Monday, November 28, 2011

How Thanksgiving came to be

Most people don’t know this, but Thanksgiving wasn’t actually a “real” holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed “Thanksgiving Day”. People believe that in 1621 when the pilgrims came over that they celebrated the first Thanksgiving, which is not true. Yes, the pilgrims had a gathering and gave thanks for their three-day feast, but it wasn’t called Thanksgiving yet.
The pilgrims came over on the Mayflower and settled on Plymouth Rock December 11, 1620. Their first winter was a harsh one. There were 102 who sailed over on the Mayflower, but the following fall there were only 46 left. In 1621 the remaining colonists celebrated their new beginning in America, with a feast, along with the 91 natives that helped the Pilgrims through their first year. After that the “Thanksgiving” feast was not celebrated again until many years later.
Edward Rawson a clerk, proclaimed June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. In 1789, when George Washington proclaimed “National Day of Thanksgiving”, people were opposed to it. Later President Thomas Jefferson opposed the idea of having a day of thanksgiving, because he felt like there was a discord among colonies. President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Every president after Lincoln proclaimed the holiday.
No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving, it means something different to everyone. The term “turkey” was used by the Pilgrims to mean any sort of wild fowl. Pumpkin pie is something that is a tradition we have now days, but something they had back then. There was no flour, so there was no bread or pastries. The Pilgrims did boil pumpkin and they produced a type of bread from their corn crops. Another example is the cornucopia. The cornucopia is a basket that food is held in as a decoration or where food is placed. The one major constant is the feast that goes back many years ago to the Pilgrims’ first year in America.

The Band Concert

   One thing our school is known for is out awesome band. Our band has won a lot of rewards and has made Ripley proud. The band director Mrs. Poole has done an outstanding job with teaching and coaching all the band members to be as good as they are.
   December 18, there is going to be a band concert in the auditorium Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Right before the band gets started the jazz band will be performing as an opening to the band concert. During the performance the songs Coventry Carol, Feliz Navidad, Christmas on the March, Hallelujah its Christmas, plus a few other bonus songs with be played. There are a few weeks before the play so the soloist if any, have not yet been determined.
   The band consists of 132 students and 35 of them seniors. This concert and the spring concert will be the senior members last at Ripley High.
   The band also does marching performances at competitions and at our football games.
   When asked, Mrs. Pool says that “the students prefer marching band because of all the excitement and the fun music”.
   Concert band is where the learning takes place. The band members are taught the importance of balance, blend and dynamics. This helps the students have a great concert band, but also a fun and exciting marching band next year.

Harry Potter DVD exceeds expectations

By: Lynzi Acree

At first glance, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 two DVD special edition seems bare and not worth the time and money. On the first DVD, you have the movie itself and deleted scenes. On the second DVD, you have all of three extra features. This short list does not build confidence in the quality of this “Special Edition.”
The movie itself is good, but two thirds of the time, you can’t see anything due to poor lighting. The parts that are dark are really dark and the parts that are bright are really bright and it seems to take until the very end for the lighting crew to find a decent balance where you can actually see more than one pale face in the middle of a black screen.
The deleted scenes look promising, but then you watch them. As soon as you watch even one, you realize that these are not the regular deleted scenes that add another dimension to the movie. Some of them are nothing more than one, maybe two extra lines of unnecessary dialogue. One deleted scene does nothing more than spoil the surprise in what would be the following scene. These deleted scenes were taken out for the sake of making the movie slightly shorter without taking out any important content. I was very disappointed in them.
The second DVD includes: A Conversation Between Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling, The Goblins of Gringotts, and The Women of Harry Potter. The conversation between the man who played Harry and the woman who wrote the books is much better than you could expect. It’s full of jokes and secrets they couldn’t tell us until the movies were over. The Goblins of Gringotts is a documentary about finding the people to play the goblins and doing their make up and the processes behind it. It’s fun to watch someone go from being a normal human to being a goblin. The Women of Harry Potter is about all the different female characters and how the actresses and the author feel about them.
All in all, upon viewing, the DVD is much better than could be anticipated based on the small amount of information on the box.

World half empty or half full?

By: Lynzi Acree

October 31, the world population officially hit 7 billion. While there is no way to be exactly sure, this number is estimated based on statistics.
Some may be wondering about the implications of this amount of people; is it a good thing or a bad thing? The truth is, 7 billion is a really freaking-huge number. Nine zeroes do not reasonably represent the sheer magnitude of how many 7 billion is.
According to, if you filled 7 billion average-sized thimbles with water, that water could fill at least 5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Seven billion seconds ago, it was 1789.
Pessimistically and realistically, this is a horrible, awful, really bad milestone for the population to hit. We are running out of room and resources quickly. Many experts would agree that the carrying capacity of the Earth is approximately 10 billion humans, and that number is far too close for comfort. No one can really know what will happen when we reach carrying capacity. We can’t even be sure of the number the population will grow to before that mysterious thing happens, but it would probably be very bad.
In my opinion, the best thing would be if we could control the population before we got anywhere near the carrying capacity. A good way to do this is to integrate women into the work force so that they no longer feel their only purpose is to take care of their family. Some countries don’t make any governmental effort to execute a plan like this. Another competent method is education. You can’t just hand out birth control pills; you have to teach people how to use contraceptives. This method usually gradually lowers the population. The most efficient system is to limit the number of children each couple can have, like China.
In the entire world, there are 15,641,597,556 acres of habitable land. That’s more than twice 7 billion, but much of that is covered in forests or used for growing crops and cattle, or other food sources. The more people there are, the more land we need for food sources, and the more land we need for living space. Eventually, there may be no more room for either. What then?
Well, Thomas Malthus theorized that when the Earth became overcrowded, war and plague would break out until the population was considerably smaller, if not completely extinct.
If our options are population control or extinction, odds are most people would choose population control.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Students weigh in on fads

By: Tabitha Hudnall

Over the years society has witnessed many fads. Some are timeless while others come and go within a week. This is an undeniable part of our culture. It’s hard to pinpoint where a fad comes from. One day you walk down the street or hallway and see someone wearing nice shoes or a cool new hair style. The next thing you know everyone is where the same shoes and the same hair style. It’s a common thing we see with teenagers. Fads include more than clothes though. There are fads in music and movies as well. The newspaper contributed a survey on what the selected students here at Ripley High thought about the subject.

Results show what types of fads students have noticed among the hallways this fall. The most widely noticed were, “fuzzy boots, feathers in people’s hair, skinny jeans, band t-shirts, Sperry’s, and hair poufs.” Eighty-nine percent of the students that took the survey said they have seen fads around the school, but only thirty-two percent admitted to being in a fad. This may be due to students trying to find their own individuality and not wanting to admit being a part of a fad. Some causes of fads spreading are due to widely watched teen shows such as “Jersey Shore”. Teens watch these shows and see styles that capture their attention, so as the result these styles get passed along and turn into fads. Not everybody watches these shows though, so these styles depend on your tastes.

Movies are a big part of entertainment nowadays and fads also go along with them. Recently the big craze has been movies with lots of gore, horror, and drama. Remakes of movies such as “Footloose” and “The Thing” have been common as well. The very well known “Twilight” saga is a hot topic in the movie world as well, and they also bring along clothing fads such as the “Team Edward, Team Jacob” t-shirts. Teens and adults as well love these movies because they include romance, gore, and drama all in one. These movies spark people’s attention because they have all the components that teenagers love and can’t get enough of.

Music will always have its fads that go along with it. In the 60’s and 70’s it was the hippy phase and in the 80’s it was big hair and bright spandex. Today with music we see lots of pop, rap, and hardcore bands. Our surveys gave examples like Lil Wayne for rap, Rihanna and Lady Gaga for pop, and Asking Alexandria for hardcore. Each genre has fashions that go along with them. If you happen to look around the hallways you will see these types of fashions every day. Skinny jeans, baggy t’s, poufed up hair, we’ve seen it all. I think one of the reasons our styles change is due to music. Bands tend to start their own styles that fans like to follow.

Everyone has their opinions on new styles and fads and whether they think they are good or bad is up to them. Fads are good in the sense that they bring groups of people that have similar tastes together. This can also lead to bad outcomes though because it can leave people out.

So next time you are walking to class, at a sports event, or just walking through Wal-Mart, look around and notice the many types of fads our generation currently has. Before you know it they will be gone and new styles will emerge. It is in our nature to change, whether it’s the clothes we wear, movies we watch, or music we listen to.               

Boys Basketball prepped for promising season

As we near December, we get even closer to the high school basketball season. It’s the squeaks on the floor, the frantic action between players and the opposing team, and the unpredictability of the sport that attracts crowds to cheer for their favorite side year after year. If you’re a fan of our Vikings, it is hard not to be pumped this year; the last two seasons have seen our boys’ basketball team consistently win 15 out of 24 of their games.

It would be hard not to talk about our basketball team without mentioning the loss of 2011 graduate Chase Fischer. Scoring a total of 2213 points during his years on the team, his absence will certainly ensure the team steps up its game and rises to the occasion. Players like senior Cody Miller are likely to help lead the team to success in the 2011-2012 season. Miller averages around 15 points per game, has quite a nice record of 2-point shots from last season, and has scored 351 points total over his 2 years playing basketball on the Viking team. As far as stats go, Miller is one of the team’s best assets.

“Things are definitely looking up, and my pappy always said that looking up is better than looking down.” Coach Craig Harmon said in regards to the upcoming season, and shared how he motivates the team when morale is low.

“I tell them to play like it's their last time playing; play like a senior!”

Each year the team seems to perform even better than the year before. Couple that with the fact that the team won a lot of their games with a huge point difference and that the games the team did lose were often very close, this year proves to be very promising for our boys basketball team.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sleep deprivation and you; the real deal

By: Logan Moore

Are you getting enough sleep? Studies from the American Psychological Association (APA) think not. People have an internal clock, which affects what time you get tired. In younger aged kids, the clock hits the hour of tired at about 8 or 9 p.m. Once kids hit puberty, they don’t get tired until about 11 p.m., or even later! As you can see, this can be a problem for many high school students. How are we supposed to get our nine hours if our body doesn’t let us sleep until late in the night?

A survey was sent out to English classes of every grade level in the high school to see how many hours students get of sleep each night. Sixty-seven percent of the males surveyed get seven or more hours of sleep each night, whereas only 49 percent of females get seven or more hours of sleep. That’s almost a 20 percent difference, folks. There are many possible reasons for this. Perhaps the guys are more active during the day, and get tired earlier. Girls could be staying up later to study or do homework.

The APA shows that only 15 percent of teenagers were reported sleeping for eight-and-a-half hours or more on a school night. Most of us teenagers tend to have wonky sleeping patterns during the week. We typically stay up late, and sleep late during the weekends, which can affect our biological clocks and mess up our sleep schedules. If teens don’t get enough sleep, their ability to listen, learn, and concentrate is limited. They are also more prone to pimples, and no one likes pimples. Sleep affects hormones that control glucose metabolism and appetite. Not to mention that inflammation and insulin resistance can also lead to acne.

There are many different solutions for a sleeping problem. Try making a set bed and wake-up time; it will help you keep on schedule and keep you more refreshed.

Make sleeping a priority! Sleep is a necessity for the body. Just like eating and drinking: sleep is not an option. Extreme sleep deprivation can cause death, just as sure as starvation does. You need sleep to feel well rested and concentrate during the day.

Don’t do homework and/or study so late at night. If you’re tired for the big test tomorrow, then you probably won’t do well anyway. Making the necessary adjustments will change you from the zombie you usually are into a fantastic little sunflower.

Animal overpopulation growing problem

When I was younger I would count all the dead animals that were by the road any time we were out driving. There were always way too many. There were cats, dogs, deer, and even birds. It seemed like no animal was safe. It’s been happening more and more due to animal overpopulation.

Animal overpopulation is a serious problem. It is impossible to determine just how many stray cats and dogs live in the U.S., but it is estimated to be about 70 million for cats alone.

According to, a fertile cat can have up to two litters a year, with 4-6 kittens each litter. The average fertile dog produces one litter a year; the average number of puppies is 4-6 each. estimated that in only seven years, a female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats. In just six years, one female dog and her brood can produce as many as 67,000 puppies. says seven dogs and cats are born every day for each person born in the U.S. Only one in five puppies and kittens stays in original home all it’s life. The other four are abandoned to the streets to freeze to death or end up in a shelter. It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. It costs more money to raise a litter of kittens than it does to spay/neuter one. The cost of spaying/neutering a pet depends on the on its weight, size, and what kind of animal it is estimated that every 1.5 seconds a shelter animal is killed. That’s 192,308 per week, or 27,437 pets euthanized every 24 hours, 365 days a year. If you have room in your heart and home, consider adopting from an animals shelter. An estimated 3.7 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year across the U.S. You have the ability to change that. Just think of how shelter animals feel when they see somebody walking into the shelter and they know that they might finally be getting a home with somebody who will love and take care of them instead of living in a cage. Think of how it feels for them when it doesn’t happen because you wanted a breed they didn’t have. Those animals hope. They hope that one day somebody will come for them, love them. Instead, they are euthanized because you were too picky. Adopt from a shelter, because those animals will love you for saving their life.

Sterilizing dogs and cats more than we already do can drastically reduce the number of puppies and kittens born so that shelters can care for, and place, those that are already there, in loving homes. advices you to adopt animals from shelters. If you have room in your heart and home, consider adopting from an animals shelter. An estimated 3.7 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year across the U.S. You have the ability to change that.

Any site will advice pet owners to put collars and ID tags on your animal friends so you can get them back if they get lost. Ask your vet to implant a microchip under their skin for permanent identification. Also try to prevent your dog or cat from getting lost in the first place. Secure your yard. Consider keeping cats indoors, as they live longer than outdoor cats.

If you don’t have the money to spay/neuter your pat, go to There are people who will sponsor you. They will give you their own money to help spay/neuter your animals. There are people put there that will help you. They want to help stop the massacre of innocent animals.

By: Megan Mobley

Veterans' Day Ceremony

By: Taryn Matheny

   This is the second year in a row that our school has conducted a Veterans’ Day assembly to honor the veterans that live around town and some that are relatives to kids in our own school. The ceremony was hold November 10 in the auditorium and it was packed full. All students were in attendance, and some of them even had to stand up on the side of the walls. This ceremony has come about to honor the men and women that have fought for our country.
   “I thought it was a great ceremony, and I get to look at the people who have helped fight for our country,” Said Senior Kenny Yonkosky.
A number of veterans were in attendance on this day. The veterans were guest speakers in the history classes throughout the morning. This gave them a chance to talk to kids about what they have been through and to tell their stories. It gives them a chance to inform our students about history and to help them realize about what goes on in our military branches.
   “I got a chance to listen to veterans about their life stories and it was very interesting to listen to as well as helped me understand more about the military,” Said Senior Anthony Michael.
   During the ceremony Student Council President Dalton Border opened up with the pledge of allegiance and then had a moment of silence. The students were all in unison as they sang our National Anthem next. Veteran Tome Reynolds spoke to the audience about his military background and what being a part of the Army means to him. Principal Will Hosaflook recognized every veteran as he called their name and had them stand. The Choir sang all of the military anthems as well as other songs during the ceremony. The ceremony was a great success and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
   “It really felt great to sing the military anthems for the different veterans that stood before us, and it seemed like they enjoyed it as well,” said Senior Choir Member Will Mullins.
   This ceremony is something that should happen throughout all high schools in the United States. It honors the men and women that have fought for our country as well as honoring the ones that have lost their lives. The assembly lets us remember that there is a reason we have the lives we do, because we have men and women fighting for us everyday to have and keep them. This ceremony was a great success and we will continue to have it each year.

Things to do over Thanksgiving Break

By: Anni Ashworth

Thanksgiving is a national time for American families to come together, give thanks, and gain tons of weight from all the delicious food. But as students, we continue to find ourselves with nothing to do over the week-long break every year it rolls around. To help with that boredom, here are a few possibilities.

• Hunting is of course a necessity during break. More than likely, half the population of Ripley spends their entire week in the woods all day.
• Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been around for 85 years this November. It’s a classic way to get in the holiday groove. Plus it’s really interesting to see what crazy ideas people have.

• Volunteering at a local food pantry is always open, too. Or even just making an extra dish of food to be donated to those pantries to people that can’t afford Thanksgiving dinner.

• Football is a must. Thanksgiving is the time for huge rivalries. For example, West Virginia University VS Pitt is on the 25th.

• There’s Black Friday shopping as well, because who wouldn’t want to be trampled in order to get that perfect deal on that perfect outfit?

• Doing all that homework you’ve been putting off so you don’t have to cram it in the day before is a really good idea too. Being a procrastinator is not always a good thing, especially when you complain about having nothing to do every day you have off.

• Basically, just spend time with your family doing the little things you love. There’s no reason to ever complain about having nothing to do. Would you rather be in school those five days?

Girl's Basketball

By: Taryn Matheny
   The girls’ basketball team has been shooting and doing workouts for this season since after last season ended. The coach of the Lady Vikings is Justin Frashier and the assistant coach is John Kennedy. They began practicing Monday, November 7. This year the team is looking to seriously compete against the other teams in their conference. A couple of the teams they are working toward beating is George Washington and South Charleston.
   The Lady Vikings have a number of returning players, including a number of seniors. The returning players from last season are seniors: Rachel Stuck, Ryne Hill, Bethany Thomas, and Paige Smith, juniors: Jillian Mullins and Mellissa Hughgart, and sophomores: Kensey Bergdorf, Michalia Parsons, Sarah Williams, and Chelsey Hager.
   “This team has done a lot to improve themselves over the off-season and I am looking forward to coaching this season,” said Head Coach Justin Frashier.
   The Vikings really feel they have what it takes to compete in their conference this season. They have been shooting during the off-season as well as running on the track and bleachers. They are willing to put the hard work and extra effort into it if that is what it will take to have success this season. They Lady Vikings will continue to practice hard to prepare for their first game.
   “A lot of us have really been working hard in the off season and I think that will really give us a big improvement over last season,” said Senior Rachel Stuck.
   The girls’ first game is December 6 at home against George Washington. If you want to see a good basketball game, then you should take this opportunity to come and watch your Lady Vikes.

WVUs move to the Big 12

By: Anni Ashworth
West Virginia University moving to the Big 12 is the biggest news the state has had in a while. It’s been obvious for weeks that WVU no longer wants to be a part of the Big East. But the fact that there is only one familiar team on future schedules is sort of mind blowing.

There are many new opportunities for the Mountaineers in the Big 12 Conference. The team is the second new member to join the Conference since it began in 1996, the other being TCU, and will start participating athletically July 1, 2012. Consisting of Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech, the Big 12 Conference has won 42 team-national championships and 492 NCAA individual crowns. The new addition won’t only benefit the other teams, because WVU will be a power house among power houses, but it will help the conference in the long run too.

The road to the Big 12 hasn’t been the easiest, however. There was a huge debate over whether WVU’s resignation from the Big East was true because their original contract required them to wait a 27-month waiting period before it was official. WVU’s loophole was the fact that in that same contract, the Big East was required to keep the football conference viable, but failed to do so. It’s pretty clear that the Big East knows with the loss of WVU their conference will basically disappear which is why they fought as hard as they could to get the team to stay.

Another downside to the conference redistribution is the potential loss of the Backyard Brawl. The West Virginia vs. Pitt game has been a tradition since 1895, but with the Mountaineers’ Big 12 schedule containing nine conference match ups, they only have three non-conference games to try to jam the rivalry into.

Overall, I believe the move promises West Virginia University new stability and credibility for years to come. When the 2012-13 season comes around, it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be the best opportunity the Mountaineers have had in a long time.

Fuzzy Friends: Future of America?

Alpaca farming is a growing industry in America, especially in West Virginia. There are over 300 alpaca farms in America, including the 24 in West Virginia. As a resident of an alpaca farm, I have quite a bit of knowledge on this particular subject.

The goal is to raise the alpacas for their fleece and sell the fleece for profit. The fleece is used for yarn to make clothing items. Alpaca fiber is 5-6 times warmer than wool, and it doesn’t contain lanolin or oil. Lanolin is the item in wool that so many people are allergic to. You could also sell alpaca beans (manure) as fertilizer. It is very clean, contains no parasites, and it is odorless. A major purpose is to sell and breed alpacas to other farms and other prospective farms.

Many people think that alpacas and llamas are the same thing, but they are not. Although, they look similar, they do have differences. Alpacas’ weight can vary from 125- 200 pounds, with a median of 160 pounds. Llamas’ weight varies from 300-400 pounds, with a median of 340 pounds. Alpaca fleece is softer than llama fleece, making it easier to work with when turning the fibers into yarn. Alpaca fleece is also much more comfortable on the skin.

Alpacas aren’t your average, everyday animals. They have quite a personality that is different with each one of them. A lot of them can be very friendly while others can have obnoxious minds of their own. Overall, they are considered to be intelligent animals, which are for the most part easy to work with. For instance, one of the alpacas that we have on our farm, Kingsley, thinks that he is a dog. He tends to run and jump on people just to get closer to their faces. He loves attention, he loves to be petted as a dog would, and tries to lick your face.

Another one of our alpacas is the absolute opposite of Kingsley, and his name is Joe. He is not friendly, and has a very arrogant attitude. He acts like he owns the whole farm and everyone residing there. He has that mentality because at the farm he lived on before ours he was a stud, and practically ran the whole pack. A stud is who the majority of female alpacas are mated with. Now that he is on our farm, he has been fixed and is no longer a stud. His attitude shows that he clearly still thinks he is.

Alpaca farms are helpful to our economy by developing another textile industry similar to wool. It would be another “home grown”, American made item for the U.S.A.

Local alpaca farmer Averill Perdue said he got into the alpaca farming business because, “I think it’s a great time to enter into alpaca farming. The market has been down for the last couple of years and it is rebounding nicely in late 2011. That’s why we’ve made huge investments in 2011.”

Alpaca facts:

Alpacas originate from Peru!

Alpacas have odd fighting mechanisms. They have teeth in the back of their mouths that are curved sharply backward to rip off body parts of the enemy!

Female alpacas carry their babies to term up to 11 months! Most alpaca farmers wait about a week after they give birth before breeding them again. Female alpacas spend the majority of their adult lives pregnant.

By: Danielle Vealey

Random sport: Hornussen

By: David Hicks

There are plenty of crazy sports that don’t seem like a good idea to do and plenty more that are not safe to do. This is one of those games. Hornussen originated from the sheep fields of Switzerland. Shepherds wanted a game that was fun, a cardio work out, and required a lot of people to play to create camaraderie with the other shepherds. Herding is a long and lonely job taken place in the fields away from towns. So, when given a chance they wanted to play, and that is how this game came into existence. It’s been around since the 1600 and is now apart of the Swiss leagues and tournament that are popular today.

This game is much like tee-ball and hockey mixed in with the strength and iron wits. A puck or hurnuss is put on top of a ramp and is stuck there with a special type of clay. The hurnuss is hit by a whipping type stick with a wooden solid cylinder attached at the end. Each player gets two hits each and the velocity of the hurnuss reaches up to 300 km/h, which is approximately 184 mi/h. The score of the hit is related to the distance on how far the puck gets from the ramp.

The fun part is that you are not just hitting it and waiting for it to land; you have a group of people, or another team, trying to bat your ball down. A team holding schindels, or sticks with a catching board on it, tries to throw the schindels up in the air to hit and knock the puck down. Once every person on the team has hit twice, the teams switch and the hitting team becomes the defensive team.

These players must really be crazy. Even if there have been about two cases a year of injuries occurring, you still have a plausible chance to lose an eye. This is a sport of true courage and just being able to gut it out and conquer your natural fear. So if you ever want to have a rush and play baseball at the same time, get some buddies and play hornussen, because you are guaranteed a giant dose of crazy to spice up the rest of your day.

Singers ready to preform

By: David Hicks

It’s about the time for the beautiful sounds of singing and magnificent music to hit the air of Ripley High School. This December, the Concert Choir and Chamber Choir will be holding a concerted with the theme of Christmas in mind. The Mixed Choirs will be singing an assortment of songs including: Ding-a Ding-a Ding by: Greg Giplin, A Christmas Carol by: Charles Ives, A Rhapsody of Christmas by: Ed Lojeski, and Do You Hear What I Hear by: Harry Simeone, and many more.

The responsibility for being able to play this great show comes from the hard work from the students participating in choir. One of them, senior Maci Oiler, is a great example of natural talent. With her very beautiful and gifted voice Oiler is ready to start the show and to have fun with this year’s concert.

“I’m really excited to perform these pieces. Although I’m sad, I’m pumped to sing my last Christmas concert,” commented Oiler.

After John Ryder left last year, a new dominent figure takes the light of the choir teacher. Lily Corathers has been preparing these students and has been working hard to make these beautiful voices as good as they could be.

“Mrs. Corathers is a very good teacher and has been an awesome mentor to all of us,” says Oiler. “She works really hard to teach us and I feel that we will do find singing in different concerts this year.”

To see the choir sooner, you can go to the Tasty Cup Cakery in Ripley on Saturday November 19th, where they will be singing for a fundraiser. The Toys for Tots program will be collecting toys as the students sing, so go on down and be mystified by the voices of angels.

"Call of Duty" out in stores

By: David Hicks

Gaming fans all around the world were lined up Monday, the 14th of November to wait until the clock struck midnight and the gaming experience of a lifetime was available to the public. I am talking about the new “Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3,” which has been an anticipated game since the talk of its creation was in several gaming magazines through out the summer.

“Modern Warfare 3” is a first-person shooter game that takes place in the present day. The player will play as different characters attempting different objectives and tasks to complete the mission. The health is the same from the previous games which is determined by how red, which represents blood, your screen is. You will also be accompanied by several soldiers who can not be issued orders on campaign.

There is a different game mode on this game that has people excited. It’s a survival mode that the player or his cooperative partners face until they die. Unlike the popular Nazi zombies, the computer opponents will spawn at different tactical positions that just going through the designated point of entry.

You can also be awarded several various perks along with your kill streak now. Instead of having just juggernaut which makes you almost undefeatable, after you get so many kills you can have focus or kick which affect how efficiently you fire your weapon. Also, you can get many other supply drops that intensify the game and make the experience one that will make other games look like toys for tots.

This game is in stores now worth about $60.00 at Wal-Mart and will more than likely to the sale record the “Call of Duty: Black ops” set on its five-day opening sale. This is for all systems and is a large step in the gaming community with both graphics and gameplay.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Once Upon a Time' magical new show

Once upon a time, the universe smiled down on the masses of bored television audiences and gave us the aptly named series “Once Upon a Time”. The plot premise is a little confusing, but see if you can keep up: Prince Charming, AKA James, and Snow White have just been married when the Evil Queen crashes their wedding and informs everyone present that she is poised to put a curse on the entire kingdom that will ruin everyone’s lives and put a stop to all happy endings. The residents of the kingdom fret about this curse for over three years without anything actually happening until Snow White is about to give birth to her first child, a daughter named Emma. That very day, the curse (in form of a large, black cloud) immerses the kingdom. The Prince puts Emma in a magical cabinet to protect her and watches as she disappears right before he is killed by the Queen’s soldiers.

Meanwhile, in an alternate reality, a now adult Emma lives alone as a bounty hunter in Boston. She is found by Henry, the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago, who asks her for a ride home. Turns out he lives in Maine, in a little town called Storybrook (story book, get it?) and he is convinced that everyone in town is a fairy tale character trapped between worlds, frozen in time. He begs Emma to help him save everyone from the Evil Queen, who is now the mayor of Storybrook and Henry’s adopted mother. He bases his evidence on a mysterious book that tells all the stories from the other universe including the one of Emma’s destiny to someday save everybody from the curse.

The premise is crazy and interesting to explore as long as you don’t mind that Gennifer Goodwin is playing the mother of someone who looks older than her and overlook the plot hole of Henry growing up in a town where nobody ages. The cast chemistry is electric and amazing and all the characters are so dynamic and original that you could spend hours analyzing characters alone. Goodwin as Snow White quietly steals every scene she’s in, and occasionally if the scene already belongs to her, she’ll give it to someone else and then graciously steals it back. This is especially surprising because her character is soft-spoken and gentle. She doesn’t take scenes by mugging the person it belongs to; she more asks politely for them and they are gladly handed over. She radiates with a quiet wisdom, and you just want to trust her.

Lana Parilla is absolutely poisonous as the Queen. She occasionally comes off too harsh, but she balances these moments with times of a smooth voice and dangerous quiet. Jared Gilmore is one of the best child actors on TV today, and he pulls off the precociousness of Henry perfectly.

This is one show that may be difficult to catch up with if you miss too many episodes, but it’s definitely worth watching, so I’d suggest beginning watching as soon as possible. You don’t want to be left behind.

Sarah Says: students need to step up

How did we become a generation of doing exactly and only as much as we need to get by? I don’t remember a time in high school when I sat down to write a paper and thought “I’m going to spend as much time as needed to make this the best paper possible.” No, usually I’m still wiping sleep from my eyes and thinking “what exactly do I need to do to get credit for this paper?” the morning it’s due. My fellow students brag about how little time they spend on projects and the winner is usually the guy that did his project in his spare time the class period before it was due. Why is that? How did we become a generation that celebrates the art of procrastinating and getting by?

Depending on your mindset, you can either blame us or our teachers. You can blame our teachers if you believe it’s their job to somehow give us study skills and habits. You can blame us if you think we should have developed these study skills on our own in some way. You could even blame our parents if you think time management is their responsibility.
Personally, I’m going to blame students. We should have developed these study skills out of necessity when we were younger (you know, the same necessity of having to do homework and study for tests in order to pass a class that we have now as high schoolers). We can’t depend on someone else to teach us these skills, or we’ll drop them as soon as they stop being mandated by that authority figure (i.e. we’re screwed in college).

So, if these skills are so necessary, why don’t we just go ahead and develop them already? Well, we’re a generation of entitlement. We feel entitled to good jobs, we feel entitled to go to college if we make the grades, and, most of all, we feel entitled to live our lives as we choose (I’m not going to go into whether this feeling of entitlement is deserved). This includes using our time as we choose, and obviously we’re not going to choose to spend our time working when we could be on Twitter or updating our fantasy football team. We’ll spend hours avoiding homework laughing at stupid things like pictures of chubby Asian babies and cats on the internet. We’re not going to develop the study skills we need until our entitlement complex shifts focus to being entitled to do the best work we are capable of doing.

I’ll give you one good reason for this to happen: the real world requires it. The “real world” is a fantastic and mythical place for most of us. It’s a place where not everybody knows everyone else, people dress up every day, and you’re not going to do very well if you’re scraping by on your work. You can get by, sure, but with the cost of living going up, your entry level job isn’t going to pay for the car you want or that family you’re thinking of having. Walmart doesn’t pay enough to keep your Warcraft account funded and give you enough left over to someday move out of your parent’s basement. If you burn the burgers at McDonald’s, its probably going to get you fired.

Here’s what’s great about: early election predictions

By: Emma Shinn

It’s a natural human thing to do: we watch the world unfold around us, and just can’t help but make predictions about what we think is going to happen next. The world of politics is no different. In fact, it may be even worse about constantly trying to predict the future. Media outlets tend to try to act as fortune tellers, staring into their crystal balls (in this case full of polls, historical trends, and the expert opinions of both highly-educated political scientists and the random people they interview on the street) and telling us just who is going to win the next election.

Unfortunately for those media outlets and the people who listen to them, those predictions are often completely wrong. The fact of the matter is this: it is completely impossible to predict the winner of any election with 100% certainty, no matter what tactics you used to gain your supposed knowledge. One of the biggest and most obvious reasons for this is simple polling errors.

All polls and surveys are conducted with a certain margin of error, which means that they are all automatically and inherently flawed. There are often instances of bias, wherein surveys are given only to certain groups or demographics (such as the viewers of a certain news channel, the voters of a certain political party, etc). Even more common are instances of what could possibly be termed “user error,” when people being polled lie to the surveyors because they don’t want to admit that they a) don’t know, b) don’t care, or c) have an unpopular opinion.

Until now, this article has been focusing on early polls and predictions as an abstract and general failure. Let’s now turn our attention to some recent specific examples of this problem in American politics. In 2007, most early polls had former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton easily besting Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, and possibly becoming our first female president. Fast forward a year and you’ve got the election of our first black president instead, and Hillary Clinton left in the dust.

In 1991, the aforementioned woman’s husband, Bill Clinton, was far behind in the early polls. He was losing badly to everyone’s favorite mildly-crazy Reverend Jesse Jackson, and the now virtually unremembered Mario Cuomo. Very few people had Clinton pegged to win that race, and yet today, he is looked back on by most people as an extremely effective leader.

And perhaps the most telling example of all came earlier this year, when a certain business mogul with ridiculous hair and a reality tv show announced his intention to run for President in 2012. Believe it or not, Donald Trump led the polls for awhile, which in turn caused everyone in the media to speculate and give analysis on what it might be like if the American people chose him to run our government. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that absolutely terrifying.

So, to tie us back in to the title of my column; what’s great about early election predictions? The fact that they’re so completely useless, of course! It’s simply great that we all sit around, making predictions based on next to no facts and the results of flawed surveys. It’s great that we bet on who we think is going to win the election, and get to brag and boast when we were right, but don’t have to deal with the consequences when we’re wrong. It’s great that the media gets to do the exact same thing, but on a larger scale, with corporate funding, and in front of tons of viewers who use what those news stations are saying to help form their own opinions.

Oh, and in case you haven’t picked up on it by now, when I say “great” on this topic, I really mean “awful.”

RHS theater prepares for winter play

By: Emma Shinn

December 9-10 a group of Ripley students will perform A Christmas Carol, a play based on the classic story written by Charles Dickens. As of publication, the productions are set to be open for the community, at 7 p.m., but director and theatre teacher Christina Iman is discussing the possibility of a school production as well.

A Christmas Carol is, as most everyone knows, the story of a grumpy old businessman named Ebenezer Scrooge who discovers the true meaning of Christmas with the help of a few ghosts, namely those of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and his deceased business partner Jacob Marley. Senior Will Mullins will play Scrooge, while the Christmas ghosts will be played by juniors Danielle Vealey and Matt Jacobs, and senior Jared Mullins, respectively.

“[The experience] has been great,” said sophomore Matthew Taylor, who will play Bob Cratchet. “It’s going to be a good show.”

First-time director Iman said she was most excited “just to be able to bring a classic piece of literature to the stage in a somewhat professional manner.”

The RHS theater will be producing other plays throughout the school year, including a spring musical, and a one-act sometime after the first of the year. While plans for the spring musical are being kept top secret for the moment, Iman noted that the planned one-act will be a piece that is taken to a regional competition in Parkersburg. According to Iman, this will be the first time “in a long while” that Ripley has gone to an acting competition. The winning school there will get to go onto a state acting competition.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Student Council works to improve school

It’s been a year of change for Ripley High School, from rules, to staffing, and scheduling. This wave of change applies to our student government as well. If you're unsure as to what they do, check the bleachers after a home football game. Chances are you'll see members of Student Council picking up trash around the area. They also help put together the blood drives, and Spirit Week activities. This year, Student Council members are being granted even more input in matters affecting our school.

“It’s really about putting more control in the students’ hands, turning it over to the kids and letting them do what they need to do. Let it be their year,” advisor Jason Ward excitedly explained.

This is great news for everyone, as the administration and teachers will get a better idea of what the students think should be done to improve the school and the students get to work towards implementing their ideas in a more direct way. Some of the things planned include placing RHS flags along the main road into the school to help give our campus a sense of pride, a Powder Puff football competition, and of course, ideas for Spirit Week.

“It's a great way to be involved with the student body and show your school spirit. As a club we sponsor a lot of activities and try to get the student body active here at the high school,” senior class secretary Markee Shamblin said.

Student Council also branches off by class to work on events such as decorating floats for the Homecoming Parade, and has competitions for things such as hallway decorations throughout Spirit Week. If you have any ideas or concerns about RHS, see our full list of students involved in Student Council in the school handbook.

Bands gather to take Princeton by Storm

On October 1st, eighteen bands from West Virginia and Virginia all headed to Princeton, West Virginia, to take part in the third Southern Thunder Marching Band Invitational, “Taking the South by Storm”, at Anne S. Hunnicut Stadium. Participants included our very own Viking Band, the Cabell Midland Knights, the Spring Valley Timber Wolves, and the Capital Cougars; all of whom were in the 4A Division competing against each other. Though it was the third Southern Thunder event it was Ripley’s first time competing. The competition was a six hour affair, beginning with the first class division beginning at approximately one p.m., and ending with the awards ceremony at seven p.m.

The day sent a chill through many in attendance not only from the nervousness associated with wanting to do well, but also due to the nippy weather. As the hours passed, cold combined with wind and drizzling rains to make the event truly miserable, and test the bands’ marching and flag skills even more. Thankfully at the time our band started to enter the field, conditions were clear for the first two numbers, and once it did begin to drizzle again, it was very light. After the Viking Band finished their “Elvis Lives” show, there was one final performance in the class division, and then the judges began to make their decision. As they did, the host band, Princeton Senior High, marched onto the field for their exhibition performance while the judges finished tallying scores. The bands were judged on their marching, music, auxiliary, general effect, majorettes, color guard, and percussion. Despite giving a performance with just a few flaws, our band left with only one reward for second place Color Guard. Though it may not be the sweeping victory we could have hoped for, the event highlighted the areas the Viking Band needs to improve on, and let them know exactly how to fix what was wrong and make for even more impressive showings in the future.