Friday, March 30, 2012

Robotorium Auditorium

We haven’t been in the auditorium much this year. The initial reason might seem pretty obvious. Work has been ongoing in ripping out the seats and replacing them, right? Well, partly so. See, the first part is correct; work has been ongoing in ripping out the seats. But they won’t be replaced. Instead, the auditorium has been rented out to robotics teams within the state. The teams can come into the auditorium at any time during the school day or weekend and work the kinks out in their robots.

Why use our auditorium? Why not train at theirs or in their local gymnasiums? The answer is simple. Ripley High School is now the host of the only downhill incline in all of the West Virginia schools that is, at the moment, not being used for anything else. When building robotic competitors for the Robot Fighting League (of which the closest local chapter is in Cleveland, Ohio), they need to be ready for all kinds of conditions: uphill slopes, downhill slopes, opposing robots, and very loud announcers. Our auditorium is the perfect place to allow for such rigorous and pertinent training regimens.

Better-built robotic competitors aren’t the only advantage, as we’re renting the auditorium out which results in more income for the school. We can use that income for all sorts of improvements around the campus, such as newer water fountains, new tiling for the floors, new computer mice, new support beams in some of the classrooms, a fresh dose of white paint on the walls, improved speakers for classroom announcements, and for huge 1080P televisions in every classroom. All of this could be achieved in approximately six decades with the large amount of income received.

Viking swims out as tilapia steps up

You know what people don’t like? Vikings. They’re antiquated, smelly, barbaric, break furniture at social gatherings, and worst of all, they’ve entirely deteriorated to skeletons by now. Being represented by such a horrid thing is simply a disgrace. I can’t say “I’m a Ripley Viking!” with any sense of pride, because then I have to fear someone will hide any unstable furnishings, douse me with Febreeze, and ask me to go back to my burial grounds before the other guests arrive. The administration of our school tends to agree with me, and as such, Ripley High School (and our elementary/middle branches) will change its mascot from a Viking to a Tilapia.

You know what people like about Tilapia? Everything. They’re cool, swim well, like water, aren’t extinct, go great with fries, and are the 5th most important fish in farming, just like us. Tilapias are just marvelous, exemplary beings to represent us. Opposing sports teams will swim back upstream once they hear the Ripley High Tilapia (it even rolls off the tongue well!) are swimming out from the estuary. Just like a school of fish, our school sporting teams will confuse prey and then swim quickly in the opposite direction to avoid being eaten.

It would all make a great conversation piece as well, because there are no other high schools represented by Tilapia, and that’s a fact. I really can’t think of any reason not to have a Tilapia as a school mascot. Just think of the nickname possibilities. Tilly the Tilapia, Tilessius the Tilapia, Jacque the Tilapia. It just can’t fail no matter which name we go with. After a name has been selected, Ripley High School will enlist local stores to produce a range of products that feature our Tilapia. Shirts, pants, fingerless gloves, shoes, plush dolls, swimming trunks, fishing rods, and for the initiated, an aquarium set that comes with a Tilapia. The aquarium set comes on a rolling cart if you choose to bring your Tilapia to school sporting events, and comes with a free foam finger fin for your little aquatic buddy (that proudly declares “We’re #1! [On the menu!]”). I’m sure your gills are quivering with excitement, but don’t forget to fully flex those gills and breathe fellow Tilapias!

Dissecting Blocksbusters

There are a slew of movies assaulting us in the forms of television commercials, internet ads, and from the mouths of our friends; but I’m here to dissect each new blockbuster by presenting its basic premise and discussing whether it’s any good or not. I’ll stop wasting time now and invite you to read along.

First up is “The Snorlax”, an animated adaptation that follows the whimsical tale of a gigantic sleepy creature in a forest. It’s all fine and dandy for the mystical Snorlax (whose daily regimen consists of sleeping 23 hours a day, with 1 hour being allocated to eating tons of foliage), but nearby logging companies need easy access into the forest, and Snorlax just happens to be sleeping on the only road to the forest. They try all sorts of methods to wake up the gigantic beast to no avail, but fortune smiles when a traveling musician wanders by and plays a tune on his flute. The completely random occurrence wakes up the Snorlax and sends him chomping his way down the route. The logging company cheers, thanks the old man, and then heads down the road to find the creature asleep in the road again. The movie is filled with suspense, heart-felt acting, emotional drama, and a gripping love story between a man and his flute.

Next is “The Grunger Games”, based on a fictional tale found scribbled on a napkin in the trash can of an FYE. “The Grunger Games” portrays the deep struggle that a group of wannabe grungers face as they try to survive in their dystopian Washington society, which is filled with rampant Steven Seagal impersonators. The screenplay was written by Billy Ray Cyrus, which should immediately tip you off on the masterful camerawork in the film. The background score features Taylor Swift, so it’s a safe bet that an ex-boyfriend’s house will be burned down within the movie. While the film is okay I suppose, I fail to see what all of the fuss is about. However, the director has already planned five sequels based on napkins found in other record shops, so perhaps my burning appetite for quality will be filled with later installments.

Let us grunge on to the third film, “Don’t Barter on Stars”, directed by Andrew Stanton of “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E” fame. The film is based on a series of classic science fiction novels that explore the deeper meaning behind economics on other galactic matter. Burning hot deals can take on new meaning while trying to sell your wares on a star, but main character John Bon comes to find his wallet in a black hole as his profits are mysteriously drained. I’m going to spoil it right now; there are about 11 books and this movie covers the first installment, so no clear answers are provided. The beginning and end of this movie are exciting and thrilling, but the in-between doesn’t quite satisfy. Most critics will tear apart “Don’t Barter on Stars” for this, but I see it as a metaphor for our universe itself: it was interesting at the start, and it’ll be interesting at the end, but in the meantime it all just causes a lot of complaining.

The last movie attracting a lot of buzz is a modern sequel to a classic film, called “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Continue to Not Worry and Keep Loving the Bomb”. While the first film released shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis and at the point in the Cold War where the Hydrogen Bomb was on citizen’s minds, “D.S.H.I.L.T.C.T.N.W.A.K.L.T.B.” is able to hit viewers in a time where a nuclear missile could be launched from almost any landmass in the world. “D.S.H.I.L.T.C.T.N.W.A.K.L.T.B.” is another dark, satirical look at what could happen if a nuclear missile were to be launched in today’s world, directed by someone Stanley Kubrick (the original director) walked by on the street. This new film masterfully weaves humor and fear into a cohesive, chilling, and hilarious display of film-making.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Paul Dooley Workshop Delights

On March 23, Theater teacher Christina Bright-Iman took 3 students (seniors Alex Blankenship, Christopher Kimble, and Will Mullins) to Parkersburg High School to attend an acting workshop lead by actor Paul Dooley, a graduate of PHS. Dooley, with a career spanning nearly five decades, imparted a reflection of his career, advice to aspiring actors and actresses, and even performed a small routine from his stand-up career.

RHS students gather for a photo with Paul Dooley, as he states "Celebrate water!" (From left to right): Will Mullins, Paul Dooley, Alex Blankenship, Christopher Kimble

The event took place in two parts; the first of which featured Dooley on stage being interviewed in the auditorium by a student before the school. Anyone in the audience unfamiliar with the actor surely left impressed, as Dooley proved himself to be an enlightening, humorous, and entertaining individual. After about an hour and a half, the event took a break for lunch, and then resumed exclusively for PHS Theater students (and for those visiting from other schools). Here Dooley was treated to a couple of PHS students in the Drama Club performing a one-act play of his entitled "Post It Notes on a Marriage", which he said was "terrific". He also took a chance to talk a little more in-depth about specific roles he's had, what he thinks about acting today as opposed to when he started, treating attendees to a vaudeville act with his son, and even shared a few personal stories about growing up in the area. The event ended when the class period ended, and Dooley was met with applause in his return to the Parkersburg area.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Viking tennis starts off successfully

By: Daniel Green
Tennis here at Ripley started February 27, with tryouts. The team opens up the season at home against Spring Valley, on March 21. All home matches are at the Ripley Park and the start at 4 p.m.

The team consists of 19 players. There are 12 girls and 7 boys. At the matches the play single and doubles matches. The double teams are picked by the coaches. The coaches pick the teams based on how well the players play together, and if they can win.

Senior Kyler Easter has been playing tennis for seven years.

He said, “I am ready for this season, because I’ve been practicing a lot.”

He also said last year wasn’t a very good year for him. As a result of that he has been practicing hard, and he is confident that he can win a match this year.

Junior Emily Munson said, “Practice has been going very well, and they are harder than they have ever been in past years.” She also said that the team should have a good season because they have a pretty good line up.

They have been practicing hard the past couple weeks, and are ready for an awesome season.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Random Sport: Octopus Wrestling

By: David Hicks
When you think you have heard it all, one more thing comes and sneaks up on you. Wrestling is a very challenging sport, but what if we took it to the next level? What if I told you there once was a sport where they would do just that? In the 1960s a sport was very popular and a tournament was held every year called World Octopus Wrestling Championships.
In Tacoma, Washington diving was a pastime and a large amount of people went to the ocean to look at the beauty of nature. One day a man named O’Rourke started an unorthodox method for fishing. As other divers witnessed him doing this they decided to take on something a little bigger, the giant pacific octopus, which is the heaviest octopod in the world. Thus began the sport of octopus wrestling, but the thrill was short lived.
The World Octopus Wrestling Championships began, gathering hundreds of divers bringing octopi from the ocean. Participants were scored one point per pound the octopus weighs, unless the diver went without the respirator, then the points are doubled. The participants could either dive solo or have a team to drag out the sea creature. The winner got world recognition and usually was pictured in several big magazines. The sea creatures were either eaten or most of the time given to a local or distant zoo.
This sport has eventually faded in time and was eventually made illegal to overall seal the fate of the sport lovers. As everyone moves on to bigger and better things, the older generation, especially in Tacoma, Washington, remember the exciting and blood pumping sport of octopus wrestling.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Celebrated actor returns to share wisdom with youth

March 23, actor Paul Dooley will return to Parkersburg High School where he graduated in 1945 to give an acting workshop to students in the area who are interested in pursuing acting. Dooley has been acting for nearly five decades, and his most notable roles include Jim Baker from “Sixteen Candles”, Mr. Spritzer from “Hairspray”, and Sarge from the “Cars” franchise. A trio of Ripley High seniors will be able to attend: Alex Blankenship, Christopher Kimble, and Will Mullins.Will Mullins expressed his reason for looking forward to the workshop.
“I am calmly excited. Because [I think] being a voice actor would be cool, and I’d love to hear from someone who’s done it.”
The students selected were seniors who expressed interest in going into theater beyond high school, under-class students would have had the opportunity, but unfortunately the workshop falls on the date of the online writing assessment. Theater teacher Christina Bright-Iman’s goal with the trip is simple;
“My purpose is probably the same as his: to help convey the message that if acting is something you want to do, you can do it, even if you’re from here.”
Dooley’s workshop will likely spend a fair amount of time with him discussing his career of 49 years (and counting), then delving into acting techniques, and likely some improvisation exercises. It’s currently projected to last a couple hours. As Dooley is a celebrated actor and this is a homecoming of sorts, he will also be the grand marshal of the Parkersburg Easter Parade March the next day from 2-4 PM. A set of Dooley’s films will also be shown for free in Parkersburg; “Breaking Away” will start 7 PM on Friday the 23rd at the Smoot Theater in north-end downtown Parkersburg, the 1980 film “Popeye” (in which Dooley portrayed Wimpy) will air the next day at 11 AM, and the final movie to play will be “A Wedding” at 7 PM on the same day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

BOE removes (yet another) senior privilege

By: Kayla Stalnaker

Show of hands, how many of you readers were looking forward to having every Friday in March off? How many of you not only wanted, but needed that extra day to study? To get caught up on homework? To schedule a doctor’s appointment (because don’t teachers, administrators, and parents discourage us from making those during the school week—who cares if our doctors are only in their office during the week days)? Add another day onto your paycheck? Or even just get more than five hours of sleep in a night? (They always harp that sleep is the most important factor in improving academic performance.) Well, apparently, none of this really matter to the Board of Education.

Thursday, March 1, the Board members sat down in their comfy, cozy, rolly chairs and finalized a plan to completely alter the county’s school calendar—this was the same calendar that, last year, they allowed the teachers to vote on and then, they themselves approved. This calendar change will do two things. First, it will revoke all but two of our days off in March. And the second thing it will do involves what I like to refer to as: the complete destruction the senior’s graduation day.

For starters, I would like to point out that the two Fridays we have off were not given out of the Board members’ kindness and respect for wants and needs of faculty and students. These days were given because the Board had no choice. The first Friday happened to fall the day after our wonderful board voted on this new schedule change and Friday, March 16 is a reserved snow day, just in case we have some massive blizzard.

And, as a senior myself, I would like to thank the board for completely and totally obliterating one of the few, miniscule privileges we seniors have left. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that the Board members took our graduation and made it worth less than any other day of the year. Not only does the entire county get out May 25, but members of the board had to make it a half day. So the focus shifts. We seniors will be graduating, but that pales in comparison to the fact that summer has begun and EVERYONE is out of school. Despite the fact that it is a half day, seniors still have to be here. All day. First for graduation practice, then for the actual ceremony. And all night, assuming that most of us will stay for project graduation (that is, if the Board doesn’t decide to take that away too).

In short, I guess all I’m really trying to say is, Board members, next time you decide to let the teachers vote on a schedule, if you don’t like it, DON’T APPROVE IT (or just don’t ask them to begin with, since obviously what they want doesn’t matter that much, anyway). This simple practice will ensure two things. Firstly, the plans of students and teachers won’t be crushed. And secondly, future generations of seniors will actually have a graduation that means more than just the start of the summer—for everyone. It’s a win-win, but hey, why listen to a student, right?

Mythology students play around

Students recreate the battle scence from Le Morte d'Arthur.
By: Megan Mobley

The students of the mythology class, headed by English teacher Kelley Adcock, have been doing projects based on the story, “Le Morte d’Arthur.” The story is about the death of the mythological King Arthur. Seniors Rome Gregory, Lindsey Acree, Cody Lanier, and sophomore Cody Alderman were the actors in a video, a recreating of a battle scene, filmed by junior Parker Shreve.

The group did not get to pick which section of the story they were going to act out. While writing the script, they based it off the original, just making it more modern by using language from this day and age. The film will be used just for their mythology class.

'Modern Warfare 3' fun for individuals or friends

By: Megan Mobley

“Modern Warfare 3” is a ridiculously fun game. You get to shoot virtual people, and you can pull the sneak attack on them, which is always fun. I absolutely loved it. My character died often but it was still a blast.

The goal in story mode is to kill Makarov. If you play online your goal is to kill as many people who are not on your team as possible. If you play not online but against your friend, your goal is to kill them before they kill you. You can choose to be allies or enemies. You get to pick your own character but you only get to pick between two options. You don’t get to change anything about them. For hidden features, you can collect enemy intelligence.

Graphics in MW3 are better than in the first two. The plot of the whole game is to stop Soviet Russia, save the presidents daughter, and kill Makarov.

It isn’t a hard game. It just challenges you a little. You have to have good hand-eye coordination. I don’t so that’s why I kept dying. You also have a map on the left of your screen. When an enemy is coming a little red dot will show up, telling you where they are. If you’re playing against just your friend a dot will not show up unless they shoot. Only then will you be able to see what area they are in. It doesn’t stay long though. It will quickly fade away so you have to watch for it. If you aren’t hidden somewhere you have to be careful looking at the little map. Somebody might be behind you and you won’t know until it’s too late.

If somebody came up to me and asked me what I rated this, I would say a ten-out-of-ten. Anybody who is age appropriate should play this game. It will amuse you for days.

Softball works for improved season

The weather is warming. The sun is staying out longer. Ray Swisher is riding around the baseball field on a lawnmower. Even though it’s only March, Spring is here.

So the cleats go on and the softball team begins practice. Though last year wasn’t the team’s best year, they look forward to success this coming season. With 8 of 9 starters returning and a roster heavy with veteran players, hopes are high for much improvement.

“We’re going to get better this year. The staters have more experience playing together and we’re excited to see what happens this season,” says junior Ali Cunningham.

The goals for this year are to increase the number of wins from last year and to work as a team. They’re also working to beat rival Parkersburg South.

Senior Makenzie Hesson says, “The most important thing in softball is chemistry. It doesn’t matter how good you are individually. If you can’t work as a team, you can’t be good.”

The Lady Vikings wish to make a trip to the state tournament this year as well. They begin their journey at home with a scrimmage against Ravenswood on March 10.

“Film and Video” gets makeover

By: Danielle Vealey

There are many new electives being offered at RHS for the 2012-2013 school year. It’s something that has been in the works for a year. The teachers all throughout the school were asked to come up with some new classes that could be offered, and they came up with quite a few. A class that is a new elective, that will be a full credit, is Journalism Video.

This class is not the same as Film and Video. This class would be taught by English teacher, Tricia King. She has multiple goals for this class such as, the students being able to learn how to use all of the equipment properly, knowing the basics of being in a video journalism class, and to mainly have fun, yet get a lot of work done. The main and ultimate goal would to be able to produce a news show for the school. Starting out, the class would try to have one broadcast a week, the broadcasts hopefully starting in October.

King hopes to have enough students to have two broadcast teams. The two teams would rotate their shows every week, so it would be fair for everyone involved to get a chance to work on the broadcast. If all of the students work hard enough and we have all the equipment, a broadcast could potentially replace the morning announcements.

Eventually, King would want to progress to possibly making commercials for school events and upcoming things headed Ripley High School’s way. If the class gets a lot of attention and enough kids show an interest in it, there would probably be an advanced Journalism Video class in the 2013-2014 school year.

Haley Ford, a sophomore, who has taken an interest in this class early on, is very excited to take JV. Ford has been working with the new equipment, mainly the video cameras and the Mac, for quite a while now. She started by video taping the school’s Christmas play and also edited it. She stated that she is really excited to learn how to use all of the new equipment, and not just the cameras and computer.

“I’m looking forward to this class because it will be something new, and it will be good for the school. It will definitely be a good learning experience!” Ford said.

Sarah Says: here lies an argument both for and against being a hipster

By: Sarah Smith

Have you ever heard of Iron and Wine? Ever won anything from American Apparel? Do you shun Starbucks for a lesser known coffee shop where they play jazz music? If so, you can probably stop reading this now. You’re already a hipster. If your answers were no, but your curiosity has been piqued by these questions, read on. You may yet find a new life among these lines. Or maybe just a new group of people to consider yourself as not a member of.

Before we begin, let me quickly describe what hipster culture is. You’ve probably seen at least one hipster in your life. They wear fedoras, old man sweaters, and listen to music by artists you’ve probably never heard of. They take great pride in discovering artists, food, and style that has either never been discovered by society at large or been abandoned by society about 40 years ago (e.g. Old man sweaters). Some people find hipster culture annoying; others find it useful to follow in their footsteps in music and style choices. There are reasons to be or not to be a hipster. We’re going to explore them and you can decide for yourself if you want to grow an ironic beard and start listening to Iron and Wine.

The most appealing part of being a hipster is being different. You have different taste than the majority of people on the planet in everything. Who wants to be like other people anyway? And you find cool music and clothes before they become cool. Then you can lean over to your buddy when they do hit the mainstream, you can lean over to your buddy and say, “I liked that before it was cool.” That makes you cool for longer than everyone else, which is good. Then you drop it like a bad habit and move on to the next bit of obscure culture.

The downside to being a hipster is being lonely in your culture. As humans, we want to share our culture. Even if you’re in a little clique of hipsters, you’re all trying to outdo each other in finding new culture to follow. You constantly ask each other, “hey, have you heard of this band/movie/fashion trend?” desperately hoping the answer will be “no”. But then you turn to your non-hipster friends and say, “hey, have you heard Bon Iver’s new song?” and the answer is “no, no I haven’t.” That means you can’t share your love of Bon Iver’s music because your buddy has never heard it. Also, some people will find you annoying. They might think you’re constantly bragging about the music that you love that they know nothing about (and, who knows? Maybe you are) and people find bragging annoying.

Here’s the thing: if you chose to become a hipster, it’s not a sex change or moving to another country. Your personality might change as you interest yourself in different music and associate with new people, but you will still be you. So, on those grounds, feel free to dabble in hipsterism to see if you like being ahead of the social curve. But I’d hurry, before it becomes mainstream and you miss your chance.

Wrestlers' do great in Huntington

By: Taryn Matheny

   The Ripley wrestling team came into the state tournament in Huntington on March 23-25. They’d had a very successful season, and felt like this could be their chance to win it all.
   The wrestlers had a very successful first day of the tournament, only suffering one loss. In the quarter finals they again only had one of their wrestlers lose and had nine guys moving on into the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, they performed very well and took five out of their nine Vikings into the finals. The five to move on to the finals were Jake Martin, Preston Martin, Adam Bicak, David Hicks, and Daryl Hicks.
   After the second day of the tournament, the Vikings had the lead over Parkersburg South and were giving the Patriots a run for their money for the first time in years. The Vikings still had nine guys in the tournament and were hoping to pull one out.
   The Vikings had nine people to place in the tournament. In 6th place: Austin Hileman and Greg Medina; in 4th place: Jarred Burdette; 3rd place: Jared Simpkins; Runner up: Preston Martin and Daryl Hicks; and State Champion: Jake Martin, 3 time state champion David Hicks, and 4 time state champion Adam Bicak.
   “It felt great after all of the hard work I’ve put in over the years to pick up that 4th win in the finals,” said Senior Adam Bicak.
   “It was a tough transition into wrestling at the high school, but I was able to hold my own, and it feels great to win this first one, said Freshman Jake Martin.
   The Ripley Vikings made a good run, but came up just short, becoming runner-up to Parkersburg South with 199 and a half points and Ripley having 182. The Vikings had a great season and are looking to carry on their success to the next season.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Removal of March Fridays

By the time you read this, you will likely have already received a call concerning Outside School Environment Fridays in March, but just to be clear; the only Fridays you are not required to attend school are on March 3, and March 16. The other Fridays are days you’ll need to show up on. It may be easy to be upset, but there was a decision made in light of this that should hopefully help soften the blow.

Normally Jackson County has experienced so many snow days that the school board wouldn’t even need to consider such an issue. However, the 2011 – 2012 school year was odd in that we have not had a single snow day, and a miniscule amount of two-hour delays. There is some good news in all of this, however.

Rather than just leave the Fridays as days off, the decision was made March 1 by the Board of Education to simply move three days off from March, and to implement those days at the end of the school year. That said, the last day of school for students is now May 25. However, as stated earlier, the 2011 – 2012 school year has been an odd one; if we happen to get another snow day between now and May 25, a day would be added back onto the calendar. For example, if we get a day off due to inclement weather, our new last day would be May 26. Seniors wondering how this will affect graduation dates, it won’t. The date of Graduation is still May 25.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Madness

By: Taryn Matheny

   March is coming up and that means its time for the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. People will be filling out brackets, there will be many upsets, a Cinderella team most likely will emerge, and it truly will be madness.
    For many teams, such as West Virginia, Texas, Harvard, and a few others, this is when they want to step it up and make a final run and get themselves into the tournament. If a team can get into the tournament, then their record doesn’t really matter anymore. It becomes a whole new season for everybody. Any one team could have their night and upset a higher seeded opponent.
   Seeds in the tournament are determined by how a team’s record is at the end of the regular season compared to other teams. The number seed you get doesn’t always mean you have it easy; any lower seed could beat a higher seeded opponent at anytime. However, throughout the history of the tournament no number one seed has ever been beat by a 16 seed. The higher the seed is supposed to mean that you get an easier road to the final four, but it doesn’t always happen that way. The winner of each conference tournament gets an automatic bid to the tournament no matter how their record has been up to that point. By having this, it can knock some of those teams that were on the bubble out of the tournament.
   There is always that unexpected team which becomes the Cinderella team for that year and beats teams that no one would ever think they could have. In recent years, teams to do so would be Dayton, which was led by Stephen Curry who averaged 30 plus points a game during the tournament, and of course George Mason that took out teams like UNC, Connecticut, and Michigan State before losing in the Final Four to eventual National Champion, the Florida Gators.
   On any given night, any team could upset another team. It becomes a new season with everyone just trying to survive and make it to the next round. You never know what could happen in these games. Most teams will play as if there is no tomorrow, because in fact for some of these players there is no tomorrow.
   It has become known as March Madness, because of how insane things are in this tournament. No team has an easy road to the Final Four. There will be many great games and I would encourage you to fill out a bracket and have some fun watching this tournament and cheering on your favorite teams. March Madness will always be an event full of upsets and that is why it will continue to be so viewed. If you want to see an exciting event, then you should definitely watch some of the many games going on this March.

Boys' baseball ready to hit off the season

By: Logan Moore

With spring fast approaching, the sport of baseball is hooked on with it. Players are excited to start the season, ready to take wins for Ripley High.

Try outs for the team were February 27. Out of the 24 people tying out, no one was cut. The head coach, Shane Casto, is holding high expectations for the players, hoping for a great season once again.

Junior Jordan Ullom, third year on the Ripley High baseball team, is pumped for the upcoming season as well;
“Yes, I’m pretty excited for the baseball season this year,” he said, “I think we will do pretty well. As long as we pull together and act as a team, I’m sure we’ll have a great season.”

The first game is on March 17, so make plans to come out and support our baseball team as they kick off the winning season.

Boys' basketball ends with new wisdom

By: Anni Ashworth

   This year’s boys’ basketball team faced many challenges, from being an inexperienced team to losing one of their key players, senior Cody Miller, to an ankle injury early in the season.  However, they have also gained new wisdom from those challenges.  
   “We’ve learned more skills on working together and how to face the difficulties we did have this season more productively,” junior Cody Sanders said.
   After a losing streak, winning their first match against Ravenswood High January 20th at 59 to 50 was a very big accomplishment for the team because the Red Devils are the team’s biggest rivalry.
   Unfortunately, following that win they made little progress in increasing their standings in the ranks throughout the rest of the season.
   Nevertheless, they were able to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses which will benefit in their upcoming 2013 season. Ending the season against Capital High school, the team is looking forward to a more productive year to come.
   “As a team we’re looking forward to taking what we learned this year and being more productive with it next basketball season,” junior Tyler Kidd commented.

Boys', girls' track off to running start

By: Danielle Vealey

With spring sports starting on February 27 it brings boys’ and girls’ track along with it. Track is considered to be one big family according to the coaches, and they hope that all of the athletes will treat each other like they are an actual family.

There has been conditioning held for the past couple of months for the athletes to get in shape ahead of time. It occurred a few days a week and had different exercises to suit the athletes’ different needs. All of the athletes that took the time to do it had a better look at what was to come for the season. Although it wasn’t necessary, it was definitely beneficial.

Social Studies teacher Jason Ward has returned for his second year of coaching track. Ward has high expectations for this season. He wants everyone to be able to compete to the best of their ability, to keep the team at current strength of number, and to be able to take a team bus to states.

The team will be bigger this year than it has been for a while. There are 75 athletes on the team and the coaches hope to keep them all. Instead of having a “boys’ team” and a “girls’ team” all of the coaches have come together and are working with everyone. There are different coaches for specific events but overall it is just one big team. Ward feels that this will be a good year, and if everyone maintains the positive energy that they already have that everyone will do great.

“This is my second year coaching, and this time two years ago we just had 30 kids on the team, and I’m proud to have 75 now. We have come a long way and I think we will have a great season.” said Ward.

Lady Viking successful season ends

By: Anni Ashworth

   The 2012 girls’ basketball team has been very successful to say the least. Ending the season with an 8-15 record, they have faced a challenging season but made an extreme effort to keep up with it.
   “The season went by extremely fast and it’s definitely sad to see the seniors go, but we are looking forward to having a productive season next year too,” junior Ali Cunningham commented about the season.
   Ending their season with a 48 to 27 win against Ravenswood High on February 14th, the girls showed the strengths that they had produced throughout the entire season. The team is looking forward to another productive season to come.

Literary magazine displays student talents

By: Emma Shinn

For the second year in a row, the students of the creative writing classes are putting together and publishing a literary magazine displaying works of poetry, prose, and art by students. The magazine, which will be called Literarily (a play on the words “literary” and “literally”, created by senior Brody Wines for last year’s book), is being orchestrated by seniors Lynzi Acree and Ashley Hart of the Creative Writing II class.

For students in Creative Writing I, submitting something for the magazine is a mandatory assignment, but anyone in the school with a work they would like to share is welcome to submit their piece for consideration. In order to submit their work, students need only contact Creative Writing teacher Diana Gainer (room 203) and ask her for the submission form. From there, you simply fill in the form and turn it back in to Gainer along with the piece you would like to submit, and wait for the magazine to come out so you can see your published work. The ideal dead line for submission is March 12, but late work will be accepted until the end of that week.

Students should keep in mind that all work absolutely must be school appropriate. This means no artworks of or stories about subjects of a pornographic or graphically violent nature, and no works which in any way condone drug use or breaking of other laws. Use your best judgment. The only time a work will be rejected from publishing will be if the students of Creative Writing II or Mrs. Gainer deem it inappropriate.

Copies of Literarily can be pre-ordered during the week before Spring Break, and any extra copies will be sold when students return. An official price has yet to be set, but all proceeds will go to the Foundation to Decrease WorldSuck. FDW is an organization created by brothers Hank and John Green, which uses its profits for various activities in order to, you guessed it, decrease “world suck,” or situations that cause people financial, mental, or physical distress. Examples include providing meals for the hungry, donating to homeless shelters, children’s hospitals, and cancer research, or purchasing mosquito nets to send to areas stricken by malaria.

Not only will buying copies of the magazine go to excellent causes such as those listed above, but contributing to it will give students a chance to display their talents in a way that they may not have before. According to Gainer, Literarily “puts students in control of their own published work,” a chance which many high school students never receive.

Here's what's (been) great about: the Obama administration

By: Emma Shinn

It seems to me that once a President gets into office, he’s completely screwed from the word “go.” No matter what is done, it was always the wrong thing to do, and very few people are going to agree with it.

There is a saying which states that “you can please all of the people some of the time, or some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.” In the case of the President, however, I would advocate amending that to simply, “you can’t please anybody. Ever.” That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still tragically close to the reality of being the leader of our country.

This seems to have been especially true when it comes to the current administration. While a great many people will recall making fun of George W. Bush when he was in office, the fact of the matter is, the Bush White House managed to pass a number of far-reaching and influential policies, including the advent of the Department of Homeland Security following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The Obama administration, on the other hand, has seen widespread support among voters and other citizens, but has been far less successful in actually carrying out its agenda. This is largely due to the fact that the President has had to work in conjunction with a Congress that literally seems to get nothing accomplished. The lack of policy-making, whatever the reason for it, has lead to what feels like a constant barrage of negative attention being lavished on the President and his staff. But perhaps we should take a moment to acknowledge some of the achievements that have been made over the past three years.

As far as actual legislation goes, President Obama might not have the most extensive policy history, but there have been quite a few major positive victories. Since taking office, Obama has gotten the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy (barring openly gay soldiers from serving in the military) repealed; signed a bill that upped the money spent on national defense, military personnel and equipment, and foreign policy; and forged new trade agreements with South Korea and Panama. He has also enacted multiple policies that work towards causes such as controlling childhood obesity and getting healthier food into schools, protecting children from domestic abuse, protecting the environment, discouraging hate crimes and establishing stricter sentencing for those who commit them, and protecting the identities of credit-card holders and internet users.

In non-legislative terms, Obama has also made great strides that seem to be constantly looked over. The President has given speeches on, appointed personnel to further, and generally advocated greater global cooperation and civil rights. He has withdrawn American troops from warzones – as promised - and yet is still called “weak” when it comes to foreign policy. Even the most publicized military operation of the last four years, the killing of Osama bin Laden by Seal Team 6, has been contributed by and large to nearly inconsequential actions of the previous administration, rather than to the Commander-in-Chief who authorized it.

I would say that President Obama deserves more credit as a positive leader than he’s gotten. I understand that, after the brilliant, heart-stopping campaign he ran in 2008, it’s easy to say that he hasn’t followed through on his promises. However, we need to look at some of the reasons for this. The President has been up against opposition from the very beginning. He has faced a Congress that simply would not work with him (or with each other), who ended up with the lowest approval rating of all time, and we still wonder why he hasn’t passed more of the legislation that we’d like to see. The media’s lack of faith in his abilities to uphold the words of his campaign also contributed; a little negativity goes a long way in making things seem hopeless.

I’m not absolving the administration of blame for the things they’ve done, or not done, to appease the masses. I’m not saying that everyone should suddenly start looking back at the last three years through rose-tinted glasses, and imagine that everything has been fantastic in our government. I’m just asking that, come November, when everyone goes to the polls and ponders over who to vote for, you take a moment to say to yourself, “What has been great about the Obama administration?”

'This Means War' is Hilarious

By: Elaika Beaver

What do you get with action, adventure, comedy and romance? A really great movie that has good acting and will make you laugh. “This Means War” was a very satisfying movie, well worth going to the theatre to watch with a date or just a group of friends.
This film has some well known actors and actresses in it. Reese Witherspoon plays Lauren Scott, a woman that two men fall in love with. Tuck Henson (Tom Hardy) wants to find love so he goes to a dating website for help. There he finds Laurens profile, which was set up by her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) to help her with men. Lauren and Tuck decide to have lunch, but Tucks friend FDR Foster (Chris Pine) wants to make sure his friend is making a good impression. Tuck’s date with Lauren goes great and they plan on seeing each other again. Then Lauren goes to get a movie down the street where she runs into FDR. They also hit it off, so then when both guys find out they are dating her, the war begins.
This movie was entertaining to watch to see what two friends will do to win a girl. Not only just to get her, but a lot of it was for their pride to see how much they could sabotage and push each other and who would come out on top.
In the end both men remain friends and she does pick one guy to be with, but both guys get their girl.

Negative Campaigning ruins Images

By: Elaika Beaver

Running for president can be a long, tiring and stressful decision. On top of that you have the other candidates and press that will say and find anything to throw you under the bus. For something as important as the presidency, slander and disagreement is something most candidates use to get ahead. Persuasive talking is key in getting votes. However, what you say and do to help your campaign or hurt others always comes back to you, so you must be cautious.
Republican’s Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul have different views and morals. When it gets to the point where you start name calling on live television, then you’re just sinking to low. Rick Santorum said that Ron Paul is “disgusting”. If he does think this, then that’s fine, but a man wanting to run our country is name calling like a middle school child. Some opinions need to be kept too yourself and this is one of them. I’m not saying he’s the only candidate that has said something derogatory towards the other; they all have said one thing or another about each in some manner.
Another thing that needs to be left alone is what candidates did in their past. I get there are certain things that should be brought up, like if someone broke the law or were incarcerated for some reason. When it is something simple and people make a big deal out of it, we are going too far.
For instance, a few weeks back Mitt Romney was reminded of some baggage that happened almost 30 years ago. Romney and his wife and five kids were going on vacation and strapped the dog kennel with the dog in it to the roof of the car. Americans love animals, and he is not the only person to have ever done this. The dog is fine. A lot of people who go on vacation do this all the time, but just because he is running for president, drama of course needs to be raised.
However, with all the negative things being said and brought up about candidates, they remain strong and are willing to take it. They are willing to stand up for what they believe and what they disagree with. What this country needs is a president with a back-bone that gets the job done no matter what and keeps personal opinions to themselves.

Standardized essay tips to raise score

The dreaded writing assessments are coming, and some of you are beginning to freak. Well, have no fear, because there are several useful tips that will help you become a better writer and improve your performance on your standardized essays.
The secret every great essay is a good night’s sleep and breakfast in the morning. This allows the brain to be rested and get the body started it up and run normally. Try to eat something healthy like a bowl of cereal or even a banana if you don’t have time, but avoid fatty foods in the morning.
Another helpful hint is to know what the rubric is and how you expected to be graded. If you know what the reader is looking for, you improve your chance of getting a good grade.
One thing that everyone needs to do before you start into your essay is to gather your thoughts and write a brief outline. This will allow you to jump into your story with a little foundation and extend on what you need to write about. The writer also needs to write or create his or her essay for the reader. Give them what they want to know or what can entertain them.
Write from what you know about as well, and if you don’t know, then find out. If you start writing on an informative topic about dogs, and then say that dogs can survive in space, then you’re going to lose your reader. Make sure that what you’re writing about makes sense and is concise.
One final tip that will help you is no matter what is to have fun with it. If you don’t get excited about your writing, then don’t expect the reader to either. Write about something that interests you or find and relate something that interests you in the topic, but never go into it bland and dull. Make it something that people can read and be able to say this was pretty good, because chances are your story wasn’t the first one they have graded all day and they are probably getting bored of reading the same topic.
If you are worried that you won’t score very high, don’t be. Go ask one of the many English teachers. They are more than willing to help you and will definitely accept the chance to help a student increase their score on the writing assessment for the West Test. You better go now though, because the test is getting closer and will be here March 26 through April 5.