This is our second stint as editors for Sophomores Speak Out. This week we have a different set of opinions on everything from Halloween to school, child abuse and even greyhounds. Enjoy the read.

— Breanne Russell and Troy (85) Small

Why Help Darfur?

By Eric Fletcher >

Have people actually thought about why we should help Darfur? Seriously thought? The activists and Hollywood personalities like George Clooney are telling us that we should help because there is a genocide happening there, but does it have any relationship to the United States at all? I am not here to change your views, but to offer my two cents about the current conflict in Sudan. If you don’t agree with me, don’t confront me in the halls! Here is how I see it — why help Darfur? People seem to overlook the fact that Sudan is not our ally and that the government of Sudan is against the civilians that we are trying to help. This mixture of helping the enemy of the enemy will get us bombed. Despite what some people seem to think, some of the poorest countries in the world happen to have bombs and a way to transport them to our shores. My second point is, don’t we have our own people to help and support? There are homeless people everywhere, even on the Vineyard. Why a war on genocide in Darfur, but not a war on poverty here at home? There is no money in the war on poverty and there is no money in helping Darfur, but if our government taxes us to send pop tarts and blankets to the refugees in Darfur, aren’t we just losing money to a cause that some other country can deal with? Once we get taxed by the government, everyone will complain about how Bush is corrupt and how he taxes us too much when it was their idea to have the government support the people of Darfur so its their fault! Developing world countries seem to feel the need to find us when they need help. Certainly they don’t all like us and are probably trying to use us for their shenanigans. We have our own problems. Let England or China deal with Darfur. We would make a great error in entering another country where we have no business.

Library Rules!

By Olivia Gross >

In past years, there have been different pass systems put into place for various reasons. We have had everything from no passes to clipboards to signing out and to pink, blue, and purple passes. But with the recent and continuously changing system ideas, this has become quite ridiculous.

Especially during study hall, which is a student’s time of privilege, when they are given the time to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily have time to do during the school day otherwise. During this time slot, students were allowed to work in the library, a preferable environment to many. Students were originally allowed to sign their name at the library in the beginning of the day, and then during their designated study period were allowed to go to the library. Then last year students had to get a pass from an academic teacher saying that they were doing work for that teacher in the library, which many people, students and teachers, found to be a hassle. Now this year students are found running around from teacher to teacher and classroom to classroom. In this new system, they must first get a pass from their academic teacher, then report to their study hall classroom and have that teacher sign it, and make it to the library — all in a five-minute passing period between classes. And after all that, only five students from each study hall are accepted into the library. That means that depending on the period, whether there are two or three study halls, there are only 10 or 15 students in the library. The library is loved because of the work space, and the number of students working has never been an issue before. Our school is lucky to have a huge library facility with at least 20 computers. I find it really unfortunate that these tedious rules are keeping the student body from using their library to the fullest extent.

The Cost of Winter

By Jesse Shayne>

New England is in for the most costly winter in the history of the U.S. Gas prices are at an all-time high, so New Englanders should start thinking up ways to save money before it’s too late.

One of every two homes in New England burn heating oil, compared to one out of 20 in the rest of the U.S., who mostly use natural gas. Heating oil prices were reported at an average of $2.91 a gallon, 24 per cent greater than last year. The world’s thirst for oil is growing by 1.5 million barrels a day, up from 1 million last year, and oil producers can barely keep up.

Not only does the rapid increase in price of heating (as well as gasoline) affect consumers, it also affects retailers. With people spending more on essentials such as gas, they have been spending less on merchandise and food. The owner of the pizza chain Papa Gino’s says the company was booming until the sudden increase in gas prices. Now business is flat. Poor to middle class citizens are eating out as little as possible.

People are looking for ways to cut back costs and keep their houses better insulated. Thousands of people have been installing storm windows into their houses, making it one of the most popular ways to save money. Everyone is trying to insulate their houses better; blankets will be abundant in most households. Also people are keeping their heat as low as they can.

With prices of just about everything increasing faster than everyone can afford, it’s hard to picture the country going uphill.

Parenting Test

By Sarah Hall>

On Oct. 30 in Phoenix, Ariz., 22 year-old Ashley Duchene left her 17-month old son Ryan Gallagher in her car at 10 a.m. to work her shift as a Hooters waitress. At about 5 p.m. that same day, after her shift had ended and according to what she told police; “She walked to her car, unlocked the driver’s door, sat in the vehicle and immediately realized she had forgot her son in the back seat.” Witnesses, officers and firefighters were unsuccessful at reviving the little boy. Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said the temperature outside the car had hit nearly 90 degrees and inside the car it would have been more 100 degrees. Duchene usually drops him off at day care but for an unknown reason she failed to do so that day. The boy was invisible to others walking by because the windows were tinted.

I feel like these kinds of stories have been happening more frequently than they should be. I have a hard time understanding how you can just leave your child in your car and forget about him for five minutes let alone seven hours. To me it’s beyond careless; it’s unthinkable. I understand that people make mistakes but when your mistake leads to a death of an innocent child, then something must be wrong with you. People like Ashley Duchene should have to get some kind of legal document from the town or government stating that she can be a parent because. If you can’t get your child to day care then get some help, call a friend or family member.

All we can really do is try and make sure things like this don’t happen so another child like little Ryan Gallagher don’t die because someone wasn’t paying attention and made a careless mistake.

Time Flies

By Melanie D. Krauss>

Everyone told me when I was graduating eighth grade that I needed to enjoy my years in high school because they were going to fly by so fast. I would just shake my head yes so we could move to the next topic in the conversation, and never really gave it any thought. I figured they were just saying that because they were old and missed their high school days. But now as I’m entering the second quarter of my sophomore year I realize that everyone was right. I can’t believe how fast my freshman year flew by, and even more so how fast sophomore year is going by. I remember last year on my 15th birthday telling my cousin I had just one more year to go before I could get my learner’s permit and start to drive. I turned 16 two weeks ago and just got my permit on Friday. It’s like I blinked for a second too long and now all of a sudden I’m learning to drive. So you really do need to value your time as a teen. It really does fly by, even though you may not want it to, it will. Have fun, enjoy school and make your high school years the best years possible

Champions Again

By Troy (85) Small>

Vineyard Football is one of the most honored sports on our Island. Martha’s Vineyard was formerly known as the best of the east and has a high reputation. Over the past couple of years, however, the Vineyard team has not been able to make the playoffs. Some people are starting to say that the Vineyard team are not living up to the legacy of the past, but in my opinion we are just going through a rough patch. Hopefully, this year the Vineyard team can get back on track, make the playoffs and win a championship. We need to start by getting our players into the weight room and getting them stronger and bigger. After that we need to work on our skills. Finally, we need to stay healthy. Injuries are a main factor in our lack of success. If we can do all of that, we can accomplish our goals, get into the playoffs and win a championship.

Costume Party

By Michael Kendall>

The main event at the high school recently was Halloween. Much of the school dressed up in costumes ranging from crayons to iPods, superheroes to ghosts. There were simple costumes, complex ones and just straight up ridiculous ones. Walking through the halls you might see two pigs in a blanket or a vampire, or even the Beastie Boys. The costumes were all very good and elaborate, making the school day more fun and interesting. To top it off people were able to register what they dressed up as, and winners were crowned and awarded prizes for their costumes.

Under the Influence of Candy

By Solvig Sayre>

I still love to trick-or-treat, as do several others at the high school, but sometimes when we walk down the street on Halloween night adults will give us dirty looks. They simply don’t like it when high school students go trick-or-treating.

Perhaps they feel we are intimidating and obnoxious, but that’s what Halloween is about — getting scared. And how many elementary students do you know who are well-behaved when under the influence of candy? It’s a community event and the whole community should be welcome. We too want to be out having fun, dressed up and trying to guess who is under that mask. If we weren’t allowed to trick-or-treat, who knows what we’d be doing instead — joining forces with the eggers?


By Austin Gampfer>

The boats are out the water. No cars are in the lots. I see no tourists when I go around the block.

The skies are blue. No snow. No rain. Just clear skies and cold ground when this time of year comes around.

Greyhound Rescue

By Gail Herman>

If a dog is man’s best friend then why do we, as humans, often mistreat them? Every day numerous greyhounds are killed when they lose races. Not only do they get killed, but they live a life of hell before that. The greyhounds are mistreated and are kept in tight, enclosed metal cages. These beautiful, long-legged creatures are not permitted to sleep but must stand in a crate until a race begins. Some greyhounds don’t often fit in the cages and being cramped causes hair loss on their tails. One of my best friends growing up was my dog Austin. He was a racing greyhound rescued after five years of racing. Austin was one of the best gifts life has given me so far — something that wonderful should not be killed. I am sure there are many families who would gladly adopt these quiet, graceful dogs. The killing of racing greyhounds needs to be stopped. It’s cruelty to animals and it’s sad that we, as a society, are allowing it.