Spring Edition 2021

Two Truths and a Lie: World Languages Edition

by Elizabeth Terranova

Directions: Each teacher below gave us 2 truths and 1 lie...can you figure out the lie? See answers at the end of this issue.

8th Grade Elective Options

by Shea Ringel

Attention all 7th graders! Next year you will be going into 8th grade which is a big opportunity. You get to choose some of the classes you are going to take. This may be a stressful time for some, so this article was written to help students decide which elective is for them. This article will be an overview of some of your elective choices for next year, including some interviews with students currently enrolled in these electives. Remember, you have other elective options besides the ones included in this article.

Introduction to Science Research is a course all about the basics of analyzing and collecting data, creating an experiment, presenting data, researching topics, and much more. In this course, you will develop scientific writing skills that can be used throughout your career if you choose to pursue a career in science. You must be in earth science to take this course. This course is worth ½ a high school credit.

Introduction to Computer Science Principles is a course with lots of projects. Students enrolled in this class will learn about computer science and programming. You also will be learning about how computers affect aspects of life. This course is also worth ½ a high school credit.

I asked some students from each elective some questions about their class. These were the questions I asked:

  1. What type of 7th-grade students might like your elective?

  2. What is your favorite part of your elective?

  3. What was your favorite project/assignment so far this year in your elective?

Emily McVey is an 8th-grade Introduction to Science Research student. Emily says, “I think students who are actively curious would really like this class. It’s great for students who love doing projects and working in groups. Also, this class is great for kids who love science. My favorite part of the elective is being able to do long-term projects. I love doing projects that aren’t finished in a few classes. I like the fact that we do two main projects in the whole year, so we are able to have a long time to work on them. I also love that if you ever need help, the teacher is always there for you. My favorite project is the consumer project. In this project we compared two different brands of the same product, to see which one is worth the money. We put the two products through tests and experiments that we create. Then, in the end, we conclude which brand has the overall better product. So in all, it’s a really great elective.”

Delaney Sampson is also an 8th-grade Introduction to Research student. Delaney says, “I believe that students who are interested in learning about the scientific method and how to properly conduct experiments would benefit from taking this class. Additionally, there is so much creative liberty that can be taken and used during this class that it is a perfect course for any curious students. My favorite part of my elective is getting the opportunity to research topics that I am truly interested in. Additionally, I like that this course is different from a regular science class, as it provides new opportunities to explore different, captivating topics. My favorite project is the consumer project. This project is an exciting way for me to gain a deeper understanding of research and the steps that are necessary to take when conducting an experiment. Furthermore, I enjoy researching my topic as it is a fun way to experiment with different products. Overall, I believe this is an amazing course for anyone who likes science and wants to further their science education.”

Adrian Brown is an 8th-grade Introduction to Computer Science Principles student. Adrian says, “In my opinion, students who love to learn about how computers work and how to do coding should 100% take this class. Over the year you will get to learn about binary, how to use different types of code like functions and variables, and even the history of how computers have progressed over the years. I would have to say that my favorite part of this class is definitely coding. You get to learn about different types of code and get to do multiple activities with them. Some examples of the activities are making characters dance, helping a harvester collect their crops, and even completing tasks in Minecraft. So far my favorite part of the class is learning about functions. Functions are when you make a code but instead of putting down multiple blocks, you can put one down. It’s very useful and time-saving. All things considered, it’s a great class with a lot of benefits.”

Marissa DiPietro is an 8th-grade Introduction to Computer Science Principles student. Marissa says, “The 7th graders that might be interested in this course is someone who likes to do coding or likes interacting in the computer world. My favorite part of the elective was the coding segment. My favorite project of this year was learning about the parts of the computer and seeing what the inside of a computer looks like.”

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Comic by Gianna DiLucci

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Why Can’t I Focus?

by Sofia Sclafani

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of reading a novel or article and as you come to the end of reading, you have absolutely no idea what you just read? After this, you usually have to reread it multiple times to have your mind register what you just read. Believe it or not, this is not because your brain is distracted by other things. In “How to get your brain to focus,” the Ted Talk by Chris Bailey, he explains some amazingly surprising things about the way our brains work and the effects of screen time on them. He also gives us a variety of suggestions to improve our attention span and be able to easily focus.

Chris explains how he perceived that from the moment he opened his eyes to the second he went to sleep, his life only consisted of screens. Whether it was scrolling through social media, sending emails on a computer, or texting his family informing them about his life. To test the question “How does less screen time affect you?” he conducted an experiment. He was only allowed to use his phone for a maximum of 30 minutes per day. That means calls to family, work, and social media time all had to be used in the span of 30 minutes. It had taken approximately a week for him to adapt to the lower stimulation he was experiencing. However, after this experiment took place, he noticed three big changes. His attention span grew and he was able to focus on things, not completely effortlessly, but at more ease than before the experiment took place. He also noticed that his mind had more in depth thoughts and new in depth plans. All these newer plans and thoughts had not taken place beforehand.

Researchers and experts all over the world worked with Chris to find solutions or theories on these questions: How does technology affect our attention and ability to focus? What does it take to focus in a world full of distractions? Studies have shown that, on average, we are usually focused on just one thing for only 40 seconds before we are distracted or interrupted. Crazy to think about right? People usually assume the issue is that our brains are distracted so they are not able to focus. However, the real deep-rooted problem is that our brains are overstimulated. Our brains constantly crave distraction. If we are experiencing an area in which there is low stimulation, our brains easily get “bored” and move on to a more stimulated topic. There is a mechanism in our mind which most researchers of this topic call the novelty bias by which our minds reward us with a wave of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in our brains that “activates” when we are expecting a reward of some kind. When you relate an activity with a pleasurable feeling, the anticipation may cause dopamine levels to rise. Novelty bias means that our brains are easily “hijacked” or given attention to something else “more interesting” quickly. Our minds reward us with dopamine for seeking out and discovering the “more interesting” distraction in the first place. Because the dopamine gives us such a satisfying and pleasant feeling, our brains begin to crave this new distraction.

To test his theory to be even more accurate, Chris conducted a second experiment. His question was: “If the phone had this big of an impact on my attention span, what if I lowered how stimulated I was even more?” Going from a high stimulated state to a low stimulated state is called boredom. This is mainly why people constantly need to be stimulated, to avoid boredom. For his experiment he made himself bored for one hour each day for a month doing the most boring things possible. It took him about eight days to completely calm down and rest. He observed that this experiment had the same results as the experiment where he went on his phone for a limit of 30 minutes a day. His attention span had expanded to a much greater length. He was also able to focus without any trouble, but not because he was surrounded by fewer distractions, but because his mind was so used to being in a less stimulated state, that it did not seek the distraction in the first place. The overall reason for all these new ideas is that his mind finally had an opportunity to wander. It wasn’t constantly stimulated by something so it had the chance to think for itself. When coming up with some of your greatest ideas, you’re rarely focused on something. Because of the many things we give attention to throughout the day, our minds are not allowed the chance to wander. Just as traffic moves because of the space in between cars, our mind also needs space to think and move forward with newer ideas and thoughts. After we’ve let our attention rest, it travels to three main places. The past, present, and the future. Activities that allow our minds to wander that are calming or unnerving include knitting, journaling, painting, and exercising.

In the ted talk, “Why our screens make us less happy,” by Adam Alter, the speaker clearly explains why our brains crave social media apps that make us much less content. Apps for relaxation, exercise, weather, reading, education, are all sources of social media that are beneficial to our health. However, apps for dating, social networking, gaming, entertainment, news, and web browsing are all apps that usually have a negative effect on our health. The reason for spending so much time on apps that makes us feel miserable is because they rid us of our stopping cues. Stopping cues is a term researchers use to explain a signal that is sent to our brain telling us that it is time to stop whatever we’re in the process of doing and move onto the next thing. All apps on any social media platforms are bottomless. They allow you to scroll and scroll forever while losing a sense of what you’re actually supposed to be doing.

To conclude, this article should encourage people to lower their screen time and their stimulation. This will generate more in-depth ideas, plans, and thoughts that could possibly aid you in the future. We should also learn to protect our “stopping cues” and resist the temptation to keep scrolling. Throughout all of the research I have conducted, I’ve found that because of less stimulation and less screen time, people have lived a better life, communicated better with their peers, and became more of a joyful person overall.

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Travel the National Parks from Your Couch

by Vivienne West

The start of 2021 is looking very similar to 2020 so far. As most people know it is incredibly difficult to travel. Since we’re unable to travel out of state without quarantining, it made me think to write to you about wonderful National Parks you might consider visiting virtually. We can still stay safe while exploring the wonders of National Parks from the comfort of our homes. National Parks are both beautiful, and a bit of a history lesson as well! We can travel together by reading about these outstanding destinations!

What is a National Park? National Parks are areas of outstanding beauty. They are given the highest level of protection from the Department of the Interior. Managed by the National Park Service, the parks’ vast landscapes, wildernesses, forests, waterways, caves, cultural heritage, and wildlife are all safeguarded for the enjoyment of us all. Several National Parks are also coupled with a national preserve. These areas often allow hunting, trapping, and fishing, so that the communities can continue to do these activities. With 62 National Parks open each year, visitors come by the million, 84 million to be exact! There are so many people that love and respect these National Parks, and I hope you can enjoy them too! I’ve recently “explored” these 4 Parks, let me tell you a little about them:

Big Bend - Texas - established in 1944

Big Bend is a huge National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert. This spectacular park is named for the “big bend” in the Rio Grande. The river descends across deserts, watering rich agricultural regions as it flows on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. The total length of the river is about 1,900 miles long! It is home to unique wildlife, prehistoric geology, historical ruins, and rugged landscapes. Far away from any city, the park is an amazing place to see stars twinkling endlessly in the night sky. It measures 801,163 acres and it is highest point is 7,825 high, at the tip of Emory Peak. Mainly desert, Big Bend also has mountain, forest, scrubland, and river habitats. The mighty Rio Grande is a magnet for much of the park’s wildlife. Each year, this stunning National Park gets over 450,000 visitors. Big Bend is one of the best places to go stargazing since there is little light pollution. Big Bend is the perfect place for birdwatching, seeing beautiful flora (such as cacti and yuccas) and even black-tailed jack rabbits. That’s a lot of plants and animals!

Crater Lake - Oregon - established in 1902

The main attraction of Crater Lake National Park is its namesake-Crater Lake. It was created 7,700 years ago when a massive volcano erupted and collapsed, forming the deep crater that is now filled with water. The lake is known for its pure, clear, bright-blue water, which is fed by rainfall and snowmelt. This exotic park measures 183,224 acres with the highest point being 8,929 feet tall at the peak of Mount Scott. The park lies in the heart of the Cascade Range and is surrounded by forests. At its center, Crater Lake is home to aquatic animals. With over 700,000 visitors per year, this park is one of the top travel hits. Around the site, you might find the historic Wizard Island, Phantom Ship Island, or the Science and Learning Center across the lake. Nonetheless, you will have a blast at this nature filled park!

Great Sand Dunes - Colorado - established in 2004

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is home to the highest dune field in North America. The huge peaks of sand cover roughly 19,200 acres. The park’s tallest dune is named Star Dune. It is 755 feet high from its base to its top-that’s more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty! The Great Sand Dunes measure 149,028 acres with the highest point, even taller than Star Dune being 13,604 feet high at the top of Tijeras Peak. The dune field is surrounded by grasslands and wetlands that are fed by life-sustaining creeks. The park’s mountains and scrublands also support a wealth of wildlife. Each year, there are more than 500,000 visitors, coming to see the beauty of this National Park. Similar to Big Bend, on cloudless, moonless nights, campers in the park can see thousands of stars in the sky. Did you know that the sand is made up of 29 different types of minerals, such as turquoise and amethyst, and the sand itself is roughly 35 million years old!

Source: DK Books - “The National Parks”

8 Critically Endangered Species

by Charlotte Focarazzo

Sumatran Elephants (2,400 to 2,800 left)

Sumatran elephants can be found in Sumatra, an island in Indonesia. They live in lowland forests and eat vegetation (plants) such as grass, leaves, fruits, nuts, and bark. They live to be about 60 years old. Sumatran elephants are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, human-elephant conflict near human settlements, and male Sumatran elephants being poached (illegally hunted) for the ivory in their tusks. They contribute to the ecosystem by dispersing (distributing or spreading over a wide area) seeds around their habitat, causing more plant growth.

Yangtze Finless Porpoise (1,000 to 1,800 left)

Yangtze finless porpoise live in the Yangtze River in eastern China. This mammal weighs around 158 pounds, lives for about 33 years, and eats small fish, shrimp, and octopus. They do not have a fin on their back, and they have rounded heads. Yangtze finless porpoise are threatened by overfishing, pollution, and ship movement. If the river is polluted or overfished, they struggle to survive. They play an important role in keeping the food chain in their environment balanced.

Saola (750 or less left)

Saola (means ‘spindle horns’ in Vietnamese) are rare mammals that can only be found in the Annamite Mountains on the border between Vietnam and Laos. It is estimated that they live for about 8-11 years. eat fig leaves, seeds, and other plant material. We have only known about the existence of this animal since May of 1992. They have only been photographed in the wild 3 times, and because of their rarity they have been given the nickname, “Asian Unicorn.” The saola is endangered due to illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Sunda Tiger (fewer than 400 left)

Sunda tigers, the smallest subspecies of tigers, only live in the forests of Sumatra. They hunt at night and prey on a large variety of animals such as wild boar and deer. They live around 18-20 years in the wild. Sunda tigers are threatened because their habitat is being destroyed and they are poached for their skin, bones, and teeth. If their population continues to decrease, it would cause an overpopulation of prey animals; this would lead to degradation of the forest (less vegetation).

Cross River Gorilla (200 to 300 left)

Cross river gorillas are found in the lowland montane (ecosystem on the slopes of mountains) forests and rainforests in Cameroon and Nigeria (in Africa). They can live from 35-50 years, and they eat plants such as leaves and bark. They are at risk of extinction due to overhunting, forest fires, loss of habitat, and loss of genetic diversity (which serves as a way for species to adapt to their changing environment). Cross river gorillas are good indicators of problems in their ecosystem, and they help other species survive.

Amur Leopard (around 85 left)

Amur leopards live in the Amur Heilong Landscape, in Eastern Russia and adjacent (connecting) parts of China. They live in temperate forests (between a colder and warmer region) and eat deer, boar, and rodents. In the wild, they live for 10-15 years. Amur leopards are threatened due to poaching and poaching of their prey. Their natural habitat space is decreasing due to forest fires and construction of new roads. The amur leopard is the top predator in their environment and they are crucial for keeping a safe balance of species in their area.

Javan Rhino (about 60 left)

Javan rhinos can only be found in Ujung Kulon National Park (located in Java, Indonesia). Their surrounding environment is a rainforest with plenty of water and mud to help them stay cool. They eat a variety of plants such as twigs and fallen fruits. Javan rhinos are endangered because it is difficult for them to survive outside of reserves (areas of natural land to protect wildlife) due to poaching and habitat loss. They are grazers (they consume wildlife vegetation) and it is important that they stay protected to keep a healthy balance in their ecosystem.

Vaquita (around 10 left)

Vaquitas (means ‘little cows’ in Spanish) live in a very small area in the Northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. These rare mammals are about 4-5 feet in length and have a lifespan of 21 years. They eat small fish, crab, and squid. Vaquitas are at risk of extinction due to illegal fishing. They frequently get caught in nets and are unable to survive. They are predators and prey to other creatures in their natural habitat and they play a crucial role in keeping the population of these other animals in check.

Helping Endangered Species

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about these critically endangered species! If you want to do your part and help spread awareness about these amazing animals, you can visit this website linked below: 10 Easy Things You Can Do to Save Endangered Species.


10 Most Exotic Animals

by Lillian Dooher

As you know, there are so many exotic animals around the world. They range from being very large to very small, monochrome to multicolored, live on land or live in water, or maybe even animals that survive in both water and on land! With mother nature, the possibilities are endless. Today I’m going to be talking about the top 10 most exotic animals that we’ve encountered so far and a little bit about them. Let’s begin.

Leafy Seadragon

This strange but beautiful creature, also known as Phycodurus eques, can grow up to 13.8 inches, usually about twice the size of a teacup. They are not harmful and are extremely delicate marine creatures. They live amongst rocky reefs, seaweed beds, and seagrass meadows and are closely related to seahorses and pipefish.

Fanfin Angler

This exotic fish lives in the deep sea. They usually grow up to 8 inches long and have a diet of crustaceans and other fishes. They are closely related to really all other anglerfish. Fun fact: All anglerfish have a special light-producing bacteria that illuminates their lure.

Japanese Macaque

The Japanese macaque has the nickname “snow monkey” because it often lives in snowy regions. They have long, thick fur, usually of a grey or brown color. This fur coat contrasts with their faces, as they have naked skin there that turns red as they reach adulthood.

Pink Dolphin (Amazon River Dolphin)

This dolphin is a toothed whale that can live up to 30 years (although they usually live for around 3 years). Actually, this species of pink dolphin starts out grey at birth and as it gets older, it starts to turn pink. Pink dolphins have the biggest bodies and brains of any freshwater dolphin.


This hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger is quite extraordinary. It is similar to the tigon hybrid and can usually live for 15-25 years. They range from 9.8 - 12 feet and weigh from 705 - 1,200 pounds. It is the largest of all known extant felines.

Atelopus Frog

Atelopuus is a large genus of true toads and is well known as harlequin toads or stubfoot toads. It is a small toad that grows from 2.4 - 3.8 cm. It is slim-bodied and pointy-snouted. It is usually black or brown with a mosaic of spots that can be any combination of red, orange, yellow, green, and/or blue.

Pangolin (my personal favorite)

Sometimes known as scaly anteaters, pangolins are the only mammals to be covered from head to toe with keratin scales. Actually, these scales are the same as human fingernails! They also count up to 20% of a pangolin’s entire body weight. They live in Asia and Africa and can live up to 45 years.

Fennec Fox

This cute species of fox is native to the Sahara Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. Its unusually large ears (its most distinctive feature) serve to dissipate heat. They weigh around 1.5 - 3.5 pounds and are usually 8 inches in height. They are the smallest canid species.

Thorny Devil

Otherwise/commonly known as the mountain devil, thorny lizard/dragon, and Moloch Horridus, these spiky reptilian creatures live in Central and Western Australia. They are most known as the thorny devil (out of all of the different names that they have) because of their horned scales. They can grow up to 21 centimeters and live up to 20 years.

Draco Volans

This extraordinary creature, also commonly known as the common flying dragon is a rather small reptile/lizard. However, despite its misleading name, it is unable to fly. Instead, it spreads its elongated ribs and wings in order to parachute and glide through the air. They’re found in Southeast Asian and South Indian rainforests.

I hope that this list of 10 of some of the most exotic animals helped you learn some fun facts about these amazing animals. Thanks for reading!

How to Properly Care for Your Bearded Dragon

by Patrick Burns


So you want a bearded dragon? You need a variety of different things if you want your new pal to be happy. In this guide, I will show you everything you will need to have a healthy, strong, and happy bearded dragon.


The first thing you will need is a cage. It has to be 55-120 gallons and around 4ft by 2ft by 2ft. Next is the flooring. In a cage, ideal flooring would include reptile carpet or newspaper. Another good thing to have in your cage is some rocks or sticks {NOT REAL ONES}. I suggest a long stick to bask on and a rock holding it up. I also recommend not buying a stick with too many cuts and crevices, because crickets could hide in there. The last thing you need is lights. A heat lamp and a UVB bulb will do the trick. I also suggest buying a heater in case it gets cold at night.


As a baby, bearded dragons are cute, but they are very carnivorous. They eat about 60% crickets (We will get to that later) and 40% veggies. You will want to take your bearded dragon out frequently so he/she does not get stressed. If you see black lines on your pets stomach, he/she is either basking or stressed out. Do not take your bearded dragon outside. She/he will try to eat the bugs, escape into the bushes, or even get bitten by a mosquito. A walk around the inside of your house is much better.


Alright, let me get this straight. Everything you feed your dragon is worth it in the end. That does not mean that it will be sunshine and rainbows though. For greens I recommend a salad of kale, dandelion greens, (NOT the ones from your yard) and collard greens. Some peppers and lettuce are good for them to eat, but make sure you check first. You will want to go to either Pet-co or a reptile store to get your crickets and superworms (NOT mealworms!). When your lizard is young, feed him/her every day. When your lizard is older, feed him/her every other day. Every meal, you should feed about 10-15 crickets and 1-2 worms when your bearded dragon is mature, and 15-20 crickets when your bearded dragon is young. You can also feed your bearded superworms on the side if you want, but keep in mind that each worm equals about a cheeseburger for us calorie wise. Do not feed your lizard worms when he/she is young.

Final suggestions

For the final paragraph, I have some tips to make you and your dragon as happy as possible. If you are taking out your lizard, make sure you wear gloves ( If your bearded dragon bites, wear gardener gloves). Make sure your bearded dragon cage is nice and warm, in the seventies and low eighties. You can buy some toys like a rubber ball too big for them to eat, or even a laser pointer. In conclusion, sometimes the best way to care for your bearded dragon is your own way.

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GloFish Are Amazing Pets!

by Alex Ornstein

Want to make your room look cool? Maybe you should get some GloFish and a tank with an LED light to really make them look great. GloFish are brightly colored fish that stand out in the aquarium. GloFish comes in many colors including blue, purple, red, green, orange, and pink. There are four types of GloFish including tetra, rainbow shark, barb, and danio. Each type has a different size and shape.

One of the most common types is the GloFish tetra. This is the type that I have. GloFish tetras are schooling fish that like to be kept in groups that range from 5-10. You should never get less than three. GloFish tetras grow to be about two inches in length and can live up to three years. Tetras are omnivores and they eat flakes, pellets, frozen or freeze-dried food, including blood worms.

GloFish danios are the smallest of the GloFish and they come in two different types, the zebra and the leopard. GloFish danios grow up to two inches long and have stripes. They are similar to the tetra in what they eat.

The other types of GloFish are not as popular to own. The GloFish shark can grow up to 6 inches in length. This is the biggest out of any GloFish! They are not as popular because they take up a lot of space in your tank and they like to be alone. The GloFish barbs can also get big. They grow between two and six inches. They can be aggressive so you may not want to mix them with your other fish.

If You Want To Own GloFish, Here Is What You Need!

The GloFish I own is the GloFish tetra. I am going to tell you how to care for them.

  1. First, you have to get a tank that is the right size for how many fish you want to get. How do you figure out the right size? Well, for every one tetra you get, you need 2 gallons of tank space.

  2. Second, you need a filter and a heater. A filter keeps the water from getting too dirty. The heater keeps the water at the right temperature.

  3. Third, you need gravel for the bottom of the tank. You can get any color gravel you want, but some special gravel will glow under an LED light. You need to wash the gravel and put it in before the water.

  4. Fourth, you need the decorations. You can get plants that are specifically made for GloFish. The plants come in all colors and really make your tank stand right out! You can also get a structure for your fish to swim in. I have Spongebob's pineapple that the fish can swim and hide in.

  5. You also need a bottle of water conditioner. Water conditioner keeps the bad bacteria from killing the fish. You should put the amount of conditioner that the bottle says.

  6. The last thing you need is food. You can get flakes, pellets, brine shrimp or the GloFish special flake food that makes the fish glow more.

Now you're ready for the fish. You can get the fish from your local pet store.

Here are some pictures of my tank.

Introduction to Piano

by Ava Chaikin

As the new year has so quickly approached, many people (almost 75% of Americans) have decided to make resolutions for 2021. Some of these resolutions fit into health, self-improvement, money, family, and career categories, but how about learning a new instrument. Piano is such an important instrument to learn as it can accompany any musical group and still play lovely solos. Piano is a beautiful instrument that is capable of playing so many different styles of music. You may think, “I would like to learn piano, but how do I start?” I hope this article will help you get started! “You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Piano History

To start, we need to dive into where the piano originated and its history. There are three different ways instrumentalists categorize their instruments; they include wind, percussion and string instruments. Wind instruments are like flutes, trumpets, and any other instruments that you blow into. Percussion instruments are like drums or any other instrument that you strike. String instruments are violins, violas, cellos, basses, and guitar, as well as piano (more on this later), and any other instrument that has strings! The monocord is the first instrument documented that the piano is believed to stem from. An instrument that is also similar to the piano is a harpsichord. This instrument was created in Italy (in the 1500s) but made its way over to Greece and France as well. A harpsichord is played just like a piano but instead of pushing strings down to create the musical pitch, a jack (which is just along strip of wood) pulls the string up or plucks it. It does create a different sound, but is very similar to the appearance of a piano and the way it is played. In the 1700s, Bartolomeo Cristofori created the modern day piano. He too was from Italy. The original name of the piano was “clavicembalo col piano e forte,” or “the harpsichord that can play soft and loud noises”.

How a PianoWorks

Now it is time to answer how acoustic pianos work. So there are two categories acoustic pianos can be sorted into, grand and upright. Grand pianos are the beautiful large pianos that are open on the top. This is awesome, as you can see the interior of the piano. Upright pianos are the ones many people have in there houses just because they are so much more convenient. They are closed on the top, smaller, and more compact. They both work the same. The grand piano looks more formal. It is the one that you may see a professional pianist play on stage. When you press a key on a piano, it makes a beautiful rich sound. If you hold one key down for long enough, you can almost hear the vibrations. How is this sound produced? So, inside the piano there are little tiny hammers as well as strings. (Yep, a piano has strings!) Modern day pianos may use steal wires as strings. The hammer will hit a string when a key is pressed, making a sound. To create the different pitches of the notes, the strings are pulled tighter, shorter, have a smaller diameter, and is less dense for higher notes. As for lower notes, the strings are less tight, longer, have a larger diameter, and are less dense. The frequency of the sound waves, determine the pitch. So, if the pitches high, the sound wave has a lower frequency. Frequency simply refers the “distance between two successive peaks,” or how close together the top of the waves may be. This alone will create a really quiet sound. To enhance the sound, the strings are held on the end by bridges, and the bridges connect to a sound board. The vibrations will travel from the string to the sound board creating the beautiful sound we all know and love. If you happen to play in orchestra, your instrument has a sound post. It’s the same concept, just in a different form. Awesome! Time for reading music!

How to Read Notes

The piano is considered one of the hardest instruments to master (although master isn’t really a great word as there are so many different techniques, songs, and styles). If piano seems hard in the beginning, don't get discouraged, it’s not an easy instrument to play. After over six years of playing, I am not even remotely close to mastering it. There is so much to learn. It is a beautiful instrument, but it takes time. The piano is played with two hands, which many of you may know. However, did you know that your hands play different clefs? The right hand plays the treble clef, which is written at the top of each stanza. (Think treble is on the top.) The left hand plays the bass clef, which is written on the bottom of each stanza. (Think bass is on the bottom.) Below this article is an example of some piano music. Before the sharp sign (which looks like this: ♯) or the first sign on the staff, you can see the clefs; treble on the top and base on the bottom. The sharp sign after the clef is part of the key signature. You can have sharp or flat signs (which look like this: ♭) in a key signature, but not normally natural signs (which look like this: ♮) These are the black keys on the piano that are played in the piece. All black keys have both a sharp and flat name, like C ♯ is also D♭. You can tell what key the piece is, by the number of sharps and flats in the key signature, as well as what sharps and flats are in the piece. The line of music in the example is in the key of G major. If there are no sharps or flats in the key signature, it is written in C major. One sharp is G major, two sharps are D major, and so on. The next symbol to the left of the key signature is the time signature. This example has a time signature of 4/4. The top number is how many beats are in a measure (definition coming soon), and the bottom note is what note gets a steady beat. 4/4 means there are four beats in a measure and a quarter note gets a steady beat. Ready for more music terms? A measure is a unit of time in a piece of music. The actual notes for the treble clef are listed in order here: E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. To remember this think face rhymes with space, so the space notes are F, A, C, and E. The line notes can be memorized by the acronym Every Good Boy Does Fine (the line notes are F, A, C, and E). The bass clef notes are listed in order here: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A. The space notes can be memorized by the acronym All Cows Eat Grass. The line notes can be memorized by the acronym Good Burritos Don’t Fall Apart. Awesome! This is a very simple run down of the basics. Again, there is always so much more to learn!

How to Play

So, how do you play? When you place your hands on the keys, try to find Middle C. On many pianos, Middle C will be located relatively close to the first letter of the name of the piano company, that is in the middle of the piano. For example, if you have a Baldwin piano, below the “B” you will find Middle C. The next white key will be D, then E, F, G, A, B, and back to C. You also have the black keys which are, C# (or D♭), D# (or E♭), F# (G♭), G# (or A♭), A# (or B♭). Below this article, there is a picture that may help you locate each of the keys. When resting your hands on the keys, remember to keep your hands rounded and your back straight. Posture is “key”! Another thing musicians tend to do, is number their fingers. In piano, your thumb is one, index is two, and so on. Back to Middle C. This is your home base. When in doubt just go back to Middle C. When I started piano the first thing I learned was a C major scale. I can assure you as a seven year old I was not too happy, but of course went along with it, and now I am so happy I did! Scales are important. For now, let’s stick to the one octave C major scale. C major has no flats and no sharps, meaning you will only play white notes. So, start on Middle C on your right hand, with your first finger (thumb) and play C, then D with your second finger, and E with your third finger. Remember to release each note after you play and go nice and slow. Now, slide your thumb under your second and third finger over to F, play F with your thumb, G with your second finger, A with your third finger, B with your fourth finger, and play the C an octave higher from Middle C with your fifth finger. Awesome job! With your left hand start eight notes (or one octave) below (to the left) of Middle C. Again, when in doubt go to Middle C. So if you get lost return to Middle C, and count eight notes back including Middle C. You will find yourself an octave below Middle C. Start on C with your fifth finger, D with four, E with three, F with two, and G with one. Remember to release notes as you go and go very, very, slowly. Lift up all of your fingers besides your thumb and bring three over your thumb to A, the rest of your fingers follow remembering to keep a rounded shape. Then play A with three, B with two, and Middle C with one. Great Job! Drill this a few times and tr y hands together! This can be very hard, you really have to be coordinated, but with slow practice you will get it. Don’t get discouraged, at first it is not easy. Finally, we can get into songs. There is very little to say about this, once you learn to read notes, time signatures, and key signatures, when you learn accents, which are sharps, flats, or naturals that go against the key signature, you should play what you like. My favorite practice strategy is called chunking. You just have to take sections of the piece and drill them, slowly add on a few measures at a time, then start to speed up the song. I also recommend playing left and right hands separate before trying together. From personal experience, sometimes you know both parts well but find it harder to play them together, and that, my friends, is the beauty of piano! Finally, using YouTube, you can learn any song you wish, and learn it pretty easily through this platform. Happy Practicing!

In summary, piano is a beautiful, complex instrument. It is nearly impossible to explain piano in just one short article. Hopefully, this was helpful, and maybe, just maybe, can get a few of you playing piano! Every single one of you can play piano if you want to, don’t give up!

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play with out passion is inexcusable.”-Beethoven


https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guide/piano/mechanism/mechanism002.html#:~:text=When%20a%20key%20is%20pressed,strikes%20the%20strings%20from%20below.&text=The%20vibrations%20of%20the%20strings,soundboard%2C%20vibrates%20to%20produce%20sound. (How Pianos Work/ Structure)

The History of Bubble Gum

by Elizabeth Terranova

When you chew a piece of gum you probably don’t think much about where it comes from. But did you know that gum chewing has been around for thousands of years and originated in South America? Or that if you were a child in 1915, you could get a free piece of gum on your second birthday. And no gum will not get stuck in your stomach for 7 years if you swallow it. That is a widely known myth. The true answer is that swallowed gum is digested in about three days. Keep reading to find more about the history of America’s favorite pastime.

The earliest traces of gum chewing is believed to date back around 9,000 years ago in Northern Europe as a cure for toothaches. Plant deprived Mastich was chewed by Ancient Greek. There is also evidence that Birch-Bark tar was popular amongst young Scandinavians.

Ancient Mayans chewed chicle from the sapodilla tree to quench thirst and hunger. You were probably allowed to chew chicleii in public, but not if you were a grown or married man in ancient Aztec. (But you were allowed to in private to clean your teeth.) Native Americains also chewed spruce tree resin, and then in the late 1840’s, John Curtis referenced the tradition and developed the first commercial gum.

Curtis then built the world's first chewing gum factory in Portland, Maine. The building is still standing to this day. Spruce tree resin was exchanged for paraffin wax, because resin didn’t taste great and it turned into a brittle texture when chewed.

Gum made William Wrigely Jr. one of the richest men in America. He sold cans of baking powder that came with a free pack of gum. He soon realized that the gum was more sought after then the baking soda. He then started two of his own companies, Juicy Fruit and Wrigley Spearmint. In 1915, the Wrigley Company started a campaign by sending free samples of its gum to millions of Americans and the company also sent sticks of gum to U.S. children on their second birthday.

And now that you’ve learned about the history of gum, here's the history on some of your favorite gum brands.

Bazooka- Bazooka bubble gum was released in 1947 and was first sold in Brooklyn, New York. It includes a comic strip with each piece called a “Bazooka Joe.” In 2012, Bazooka gum was also released with brain teasers and puzzles on the wrappers.

Extra- Extra Gum was first sold by the Wrigley company in 1984. Within a few years, it became the top choice of gum for American consumers.

Trident- Was first sold 1964 as the first sugar-free gum and one of the healthiest as it was proven to not cause tooth decay.

Life Hacks

by Ryan Dempsey

Here are some life hacks that can help you in many situations!

  1. Are you bad at saving money? Just cut a small slot in a soda bottle and leave coins and change inside - you won't be able to get it out as easily!

  2. Do you have trouble storing small items in drawers while keeping organized? Just line pieces of wood or cardboard at an incline across the bottom of the drawer. Then, you will be able to see everything easily.

  3. Are your loose cords causing a mess in your workspace? Try cutting a straw in a spiral shape to wrap around all of your cords, and stick a piece of tape at the edge.

  4. If you have trouble keeping your snack bags closed, try using a small rubber band to keep them fresh.

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Bullying Awareness

by Colleen Overzat and Keira Cullinan

What is bullying?

Bullying is when somebody purposely hurts somebody else both mentally and physically. Bullying is a common problem amongst schools. When you bully someone online, this is called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is also a problem online. Bullying is a serious problem and can lead to people being depressed, or even if it gets bad enough, self harm and suicidal thoughts, maybe even suicide. Bullying and Cyberbullying are both huge problems in society among children and teens. It is something that should not be taken lightly or be thought of as a joke.

How many people get bullied?

Many, many people get bullied. In 2016, 16.5% of students said they were bullied online. In 2019, 17.4% students said they were targeted by this. That is an increase of a percentage of 0.9% of students over 3 years, which if an equal amount of people got targeted each year, it would be an increase of 0.3% each year. It might not seem like a lot, but this is a couple of schools, and 0.3% might be 30. If this is a path followed by every school, there are millions of schools, so if I’m undertstaing, 3,000,000 could suffer. UNDERSTATING. This is a problem. For in-person bullying, in 2019 over half the students said they’d been bullied in the past 30 days. When kids were asked if they had been bullied in their life. In 2016, 72.8% said yes. In 2019, 73.1% said yes. This is an increase of 0.9%, which again, could be millions-maybe BILLIONS-of kids being affected.

How To Help

Lots of people get bullied without realizing it. Some hurtful words that younger kids don't understand. To stop this, other kids have to stick up for each other. Most kids will be bullied for being annoying, short, too tall, and if you have glasses. Some people will do things like push you, slap you, mentally abuse you, call you named, and numerous other things. Most kids that watch don't know how to react. But some things you can do are tell them to back off, become friends with the id that is being bullied, and be nice to them. Some kids are quick to snap back when being made fun of. Some keep quiet. Some kids may say they are fine, most aren't.

Signs of Bullying

If you want to help stop bullying, you should check for signs of it. One sign of bullying is if you see somebody that appears to be joking around with somebody else.. If you listen closer, you might be able to hear what is being said, and it’s not joking around. This is the kind of bullying that goes unnoticed. Other bullying signs can be if you see somebody punch somebody else. This part isn’t as common today, more of a 1940-1980 thing, but it can still happen today. Some kids will threaten others to fight them and punch them. This causes kids to be on guard and stressed if they will get beat up. No kid deserves this. They never did anything and they are in constant stress.

Thank you for reading! So overall, you shouldn’t bully anybody and you should say something as soon as you see a sign for it happening. Also, if you think it might be the start of a type of bullying, either tell a teacher or stand up for the kid, this is no joke. This happens in every school, whether they like to admit it or not. This is a serious issue, so never bully anybody. Most of the time, kids don’t even say anything so you have to check for clues. Kids shouldn’t have to go through this, and it’s just wrong that this happens to other people. Sometimes even the kid gets punished for defending themselves, like if somebody gets bullied, nothing happens, and they yell back. Schools, kids, teachers, and parents all need to step up their game on this because it’s not a joke, you should make sure others aren’t bullied and that others aren’t bullies. The punishments should be worse for this happening, and if the school calls home about it, parents should make sure their kid gets punished correctly, not told “Oh, yeah just don’t do it again”. NO! They should be punished accordingly. Some kids have to suffer this everyday, and that is not ok. Stand up for other kids if you see it, don’t just stand there and watch.

Source: https://cyberbullying.org/school-bullying-rates-increase-by-35-from-2016-to-2019

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The Impact of Climate Change on the Economy

by Michael Cunnane

Climate change is not a new phenomenon. The first report of climate change was made in 1859 when physicist John Tyndall theorized that man-made industry could contribute to rising carbon levels in the atmosphere. Today we are going to look at the impacts of climate change on not only the earth, but also on the economy.

Let's take a look at the impacts of climate change. For one example, extreme weather frequency has been increasing in the Northern Hemisphere. Other examples include how heavy precipitation is increasing and on the West Coast wildfires are skyrocketing. Each year sees a new Atlantic hurricane record broken, along with higher wind speeds. More droughts are disrupting the food supply.

Climate change can have dire implications for the economy. Global crop yields are projected to decrease over the next few years and rising temperatures in places like India near the equator will mean less productivity and no outside labor. This means that prices for cheaply made goods could increase. Real estate property investments near coastal areas are decreasing. To give an example, a number of real estate investors wont buy or sell properties in Miami. BlackRock has already listed climate change as a major investment risk and most others will start to shift to responsible investing. Climate change can also affect 3% of the global GDP and potentially destroy industries like agriculture. How these companies manage these risks could be critical to investments.

One of the goals of most investment companies is to help warrant and speed up a switch to a carbon neutral economy. This is because many investors are aware of climate risk in investing. They know how much of an impact climate change will have and has had on investments. One particular market that is headed in a negative direction is coal. The demand for coal is in freefall and the demand for green energy will surpass it by 2030, if not sooner. Green energy prices are also falling. This is a big change in the economy and investors have been taking notice.

Climate change policy from what we have seen has been relatively insufficient at its job. The path that the United Nations laid out during the Paris Climate Accords has not been ambitious enough. Even if they were ambitious and groundbreaking, we don't follow the path that the United Nations outlined during the Accords anyway. From what we have seen, climate change policy changes will either happen due to public pushback or will happen because that's how the economy will shift.

Climate change can have dire consequences and as I have outlined today not just for the Earth, but for Wall Street. As we see more investors start to see climate change as a major investment risk and as we have seen with the impacts that climate change has given Mother Nature, I think climate change will impact the economy just as much it has impacted the Earth.

Sources: https://www.brookings.edu/research/ten-facts-about-the-economics-of-climate-change-and-climate-policy/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/upshot/how-to-think-about-the-costs-of-climate-change.html, Woodwell Climate Research Center, Palmer Drought Index, National Weather Service, Inevitable Policy Response

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A Long Journey Home

by Ava La Douceur

I really didn’t want to have to migrate. I knew that if we didn’t we would be stuck down south and I didn’t want to be stuck there. But still, I already had to fly a lot to come somewhere warmer and I’d rather just stay there. More than anything, I’d love to just stay here where it’s always warm so migration wouldn’t be needed. But we can’t do that, we have to go home.

Allow me to explain. I’m a bird. Sounds a bit weird but it's true. That’s why I migrate every winter. When I migrate I basically move to warmer places more south when winter comes so I can stay warm, keep getting food, and many other reasons. Every year ever since I remember I would have to migrate on my own because my parents would leave me alone to do it. Not that they were purposely trying to be mean or anything like that, it was just what they would do. It wasn’t like they could hold me on their back while they flew, so at that point I’d have to know how to fly and migrate on my own. So I would migrate on my own. But since now that it’s getting warmer out I’m going back home.

Now that we’ve established some things I think it’s time to get back to my story. I hate migrating. Everything about it. Whenever we need to start getting ready to migrate are the worst times for me. We have to build up our fat levels in our bodies so we can survive long distances flying which I hate. I also just hate having to fly that much in general. We fly miles and miles to go home. And we’ll fly hours a day which is so tiring. Sometimes I think about just staying here where it’s warm. But that wouldn’t be possible.

After months of staying where it was warmer and weeks of preparing, tomorrow is going to be the day we fly back “home.” Although I don’t want this day to come I still feel somewhat excited for the journey and to be home. But only a little. I still don’t want to have to fly all that distance.But I have built up a lot of fat in my body to be able to survive this distance and done so much other stuff to prepare for this, so when I woke up and was about to leave, I felt prepared and was almost excited for the journey ahead.

We left at night since the temperature would be better and there would be less predators. When I knew I was ready I took off and started to fly in the air. It was pretty normal, flying is always what I expect it to be and this was no different. While I flew I stayed pretty far from the other birds but we were all still in a group and after flying for a short amount of time, I was in the hang of it and ready for the journey ahead.

Now I’m going to be honest, the journey was long, and boring and nothing interesting enough to talk about happened. So I’m going to fast forward a few weeks to when I was back up north where my home was. After so long of flying I was of course sick of it, but something felt different. I could sense where we were, and that place was close to home. I started to notice the scenery, the trees, the water, everything. I could just sense being close to home. Although I really didn’t want to take that journey in the first place, I was happy to be back there. I lived up north my whole life and it never bothered me having to leave there or come back. It was only this year that was different.

I realized then that it wasn’t having to go back north that I didn’t like. I was just nervous for the journey ahead and missing home so I mistook it for disliking it. I was so anxious I started to hate everything. But at that moment I was happy to be “home.” I flew through the air enjoying it, even though it was early spring so it wasn’t necessarily that warm. But that was the best fly I ever took. I knew at that moment that I liked both places so much and a little journey was nothing to be safe during harsh weather. So thats why, every time I migrate from place to place it’s not a bad thing. It’s something I look forward to. It is always the best time for me.

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Detective Buster Part 2

by Matthew Costello

Refresher from the last issue:

I got a job at The Detective Agency, or better known as the TDA. When I get there I ask a couple of questions to my boss, Mr. Sneak. After quickly searching my office I find a knife in the drawer. (Fun fact the drawer also had a bag of goldfish in there. It isn’t important but still.) I get my marbles back in my jar and get ready for my first mystery and find another disturbing thing.

Continued from the last issue:

Chapter 4: John Adams?

As I turn on the computer, I found who last worked here. “John Adams,” I read, “Date of Birth, September 17th, 1953.” I think to myself, “ First, who is John Adams, and why was he hiding a knife? Also, what happened to him, he just left for no reason?” As I’m pondering, someone walks past my office and I snap back into reality. “Ok, NOW it’s time to work,” I say to myself. I reset the computer, sign in, and I’m on my first mystery.

Chapter 5: The First Mystery

I check my emails and see that someone sent me an email. It’s my first mystery! As I click it and started reading, my palms get sweaty. I have done 1 mystery ever, and it was hard. But this is the real deal, the big dog, no mistakes this time. “ Dear Mr. [named blurred for privacy reasons], I have been told that you are new here, so welcome! Since you are probably nervous, I have given you a somewhat easy mystery. This mystery is nicknamed The Missing Gumball Machine. Click this link for all the information.” As I click the link and read all the notes, I quickly realize that this is going to be harder than I thought. While I’m putting evidence in groups, Mr. Sneak comes into my office, “Ay, come out here for a second.” I do that and get out of my chair and follow him outside. “Ok, so how is your first mystery going?” I respond, “I just started, and so far so good.” “Good, good,” He says, “Do you have any questions?” I consider asking about John Adams but decide not to, “No, I don’t have questions.” “Ok, I just wanted to say your shift ended, so you can leave.” He says, “Ok.” I grab my stuff and walk home

Chapter 6: Taking a breather

While I’m walking back, I still have a million questions about John Adams. It also said he was assassinated which is… interesting. After 15 minutes, I get back to my apartment. I look at the time and it’s 5:23 pm. “Ok, I need to search up some things,” I say to myself. I grab my laptop and search on google, John Adams. Unfortunately for me, only president John Adams. “Well, that was a waste of time,” I say to myself “I should get dinner and go to bed.” And that I did. Today is now Wednesday, and I have off today. I only work Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, which means I have off Wednesday and Friday. Also, I have off Saturday and Sunday, except if they need me for something, then I come in. “WAIT for A SECOND,” I think to myself, “I CAN SEARCH UP THE DETECTIVE AGENCY, AND FIND WHY IT FEELS OFF!” And that I did.

Chapter 7: Holy Bologna Sandwich

I quickly opened up my laptop and searched up “The detective agency”. “Holy. Bologna. Sandwich.” I say to myself, “There was a MASS MURDER HERE? How long ago was this, FIVE YEARS AGO WHAT IN THE BOLOGNA SANDWICH?!” I wish I hadn’t seen this, now I’m gonna be terrified whenever I step foot in there. “Wait, maybe that’s what happened to John Adams,” I think to myself, “but wasn’t he assassinated?” I look at the clock again and it’s 11:47. I get up from my bed and go make myself some pizza rolls, homemade of course. Those store brand ones are, euaeuaeugh, disgusting.

Chapter 8: What Happened 5 Years Ago

As I wake up to my cat scratching my hair, I get up for work. I started walking to TDA, and I don’t know why, but there are a lot fewer people today, even though it is a Wednesday. “Hey, John.” Mr. Sneak says to me, “Hey, Rob.” I respond. I go to office room 313 and sit down ready to do work. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I hear screaming, A LOT of screaming. “What the cheese graters is going on out there?” I stand up to look but even less expected, I hear what sounds like a gunshot. “Um, no, I’m actually pretty happy to stay in my office all of a sudden,” I say out loud to myself, “no reason at all to alter my decision of looking out, none at all.” I ignore the noises and start working again. I open up the- “Wait who is that, why am I floating, whose body is that,” I think to myself, “Wait, that’s me, AND WHY IS THAT GUY PUTTING A KNIFE IN THE DRAWER?!”

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Would You Rather?

by Aidan Sherwin

  1. Would You Rather run a marathon, or swim twenty miles?

  2. Would you rather have one true trustworthy friend, or have many acquaintances?

  3. Would you rather be able to fly, or have the ability to read minds?

  4. Would you rather live in the future, or live in the past?

  5. Would you rather have unlimited battery on your phone, or have unlimited data?

  6. Would you rather drive to Florida, or fly there but have to stop in three other states first?

  7. Would you rather have one big two week vacation a year, or have mini three day vacations a few times a year?

  8. Would you rather move far away and the pandemic ends, or continue living in your house but the pandemic goes on for another few months?

  9. Would you rather be five years old forever, or be ninety-five years old forever?

  10. Would you rather have no electronics for a week, or have no desserts for a month?

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Interview with Katie Hoeg

by Grace Hoffman

Katie Hoeg is one of the most successful college lacrosse players of all time. When I think of college lacrosse, the one person I think of is Katie Hoeg. Katie Hoeg plays college lacrosse at the University of North Carolina, where she holds the record for both points and assists, as well as the record for most career assists in a season. Katie is ranked fourth in the country for the best college women's lacrosse player. Other than being an outstanding lacrosse player, Katie is very smart. She is a dental major at the University of North Carolina. Katie was born in Mattituck on Long Island. As I interviewed Katie I realized not only is she a great athlete but a great person overall. Katie Hoeg has set a bar, a bar for aspiring athletes who strive to be as great as her to reach.

What is your proudest moment of your career?

Not on the lacrosse field, but when I found out I was voted captain, the fact that my teammates trusted me enough to lead the team.

What is your favorite part about being a college athlete?

Being around my best friends 24/7. She said, “that in the beginning you are sort of forced to be friends with everyone because you are around them all the time.” Also the relationships that she has made with coaches and teammates.

What is your favorite food to eat before a game?

“I usually go to whole foods, and eat eggs. Bacon, coffee, oatmeal, potatoes, and a lot of fruit.

What is the hardest part about being a student athlete?

Katie said that, “On hard days at practice I usually tend to let how I do in practice get to me.” She said that she had to learn that practice is over now go home and focus on academics now.”

How do your teammates make practice more fun?

Katie explained that cheering on your teammates, especially the little things not just celebrating wins or goals, but a ground ball or a nice pass. She also said that the fact that every role is appreciated. Katie also explained how when everyone is super competitive and intense, that brings more energy to practice.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing lacrosse or in classes?

Katie said “I love going to the beach during the summers, and I love food, so learning a new recipe or trying a new restaurant” is one of her favorite things to do. Katie also said that she enjoyed playing board games with her friends. Her and her friends enjoy playing a game called Mexican Dominoes.

What is the best advice you have received from a coach?

For Katie's coach she picked her Dad. She said, “Always think of 20 seconds of courage, mustering up courage through little moments and having that strength and confidence will give your strength along the way.” Another piece of advice that Katie learned from her Dad is “Always be the best you can be.” She explained that don’t let anyone think you are a ball hog, just you do you!”

After these questions I learned so much about Katie and what it’s like to be a college athlete. Other than the questions that I had asked in the interview, I learned so much more about her. Here are some fun facts about Katie:

  • Her dad was the one who inspired her to become a dentist.
  • If Katie could eat one food for the rest of her life she would eat steak or watermelon.
  • Katie’s favorite Netflix show is The Office.
  • Katie loves to surf! She got her first surfboard at fifteen or sixteen years old. She even put a UNC decal on it.
  • Katie has been to a University of North Carolina men's basketball game, she said “ that it was an awesome experience, and that they had a whole big ceremony at the game.

Adrian’s Baseball Journey: Part 2

by Aidan Sherwin

Continuation from Issue #1

The count was 0-2. Adrian kept reminding himself to not make the mistakes he made before. He felt himself shaking because he was so nervous. The pitcher was winding up for the next pitch, and Adrian took a swing at the ball when it was coming by. All of the sudden he heard the crack of the bat meeting the ball. He turned to stare at the ball rolling in foul territory. He’s kept this at-bat alive, and he wanted to keep it that way.

Adrian stepped out of the batter’s box, took some practice swings and some deep breaths before stepping back into position. The umpire called time in, and the pitcher began his pitching motion. After the ball was released, Adrian brought his bat up, and was prepared to take a rip at the ball. When it felt right, he swung the bat and felt the ball colliding with it. Without hesitation, he sprinted towards first base. After he turned passed first and headed towards second, the ball was caught by the center fielder.

Adrian stood in the dugout feeling disappointed, but Eli came over to tell him he did a nice job. He knew that he was on the right path of getting back to normal. It made Adrian feel better and he completely agreed with his friend.

The Game

The boys had practice sessions together to practice batting. They wanted to improve on that topic so they’d be ready for future games. It was the best thing to do after all.

The night before the next game, Adrian gave himself his own speech on exactly what he'd need to do the following day. He tried to prepare himself as much as he could.

Adrian woke up early that morning and did some stretching. He did stretches that his team would pregame. After stretching, he had breakfast and started getting ready for school. He texted Eli asking if he was ready for today’s game. He replied yes. That put Adrian in a good mood. He knew he was ready for today.

After school, Adrian and Eli met up and walked straight to the field. They dropped their bags in the dugout and went to have a catch in right field. Whilst throwing the ball back and forth, they were discussing their plan for the game. They were going over what they did in their previous practices.

After their pregame warmups, the two felt as prepared as they’ve ever been. They were the home team, so it was their turn in the field first. Eli played shortstop and Adrian was in right field. They would be in those positions throughout the whole game.

Adrian and Eli’s team did a good job at getting three outs so they could step up to bat. This time, Eli was up before Adrian. He watched the pitcher warm up and then stepped into the batter's box. The pitcher brought his arm back, then fired a fastball that Eli swung and missed at. The pitcher pitched the ball again, and Eli saw the ball coming towards him, took a rip at it, and was on his way to first base as the ball was bouncing towards the wall in the outfield. The center fielder got ahold of it before Eli could advance the second.

Next, it was Adrian’s turn. He took a couple practice swings and took the batting position. The ball was pitched to him and he fouled it off down the left field line. The next pitch came in and Adrian watched it go off to the right. The umpire called it a ball. The next pitch looked good to him, and he decided to swing at it. He made contact with the ball and watched it go right past the third basemen. Adrian made it to first base and Eli made it to second.

Next up was their teammate Wiliam. He stepped up to the plate looking to get the run in. He stepped into his batting stance and swung at the ball when it came to him. He hit a popup to left field. The left fielder caught the ball and Eli advanced to third base to make it a sacrifice fly.

After William, it was Kyle’s turn. If he got a base hit here, he’d bring Eli home to score the run. The pitcher released the ball and it was on its way to him. He took a hard rip at it, and the ball rocketed to right-center field. Both the right fielder and center fielder were running to the ball but it had already gone right past them. Eli made his way home and Adrian was rounding second. He had the opportunity to make his way home as long as he beat the throw from the throw to the plate.

The center fielder had just picked up the ball and Adrian had turned to run home after touching third base. The center fielder had thrown it to the cut off man. Adrian was halfway down the line when the throw was being made to home from shallow center field. He was only a few feet away from home and the ball went past the pitcher's mound.

Adrian slid into home plate, and the catcher applied the tag right after his foot touched the base. The umpire called him safe. Kyle made it to second base and the game was looking great for their team.

The Final Inning

That inning, Adrian’s team had scored two more runs. Nothing else exciting happened for his team, but the opposing team scored three runs and now it was the top of the ninth. The team just needed three outs to win.

Adrian was still in right field and Eli was still at shortstop. The first batter on the opposing team hit a ground ball to the second baseman. He quickly picked it up and threw it to the first baseman for the first out. The second batter hit the ball to shallow left field, and he made it to first base. The next batter struck out, and that made it two outs.

The next batter hit a single to center field. This advanced the first runner to second and the batter to first. Next up was their star player.

The pitcher pitched the ball, and the batter hit a fly ball to right field. If it drops, it would bring a run or two home and they’d be in the lead.

Adrian was running back to make the catch. He had a strong feeling that he’d catch the ball.

The ball was flying swiftly through the air and Adrian was right behind. When it was low enough, he put his glove up, and snagged the ball right out of the air and into his glove. He caught it, and kept the team victorious.

The Next Step

Adrian and Eli went through their high school years together mastering the game of baseball. It was their dream to be in the MLB someday. They kept pushing for that dream, and refused to stop.

They continued to practice every day because they knew that that was their only way to ever get into the MLB.

Adrian and Eli both went to college and joined their college’s baseball team. Although not attending the same college, the two still managed to keep in touch. They would also occasionally be playing each other in games. This was the only way they made physical contact.

The two both played just as well in college as they had in high school. But they continued to work super hard. They knew that their baseball careers were nowhere near finished. And they were correct.

Minor league baseball teams were interested in both Adrian and Eli. The Buffalo Bisons were interested in Adrian, and the Clinton LumberKings were interested in Eli. There were good chances that they’d both get drafted.

And just like that the two were one step closer to pursuing their dreams. Both minor league teams drafted them. Eli was the shortstop for the LumberKings, and Adrian was the Bisons’ right fielder. Although both of them had a couple rough games, they pulled their ways through the season just fine. Both of their batting averages were in the mid to late two hundreds.

The Majors

Adrian and Eli had three more seasons in the minor league before making any contact with the majors. They were both available to be drafted into the MLB. It wasn’t long until the two’s lifelong dreams had a chance to come true.

It was drafting day, and all major league team officials were present. The Chicago Cubs had the first pick, and the drafting kept going on from there. After an hour or so, the Arizona Diamondbacks had chosen Adrian to be a part of their team. He had a huge smile all across his face. It was this day that his dream had come true.

But Eli was still waiting to potentially get picked. He waited and waited as other teams selected their picks. Then the Diamondbacks were up to their second pick. Although not expected, Eli prayed to get picked by them. His heart was racing, his palms were sweaty, and he started to shake a little bit because he was so nervous.

Before he knew it, the Diamondbacks official had announced Eli’s name. He couldn't believe it. He couldn’t express how happy he was. Not only did his dream come true alongside Adrian’s, but they would also be living their dreams on the same team.

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Some Hot Sports Takes

by John Tarpey

Hello all. This is John Tarpey. Today, I will be discussing some hot sports takes that some people will strongly disagree with and others will think that I’m right on the money. Here we go.

Take 1: Football

Lamar Jackson is a top 2 QB in football. He has gotten his team to the playoffs in each of his first 3 seasons in the NFL with a lackluster receiving core and not many offensive weapons. Lamar is basically the only weapon that Baltimore has on the offensive side of things. He is the best running-QB in football, and will probably surpass Michael Vick as the best running-QB of all-time when he retires. He also has the single-season QB rushing title and an MVP under his ballot. Yes, he hasn’t played up to standards in playoff games, but lots of young QB’s tend to do that. I think Lamar will turn out to be truly special as time goes by.

Take 2: Basketball

LeBron James will NEVER surpass Michael Jordan. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron is a generational talent, but nothing compares to MJ. MJ has more championships, Finals MVPs, Reg. Season MVP’s, has a DPOY which LeBron doesn’t, and has 9 more scoring titles than LeBron. I will always see MJ as the GOAT. He did more for his team, and was able to win without having to team up with other superstars, unlike LBJ.

Take 3: Baseball

The best move of the offseason was none of the following:

  • Lindor and Carrasco to NYM
  • Snell and Darvish to SD
  • Kluber and Lemahieu to NYY
  • Yates and Springer to TOR

The best move was Josh Bell to Washington. Remember this guy? This guy is the ultimate definition of a slugger. He destroys the baseball. And Washington has been in need of a 1B for a couple of years now due to Ryan Zimmerman really starting to dry out. Bell is younger, can do more, and Washington gave up practically nothing for him. No one talks about this move, because they are looking at all the superstar moves, but we really need to look more into this move and Washington getting their hands on Jon Lester. These moves were both under the radar and can make Washington a World Series contender immediately because they also have Soto, Turner, Robles, and a pitching staff of Scherzer, Corbin, Strasburg, and now Lester.

Take 4: Football

The Washington Football Team is a QB away from being a Super Bowl contender. They have a star RB and WR duo for the future in Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin. They are legit on defense especially after drafting Chase Young. They have an elite coach in Ron Rivera who has playoff experience and a Super Bowl appearance under his ballot. And they are coming off of a division title. They will be hungrier than ever this season.

Take 5: Basketball

Stephen Curry is the most overrated player in NBA History. I know. I know. This will make lots of people mad. But let's face it. He couldn’t win on his own. The only time he won on his own was when Kyrie got hurt in the 2015 NBA Finals and Curry didn’t play well enough that ANDRE IGUODALA won Finals MVP over him! And then he choked a 3-1 lead in 2016. Then he got a top 2 player in the NBA and won 2 straight, and then missed big shots and couldn’t beat Toronto without him. His championships mean nothing because he hasn’t won a Finals MVP, and quite frankly, his defense is below par and his passing is just average. Don’t get me wrong: He’s the greatest shooter ever, and is efficient as hell, but there are other parts to basketball besides shooting. Take away his jump shot and he’s a below average starter.

Take 6: Baseball:

Xander Bogaerts is arguably the most underrated player in the game. He might be an average to below average fielder, but let's sink in his hitting. He has developed more power to his game over the years. He has won a World Series in Boston. He will give you .275+ year in and year out. And he doesn’t miss games. He is an iron man. He is one of the game's brightest stars, and needs to be recognized more. When I watch MLB Network or ESPN or some baseball talk show, I never hear his name mentioned. Let's start recognizing the greatness of “The X-Man.”

Take 7: Football

The Giants actually had a successful offseason last year and in hindsight, their past moves don’t even look that bad. Let’s examine this. They definitely reached for Daniel Jones, but he has proven to be more mature and a better QB than Drew Lock and certainly than Dwayne Haskins Jr, who has had off-the-field issues. They could’ve taken Pro Bowl DL Josh Allen out of Kentucky, but they chose to roll with Jones, who has had his moments. Jones throws the ball well. I just think he needs more offensive weapons. Sterling Shepard can’t be the receiver 1 on a team. But Jones throws it well. He has Engram and many other receivers who can’t seem to catch passes and that is why he ranks in the top 10 in throw to drop rate. Now. They might’ve overpaid the unproven James Bradberry, but that move has proven to be excellent. Bradberry was named to the Pro Bowl in his first season with NYG. They also won the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. They got back a young stud in Jabril Peppers and used their draft pick on Dexter Lawrence who proved himself to be a stud. They also got their best OL from that deal in Kevin Zeitler. And they signed Logan Ryan in the offseason last year. But they did reach for the up and coming OL Andrew Thomas. However, that sounds more positive than negative to me.

Take 8: Basketball

Oscar Robertson was better than Magic Johnson but didn’t have a better career than him because he didn’t receive enough recognition for his greatness. “The Big O” also was more all around than Magic Johnson. He could rebound and score better, and defended better than Johnson did. He averaged 30+ in 4+ seasons but only captured one scoring title due to the fact that he played in the same era as Wilt Chamberlain, who I consider to be a top 7 player of all-time. I also think that The Big O never really played on the teams that Magic did. Magic had a top 3 player of all-time beside him, in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also had a HOF in James Worthy, a perennial all-star in Byron Scott, and physicality on the defensive side of things with Kurt Rambis and Michael Cooper. Oscar played with Kareem when his name was Lew Alcindor and played with him for a short, tiny period of time. I think that Oscar Robertson deserves more appreciation than he gets and I think he would’ve been better than Magic Johnson if he had Kareem for his whole entire career.

Take 9: Baseball

The Astros former GM, Jeff Luhnow, is a total idiot and should be ashamed of himself. He needs to take full responsibility for the team's actions. They flat out cheated. 2 straight years. 2017 and 2018. And they won a World Series off of it. He said that their cheating “didn’t affect the game.” In my opinion, that is an utterly disgraceful and idiotic comment made by him. How the hell did that not affect the game? It damn sure affected the game in every way, shape, and form. You flat out cheated and cost the other 29 teams their season. You wouldn’t have won without cheating and 2020 is a perfect example. They didn’t make the World Series without it. 2019 - Lost in the World Series to Washington. Players on their team should own up to their actions and move forward instead of making excuses and pushing the blame in other peoples directions.

Take 10: Football
The Falcons don’t need a new QB. They should keep Ryan and Julio. GET A DEFENSE. Their defense is horrid. They blew lead after lead after lead. It was unbelievable. They have a couple of playmakers on the defense such as Grady Jarrett and Keanu Neal but really have nothing else besides that. Yes, they have up and coming 1st round rookie in AJ Terrell. But they still have a bottom 5 defense in football. And that is clearcut. They need a fresh start on the defensive side of the football. Blowing up the offense will just create more work for themselves.

Take 11: Basketball

The most underrated player in NBA History is “Iso Joe” Johnson. Joe Johnson can shoot the 3 at a high level. He has a mid range game. He has hit a lot of clutch shots. And I will bet you no one knows that he made 7 ASG! He can’t really do much else besides score, but there are players that solely relied on scoring that have gotten tons more recognition than he has. He has been a solid passer and an average defender for the majority of his career, but 7 ASG deserves more recognition than he’s gotten. No one EVER talks about Joe Johnson besides when they talk about how he’s cooking up the BIG3 Basketball League. That is it. Put some respect on this man’s name.

Take 12: Baseball

Mookie Betts is the best player in baseball. He is a better fielder than just about anyone. From diving catches to robbing home runs to throwing people out from the right field corner ALL the way to 3rd base, this man can do it ALL. He can hit for .300+ in any given year. He can run. He’s a 5 tool player. He’s coachable. He is a 2x WS Champ for a reason. He has uplifted the Red Sox and Dodgers from above average playoff teams to WS Champs. These are all reason why he is the best player in baseball and no one can compare to that. Trout can’t. He doesn’t have 2 rings. Judge. Harper. This one. That one. No one can.

Take 13: Football

Who’s better: Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers?

I would go with “Showtime Mahomes” without even thinking about it. They are both generational talents and both have won an MVP award and a Super Bowl, but I think that since Mahomes has entered the league, he has been noticeably better than Aaron Rodgers. Since 2018, Mahomes has a SB Title. Rodgers doesn’t. Since 2018, Mahomes has an MVP and an Offensive Player of The Year. Rodgers has neither. Since 2018, Mahomes has thrown for more TD, has thrown for more yards, and has led his team to a better overall record than Rodgers. And some people are talking about Mahomes being the GOAT one day. That is why I would go with Mahomes without even thinking about it. But don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is an amazing QB and has been amazing for a decade now.

Take 14: Basketball:

No one realizes that the Philadelphia 76ers are building a dynasty. They have 2 all-stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Embiid is an MVP candidate as we speak and Simmons is nearly averaging a triple-double. I agree with Stephen A. Smith on this one. Ben Simmons is a jumpshot away from being the next LeBron James. He just needs that 3 pointer and pull-up to fall. And they have a great coach in Doc Rivers, and a great nucleus around the 2 all-stars. Tobias Harris is an all-star caliber player. Seth Curry is a lethal shooter. Danny Green is a nice 3&D Wing. Shake Milton is a 6 Man candidate as we speak. Tyrese Maxey is showing flashes of an all-star and is only in his rookie year! And Matisse Thybulle is a Tony Allen type perimeter defender. This team has a great defense and threir offense adds in and completes the equation. They will be a threat for years to come.

Take 15: Baseball:

Bryce Harper actually WAS worth the money. He had a good first year but was overlooked because everyone was talking about how the Phillies overpaid the hell out of him and people were calling him selfish and a bad fit for a team because the Nationals won the World Series right when he left. This all makes sense in a way, but I respectfully disagree. Bryce Harper is a generational talent. He can hit for power, is great in the outfield, etc, etc. He can do it all. In the shortened season, let’s take a look at his stats. .268 BA. Nothing crazy. Nothing horrible. Around average to above average. 33 RBI. That means that he averages more than half an RBI a game. Good. And he hit 13 HR while having 41 Runs scored. Both are good. And he clearly makes the Phillies better. He is their future and I think that people need to stop hating on him and give him a chance. He hasn’t even played 3 years there yet and people are already saying “trade him.” Ridiculous. Give the man a chance.

Take 16: Football

Michael Thomas is good in all, but isn’t a top 5 receiver in football. The reason why is because I can name 5 guys I’d rather have than him. Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, and a healthy Julio Jones. These guys all have much better attitudes than him and are way more consistent than he was. Michael Thomas is a great player, but these players are difference makers. As a matter of fact, the Saints would have made the playoffs with or without MT. They had Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, Demario Davis, Trey Hendrickson, and more. They had a good defense. They had a top 5 RB in football. And they had a good OL. Like I said, MT is good in all and is a great player but he is not better than any of those 5 guys.

Take 17: Basketball

Kyrie was right to leave LeBron. LeBron James is a top 3 player of all-time. Don’t get me wrong here. But the reason why I think Kyrie made the right move to leave him is because Kyrie was playing second fiddle to LBJ and was ready to take the next step to being the best player on a championship team. Now, that obviously didn’t work, as he left the Celtics after 2 years and signed with the Nets to team up with future hall-of-famer in Kevin Durant. But the reason why it was a good idea when he requested a trade from the Cavaliers was because LeBron was “the man” and that’s what Kyrie wanted to be and knew he wouldn’t be in LeBron. And Kyrie is a great offensive player and wants to be more involved in the offense. I truly don’t blame him for that.

Take 18: Baseball

The Mets are the 3rd best team in the National League. The only 2 teams that I’d take before them are the Padres and the Dodgers. The Padres got Musgrove, Snell, and Darvish during the offseason, and that cannot be denied. They also still have Machado, Grisham, Tatis Jr., Hosmer, and more. They are a great team. And obviously the Dodgers are too. They are reigning World Series champions. The reason why I think that NYM is the 3rd best team and not Atlanta or Chicago or a team like that is because the Mets had a great offseason besides the firing of GM Jared Porter. They got Trevor May and Carlos Carrasco and are in talks with Brad Hand right now. Those are 3 very good pitchers when fully healthy. They also got a new, all-star caliber catcher who is amongst the most athletic catchers in baseball in James McCann. And last but not least, they got a top 10 player in baseball and the best SS in the game in Francisco Lindor. He can really do it all and is a huge upgrade from Amed Rosario. Let’s keep in mind that they did miss out on George Springer who signed with Toronto, but that is fine, because they still have Michael Conforto in that outfield. The “Amazin’s” are back and better than ever.

Take 19: Football

The Patriots will be just fine regardless of their roster because they have the greatest coach of all time coaching them in Bill Belichick. I think that people should stop with this narrative that Tom Brady “didn’t need” Bill Belichick in order to succeed. That is utter nonsense. Bill Belichick makes other good coaches look like fools. He has made Mike Tomlin look like a fool. He has made Sean McDermott look like a fool. Andy Reid. HE IS THE GREATEST COACH IN NFL HISTORY. The Patriots also had a lot of defensive assets who sat out because of COVID. They lost guys like Dont’a Hightower. We know what he is capable of. I think that they should take a roll on Trey Lance in the draft because it seems unlikely about a Cam Newton return especially after his below-par performance this season. The Pats’ will be just fine and will be returning to the playoffs in no time.

Take 20: Basketball

People are going to call me crazy here, but I don’t see how I’m wrong. LeBron James isn’t a top 3 player right now. KD, Kawhi, and Giannis are the top 3. KD is one of the greatest, if not the greatest mid-range shooter ever. KD can shoot and shoot efficiently, while LeBron struggles from the line and from distance. KD is also a much improved defender. Now, I think LeBron is a better defender than Durant but KD is top tier on defense nowadays. And they rebound about the same. LeBron is a better passer but KD can pass. And KD is a better scorer than LeBron. I’d give the nod to KD here. And Giannis has won the last 2 regular season MVPs. LeBron hasn’t won an MVP since his Heat days. Giannis plays better defense than LeBron and shoots more efficiently than LeBron. He also rebounds better than James. And finally, Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi is a better shooter, more efficient, a better defender, better scorer, rebounding is no big difference. Kawhi is very clutch. LeBron doesn’t have that clutch gene. Kawhi beat a dynasty without another superstar. LeBron needed another top 5 player to beat Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Enough said.

Take 21: Baseball

The New York Yankees are going to win the World Series when healthy. Let’s take a look at their roster when fully healthy. They have a 2x All-Star behind the dish in Gary Sanchez, who has indeed struggled in recent memory. He has great power though. They have a 2020 MVP candidate in Luke Voit at first. They have a 2x Batting Champion at second in DJ Lemahieu. They have a 2x All-Star at Shortstop in Gleyber Torres, who by the way is under 25 years old. They have a top 10 third baseman in the MLB who has a great bat and glove in Gio Urshela.

They have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, 2 players who are capable of winning MVP on any given year. They have a great defender and good CF in Aaron Hicks who they gave 70 million to. They have Clint Frazier who is an up and coming in left. They have a trade asset in Miguel Andujar, who I think they should keep. And after signing Corey Kluber, their healthy rotation will be unstoppable. They will have a 1-2-3 punch of Cole, Severino, and Kluber. Sounds good to me. And then they have up and coming pitchers in Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia. They also still have Domingo German who had 15+ wins in his last season, and add in a solid Jordan Montgomery, and the fact that they are still interested in re-signing Tanaka and Paxton. They still have Ottavino, Chad Green, Britton, and “The Cuban Missle” in Aroldis Chapman in that bullpen. And they have the best GM in baseball in Brian Cashman who makes moves that always turn out right. They have a top 10 coach in Aaron Boone. When healthy, what more do they need? Now do you people understand where I’m coming from?

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Game Review: Friday Night Funkin'

by Gianna DiLucci

Oh no! Your girlfriend's evil dad is trying to break up you and your girlfriend's relationship! AND he's an ex-rockstar! You gotta beat him in a rap battle if you wanna stay together! It's time for some Friday Night Funkin'!

Friday Night Funkin' is a rhythm game that incorporates similar ideas from DDR and Osu, which are both popular rhythms games. The game was originally created for a contest on the popular collaboration site Newgrounds (Cool Fact!: NG is home to popular games such as Henry Stickmin and The Impossible Quiz!), however the developer also said they were already thinking of making a full game based off the entry anyways. FNF is a free game on Newgrounds and downloadable on Itch.io containing music by KawaiSprite, art by evilsk8r and PhantomArcade, and overall programming by ninjamuffin99. KawaiSprite also has released a Spotify playlist filled with all the songs used in the game!

In this game, you play against different enemies in Story Mode (They’re separated in Weeks, currently it goes up to Week 6) by rapping along to the song by using the arrow keys to hit the corresponding notes shown. As the Weeks go by the songs get more difficult, and if that is not a challenge enough or if it's too hard for you you can always change the difficulty between Easy, Medium, and Hard. In Story Mode, the Weeks typically involve 2-3 songs you have to play continuously through. If you want to focus more on practicing certain songs, you can choose to play Free Play, which allows you to pick from the songs which one you want to play by itself.

When I first saw this game I was pretty curious, since I’ve always wanted to play rhythm games. It takes some getting used to at first, but once you can understand the controls and the basics of how to play, you’ll be able to master the game in no time! The game also consists of a lot of dynamic settings for battles and variety to the characters giving an overall vibrant and energetic feel the game gives off, which I love. Additionally, many people online have created their own custom mods for the game, some even with original songs they composed! These mods can be downloaded from whatever websites you may find the modding community, such as gamebanana.com.

All in all, Friday Night Funkin' is a great rhythm game with catchy tunes and amazing concepts. The art style is also very different from the usual and the diversity or characters and level backgrounds definitely catches the eye. It may not be a game as intense as Osu or have a lot of variety yet, but it is still a great game overall.

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A Person with a “Soul”

by Aleyna Saygili

Have you seen the new movie named Soul? Well, if you haven’t, sorry for spoiling it for you! The movie is about a high school band teacher named Joe who is trying to become a jazz musician, but a mishap of falling down into an open manhole leads him to the dimension where souls are made, and where dead souls go. The only way for him to go back to Earth is by being a mentor and helping a soul get an earth patch and go to Earth, but instead of letting that soul go to Earth, he had to take that earth patch and go back. I think this movie was great, but I would change a few things.

First things first, instead of him having a pet cat, he should have had a parrot, that way it would be funny and you could hear him talk instead of hearing his thoughts. Second, when he fell down the drain they should have added a picture of him in the drain and him closing his eyes with people surrounding the drain and then the people moving out of the way for the ambulance. Third, they should have made a tunnel instead of a pathway to walk on so that it would look safe. Fourth, Joe should have put out his arm out of the tunnel wall and have a surprised face on him. To go along with my third and fourth suggestion, when the crowd of people came, the people should have pushed him out of the tunnel and while he was falling, the rectangle box should have led him to the dimension where souls are made. Sixth, they should have named the people who run the dimensions Lisa instead of Gary because, again, it would be funny for all the instructors, including the boys, to be named Lisa.

The movie Soul, is a great movie! If you have not watched it yet, you probably should! Even though I might have spoiled it for you. Although it might seem like I did not like it too much, it was an amazing movie. Good job making this movie Pixar!

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The Oculus Quest 2: A Review

by Michael Mark

This Christmas, everybody wanted one thing. A PS5. But, on the other side of the gaming world Facebook released the Oculus Quest 2, the newest virtual reality headset!

Features: The Quest 2 comes with a whole lot of new and exciting features to enjoy! Here’s one of the best ones to play around with: Hand Tracking! The Oculus uses its 4 cameras to locate your hand movements. Only a handful of games currently support Hand Tracking, like Job Simulator, a game where you perform tasks in a virtual office space. But don’t worry, the number of games that support this will most likely grow in the future. You can also adjust the straps of your headset to fit your head nice and snug!

Questions: Have glasses? No fear! The Quest 2 comes with a small rubber object that you can place on your headset whilst wearing glasses. And don’t worry, it won't affect your gameplay at all! If you have motion sickness, some games may be slightly nauseating for you. If this happens, take a small break from VR. Currently, there is nothing you can do to help this, but that doesn't mean you can’t still have fun!

Games: In addition to Job Simulator, the new headset includes exclusive games in the virtual store like The Climb, Face your Fears, Beat Saber, and many more! Press play and experience a new virtual world brought to you by the Quest 2!

Facts: Even though it’s Facebook’s newest device, it’s also their best price for a new headset at $299. It also currently has 200 titles to either buy or download for free and access to live events like concerts and comedy shows. You are also able to set a virtual boundary to ensure safety in your play area so that you don’t accidentally bump into anything or get injured.

Simply put, the Oculus Quest 2 is great! People all around the world can enjoy this vast virtual world! Thank you, and happy gaming!

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Stranger Things: Facts and Review

by Shea Ringel and Alexa LaBella

On July 16, 2016, Netflix released the show Stranger Things. This show took the world by storm. People of all ages started binge-watching this hit show and loved it. Even today, people (mostly teenagers) are obsessed with this show. The cast of this show includes Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, and Noah Schnapp to name a few. This show became a big hit and had more than 64 million views within the first 4 weeks of the release.

In this show, the viewers follow a group of four boys as their lives get flipped upside down when they take in a strange girl named Eleven, who seems to be running away from someone or something. The Stranger Things series takes place in Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s. As the show progresses, viewers get to witness the death-defying adventures that these characters go through. The show has three seasons and a fourth will be coming out soon. This show is one of my personal favorite shows and I rewatched it sometimes to relive and experience the thrilling adventures that the show progresses through. Many teenagers and kids who have watched the show feel the same way.

Here are some fun facts about the Stranger Things series and cast:

  • It was Caleb McLaughlin's idea for his character, Lucas Sinclair, to wear a bandana in the first season of the show.
  • About 8.8 million people watched the first episode of the second season within the first three days it came out.
  • The show was originally supposed to be called “Montauk” since it was also supposed to take place in Long Island, New York.
  • The Demogorgon is an animatronic. It also scared younger kids on set.
  • Millie Bobbie Brown almost quit acting before getting the role of Eleven in Stranger Things but that role turned her acting career around.
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Hot Chocolate Review: Bussin or Not it?

by Matthew Costello

Hot chocolate, the holiday treat of cocoa powder, milk, marshmallows, and whipped cream. Some adore it and others despise it, to settle this debate I will be rating on a scale of 1-10 with 5 unique categories. Those categories are taste, looks, the chance of my tongue being burned, time or skill to make, and accessibility. The first category is taste. It tastes good but not great so a 7.5 - 10. Looks: hot chocolate looks like chocolate water with marshmallows, I’m rating it a 6 - 10. The third category always happens to me. 90% of the time I drink it my tongue gets burned. 3 - 10 for this category. The fourth category is the amount of skill/time to make it. It takes about 3 minutes to make in a microwave and it is pretty easy to make. 9 OUT OF 10 FOR THIS ONE. The final category is accessibility. By this category I mean when is it usually out and people are making it. 4 out of 10 for this one. If the final rating is 0-3, HORRIBLE, if it 4-6, better, not the best, if it is 7-8, someone would take this over a lot of stuff, and 9-10, IT BUSSIN! The final rating is … 5.9 out of 10, so basically 6 out of 10, not bad.

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Recipes from a Food Network Cookbook: Create Your Own Recipes

by Colleen Overzat

DISCLAIMER: I do not own these, the recipes are from a cookbook made by Food Network.

Design your own stuffed french toast:

Pick a filling: Place a ½ cup of one of the following ingredients in a medium bowl:

  • Softened Cream Cheese

  • Mashed Banana

  • Ricotta Cheese

  • Marshmallow Cream

Add mix-ins: Stir in ¼ cup total of the following ingredients (choose 1 or 2):
  • Jam, jelly or ,marmalade

  • Peanut butter or another nut butter

  • Chocolate hazelnut spread

  • Speculoos (Cookie Butter)

  • Chocolate chips

  • Peanut butter chips

  • Chopped nuts

  • Raisins

  • Chopped berries

Stuff the bread: Carefully cut four 1 ½ inch thick slices from a loaf of challah bread with a serrated knife. With the bread slices flat on a cutting board, carefully cut a 2 to 3 inch wide slit into the bottom edge of the bread slice with a paring knife to create a deep pocket. Put the filling in a resealable plastic bag and snip the corner. Pipe some filling into each pocket.

Make the custard: Combine 2 eggs, 1 cup of half-and-half, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl and whisk until combined.

  1. Cook the french toast: Preheat the oven to 250%. Dip the french toast into the custard and soak 20 seconds per side; let the access drip off and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining bread slices. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet, then add 2 stuffed bread slices and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Bunch up a paper towel and hold it with tongs to wipe out the skillet. Repeat with more butter and the other 2 stuffed bread slices. Serve with maple syrup.

Design your own granola bars:

  1. Prepare the base: Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang; coat with cooking spray and set aside. Toss 3 cups of rolled oats with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or melted butter on a rimmed baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake until toasted, which will be 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, then scrape into a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the following (Choose 1 or combination)

  • Salted roasted nuts (any kind), chopped

  • Salted roasted sunflower seeds.

  • Salted roasted pepitas

  • Toasted shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Choose your mix-ins: Measure out 1 cup of the following (choose 1 or combination) and set aside:
  • Dried fruit, chopped if large

  • Mini M&m's

  • Mini chocolate chips

  • Pretzels, crushed

  • Yogurt chips

  • Crisp rice cereal

  • Yogurt covered raisins

  • Graham crackers, crushed

Make the bars: Combine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or 2 tablespoons each of coconut oil and vegetable oil) in a medium saucepan with ½ cup of light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (The mixture will bubble and foam). Cook just 30 seconds, then carefully pour over the oat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula. Let cool slightly, then stir in your mix-ins. Pour into the prepared 9-by-13 inch pan and press firmly and evenly with the spatula.

Let cool: Let the bars stand at room temperature until completely cool and firm enough to slice, about 1-3 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil overhang and put on a cutting board; remove the foil. Carefully cut into 24 rectangular bars with a serrated knife. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Design your own baked pasta:

  1. Pick a pasta: Preheat the oven to 450. Fill a large pot with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 pound of the following kinds of pasta:

  • Bowtie

  • Penne

  • Rigatoni

  • Fusilli

  • Ziti

  • Large shells

Cook until very al dente, 2 or 3 minutes less than the label directs. Carefully drain the pasta in a colander. Set in the sink

Choose your mix-ins: Pick any combination of these ingredients and combine to make 3 cups total

  • Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled

  • Meatballs, cooked and quartered

  • Pepperoni, chopped

  • Rotisserie chicken, shredded

  • Roasted red peppers, sliced

  • Frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped

  • Zucchini, sliced and sautéed

  • Eggplant, chopped and sautéed

  • Spinach, chopped and sautéed

Make the sauce: Heat 4 cups of store bought tomato sauce in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in one of the following ingredients
  • If you want a herb sauce, add in 1 cup each chopped basil and parsley

  • If you want a creamy sauce, 1 cup of fresh ricotta

  • If you want a meat sauce, ¾ pound pancetta, diced and browned

Prepare your cheese: Prepare 3 cups total of melting cheese and 1 cup total of grating cheese

For melting cheese:

  • Fresh Mozzarella, cubed

  • Mild provolone, shredded

  • Italian fontina, shredded

For grating cheese:

  • Parmesan, grated

  • Pecorino grated

  • Ricotta salata, grated

Bake the casserole: Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, 1 ½ cups of melting cheese, and ½ cup of the grating cheese. Spread in an oiled 3-to-4 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining melting and grating cheeses over the top. Bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

I hope you have a good time making these on your own, have fun!!!! Also all the rights are reserved to the Food Network.

M&M Cookies Recipe

by Ryan Dempsey

Here is an easy recipe that you can try at home.


2 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup softened butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups mini M&Ms


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

  2. In another bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.

  3. Mix in vanilla and egg until smooth.

  4. Add M&Ms and fold until fully combined.

  5. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drop dough by rounded tablespoons.

  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool until hardened. Enjoy!

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A Very Delicious Cheesecake Recipe

by Aleyna Saygili

Ever want a melting in your mouth, delicious, creamy cheesecake? Well, I have the perfect recipe for you! You can try this recipe at home with your family for any holiday or if you just want something sweet to eat. This is my mother recipe, and she is an AMAZING baker, so I am pretty sure this cheesecake will come out great!

Plain Cheesecake -

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream (a combination of the both is amazing)


To make the crust:

1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (It comes out best when you do this part with your fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

To bake the cheesecake:

1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.


Remove the sides of the springform pan—I use a hairdryer to do this (use the dryer to warm the sides of the pan and ever so slightly melt the edges of the cake)—and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.

Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.

If you do bake this cake, I hope you enjoy it! Bye for now!

Butterfly Cupcakes Recipe

by Gretchen Schweppe

Here is how to make some chocolate butterfly cupcakes.


  • 1 cup of all purpose flour

  • ½ a cup of natural cocoa powder(not dutch process)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup buttermilk

  • ½ cup warm water

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to bake them:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

  2. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together dry ingredients : flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  4. In a separate bowl, add your wet ingredients: granulated sugar, eggs, buttermilk, warm water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

  5. Add half of dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

  6. Divide cupcake batter between 18 cupcake liners, filling about halfway full. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  7. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

You will make 18 cupcakes with this recipe so you will need a 24 tin cupcake pan. You need to get some frosting and green food dye then you will need to get the pastel Easter m&ms and use 3 of those to make the body. You will need small white chocolate covered pretzels to use as the wings. Once you have all of these things you will put three m&ms in a row and then you will need to put the pretzels on the sides.

How to make the frosting:

You will need to add a few drops of the green dye into it and mix. After you have done that you will need to get a piping bag (if you don't have that is ok) and then you will put the icing in the piping bag and then put it on and try to make it look like grass.

What to do if you don't have a piping bag:

You will take the icing and use a knife and ice it how you would normally frost a cupcake then you can try to make it look like grass and to do that you can try and curve some of the pieces of icing and curve it up a little bit.

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Two Truths and a Lie Answers

  1. Mrs. Beitzinger's lie: I went to medical school before becoming a teacher.
  2. Mrs. Holmes' lie: I played soccer for Massapequa.
  3. Mrs. Solem's lie: I learned to surf in Maui.