Category Archives: Student Life

Bird Eye Challenge

Bird Eye News has started an “eye challenge,” where we took photos of ten people’s eyes (two from each grade and two staff). Whoever matches the most correct eyes to the respective names will get a a drink from the vending machine, courtesy of Bird Eye News and Mr. Webber… Post your answers in the comments!

Eye Bank: Mr. Webber, Davey Breakey, Lydia Martin, Ms. Vickie, Juliet Harrison, Reese Litster, Sydney Chouinard, Davan Gilmore, Wyatt Moor, Morgan Moorse

  1.   EYE9

2.    EYE4

3.    EYE6

4.    EYE5

5.    EYE2

6.    EYE3

7.    EYE7

8.    EYE8

9.    EYE1

10. EYE


Crowds Reaction to Las Vegas Shooting… Story by Aurora Reishus

On October 1st, 2017, tragedy befell upon a large crowd of people who were attending a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tragedy that occurred was a shooting that lead to the deaths of 58 people and injuring close to 500. As sad as this tragedy is, it expresses more than what may be wrong with society; it also shows the altruistic side of people who did heroic actions in order to protect others over themselves.

When watching the news, the media is sure to talk about how tragic the Las Vegas shooting is and how many people died, but what they don’t realize is that through this tragic event there were people who put others before themselves and expressed the kinder side of humanity. In a situation like the Las Vegas shooting, everyone will react differently based upon the psychology of fight, flight, or freeze. The fight, flight, or freeze is the automatic response a person has to a traumatic or stressful event in their life. It’s hard to picture being in a situation where the next move may be the last one, but to actually be in that situation and keep the safety of others in mind is a feat not often expressed.

It’ll be okay… People group up in hopes of finding solace in a hiding place away from the shooting. Photo by: David Becker
Midst of Tragedy… People try to find solace in a hiding place away from the shooting. Photo by: David Becker

Mr. Paul Gunter, a staff member of FBCS, talked about a friend he has that was present at the Las Vegas shooting when it occurred. When Paul first heard about the shooting on the news, he was worried that it could have been at the venue where some of his friends from Los Angeles were playing. He later saw posts on social media of firsthand accounts and felt confounded. When he talked about how Angela* described the shooting to him, he said, “The way she talked about it was like it was somebody describing a movie plot; it seemed surreal. It seemed like something that wouldn’t actually happen to people in real life.”

Angela is a doctor in the Air Force, and she was attending the concert with a few of her friends who are also active members of the military. Paul describes what he had heard from Angela beginning with, “They were at the concert and heard some shooting. A couple of people next to them were actually shot, and they were getting people behind some of the concert barricades they use in front of the stage.” Paul also describes how they hid a few civilians under vehicles and anywhere else they could find to protect people from the barrage of bullets. Paul continues to recite the story by saying, “In the process [of hiding people] one of the people that was with their group got shot through the shoulder.” There was also a point in time when Angela and her friends were attempting to hide a few people behind a Jeep, but in the process one of the civilians was shot in the back and head multiple times.

Hitting close to home… The relation between Paul and his friend shows how the Las Vegas shooting has a wide spread effect on everyone. Photo by: Kai Eagley
Hitting close to home… The Las Vegas shooting had a wide spread effect on everyone. Photo by: Kai Eagley

Paul believes that Angela and the others in her group reacted differently than most people in this situation because they are in the Military and have served on tours. Paul also mentions that the woman who was shot in the shoulder had surgery and is doing better. He also says that Angela and her group have stayed in touch with some of the people they helped. Paul believes the civilians will be traumatized and suffer from PTSD for quite some time from seeing many people shot down before them.

The acts of heroism shown by Angela and her group of friends are just some of many altruistic acts that were shown by others during this dark time. Other accounts of heroism include Rob Ledbetter, a retired U.S. Army veteran, who tended to the wounded. There was also the account of Dr. Sonny Melton who died protecting his wife from the gunfire, as well as the accounts of Taylor Winston, a Marine veteran, who found a truck and drove at least 30 people to the hospital, Dawn-Marie Gray and her husband Kevin Gray who stayed behind and tended to the wounded, and Jonathan Smith who got shot in the neck while helping 30 people to safety. For all the acts of heroism that have been expressed, there has also been a dark side of human nature shown to the world. How could someone be capable of killing so many people?

Coming together… In the midst of a tragedy two people hold onto one another in hopes that the horrid scene will pass. Photo by: Drew Angerer
Coming together… In the midst of a tragedy two people hold onto one another. Photo by: Drew Angerer

Normally, one may blame society for the actions of this person or rather blame the person completely for the reason as to why they would be capable of such a disgusting deed, but to say, it is just one thing can never be correct for both of these options lie hand in hand.

The reason for why someone would be capable of creating a tragedy like this is due to a combination of society and that person as an individual. As far as the world knows, Stephen Paddock didn’t have a motive or clear reasoning for why he did this, but it happened and the fault for his actions lies both within himself and our society that promotes violence and therefore lays the foundation for these kinds of tragic events.

Even though the Las Vegas shooting is a tragedy that should not have happened, some light was shown that in great darkness there is still good in people. The tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting reveals society in a negative way and being riddled with problems that would lead to a person doing something so devastating; however, the fault is not just with society. The heroic deeds done by people like Angela and her friends made a significant difference during this dark time and saved many lives. Everyone is affected by an event such as this. As time goes on, hopefully our society and individuals will find the answers to our dilemma and make a tragedy like the Las Vegas shooting less likely to occur.

Chinese Mathematics Stereotypes?… Story by Alex Chow

‘’Chinese students are geniuses in mathematics”—Is it a stereotype?

If there are Chinese students in your school, people will perceive they are geniuses in mathematics. This is the most trivial stereotype about Chinese, but does it hold any truth?

Here are the statistics: according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is a standardized test among the globe, when it comes to mathematics Chinese students are always in the top of the academic pile. There are up to 30 percent of students in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan that reached the highest level in math performance.

However, American students are in the bottom, as 25 percent of American students did not reach the PISA baseline for “level 2” in math proficiency. Comparatively only about 10 percent of students in countries such as Canada, Korea, Shanghai, and Singapore, failed to reach that benchmark. Also, there are only two percent of students in America that achieved the top performance.

Mapping IQ... The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China's slightly above the US's. Photo By: Our World in Data.
Mapping IQ… The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China’s slightly above the US’s. Photo By: Our World in Data.

First off, many Chinese have higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than their American counterparts. This is backed by the research of Richard Lynn, a British Professor of Psychology, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish Professor of Political Science, who conducted IQ studies in more than 80 countries. Hong Kong’s citizens have the highest intelligence quotient among the world, at an average of 108, while the average in America is 98. IQ is another possible reason how the current stereotype on Chinese math skills came to be. However, there are known faults in this test, and while it can sometimes accurately gauge proficiency it is not definitive—acquired cultivation also plays a vital role in mathematics.

As you may know, China has a much higher education standard than America. The width and depth of the syllabus of mathematics in China is superior to America. In China, mathematics is a compulsory subject, students have mathematics class nearly every school day. Chinese students have longer time to learn and practice mathematics than American.’’ Practice makes perfect.’’ It may prove that Chinese is not genius, but are hard-workers.

Additionally, the competitive Chinese society boosts the academic results of students. In China, there is a famous saying ,” Knowledge can offer you a new leaf.’’ Chinese people believe that studying in a good college can push them into an upper social class. As a result, there are huge competition for colleges.

Rigorous Testing... National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.
Rigorous Testing… National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.

For example, there are only 18% of students in Hong Kong have a chance to study in colleges. China has the greatest Gini’s coefficient, education is the ladder for people getting rid of poverty. Thus, Chinese students study very hard. On the other hand, there are far less competition in America. There is not a vast gap between blue and white collar workers. Even if students cannot study in colleges, they could still have decent income. Hence, American students have smaller motivation to strike for excellence in academic.

Last , the mindset about studying. The Chinese have a growth mindset while America has a fixed mindset. Growth mindset is all about diligence—in general, Chinese students believe excellence can only be achieved by hard work instead of talent. If they aren’t doing well, they’ll work harder, and they’ll be successful. However, American students tend to believe in talent, if they don’t get a good result at the beginning, usually they will not try to put more effort to improve it as they think themselves are not good at it.

To conclude, Chinese students outperform American students in mathematics is not because they are geniuses, it is because of the work ethic behind the excellence.


In-Depth Look at Arby’s… Story by Leah Roth

Arby’s has been an integral part of our Sandpoint community ever since it opened back in 1987. This restaurant has always held a special place in the heart of Journalism teacher Mark Webber, who used to go there as a kid:

“There’s just this feeling of nostalgia going back in there, like a time machine back to 1984. I do miss the old look before the remodel, but I understand that the solarium leaked and they needed to update the interior. However, I just wish they stayed more retro with the décor.”

Our journalism staff recently visited Arby’s during their ‘Happy Hour’ which is from 2 to 5 PM and offers certain small menu items for $1 each. Lolisa, the supervisor, talked to us about the history of the restaurant and her experience working there. She said she loved meeting all the people who come in, and that it is a pleasure working for Pierre and Denise Huguenin, the owners. Denise was kind enough to take time out of her vacation and answer a few of my questions:

A Cornerstone of the Community… Arby’s has been in Sandpoint for 30 years.
A Cornerstone of the Community… Arby’s has been in Sandpoint for 30 years.

Leah: “Why did you decide to buy this restaurant?”

Denise: “We had a restaurant called RAX from 1991 to 1994 in the same location. RAX, as a national franchise company, was failing nationwide and we felt it was time to make a change. Arby’s was expanding its franchise locations at the time, so it was a logical move to buy an Arby’s franchise. We opened Arby’s in July, 1994.”

Leah: “How are you connected to Lost in the 50’s?”

Denise: “We love Lost in the 50’s! Carolyn Gleason is a good friend and we are happy to support her in any way we can. We started “Locals Nite” about 10 years ago to give our local car club, The Injectors, the opportunity to show off their cars before the 50’s car show. It has become a tradition between Arby’s and The Injectors and a kickoff for the 50’s activities.”

Leah: “Why did you decide to remodel?”

Denise: “We remodeled Arby’s because our license as an Arby’s franchisee was expiring after 23 years and Arby’s wanted us to update our building inside and out in order to continue as an Arby’s franchise for the next 20 years. We are very excited about the changes in the building…it’s great to have a fresh, new look!”

Leah: “What is your favorite part about owning Arby’s?”

Denise: “My favorite part about owning Arby’s is working with so many wonderful people in our community…our guests, our suppliers and most of all our crew members!

Friendly Service… Lolisa and the Journalism staff stand behind the counter at Arby’s.
Friendly Service… Lolisa and the Journalism staff stand behind the counter at Arby’s.

Our manager, Stacy Johnson has been with me at Arby’s for 20 years…her Mom, Alena Zantow, worked with me for 23 years before she retired last year. I love teaching young people how to be responsible employees. My philosophy for young workers is…if you can succeed at Arby’s, you will succeed at any career you pursue! It’s all about the people!”

Leah: “Which sandwich would you personally recommend to someone who has never eaten at Arby’s?”

Denise: “That’s a difficult question! I personally like every one of our sandwiches! I’d say our two signature sandwiches are the Classic…simply roast beef on a sesame seed bun, or the Beef and Cheddar…roast beef, cheese sauce, red ranch sauce on an onion bun.”

Our Arby’s is a family owned and operated restaurant that provides jobs for many local high school students, including 3 of our very own Forrest Bird High School students. If you haven’t been into Arby’s in a while head on down during Happy Hour and see the new remodel!

All Photos by Kai Eagley

Internet Outage in Sandpoint… Story by Eliza Lister

Two weeks ago Sandpoint suffered a major internet outage by the accidental cutting of a fiber optic cable in Athol. This outage happened on an EAD, leaving many students and teachers unable to complete their work.

RIP Server… We will no longer be using the server for our data. Photo by Kai Eagley
RIP Server… We will no longer be using the server for our data.

Although it may not seem like that big of a deal, the school is in the process of moving everything onto an online cloud called OneDrive. This means that everything is only available online, and not on the computer hard drive. The school decided to switch to OneDrive because it was more cost efficient. The technology industry is also moving towards cloud based document storage for everything. Though convenient when connected to internet, if an outage like this happens again nothing will be accessible.

Now that all the data is backed up automatically on the cloud it can accessed from any computer, at home or at school. This means if something happens to your laptop all of the files on one drive are still there. Each student has 1TB of storage, which is quite a bit, no need to worry about running out of space.

In the Cloud… We’ve moved all of our files and documents to OneDrive cloud storage. Photo by Kai Eagley.
In the Cloud… We’ve moved all of our files and documents to OneDrive cloud storage.

The schools shift to OneDrive will cause a huge dependence on the Internet and could bring classes to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, if the entire school day just stopped there would be a lot of catch up work on the back end. You may consider having backup copies of your assignments on a flash drive.

Not to worry the school has only had one Internet outage in the last three years. If it were to happen again there is a backup circuit in place to power the schools Internet. But continue to be safe with your work and keep a backup copy available.

Photo by Kai Eagley.

Mr. Benage joins FBCS… Story by Aurora Reishus

There’s a new face at the Forrest Bird Charter School. This new face belongs to Mr. William (Bill) Benage, the new math teacher. Mr. Benage has been teaching since 1993, and before he became a teacher, he was in the U.S. Navy.

How good are you with money?... Mr. Benage teaches about car loans in his Personal Finance class.
How good are you with money?… Mr. Benage teaches about car loans in his Personal Finance class. .

When asked if Mr. Benage enjoyed his time in the Navy, he replied with a laugh and went on to say “I didn’t stay 29 years to say I didn’t like it; of course, I enjoyed it.” During those 29 years, Mr. Benage worked on a lot of things including guided missile systems.

Mr. Benage received some teaching experience while he was in the Navy. The experience of teaching in the Navy helped him make the choice to become a teacher later in life. “Getting ready to retire for the Navy I was looking around and went oh that’ll be fun to do,” exclaimed Mr. Benage.

Mr. Benage went to California State University in Long Beach where he received his Bachelor’s in Finance (1976), received his Master’s in Business Management from the University of Southern California (1977), and then received his Master’s for Engineering Science in 1989 from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Be a leader… Mr. Benage wraps up the meeting for Leadership Club.
Be a leader… Mr. Benage wraps up the meeting for Leadership Club.

As much as Mr. Benage enjoys teaching, there are other things outside of school that he enjoys. In his free time, Mr. Benage finds he enjoys gardening, raising poultry, and hanging out with his family. When Mr. Benage was younger, he was also into photography. Mr. Benage also contributes to the school community at FBCS as the advisor for the Leadership club. This is the club that will do many of the things that student council used to do (Click here to view the Harrison Report on Leadership club).

Although new to FBCS, Mr. Benage is not new to teaching. He has had a lot of life experience and is more than willing to find time to help people. If anyone has questions about a Military career, Mr. Benage is the person to ask.

All Photos by Aurora Reishus.

The Harrison Report: Leadership Club

The Bird Eye News is back again and ready for the 2017-18 year. For our first report we introduce you to a new teacher, Mr. Benage. He is a math teacher and our new personal finance teacher at the school. In this interview we discuss his recently formed leadership club and how it has taken the tasks of the our cancelled student council.

New Students in FBCS… Story by Leah Roth

With every school year comes an influx of new faces, and often we don’t take the time to say hi. The Bird Eye News recently interviewed some of these new students and here are a few of their responses.

Question 1: What was your first impression of our High School?

Freshman Thomas Carty: “My first impression of when I first arrived was amazement. Compared to the Sandpoint High School which I had considered, I was very impressed. The overall layout and openness of The Forrest Bird Charter School makes it fell very relaxing and comforting in contrast to the claustrophobic halls of the standard High School.”

Socializing in the Commons… An aerial perspective of the study lab.
Socializing in the Commons… An aerial perspective of the study lab.

Sophomore Lydia Martin: “My first impression was quite good. I like the teachers and I enjoy all my classes. The people are pretty nice and I look forward to making some new friends.”

Question 2: Why did you decide to come to FBCS?

Freshman Lucy Lang: “I have been homeschooled for the last few years, and my parents decided I should go to Charter School for High School.”

Freshman Reese Litster: “They have a very specific teaching style that I liked, and I wanted to come here and be a part of that teaching system.”

Freshman Tracy Mullinax: “I came here because I went to a very small school back in California, so I am used to smaller schools, and Sandpoint High is definitely bigger than here.”

Question 3: What is something interesting about you?

New Students and Magic… Freshman Reese Litster and his friend Ben play Magic in study lab.
New Students and Magic… Freshman Reese Litster and his friend Ben play Magic in study lab.

Sophomore Griffin Smith: “I slept with my door open from 8 to 11 years old because I was scared the snake from Harry Potter was going to kill me.”

Freshman Jeremy Trantum: “Interesting things about me: I am really good at fixing most small motor vehicles. I am good at coding, computers and programming robots. I am really good at riding dirt bikes and taking them apart and putting them together.”
Junior Eliza Litster: “I lived in the Dominican Republic for three months a couple of years ago.”

On behalf of everyone here at Forrest Bird Charter School, I’d like to welcome you all to our school! We hope you enjoy your time with us!


Conspiracy Theories Elective… Story by Vaughn Kinman

As school electives near the hard due date, the course material is obviously getting more in depth, and the subject at hand become important. Mr. Webber’s conspiracy class is the most eye-drawing elective, and probably the schools most iconic one, merely because of the controversial content in the class.

With all the conspiracies surrounding the most recent disasters, the conspiracy class likely is booming with tons of theories. However, some may argue that conspiracy is not right to teach in school for many reasons. It could be used with offensive intent against particular students, despite being unlikely.

Scouring the Internet... In order to find such crazy theories, students and professor alike take time finding and studying them
Scouring the Internet… In order to find such crazy theories, students and professor alike take time finding and studying them

Also, theories thought up by one student can disagree with another’s beliefs. For example, there are many creation of the earth theories—a religious person might take offense to such a theory because it contradicts their beliefs. Mr. Webber seems to try and stay to the “worst” theories out there to limit disagreement, and then allow students to explore other ones through independent and EAD assignments.

A conspiracy class, on the other hand is an elective that kids seem to enjoy more than other electives, resulting in students grades likely being better than an elective that was less engaging. Surveys showed that students enjoyed conspiracy theories class on average more than other electives, regardless of their performance in the class.

However, knowing conspiracy theories is almost certainly less practical information compared to classes such as emergency services, another elective at the school. Conspiracy theories usually deals with fringe or extremist beliefs and cults, debunking them in class.This could lead some to argue that a different elective would be more attractive to students because of practicality.

Nay to Type 1 Civilization?... You may be a terrorist (according to Michio Kaku). There are some extreme views explored in conspiracy theories
Nay to Type 1 Civilization?… You may be a terrorist (according to Michio Kaku). There are some extreme views explored in conspiracy theories

People who were interviewed maintained that conspiracy theories should be taught in school. Joseph Fullerton said they would consider it as an alternative to other electives because conspiracies are something they could just do on their own time, a view that seemed to be shared by most of the class.

Overall, any potential critics of Mr. Webber or the classes intentions would go against the students who signed up for the elective, and there is no shortage of students, it seems.