February 2023

Big picture

Black History Month

By Wingspan Staff

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The Black History Month 2022 theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” explores "the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth-workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well."

Big picture

Black History Month Highlight

By David Holdbrook Smith

Jesse Owens (1913-1980)

Owens was a track-and-field athlete who set a world record in the long jump at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin—and went unrivaled for 25 years. He won four gold medals at the Olympics that year in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, along with the 100-meter relay and other events off the track. In 1976, Owens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990.

Big picture

Valentines Day

By Wingspan Alumni Staff Member Lucas LeGrand

Have you ever wondered how Valentine's day started? Have you ever considered the reason why we have a day of love? Well let me tell you all you need to know about the season of love, known as Valentine’s.

It started with a Christian priest named Valentine, in third century Rome, where Christian priests were killed, because Rome had their own religion. Valentine was martyred, which means he was killed under Roman law. He was martyred on February 14. That’s not all though. There are legends that Valentine could do special things. When he was in jail, waiting to be executed, he healed one of the guards blind daughters, which is pretty cool if you ask me. He wrote a note saying goodbye to her, and it was signed, “From your Valentine”. But then he was forgotten for 1500 years. But here's where things start to get interesting. The Romans had a holiday called Lupercalia, which was a party celebrating the start of spring, and boy do I want a day off like that. But, let's get back to the story. In Rome then, Christianity was now not only legal, but now it was the official religion of Rome. The Pope was now the best person around, and he wanted to get rid of Lupercalia. So what he did was he got rid of Lupercalia, and changed it to a name that you might remember. Can you guess what it is? If you said, St. Valentine’s day, you're correct! Now, St. Valentine’s day was not so different from Lupercalia, it was feasting and praying and everyone having a good time. Now we are going to travel to England. 1400 thousand years later and here we are. It’s February 14th in England, and it is the bird's mating season. I don’t know why it is right in the middle of cold harsh weather, but maybe it was different from here. So anyway, February 14th is mating season for birds, and a guy named Geoffrey Chaucer writes a poem about a royal wedding. He wrote that it was very romantic that there was a wedding on the day of mating birds, and blooming flowers, it was a great time to be alive. That’s how Valentine’s day was born. You see, his poem was a big hit, and he got very famous. Lots of people thought it was a good idea to change the meaning of Valentine’s day to be about peace and love. People started writing cards for other people, and pretty much having a good time. Then, in the industrial revolution, some cards were printed with cupids, hearts, and pretty much all of the "lovey dovey" stuff that make people happy. Then, people started to make heart shaped boxes filled with, you guessed it, chocolate! And that became so popular that, well, now we celebrate it today. That’s all for today's article, I hope you enjoyed, and happy Valentine’s day!

Big picture

A Week at Disney with the Marching Band

Written by Audrey Mae Hollenbeck

During my whole time at Disney, I knew I would be safe with the amazing staff, parent helpers, and chaperones. A normal day would be the following. At around 7:00 we would wake up and get ready (the earliest was 6:00, but that was only one day.) We would meet our chaperone in the cafeteria at 7:50 and get our money envelopes to eat. We would get an envelope each day for each and every meal. After that we would go to a meeting spot and Mr. Demoura would give us times and places to meet our chaperones and the schedule for the day. While we were at the parks we had the freedom to go on whatever rides we wanted and go anywhere INSIDE the parks. Unless it was our workshop day. Workshop days were days where we would either go to a dance or music workshop (depending if you are in color guard or band.) We usually got back to the hotel at 10:30-11:00. Before we got to our rooms we would have another meeting about the wake up times for the next day and what to expect in the mornings. Room check times from you chaperones would usually depend on what time we got back. We got to pick who we were going to room with and sit on the plane with and everything like that! The rooms had two beds, a shower, a TV, and a coffee machine! Overall I had a great experience and I definitely recommend it to everyone interested!!


By Tatum Bahosh

This month's book review is What Stars Are Made Of. It is a 320 page book about a young girl named Libby who has a condition called Turner Syndrome. She finds out that her older sister Nonny is going to be having a baby. She wants to make sure the baby is in perfect condition so she tries to win a writing contest. She wants to win this contest because she wants to give all the prize money to her sister for the baby. Will Libby be able to win the contest and get the money for her sister?
Big picture


Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

By Kae Hildreth

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies:

From the Betty Crocker website: click here :D


  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ Devil's Food Cake Mix

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ cup sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). In a large bowl, mix cake mix, oil, vanilla and eggs with a spoon until dough forms.

  2. Refrigerate dough 15 to 30 minutes or as needed for easier handling. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls about 2 inches apart.

  3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store tightly covered.

  4. enjoy!

Valentines Day Sugar Cookies

By David Holdbrook Smith

PREP. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

DOUGH. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and almond in large bowl (or Kitchen-Aid) until fluffy. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Stir until soft dough forms.

ROLL & CUT. Use a rolling pin to roll out the cookie dough. Cut with cookie cutter. Thin dough will make crunchy cookies. If you want soft dough, it needs to be about ⅜ in. {NOTE: Try not to handle the dough too much}

BAKE. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

FROST. Make sugar cookie frosting by mixing all ingredients (unsalted butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and almond extract) with hand mixer on high speed. If too thick, add a little more milk. NOTE: For minimal chunks in the frosting, sift the powdered sugar.

Add your food coloring. Frost the cookies with pink and red frosting (royal icing can be used too but we prefer our classic frosting).

DECORATE. Use the decorating gel to add texture to the valentine sugar cookies. Sprinkle with red and pink sugar sprinkles and let set to harden before gifting or delivering.

Decoration Variations – Heart shapes, pink, and red scream Valentines, but you don’t have to stick to those exclusively.

  • Frost the heart shaped cookies with any color

  • Use other cookie cutter shapes and frost with pink or red.

  • Adding “valentine” sprinkles or writing on loving words will help give the cookies a Valentine’s feel.

Heart Shaped Cupcakes

By David Holdbrook Smith




  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Red or pink food color

  • Candy sprinkles, if desired

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 30 regular-size muffin cups. Place 1 marble in each muffin cup between paper baking cup and muffin pan so baking cup takes on heart shape.

  • Make cake batter as directed on box. Fill each cup two-thirds full of batter.

  • Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until tops of cupcakes bounce back when touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack.

  • In large bowl, beat softened butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on high speed 3 to 4 minutes or until frosting is light and fluffy. Add food color to make desired shade of pink.

  • Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes with knife or use decorating bag fitted with plain tip. Top with candy sprinkles.

  • tip 1
    For smoothest frosting, sift powdered sugar before using.

  • tip 2
    If you don’t have marbles, you can shape pieces of foil into marble-shaped balls instead.

Big picture

Please JOIN US as a staff member of the Wingspan. We would love to showcase your creative work and articles that matter to the students and staff of Overlook Middle School!

Big picture