Stop The Bullying! Story by Sam Berkey

Story by Sam Berkey

Ever been bullied? Ever been the bully? Here’s one fact; bullying is not cool. It doesn’t matter whatever the form is: verbal, cyber, physical, or emotional; it’s still bullying.

 - Bullying hurts, and leads to depression. Students need to learn to stand against it.
Bullying hurts, and leads to depression. Students need to learn to stand against it.

Bullying isn’t just at your home or school, it’s worldwide. Studies have shown that an estimated 200 million kids are affected by bullying across the world that means half of all children are bullied sometime in their life, ten percent of which occurs in the United States.  In Canada and Australia one in every four children is the victim of bullying. However across the world the age group that is primarily targeted by bullying is 11-14.

If you lined up seven kids in a row from the grades kindergarten to senior year, one of those seven kids in each group has either been the bully or been bullied. The percentage of students stating that bullying is an on-going problem is 71% while 61% having said that bullying resorted to school shootings. 77% of kids today are being bullied mentally, verbally, and physically however only 14% of that 77% have admitted to being affected. With the introduction of electronics such as texting, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, bullying has morphed into a new sub-branch called cyber-bullying.

Approximately 50% of students are victims of cyber-bullying and only one of ten children that are cyber-bullied will tell their parents about this. Cyber-bullying happens 24/7 and can strike anyone at any time without warning. Only one in four cyber-bullying cases are reported to the authorities and most of the participants of cyber-bullying are surprisingly female. Those that are cyber-bullied have been known to skip school, get into drugs and alcohol, have health problems, and worst of all some cases have resulted in suicide.

Of course you might be wondering: Well, the teachers must be doing something about this. Truth is that teachers only intervene 4% of the time, and one of four teachers find nothing wrong with bullying. They also dismiss bullying as “building character” and “growing thick skin” or even the common “boys will be boys”.  In fact, teachers can be both the offenders and the victims in school bullying situations.  Teachers don’t just bully the students; they can also bully their fellow staff members and most of this may go both unnoticed and unreported. The victim, if a student, may not trust adults after being bullied by one and could feel vulnerable towards the bully teacher and other bully students. The same might go for the adult victim; however they might feel like more of a “tattle-tail” on their co-workers rather than vulnerable towards them.

Alright, you’re thinking “I’m just a normal person. What could I possibly do to stop bullying?” The answer: anything you can! For those that are being bullied; face the bully and look them in the eye, use a strong firm tone of voice and appropriate language when you tell the bully to stop. If that doesn’t work, go get an adult and tell them what’s going on.


People that are witnessing someone being bullied, don’t just stand there speak up to the bully. Be an advocate for the “under dog”, be the voice for someone who is too scared to use theirs by speaking up and stopping the bully. Remember SAVE:

S-speak up. “Cut it out.” “We don’t do that at our school.” and so on. But only speak up if you feel the bully isn’t hostile.

A-adult help: report it to the teachers or the principal if the bullying is serious.

V-volunteer solutions: Ask the victim to join you and your friends, or help remove them from the bully’s presence.

E-end the victim’s sadness: “I’m sorry that _____ was mean/did that to you.” cheer up the victim, and if you have been a victim tell them about it.

As for cyber-bullying, put it in your spam-mail where it will be deleted automatically. If the mean e-mail keeps happening, have your parents tell the school, police, or the phone/internet provider. That will stop the bullying by tracking them and stopping their ways of harming you, even closing their account. Also, hang out with your friends if the cyber-bullying is bothering you, just disconnect from the technology world.

If we stand up to the various bullying, we can not only decrease the percentages, but hopefully stop this abuse. Many kids are abused by kids either around their age or older than them and barely anyone notices or cares. So unite, speak up, and stop bullying once and for all.

Kenyan Mall Massacre: Story by Jack Meier

By Jack Meier, 10/1/13

A soldier clears a store inside Westgate mall during the search for the militants. Photo by: The New York Times
A soldier clears a store inside Westgate mall during the search for the militants.
Photo by: The New York Times

On the fine morning of September 21st, at 11:30 AM, an armed group of Islamist militants walked into the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya and took everybody in the building hostage.  People sitting in the café near the entrance were gunned down in cold blood, before they even had a chance to react.

At first, the governments thought they wanted a ransom.  But the militants had a different plan.

“We’ll not negotiate with the Kenyan govt. as long as its forces are invading our country, so reap the bitter fruits of your harvest #Westgate.” Al-Shabab, the terrorist group responsible, tweeted.

They murdered and mutilated everybody they could find inside that mall.  Men, women, children, none were spared.  They wanted to send a message to the world.

They hunted down people in their hiding places, like some deranged person’s idea of a game of hide and seek.

The Shabab, a Somali militant group, has taken credit for the massacre at Westgate.  Evidence suggests the attack is a form of protest against the U.S government and Kenya for trying to oust them from their position as the self-proclaimed government of Somalia.

The Shabab are a Somali militant group that stepped in a few years ago to take control of Somalia.  However, when they were pushed back by the Kenyan military, they became extraordinarily brutal.

They beheaded and amputated people, and did countless other equally horrible and grisly things.  Osama Bin Laden himself said the violence was excessive.

They became monsters, where the people had formerly seen them as stabilizers.

They became desperate to hold onto any shred of power, and yielded no inches.  Kenya has been one of the countries that have been spearheading the effort to drive Al-Shabab out from Somalia.

They are a truly ruthless opponent; and Kenya has a big disadvantage.  The country has never invested in its public safety as a whole.

Police officers are poorly paid, (somewhere in the ballpark of $200 a month), and most do not have cars.  Lots of them are extremely corrupt.

There is no hotline for people that are in trouble to call.

A manikin sits abandoned at a shot-up storefront inside Westgate. Photo by: Tyler Hicks
A manikin sits abandoned at a shot-up storefront inside Westgate.
Photo by: Tyler Hicks

Nevertheless, many flocked to Westgate after the shooting started, some giving their lives to rescue children and people from the mall.

Without the bravery of these officers, the death toll at the Westgate mall would have easily numbered in the hundreds.

One of the most horrible aspects of the attack was that it was tweeted live by the militants.

“The Mujahideen (‘holy warriors’) entered Westgate mall today at around noon and they are still inside the mall, fighting the Kenyan kuffar (‘infidels’) inside their own turf” a Twitter account controlled by Al-Shabab tweeted several hours into the attack.

After a tense three day stand-off, the police finally defeated the last of the extremists.  There is some controversy as to whether or not some out the militants escaped or not.

The military had to enter the mall and clear it room by room, to root out the last of the militants.

Throughout all the horror, the blood and tears, and the pain, many, many Kenyans lined up to donate blood for those injured in the terror attack.  In fact, so many showed up that they had to be turned away.

This is the kind of camaraderie that Kenya needs to make it through this disaster.  IF they band together, maybe they can weather this disaster.

Standardized Tests!? Give Me A Rest! Story by Phoebe Tietjen-Archie

Story by Phoebe Tietjen-Archie

Recently the sophomore and freshman class has received a bit of not-so-cheerful news: they have testing right around the corner, big testing. What test are we talking about might you ask? On Wednesday the 16th the sophomores and freshmen will be oh so fortunate enough to take the PSAT and the PLAN standardized tests.

   Ok, let’s get serious. Standardized tests are never fun, but they’re something to be taken seriously. Right now is a time for sophomores and freshmen to buckle down, and start putting their studying skills to the best of their abilities. Mary Jensen, FBCS’ Educational Leader, shared that she is very happy that our school is taking these tests, especially the PSAT, because it prepares students for their SAT’s. She went on to say that she doesn’t have much advice on studying for the two tests other than for the students to get a good night’s rest before, and to eat a good breakfast on the morning of, and she said most importantly to relax; these tests don’t count against you, they’re just helping you prepare.

   So this is the moment where one begins to think “ok, so I now need to prepare, but how in the world do I study for a standardized test?” When it comes to preparing for the PSAT and PLAN you can’t go over flash cards or read notes, but what you can do is go over what you know the test will be generally covering.  The PSAT has 3 sections which include critical reading, writing, and math, and PLAN has 4 sections which include reading, writing, math, and science. There are practice books available at the school for both tests, and according to a good way to study for the PSAT and PLAN tests are to skim through your textbooks and refresh your brain on the subjects you will be covering.

   Many are asking what the PSAT and PLAN tests are, and why we are taking them for the first time. The PSAT stands for preliminary SAT; it’s a standardized test administered by the National College Board, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The test provides first hand practice for the SAT and it also gives students the chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs, and gain access to college and career planning tools. The most common reasons for taking the PSAT are to receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study ; you can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice. The test is also used to see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college, and to help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT. If you are interested in the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is available to juniors in high school, you can re-take the test next year for a fee of $13.  As for the PLAN test, which is a preliminary ACT, is a pretty simple concept. PLAN helps students clarify their strong and weak points, so they can take the best possible courses in high school in order to help them succeed, as well as help give ideas for career and post-high school educational options.


   Even though standardized testing isn’t fun, it is clear that both these tests are extremely useful stepping stones in our educational journey. Sophomore, Wes, said “I’m pretty nervous for the PSAT, considering it’s a rather large test, but it’s nothing studying and good preparation can’t take care of. I don’t feel it’s fair that we are getting judged on a basic test, instead of what we go over in the classroom; however, with that said, I understand their purpose and how important they are, so I’m going to try my best, and I think that’s what everybody’s goals really need to be about for this test.” Overall, it looks like the freshmen and sophomores have a pretty big day ahead of them, may we wish good luck to them all!

Fall Fashion Trends


Story by Neome Ruffing

This Year, the Fashion Trends have changed. The men and women have to show courage to wear the fall and winter trends of 2013-14. You can decide if you are fearless about being judged because of your clothes, or not. Maybe it is just the fashion designers who want to challenge you by designing these trends. It’s up to you.

Photo by Annette Ruffing: Neome Ruffing’s brother poses on the German Beach

The fashion trends for women are fearless and eye-catching. The top color of the year 2013 is Emerald green. That shade fits perfectly into the fall, so it is pretty suitable. Added to that is velvet, and leather which are very big this winter. Oldies are getting a new design for this fall, such as the midcentury style and collar pullovers. In the midcentury women wore large skirts and dresses which were tight. These clothes are getting back this year so you better get ready and look for some old fashioned clothes to be prepared.

Photo by Nadja Miller: Neome Ruffing’s Brother poses in an abandoned warehouse

This Fall/Winter black and white! Back to black, and shine bright like the snow, are the most important slogans for this winter! This is the casual fashion trend for the season.

But what about shoes? No we don’t wear UGG boots like all the European girls in the winter! We need to wear thigh-high boots! The higher the better! Get some style for your feet and follow this trend.

The last category is winter coats. BIG, BIGGER, FURCOATS! Oversized coats are a must-have for the season. If you want to look stylish in the cold months you do better with fur coats.

                                                                          Do’s and Don’ts:

 DO invest in eye-catching outerwear!

DON’T be afraid to experiment with various colors, lengths, and textures.

DO consider the rest of your outfit when rocking these coats. Keep everything else simple.


                                                          Men Fashion Trends Fall/Winter 2013


Fur coats aren’t only for women! Men can wear it this season too.  There are lots of different variations like coats and jackets. The most common furs are ermine, mink, fox, and cowhide fur.

Fur comes in all basic shades. You can even wear catchy colors. Almost no NO-GO’s this season.

Leather is all time favorite of the fall-winter season ‘13.

It is the timeless material of the world. It always looks stylish, classy and fashionable. So get advantage from this year’s trends and wear a double-breasted leather jacket. You can get one double-breasted jacket in crocodile skin. You can also try a coat of ostrich leather.

Number Three is velvet! To match outfits, with your girlfriend on a cozy winter day. Velvet looks graceful and isn’t only for women! You can combine it with fur, leather or cashmere. It fits perfect into the season.

Next one: Bright colors!

A big fashion trend this fall is casual style and comfy clothes in bright hues. So try bright colors and prints this season. Like women, men also can have the fun of colors. It’s not only a spring and summer trend. We are bringing back the summer!

The bestseller shades of grey gets a trend. Any variations of grey are trendy. The classic look never gets old. . Wore grey with black to give a more modish look. You can also try grey with white and with other bolder colors.

Don’t be shy, this season you can show your personality without being judged! Take your chance and do it! Don’t care about others, be yourself and feel good.

Drinking Water: Dangerous?

Story by Patrick Feyen

Do you live in town?  If so, you may be wondering why your water tastes so strange.

Believe it or not, the city of Sandpoint now gets their water from lake Pend Oreille, and some of the pipes that the water now flows through are made of wood. This wood is stuck to the other pipes with animal fat and have been coated with tar on the inside, this is the reason your water tastes so strange.

Wooden pipes have been common since at least the 1500s, and have been found in several big cities and most are still in operable conditions, but what are the health risk that the tar water brings? Is your throat feeling a little flemmy? The tar might have something to do with it, although it may not be the same tar as in cigarettes, but you can be sure there will be similar health problems after drinking this contaminated water for extended periods of time, but hopefully the city will fix this issue as soon as their attention is brought to it.

An anonymous source who works with water pipes was quoted as saying “We are aware of the problems with how our water moves about through the city limits, and will be working to correct this error within the coming year.”

Big cities such as New York, have been experiencing these similar problems, but their city has also been trying to fix the issue whereas Sandpoint has not done much, or even addressed or publicized that we are using these outdated ways of transporting our water that we are being contaminated by how our water is being moved. You would think more people would know about this issue, but when you have a local paper that does not present the facts in most instances and even when argued with will not even address factual errors, why would they publicize something that may not be beneficial to their business.

The way wooden pipes work, at least back in the days when they were first introduced, they were coated on the inside with tar, and stuck together with animal fat.

Many people who when asked whether they though the pipes would turn out to be dangerous immediately said they would be switching to bottled water and drink as little city water as they could possibly at a time.

Although this new development in our small town may be alarming to most, the water is also being treated to remove the nasty things that would usually come from a lake, and everyone who has been interviewed has said that the water, at least once it leaves the treatment plant should be exceptionally safe for human consumption, there should be no ill effects to this extent, but can the same be said for the same water once it has traveled through our complex water system? That’s for everyone to decide for themselves, at your own risk.

Syria chemical weapons disarment deal

Story by: Andrew Van Winkle

After three days of talks John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov reached an agreement. The US and Russia agreed on September 14 a framework that they would remove and destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons. It definitely stalled the US military strikes on Syria that they were going to do as punishment for the deadly chemical weapons attack on a suburb in Damascus on August 21st .             

The agreement states under the framework deal, the US and Russia will ask the organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to destroy Syria’s chemical weapon program, and for verification that it had happened.

The government of Syria was given until September 21 to submit a listing, including names, munitions, storage, and research and development facilities. Inspections of the chemical weapon sites will and must be completed by November. The munitions will also need to be destroyed by November. The complete elimination of the munitions must be completed by the first half of 2014.

The US and Russia agree that the chemicals and chemical agents must be destroyed outside of Syria if possible. But the framework says they could also be destroyed inside of Syria.

The US and Russia are working together on a UN security council resolution that includes steps to make sure verification and effective execution of the OPCW’s

disarmament plan. According to the framework “in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer,, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, The UN security council should impse measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter”. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made clear that his country remains opposed to any military action in Syria. September 16 he stressed that the framework does not mention a threat of Chapter VII measures being part of the resolution being drafted by the US and Russia. But US Secretary of State John Kerry said Lavrov had agreed to that part.

On 14 September, the UN confirmed Syria had come to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which commits members to destroying their stockpiles.

Seven days later, the OPCW confirmed it had received an expected disclosure from the Syrian government regarding its chemical weapons program. It declined to release details of what was in the declaration.

The US-Russia agreement says the two countries have reached an agreement that the type and amount of chemical weapons was indeed involved. A US official said that there were about 1,000 tons of chemical weapons including a blister agent, sulfur mustard, and saran nerve agent.

The Hunger Games Sequel to be Released Soon

Story by Ian McConnaughey

The hit movie edition of the popular Hunger Games book was massively popular, and was voted one of the top movies of its year. Think how the sequel will be met…

Early predictions for the movie release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire say that the film could make even more profit than previously thought. Original speculations guessed that the sequel would make around $575 million, but new predictions show that the highly anticipated film could make up to $950 million or more.

It is predicted that if Catching Fire hits the numbers, it could easily be placed as the second most successful film of the year, beat only by the recent film Iron Man 3.

A partial list of the cast for this upcoming film is as follows:

    • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
    • Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
    • Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
    • Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
    • Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
    • Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
    • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
    • Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
    • Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
    • Donald Sutherland as President Snow
    • Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith
    • Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
    • Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
    • Lynn Cohen as Mags
    • Amanda Plummer as Wiress
    • Meta Golding as Enobaria
    • Bruno Gunn as Brutus
    • Alan Ritchson as Gloss
    • E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff
    • Maria Howell as Seeder
    • Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere
    • Elena Sanchez as Cecelia
    • Bobby Jordan as Blight
    • John Casino as Woof
    • Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
    • Paula Malcomson as Mrs. Everdeen
    • Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread

Eric Feig, the Lionsgate Studios President of Production said “We are so excited to be embarking on this adventure with Francis Lawrence, who has already exhibited immense creative vision and resourcefulness in casting the film and planning its look and feel.  The stakes are raised in every way in this second story, and we are thrilled to get the production underway in these perfect locations, with our excellent returning cast and some world class actors in new roles.”

The movie takes place after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark win the 74th Annual Hunger Games, and return to District 12, but not before after several victory parades, none of which they wanted to participate in. Rumor reaches Katniss that her and Peeta’s actions have sparked small rebellions in the districts, but President Snow makes it very clear that they are inconsequential. She and Peeta are thinking that they will finally be safe from the Capitol, but then a shocking twist brings them back to the Arena for the Quarter Quell, the 75th Annual Hunger Games. Will they prevail and live yet again, or shall they be split apart in a bloody confrontation?

Lawrence, Jennifer. “Analyst Predicts ‘Catching Fire’ Will Make $950 Million Worldwide.” Zimbio. Zimbio, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. < Lawrence/articles/B99P01AE6p1/Analyst Predicts Catching Fire Will Make 950>.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.

“THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE BEGINS PRODUCTION.” Lionsgate Investigators. Lionsgate Studios, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013. <>.

Pros and Cons to iTalc

Story by Brooklyn Fleury & Thomas Ruppert

The Negative Side of iTalc
Story by Brooklyn Fleury
Are you okay with your teachers looking at everything you do?! I sure am not! Italc is being usedin our school every day. For those who don’t know what italc is, Italc is a program that monitors yourcomputer so your teachers can see what you are doing on your computer. If you are gaming the bigMonitor in study lab turns into your computer screen so everybody sees it. I think that it should go backto the usual thing when the teacher walked by and made sure you weren’t playing games or doingthings online that you shouldn’t be.
I took a poll on pro’s and con’s and 27 people were against italc and three were for

Photo by Thomas Ruppert: Hillary DeCecchis works at her computer using the program School Master which keeps schedules, grades, and contact information.
Photo by Thomas Ruppert: Hillary DeCecchis works at her computer using the program School Master which keeps schedules, grades, and contact information.

Italc, and that was just one class. Even some teachers are against Italc, not only the students. We did a poll to ourteachers it was the opposite of the students vote, but some still believe we shouldn’t have Italc orthey’re undecided. “I really don’t want students to get used to growing up in a police state.”-Anonymous.

One teacher, Miss Higgins, was undecided on Italc. “My concern is that the students would feelthat it is an invasion of the student’s privacy. I don’t want the students to become resentful or stopdoing their work altogether because they don’t like Italc. However, with 8 hours of study time given perweek, I cannot come up with a reason as to why there are NC’s in our school. I would challenge thestudents, if they are against Italc, to come up with a better solution. As it stands I support theAdministration because it is the best idea so far…and I personally cannot come up with a better way toreduce the NC rate at our school. I also really want to stress that it is customary in a corporate settingfor the employer to monitor the computer use of an employee. Ultimately, we are training students atthis institution for a future in the work force.”
Maybe if the whole High School proves to our teachers we are responsible and that we all wantto keep our grades respectable, then maybe one day they would get rid of Italc! If we really want Italcgone then we should show it by being responsible and actually caring about our grades.
Positive Side of Italc
Story by Thomas Ruppert

iTalc is one of the new good things that our school has the privilege of having. Some people have said that they like it and some say they don’t. An anonymous survey was given to the teachers at Forrest M. Bird Charter High School.

One response stated, “I like iTalc because it gives me the control to keep kids in line with their electronics. People will always abuse the rules, but this gives me a level of comfort I can live with.”

However, one teacher against iTalc claimed, “I really don’t want students to get use to growing up in a police state.”  As you can see, the people that complain are slightly on the losing side but still put up a good fight.  ITalc is one of the best programs we have had in the school, because it can see if people are playing inappropriate games or watching bad videos. Last year a freshman was looking up pornography during his study lab, without iTalc we would not have caught him. If we had had iTalc it wouldn’t

Photo by Thomas Ruppert: Gloria Hanson works at her desk. iTalc could be a tool used by all teachers.
Photo by Thomas Ruppert: Gloria Hanson works at her desk. iTalc could be a tool used by all teachers.

have happened at all. “I think it helps us keep track of so much computer usage.”- Anonymous teacher.

Would you want to sit by a person who was looking up pornography, violent movies, cyber bullying, and violence, (Example: People cutting up puppies for the fun of it.) We need a safe environment to work in so I think that there should be iTalc because of these disgusting things people do on the internet. Would you sit by a person who was looking up pornography or other nasty things?

It’s That Time of Year; The Fall Dance is Drawing Near

Story by Phoebe Tietjen-Archie

October is drawing near, and with that comes all the festivities of Halloween including the Fall Dance. With a new student council just elected we should be expecting a pretty good outcome for the dance.  Sophomore Trista Hindberg said “I think the dance all really depends on how they plan it; we could be facing an upcoming disaster, or one amazingly magical night.”

For the most part everyone is excited about the upcoming dance, which will be held on October 25th, for the freshmen class this is especially big news; the first high school dance one attends will always hold a place in the memory scrap-book. Freshman Camille Wagner said “I’m super excited for my first high school dance; I love dances and look forward to it! I expect the dance to just be fun and drama free; after all we’re all in high school now.” For the rest of the classes we are all bouncing around with wide eyed wonder about how the dance will actually end up… Will the music be good? How will the decorations turnout? Will it be costume, formal, or casual attire?  Dance Committee member, Jennifer Kobelt, said “We would really like everyone to come in costume, but it’s not required.”

Last year FBCS’ financial planning for the dance, was not at its best; we made $350 in revenue from the dance, however we spent  $526 on preparing and decorations for it which means  we were roughly $176 in the negative zone.  Hopefully with a new student council in place that will change this year. Student Council Treasurer Jenifer Kobelt said “Instead of spending money on decorations I’m planning on having the decorations made at the school or reuse decorations that were bought and unused from prior dances or that are in top condition. Also I will make sure I refer to the budget at hand before making any final decisions to buying something and to make sure it is really needed not just wanted. I’m also really good with efficient spending so I will put that to use when wanting to spend money because I could possibly get the same thing cheaper somewhere else with the same quality as the more expensive product.”

The big question overall is what is the theme going to be? With this we also begin to wonder who will be the DJ, and who will be in charge of the main decorations? Junior Tommy Smith, who decorated the board used for pictures last year as well as rapped on the open mic, said “If I’m asked, which I think I will be since I’m on the student council as Junior rep, I would definitely like to help with the decorations for the dance again this year as well as rapping and or singing.” Middle school choir, and sophomore advocacy teacher, Paul Gunter, said “If student council, and or the dance committee asked me to DJ I would be more than pleased to. Plus I have a lot of the gear, and machines to do so including fog machines and lights; basically at this point I’m just waiting for someone to approach me with a set date.” Dance committee member, Jennifer Kobelt, said “We are planning on having a Halloween themed dance, hence the costumes. We will be putting up posters soon, advertising that we will be holding auditions for DJ’s for the dance in the near future.”

The dance is looking like it’s going to be a big hit this year; all that’s left to do is patiently wait for this magical Halloween themed night to pull you from your seats and get you moving on the dance floor!

Voyager 1 makes history as first man-made object to leave solar system

Story by: Jack Meier

Voyager 1 has just made history by being the first manmade object to exit our solar system, NASA stated on Thursday.  It has crossed the heliosphere, the magnetic boundary that defines the border between interstellar space and our solar system.

The probe and its brother, Voyager 2, were launched in 1977, sixteen days apart.  Voyager 1 is currently at a distance of 18.8 billion kilometers from Earth, and its brother Voyager 2 is 15.3 billion kilometers away.  Voyager 1 is currently traveling at a speed of 38,000 miles per hour.

Voyager 2 is estimated to leave the heliosphere in three to four years.  Since Voyager 2’s plasma instrument is still functional, we will have a better idea of when exactly the probe crosses into interstellar space.

“In leaving the heliosphere and setting sail on the cosmic sea between the stars, Voyager has joined other historic journeys of exploration; the first circumnavigation of the globe, the first steps on the moon” Ed Stone, chief scientist on the Voyager mission remarked.

How they determined when the spacecraft actually crossed the threshold was tricky, as the plasma measuring instrument broke way back in 1980.  To skirt around that handicap, the scientists working on the project measured the waves in the plasma around the craft, and used it to calculate density.

The vibrations were caused by a large coronal mass ejection (solar flare), from the sun in 2012.  The ejection formed what Stone called a ‘solar wind tsunami.’

Between October 23rd and November 27th, the spacecraft traveled through an area with an electron density of 0.06 per cubic centimeter.  This is still within the interstellar space range, meaning the craft passed through plasma with increasing electron density.

In the interstellar medium, the density of electrons is thought to be between 0.22 and 0.05 electrons per cubic centimeter.  Interstellar plasma particles are created by the explosions of giant stars, scientists theorize.

The theory, led by the University of Iowa physicist Donald Gurnett, states that the concentration of plasma particles is thirty times greater outside the heliosphere than inside.  This middle ground between the heliosphere and interstellar space is called the heliopause.

The probe itself has 68KB of data storage, much, much less than the average smartphone.  Scientists communicate with it daily to retrieve the pictures and wipe the memory so more pictures can be taken.

“It’s the little spacecraft that could” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager.

Scientists are interested in observing the differences between our solar wind, and the solar wind from interstellar space.  Our heliosphere is akin to a rock in a river, the solar wind has to flow around it like water around a rock.

Both probes carry the ‘golden record’, a 12 inch gold plated copper disk with sights and sounds from Earth.  The idea was that if extraterrestrials find the probe, they will listen to the disk and learn about us and our culture.

The disk has 115 images, and many natural sounds such as birds, surf, thunder, wind, and animals.  There is also a compilation of music from different genres and eras.  There are greetings spoken in fifty-five different languages, beginning with Akkadian, an ancient Sumer language, and ending with Wu, a modern-day Chinese dialect.

Natural radioactive decay generates enough power to allow Voyager to communicate with Earth and run its instruments.  The first instrument will be shut off in 2020, and the spacecraft will go dark in 2025.

But for now, the probe will forge on through the complete darkness that is interstellar space, and hopefully, one day, something else will pick it up.