Lily Overby and Fallon Parrish
Youngest - Lily Overbey
A common question I get asked is “When do you get your learners?” Most of my friends are getting their learners permits this year, and for me, that is not the case. My birthday falls in August. That means I don't turn 15 until August. After that, I have to wait six months for my permit, meaning I don't get my learners until February of 2020. That is one of the negative sides to being one of the youngest in the grade. In my opinion, there are more negatives than positives with being so young. The one positive is that I get to become more independent at a younger age. I will be 17 when I graduate and go to college, while the majority of my friends will be 18, and some will even be 19. I also had to mature quicker because I am younger than everyone else. As my peers matured, I learned to mature with them. However, I also can't get a tattoo as soon as them, vote, or drink. Maybe in the future I will see more benefits for being younger than my friends, but right now I don't.
Oldest - Fallon Parish
Most people start kindergarten at the age of five and turn six during the school year. I, on the other hand, started kindergarten at age six and turned seven at the end of the school year. My birthday is May 30th, 2003, so I’m one of oldest people in my grade. Even though I am older than most of peers, it isn’t as bad as one would think. I’m able to get everything before my friends. For example, I am able to get my learners permit and driver's license before everyone. I get bragging rights for this because most of my friends are younger and can’t wait until they get to drive. Not only that, but I can vote before most as well. But what isn’t good about being the oldest in my grade is that I always get the comment “Wow you’re so old” or “Why aren’t you a sophomore?” or “Did you get held back?” This can lead me to having to answer a lot of clarifying questions. Being the oldest in my grade isn’t as bad as one would think, but there are still a couple of downsides.
Fallon Parrish, 10
I don’t have social media of any kind. When I got my first phone in sixth grade, I didn't tell any of my friends. I only allowed my mom to text me, because I didn’t like the idea of everyone being able to reach me at any time and expecting me to answer them. Eventually, I passed out my phone number, and it was just how I expected.
People would text me random things just so they could text. I have always preferred seeing people in person as opposed to texting them. As time went on, I adjusted, and now I enjoy being able to talk to people at anytime. As I went into seventh grade, everyone began to delve into Instagram. I just never had any interest in allowing all my friends to see what I am doing all the time. I do many fun things, but I don’t always take pictures wherever I go, so I would have few photos to post anyway.
One upside to no one seeing what I am doing is being able to tell them in person. I was always able to tell people verbally what I have been doing and show them pictures in person. I watched my other friends run out of things to discuss because they have all seen each others’ Instagrams. So when they are spending time together, they stop talking and turn to scroll through Instagram.
A downside of not having the app was that I felt like I was out of the loop. Some people would discuss their most recent post, and I would have nothing to say. Or they would complain about a recent update, leaving me with nothing to add. But this feeling was not enough to convince me. I preferred to spend my time drawing, reading, and playing sports, and then checking my phone.
Even at James River, I see people walking in the hallways or in class scrolling through Instagram. Then the Snapchat frenzy hit. Snapchat struck me as dangerous. The app says that the pictures disappear once they are viewed, but nothing really disappears. This may lure teenagers into thinking they can send whatever they want, and no one will see it. This is not true. So, I decided to not download it. This left me more out of the loop.
That is one downside to no social media. I constantly feel as if I don’t understand what people are talking about, but I am usually able to clue in later in the conversation. Many people say they use social media to better connect with people. I understand this, but I use texting, and I feel connected enough that. I see my friends everyday in person, which I prefer to a digital communication.
When I tell people I have no social media, they assume it is my parents’ rule, but it is a choice. I hope that after reading this, you will consider how much time you spend a day looking at your phone. How much of that time could go towards other things?
Irelyn Rogan, 10
Lately, I’ve been hearing many of my classmates discussing whether they want to take dual enrollment or AP classes next year and what are the benefits. Over the past couple of years, universities have noticed a large increase in students taking dual enrollment. Some have even said that dual enrollment is better than AP.
Dual enrollment can be better in some ways because it prepares you more for college (since in most causes you actually are enrolled in a college part time). AP classes just prepare you for an exam at the end of the year. Although, depending on what college you would like to attend, AP can be more beneficial because the credits that you get after passing the AP test will most likely be accepted by the college of your choice.
Personally, I think that either way students will receive an amazing and advanced learning experience! What do you think think? Would you rather take an AP or a Dual Enrollment class?
Anna Dosey, 11
The other day I took it upon myself to try 3 different pumpkin spice items on the Starbucks menu. I got the Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte and Pumpkin bread. To start off this review, let’s talk about the Pumpkin bread. I have always been a fan of pumpkin bread. Any kind of pumpkin food, I like. Pumpkin rolls, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, you name it. I would probably rate Starbucks’ pumpkin bread a solid 8/10. I think there is always room for improvement, and I wasn’t a fan of the assortment of nuts around the edges.
Next was the frappuccino. My first thought was that it was amazing. In those first few sips, I was convinced it was the best drink Starbucks had to offer. I quickly realized my straw was not all the way submerged into the drink, so I had just been sipping on a little bit of the frappuccino; mostly the white cream and pumpkin sprinkles. I took a good sip of the actual drink and couldn’t decide what I thought of it. It tasted fine but left a weird aftertaste that I can still remember the aroma of. That drink was a solid 6/10.
Lastly came the pumpkin spice chai latte. Possibly one of the grossest drinks I have ever had. No way this drink would get more than like a 2/10. I maybe can see how very few people would like it, but it made me want to vomit drinking it. It was a hot drink that tasted like cold tea would, but with a strong pumpkin flavor. I could not drink more than one sip of it and had to throw it away afterwards. Big waste of 4 dollars.
Overall, I believe that Pumpkin Spice is overrated. While the smell of it in a candle may be deceiving, the taste is not worth being the whole image of fall. Fall deserves better than that.
Anna Dorsey, 11
About two weeks ago, we gained an hour of sleep through “Daylight Saving Time.” Some people like this, but others prefer when we lose an hour of sleep to stay lighter later in the evening. Here are a few pros and cons of gaining an hour of sleep.
The obvious pro: You gain an hour of sleep that one night. I never wake up feeling more refreshed than I do on that morning because I know I have that extra one hour of sleep under my belt. Another pro is that when you wake up in the morning, you don’t feel like it’s the middle of the night and pitch black. The sun is just starting to rise, so even though you may be tired getting up so early for school, at least it’s somewhat light.
One con is that it starts getting dark so early. I feel like I should be putting on my pajamas at 5:30 because it is pitch black, and then I often find myself less motivated and wanting to take a nap by the fire.
However, there is something about it getting darker earlier that reminds me of Christmas time. I don't know if it is just me, but something about it getting lighter earlier that makes me think of Christmas music, lights, and the overall aura of the holiday season.
Also, Daylight Saving Time happens throughout the fall and winter seasons which happen to be my favorite. I love cold weather and so when Daylight Saving Time occurs, it gets me excited about the drop in temperatures.
Overall, the pros of Daylights Saving Time heavily outweigh the cons for me. What do you think?
Zoe Broderick, 9
The basis of the The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is that it follows a girl named Jeanette on her journey through an unusual childhood. Her father is a genius of some sort; he doesn’t exactly fit in with mainstream society. He has big dreams to build his family a “Glass Castle,” after he finds gold with his new invention. “the Prospector.”
He keeps moving his family around in search of gold, and sometimes they go hungry and only stay in places for a couple of nights. However, Jeanette really believes that her dad is going to find gold.
As the book progresses, Jeanette realizes that the tougher parts of her life, like hunger and living in their car, are not part of other people’s childhood or the great adventure that her family thinks they’re living.
This book is an honest autobiography that is simply telling the raw, unfiltered story of one of the most unbelievable childhoods ever lived. If you're looking for a good intro book to nonfiction, then this is the book for you!
Irelyn Rogan, 10
Over the past week I have been thinking about how much music has changed over the past couple years. What people used to think was “crazy” and “rock and roll” is considered modest or laid back now. The most “insane” music they had back in the day was Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, while now we have Lil Pump and Drake. I decided to ask some of my peers about what they think about popular songs from the previous generations!
When asked about the song “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, Kemissa Michel, a sophomore here at James River, was overjoyed and said that it was the “best song ever!” Along with Mary Grace Walsh, sophomore, saying that “it’s great and a sweet song!” Led Zeppelin's hit “Stairway to Heaven” wasn’t as big of a hit with today’s youth. Nicole Brice, sophomore, calls it “really cheesy,” along with Aubrey Premock, saying that “it’s a little too mellow for my taste.”
The third song that I asked about was “Baba O’Riley” by the Whos, and this song had people stumped! The majority of people I asked about this song, had never even heard of it. The final song that I had asked about was “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. To my suprise, many students had never even heard of the song, and if they did, it was only because of their parents liking it.
Finally, I asked students about who their favorite band singer was from previous generations. Cassie Johnson, sophomore, said that her favorite was “Queen”. When I asked Britney Shelor, sophomore, about older versus present day music, she responded with “I like Elton John and a lot of older artists because their music is played with real instruments, while today it’s a lot of techno stuff and it sounds fake and weird sometimes.”
In conclusion, what people may have thought as huge hits back in the day are now either irrelevant or still favorites! What do you think of these songs?
Fallon Parrish, 9
Going into homecoming, I honestly had no idea what to expect. My friends that are sophomores told me that it’s basically a dark, sweaty area of people grinding on each other. I’m not going to lie, but when I heard this I wasn’t as excited as I once. When I first walked into the dance, I finally understood what everyone was talking about. There was a big clump of upperclassmen in the middle of the floor and groups of freshman and sophomores around the outskirts. As the night progressed, the dance floor began to become more crowded and somehow my friends and I got pushed to the middle of the floor . There were so many bodies pushed together that it was so hard to breathe and I was sweating so much. By the end of the night they had ran out of water and I became so dehydrated. Even though it seems like I hated homecoming, I didn’t. It was fun getting dressed up, going to eat and dancing around with friends. This was my very first homecoming and it is one I’m sure I won’t forget.
Irelyn Rogan, 10
Our galaxy themed homecoming is right around the corner! This year, it is on October 13th. I hope everyone is as excited as I am! At this time everyone is getting their suits, dresses, and shoes ready for the big day. As most of you know, Monacan and Clover Hill High School have already had their homecomings, so new trends have started to pop up.
For girls, floral dresses have been a huge hit this season. Many people have been wearing short length dresses that have a colorful, floral pattern. Another really popular trend that is that dark blues, reds, and greens are the colors season! Additionally, many of the dresses have been sleeveless due to the warmer weather we have been having. When it comes to shoes every girl is different, but neutral colored and chunky heels have been a must!
The guy’s fashion has been a lot of navy blues, deep reds, and grays. Whether it’s a navy blue suit and a gray tie or vise versa, they have been super popular! Many guys have tried out bow ties instead of the traditional long tie, which is a fashionable and unique accessory for guys this homecoming season. Classic brown or black dress shoes have continued to stay in style. I hope that everyone has an “out of this world” night at homecoming!
Zoë Broderick, 9
Many studies have shown that retention rates go down dramatically during the summer, but with nine months of the school year to learn, is it really that bad to give kids a continuous break? If our school were to switch to a year round academic plan, it would completely throw off the culture of American students.
The teenage brain is accustomed to nine months of school and three months of summer. Changing that after years of it being ingrained as a cornerstone of American schools would throw off academic rhythm. The students agree too. According to an online poll, 70% of students say that they would prefer to stay with the current school schedule of eight months of school, three months off. They say the cons of year round school greatly outweigh the pros. Students want summer for a mental break, a time where they can just be themselves, and school should not get in the way of that.