Thursday, December 14, 2017

Graduation credit change to occur

By: Lilly Sayre
     Your whole high school schedule is based off of the amount of credits you earn in four years, and guess what?  It is about to change. Right now, high school seniors in West Virginia must have a total of 24 credits in order to graduate; Jackson County Schools requires 28 credits over the four-year span. Legislation is proposing to change this state total to 21. If approved by the West Virginia Board of Education, this will take place no sooner than the next school year. This means the earliest students possible to be affected from this change would be the class of 2019. 
The amendment states, “Requiring 17 prescribed credits could permit students to choose up to 15 personalized credits on a block schedule.” Personalized credits could be used to go towards a student’s major or for their enjoyment. 
Superintendent Blaine Hess says, “[Flexibility in schedules] gives us more of an opportunity to have kids in classes such as personal finance that focus on real life issues.”
     Policy 2510 proposes that the social studies requirements are dropped from four credits to three. Along with that they are lowering the number of electives required. The county requirements will be reviewed during a meeting after the state makes its final decision. So, it is unknown how our area will be effected by this change just yet.
     Many teachers are concerned about this change.
     Social studies teacher Jo Phillips expresses her thoughts by saying “I think they should leave the credits at four for history. Now more than ever students need to be exposed to Americas history, government, and world issues.”
     This change is being discussed by the state board more now to give the counties the opportunity to require other courses that would be more beneficial in our region compared to another’s. For example, regions more agricultural based might want to emphasize their agriculture program more than other counties. 
     This gives students the chance to focus on classes that are centered around their career choice. Depending on which field you plan on pursuing a career in or whether you are going to a technical school instead of a traditional college, you may or may not need the foreign language credit.  
     Counselor Tina Holley says foreign language classes are important because, “They prepares students to be well rounded college majors, and also make students more marketable when applying for jobs when they have foreign languages on their applications.”
     In the policy, foreign language requirements should be based on student plans after high school.  Students going on to college should not be affected dramatically by this change because languages will still be recommended for them. 
     Hess explains that the high schools are still preparing students for college even with fewer requirements.  If they take challenging classes and work hard, they will be ready no matter what. 
The requirement change has to be discussed and approved by the state board so changes can still be made to the policy. It is most likely to be added to the January agenda at the state level for discussion and review. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Become a master gift giver this holiday season

By: Maisie Stout

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for your family or friends? Did you wait until the last minute to buy a gift? Have you had trouble finding time to go shopping or make DIY gifts? Here is a perfect gift guide to use for your friends and family during this season of giving.
            DIY gifts are perfect for parents and other family members. They are not only more memorable than going out and buying something, but they also take time which makes them more meaningful to the people you give them to. Also, many high schoolers do not have a job, so making a gift is more economically friendly to them. There are some really simple DIY ideas that you can make if you are skilled at knitting, sewing, embroidery, or if you have artistic talents.
If you are not skilled in crafts, however, making “Picture Frame Luminaries” may be a little easier. All you need is four 5x7 picture frames, super glue, vellum paper (get it at Michael’s), square mirror and LED lights. You can use another kind of translucent paper, as long as it is not waxy. First you have to pick the photos you want to use. Then you have to print the pictures onto the vellum paper and cut it down to size. Next, put the photos inside each frame, in between the frame and the glass so that the photo is in front of the glass. This is crucial so that they do not catch on fire if you decide to use real candles. Glue the frames together to make a cube shape. Once dry, place cube over a square mirror and place the LED light inside the box. Voila! Now you have a beautiful gift for mom or dad. You can find other DIY gift ideas on websites like and
            Sometimes homemade gifts just are not enough. Maybe you have seen your dad eyeing a new drill or your mom might have been hinting at new cooking supplies or a new book. Cliché gifts are often just as good, if not better than well thought out DIY’s. If you know that your dad is eyeing a new tool set or pair of dress pants, then that might be the perfect gift to get him even if it’s not the most creative gift. Parents will appreciate anything we get them because it is from us.
            Friends are not so simple. Most young people do not have the same use for a DIY gift as adults do. Although many friends will appreciate the effort, I think everyone would much rather get a gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings than a homemade soap scrub. Easy, generic gift ideas for friends include gift cards, socks, school supplies, winter gear, or other useful things. Many people prefer something that they can use in their day to day activities, rather than something that is just going to take up space on a shelf in their house. But the best way to figure out what your friends really want though, is to ask them. Sometimes a gift that someone has been looking forward to is just as special as a gift they are not expecting.
            If you have a big group of friends and not enough money to get a gift for all of them, or maybe you are not close enough to know what everyone really wants, you could have a Secret Santa. Having a Secret Santa in your friend group can bring everyone closer together, and help everyone save some time and money.

            Whether you make or buy gifts for your friends or family, remember that it is the thought that counts. It is the season of giving after all, and if you give gifts of joy to others you will receive more joy in return.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Families Need Adopted

By: Ashtun Welling
   Around the late 1980’s Ripley High School started being a part of helping out with those less fortunate to have a good Christmas. Before it was Adopt-A-Family RHS participated  in Toys-For-Tots. Students would bring in a toy to enter the basketball game. To watch a teacher versus students basketball game. This is also when it changed to a volleyball game instead of a basketball game.  Adopt-A-Family is an organization that helps parents give gifts to their children on Christmas. These families usually struggle with daily tasks such as providing clothing, food, and shelter. FFA and FBLA have both chosen to adopt families this year. Some teachers and students are also participating through their churches or families.
   FFA is helping out again this year with his FFA kids. They chose to adopt six kids in total out of two families.  The club raises the money by having the Critter Dinner on December 11. If they don’t meet their goal, the students themselves bring in gifts for the children. Then they have a wrapping party that is held on December 15.
“If you aren’t a part of club that is sponsoring a family, FFA will gladly accept your donations,” said senior Pheobe Rawson
   If you or your club decides to sponsor a family, you receive a description of all the members. This description includes clothing sizes, ages, and personal wish lists. The most commonly needed items are winter clothes or cleaning supplies. The sizes of the family usually ranges from 4-5 members. You must drop off any donations at WVUP before December 18. According to Christy Crowell, people typically spend  $120-400, you must include receipt, so Adopt-a-Family can send you your tax deductions. No used items are accepted because, while the thought is nice. Christmas is a time of new beginnings and gifts.  Also gift cards to stores like Krogers they must have a balance of $25-100, this is because food drives cannot accept turkeys or any kind of frozen items.

  “Your donation is 100% tax-deductible. Adopt-A-Family will send you a tax donation letter to the address you provide below as soon as you drop off your gifts. Just make sure you have an additional copy of your receipt, including the one you turn in to the families,” said Christy Crowell.  

Community comes together for Eldercare Angel Tree

By: Lucas Smith
    The Angel Tree at Eldercare of Ripley is gaining popularity this Christmas season. People are wanting to give now more than ever.  The Angel Tree is not your modern Christmas Tree. Its ornaments are made up of tags with written items on them of what a particular resident of Eldercare might like for Christmas.  The Angel Tree has been a tradition for many years, and was started years before its current coordinator, Jennette Reed, began working there.
    The Angel Tree was created “so that all of the residents can get something for Christmas. Some residents don’t have any family members to give them anything,” said Reed.
    As stated above, all residents receive a present for Christmas. To ensure that everyone gets a gift, the Angel Tree has a tag on it for every single resident at Eldercare.
Reed said, “We live in a blessed community. They make sure each resident gets a gift.”
Churches, 4-H groups, businesses, and individuals have all taken their time and funds to purchase gifts for the residents.
    4-H’er Bailey Landfried said, “I do the Angel Tree because it reminds me that the world doesn’t revolve around myself, and that there are so many more people who are in need of care. I got my resident pajamas, fuzzy socks, coloring books, and colored pencils. I also got them lots of candy.”
    Gifts listed on the tags are common items such as specific sized clothing, coloring books, cross-word puzzles, lotions, and foods if there are no dietary restrictions. Reed comes up with these items to write on the tags. She is familiar with each resident and knows what they might like or need for Christmas.
    The Christmas gifts will be opened on December 22 at Eldercare. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be in attendance. Employees and families can join in on the fun as well as anyone interested in coming to watch the experience. Club advisor Nikki Atkinson, a teacher at Ripley, and a couple of her students will be in attendance to hand out Christmas cards to the residents.
    Senior Katie Sinclair, a student of Atkinson, said “I can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces when they get their gifts.”
    As of December 1, there were eight tags left on the Angel Tree. If you would like to contribute, please contact Eldercare at (304) 372-5115 at the Activities Department.
Reed said, “Seeing the residents open up their presents is like watching a child on Christmas morning.”

Pros outweigh cons after five-year anniversary of legal pot

Recently has been the five-year anniversary of the legalization of recreational pot use in Colorado. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. However, Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational use of pot in 2014.

Tourists who have recently visited Colorado have stated they experienced a new and overwhelming smell from large marijuana farms, and the daily use of citizens smoking it in public. It fills nearly every street corner. People have even said they could smell it driving on the highways. People have been complaining about this new agricultural smell, and that is not the only thing they have been upset about.

Citizens have been complaining about the growth of homelessness rate that ranks among some of the highest in this country. Colorado has multiple homeless shelters spread out across the state causing the homeless to feel like they can spend all their money on pot, and still have a roof over their head. Other problems of pot being such an accessible drug has led to a big increase in car related deaths due to being high. There has also been an increase in schools with underage kids being caught using the substance in schools, bringing a high alert to the school industries across the state.

With that being said, Colorado has experienced plenty of positive effects from the legalization of weed. Colorado’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the country’s at just 2.3 percent With the job industry booming, it made the state excel in revenue by creating thousands of jobs. Last year the state took away $198.5 million dollars of $1.3 billion in tax revenue from the pot industry. Colorado has even experienced a decrease in crime rate. The state has had a 10 percent decrease in violent crimes and an 8.9 reduction in property crime. There are multiple positive effects from the pot industry, leading Colorado to a bright future.

Colorado is in a much better state of prosperity since they have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The positives currently are outweighing the negative factors, and the economic/societal trend will only grow from here. There has been no research to say otherwise. It is evident that other states are starting to realize how big of a positive effect it has had on Colorado’s economy. Multiple states have legalized medical marijuana and some states like California are legalizing recreational use in 2018. Soon every state will legalize recreational pot.

Samuel Pierson scores again

            West Virginia’s 2017 AAA school Player of the Year is senior Samuel Pierson. He was delighted and shocked to hear that he had been selected for this award. To win the award, the coaches have meetings and vote on all-state and player of the year, as well as a few other categories.
            “I was really happy and surprised. It was truly shocking,” said Pierson.
             Pierson has been playing soccer for 11 years now, following in his uncle and brother’s footsteps. He works out with his dad and runs outside of practice to keep in shape, as well as running track in the spring. He scored 43 goals and had 9 assists in the 2017 season. In his overall high school soccer career, he has scored a total of 93 goals. Pierson scored in almost every game this year.
            Outside of high school soccer, Pierson also participates in a travel team. They go on weekend-long tournaments all over the state, as well as outside of West Virginia. This team keeps him in shape, as well as gives him the opportunity to make new friends and play with several of his team members from years before.
            “I like soccer, it’s fun to play but it can get tiring,” he says. “Especially when going on three day tournaments and play several different games with different teams.”

            It is undecided whether or not he will continue his soccer career in college.