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It’s Okay to be Unsure: Choosing a College and Major by Tricia Bair

Not everyone knows what they are destined to do at 17 or 18 years old. This decision is challenging and it’s not as easy as it may seem. The average college student changes their major 5 times. Some might say that it is bad and that nobody should ever change their major that many times. Actually it is okay! You are the only person who knows you best and what will make you happy in the future. It is normal and acceptable to change your mind.
A lot of people say changing your major is a sign of someone who will not do well in college. When in fact it just means that they are trying to find what they want to do. That does not mean they will fail college. It is better to change if you’re not happy with what you’re doing. This is why it is wise to choose a college that has a variety of majors to offer. That way if you do decide to change you won’t have to change colleges.
There are also other options other than attending college after high school. There are technical colleges and trade schools. These are not the traditional colleges and these types of schools will get you just as far as a traditional college. It is also acceptable to not know where you want to go. This decision could be the hardest yet because it’s almost permanent. There are many factors that come into play when choosing a college such as whether or not you want to move or stay at home, or if you could afford to live on campus with roommates or on your own.
None of these choices are technically wrong, but you must think of what is best for your personality and what you can afford to do. So choose what you want to do and live out your dreams. If you change your mind, don’t get discouraged. You have many years ahead of you left to figure everything out.

The Annual Scholarship Dinner by: Tricia Bair

Every year multiple organizations and clubs offer the Springfield high school senior graduates scholarships that can range from $100- $3,000. These students are encouraged to apply for these scholarships and to do so some require an essay and can include lengthy applications. Almost every scholarship has requirements that each student has to qualify for before applying. These are requirements that are set by the people that are offering the scholarship. It is worth it to put the time and effort to apply because you could never know if you will win.
Every student that has a GPA of 3.0 was invited to attend the annual scholarship dinner on Monday, May 15, 2017 at St. Paul’s Church in New Middletown.This year there was a great turnout of students and there were many scholarships awarded. The total amount of scholarships received was $42,500. This is a wonderful testament to the hard work of our students and generosity of those that offer scholarships to them.
With so much money being offered as local scholarships, the amount is even greater because of the college scholarships that are given to students as well. Scholarships are a great way to get some college paid for and to diminish future school loans. We thank them clubs and organizations that participate in giving our seniors the recognition for their hard work.

I Don’t Know How to Study! Studying for Finals by: Tricia Bair

Finals are coming up and there always seem to be the problem of studying. We have all studied before and probably passed a few tests and possibly even failed. We sometimes wonder how did I fail even though I studied so hard? The problem is that you do not know how to really study. There’s really no right or wrong way because every person studies differently.
Some of you might have more than one final. There could be 3 or even 4 exams one student has to take in one day. It can be difficult to study for all of them at once. The first thing you should do is to set out a studying schedule. Make sure to leave rest time in between to give yourself a break so you don’t drain yourself of energy. Start studying for the exams a couple of days before to give yourself enough time to prepare and ask questions if needed. Some exams might need more attention than others depending on if you understand the material or not. Procrastination is one of the worst things you can do.
Another huge part of studying is being organized. It is difficult to study when the area around is you messy or if your notes and homework is messy. Sometimes rewriting your notes to organize them can also help. This may even highlight material you might have forgotten over time.
Also keep in mind, breaks are necessary when studying for long periods at a time. You have to eat because if your stomach is growling at you, you won’t be very focused. When eating during studying you might not have time to make a full course meal. If you want to just eat something quickly, just make sure it’s a nutritious snack. Junk food will not fill your stomach and it will only cause you to have a sugar rush and feel awful. Some examples of “brain food” are fish, nuts, seeds, and yogurts. These foods help with memory and increase concentration.
Another helpful hint is to make note cards or your own study guide to help you study. Note cards help with repetition and the study guides can be used for lengthy questions that require longer written answers. These tools will get you plenty of practice to prepare you for your actual tests.
Each person has their own methods of studying. Remember to figure out what is best for you and do not allow yourself to become stressed. Good Luck on your exams!

Reading Without Walls Challenge

Everyone has a story. A story of how they came to be or what made them who they are. Stories come from all around the world. Each human is a book filled with thousands of pieces of paper, bound together by their culture, loved ones, and their history. The variety and amount of culture that flow through this Earth is vast. Everyone is accustomed to their own niche and their surroundings of their home, but there is so much more out there in the world. To discover the true depths this Earth has to offer, one can always turn to books. With books there is an endless amount of possibility and wonder. There are stories about nearly everything imaginable. Due to the surplus of books right at mankind’s fingertips it would almost be a pity to not truly understand other people’s ways of life besides one’s own.
This is where the Reading Without Walls Challenge comes in. This challenge allows students to leave their world and venture into the euphoria of different cultures and stories. Every author has a story to share, each bursting at the seams with rich thoughts and ideas. To envelope oneself into the world it is best to get to know it first. The object of this challenge was to choose a book that depicted a lifestyle that was very different from your own. One that represented a different culture or was written in an unfamiliar format so that you could learn from it.
This year Youngstown State University’s English Festival encourages all student to get involved with The Reading Without Walls Challenge. The English Festival began in the fall of 1978, and has continued to grow and add unique contests since then. There have been an ample amount of books and authors represented throughout the years at this annual event. This year the English Festival has welcomed Gene Luen Yang, ambassador of The Reading Without Challenge, along with the stories he has to offer. Yang allows this beauty to flux into fruition by representing and writing the stories of fictitious people who emanate from different places besides America. His books are a perfect choice in the Reading Without Walls Challenge because of how different the point of views are from the average book an American student reads. His novels that have been represented at an English Festival include: Boxers, Saints, American Born Chinese, and The Shadow Hero. They are jam-packed with excitement and exuberance, with humor added in along the way. They represent cultures that might be different from what one knows, but it’s not difficult to relate to the real meaning in the plot. Taking part in this challenge was a brilliant and exciting way to see into the varying lives of people all around the world.
Springfield Local High School’s Freshman class took this challenge head on with 31 students reading with resolution and an open mind. They were told to choose either a book that was about a character that didn’t look like themselves, a topic they didn’t know about, or one that was written in an unfamiliar format. Following these guidelines each student chose their own book that attracted them and that fit the criteria.
The students that partook in this challenge and gave a wide variety of opinions on the matter. The words they offered contained excitement at what worlds they got to explore and marvel at what they had learned. Some explained how important it is to stand up for yourself and have a voice. Others showed how their book taught them to be more thankful for the benefits they have, because others have life much worse. One student that offered her opinion was Rebecca Catlos, she chose the book Freedom’s Children written by Ellen Levine which was from the perspective of segregated African Americans. Catlos stated, “I learned how strong [African Americans] all had to fight and how much heart they put into it for their rights…One thing I learned about myself is that I’m very very fortunate to be living where I do, around me are very supporting and accepting people who impact my life positively.”
Another student, Anjelina Booksing, read the book I am Mala by Mala Yousafzai and stated, “This book is important because it teaches people to stand up and have a voice if they think something should be changed/fixed. One thing I learned about myself from reading this book is that I’m very lucky have the things I have and that I’m lucky to be able to do the things I do safely.”
Caleb Guilliams also joined in on the challenge and chose the book Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, he stated, “I learned that even though these soldiers were from different backgrounds, different races, and different genders, they were all still able to be united as soldiers in the American Army. I learned that I shouldn’t let someone’s background, gender, or race determine what I think of them. God made everyone different, but we are all still humans!” These quotations were from only a few of the many students that enjoyed this challenge, and they provide perfect examples as to what experience the students gained.
Overall, what was learned from this challenge is that even though these stories came from different diversities, different predicaments, and some even across seas, everyone is still human. Although there are a plethora of differences, similarities can be found in the underlying message of all novels, and it provides something to relate to. It is easy to find oneself amongst words on a page when lost in the story, and that is exactly what happened to the students who participated in this challenge. It was a perfect way in reminding people that they aren’t alone in the world and there is so much more out there to learn and to feel. The world is filled with beauty. And when walls are knocked down, the sight displayed for all to see, the view is a whole lot better.

Dear Coffee, I Love You

Eighty-three percent of American adults drink coffee. That is an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups. This isn’t even counting the new teenager trend of drinking Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Personally coffee is a necessity to my everyday life but some people can’t stand the taste. My favorite coffee shop is StoneFruit. This coffee haven is on Market Street in Boardman across from the hospital. The calm surroundings and smell of fresh coffee is the best place to relax and even get schoolwork or writing done. The friendliness of the baristas make people keep coming back again and again. The modern music that plays in the background is soothing and allows customers to relax and talk with friends or even do work.
I started drinking coffee at age nine and haven’t stopped since. Of course when I was nine I added more sugar and creamer than coffee. There is a common myth that coffee will stunt your growth and that is why children shouldn’t drink it. The reality of this is that coffee contains caffeine which stimulates the central nervous system. Though there is no proven evidence that caffeine stunts children’s growth, people who suddenly stop drinking coffee can experience headaches, irritability, and fatigue.
Besides giving people the boost they need in the morning, coffee does have some additional benefits. Coffee supposedly lowers the risk of heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, risk of type 2 diabetes, risk of Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Black coffee is low in fat and calories and supplies a great amount of antioxidants that help protect a person’s health. Certain risks have been linked to drinking large amounts of black coffee, but rest assured that a cup of coffee every morning is safe. Keep in mind five spoonfuls of sugar and a gallon of creamer is not the best picture of heath.
Not only is coffee healthy but it is lucrative. The coffee industry makes $30 billion dollars a year. According to a recent NCA study, one-third of U.S. adults have been drinking gourmet coffee every day. At the same time, those drinking traditional coffee dropped from 56 percent in 2012 to 49 percent this year. Gourmet coffee includes fancy lattes or espressos and even exotic beans. These fancy coffees attract customers because of their names and brands. The gourmet coffees look very tempting but they are also more expensive than just a regular cup of joe. Coffee shops not only thrive because of their beverages but also their style and the look of their store.
Coffee is not only the best because of the taste but also because of the culture. People use the phrase “let’s meet for coffee” and it is often used as a first date setting. Coffee is more than a choice of beverage. This beverage is a relaxing cup of relief for all who indulge.

Enjoy The Ride

Growing up a lot of us wished we were farther along in life. In elementary school we wanted to be in the middle school because that made us “big kids” and we had lockers. When we hit middle school, in all our awkward glory, we started to hit puberty and take interests in sports, academics, and other hobbies. We had crushes and would pass notes saying “Do you like me?” with yes/no check boxes. After awhile we wished to move onto the next level of schooling, high school.
Little did any of us expect what high school had in store for us. The heartbreak, fights, and drama that would happen in just four years is not something we could have guessed. When I was in middle school I was excited about two things: bigger lockers and the title of “high schooler.” There is no way I could have known how high school would prepare me to deal with all types of people and problems in life. Looking back on my thirteen years I have definitely matured a lot.
Although my school career was not that bad, I do have regrets. Some of my regrets are not finding value in each stage of my life, realizing that I’m not young forever and missing opportunities by focusing on the wrong things. I focused on growing up instead of realizing that time is precious.
My life could have been so much more if I looked at what I could be if I tried. While I’m a good student with great grades, if I would have put more effort into my schooling I could have been valedictorian. Anything is possible but it is important to not focus entirely on what is to come but also focus on the present. The thought of graduating in a few months is exciting because it’s the next chapter of life but it also saddens me to think about what I missed out on in high school. A lesson to those who are still in high school, no matter what age or stage you are in, appreciate each moment.

From Tiles to Walls: Making our School Beautiful

Art is a way to express feelings, passions, and interests. Everyone has different interests and favorites and they show that through the things they do. This is most prevalent in artwork. Mrs. Kennedy, Springfield’s art teacher, had started to paint her ceiling tiles in her room around her 2nd year teaching at Springfield Local. She let students paint what they wanted and to feel inspired by her ceiling as they worked on their own projects in her room. Soon every teacher around the school wanted painted ceiling tiles. It became a trend and the teachers were able to request what they wanted and the students painted them and hung the tile back up in their rooms. The tiles are still in the their rooms and admired to this day.
Soon after they had a lot painted, authorities said it was a fire hazard. They said the paint is highly flammable because the paint gets into the holes of the tile and it prevents the tiles from slowing the fire. Therefore, students had to stop painting the tiles which made a lot of people upset because it was so much fun for everyone. The tile painting let the art students leave their mark on the school and show off their artistic abilities. They have not removed the tiles, but they had said they just can’t paint anymore.
A couple of years later, an art club formed and they came up with the idea to paint murals on the walls of the teachers rooms, playing off of the ceiling tiles concept that everyone loved. Teachers can pick whatever they want, and a student will draw and paint it for them on the wall they wished to have it on. Mrs.Mullane chose a Starry Night Harry Potter scene. Mrs.Vecchione has “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, and Mr.Cornfield has Star Wars lightsabers and Darth Vader on his wall. There are many more artistic visions for the future, and the teachers are enjoying having their rooms come alive with beautiful images.

Midterms=More Stress or Not?

Midterms and finals are all very stressful for students and faculty. They both require intensive amounts of studying and preparation to do well. Currently each of them are worth 10% of your grade. There are two specific days in January for midterms and in June the schedule repeats in June for finals. This method seems to work generally for the school. What would happen if we decided to get rid of midterms?
A couple weeks back, there was a survey sent out to the whole school including administration. The topic of the survey was, “If the midterm was eliminated should the final exam cover the whole year or only the 2nd semester?” The survey had 113 responses and 60% wanted to eliminate the midterms. Even after they were told that the final exam would be worth 20%, out of that 60% that wanted to get rid of the midterms as indicated by the response to the first question, 48% still wanted to get rid of them. 62% of those participating in the survey said that the final should cover the 2nd semester.
With all that data received no other actions have been taken. Some of the students have other opinions about the midterm and final situation. Megan Fagert said, “Midterms help prepare us for college because we have to take midterms and finals there.” Lauren McFadden said, “Finals would be more stressful because it would be worth more for your grade.”
Without midterms the finals would potentially add more pressure on the students. They would be more stressed out to do better on the test to ensure they pass the course. Splitting the year up between midterms and finals helps to separate the information throughout the year and takes more pressure off of the students. A possible big change may be in the future for SHS with the elimination of midterms though this is only the first step in that direction.

Making the Students Think: An Assembly about Character

Early last week, Mr. DeFelice called an assembly that was much different from the usual ones that we have here at Springfield Local High School. At this assembly, Mr. DeFelice played a video that was very inspirational, touching, and moving for everyone who watched.
This specific video was about two men who thought they had lost it all. The one man had lost his vision and the other had lost his arms. As soon as their accidents happened causing them to lose these very needed things, they both thought they were useless to society and to the world. Until they started to make a difference.
There are several big messages and points of inspiration in this video. The first inspirational aspect in the video is that these men have learned to help themselves and each other living with their disabilities. These two men have also used their other senses and limbs to the extreme since they cannot use the ones that they lost. The man without arms has learned to do basically everything he needs to do with his feet; he can cook, clean, and pick things up with his toes. The man without vision has learned to use all of his other senses to help guide him. But what really allows the two together to do great things is the relationship they have built with one another.
Another inspirational aspect of this video is that although these men were discouraged and thought they had nothing left, they made a huge difference to the world. They actually started to plant trees in the area in which they lived! It doesn’t seem like much, but over time the number of trees that were planted and grew became significant. The first few trees they tried to plant would not grow because of many reasons, such as the soil being too dry. They ended up being successful and planting over 10,000 trees!
The moral of the amazing video that Mr. DeFelice had showed us is that you should always help others around you and never give up, even if something does not work the first try. Also, no matter what your challenges are, if you have a purpose, you will have the drive to do more than survive; you will live with passion.

Why is Chick-Fil-A So Great?

Samuel Truett Cathy once said in reference to his fast food chain, Chick-Fil-A, “We should be more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.” Chick- Fil-A is not only known for its amazing food but also its business. For example Chick-Fil-A is completely closed on Sundays. and they have been since 1946 when Cathy opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. The reason for this is because Cathy used to work in restaurants open 24 hours, seven days a week. Cathy believed it was important to set aside one day to rest and tend to things more important than business. This sacrifice of being closed one day just for his employees is one of the main reasons why Chick-Fil-A is so great.
Another thing Chick-Fil-A is known for are their mascots, The Cows. In 1995, on a billboard in Texas, The Cows first appeared. One cow had a paintbrush in mouth and painted “EAT MOR CHIKIN”. The humor in this advertisement is what brought more attention to this fast food chain. Chick-Fil-A serves chicken that is whole breast meat, with no added fillers or hormones, and they hand bread it in their restaurants. The produce they use is delivered fresh to their kitchens several times a week. Salads are chopped and prepared fresh throughout the day and whole lemons are freshly squeezed and combined with pure cane sugar and water to make their lemonade that many love. To go through all this to make good food for their customers means that Chick-Fil-A not only cares about the business but puts their customer’s satisfaction before the business.
Not only does Chick-Fil-A have amazing food but they also believe in giving back to the community. When talking about giving Cathy said “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.” Chick-Fil-A has a philosophy that their workers and their business are there to serve. A few years ago people in Birmingham, Alabama were expecting some snow. What they didn’t expect though was a snowstorm that would leave motorists stranded with no food or water. A Chick-Fil-A about a mile away cooked hundreds of sandwiches and took in the motorists. Not a single person was charged for the meal. Chick-Fil-A could have easily made lots of money from their hungry, captive audience but instead they took them in and served them. This business is so great because they put loving and caring for their customers before making money.

Foreigners Take a Tour to The Springfield Jungle

Nico Su and Matteo Monge are the two new foreign exchange students at Springfield Local High School this year. They both have come a very long way to America. They first met their host father Bill and Bill’s sister when they arrived in America. The boys currently live together in the same house. They both have started a new chapter in their lives with new culture, friends, and food. They received this opportunity through different organizations in their countries.
Nico is a sophomore at Springfield Local and is from Germany. With the help of the ISE (International Student Exchange) program and his host father, Nico is here with us at Springfield! ISE is a program that gives exchange students the opportunity to live with loving and accepting American families. The goal of the program is to bring different cultures closer together. When we asked what Nico missed the most, he did not hesitate to say that he missed the European bread, family and friends. His favorite activity so far at Springfield is going to football games and the school spirit. Although, he dislikes waking up earlier than he had to in Germany.
Matteo is a junior at Springfield Local and is from Italy. Thanks to the GEC (Global Education Center) program and his host father, Matteo was also given the opportunity to be here with us at Springfield. Similar to Nico’s answer, Matteo misses the Italian food and his family the most. His favorite part about Springfield so far is the school organization. In Italy, the school system is very different. “In Italy, I go to school six days a week. We don’t have lunch offered at school like we do here and we get to go to different classes at Springfield unlike in Italy where I go to the same class everyday,” said Matteo.
Before coming to America, Nico and Matteo would communicate through facebook, skype and WhatsApp to get to know each other and their host family. They would like to give a special thank you to Cody Peterson, Ryan DelSignore and James Russo for making them feel welcome. The boys will be returning to their countries in early February.
We hope Nico and Matteo enjoy their stay here at Springfield and make lots of memories while they are here!

Argument 1- Is it legal for a school to punish a student because he or she does not stand for the pledge of allegiance?

Explain how the first amendment of our constitution would be relevant to Mason Mihalec’s case. Lastly, did the school make the legal decision by punishing Mihalec? Use evidence from the first amendment to support your conclusions.

Kate Folkenroth- The Constitution states the natural rights of American citizens in the Bill of Rights. This is relevant to Mason Mihalec’s case because it says that he has the right to sit and not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. While this can be classified as either speaking his mind or speaking out against the government, both are covered in the First Amendment that there can not be rules “…abridging the freedom of speech…” or “…to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. Mihalec has not caused public threat nor stepped beyond what this document says so all the rights still apply to him.
Legally, the school did not make the right decision by punishing Mihalec. This is infringing his right to free speech and to his pursuit of happiness by getting an education. Though it does explicitly say that “Congress shall make no law…” against these inalienable rights that every person is born with, that does not mean that this public school can make rules reducing his rights. This would be a different case is Mihalec was just doing this for attention but he is informed and passionate just like the founding fathers who wrote these rights for America.

Zach Ebert- The First part of the Constitution contains many parts. The first part of the Constitution is the first amendment, which Mason Mihalic should be protected by. The Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” ( It tells about free religion, press, free to petition, and most important, freedom of relates to Mason Mihalec’s disision becuase he did not stand for the pledge, which is freedom of speech. If don’t agree with the condition or the country of America, you have the freedom of speech to say something.Mason Mihalec does not agree with the United states of America and how politicians are running things, so his way to speak out is not standing for the pledge.It’s relevant because he is using the constitution’s freedom of speech to speak out in the country, by not standing for the pledge.

Even though many believe he should be punished and because it’s incredibly disrespectful, the school did an illegal decision my punishing Mihalec. As the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech ( Many believe he should be punished for disrespecting the country he is living. In most countries they don’t have the freedoms of America. But since the Constitution is protecting him, he can’t not be punished, and the school made a wrong decision. The call for suspending Mason should be reversed, as he has the right to stand up against a country, even if it’s his own.

Taylor Barber- The first amendment states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion, speech, press, and to peacefully petition the government if they feel something is unjust. The part of the first amendment that coincides with Mason Mihalec’s case is the right to speak freely. Mihalec was recently punished by his school due to his choice of not standing for the pledge of allegiance. This occurrence is related to the first amendment because Mihalec chose to not stand and say the pledge, which is his right because the amendment includes freedom of speech, which is also interpreted as freedom of expression. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech” (Bill of Rights). Even though it states in the Bill of Rights that citizens can speak freely, some believe it is still unforgivable to disrespect the flag, and deserving of punishment.
When this 15-year-old student decided to protest against the flag, his teacher had a strong disagreeance, as did his principle. He was given two-days of in-school suspension, which started a controversial topic of discussion of whether or not it was legal for the school to punish him. As stated in the first amendment, all citizens have the freedom of speech, therefore what the school did is illegal. Mihalec was not hurting anyone in his peaceful attempt to get his opinion across that he doesn’t agree with the politicians running America. Since he was simply sitting during the pledge he should not be punished because it is his right to do what he feels freely, as long as there is no harm to others. In the first amendment it mentions that Congress cannot make laws against the rights of the people, therefore the same should be said for schools. If the Congress is denied the ability to create laws against speech, than the school should also be rejected the right to make rules against such freedoms. Many people see this act as immensely disrespectful to the USA because the flag and the pledge represent the appreciation American’s have for their country. However, if a citizen decides that they feel the country is becoming unjust, then it is their right to protest it peacefully as they please, just like others are allowed to show their patriotism.