Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweetheart Ball Postponed

The Sweetheart Ball has been postponed to the first weekend of March, which will either be on the 3rd or the 4th.

Fine Arts Courses

Ceramics: The Ceramics class has been offered for a few years at Ripley High School; it is a hands-on class taught by Debbie Sisson for students who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. In this half-credit course, students learn the basic methods of hand-building, how to recycle the clay, and how to glaze. The difference between aesthetic pottery and functional pottery is also taught. Students have the chance to make ceramics that they can keep and display or give away. As far as sign-ups go, Sisson prefers to keep the class to around 15 students, so if you are interested you should sign up quickly to try and get a spot.

Creative Art-Drawing Painting: This half-credit course will be taught by Debbie Sisson, who has not been able to offer yet. It will need approximately 10 students to sign up to take the class, otherwise it will not be offered. The course will cover all the basics of drawing, color theory, and methods of painting such as tempera, water-color, and acrylic. Mrs. Sisson strongly recommends that students already be strong with basic art, and have taken Art I.

Intro to Theater: Intro to Theater is a course for students who would like to get their fine arts credit, but who are not necessarily musically inclined, comfortable with art, or who don’t really want to get on stage and act. Intro to Theater will be coupled with a Film/Video course, as both are half-credit classes. Intro to Theater itself would be an overview of different famous playwrights, basic stage terms, directions, and a few important theatrical movements such as Kabuki Theater and American musicals.

Individual Technique – Vocal Music: This is a new half-credit course for students looking to improve their vocal techniques taught by Lily Corathers. You do not have to be able to sing perfectly to take the class; if you want to sing you join. There is a lot of solo work; students will be expected to perform in front of their class and at a Solo Ensemble. A couple styles that will be explored are classical and Broadway singing styles. The class is essentially a one-on-one vocal lesson. Students are graded on participation, showing their improvement throughout the course, and showing an understanding of comments and criticism. “It’s going to be really fun,” says Mrs. Corathers.

Music History: Music History is a half-credit course that will be taught by one of the music teachers. Music History is more or less the same as a Music Appreciation class, the reason for the change being that it will be presented more as a social studies class that studies music. The course will begin covering the history of music from the start all the way to the present day. Students will be able to recognize forms and trends within the music. You do not have to be able to read or write music to join the class, although you will likely end up learning some notes along the way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Business department brings electives to work

By: Anni Ashworth

Have you ever wanted to take a class in business law or maybe desktop publishing? Ripley High now offers classes in them and multiple other business computer electives. Students don’t typically make these electives their main priority when building their schedule each year, but in actuality they can help get you ahead after high school in majors or jobs that specifically focus on what is taught in the individual classes.


The newest additions to the business computer electives at the school include Computerized Presentations, Database Management, Business Law, Desktop Publishing, Spreadsheet Management, and Business Math. All of the classes offer many different opportunities to students. In the Computerized Presentation elective, students are taught skills in creating modifying and delivering professional presentations using presentation software. Database Management students will study organization, storage and retrieval of the information stored in databases. The impact of law relating to business and individuals is explained throughout the Business Law elective. Students who chose to take Desktop Publishing are given the opportunity to learn how to publish their own desktop programs and they can analyze and identify the many different career opportunities under desktop publishing. The use of excel spreadsheets and lessons on how to produce and use many other types of spreadsheets will be given in Spreadsheet Management. Business Math helps to prepare students and help use mathematical skills as they relate to business.

These new electives will be an opportunity for students to get ahead in careers or maybe just help them learn more about programs and technology. Either way, with technology and business opportunities growing more and more every day, taking any of these classes will benefit students throughout their lives.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who is going to win an Oscar

By: Sarah Smith

The Oscars have always been an irritating thing for me. For the most part the movies that win awards are movies I’ve never seen or even heard of that look more arts than entertaining. This could be because awards are based on artistic quality rather than viewership. “Twilight” has never won best picture. Well, good news! I’m here to tell you what movies are slated to win Oscars so you can pretend to know what you’re talking about when you watch the awards with your parents.

“The Artist” is probably going to win best picture. And you’ve never heard of it. Want to know why? It’s a mostly silent film. And the few words that are in it are in French. It’s in black and white. Odds are if you’re the average teenager, you’ve already stopped paying attention. It’s a throwback to the golden age of film, and apparently it’s pretty good. Good enough to guarantee leading man Jean Juardin a nomination for Best Actor, and he might win it if George Clooney doesn’t win for the Descendants.

“The Descendants” could be the come-from-behind winner of Best Picture. It’s the story of a man’s (Clooney) search for the man his wife cheated on him with. You may have seen this one as it was in actual American theaters. Shailene Woodley (the teen mom from “Secret Life of the American Teenager”) could garner a nomination for best supporting actress from this one too.

Here’s what’s great about…media extremists

By: Emma Shinn

“I’m thinking about killing [liberal filmmaker] Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could.”

“[Republicans] are kind of saying, ‘If you don’t agree to our demands, we will destroy the world economy.’ Which I think is what Dr. Evil said.”

“[Republicans are attempting to] end this democracy…It is one thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from without. It is a worse thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from within.”

“You want to have two guys making out in front of your child? A guy smoking a joint, blowing smoke into your kid’s face? It’s okay with [non-religious people]. I’m not exaggerating. This is exactly what the secular movement stands for.”
Do any of these statements sound crazy to you? Would you be shocked to hear them coming from people who claim to be professionals dedicated to delivering the truth to the public? Well, believe it or not, those are exactly the type of people who uttered those words. They are reporters who contend to be drawing audiences in order to provide them with information, but are really just pushing their own agendas and trying to get “the other side” riled up.

These are media extremists, and they are everywhere. On television, on the radio, and from both of the major political parties. You don’t believe me? Take the quotes above for example. Two of those quotes came from liberals and two from conservatives.

Glenn Beck wants to single-handedly murder a few liberals for expressing their opinions. Bill Maher thinks Republicans desire to destroy the world economy. Keith Olbermann claims that conservatives are trying to destroy American democracy from within, and Bill O’Reilly thinks any secular group is interested in advocating sex and drugs to children.Those people are a Republican, Democrat, Democrat, and Republican, respectively, and they are all guilty of making remarks that are, franky, way out of line.

Now, often times, statements like these serve only to anger one group and rally another. But I have another reaction that I think both sides should consider more often: just laugh. That’s right, laugh. What’s great about media extremists is not that they make people mad or give people cause to feel smug; it’s that they’re freaking hilarious.

When Beck gets so overcome that he cries on air? Just laugh. When O’Reilly gets so loud and angry that he refuses to let anyone else get a word in? Chuckle it up. When Olbermann compares any and all Republicans to everything from dog doo to dictators? Hardy har har. And when Maher stacks his deck of guests so that he only has to interview people who won’t oppose him? Giggle like a schoolgirl. It’s all just. Plain. Funny.

So, next time a reporter or newsperson says something that may upset you, take my advice and try to laugh at it instead. Sometimes it’s best to get up in arms over issues that you are truly committed to, but other times, you’re better off just snickering it away. As Olbermann himself once said (in one of his less out-there moments), “Sometimes it’s more productive to laugh at the stupid than to yell at the stupid.”

And with all the stupid going around in the American political media, maybe we’d all get a lot more done if we just took the time to laugh.

GOP Presidential race continues with caucuses, primaries

By: Emma Shinn

The bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination began early last year, with 19 candidates declaring their intention to run overall. By the time the primaries and caucuses had begun this month, seven candidates had already dropped out of the race for various reasons, ranging from pursuing movie careers to running damage control over sexual harassment lawsuits.

The first vote of the primary season took place at the Iowa caucus January 3. The top three winners there were reported originally as being Ron Paul in third, Rick Santorum second, and Mitt Romney as the winner by 8 votes. The rest of the field shook out to Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman in fourth through seventh, respectively. As a result of her poor showing in the caucus, Bachmann announced the end of her campaign the next day. After enjoying the push from his narrow victory for a few weeks, Romney was knocked down a few pegs when it was announced that, after a re-count, Rick Santorum had actually won by about 34 votes.

After Iowa, it was off to New England for the New Hampshire primary January 10. Here, Mitt Romney was the unquestionable winner by almost 4,000 votes. He was followed by Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. When early polling for the South Carolina primary began, Jon Huntsman found himself polling dead last yet again, and resigned his candidacy. He announced afterwards that he would be putting his support behind Romney. Meanwhile, after finishing last, Perry made good on a previously hinted-at withdrawal, and officially declared that he was out of the race January 19.

The next primary vote came in South Carolina January 21. This time, Newt Gingrich was declared the winner by over 1,000 votes over second place Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul came in third and fourth, respectively. As of publication, there have been no more drop-outs in the race thus far. The next vote will be the upcoming Florida primary January 31.

Dance Dress Code

With the oh-so-romantic month of February quickly approaching, love struck students and those eyeing up a potential love-bird will likely be preparing for February 11, the day of the Sweetheart Ball. This year the theme will be “Passport to Paris”, the price will be 7$ for singles and $12 for couples for tickets sold at school, and the price will be $10 for singles and $15 for doubles at the door. If you’d like to take advantage of the lower prices, ticket sales will start on February 2, and will end on February 10. The dance will be from 8 to 11 PM, but doors will open at 7:30 so couples can get pictures. The colors will be gold, silver, red, and maybe some white, and a 7 foot tall lighted Eiffel tower is planned. Junior nominations for King and Queen Candidates will take place as well.
When it comes to the dances, however, a bit of an issue tends to form in the way of outfits for the occasion. From time to time, students have to be turned away due to inappropriate dressing. No offense intended, but this usually means a girl’s dress, and generally for not covering up enough. For this year’s Sweetheart Ball, the administration is trying to meet the students halfway. While the school’s dress code is being used as a basis, there is a bit of common sense being applied to it. Strapless dresses are allowed, and generally you just need to make sure your outfit fits well and that you aren’t showing more than you should. Also, whatever rumor you’ve heard about using flashlights or rulers to gauge dresses is false. It’s important to stress that if you try to get by with a dress that doesn’t meet standards, there won’t be an exception. Another issue that needs to be mentioned is grinding. The rule is to face your partner, as not everyone wants to see that at a dance.
While the dress code is in our student handbook, in addition to being on our school website, sometimes it might be hard to properly judge if your attire meets standards. If you’re uncertain and want to ensure you won’t be turned away at the door, you may take a picture of yourself wearing the outfit, and show it to assistant principal Bev Shatto for review. This can save a lot of headache and turmoil for students and chaperones alike. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and a last-minute date at McDonald’s might not make a preferable substitute to the Sweetheart Ball if you are not permitted entry, let alone all of the money you could possibly waste.

Teaching Tech

How many times have you used the internet to help you finish your homework? In today’s world with tons of information merely a few keystrokes and a click away, the internet can be an obvious place to turn to when you need assistance. While there are likely a few sites out there that simply list correct answers to homework problems, there are many more sites dedicated to teaching students in many subjects and helping them to develop better study habits. A few websites are even utilized by teachers as a regular part of the course, becoming a handy instructional tool.
These tools are largely devoted to providing resources to help aid the educational process, whether it is in the form of games, information presented in an easy-to-understand way, or video instruction. The great thing about this is that a student can go to these sites from anywhere with internet access, obviously, meaning a student can receive help understanding something from nearly anywhere in our modern world.
Recent websites have sprung up and are becoming classroom staples, such as icivics.org, Blue Notes, and in some classrooms; YouTube videos (the videos created with educational purposes in mind, of course). One could point out that such information has likely been on the internet for years, but it comes down to presentation. A stone-cold website with paragraph of paragraph after information is the same to a student as a text book. Intuitiveness, ease-of-use, and presentation are key factors in gripping a student and helping them to understand a concept more easily.
One website that does the above very well is the aforementioned icivics.org. iCivics is a website as envisioned by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was concerned that students weren’t receiving adequate information on civil participation. If you are in a civics class this year at RHS, chances are you’re at least somewhat familiar with the site already. iCivics is the host to an assortment of games designed to help describe different civil processes like voting, immigration, Supreme Court cases, budget, and even campaigning. The games don’t sugar coat anything either; some can be rather challenging to achieve success in. iCivics is a great example which shows that educational games can work when they are engaging.
Another site out there is studyblue.com, which has an app for smart phones (iPhone and Android) called Blue Notes. Blue Notes is a study tool that allows students to access notes, flashcards, study guides, and even past quizzes from their phone no matter where they are. The app even allows social integration with Facebook and Twitter so a student can share what they are studying with friends. If a student even feels so inclined, they can make a quiz on the material that others can take. The idea behind Blue Notes is to always have your notes with you, so you can always study. flashcardmachine.com offers similar features, and also has an app for iPhone and Android devices.
Taking advantage of today’s technology to educate is likely a major goal that a lot of educational organizations have these days. The websites discussed above do it properly; appealing lay out, easy to navigate, and even social integration (or modern-day gaming facets in iCivics’ case). They properly motivate the user to want to utilize their service.

Napoloeon Dynamite returns animated

Love it or hate it, the Napoleon Dynamite movie exploded in popularity when it released in 2004. Originally a low-budget movie operating on $400,000, it was picked up by Fox Searchlight Pictures and MTV, giving the film a storm of marketing that helped it become a huge success. Fans fell in love with its quirky script, characters, and how dated the movie looked and felt. Even today you can say the line “Vote for Pedro” and someone will either laugh or groan. Believe it or not, January 17 marks the 8th year since the film released; which has thankfully given enough time for the movie’s references to die down and become enjoyable again. I suppose the creators felt the same way, as an animated show based on the movie aired January 15.
The pilot episode “Thundercone” sees Napoleon gaining unbridled rage after an outbreak of zits appears on his forehead. He uses this rage in a local underground fighting club led by Rex, and that’s about it. The episode does a pretty good job of including every major character from the movie. Pretty much every major character makes an appearance, including Pedro, Deb, Kip, Napoleon’s grandmother, Uncle Rico, Rex, and Don; all voiced by the original cast. Interestingly, the show seems to disregard Kip’s marriage to LaFawnduh, as he is once again hitting up sweet babes in chat rooms.
The big question is, of course, “How was it?” Judging off the pilot episode, it’s okay. I think my biggest mistake was expecting more of the same in regards to humor. While every character acted how you would expect it to, the show takes a bit of a goofier direction. Personally my biggest delight with the original movie was seeing how these oddball characters acted in an otherwise incredibly normal, if not outdated environment. The animated series seems to just be focusing on the silliness of the characters and putting them in outlandish situations with even more oddball characters, which is to be expected. For me, the real highlight of the pilot was seeing Kip being Kip. He meets a girl online who says she will meet him in town since she is “picking up dog food anyways”, and after revealing his spray-on tan, Kip takes the girl out to a date. Even after all this time the character’s mannerisms and speech patterns are still entertaining.
That’s just the thing though; it has been eight years. The movie itself had an explosion of popularity when it came out, which would have been a perfect window of time to release a show. The question now is how many people will care that a cartoon based on Napoleon Dynamite is out. That question will hopefully force the show’s creators to not rely on old jokes, and to craft its own identity while staying true to the personalities and subdued humor of the movie. While I did get some enjoyment out of the pilot, I hope that the show gets into a better groove within the next couple of episodes; otherwise I feel that it won’t really catch on.