling. There were also repeat songs like Hallelujah performed by Julie Gonzalez and Rolling in the Deep performed by Nicole Ferretti. The crowd went wild for each and every song.
After the second act concluded, it was time for the judges to make their decisions. Everyone in the audience waited anxiously, talking over who they thought was going to win with their friends. After what felt like forever, the judges finally announced the winners. From sixth grade, the winner is Antonia Buscemi. From seventh grade, the winner is Julie Gonzalez. Finally, from eighth grade, the winner is Vincent Arenella. Every contestant sounded so good but it was these three that ended up on top.
Moments of Remembrance...A Day of Silence
March 14 was the one month anniversary of the tragic events in Parkland, Florida. Schools all around the world participated in different activities such as walkouts, moments of silence, and days of peace. Here at Berner, the student council planned a day to honor the 17 kids who never got to come home.
The theme of the day was “Moments of remembrance… a day of silence.” There were announcements at the beginning and end of each class period. The student council wanted students to remember to be kind and that violence is never the answer. They read quotes from important leaders like Gandhi. Down in the PPS office, they made a “graffiti wall” where students could put inspirational quotes on post-its.
When third period began, the teachers brought their students to their locations. Sixth grade went to the cafeteria, seventh grade went to the auditorium, and eighth grade went to the gym. Students listened to the student council speak about the events in Florida. A symbolic walk was scheduled, but it was canceled due to the cold weather. At the end of the assembly, there was a moment of silence. A moment to honor 17 people, a moment of remembrance. Students left school hopeful and inspired to do good and help others.
Imagine walking into a room and having to play or sing a prepared song, three scales and sight read in front of a judge? Well, over 100 kids a year do this every April. They prepare all of these things. This is not a grade for the students’ school, though. Some music teachers might count this as extra credit. NYSSMA is a great opportunity for kids who play an instrument. Students can be accepted into certain clubs because of NYSSMA, such as Tri-M or All County.
NYSSMA stands for New York State School Music Association. Unfortunately, there is a fee to participate, but it is worth it. In NYSSMA, there are six levels. Each level, students have to memorize a certain amount of scales. However, when students perform in front of the judge, he or she picks three out of however many the student prepared. Levels one through four are judged out of 28 points. Levels five and six are judged out of 100 points. Depending on how students perform, students are awarded different medals. One medal is plain blue, and the other one is red, white and blue.
This year, NYSSMA is being held at McKenna Elementary School in Massapequa. The dates for NYSSMA are Wednesday, April 25 or Thursday, April 26. Good luck to whoever is going this year. If you have never participated before, you should definitely try it next year!
Berner Goes to Adventureland
by Teresa Greene
Berner Middle School will be going to Adventureland on Friday, May 11. If you didn’t know, Adventureland closes out the park just for Berner, so the only people that will be there are Berner students, the Berner staff, and the Adventureland staff.
Students attending the trip are allowed to walk around the park with their friends. They do not have to stay with their class or with a group.
There are rides, games, and food to buy so make sure to bring money with you if you want to participate in everything! be aware that there are water rides.
If you have never visited Adventureland, here are descriptions of some of the rides. All information is from the official Adventureland website and personal opinions:
Must be Over 48 inches to ride.
Adventureland description: Blast around up and down on the Musik Express. The steep hills create a coaster feeling and the gravity brings riders together making it a great group experience.
My description: Riders should sit with the heaviest person closest to the outside because when you spin, you are all forced to lean on that person. Music plays as you spin. The “track” moves in a circle and slightly up and down.
Must be Over 54 inches to ride alone.
Adventureland description: Splash down into the river and cool off on Adventure Falls. The Flume Ride is a very popular water ride, which lets the passengers float in a channel with many curves and also with drops of up to 11m. As a special highlight, the boats all of a sudden dash down a chute, thus gaining a higher speed.
My description: If you do not want to get wet then do not go on this ride. The boats are usually wet, so once you’re seated you will probably become damp. The ride has some short drops and then one big drop.
Must be Over 54 inches to ride alone.
Adventureland description: Sail the seas with the Pirates of Adventureland on the Pirate Ship
Must be Over 48" to ride or Over 44" with an adult.
Adventureland Description: Twirl and Spin on Long Island's largest and only spinning coaster
Sixth grader Eliza Levitt says, “Turbulence is a great roller coaster at Adventureland. If you easily become nauseous during rides then this isn’t the one for you. It spins around and you can get extremely dizzy. At one point, you turn sideways! Even though this sounds scary, it is very enjoyable.”
There are plenty of other rides at Adventureland. If you want to see others, go to the Adventureland website or look up videos online. Have fun at Adventureland!
Earth Day is Sunday, April 22 and it is a day to celebrate our earth. In the past years, our earth has become more and more polluted and dirty. This Earth Day, try to participate in a few activities on this list. Together, we can make and change and save our earth.
Make sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Don’t waste water. One way you can save water is taking shorter showers.
You can plant a tree seedling.
You can plant a garden with vegetables or plants.
When going to a party or a practice try carpooling with friends and family.
If you don’t already, make sure to recycle all your plastics and paper.
Donate old clothes or toys instead of throwing them away.
Buy organic food. Organic food keeps the soil and plants clean and free of pesticides.
Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load.
Shop with reusable bags.
These small activities are easy and can make a huge difference. This Earth Day let’s save our earth for years to come.
How Plastic Harms the Environment
by Lily O’Daly
Your swimming in the ocean, scuba diving over a beautiful reef. Suddenly, a plastic bag comes racing towards you and you get a plastic bag in the face. Plastic bags pollute our land and water. Since they do not break down, they will stay in plastic form for a long time and harm animals that eat it. Regulations should be placed to control the use of plastic because it pollutes our earth and harms our animals.
Regulations should be put in place to control the use of plastic because it pollutes our earth. Plastic pollution is when plastic has gathered in an area and has started to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for plants, wildlife, and human population. Five countries that have been greatly impacted by plastic pollution include China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. Thailand struggled to address ongoing plastic pollution on its beaches. Plastic pollution is ruining our land and oceans and is making our earth look awful. According to FoxNews.com, a giant floating plastic island was found between California and Hawaii. Boyan Slat says if we do not act, the big stuff will crumble down into micro-plastics over the next few decades. Some common items found were bottles, ropes, plastic bags, and buoys. Fishing nets made up most of the trash. Plastic is not easy to recycle and will stay in plastic form for more than 100,000 years. In 100,000 years, you may still see the same plastic you see today. Plastic is ruining our lands and water because it is non-biodegradable and creates pollution.
Plastic is also dangerous because it harms our animals. According to Animal Friends Croatia (AFC), tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, and turtles are killed each year from plastic bag litter. Plastic in the oceans often looks like jellyfish and attracts hungry animals. Plastic has a long-term effect on animals and the area that was affected by it. Because plastic bags take so long to break down, once an animal dies from eating the plastic and decays, the plastic is let back out into the environment to carry on killing other wildlife. About 100,000 marine animals die from plastic per year and one million seabirds die from plastic. Plastic is harmful to animals and their homes. It is one of the top reasons marine animals die.
Some say that paper takes up more room in landfills. They also say plastic uses less water and chemicals to produce. LovetoKnow.com says plastic is less harmful than cotton and paper. About 1.4 million trees are cut down in the process of making paper. Even if this is true, paper is more environmentally friendly. It is made from a renewable source, trees. Paper bags are renewable, recyclable, and reusable.
Regulations should be placed to control the use of plastic because it pollutes our earth and harms our animals. Plastic pollution is ruining our earth and killing our animals. Plastic is non-biodegradable and will stay on earth for more than 100,000 years. Plastic is ruining our world. Be a part of a solution, not the pollution!
The Royal Wedding
by Anna Goldberg
It’s like a Disney movie. When Meghan Markle was growing up in Los Angeles, California, did she ever dream that she would grow up and marry a real life prince? That is what’s happening on May 19 when Markle marries Prince Harry in England.
Incase you don’t know who Meghan Markle is, here are a few fun facts:
1. Her first name isn’t actually Meghan. It’s Rachel Meghan Markle.
2. She has been married before. Her previous husband's name is Trevor Engelson. They dated from 2004-2011, and they split in 2013.
3. She was a briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal.
4. She used to make money as calligrapher.
5. She was a Global Ambassador.
6. She is an American and she is not from a Royal family.
7. She is an actress and was most recently on the TV series Suits.
Now you know have a good idea of who Meghan Markle is. Let’s move on to the wedding.
On October 31, 2016 The Sunday Express reported that Prince Harry had been secretly dating actress Meghan Markle. On November 27, 2017 they announced their engagement. Both Meghan and Harry’s family are very supportive of the relationship.
Reporters have said that Meghan is going to wear two dresses on the big day. One is going to be for the formal ceremony, and the other is going to be for the more casual reception. Similar to Will and Kate's wedding, this wedding is going to be split in two parts. Also, she has already chosen the designer. Sources have said that she recently had her first fitting at Kensington Palace.
Will Meghan Markle wear a gorgeous tiara or not? According to townandcountrymag.com, the palace did not confirm if she would, but the royal precedent says that she likely will. Although Markle can borrow from a variety of married women from the royal family, there is also a chance she will have a new tiara. One tiara Meghan definitely won’t be wearing is the “Cartier Halo” tiara. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore the tiara when she got married to Prince William in April, 2011. The supreme piece of jewelry was loaned to Kate from Queen Elizabeth, who received the piece from her mother for her eighteenth birthday. Although this piece would be absolutely gorgeous, it will be on display in Canberra, Australia from March 30 to July 22. Even without this option, Markle still has many to choose from.
The Guest List
Oh the guest list! Meghan and Harry are still stressing over who should be invited, but according to sources these people are probably coming to the royal wedding:
Priyanka Chopra. This actress is one of Meghan’s close friends. She is even rumored to be a bridesmaid.
Serena Williams. Markle and Williams met while participating in the 2014 DIRECTV Celebrity Beach Bowl.
Mel B and the Spice Girls. In February Mel B dropped some major news on one episode of The Real. She said the invites were proper, and she even hinted about performing.
Barack and Michelle Obama. Former President Obama and Harry hung out at the Invictus Games in September. Later on rumors circulated that he would not come so Harry could still maintain a friendship with President Trump.
Justin Trudeau. Harry and Justin also met at the Invictus Games. Entertainment Tonight reports that he will probably land a invite.
The Danish Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth is reportedly close to Queen Margrethe of Denmark, so it’s safe to say they’ll make the list.
Pippa Middleton. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended his sister-in-law’s wedding last year, so it seems fair they’d return the favor.
The Swedish Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge just made the trip out to Scandinavia to visit King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Prince Daniel, and Crown Princess Victoria, so they'll probably fly over to England to spring.
The cast of Suits. After seven seasons of working together, it’s fair the Meghan invites them. Costar Patrick J. Adams has even equated Markle with a "sister" after their time on Suits.
Cara Delevingne. As reported by Margot Robbie, the model constantly texts the prince. Possibly Cara even set the prince up with other Hollywood celebrities.
Who doesn’t love food? Here’s what's been released about about the royal menu.
On January 2 The Telegraph suggested that the royal couple hired Table Talk for their big day. While the news is not yet certain, Kensington Palace declined to comment one way or the other. It is definitely a possibility because the company catered Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and they also catered Pippa Middleton’s wedding in May 2017.
Most American weddings take place in the late afternoon or evening, but it’s traditional for royal weddings to take place earlier in the day. Most of the royal weddings were followed by a breakfast. While the exact menu is yet to be confirmed, Meghan is said to be a “foodie”, so flavorless flare is off the table. Markle used to run a blog called “The Tig,” so they will definitely not run out of wine.
On March 20, Kensington Palace put a stop to the banana cake rumors and said Meghan and Harry were going to have a lemon elderflower cake. Kensington’s Twitter said that it will be covered in buttercream with fresh flowers. The cake will be made by Claire Ptak, a pastry chef who was raised in California and now runs a London based bakery called Violet Cakes. I don’t know about you but I would love to eat off this menu.
Typical weddings don’t have security, but if you're as famous as the royal family, you’ll definitely need it. For Harry and Meghan’s security they will have barriers to prevent vehicle attacks, armed police patrols, and airport style security searches. The force stated that Meghan and Harry’s security process will be, "amongst the largest in Thames Valley Police history." A big range of visible security measures will be in place such as the extensive network of automatic plate recognition technology, CCTV and hostile vehicle mitigation, and HVM barriers. The royal couple invited 2,640 members to their public wedding. Residents, local businesses and visitors to Windsor will see armed and unarmed officers, police dogs, mounted police and the National Police Air Service in the run up to the wedding. On the day of the wedding itself, visitors may be stopped and checked and British Transport Police will be watching train stations and carriages. The other people arriving in Windsor will be screened and searched in airport style. There will also be Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead community wardens and ambassadors throughout the town centre.
Thames Valley Police says visitors and residents should remain vigilant at all times as they "are our extra eyes and ears." More than 100,000 people from around the world are expected to travel to Windsor for the wedding and celebrations. The force says the a lot of those working on the operation will be from Thames Valley but other forces, such as British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police and Surrey Police, will also be involved. With this type of security, Meghan and Harry should have no problem with outsiders crashing there wedding.
The Carriage Process
After the wedding is over at 1 pm (7 am Eastern Time in United States), the wedding will be followed by a gorgeous carriage ride. As reported by CNN, the route of the process will go like this: "The newlyweds will leave Windsor Castle in a carriage and travel along High Street through the town of Windsor, before returning to the castle by the Long Walk." Harry and Meghan wish that this small journey will provide a opportunity for commoners to enjoy this special day. On March 28, it was announced that the armed forces will also be participating in the process. More than 250 will participate. Although not yet confirmed, we are hoping that this spectacular event will be broadcasted for all to see.
Right now the details about their honeymoon have not been released. Understandably, they want this to be private.
It looks like Meghan’s dreams have come true. Many people are wishing and dreaming that their names will be on the guest list.
Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough
by Lindsey Black
Eighteen school shootings in three months. Two hundred and ninety school shootings in five years. The number of deaths at the hands of guns on school properties is increasing faster than anyone thought it would. With the most recent shooting being the Parkland, Florida high school on February 14, the nation has gone into a bit of an upheaval. Up until the middle of March, new footage was being released to the public daily, giving insight to just what happened in the high school. And people did not like what they saw. The screaming of children, the ringing of fired bullets, teenagers fearing for their lives. Parents, survivors, and everyday people are asking President Trump for action to be taken against the NRA, and new gun control regulations to be put in place. “Thoughts and prayers are not enough” is a common slogan being used at rallies. People want change. They will not settle for condolences, and they will not go away until something has been done.
The nation has become a melting pot for rallies, protests and walkouts. The survivors of the Parkland school shooting organized the March For Our Lives Campaign, in which hundreds of thousands of people marched in unison on the streets of Washington, D.C, and in over 800 sister marches across the country, according to MarchForOurLives.com. Students from the Martin Van Buren Queens Village highschool raised $4,000 in a fundraiser to attend the protest, as stated in an amNewYork article. Dot Clarke, a student at Hofstra University, was interviewed by amNewYork while on her way to the sister March For Our Lives rally in New York City. She said, “Who will kill me today? It’s not normal for us to feel this way.”
Florida has become a beacon of confrontation towards lawmakers about what they are going to do to make schools and the world a safer place. According to Orlando Sentinel, just one week after the Parkland school shooting, students were gathering at the steps of the old Capitol building in Tallahassee, Florida to voice their aggravation towards the lack of action. “How do you claim to support the people when you allow them to get murdered like animals?”, said Sheryl Acquaroli, a junior at the highschool of the most recent school shooting that took the lives of 17 people. She and so many others want to stop being afraid. School is supposed to be a safe place for students and these survivors and others feel as if it is not. The media has been broadcasting these rallies across the nation, showing fellow Americans and lawmakers what determined people are capable of organizing. The rally at the Capitol building received national coverage by CNN, amd news station lined up to get live footage of the March For Our Lives campaign in action. With hashtags and tweets going viral on social media, everyone is surrounded with the problem our world is facing, whether they want to be or not. Representative Carlos Guillermo said, “[The victims] have lost their voices, but you haven’t lost yours,....You are their voices now.” And their voices were heard. The New York Times reported that Florida legislation passed a $400 million bill defying the National Rifle Association. If signed by the Governor of Florida, the bill will raise the age of buying a gun from 18 to 21, ban the purchase and use of bump stocks, which make firing a gun much faster, give more money to school police officers and mental health centers, and give local school districts the authority to arm certain school personnel. The bill will represent the the first successful gun restriction legislation in Florida in 20 years.
President Donald J. Trump thinks the answer to our gun problems lies in arming teachers. Some schools have already done this, such as schools in Sidney, Ohio. In a New York Times article it was said that the Sidney City schools have safes tucked away in closets and classrooms, filled with one semi-automatic gun and one bullet proof vest. These safes can only be opened by select school officials with their fingerprint. Ohio isn’t the only one to arm teachers. Hundreds have schools already have, much to the support of the president who says that teachers should be trained to fire a gun. The President also said that he would rush into a building even if unarmed, to challenge a school shooter and protect the lives of the students and faculty.
As the future of our world, teenagers and young adults across the nation are taking a stand and showing the world what they are made of. They are deciding how they want the world in which they will be the next president, the next celebrity, and the next teacher. Protesting and rallying is how the major change of our nation has happened throughout history; for instance,the Prohibition movement and the women’s suffrage movement. Change is a tale as old as time, and time keeps moving forward, bringing in new people who are more progressive, more open to new ideas. It may start with guns, or it may not. The thing to take away is the determination and spirit of those who are fighting daily to live in the kind of world that they want to. And it’s as simple as that. Are people really living in the world they want to? If not, maybe someone should do something about it.
The Legacy of Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking was born on January 18, 1942, in Oxford, England. He was a British professor, scientist, and author who did revolutionary work in the physics and cosmology department, and whose books made the world of science available to everyone.
At age 21, while at the University of Cambridge studying cosmology, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short. He was given two years to live. Despite these odds, he went on to become a remarkable researcher and Professorial Fellow at the Gonville and Caius college. He held the position of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge from 1979-2009, it being held by Sir Isaac Newton in 1663. He received several dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982.
In 1988, Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time. It was written for no specific type of reader(s) and with no prior knowledge on theories about the development of the universe. In A Brief History of Time, Hawking explains a varied range of subjects in cosmology, including black holes, light cones, and the theory behind the Big Bang. In the re-publication in 1996, he explains the possibilities of time travel and wormholes. The book became a bestseller and sold 20 million copies in 20 years, and by 2001 has been translated into 35 different languages.
On March 14, 2018 Hawking’s family announced he had died. They hadn’t announced the details of his death, but they said he died peacefully. One outlandish theory going around is that he faked his death so he can continue his experiments with black holes, although this was debunked when his funeral happened.
McDonald's announced in early February of this year that they'd be, once again, making changes to their Happy Meal. These changes have started as early as 2011, when the McDonald's corporation started to revamp their Happy Meals by incorporating apple slices as a healthy side. The apple slices can also be substituted by a clementine if requested. Additionally, in 2012, soda was eliminated as a choice in order to promote healthier eating habits. Without soda on the Happy Meal Menu, those who ordered this meal plan were less likely to order soda, and instead would order milk, water, or other beverages. Because of these drink changes, McDonald’s reports have shown that there has been a 14 percentage point increase in Happy Meals ordered without soda. Soon, in June, McDonalds will have these changes put into place with all Happy Meals being at 600 calories or fewer, and the newer requirements for this will be satisfied. For example, 78 percent of Happy Meal options will fit the sodium requirement, and to do this the menu will be limited to four and six piece chicken nuggets, as well as a hamburger. A cheeseburger will still be available, if requested. The nugget recipe will also be improved not only with the reduced sodium intake from this food, but also by making chicken that’s not treated with antibiotics that are used to make important human medicine. In the near future, at least half of Happy Meals worldwide will contain less than 600 calories, 650 mg of sodium, and 20 percent of those calories will come from saturated fat and sugar. These changes are expected to be put into place by 2022. Already in places like Italy and Spain the menu has been reformed to promote healthier habits, such as serving grilled chicken sandwiches and cooked corn in the Happy Meals.
Along with improved food quality, another change is coming for the happy meal in November, 2018. Prior to 2006, some upcoming Disney movies were turned into Happy Meal toys to help promote the movie or attraction. However, in 2006, when the time came for Disney to renew their contract with McDonald's about their toy branding, they refused to sign because of increasing childhood obesity rates. To blame for this rise, according to Disney, were children’s meals at fast food restaurants that had too many calories in them. Unless the nutritional standards were met by McDonalds, they would not sign the contract. These guidelines were the first to be put into place by a major media company to help spread the word about healthier eating. From then on, all food and drink products shown on Disney channels have to meet these nutritional guidelines. This is because 25 percent of the viewers on these stations are ages 12 and younger and, once again, Disney wants to promote personal well-being by eating well. Now, in 2018, with these nutritional guidelines finally met, Disney has now allowed McDonald’s to use Disney related toys again in the Happy Meal. This June, Incredibles 2 characters will be the first to be given as a toy in the meals, while later, in November, the characters from Wreck-It-Ralph 2 will also be promoted.
These changes were put into place for three main reasons. The first, being that families make up 30 percent of McDonald’s trips worldwide. With healthier food standards, families will be more comfortable with bring their kids to eat at this place now that healthier criteria has been met. Furthermore, McDonald’s wanted to have the agreement back with Disney. With the quality of the food increasing in the past few years, it was made possibly that both companies could be in a relationship again. Finally, with these new changes, the food has cost less. Now, because of smaller portion sizes, there is less food included in the Happy Meal so now it costs less for consumers to pay for this food. Additionally, McDonald’s doesn’t have to pay for an abundance of food that it doesn’t need anymore. Hopefully, with the new changes, McDonald’s will continue to improve in the future.
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In 2011, McDonald's added apple slices to Happy Meals. Soda came off the menu in 2013. And last year, McDonald's replaced Minute Maid apple juice with its lower-sugar Honest Kids brand juice.
McDonald's made the changes for two main reasons: improving its image among parents and reducing costs on food.
at least half of the Happy Meals on menus around the world will be under 600 calories and under 650 mg of sodium, with less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat and less than 10 percent of calories from added sugar. By 2022.
By this June, McDonald's promises to have all Happy Meal menu options be 600 calories or fewer, plus they will fit the new criteria for sugar and saturated fat. Seventy-eight percent of Happy Meal options will fit the sodium requirement. They'll do this by limiting the menu to a hamburger, 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets.
Cheeseburger will only be included if requested.
an increase in Happy Meals ordered without soda as a drink.
shrinking the french fry serving
McDonald’s said it will reduce calories and sodium from its six-piece chicken McNugget Mighty meal for older children by halving the french fry portion size.
The “mighty meal” will be used to offer slightly bigger sizes for older kids.
Currently, 28 percent of Happy Meal combinations offered on menu boards in 20 of McDonald’s major markets meet the new criteria. In June 2018, McDonald’s USA will hit the new calorie, sugar and fat goals and be 78 percent compliant on sodium.
Restaurants in Italy offer a Happy Meal grilled chicken sandwich; pineapple spears are on the menu in Spain; and cooked corn is a vegetable option in China, Japan and Taiwan.
Family trips represent 30 percent of all visits to McDonald’s around the world.
All Happy Meals by 2022 would have at most 600 calories with 10% of those calories coming from saturated fat and 10% from added sugar. Sodium also would be reduced.
In 2006, Disney became the first major media company to establish nutrition criteria, associating its brands and characters with more nutritionally balanced foods. The guidelines, developed with national nutrition authorities and aligned to federal standards, promote the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy while limiting calories, saturated fats, sugars and sodium.
U.S. stores will adopt menu updates this summer — by June 2018, all Happy Meal combinations will have 600 calories or less. Disney promotions will also start in June, with Incredibles 2 toys in the summer and Wreck-It Ralph 2 toys in November.
Removing artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, serving chicken that is not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine and sourcing milk from cows not treated with rBST for milk jugs.
U.S. Happy Meal program will also participate in the promotional alliance announced today, and will be in line with Disney’s nutrition guidelines, including: Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas and St. Croix), Samoa, Suriname, and the Caribbean Islands (Dominican Republic and Trinidad).
All food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on Disney-owned TV channels where more than 25 percent of the audience is ages 12 and younger, and online platforms that are directed to children and families, are required to meet Disney’s nutrition guidelines.
In 2006 Disney rejected renewing their agreement with McDonalds about healthy foods because of childhood obesity rates were rising and there was widespread concern over calorie-laden children's meals at fast food restaurants.
Chocolate milk from the kids' menu. Will also be eliminated
Since 2013, McDonald's has seen a 14 percentage point increase in Happy Meals ordered with water, milk or juice as their beverage, the company says.
The Final Four
The Final Four was filled with some surprises and some teams that were powerhouses all season long.
#3 Michigan vs #11 Loyola (Chicago)
This game came as a shock to most people because both teams were not rated very highly. Even though both teams were more known for their offenses, it was the teams’ defenses that shined to start the game. Both teams started out playing great defense, but neither team could shoot the ball well. Michigan came into the game averaging more than 80 points but only had 22 at half time. The Loyola Chicago Ramblers had also had high scoring games throughout the tournament. They only had 27 points with a few seconds left before they drained a clutch buzzer beater to make it 29-22 at the half. The two teams went back and forth for the first ten minutes of the second half. Michigan started to claw their way back after being down 10. Wagner was the one who finally brought Michigan even with the Ramblers. After this three pointer, the Wolverines ran away with it ending the game on a 22-10 run and winning the ball game 69-57.
#1 Villanova vs #1 Kansas
This game did not come as a surprise unlike the first game of the night. Both teams had been power houses all season. Villanova came in at a 34-4 record and Kansas came in at a 31-7 record. Villanova came in firing going up 22-4 early in the first half. Kansas did bounce back, But still trailed by a score of 47-34. Villanova scored those 47 points on a historic 13 three pointers in the first half. Villanova kept the ball rolling ending the game with a final four record 18 three pointers. Kansas could not stop, nor out score the Wildcats and took a heavy loss 95-79, led by Eric Paschall’s 24 points.
National Championship: #1 Villanova vs #3 Michigan
The National championship consisted of two of the highest powered offenses in the country. Villanova coming in averaging 87 points per game which is highest in the country. Michigan coming in with 74 but the highest average of all teams during the tournament. Michigan came out really strong. Throughout the first ten minutes Michigan took a 21-14 lead. Donte DiVincenzo was the only one keeping Villanova in the game coming off the bench and he could not miss. After this point, Villanova went on a run. They shut Michigan down for the last ten minutes. The Wildcats only gave up seven points for the rest of the half. DiVincenzo torched the Wolverine defense scoring 16 points in the first half. The Wolverines could not come back after this run Villanova didn’t stop. They were dominate on both ends of the floor. DiVincenzo added another 15 points to his stats and ended the game with 31, a Final four record for coming off the bench. The final score of the game was 79-62. The Wildcats were national champions.
MLB Opening Day
MLB Opening Day
It is that time of year again: the time for the best baseball players in the world to take the field for the next six months and play America’s favorite pastime. It was a very big offseason; there were multiple stars switching teams, and many trades that occured and the 2018 Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined in Cooperstown, NY forever.
This season is looking to be a fierce battle composed of many teams that could have a chance of winning the Commissioner's Trophy in the fall. The team that everyone is predicting to win is the defending champion, Houston Astros, who beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series back in November in seven games. With superstar infield duo of Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve and solid outfield led by George Springer, they have a great chance to repeat.
Another major contender is the new look of the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers lost in the ALCS to the Astros in seven games last year in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. In December, they acquired 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton (my favorite player) from the Miami Marlins for Starlin Castro and two prospects. With Stanton now on the roster, he and teammate Aaron Judge, if he can live up to his play last year, could have major success this season.
Adding to the major contender list is the Los Angeles Dodgers. They fell short to the Astros last year after a 104 win campaign last year. They blew threw the NL playoffs with only one loss, coming in game four of the NLCS to the Cubs. They are definitely contenders again this year, but during Spring Training, third baseman Justin Turner broke his hand after a hit by a pitch and is expected to be out until May. Overall, if this team stays healthy, they’re bound for a deep playoff run.
After a disappointing season last year, the 2016 champs look to rebound. They did make the NLCS last year, but they shouldn’t have made it there in the first place. They beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS in five games in a collapse as always by Washington. With dynamic infield lead by Anthony Rizzo and 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant, they have a solid squad with a great pitching rotation. Even with the loss of Jake Arrieta this past offseason, they look to play like 2016 and improve last year’s disappointment.
The last main contender for the World Series is the Cleveland Indians. This team includes star studded duo Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez and the amazing pitching staff who are led by two-time AL Cy young award winner, Corey Kluber. They look to overcome their playoff meltdowns the last two years, losing to the Cubs after having a 3-1 lead in the World Series in 2016, and blowing a 2-0 start against the Yankees last year in the ALDS. This team is very capable of winning the World Series this year, don’t count them out.
This offseason was a crazy one, with many star players switching teams, the biggest one being NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton going from the Miami Marlins to the New York Yankees. With this trade, this made the Yankees a dominant force and a very good contender.
After a great run with the Royals, which included a World Series in 2015, Eric Hosmer took his talent to San Diego looking to lead that young team to relevance. While a great move by the Padres, I will take a bit for them to contend, they have a top five farm system, it will take about 2-3 years for them to really have a chance at a playoff push.
After breaking out in Arizona last year, J.D Martinez signed with the Boston Red Sox. This is a great pickup by Boston, because know they may give the Yankees a legitimate form for the AL East Crown. While it is a upgrade, I don’t see Boston beating the Yankees.
Every year, they are teams that break out and make some noise, improving their team. One of those teams is the Chicago White Sox, they have been not great since 2010, but with top prospect Yoan Moncada, they will definitely improve with the upcoming season ahead.
My biggest breakout team is the Philadelphia Phillies. They have a deep prospect pool that can make some noise this year, and this winter they singed Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta, two of the biggest free agents. With the Phillies playing with Rhys Hoskins for a full year, and more and more prospects on the rise, don’t be surprised if you see the Phillies in a battle for the second wild card spot.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
New York Mets
Miami Marlins :(
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
AL MVP: Jose Altuve
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
NL Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
AL Champions: New York Yankees
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
Opening Day: New York, New Season, New Skippers
by Ava Fischetti
Tragedy followed by Triumph
New York Mets
On March 29, 2018, the New York Mets were getting ready for the first game of the new season with their new manager Mickey Callaway. But, before the game a former, beloved, hall of fame Met, Rusty Staub, died. It was a tough time for the Mets. But that did not stop them. It only encouraged them more. Joining the team is their new third baseman, Todd Frazier from the New York Yankees, and their new first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Later on, The New York Mets won 9 - 4 to the Saint Louis Cardinals.
Opening Day Box Score For the New York Mets
B. Nimmo 2-3, BB, HBP
Y. Cespedes 2-5, 3 RBI
J. Bruce 1-3, RBI, BB
A. Cabrera 0-4, BB, K
T. Frazier 1-4, BB, K
A. Gonzalez 2-3, RBI, 2BB
K. Plawecki 2-3, RBI, 2BB
N. Syndergaard 0-2, 2K
A. Rosario 2-4, 2 RBI
Stanton, Boone, Debut
The New York Yankees
It's showtime for the new New York Yankees. First time manager and former Yankee, Aaron Boone, along with Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Neil Walker of the New York Mets, got ready to face the Toronto Blue Jays. And the new New York Yankee Giancarlo Stanton didn't let the fans down. He hit two home runs and had four runs batted in the win. The Yankees won 6 - 1 to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Opening Day Box Score for the New York Yankees
B. Gardner 1-5, RBI
A. Judge 2-4, BB, 2 K
G. Stanton 3-5, 4 RBI, K
G. Sanchez 1-5, RBI, K
A. Hicks 2-4, 2 K
D. Gregorius 0-3, BB
B. Drury 1-4, 2 K
N. Walker 1-4
T. Austin 0-3, K
T. Wade 0-1
Mets Opening Day
The New York Mets have started the 2018 season with high hopes. They have a new team and good chances. They have many superstars with their team like Adrian Gonzalez. Jay Bruce is back with the team after ending last season in Cleveland, and Todd Frazier is a new addition from the New York Yankees. The Mets also picked up Mickey Callaway as their manager after Terry Collins retired.
Despite their main pickups, the Mets have lost David Wright for a couple more weeks due to a back/shoulder injury.
The Mets Opening Day was on March 29, 2018. They played the St. Louis Cardinals on a sunny but relatively cold day.
Noah Syndergaard started for the Mets. His first inning was perfect: three up three down on seven pitches. The Mets started their offensive turn in a good way. Brandon Nimmo got on base by a hit by pitch. Then, Yoenis Cespedes struck out. On a 3-2 pitch, Jay Bruce drew walk. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a grounder to first, and Jose Martinez on the Cardinals threw it into left field allowing Nimmo to score from second. At the end of the first inning, the Mets had the lead.
The Mets started out their season on a high note after beating the Cardinals 9-4. The Mets had a hard fought battle and won by pushing through. Their pitching was amazing and the bats were going all day long. Most fans think they are going all the way! (Even with what happened last year.) Let’s go Mets!
2017 Softball SEC Championship
by Madison Gangi
Ole Miss wins their first SEC Championship 5-1.
A few years ago, Ole Miss softball was unheard of. Last year, all of that changed. On May 13, 2017, Ole Miss took on the Tigers in their first SEC Championship. The game remained scoreless only until the second. Ole Miss loaded the bases and then Cox, their left fielder, slapped a double into left field. Two runs would score on that hit. Now Ole Miss had runners on second and third. Becker, their right fielder, slapped another ball to the outfield and two more runs scored. In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers would earn one run. Ole Miss was looking for some insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Stancil, their third baseman, hit a single and scored Becker. The Tigers would not be able to score any runs in the bottom of the seventh. Ole Miss would be named 2017 SEC champions and would go on to their first Regional and Super Regional. The 2017 Ole Miss team will be put down in history as the team of firsts. Look for the Ole Miss Rebels this year because they are a resilient team.
Want to watch the highlights from the SEC championship, Regional, and Super Regional.
Click here to watch highlights from the Ole Miss’s historic season.
Islanders or Rangers? Let's settle this for REAL this time!
by Olivia Kenney
We all know the age-old National Hockey League (NHL) question: Are the Islanders or Rangers better? Several people have provided their input on the topic.
To be honest, I like the Islanders better because they have the best fans, teammates, and skill. Both the Islanders and Rangers have the same amount of Stanley Cup wins, which is four, but according to the New York Times, ¨The No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, John Tavares, a twenty-four year old from Ontario, Canada, is arguably the Metropolitan Division´s top center,¨ says Pat Pickens.
Mr. Coppola, a 6th grade art teacher, also shared his opinion. ¨As of now the Islanders are probably the superior team because the Rangers are going through a major rebuild. All those years of making the playoffs and making trades has drained the Rangers farm system. It will take another two to three years for the Rangers to become competitive again.¨He raises a valid point that the Rangers are going through a rebuild. Who knows when they will come back?
Mrs. McCabe, a sixth grade health teacher; Mrs. Kahn, a sixth grade German teacher; and Mrs. Reynolds, a sixth grade English teacher also shared their thoughts. Mrs. McCabe said,¨Islanders! They have the best fans in hockey!!¨
Mrs. Kahn stated, ¨While I have to admit that I know nothing about ice hockey, I still have to go with the NY Islanders. My reason: Michael Grabner used to play for them and he is from Austria!!!”
Mrs. Reynolds said, ¨Islanders! When I was growing up three Islanders lived in my neighborhood. They used to find the time to play street hockey with the local kids. That was during their winning streak when they won four Stanley Cups in row! This was during 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984!¨
Other teachers also offered their input. Mr. Cooper said, ¨I like the Rangers better than the Islanders because my parents love the Rangers, especially my mom. On the other hand, even though my dad likes them, he hung out with the Islanders somewhere!¨
Mr. Lukaschek also commented, ¨Islanders are better because they´re the hometown team.”
Mrs. Kanceler proclaimed,¨The Rangers are better because they have the most famous arena in the world and that is a big honor.¨
Mrs. Madden noted, ¨The Rangers are better because my second grade teacher liked the Rangers.”
Well, I guess that settles it! The votes are in! The Islanders have more support from teachers than the Rangers. THE ISLANDERS WIN!
The Maze Runner Book Review
*Warning: This review has spoilers. Most of them are mild, but there are spoiler warnings for the especially large ones.*
What the book is about
A teenager wakes up with his memory gone. The only thing he knows is that his name is Thomas. He finds himself in a place with many other teenage boys who also can remember nothing but their name. They live in what they call “The Glade,” which is surrounded by a huge maze. Nobody else can remember anything, and nobody has escaped in the two years that this had all started. As the maze changes each night, it is closed off to protect the Gladers from the certain death that lurks inside. Then the very first girl enters the maze saying that everything is going to change…
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, was a great book in my opinion. This book had so many great characters and was full of suspense. It was a very addicting book, and it was very hard for me to put it down at times.
I also liked how the book starts. Some authors slowly set up the story over time, but when I started reading The Maze Runner, BAM! The plot was already going.
I loved the characters in this story. They each had very interesting personalities and personas. The author gave each of these characters a time to shine.
I also loved how suspenseful this book was. It was so hard to stop reading it because there were so many chapters that ended with a cliffhanger. There was also so much action in the book that sometimes I had to cover the page I was reading so I wouldn’t see what was about to happen.
If I were to rate this book on a five star scale (one being the worst and five being the best), I would probably give this book five stars.
WARNING: THE NEXT PARAGRAPH HAS MAJOR SPOILERS!!!
The story also took a lot of unexpected turns. For example, there were quite a few character deaths that I didn’t see coming. I really thought that Chuck was going to make it to the end of the book. I have to say, out of all character deaths I’ve ever seen or read, his would probably be in the top five when it comes to being the saddest. I remember thinking “WHAT?!” when Gally popped up towards the end of the book when Thomas and the others escaped from the maze. I also was very surprised when Thomas came to the conclusion that he would have to be stung by a Griever and go through “The Changing” in order to get back important memories.
*The rest of the review only has minor spoilers*
I believe that this book would be good for middle school aged kids. There is some mild language and a significant amount of death. There is also a small amount of gore in this book, but there’s nothing way too disturbing.
I thought that The Maze Runner was a great book and I enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend that you check it out.
Well, that’s it for my review. Thanks for reading! :)
Ready Player One Review
by Lucas Marsh
Warning: Spoilers Ahead! If you have not seen the movie yet and intend to, skip this article!
The movie Ready Player One came out on March 29, 2018. I found the plot very interesting along with all of the references to classic video games and movies like Adventure, Overwatch, Back to The Future, The Shining, Terminator 2, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and my personal favorite The Iron Giant.
The movie is about the world in 2045, where James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has created the ultimate VR experience, The Oasis. The Oasis is used by most of the population to escape from the terrible realities they live in. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is your everyday kid, but he like so many others in the Oasis are working towards completing James Halliday's challenge. If any one player can find the three keys that Halliday has hidden secretly across the Oasis, then they would gain total control of the Oasis since Halliday sadly, passes away.
Five years pass and no one finds even one key, but somebody found a clue to the first one, a race. If anyone can complete the race then they would receive the first key and a clue to where the second key is hidden. Wade finds a clue on how to beat the race in the 3D journals Halliday left behind in the Oasis. He then tells his best friends in the Oasis, Aech (Lena Waithe), Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki), and Sho (Phillip Zho). They each soon receive the first key putting them in the top five spots on the scoreboard. This sparks the attention of IOI, a company run by Halliday’s old intern, Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) intent on taking control of The Oasis with its army of hundreds of Oasis players.
While trying to retrieve the second key, Wade reveals his real-world identity to Art3mis, and bounty hunter I-R0k, who was hired by Sorrento to kill the “High five.” The “High Five” are the top five players on the scoreboard (Wade, Art3mis, Aech, Sho, Daito). He overhears this and tries to “zero them out” and wipe their avatars from the Oasis. I-R0k fails and Wade and Art3mis get away. Soon after, Wade and his friends find out that they have to go into the movie, The Shining, and get past the traps Halliday has placed there. Art3mis is the first person to find the key, followed by Aech, Wade, Sho, and Daito. They then learn the location of the third challenge, Castle Anorak on Planet Doom.
Since I-rok was hired by IOI to kill the “High Five", he tells Sorrento who Wade really is and Sorrento sends drones to destroy Wade’s neighborhood, The Stacks, Ohio. Wade then meets up with Art3mis in real life as they try to escape Sorrento’s grasp. Wade gets away but Art3mis is sent into an IOI loyalty pod, doing work for IOI in the Oasis. Wade and his friends Sho, Aech, and Daito find each other in real life and they work towards breaking Art3mis out of IOI. Unfortunately, IOI puts up a huge magical force field around the third challenge to prevent anybody else from getting in. Art3mis being in a loyalty pod, sneaks into the force field room and shuts it down with a magic counter spell. Wade then sparks a revolution of all Oasis players to take down IOI.
Sorrento sends out all of the IOI soldiers to fight and they clash with Oasis players. Sorrento gets the upper hand when he breaks out his Mechagodzilla, but Aech takes the form of her Iron Giant and Daito takes the form of Gundam, a robot suit from a fictional Media series. They battle it out as Art3mis (in the real world) gets out of the IOI loyalty center to join the fight. She meets up with Wade and Sho inside Castle Anorak, but they are met with hundreds of backup IOI soldiers. They make it through the soldiers to the third challenge, a video game called Adventure. IOI thinks that you have to beat the game, but Wade knows different. But before he can win the third key, Sorrento Sets off the Cataclyst, a bomb that kills everybody in the Oasis instantly. Sorrento triggers the Cataclyst, but Wade is still alive because of a secret extra life token that the curator of Halliday's 3D journals gave to him after losing a bet to Wade. I thought that this interesting twist in the plot was very creative and it definitely had me on the edge of my seat with excitement. Just watching the Cataclyst explode and killing everyone in the Oasis, it makes you think,“Oh no, now Wade had to start all over again.” But then realizing that he is still alive after the sudden twist was astonishing.
Now Wade is being broadcast live all over the world as he doesn’t complete Adventure but finds the first Easter egg, ever hidden in a video game. He then receives the third key and he opens the gate to Halliday’s old room. He stands there with an old Halliday, and a young Halliday playing a video game. In this room Halliday explains to Wade that the Oasis is his now and that at anytime he can shut down the Oasis completely with the push of a button. Halliday then goes on to give Wade the golden Easter egg, sending him out of the Oasis back into the real world. Then Halliday’s once partner and best friend Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) greets Wade with the contract to sign over the Oasis to him. Wade then rehires Morrow as an Oasis consultant and then says that he will share control of the Oasis with his friends.
I thought that this movie was outstanding. It was beautifully directed by Steven Spielberg and it was based of the bestselling book by Ernest Cline. With all of the Easter eggs, references, fun challenges, and amazing plot, I would definitely recommend this movie.
Kirby Star Allies
by Christopher Schimkus
So looks like there is another game that involves fighting each other called Kirby Star Allies. This is a game where you make friends, to work together, and fight other enemies. What is it with games these days? Can’t I find a game that doesn’t involve fighting, Nintendo?
Foes Become Friends
In Kirby Star Allies you are able to make your enemies become your friends and help defeat other bosses that have been possessed by a shattered heart from another part of space. These hearts also help with increasing the enemies attacks which makes them more powerful, which Kirby, a powerful Star Warrior going on quests to save Dreamland, must deal with along the way. These pieces of the heart do not affect Kirby though by making him evil, instead it helps him make his own hearts to make enemies friends maybe because Kirby is good and the others have been Kirby’s enemies for a long time since April 27, 1992.
There are special types of characters that can be your friends from the DLC menu which gives you the power to choose the characters Marx, Gooey, Rick, Kine, and Coo. The one that seems to be the most special has to be Marx, not just because he is a jester and bounces on a ball. It is because he is the secret boss that is apart of most Kirby games, but now you are able to literally be friends with one of the strongest characters in Kirby history. Along with the “boss” Marx, there is also other bosses that you can befriend. The first boss that you are friends with is Whispy Woods, a tree, and if thrown a heart at him after beating him up, then he will drop lots of stars, puzzle pieces, and will get a smile on his face. The second one is King Dedede, a duck or something. After beating him in his muscular form, throw a heart and he will help you along your journey by defeating enemies. Then there is also Bandana Waddle Dee which is not a boss though he will also help you if you go in a friend temple. The friend temple is also where you summon other friends that you have defeated as a boss. The ones that are included are Bandana Waddle Dee, King Dedede, and Meta Knight. Speaking of Meta Knight, if you travel around Dreamland to the last area, then you will find Meta Knight waiting for you. You can pick up a sword and duel him, then if defeated you can a make him your friend or b watch his mask come off to reveal a type of Kirby. Listen Meta Knight is a confusing character and he has been in the franchise for a long time, so his mask always falls off.
When working with your friends they will be able to make friend abilities like the friend train, friend bridge, etc. These friends abilities may seem pointless now, but they will make a lot of sense later. There is also the possibility to merge objects with your teammates by holding up your tool and then another teammates will add the ability with it and then attacks will become much stronger. Though some attacks can not be combined with each other like for instance fire to a sword and then ice to a sword, it just doesn’t make sense. These combinations only last for a little while so then you can recharge again or change the type of combination. Though you think that this story ends with just saving Dreamland, you must now travel across space to stop the evil Hyness from summoning Void Termina.
Friends Till The End
While Kirby tries to go to sleep after saving Dreamland, he must still save space and time from Hyness an evil guy. He wears a cloak that tries to summon his master Void Termina. Void Termina is some sort of destroyer of worlds and is HUGE. While you think that this is hard enough, there are ninja bodyguards for Hyness which each have their own power. There is Zan Partizanne which has the power of electricity and is not infected with parts of the heart so she is just evil. Alongside with her there is Francisca the ice ninja that is the second strongest and then the strongest is Flamberge the fire ninja and kind of risks his life just to get rid of yours. However he later comes back after surviving the explosion on his planet.
When you are done fighting all of the ninja bodyguards, then you must fight Hyness who is pretty easy at first but then brings back to life the ninjas with his powers. Then you fight him again and take back his cloak to reveal somewhat close to a Squidward look alike. He then throws in the ninjas into the giant heart that is summoning Termina because he was not able to collect all of the hearts from the world so he gets the ninjas powers and he also jumps into then make you fight a boss that takes so long to destroy. After that, you have finished the game and saved the day. Wait nevermind, there is also a little boss at the end named Galacta Knight and he is like Meta Knight but is also not like him and he is pretty hard to beat. However, with the power of friendship, again, you stop Galacta Knight from doing the same thing that Termina was doing. And so now everyone lived happily ever after. Well, there is still completing the game fully by doing all side quests and challenges but who wants to do that. So until Kirby gets another adventure in fighting a bunch of crazy enemies, this is where Kirby’s story is done for now.
So that is the basics of Star Allies and that must be a lot to take in so just relax like Kirby at every end of his journey’s and sleep. Besides you weren’t having to deal with Kirby fighting an all powerful world destroyer so I would think that Kirby has it worse. Well anyway look forward to another Kiry game because it might just seem closer than it appears.
New Little League Bats
by Brian Kopp
As some of you know, Little League has added a new rule about the bats. Little League had safety concerns with the old bats, which on the power scale have a 1.15 Bat Performance Factor. Technically, there is no scale for the new bats but compared to the old bats they have about a 0.80 BPF.
In my experience with the new bats, I have mixed opinions. I went to the Little League bat testing event where Little League players could try out all of the new USA bats. Right off the bat you could tell the old bats had much more power. There were mostly negatives but some positives. The negative features are that when you hit a line drive the ball immediately died down as it picked up no momentum. The bats were heavier. Also, it was harder to get the ball on the sweet spot. It was a cold day, but you could still see a difference. The power hitters who consistently got the ball over the fence weren’t even close. There are only a few positive features of the new bats. One of the things that I really liked that the barrel went up from 2 ¼ inches to 2 ⅝ inches. So even after not hitting a baseball for about two months I still hardly missed the ball. They also had better bat control which is the ability to put the bat were you want to.
The Red Streak
“What I'm about to tell you first you need to believe in the impossible!” - the main character in series
The Flash is the fastest person in the DC universe. He uses a force, which is how he goes fast. It is called the speed force. The speed force is the source of Flash’s power. He can do a lot of things like traveling back in time or forward in time, throw a lightning bolt, do a supersonic punch, etc. There is so much more.
Did you know the Flash has beat Superman in a race before? In a comic, Superman says, “I know how fast you are, Barry. We raced before.” Flash replies, “Clark, those were charities.” The Flash just sped off nowhere to be seen.
Now I will tell you all about Flash’s abilities. He can make another one of himself. These are called time remnants because they are from a timeline when Flash lost in some way, so Flash uses the duplicates to help him. Flash can vibrate fast so he can go through walls or floors, similar to a ghost. He can go so fast that he could disintegrate and go in the speed force.
When a speedster is dead, such as Flash, he goes to heaven, but not a heaven you would expect. He goes in the speed force. Yes, the speed force is a speedsters heaven. They are able to come back since they are not technically dead because in real life no one would know if they are dead or just gone. So for six months, Flash has been in the speed force. It has been what seems like two seconds for him, but for us six months.
“Now his villains are the worst.” His villains are Reverse-Flash, Zoom, Savitar, God-Speed, Devoe (The Thinker), Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Weather Wizard. The Flash is the fastest man alive and no one can outrun him.
Predicting Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo Switch
by Ryan Eck
The March 8, 2018 Nintendo Direct was one of the best Nintendo Directs in a long time. Many titles were revealed or given more information such as Mario Tennis Aces, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, South Park, remakes of Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and Luigi’s Mansion, Splatoon 2 single-player downloadable content, and more. However, the most impressive and surprising reveal was at the very end of the Direct, and it was a Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch coming in 2018.
All it was was a teaser, and we do not know anything about besides a few things: the Inklings from the Splatoon franchise will appear, Link will appear in it seemingly with a redesign based on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario will appear in it. As well as that, multiple silhouettes of characters were seen in the teaser, with many of them looking like returning characters from previous games.
What is interesting however is that there is no confirmation on whether or not this is an entirely new Super Smash Bros. title or if it is simply an enhanced port of Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Ultimately, I think it is a brand new game but I am going to state what I think will be in the game, as a port and an entirely new game.
Predictions for a Port
Ultimately, if the Super Smash Bros. game revealed is just a port of Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, it will likely combine both versions. There will probably be stages from both the Wii U and 3DS game, as well as the trophies being from both, and Smash Run and Smash Tour may both be in the game. The 8-Player Smash and Special Smash will probably be in the port. For Classic Mode, it could be either the 3DS or Wii U version of the mode. I honestly am not sure on which one they would pick. New characters such as the Inklings were revealed in the teaser, and there will likely be more newcomers shown off. Though, of course, not as many as there would be in a new installment. Master Orders and Crazy Orders are used to get in-game things, so I think they will be in the port or something else will take their place. Stadium may get some new features but I do not see it changing very drastically. Events will probably be the same, but taking content from both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U game. Ultimately, this port would have a lot of content, and I really do not think they will add any new modes unless it is something to replace Master Orders and Crazy Orders if they are not ported. If this Super Smash Bros. title is a port combining the 3DS and Wii U Super Smash Bros. games, it is highly unlikely that there will be a story mode added considering how much content the game would have already by combining both versions.
However, with that said, they may completely ignore the 3DS version and just port the Wii U one. I think the former option is more likely to happen rather than this option if the Switch Super Smash Bros. game is a port, but considering the 3DS sold very well compared to the Wii U, they may just port the Wii U game, and if so, then with new features. An added story mode would still be rather ambitious due to how much content Super Smash Bros. For Wii U has alone, but I can see them adding new characters, some additions to the existing modes, and new modes that are less ambitious and are more like side-features.
Predictions for a New Game
A new game will most likely be built with the same engine as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U considering how the Switch and Wii U are similar power-wise and how there is not much need to upgrade the graphics of that game. There would certainly be many more newcomers and stages than if the game were a port, and new features too. As for what new characters would be added, I am not very sure, but I am sure the developers are listening to the wishes of many fans. There are many Super Mario characters in the franchise already and I am not familiar enough with many of the other franchises represented in Super Smash Bros. to make a proper prediction. There may be more options when it comes to customization in matches. I am sure 8-Player Smash and Special Smash would both remain in the game, but it would be cool if some new features were to be added to the latter. I do not think Smash Tour will make a return as many people did not like that mode. Smash Run could return, just with a different stage to play on, but if a story mode were to be added, Smash Run would likely not come back due to the similar gameplay styles of the two modes. I think Master Orders and Crazy Orders will be replaced and Classic Mode might return to how it was before Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, where there was no stage to pick people to fight on, as a lot of people were not a fan of that mechanic. I think Master Orders and Crazy Orders will be replaced with different ways to get things in-game and there may be a new way implemented to get trophies. Stadium will probably change compared to Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, with new features and/or entirely new modes in it. Events will likely be entirely new.
Now it is time to talk about a story mode. I think it is possible for there to be a story mode in the Switch iteration of the Super Smash Bros. series, but it definitely does not need to be nearly as ambitious as The Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U lacked a story mode due to worries about the cutscenes being posted online, but that may be ignored for the Switch game, as people can change their minds about things. Not to mention that cutscenes are not necessary to make the story mode good. A story mode does not need to be ten hours long, and neither does it need to have computer-animated cutscenes or a deep storyline. Brawl’s story mode had all of this and those features were definitely welcome, but they were not completely necessary. Some even stated that The Subspace Emissary was too long for its own good, so maybe a shorter story mode would be beneficial for the quality of it. All that is really needed to make the story mode good is the gameplay, with all of the characters being put into these creative levels. There should be some type of storyline, but it can be simple like one from a Super Mario game where there is an objective to follow and the mode is about achieving the goal. The only thing that I think would be mandatory for the storyline is for it to take advantage of all of these iconic characters being in one game in some way, as well as the Super Smash Bros. characters like Master Hand and Crazy Hand, though it does not need to go nearly as far with the concept of Super Smash Bros. as Brawl did. Any cutscenes can be minimal and be rendered in the game. If the storyline is not a major part of the mode, the cutscenes will not be important either and, unlike Brawl, it definitely will not impact much of the player’s experience if he/she sees them before playing the mode. Would an ambitious story mode like The Subspace Emissary be welcome in the Switch game? It absolutely would, but I would personally rather have a story mode that still has the great gameplay of The Subspace Emissary, but with a shorter length and less ambition, than no story mode at all.
Ultimately, the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game can have a lot of features, whether it is a port of Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U or just the Wii U game, or if it is a new game in its entirety. If it is a port combining the last two iterations, it would definitely be a game with a lot of content and it would probably be one of the best in the Super Smash Bros. series. If it was just an enhanced port of the Wii U game, it would simply be a portable version of that game but with some added features. It is hard to predict exactly what it would be like if it was an entirely new game, but I feel like many of the modes in Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U may return or be reworked, and many new modes, fighters, and stages will be added as well. Overall, I am very excited for the Switch iteration of the Super Smash Bros. series, whether it is a port or a new game.
Nintendo Switch Ports
By Ryan Eck
The Nintendo Switch’s library consists of many ports. Some of them are third party games and others are Wii U games that did not get enough spotlight due to the console’s poor sales. The third party games range from older games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to newer ones like Doom. Ultimately, people tend to have a love/hate relationship with this business practice. Some like the ports and feel that the Wii U games that did not sell as well as they could have can finally have the spotlight they should have had, and that the third party games are great enhanced experiences when they are portable. However, others say that there are too many ports compared to new games and the asking price for these ports are unreasonable. There are many different perspectives towards this practice but I am going to discuss my perspective here.
I think that Nintendo Switch ports are good as long as there are not too many of them and as long as the asking price is not too high. However, when these ports are full-priced, there is a problem. For the record, I think that the amount of ports is okay. Wii U ports will be seen by many as completely new games and both the third party games and the Wii U games can be enhanced experiences to those who have already played them due to the uniqueness of the system with the joy cons and the portability, which as a result makes many excited for them to come to the Switch. As well as that, Nintendo’s first party support has been insane, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Metroid Prime 4, and the upcoming Pokémon game, keeping people entertained with the hype behind them and their respective releases.
My problem with the ports is the price of them. In 2017, Doom, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Pokkén Tournament DX were all released with a $59.99 asking price, which is the price you would get to buy any major new game. Sure, many of the Wii U games being ported can be completely new to people considering the poor sales of that console, but considering Wii U games are older and cheaper nowadays, charging full price feels like a anti-consumer business practice, and also one that prevents many Switch owners who had Wii Us from double-dipping into the games, therefore hurting sales. As for third party games, it is understandable that the Switch version can attract people due to the portability offered, as it can enhance the experience of the game, but this is a problem because the third party games are available on other systems for a much cheaper price. Not to mention that the Switch is underpowered so most of the games will look much better and sometimes play at a faster frame rate on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. These aspects can cause a loss of sales for the Switch version of the game. People will not always be willing to pay so much more money for a game just for portability and some new control options, especially when there are other ways of playing the game that have their own benefits. I ultimately think that an appropriate price for the Wii U games and the third party games that are available for a cheaper price on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One would be $30. However, for newer third party games like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus or South Park that are coming to the Switch and are less than a year old, a full asking price is appropriate. The third party support for the Nintendo Switch is definitely welcome, and I do not have a problem getting all of these third party games, new and old, onto the system. The problem to me is that they are too expensive, and this aspect is not only anti-consumer, but can cause sales to decrease for the Nintendo Switch versions due to the lower prices on other systems.
So far, the year 2018 has been rather underwhelming for the Nintendo Switch. On the other hand, the hype for games like Metroid Prime 4 and the upcoming Super Smash Bros. title and the release of Kirby Star Allies have made things better. Because this year has been rather dry with new first party releases so far, many ports have been put out to keep people entertained. Fortunately, these ports have been very exciting for many fans. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, South Park, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and more games have made fans excited, despite them being on other systems before. As well as that, many people are still hyped for already-announced first party games like Metroid Prime 4.
I understand why many people dislike the Nintendo Switch ports. There are a lot of them coming out, and they have bad prices attached to them, but I think they are great since many of these games are enhanced thanks to the Switch’s capabilities. However, releasing the older games for full price is a bad decision. Portability, motion controls, and occasionally some exclusive content as not enough to justify the $59.99 price of these games. I doubt these ports cause less production on first party Nintendo Switch games due to them not being completely remade. Also, sometimes these games are handled by different companies. I do not think that the Nintendo Switch’s game library is losing its identity with all of the Wii U ports considering the Wii U library did not have much exposure to begin with and the new first party content of the Switch is still stellar, but I think that these ports are harmless to those that dislike them. So far, 2018 has had some bad droughts between first party content, but I am very sure that ports are not the reason for that. Overall, I think Nintendo Switch ports are good. They give exposure to underrated games that came out on a console that bombed in terms of sales, and they give some new gameplay elements to third party games. It is just the price of them that is annoying.
Predictions For Avengers: Infinity War
by Victor Paduano
*Disclaimer: This article will contain spoilers for more recent Marvel movies. If you haven’t seen them yet, skip this article. Also, this article was written before the release of Infinity War, so these predictions might be out of date.*
Ever since its announcement back in 2014, Avengers: Infinity War has become one of the most anticipated superhero movies of all time. The first and second trailers, which were released in late November and March respectively, have become the source of massive speculation and rumors among the comic and film community. In this article, I will tell you my theories and predictions for Infinity War.
Who I Think Will Die:
With Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Infinity War, recently confirming that we will be saying goodbye to several characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, expect a lot of major superhero deaths in this movie. Here is who I think will die in Infinity War:
Captain America: Unfortunately, I believe that the “Star-Spangled Man with a Plan” will kick the bucket in this one. Not only is this because this movie is the last in Chris Evans’s (the actor who plays Captain America) contract, but the likelihood of the Captain dying in universe is dangerously high. In the second trailer, we see Cap desperately trying to hold his own against Thanos, the main antagonist of Infinity War, in the African nation of Wakanda, where the final act of the film will take place. Keep in mind that in this particular moment, Thanos is in possession of two of the Infinity Stones, which are insanely powerful artifacts that can grant the user unlimited power over the universe. If Cap makes one wrong move against the Mad Titan, which he probably will, he’s a dead man.
Iron Man: Another character who is likely to go is everyone’s favorite snarky billionaire. It has been confirmed by the Russo brothers that Iron Man will team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange to face off against Thanos on Titan, Thanos’s home planet, in the second act. The heroes will probably suffer a horrible defeat, with most of them on the brink of death. Through all of this, however, I think that Iron Man will be the last one standing and will put up a good fight against Thanos, but will be the first out of the group of heroes to die by his hands.
Vision: This death is the most obvious out of all of the ones mentioned here. Thanos’s main goal throughout Infinity War is to retrieve all of the Infinity Stones in order to eliminate half of the life in the universe. Since Vision houses the Mind Stone on his forehead, it is probable that the Black Order, Thanos’s main henchmen, or Thanos himself will forcefully extract the Stone from Vision in the last act, bringing an end to the android.
Loki: Remember when Loki eyed the Tesseract in Thor: Ragnarok while in Odin’s Treasure Room when he was trying to save the people of Asgard? In case you didn’t know, the Tesseract contains the Space Stone, which is one of the most important parts of Infinity War. It is possible that Loki swiped the Tesseract from the room and snuck it aboard the ship that holds every single remaining Asgardian after the events of Ragnarok. In one of the movie’s after-credits scenes, Thanos’s flagship eclipses the Asgardian ship. My theory is that Infinity War will begin with Thanos and the Black Order boarding the Asgardian ship and slaughtering every single Asgardian on board, with Thor and Loki being the last ones remaining. The Black Order threatens Loki at spear-point into giving the Tesseract to Thanos. Loki complies and gives it to the Mad Titan. Thanos destroys the Tesseract’s protective casing, as we saw him do in the second trailer, and the Space Stone is revealed which he instantly puts on his Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos then either orders the Black Order to kill Loki or kills him himself, all while Thanos forces Thor to watch the death of his brother.
Where I Think The Soul Stone Is:
Out of all of the Infinity Stones, the Soul Stone, the orange Stone which gives the user power over all life, is the only one to not have an appearance in previous Marvel movies. Since it has fortunately been confirmed to make its film debut in Infinity War, here are two possible locations that have the Soul Stone:
Heimdall: Have you ever wondered why Heimdall’s eyes are orange? Just like Vision, the overseer of all of Asgard possibly has an Infinity Stone inside of him, specifically the Soul Stone. As stated earlier, this Stone can give the wielder access to all life over the universe, and Heimdall has stated in the past that he can see the souls of all living things. This theory is quite interesting, but I doubt that it will be confirmed that Heimdall has the Soul Stone.
Wakanda: I think that Wakanda is secretly hiding the Stone underground in a well-guarded hideout. The people probably have used the Stone for guidance in order to build their advanced Vibranium weapons for thousands of years, since the Infinity Stones were created before creation itself.
So, there you have it! Those are my predictions for Avengers: Infinity War. I hope you enjoyed reading this article.
MLB The Show Review
Every year, before the MLB season begins, San Diego Studios brings a brand new baseball game for fans to enjoy. MLB the Show 18 is the 13th game that San Diego Studios has made, dating all the way back to 2006. Every year, they provide players with so many new features to improve the gaming experience. This year’s game is no exception. With Aaron Judge on the cover, is this the best MLB game yet?
The game runs very very well with most points feeling like you are playing an actual game. However, at some points the game can be a little glitchy, which is frustrating. Again with 18, the developers added better ball physics to make the experience more real, which gets better every year. Brand new to the series is rain delays and improved fans. San Diego Studios always seems to get what the players want every year, and I think MLB 18 the Show has the best gameplay in all of the series.
Another main key of the game is it’s customization. You can create your own player with all the equipment available to you. The customization has always been fantastic, and now they added a batting stance creator where you can edit any of the hundreds of batting stances in the game to make it like yours. Also they added many new animations to the customization for home runs celebrations, to follow throughs, and walkup. They used to have pretty boring home run celebrations, but now there are added animations including a normal drop of the bat to flexing on the pitcher then levitating around the bases. I think that MLB the Show customization has always been the best in all of sports games.
The most popular mode in the game by far, Road to the Show, has always been fun. In this mode, you customize your own player, choose their position, along with many other features. Then you take your player and play in the Bowman Scout Showcase, where you show scouts your skills as a upcoming MLB superstar. After that you enter the MLB First year player draft, where your team is chosen for you. Then, you take your player all the way through the minors and flourish in the majors. My biggest issue with this mode is how you upgrade your player. You used to collect points and then spend it on your attributes. In MLB 18, year performance upgrades for you, so if you have a bad game your attributes goes down. This is the only flaw with the mode and my biggest complaint with the entire game, but overall the mode is fun and entertaining.
The Ultimate Team in MLB the Show, Diamond Dynasty, is where you build your own team full of your favorite players from the present and past. You then take it online to play others all over the world. The year seems to be the best with new and improved ratings, brand new create a player system, and antiques like autographs, bobbleheads signatures, etc. The biggest addition to the mode is the new Immortal cards. These cards are all 99 overall and have the most overpowered stats in the game. These cards are hard to get and will take you a while, but they are really, really worth it. Diamond Dynasty is a very fun experience and everyone should try it.
This is as simple as it sounds: choose a team and play as them through the 162 game season looking to win it all. You can put anyone on your team and even include legends. This is the most underrated mode in the whole game and I really wish they added a storyline to the mode like they did with RTTS.
In conclusion, MLB the Show 18 is definitely an improvement on previous games.hile it has only been out for a month, I say this will be my favorite MLB game since MLB the Show 16 back in 2016. To give it a score out of 10, I would give it a 9.3/10, it has great gameplay with so much to do, but there are more things to fix with the game, but I would recommend that any PS4 player has this game in their collection.
Massapequa School District has a wonderful music program, but some schools are less fortunate. About 1.3 million elementary schools do not have a music program. According to NammFoundation.org, Kids who participate in music education do better in school. Schools that have music programs have an attendance rate of 93.3% compared to 84.9% in schools without music programs. Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 17% higher in mathematics than children in schools without a music program. They tend to have a better vocabulary and get higher scores on tests. Music can also help students communicate better. In the early stages of human life, music was probably used more for communication than for pleasure: drums, horns, and bells, even the human voice is pitched to carry many miles.
Music also has an effect on the brain. Music boosts brain chemicals and it can change moods. According to BeBrainfit.com, research shows that if one studies while listening to soothing music, stress levels will decrease. Music can also relieve anxiety and improve physical education. Musicians have bigger, better connected, more sensitive brains. They have a superior working memory, auditory skills, and cognitive flexibility. Their brains are noticeably more symmetrical and they respond more symmetrically when listening to music. Areas of the brain responsible for motor control, auditory processing, and spatial coordination are larger. Musicians also have a larger corpus callosum.
Music is a great thing for people of all ages. This summer, consider trying to play an instrument. An instrument can be made or bought, and the human voice is considered an instrument. Remember, talent comes from repetition.
Together: Part 3
by Kathleen Tumminello
(This is a sequel of “Together Part 2” on the Berner Beacon February/March issue, so you should probably read that before reading this.)
The sun burned down on our backs as the pride trudged through the grass. The dry season was upon us, and we were making the long trek to a new, temporary home that was closer to the watering hole. Sweat coated my pelt and my eyes were glazed. It had been about a year since the other cubs were born, and I was now 2 years old. Luckily, my limp had partially healed, and I could keep up with the others. But unfortunately, my sleep was still plagued by nightmares, and I shuddered remembering my most recent one.
I was surrounded by glowing yellow eyes in the darkness, who all watched as Raggedfang attacked me relentlessly. Sandclaw had shaken me awake that night saying that I was whimpering and kicking in my sleep. He and Emberpelt had curled up next to me, reassuring me that everything would be okay, until I fell asleep.
As I walked, I noticed a mouse scurrying through the grass. I halfheartedly pawed at it, but it darted away before I could catch it. We all stopped at a tiny stream to take a drink, and then continued on.
“This is so boring!” Rainfall moaned. “When will we get there?”
“Stop complaining,” Emberpelt growled under his breath. “That won’t make it come any closer.”
I walked over to them and stood between them. “Please stop arguing,” I sighed. “For all we know, we’re almost there.”
Neither of them replied. We continued on, stopping to rest every now and then, until we reached a large copse of baobab and acacia trees. A path of short grass surrounded by ferns led to a clearing, which had a cover of leaves on the top.
“This is our new home!” Savanna exclaimed, turning to us.
We walked between the ferns and into the clearing. The dirt beneath the trees was very soft. The grass wasn’t as coarse, and it didn’t scratch our paws. A stream cut through the middle, and leaves blocked the hot sun. It was perfect. “Why didn’t we live here before?” I asked.
“We come here for the dry season,” she told me. “Since its harder to find prey during this time of year, we live in this place; it’s closer to the watering hole.”
I nodded, and she walked away. I heard a rustling in the leaves above me, and saw Emberpelt in one of the acacias. I went over and started climbing it. He was sitting on one of the higher branches, which overlooked the clearing. I lifted myself onto a branch near him, digging in my claws as it bent precariously under my weight.
“We should probably get down from here,” I told him. “It’s pretty high up.”
He just shrugged in response. “I like it up here,” he replied, after a few moments. “It’s quiet.” He rested his head on his paws. I climbed to the other side of the tree, and onto another branch. I could see what seemed to be the whole savanna. The sun was touching the horizon, and I realized just how late it was. I went down into the clearing, where everyone was getting settled. I saw Sandclaw and Thunderclaw digging a hole among the roots of a baobab tree, and I joined in to help. Soon enough, there was a large den, big enough to fit all of us. Thunderclaw walked away and started issuing hunting parties. Rainfall and Willowleaf came over. The four of us snuggled against each other, and Emberpelt came over after a little while.
As it continued to get darker, Savanna and Thunderclaw came back, dragging a large zebra between them. The others were asleep after a little while. I sat there, sliding my claws in and out, wondering what nightmares would await me tonight. Emberpelt, who was still half awake, pushed up against me, and I rested my head on his back. Soon enough, the two of us were sleeping.
To my relief, I slept peacefully. I climbed out of the den, and I was followed by the others. Today, we would be going to the watering hole. As we left the cover of trees, I remembered just how hot it was. We started walking, and luckily, the way there was much shorter than yesterday’s travel. We climbed up a hill, and as I sat at the top, panting, Savanna said, “We’re here.”
I looked down, and saw a vast expanse of water, with other animals nearby, walking around and drinking from it. We went over, and as we got to the shore, many of the animals ran away. We all bent down, and lapped at the cool water. Suddenly, something splashed in front of me, and I heard a hiss. I saw green scales, and snapping jaws, and I jumped back. A crocodile!
It launched itself out of the water straight at Thunderclaw. It snapped and clawed at him, but he pushed it off with a snarl. Thunderclaw roared, and slashed it in the nose. It slunk back into the watering hole, a trail of blood following it. I saw the spiky ridge on its back slice through the water, towards a small, tawny shape that was swimming around.
“Rainfall!” I exclaimed. How did he even get out there? The crocodile lunged lunged at him with a hiss. Rainfall turned, yelping, and dove into the water. I watched, and waited. He didn’t come up. Emberpelt growled, and then flung himself into the water. “Stop! It’s too dangerous!” I called to him, but he didn’t listen. I jumped in after him. I churned my paws, desperately trying to keep my head above the water. Emberpelt wasn’t doing any better than I was. I reached forward, and managed to grab his scruff in my teeth. He didn’t resist at all, and we kept swimming. We saw lots of bubbles rise up from underwater. Suddenly, they cut off, a thick cloud of blood rising at the same time.
“No!” Emberpelt yowled, and I thought I saw a very small tear form in one of his eyes. Suddenly, there was a splash in front of us. I secured my grip on his scruff, and pulled him backward. He tried to shrug me off. “We can’t just leave him!” he looked at me with desperate eyes.
“Leave who?” Rainfall was floating in front of us. There was a very small, shallow wound on his side, as if the crocodile had grazed him with its claws, but otherwise, there wasn’t a scratch on him.
Emberpelt half-tackled him in a hug. “Don’t do that again!” he snapped. “I thought you died!” Although he seemed upset, there was a hint of relief in his voice.
“He’s right,” I agreed, my voice muffled with Emberpelt’s fur in my mouth. “You shouldn’t just jump into the water like that, especially if there are crocodiles.”
He just shrugged. “Well, now it knows not to mess with me.”
I sighed in exasperation. “Let’s just get back.” Once we got to the shore, we were surrounded by other lions. We all got covered in licks.
“Don’t do that again,” Savanna scolded Rainfall, but then she just kept licking him. I walked away to shake out my fur. I lied down in the grass, letting the sunlight dry me. After a few moments, I was joined by the others. I rested my head on my paws, closing my eyes for a little bit.
Soon enough, it was time to return home. We had caught some unsuspecting prey as we left. During the walk, a leaf drifted over my head. It smelled of the clearing, so we were probably almost home. I watched it flutter away, gliding across the horizon.
After a little while, we had arrived at the copse. I glanced at the setting sun, and then slipped between the trunks. Some of the other lions were walking around, some were talking to each other, and a few were sleeping. I looked for my siblings, and saw Rainfall and Willowleaf talking to each other. Sandclaw was snoozing in a patch of sunlight, and Emberpelt was scrambling up one of the trees, going to that branch that overlooked the clearing. I sat down and started grooming myself, since there wasn’t much else to do.
As I licked the back of a paw and drew it over my ear, I noticed a pale shape walk out from the trees. It was Mistcloud, one of the lionesses. She was the oldest in the pride; her muzzle was flecked gray with age. Rainfall ran over to her, and Willowleaf followed. “Can you tell us a story?” Rainfall asked enthusiastically, darting between her legs. I snorted in amusement. I heard that Mistcloud told great stories, although I’ve never really had the chance to listen to them.
“Okay, okay,” she purred. She lied down, and Rainfall prodded Sandclaw awake. Emberpelt poked his head out of the leaves and climbed down. I walked over where the others were. “Ah, cubs,” She murmured in my ear, shaking her head and smiling. “They can be a real pawful sometimes.” I nodded in agreement; she was absolutely right.
She looked up at the sky for a moment, and then walked over to Savanna and whispered in her ear. Savanna nodded. Mistcloud came back and asked, “Have I ever told you the one about The Mountain Trial?”
My siblings looked at each other for a few moments before saying that none of them heard it. “Alright then,” she said. “Years and years ago, we did something called The Mountain Trial. It was a coming of age ritual of sorts. Not everyone chose to do it, but many wanted to as a show of strength. We would have to climb to the top of the Skyridge Mountains, which are far that way.” She flicked her tail towards the west; at the end of the clearing opposite the entrance. “It took about a moon to travel there and back. But it really is quite amazing up there.”
She talked about the view, and something called snow, and her experiences in the mountains. “Why did we stop?” Willowleaf asked after a while, tilting her head to the side.
“It was very dangerous up in the mountains. There were rockslides, canyons, sheer drops, and large, carnivorous birds that could badly wound you.” She sighed sadly before continuing. “We lost many to The Mountain Trial, and I was the last one to do it before we stopped for good.”
“Could we see the mountains from here?” Emberpelt asked.
“Yes, if you go over that way and-”
“Let’s go!” Rainfall jumped to his paws and charged across the clearing. Sandclaw and Willowleaf raced after him, and Emberpelt hesitated for a moment before following more slowly. Mistcloud shook her head in amusement before getting up and walking towards some of the other lions. I went towards the edge of the clearing, and pushed my way through a bush, out of the trees, to where my siblings were sitting.
My eyes widened. Far away, I saw something in the distance. It was a formation of giant rocks reaching into the clouds.The mountains! The sun set behind them, casting its rays on them, making the mountains gleam orange. I stood there, mesmerized. My siblings were staring in awe, looking at the faraway peaks.
“I kind of want to do The Mountain Trial!” Rainfall exclaimed, breaking the silence.
“It’s probably too dangerous,” Sandclaw replied.
“But it must be amazing to travel that far!” Emberpelt exclaimed.
I murmured in agreement, and then turned back towards the mountains.
Someday, I thought. We’ll go on adventures of our own.
Trials Part Two
by Erin Tumminello
*Part one is available in the February/March 2018 issue of Berner Beacon*
The room erupted in quiet chatter. Everyone sounded as confused and anxious as I was. I tried to use my powers to break the metal clamps on my wrists, but that just made them tighten. I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath so I wouldn’t cry out in pain.
“Powers don’t work…” I said to Robin.
“Figures,” she groaned.
Suddenly, the awful sound of metal scraping against metal filled the room. I winced and tried to scrunch my shoulders up to my ears in an attempt to block out the noise. The room felt like it was tilting forward. It continued to move until it had tipped about 90 degrees, and now all of our faces were facing downward. Then the worst part came.
Have you ever been on a roller coaster? Do you know that feeling when you’re going down and you can feel it in your stomach?
The room basically began to drop. My stomach felt as if it had plunged into my throat. The rush of gravity flattened me against the chair. My screams were ripped from my mouth and snatched away by the wind. In seconds, I was unconscious.
I woke up underwater. I tried out my powers again. I managed to form an air bubble large enough to surround my head. I took a deep breath, unsure how long it would last. The water was also ice cold, so even if I didn’t drown, I could freeze. I felt something yank at my leg. A ball and chain were clamped to my ankle, and I was being pulled away from the surface. The air bubble broke, and I was immediately deprived of air and sight.
Clawing desperately at the water, I blindly struggled toward the light. Using every ounce of strength in my body, I began to slowly inch forward. I swam for what seemed like an eternity, but I finally made it. I reached my hands to the surface and…
There wasn’t one. I hit something flat and hot. I could barely see, but I could tell that it was a huge light. I slammed my fists against it in desperation. I let out a frustrated yell, though I knew it would be muffled by the water. Bubbles streamed out of my mouth and floated… down. Unless…
Air will always rise, I thought. So maybe I’m at the bottom…
I took the metal ball in my hands, but I realized that it wasn’t metal at all. It was hollow and probably filled with air. I turned at swam in the opposite direction. My arms were cramping and my lungs felt as if they were about to burst as I went farther and farther into the darkness…
My head broke the surface and I sucked in all of the air that I could fit inside of me. I looked around and saw a rope ladder dangling from somewhere up above. I knew I had to get out of the water, so I hoisted myself up and began to climb.
It must have been at least 30 feet high, and I knew that if I fell I could get badly hurt.
I eventually got to a large wooden platform. Once I was off the ladder, I collapsed into a shivering mess. There was a gasp to my left.
“Marissa!” I heard someone whisper. It was Robin. She gave me a hug, not seeming to mind that I was soaking wet. She had a towel around her shoulders, which she gave to me.
“Thank goodness you’re ok,” she said, wrapping me in a hug. I wanted to thank her but my teeth were chattering too much for me to say anything. Exhausted, I conked out.
I woke up in pain. I was lying on a damp, rough floor. It felt like cement. I opened my eyes and groaned quietly.
“You ok?” A boy with tan skin and a long curly mop of blonde hair was leaning over me.
“I think so… why does everything hurt…?”
The boy helped me up. He looked about 15; my age. “You don’t remember? A guard hurt you pretty bad when you refused to put on ‘The Collar.’” He used air quotes.
“What-” My hands slid to my neck. Sure enough, he was right; there was a tight metal collar on me. I tried to recall what happened, and I got a vague memory of being struck with an electric weapon.
I shakily managed to get into a sitting position. Robin was by my side as well as that boy. Besides them and me, there were two other people. One of them was an girl of an Asian heritage who couldn’t have been older than 13. She had short chestnut colored hair and her eyes were watery as if she had just been crying. The other one was a boy with jet black hair and dark skin, who seemed to be around 17. He was comforting the girl. The three of them looked familiar. I recognized them from school.
“Oh, I’m Adrian, by the way,” said the first boy.
“I’m John,” the boy said, reaching out his hand. I shook it. He gestured to the girl. “This is Emma.”
“Hi.” she said in a shaky voice. My heart ached, seeing how nervous she seemed. I noticed that everyone was wearing the same collars on their necks and the jumpsuits with the raggy tops that I had on.
I took in my surroundings. We were in a small cell made of pale yellow concrete. There were a few buckets in the corner and a few thin blankets which were probably what passed for bedding. There was a light bulb hanging from the ceiling which was the only source of light. There was a tiny slot in the wall, which I guessed was where food came through.
“We should probably get some rest,” John said in a weary voice. “The next trial is tomorrow.”
The loud sound of a buzzer tore me out of my sleep. I had no idea what time it was, but it seemed like it was around five in the morning. The others groggily rubbed their eyes. Seconds later, a hole opened up in the floor, just the right size for a person to fit through. I looked into it and there was a staircase.
Suddenly, the ceiling started rumbling. I looked up and realized that it was getting lower.
“Into the hole!” John shouted. We all obeyed without question.
“Careful,” Adrian warned. “These stairs are pretty steep.”
“I guess we’re going that way,” I said, pointing at a dim red glow at the bottom.
We all climbed down the stairs and found ourselves standing in an open cave with a huge lake of lava between us and a tunnel that appeared to be the exit.
“What is this… Minecraft?” I heard Robin mumble. I looked around and noticed that the cave walls on either side appeared to have small footholds. I pointed it out to the others.
“It looks treacherous, but I think that’s our way across,” I told them. Everyone reluctantly agreed.
“So… who’s going first?” Adrian said quietly.
“I’ll do it,” Robin offered.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
She nodded. “Wish me luck.” Slowly but surely, she half climbed, half sidestepped across.
John went next, then Adrian, then Emma. After them, it was my turn.
“Don’t worry, you got this!” Adrian called.
“You can do it!” John added. I stepped onto a tiny piece of rock that jutted out from the wall, scared that it wouldn’t support my weight. Luckily, it held. I breathed a sigh. Don’t look down, I thought. Just focus on moving forward. It’s only a drop to certain death… nothing to be afraid of. Trembling the whole way, I made it to the other side. I sighed with relief, wiping the sweat from my forehead. There was another staircase, which we went up, hoping that this was all over.
We had no such luck; when we got to the top, there was a masked, hooded person, a “Purist,” I remembered, waiting for us with another one of those electric weapons in hand. We were in a small, fenced off field with nowhere to go. Following the Purist was our only option. Suddenly, Emma cried out in pain and dropped. The Purist went over to inspect her. She was writhing on the ground and clutching her leg.
“No!” Robin yelled as we rushed to her. Suddenly, she grabbed the weapon and jabbed it at the Purist. They got shocked with the electricity and fell to the ground.
“Let’s go,” Emma said, jumping up.
“Nice acting!” Adrian commented.
“Come on! Run!” John yelled. He was already sprinting toward the fence. We followed him, and started to climb. We got to a huge lake.
“Can you guys swim?” John asked. We all nodded and waded into the chilly water. The current took us most of the way there, and we eventually got to the other side.
After some more walking, we made it to a street. We followed it and eventually made our way into a town.
“This is my neighborhood,” Robin said. “I know where to go.”
The five of us ran off into the night.
Freedom was ours.
The Grim River
by Victor Paduano
Chapter 3: The Final Plunge
James slowly opened his eyes. Everything he saw was nothing but a blur, but what he could make out were white walls and curtains all around him, along with a few familiar faces.
“Hey James…” Liam said slowly while giving a nervous wave.
James blinked. “Liam?” he asked, “W-where am I?”
“In the hospital,” Alyssa answered. “You’ve been here for a few hours now.”
“A few HOURS?!” James shouted.
A doctor standing next to Alyssa put his pointer finger to his lips. “You need to be quiet,” he said. “There are other patients in this room.”
“I don’t really care!” James responded. “I need to tell my mom what happened in the locker room!”
“Yep,” The doctor said. “I think he’s feeling much better. You’re allowed to take him home now.”
“Wait!” James said. “Can...can I go sleep over at your house tonight, Mrs. McCannon?”
“Of course, honey,” Alyssa replied. “I’ll tell your mom that you’re staying for a while, and you’re good to go. You need helping getting out of that bed?”
“No, Mrs. McCannon, I’m-AARRGGHH!!!” A sharp pain struck James’ head. It felt like a knife stabbed into his brain.
“Hmmm…” the doctor said. “...It seems that he still has that internal head injury.”
“It’s ‘cause of the locker door slamming shut on his head, right?” Liam asked. “Yes, son,” the doctor replied, “And the fact that he was stuck in that locker for a half hour while unconscious.”
“I just want get out of here! I don’t want to stay in this dump anymore!” James said angrily.
The doctor frowned. “Son, for the last time, you’re free to go. You don’t have to stay in this ‘dump’ anymore.”
“Alright then.” James said. As he got out of his hospital bed, his neck felt numb and his whole body ached. The thing that attacked him in the locker room did not hold back on harming him. As James limped his way out of the hospital, Liam and Alyssa walked slowly behind him with worried expressions on their faces. When they left the hospital and got got into the McCannon’s minivan, James took a good, long look at the moonlit sky. The moon was the same pearly shade of white as the night when the creature in his closet attacked him. He looked away from it as quickly as he could, not wanting to be reminded of that terrible night.
As Alyssa drove James to the McCannon household, there was nothing but silence in the minivan.
Suddenly, Liam said, “You wanna play video games when we get home, James?”
“Are you kidding me, Liam?” Alyssa said outraged, “He just got out of the hospital. Give the kid a break!”
“No, no, Mrs. McCannon,” James said. “It’s fine. I think I’m well enough to play video games with Liam.”
Alyssa sighed. “Ok. Just make sure you two are quiet. Daniel and I need to get some sleep.”
“Yes, Momma,” Liam replied, “We gotcha.”
When they entered the McCannon house, Alyssa went straight to bed.
“She must be really tired,” James whispered. “She didn’t even get ready for bed!”
“That’s the thing about Momma,” Liam said, “Once she’s tired, she is out of it.” He then jerked his head towards his Super Nintendo Entertainment System. “Let’s boot up the game.”
For the next hour, the pair of friends played Donkey Kong Country while mindlessly eating Doritos and drinking Coca-Cola. It was the most fun and stress-relieving time they’ve had since when they last hung out with Tobias.
“Dude,” Liam said while recovering from his sugar rush, “This is fun and all, but we need to focus on what really matters: what killed Tobias.”
“It’s the river, Liam,” James responded anxiously. “Case closed.”
“No, it’s not ‘case closed’. There has to be something lurking in that darn river. It’s not ‘case closed’ until we do some research.” Liam then paused the game. “Tell you what. Tomorrow, right when the after-school stuff begins, we head straight to the library to find out more about the Grim River. Deal?”
James was skeptical at first, but then had the courage to say, “Uh...deal, I guess.”
The next day, Liam and James carried out their typical school routine by going to their classes. When the dismissal bell rang for school to end, the duo went to the library as quickly as they could.
Doing research on the river was a long and tedious task. They had an hour to be in the library, yet struggled to find any books revolving around the river.
Finally, Liam found a book titled The History of Orange Hill. After turning several pages at an impressive speed, he found two pages dedicated to the history of the Grim River.
“James!” Liam shouted, “I found it! The history of the river!” The librarian immediately shushed him. “Oops...sorry, Mrs. Meekle.”
Liam began reading the pages to James. “‘Legend has it that a group of Spanish conquistadors in the late 1500s found a large body of water in what was soon known as Orange Hill County. Their leader, whose identity remains unknown, led them on a journey across Florida with minimal rations and water. Because his men became too thirsty to venture on, he allowed them to drink from the river. However, when one of the conquistadors tried to scoop up the water with his hands, he was dragged into the river and drowned. A few moments later, a terrifying creature emerged from the depths of the river and slaughtered the entire group...all except the leader’s second in command, Fernando Prescalo. He later arrived back at Spain a few days later and told his family and close friends about the story of “El Demonio Del Río” (The River Demon when translated in English).’”
“Hmmm…” James pondered, “...’The River Demon’...that’s probably what killed Tobias!”
“That’s what I was thinking! Also, I think I’ve got a plan for tonight.” “Ummm...what plan?”
“When it gets dark out tonight,” Liam exclaimed, “We’ll tell Momma that we’re going to the park. What we’re actually gonna do is go the Grim River and destroy the demon inside it.”
“How are we gonna do that?” James asked. “I’ll ask Momma for her crucifix. She’ll probably think I’m insane for asking her for that, but I think it’ll be of good use to us.”
“I hope so…” James said worriedly.
That night, James and Liam successfully carried out their plan. They got Alyssa’s crucifix and headed out past Tobias’s house and to the river.
The river looked more peculiar than ever on this night. The moon’s light made the moss and mud look like a pasty white, and the trees a strange shade of beige.
When Liam and James arrived at the edge of the river, they noticed a raven with blood-red eyes on a branch of a leafless tree staring at them. A few seconds later, it flew out of sight while letting out ear-shattering caws.
The pair looked down at the surface of the river. The water was like an all-seeing mirror, calling them in to discover the true knowledge of the universe. Sweat dripped down James’s face. Liam clutched his crucifix.
“Alright,” Liam said, “You ready for this?” James gulped. “Yeah...I am.” “Ok, on the count of three, we jump. One...two...”
Then, out of nowhere, a familiar voice shouted, “Just whaddya think you’re doing, ya loons?”
It was Brady Reiss. He was standing several feet away from them with his entire gang. His arms were crossed and he had his trademark sly smirk.
“Leave us ALONE, Brady!” James said, “We don’t want you to mess things all up for us!”
“Mess what up?” Brady asked, “Ya midnight swim? I think you forgot ya duck floaty, James!” The entire gang sniggered.
“We can’t waste time, James!” Liam said, “We have to jump!” “Ooooh...sounds FUN!” James said, “Now I’m gonna have the pleasure of watching ya both die, just like that piece of scum Tobias.”
“SHUT UP, YOU EVIL MONSTER!!!” James screamed. He then ran towards Brady.
“James, NO!!!” Liam shouted.
As soon as he approached Brady, he was grabbed by the collar of his shirt from him.
“I guess you’re just like Tobias,” Brady said, “A. Piece. Of. Scum.” He then threw James several feet into the air. James landed besides Liam with a loud crack. His right arm had just been broken. He then let out the loudest, most blood-curdling scream that Liam had ever heard.
Brady cracked his knuckles and sprinted towards Liam. He tackled Liam into the river, and Liam’s crucifix went right out of his hand.
The splash was so large that it caused the ground to slightly shake. James, his body weak and bloody, crawled his way to the water. “Liam...I’ve got...to...save…” As soon as he plunged into the river, James Pollick fainted.
James awoke with a start. All he could see was murky, swamp green water. It was eerily quiet. He felt moss tied around his arms and legs. He was pinned to the bottom of the river floor. Oddly, though, he was breathing underwater. He didn’t need air. He looked around, and the first thing he saw was a small skeleton, around the size of his body. It was the skeleton of Tobias Stonewall. James cried out for help, tears pouring from his eyes, but it was in vain. No one could hear him. No one could help him. He was doomed.
James then noticed something in the distance. It didn’t look human. It had wings, a tail, and bright, red eyes. It neared itself closer to James’s body. James was petrified. He knew that this thing was going to kill him. He knew that this would be his last day on Earth. When the creature finally glided up to him, he was at a loss for words. It had huge, curved horns, wings as long as a python, inch long fangs, a forked tongue, a tail with a spear-like tip, razor-sharp claws, a swampy green body, and glowing ruby eyes. James couldn’t believe it. He was staring at the creature that killed one of his best friends. He was staring at The River Demon.
“Well, well…” The River Demon said in a hauntingly cold voice, “...James Pollick. I have been waiting for you to arrive.”
“What have you done to Liam? Where is he?!” James heard himself ask.
“He is sharing the same fate as you. Captured and tied to the floor of my home. I will soon feast on his soul...just as I did with Tobias and Brady.”
“You killed Brady too?” James said.
“Of course, child...and I have been feasting on the souls who dare enter this river for centuries. Those ten other children who were foolish enough to take the risk to enter my home invited have provided me with great nourishment.”
James desperately tried to break free. “Pathetic child.” the demon muttered, “You are only delaying the inevitable. Soon, you and your friend will die, I will rise once again, and liberate humanity!”
Then, James noticed the crucifix floating above him. He presumed that one of Brady’s gang members threw it into the river, but that didn’t matter to him. That object was his last hope to save him, Liam, and the world. He was determined enough to break free from his restraints, despite the fact that his right arm was still suffering immense pain, and swim up to the crucifix to grab it. The demon then dug its claws into James’s leg. It seared with pain, and blood came gushing out of it like a fountain changing the water’s color to crimson red.
“YOU THINK YOU CAN ESCAPE ME, CHILD?! I AM ETERNAL! I AM ALL-KNOWING! I AM THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS!!!”
Before the demon could kill him, James stretched out his hand as far as he could and grabbed the crucifix. He turned around to look at his worst fear for the last time.
“THIS IS FOR TOBIAS!!!” With one swift stroke, James stabbed the crucifix into the demon’s arm. The demon shrieked and let go of James’s leg. James looked around frantically to find Liam’s body.
“THIS IS NOT THE END, JAMES POLLICK! I WILL RETURN, AND THIS WORLD WILL BE PLUNGED INTO DARKNESS!!!”
Without warning, a blinding light with the force of an explosion consumed the demon’s body. The River Demon had been finished once and for all.
The explosion of light pushed James dozens of feet away from the deceased demon and landed on the river floor yet again. Luckily, he landed besides Liam, who seemed to be passed out. James, the crucifix still in his hand, cut Liam’s restraints and swam up to the surface of the river. James had never realized how heavy Liam was, so he glided across the river with extreme caution in order to not hurt his arm and to keep Liam from plunging into the river. Ironically, James was glad to see the moon beam upon his face, since the nightmares he had would be no more. When he got out of the river, James put Liam’s body on the ground and sat beside him. He reflected on how far he had come in life and his many achievements. He learned to walk at two. He graduated from elementary school at twelve. Now, he saved his friend and the world at fourteen. Tears rolled down James’s face. Tobias would be proud, he thought. Suddenly, he heard someone cough for air. He turned his head to see it was Liam, his eyes opened and his body trembled slightly.
“James…” he said, “...Did we do it?” James smiled.
“Yeah, dude…” James stared up at the moon, tears still in his eyes. “...We did it.”
by Maya Zaidman and Teresa Greene
Wednesday, October 11, 2018 3:00pm
“Did you hear?” said my older sister, Melissa, “That girl named Alyssa disappeared!”
Melissa was talking to her friend Sabrina and it made me so curious. In fact, Alyssa is my best friend. I didn’t know that she disappeared. I thought she had the flu. Well, that’s what someone told me anyway. What? This can’t be true! Is my sister making something up just to be popular? I hope so, but I deep down I don’t think that’s true. Besides, she doesn’t lie too often.
Thursday, October 12, 2018 3:30pm
Last night I had a dream and my father was talking to me. It was very short but he said only one thing and that thing has got me thinking. He said, “Not everything in this world is true. Some people are suspicious. Trust no other than the trustworthy.” I don’t know what this means, but I do know that he is dead from a car crash.my mom lives in another country that I don’t know of,, and my 26 year old sister, Rebecca, has to provide for Melissa and me. When I ask Rebecca why my mom divorced my father, she changes the subject right away. But tonight I felt like I needed to know. It might help me with my research to find Alyssa. Besides, I never really asked Alyssa where she lived, so I couldn’t go looking for her at her house. I was not successful when asking Rebecca. Great. Just great. Whatever. I have other options… right? Whatever. I’ll just… go to sleep. It’s late anyway.I yawn loudly, brush my teeth, and get ready for bed.
Friday October 13, 2018 12:56AM
I just woke up from a terrible dream. I’m in a mansion that I have never seen before. The hallways are long and dark. The floors were covered in soft red velvet carpets. It was dark outside and the lights weren’t on. The only light source I had was the lightning striking from the window.I glance behind me and quickly look away. A long shadow of a girl my age wearing a puffy, old fashioned dress was walking closer from behind me. You can hear her heels- Click.Click.Click. Oh no it’s coming closer… Click. Click. Click.
Don’t look, don’t look! I told myself. But I looked behind me anyway. It was Alyssa and she was walking towards me. I run to hug her. Now I can see her face more clearly and I see blood all over her dress. As I get closer I can see that she has… fangs? What? She whispers in my ear: “Die, Die you ruthless creature!” and when I turn around to escape I see many people with black hoods that looked like shadows. I can’t escape. There is nowhere I can go.
“Lisa. Lisa. LISA!” I heard someone say as I am still screaming.
“Huh?” I say sitting up. Oh good thing it was just a dream. Alyssa would never do that… right?
“Lisa! Are you okay?” says who I now realize is Rebecca. I can’t fall back asleep because the sight of Alyssa, or whoever that was, in the bloody dress won’t go away no matter how hard I push it out.
“Lisa Is something going on? I’m a little concerned that something is bothering you. You have been acting so differently lately. You know, you’re not alone. You have me and Melissa.”
Wow. I didn’t know Rebecca cared about me that much.
“Thanks Becca.”I say. We both hug.
“I love you Lisa.” We both say goodnight to each other and Rebecca walks away to her room. It’s now when I realize I have the best sisters I could ever ask for.
Friday, October 13, 2018 6:00 AM
After the conversation I had with my sister this morning, I fell into a deep sleep and didn’t see any dreams. The dream I had last night was so realistic and creepy at the same time. Besides, it’s not that normal to remember every single detail from your dream. I mean, remembering part of your dreams, yeah, but not the entire thing-the thunderstorm, Alyssa coming closer with an old fashioned puffy dress covered in blood with fangs. It’s like I am reliving it over and over again. But her whispering in my ear that I should die?! No. That’s not Alyssa. It can’t be. Maybe it’s just a weird dream that I had. Yeah. Maybe it’s just a weird dream that I wasn’t meant to have… I hope so, but something is telling me no.
Friday October 13, 2018 8:00AM
It’s homeroom and I’m really not in the mood to go to school. It’s quiet without Alyssa here. I have no one to whisper to when I am bored in homeroom. So today I decided to make a new mission: new best friend. BEEP! Oh, the bell rang! And I was off to my first period until I see the same girl I saw in my dreams… “Die…” Next thing I know, I’m in the nurse’s office.
Friday October 13, 2018 9:12 a.m.
I got back to class and I had to go to my guidance counselor. It was an emergency, but I had a hard time convincing my teacher for some reason. I didn’t want my class to think I was a weirdo so I went up to the teacher instead. Finally, she let me go. I told my guidance counselor about everything, even the dream with my dad.
“Umm,” she said and paused a while, “Uh, yeah umm.” It seemed as though she was surprised. I mean it’s not everyday a student tells you about their friend disappearing and then that friend telling them to die. Finally she managed to get some words out.
“I can’t help you.”
“So you don’t believe me?” My voice started to quiver and get louder. If my own counselor wasn’t going to help me then who could?
In between my cries, she managed to say, “I will talk to the principal and maybe we can figure something out.” Then, before she could even take another breath, I hugged her. Oops?
Friday October 13, 2018 4:05 p.m.
The principal said this was a very important thing, but the school should not know about it. Besides, we are only in middle school and because of the big amount of people, once something spreads you can’t take it back. We are at the police station and people are looking for records of Alyssa. Shuffling, shuffling, shuffling! They can’t seem to find it. Then one person goes into the “questionable” folder and the first record on the top is Alyssa.
Friday October 13, 2018 4:15 p.m.
“That’s her!” I shout without thinking. One of the workers looks down at the paper and stares for a moment and then looks at me. I look down at the paper. Blood. Not much, just one drop. The man chuckles nervously and asks us to wait in a special room.
In the room there are magazines about forensic science. I’m looking and I can’t seem to find anything on disappearing. I flip through the silky magazines and find a tiny folded-up paper. I unfold it and see that it says “disappearing” in very tiny handwriting.
To be honest, it wasn’t very helpful. It just told us to go to the police station and we already did that. Fortunately, there was a magazine article on kidnappings. It said that kidnappers run and hide. It also said that it usually doesn’t have to do with blood but once in a while it does.
The man finally comes out and asks for me to come back to their investigation area and said that Alyssa is not real since she has no birth certificate. This doesn’t make sense. What!?! Wait, so is this guy telling me that Alyssa isn’t real!? Um I don’t think so.
Then he took out a pink box that read “Dunkin’ Donuts” and he took out a pink donut with chocolate heart shape sprinkles and started eating that. He had frosting all over his mouth and said “Mmmmm strawberry. Want one?”
Is he crazy!? There is a missing person that happens to be my only best friend and yet he is offering me a donut?! Then the sheriff comes out and says to me, “You are in trouble. That creature who you call ‘Alyssa’ is coming for you.”
Friday October 13, 2018 7:17 p.m.
“We are going to use you, sort of like bait,” the sheriff told me. They were going to hide and wait for “Alyssa” to come to me. Then, they were going to catch her.
Friday October 13, 2018 8:21 p.m.
“Hi! I missed you so much Lisa!” She is trying to fool me.
“NO! You can’t do this. I know who you really are!” I screamed.
Then, suddenly she started to turn into a hooded creature.“Ha, Ha, HA!” Her voice got deeper with every word she said and every time she breathed black mist came out of her mouth. “Die, DIE! Just like I killed your father!” All I heard was her and nothing else. Wait, I get the dream now! My father didn’t die in a car crash, this creature killed him!
EEEECCCCHHHHKKKK! That was the worst sound I’ve ever heard. It was her dying thanks to the sheriff. Oh my. He was covered, black mist.
“I’m gonna go wash up, but you can go home.”
Ahh, what a relief. Kind of, I mean, she was my best friend and now I just feel so empty and lonely. Alyssa was someone who really cared about me- well that was what I thought.
Maybe some people will feel bad for me. They’ll probably end up knowing about this whole thing somehow. Most importantly, it is such a relief! No more bad dreams! Oh what a beautiful thing life is! (I think I’m going crazy!)
DIY Spring Treats
Spring weather may not be here yet, but we can make up for it with these spring treats. They are bright and cheery, like spring, and will remind us of a time when there was no snow on the ground. Without further ado, let’s hop right in.
Treat #1: Cupcake Ice Cream Cone
It might be too cold for ice cream, but no one said anything about ice cream cones. This treat imitates ice cream without the brain freeze. If you want to create this yummy sweet, here’s what you’ll need.
Cake box mix (and listed ingredients on box)
Ice cream cone
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350° and prepare the cake box mix as instructed on the box.
Step 2: Place the ice cream cones in cupcake tins. Then pour the batter into the ice cream cones until it is ¾ from the top.
Step 3: Put the cones in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes.
Step 4: Frost the cupcakes with whatever color you desire in a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe until it looks like a mountain and then add some sprinkles.
Treat #2: Flower Plants
Even though it’s difficult to garden now, you can make these cute flower pots. They scream spring in every way possible. These are the seeds you need to plant this DIY.
Silicone baking flower pot molds
Chocolate cupcake mix
Vanilla cake mix
Flower cookie cutter
Vanilla cake mix
Step 1: Prepare chocolate cupcake mix as instructed on the back of the box and pour into the silicone flower pot mold.
Step 2: Crush Oreos in Ziploc bag with rolling pin. Sprinkle over chocolate cupcake.
Step 3: Prepare the vanilla cake as instructed. Once baked and cooled, cut out flower shapes. Stick in lollipop sticks. Use the frosting to decorate.
Step 4: Stick the flower in the pot and you’re done!
Treat #3: Chick Cupcakes
Chicks are the mascots of spring and look really good on a cupcake. That’s why I’m here. To show you how to make them. The ingredients are as follows:
Your choice of cupcake box mix
Yellow sugar sprinkles
3 piping bags (2 with small decorating tip and 1 with large tip)
Step 1: Follow the directions on the back of the cupcake box. After the cupcakes bake, let cool.
Step 2: Frost the cupcakes in the yellow frosting with the piping bag and large tip. Then dip them in a bowl of yellow sugar sprinkles.
Step 3: Put the black and orange frosting into two separate piping bags with the decorating tip. Finally, Pipe on two black eyes and an orange beak
DIY Easter Eggs
by Madelyn Breves
One of the best parts of the Easter season is coloring Easter eggs. However, dying eggs becomes boring after a while. It is very common to fall short on ideas for Easter eggs. This article can definitely help you with what I like to call “egg block.” Kind of like writer’s block, but for Easter eggs. Anyway, let’s jump right in.
DIY 1: Shaving Cream Marbled Eggs
Shaving cream may sound weird, but it is actually quite effective. First, you need the ingredients:
Hard boiled eggs
Bowl of vinegar
Shaving cream (if you don’t have any you can use whipped cream)
Bowl of water
Step 1: After the eggs cool, let them soak in a bowl of vinegar for 20 minutes. (If you are using whipped cream you can skip this step.)
Step 2: Spray the pan with an about even layer of shaving cream, about an inch thick. After smoothing it, place a generous amount of drops throughout the shaving cream with alternating colors of your choice. You can do it in sections for different color mixtures. Take the skewer and mix the food coloring around. Mix until you get the marbled effect you like. Be careful not to mix the colors completely.
Step 3: Put on some gloves to protect your hands from the dye. Then, take an egg and carefully place the egg on the shaving cream. Roll the egg around until it is completely covered. After the egg is covered, let dry for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Finally, dip the egg in water to clean off the extra shaving cream.
DIY 2: Tissue Paper Eggs
Tissue paper is not just for Christmas and birthday presents, it is also for inexpensive and cute Easter eggs. Here’s what you’ll need:
Hard boiled eggs
Step 1: Take the hard boiled eggs and paint them in the color of your choice. Preferably a color that goes with the color of your tissue paper..
Step 2: Cut out cool designs in the tissue paper. Like flowers, mandalas, etc.
Step 3. While the paint is still wet, apply the tissue paper design. The paint will act as an adhesive. After the egg dries, you have a beautiful tissue paper egg.
DIY 3: Fruit & Veggie Eggs
No, these eggs are not made out of fruits and veggies. They just look like them, well, cuter versions of them. I will show you how to make a carrot, strawberry, and lemon. These are the things you will need.
What you'll need for strawberry:
- Reddish pink paint
- White paint
- Green Paper
- Green Pipe Cleaner
Step 1: Paint the whole egg in a reddish pink and wait for it to dry
Step 2: Paint white dots across the egg. This will act as the seeds.
Step 3: Take the pipe cleaner and glue it to the top of the strawberry (this is the stem)
Step 4: Cut out curved triangle shapes and place them around the stem. These will be the leaves. Step 5: Lastly, make a cute face with your sharpie
What you'll need for carrot:
- Orange paint
- Green paper
Step 1: Cover the entire egg in orange paint and let dry.
Step 2: Cut out a wide rectangle from the green paper. Curl it so it looks like an empty toilet paper roll and secure it. Cut diagonal slits.
Step 3: Glue it to the top of the egg.
Step 4: Finally, draw on the face that you desire with the sharpie.
What you'll need for lemon:
- Yellow paint
- Green paper
Step 1: Use the yellow paint to coat the egg.
Step 2: From the green paper, cut a thin strip that enlarges into a leaf shape. Stick this to the top of the egg.
Step 3: Use the sharpie to make a face on the lemon.
Things You NEED to Do at Disney World!
by Olivia Kenney
We all know the happiest place on earth - Disney World! The parks include many favorite rides, such as Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and more! But have you heard of the secret things that are behind the scenes of the rides? There are a bunch of things to do that you probably didn't know about, ! Including tricks, hacks, treats, and more!
Choose the line on the left wherever you go, because right-handed people usually go right.
Peter Pan's Flight doesn't have a FastPass, so try to go there first.
Touch the apple at Snow White's Scary Adventures for a fun surprise!
Look closely in the mirror at the Mad Hatter Gift Shop.
While in line for Pirates, look for Walt and Roy´s initials in the iron railing above.
Ask the Main Street conductor if you can ride in the tender seat, but don’t ask in the summer!
A vent on Main Street pumps out delicious candy and bakery scents near the Candy Palace. It smells delicious!
When Pirates of the Caribbean first opened, it was full of real human skeletons! Most have been placed by props, though.
Some people claim that the purple teacup spins the fastest, but any of them can make you turn green!
If you ask nicely, you can steer the Mark Twain Riverboat (blow the horn and ring the bell if you can)! You even get your own pilot's license!
Though these are only tricks, there are treats too! Here are 11 Disney treats you have to try!
Try the Mickey Waffles at Carnation Cafe!
FRIED PICKLES! (Introduced in 2012)
The Cream Cheese Pretzel at Refreshment Corner!
Fresh Baked CHURROS!
The Matterhorn Macaroon at Jolly Holiday Bakery!
The Dole Whip Float at the Tiki Juice Bar!
Corn DOgs from the Little Red Wagon! - According to Jonathan Gold, a LA Times food critic, ¨I´ve never had a better corn dog.¨
Each popcorn cart has its own little popcorn worker!
Veggie Gumbo at Royal Street Veranda, which is one of several vegan options at DIsney!
Tigger Tails are at only Pooh Corner! Tigger runs of caramel, marshmallow, and sugar!
The Monte Cristo Sandwich at Cafe Orleans! Part sandwich, part donut!
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT THESE ALL IN ONE DAY.
Hope you enjoyed!
Top 10 Weirdest World Records
by Olivia Kenney
We have all seen or heard of weird things that have happened in the world around us. But what will be presented to you is the WEIRDEST of the WEIRD!
The most spoons balanced on the face is 31 spoons! It was achieved by Dalibor Jablanovic in Stubica, Serbia, on September 28, 2013.
The largest bubblegum bubble blown was a diameter of 50.8 cm (20 in.)! It was set by Chad Fell with no hands at Double Spring High School in Winston County, Alabama, USA on April 24, 2004.
Most stairs climbed on the head is 36 stairs! It was achieved by Li Longlong on the set of CCTV - Guinness World Records Special in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China on January 5, 2015.
Kim Goodman can pop her eyeballs to a protrusion of 12 mm (0.47 in.) beyond her eye sockets! Her eyes were measured in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 2, 2007.
Antanas Kontrimas holds the record of most weight lifted by a human beard, which is 63.80 kg (140 lb 16 oz) in Istanbul, Turkey! It was on June 26, 2013.
The most socks put on one foot in one minute is held by Pavol Durdik from Puchov, Slovakia, on July 14, 2015. It was 48!
The longest fingernails on a single hand measures at 909.6 cm (358.1 in.)! It was achieved by Shridhar Chillal from Pune city, Maharashtra, India, on November 17, 2014.
The most pegs clipped to the face in one minute was 51 pegs by Silvio Sabba, in Pioltello, Italy, on December 27, 2012.
Andre Ortolf in the Bodyfeeling fitness gym in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany holds a record of the farthest distance to blow a pea, which was 7.51 m (24 ft 7.66 in)! It was on July 12, 2014.
The most rotations hanging from a power drill in a minute was 148 spins! It was by the Huy Giang on the set of ¨Guinness World Records¨ in Madrid, Spain, on December 23, 2008.
It’s September 13, 1996, and you are tuning in to MTV a few hours before you normally get up. You are listening to the Notorious B.I.G’s “Big Poppa” when MTV news comes on. It’s been awhile since it came on so you listen intently. “Breaking news,” the broadcaster says, “On September 7, 1996 Tupac Amaru Shakur, was shot and killed in a drive-by-shooting outside University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. “ You stare at the TV, shocked that one of America’s most famous rappers is gone.
Who was 2pac?
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York City. At a young age he moved to Oakland, California. There, he was introduced to the ghetto. He was a good student, but his praise was the drama club. In English, Tupac was an amazing student. In one class, he wrote a poem called “Conquering all Obstacles.” It went like this: “our raps, not the sorry story raps everyone is so tired of. They are about what happens in the real world. Our goal is [to] have people relate to our raps, making it easier to see what really is happening out there. Even more important, what we may do to better our world.”
Musical CareerIn 1991, Tupac began his musical career with the album 2Pacalypse, based on the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. The songs “Trapped” and “Brenda’s got a Baby” were the best of the album. His next album, also referred to as his “breakout” album, contained two very popular songs, “Keep Ya Head Up” and “I Get Around.” The next albums were even more popular than the last. In 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with his friends, rappers, Big Sky and Rated R. Their only album, Thug Life: Volume 1, went golden the day it was released, which was September 26, 1994. ‘Pacs, album Me against the World went to the top, as it is known as one of the greatest hip hop tracks ever created. “Dear Mama” was released in February 1995, and was one of his best songs. His individual songs, even now, have an effect on the world. His single, “Hit Em’ Up” lighted the match for the violence of gangs against one another. It also started the long fight against 2pac and the Notorious B.I.G.
Are you interested in becoming a member of the Berner Beacon?
Navigating the Digital Berner: The Berner Beacon
by Aidan Moody
In my last two articles, I told all of the parents how to navigate Haiku and IOS 11. This article, however, I will be doing something a little different. I will be explaining the process of what goes into making an issue of the Berner Beacon. So on this issue of Navigating the Digital Berner, we will be discussing none other than the Berner Beacon itself.
What is the Berner Beacon?
If you really are asking this question in your head, then this must be your first viewing of the article. Don't worry, I’ll catch you up to speed. Berner Beacon is a club that makes digital newspapers for the viewing of students, teachers, and parents. There are many types of articles that range from March Madness reviews, to creative writing pieces. All are made by Berner students who want their thoughts and work to be seen.
We will have three meetings per issue, which comes out every two months. The first one is for selecting article topics. Each student comes prepared for an article that they want to write, or a comic they want to draw. The teacher will run through the categories, and each kid will say what article(s) they would like to write. The teacher will write them down, and any free time will be used to get a start on the article/comic. Some people would prefer to take pictures for other articles, though, so they work with another article to supply them with excellent photography. The second meeting is purely devoted to working on articles. Nothing more, nothing less.
Editors Meeting and Third Meeting
In between the second and third meeting, there is a Monday where three students will get together to edit all articles written by the students. The teacher selected these students based on their writing capabilities. If a student wants to become an editor, they will give the teacher a piece of work as an example. The teacher will most likely select students who have been in the club before, but others can still become editors. They will meet some time after the deadline to hand your assignment in, and the third meeting. They will sit down and correct any grammatical errors with your the students pieces.
The final meeting is the third meeting. The third meeting is dedicated to creating the issue and any design details. This is where we choose the background design, and other details.
Other Cool Features
In the very beginning of each issue, there is an article with many baby pictures. These are pictures of teachers and it is meant to be a game where you guess the teacher. The answers are at the bottom of the issue. There are 10+ Categories, one of them being Just for Parents Which is where you are reading this article. Others include Local News, National News, Comics, Berner News, Professional Sports, Berner Sports, Creative Writing, Reviews, and more. Berner Beacon is currently being run by Ms. DiStefano. Lastly, the Berner Beacon team is brainstorming new categories and ideas for next year already!
That is pretty much it. This is probably the last article of the year, so just remember to wear sunscreen (it helps), have fun, and read the next article of, “Navigating the Digital Berner” that will be featured in the article released at the start of the next year.
Who's That Tiny Teacher? Answers
Teacher 2: Ms. Mare
Teacher 3: Ms. Fan
Teacher 4: Ms. Villajos
Teacher 5: Ms. Jean-Louis
Teacher 6: Ms. Kincaid
Teacher 7: Ms. Beitzinger
Teacher 8: Ms. Giarratano
Teacher 9: Mr. Leone
Teacher 10: Ms. Tucker
Teacher 11: Ms. Holmes