by James Cody
Next semester, students from Rapoport Academy will be competing in many different UIL (University Interscholastic League) events for the chance to go on to the district competitions. These events cover several different topics such as Informative Speaking and News Writing.
“I’ve been participating in UIL events since I was in sixth grade,” junior Jasmine Wafer said. “This year I’m competing in Informative Speaking, Prose and Poetry, and Spelling/Vocab.”
Many students compete in UIL events because they are interested in the subject in which they are competing. Another reason some students compete in UIL events is because they have the chance to earn college scholarships if they can do well enough to advance further in the competition.
“There are many benefits for students who compete in UIL, the biggest being scholarships for students who can make it to state competitions,” Mr. Studer said. “And it’s a lot of fun to compete in something you are interested in.”
Many UIL events require some form of preparation, which varies from event to event.
“For Informative Speaking, I basically look up facts about current events and take notes, but for spelling, they give out a list of words which you need to learn how to spell,” Wafer said.
Rapoport has sent students to compete in UIL events for several years. Last year there were many students who earned a high ranking in their events and advanced to the next level of competition. Despite this success in the early stages of the competition, Rapoport has not had a student who has competed at the state level.
“As a school, we’ve always done well in the events, but our participation has been low the last few years,” Mr. Studer said. “However, we still do well in poetry and speaking events as well as writing events. But we have yet to send anyone to state competition.”
Last year, roughly twenty students from Rapoport attended UIL events. However, this year there are about forty students who have signed up to compete in events. For many of these students, it will be their first time to compete in UIL.
“I would say that the main thing to remember when at the competition is to just relax, because it’s not as complicated or as stressful as people think it is,” Wafer said.
Students who are interested in competing in any UIL events can sign up by talking to teachers who are leading teams or ask for more information about UIL and its specific events.
by Robin Pounders
During community group last week, juniors Joshua Obat and Kenda Henbest created a presentation for the school with information on student plagiarism. Obat and Henbest are starting a program at the high school to inform students on topics dealing with education and student issues.
According to Henbest, they hope that this will become an opportunity for students to find solutions to current or future problems.
“Our aim is to get other students to take initiative and take part in the community,” Henbest said.
Students with a question they think relates to others in the school can come to Henbest and Obat to present on the topic.
“[We want students] to be informed about any information that can help them in college in the future,” Obat said.
However, any students who want to discuss an issue themselves can talk to a teacher or administrator to organize a slideshow on their own or go to Obat and Henbest for help.
“In the future we’re looking to get other students involved,” Obat said. “We are a community, and we need to learn how to work together to better the community.”
The team’s first project was chosen for its relevancy in school and in life.
“If you were to plagiarize something, you would get fined. It’s important to take responsibility and give people credit,” Obat said.
Some students plagiarize out of laziness or unconcern.
“I think most people plagiarize, because at times they think they won’t be caught, and others cannot think of original ideas and find it easier to plagiarize,” Obat said.
However, some students plagiarize simply out of ignorance.
“Plagiarism can happen unintentionally when one forgets to cite properly or paraphrase a work done by another,” Obat said.
Citing sources properly on essays or research papers may seem intimidating to some students; however, according to Obat, citations are a lot easier with the use of online citation websites.
“You should cite their work and paraphrase and take the time to be original,” he said. “Go to your teacher and ask them to check your work, because they understand the topic.”
Plagiarism is not just an issue of unprofessionalism; it is also disrespectful.
“Plagiarism is not having integrity and taking someone’s work as one’s own without giving credit,” Henbest said.
Henbest and Obat say they started this system to increase student initiative, curiosity, and knowledge within Rapoport.
“Not being afraid to say what their problem is and giving a solution [is important for students],” Henbest said.
The program will officially start in the spring semester, and students are encouraged to take part either with questions, suggestions, or presentations of their own.
by Camila Rios
Look at your outfit. Why did you decide to wear it? Whether consciously or not, most people follow the patterns the media sets out for them to copy. The clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the movies you want to watch, and even what you eat is set out by various forms of public media. Everything we do is promoted or given out by the media. Some things may be small and unimportant, but others may have serious risks.
The problems set by the media usually tend to have tragic endings. Girls starving themselves to look skinnier, teenagers doing drugs, smoking, drinking, and having unprotected sex to be “cool” are all promoted by the media.
At the time when public media became a part of our lives, no one suspected it would have such a negative impact on so many. The media used to consist entirely of the news or of listening to a new Jazz band. Nowadays, however, it has spun out of control. It is controlling our lives; how we dress, what we eat, who we hang out, what we like, what we don’t like, and what we think are mostly defined by what we see in the media.
In the past decades, the media has become a subtle form of mind control. People read fashion magazines to know what is “in” and consume it. Girls see shelves and shelves of photoshoped, “perfect” girls and think they are too fat or too ugly. Guys see perfectly sculpted abs on models or other media stars and think they are not attractive enough. Eating disorders in teens have skyrocketed because of low self-esteem caused by almost too-thin media stars. The worst part of it all is that no matter how much you do not want to pay attention to the media, it will always be there, nagging at you and making you self-conscious.
While there is no real solution to this ongoing problem, we still need to find ways to prevent this from happen. Raising awareness about the media and its impacts would be one way. Another way to prevent this would be to accept ourselves however we are. To really battle problems of low self-esteem and self-loathing, one has to conquer one’s demons. While we may never stop trying to please people or stop trying to follow the media’s expectations, we can try, because as individuals we are unique and should not conform to being just like everyone else or what people think is “acceptable”.
To protect oneself from the destructive path of public media, one must be prepared to not listen to what is “in”. One must realize that trying to look as perfect as a celebrity is impossible. Their photographs are photoshoped; with that in mind, how can one attempt to be like them if they are fake photographs staring through paper eyes?
by Madeline Canter
Finals for Rapoport Academy start December 17th and end December 19th. All students will take three exams on the first testing day, two on the second, and three on the last, with study periods for specified classes in between.
Finals are something every high school student has to confront, and some find it stressful and daunting.
“Finals can be unnerving [and] even scary at times, but in truth they are a lot easier if you learn to study about 30 minutes every night,” senior Brandon Acton said.
Many students play around with different amounts of study time and rest time to find the perfect, stress-reducing balance for themselves before finals.
“I like to hang with my friends and listen to music after I study,” Acton said. “It helps me relax after a long day of learning.”
Don’t try to pull an all-nighter the day before a test—many students say that getting enough sleep and eating well are very important.
“Take a moment in the morning to actually sit down and have breakfast,” York said. “You will notice a huge difference in the outcome of your day if you try it.”
The finals are created by your instructors in each course; if you want some study advice or have a question, talk to your teachers.
“Schedules will be set to work with the test you have to take [each] day,” Mrs. Davis said. “You get two hours for every test and they will be teacher made.”
Remember to prepare by having a good breakfast, enough sleep, sharpened pencils, and a ready mind. The Rapoport Academy Ravens can do it!
by Sebastian Miner
Some high school students have supported the fragile balance between school and work for many years now, and Rapoport Academy students are no exception. From Petsmart to the Dr. Pepper museum, Rapoport Academy members hold an impressively diverse array of temporary jobs.
Senior Jesse Kane currently works at Petsmart, and he says he really enjoys his workplace.
“I’m a pet care associate, which means I get to catch fish and play with hamsters all day,” he said.
Some say that balancing work and school can be challenging, but most students are able to figure out how to keep up with their jobs and with their academic pursuits. Bria Thompson, junior, is no exception.
“At first it was really hard,” Thompson said. “But I soon got used to it, and being a working student became much easier.”
Kane says that he appreciates having employers that are cooperative with his schedule and work with him to make sure that he is able to do well in school.
“They are extremely flexible with my schedule, so I haven’t really had a problem with working a job this year,” Kane said.
Students have many different duties in their jobs, from necessary to downright absurd. Normally an entry-level job will consist of responsibilities that most people don’t want to do, so it falls onto the high-school students who have just started.
“For a while, I had an awful job at Chik-Fil-A,” Thompson said. “I had to take out the trash, and it would always be extremely full. One day it was a little too full, and it spilled all over me. I was covered in barbeque sauce, ranch dressing, honey mustard, and ice cream. It was horrible.”
Other noteworthy things have happened to Rapoport students in their work locations. Senior Eric Bellomy, who works at the Dr. Pepper Museum, says he has had his fair share of odd experiences in the workplace.
“Officially, I’m called lifter and organizer,” Bellomy said. “In reality, I’m the manager’s personal assistant. I have had to hang all of the Christmas lights at the Dr. Pepper Museum and lift vending machines out of basements. It’s an alright job, though. Payday is sweet, and my boss is really cool.”
Perhaps the oddest incident a student has ever had at work, however, happened to Kane.
“I was walking into the new delivery room when I heard a weird sound,” Kane said. “I looked over [to] where the hamsters were and saw that one of the new arrivals had eaten its partner’s face.”
Every job has positive and negative parts to it; while a certain duty may be painstaking or gross, it can make up for a lack in fun for good co-workers or even the occasional treat.
“It’s sweet,” Bellomy said. “I get free candy and Sunkist whenever I want. It all works out, but sometimes I do all of my work really fast, and it gets boring.”
Kane’s job offers slightly different benefits.
“I get to play with cats, and dogs, and chinchillas, and fish,” Kane said. “It’s really cool. Also, sometimes we have waffle day. I love waffle day. I just need to walk in, and my boss will offer me a plate of waffles.”
by Camila Rios
When the word ‘holiday’ comes to mind, one starts picturing various scenarios. The sounds of families being gathered together to celebrate different events cultures can be heard in the back of our minds. One can already smell the fantastic feasts of the holidays, and those extra pounds one will gain are all but forgotten.
Different people have different ways of celebrating holidays – if they do at all. Holidays can be cultural as well as religious, but each family has a unique way of celebrating their holidays throughout the year.
There are many reasons why people love holidays so much. It might be that people get a break from work, or it may be the traditions each celebration holds.
“My favorite thing about holidays is probably the traditions my family has and resting,” Mr. Studer said.
Some people have favorite holidays because they remind them of something important.
“My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because everyone takes the time to remember the things they are thankful for,” sophomore Sophia Garman said.
While many people celebrate certain holidays, some do not realize that others do not celebrate them as well. There may be many reasons, one of them being religion.
“I don’t celebrate holidays because it’s against my religion,” sophomore Hope Ward said. “For example: Christmas, they say it’s Jesus’ birthday, but we don’t celebrate it for various reasons. One reason is because we don’t exactly know when his birthday actually was.”
Those who do celebrate holidays have various ways of doing so. They may have unique traditions depending on their culture.
“For Christmas dinner every year we have – because my granddad and my mom are Swedish – we have Swedish meatballs and Perogies,” Mr. Studer said. “Also, for exchanging Christmas gifts, everything has to be second-hand, so we get each other stuff from Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, or somewhere else.”
Other people may have quirky traditions that they have implemented into their celebrations.
“On birthdays, right before we cut the cake, my whole family argues over who will get the “head” of the cake, even if it doesn’t have one,” Garman said. “This is because when my cousin Nick was little he’d throw a fit if he didn’t get the head.”
While many take holidays for granted, or they believe there’s a set way of doing things, the reality is that different cultures celebrate them uniquely.
“I think [holidays are] interesting; it’s cool to see that other cultures seem not to celebrate,” Mr. Studer said. “[Nevertheless], in their own different way everyone is always celebrating. There’s more to holidays than what people call them.”
Others use holidays and the breaks from schoolwork simply as breaks.
“I’ve been a Jehovah’s Witness all my life, and so I’m used to not celebrating, and it’s normal for me,” Ward said.
Holidays can also be important to others because of their religious significance..
“Holidays are important for us because they usually have a religious background,” Garman said.
Although holidays have an important history for some people, opinions may rise about how they may have lost some of their original background.
“[Holidays] have become more commercial,” Mr. Studer said. “People think about what to do and how instead of why. Similarly, it’s more commercialized, and thus, less religious than in the past. That goes for all religions, not only Christians.”
Whatever these opinions may be, many holidays do have a religious base, and many religions come into conflict. However, many followers of other religions respect the traditions of others.
“I know everyone has different beliefs, and so I don’t put my own opinions before anyone else’s,” Ward said.
by Robin Pounders
Cursive writing: it’s the bane of many second to third graders, and even to a few older than that. Most current high school students were taught to write in cursive when they were in elementary school. However, in many states, it has been deemed an unnecessary part of elementary school curriculum. Students should continue to be taught cursive in school systems because of its importance in modern and past culture.
While there is a huge possibility that cursive will be cut from schools’ curriculum, many say that what is lost from not teaching cursive will be gained in typing classes. It is very true that learning computer skills is essential in modern society. In some people’s opinion, cursive is just an unnecessary tie to past habits.
However, cursive is not merely one of those ‘I learned it when I was a kid, so by golly all kids should learn it’ instances; it is seen everywhere in the United States and beyond. Cursive is written on chalkboards in college lecture rooms, on lunch menus in restaurants, in old letters from relatives, and in hundreds of historical documents. Learning how to write in cursive teaches students how to read it, but before they are instructed in this art, it is incomprehensible to many.
Cursive is not only important for communicating and learning from the world surrounding a person; it gives aid to many individuals in the United States. Almost everyone, once they reach a certain age, develop a signature of their own to use in checks, letters, and important documents. The fluid movements involved in writing cursive vary greatly from person to person. Therefore, it is more difficult to forge than printed handwriting.
Because of its individuality and flexibility, cursive is a unique type of art. The handwriting of cursive users adapts over their lifetimes, conforming to their hand forms, their writing utensils, and their personalities. Although some consider it a bother to use, many people prefer the quick, single strokes of the writing style, sometimes creating a hybrid alphabet consisting of cursive and print letters.
Sure, the repetitive sheets of cursive letter copying may seem like a pain to children, and it may seem a completely futile waste of time to those students, but the same can be said for multiplication tables and spelling quizzes. This country definitely relies more and more upon technology as time passes, but until paper disappears from households, businesses, and schools across the nation, cursive is a skill that needs to be mastered.