Hi and welcome to this week’s edition of Sophomores Speak Out. This week we have a lot of interesting articles on a variety of topics. They are fun and interesting to read and they show you how many things are going on in the world. Sometimes it makes you think, how can I help?

— Troy (85) Small


A Passion for Hockey

By Breanne Russell>

I am a member of the girls varsity hockey team and the other week we were all sitting in a locker room off-Island half an hour before our game against Duxbury. Our coach asked us to go around in a circle telling him why we were there. The first few people said the typical things: I’m here because I love hockey and I have the passion for it, etc., but as the circle went on, and came closer to me, I thought about what I would actually say. I was rehearsing something in my head: “Oh, well I’m here because I love hockey and there’s nothing else like it.” But after I spoke I thought more about it.

Of course I love my team and that’s 50 per cent of it, but at the end of the day no matter what has happened in school or after school if practice doesn’t go well my whole day is ruined. When you succeed in hockey it makes your whole day just worth it. Hockey’s something you can never perfect, something you always have to work at and it’s something that you must have a passion for. One of my teammates said something that stuck in my head: “Anyone can practice and practice to become a basketball player, and people play sports just to have something to do but in hockey you have to love it and have the natural talent because everyone can run, but not everyone can skate.”

Even though our record so far does not show it, after almost every game our coach says: “That was great hockey, and just as good as a win.” Recently we had, in my opinion, our best game of the season against Canton. The funny thing about the game is it was so unexpected. Sure we lost 2-1, but it was amazingly close. Everyone was skating their hearts out. We all wanted to win so bad. I am a defender, and with only two sets of defense it was intense and really made you focus and get into the game. I remember going out onto the ice at the start of the game and looking around and smiling at all the players on the ice. Everyone knew we were all in it together and knew what we had to do.

For most of the players on the team hockey is an emotional subject. It seems on the outside like a rough and tough sport that not many girls have the guts to play. But it’s everything to most of the girls who play. It’s what we talk about all day and what we think about practically 24-7 for the three months of hockey season. Some of us will go on and play college hockey; for others it may just be a high school sport. Regardless of what we choose to do, hockey’s made a difference in all of our lives. All the girls on the team have different lives and most of us leave it all behind when we come onto the ice. I’m proud to be on the same team as some of these girls. I look up to many of them.

Some girls have been playing 10 years, some one or two. Either way we all try our hardest. I love all of the girls on my team and honestly think that this is the turning point in our season. We are all clicking together, as coach says. So the next time any of you come to watch our games, remember how much we care. Whatever the score, we are all happy just to be there.

Midterm Blues

By Julia Sadowski>

At this time of year, high school students all around the country are struggling to get their acts together and prepare for midterms. Teachers are going over learned material. Review packets are flying all over the place, and people are preparing to switch over to their second semester classes. There are many different ways that high school students here study. Maggie Howard, for example, uses index cards: “I’m a visual learner and flash cards help to remember the information,” she says. Some people study with a friend, stay after school with a teacher or reread the textbook material.

Although lots of studying will be going on throughout midterms, it is important to eat right and get a good amount of sleep. Instead of a bag of Doritos and a can of 7-Up, have a box of cereal and a glass of orange juice. It’s weird to think that before we know it, the stress of midterm week will pass and students will go back to their usual routines and begin their new classes.

Teenage Driving

By Vicky Segal>

There is going to be a new law about teenage driving. Some people think that it would be better for teenagers to start driving at a later age than 16. Driving rules are strict. I think that the rule about having no kids in your car until a year after you have your license is ridiculous. Teenagers are stubborn about doing what they want and most think that rules are only there to be broken. Not many teenagers abide by the rules. I do think that the driving age of 16 is fair. When it comes to driving your life is at stake, but people mature at different times. You need to have a sense of maturity to be a safe driver, but you can’t test someone’s maturity before they get their license. Teenagers need to choose to be safe themselves and make the right decisions. If the age for driving is raised, I can only see that there would be a lot of protesting. For years, teens wait to be 16 to start driving. To take that away would be like building them up for a dream that they still can’t have. I fully agree with most of the driving laws. You can’t just be reckless because you’re risking your own life and the lives of others. Teenagers just have to be smart enough to figure that out for themselves.

Lock Down

By Gail Herman>

This past week at the high school was frantic. With three fire alarms and one lock down, children are able to believe that our school is safer than we thought. Although with the lock down, there has been discussion in many classrooms about what would happen if there was a real lock down. Some say they would run, while others are worried about being stuck in the hallways while an intruder may be nearby. We are instructed to get to the nearest classroom or bathroom as soon as possible during a lock down if we are out in the halls. But classroom teachers are also told to lock their doors as fast as possible, possibly leaving teenagers scurrying in the halls looking for a hideout.

Bathrooms are the next option as you lock your stall and stand on the toilet hoping for the best. As scary as it may seem, schools all around the world are using lock downs to guard against intruders. This past year, our school installed cameras all around to increase security, but with no one watching them at all times, how is the school any safer?

This past week in health we learned about being proactive instead of reactive. The cameras are supposedly there so that after an incident happens, administrators can look back and see what exactly happened. It appears that our school is not very well prepared to deal with an intruder incident. I can name at least four doors leading to the outside that are kept unlocked during school hours. There is only one that I’m certain is kept locked— the door by the gym. If the high school is so worried about keeping our kids safe, maybe the next step in practicing lock downs is to be proactive and lock the side doors before a dangerous intruder decides to enter the building.

Disturbing Tragedy

By Olivia Gross>

Last week a woman testified in court after being accused of suffocating her autistic 3-year-old daughter with a plastic bag in May of 2006. A tape was played of her confession to the crime. She also confessed to an unsuccessful suffocation attempt with a pillowcase a few days before the actual homicide. There were scratches all over the girl’s face, and evidence of struggling from bite marks on the bag. The 39-year-old woman said she held the bag over the toddler’s head for about two minutes, or until she stopped struggling. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of murder, obstructing justice, and concealment of a homicidal death.

This is an extremely disturbing case. It is an outrageous, graphic, and cruel act, but more than that too. The woman said she had been having homicidal thoughts for over a year. Were there no clues? Who did this woman talk to? Where was her family and her friends? Did the warning signs pass as something unworthy of action? We should learn to recognize signs of trouble. If you have an uneasy feeling, don’t hesitate to tell someone. I know we’ve all heard it a thousand times, but it’s true: “You’re better safe than sorry.”

Iran’s Nuclear Threat

By Peter Persson>

On Monday Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert rejected no option in order to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons. It was Israel’s clearest statement to date that they were willing to use military force against Iran to prevent them from having nuclear weapons. The meeting participant who spoke to the media spoke anonymously because Olmert’s comments had been made in closed session and no one was supposed to know about it. I think it is great that countries are starting to take action against Iran, because they are not to be trusted and the world is less safe if they have nuclear weapons. More countries should do the same so Iran will get rid of their nuclear weapons program.

Peace at Last?

By Jesse Shayne>

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to discuss peace matters. Is it too good to be true?

Olmert and Abbas said they would tell negotiating teams to conduct direct and ongoing negotiations on all final status and core issues. The two planned to meet on Monday, Jan. 14 to discuss the core issues, including peace on the West Bank, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, the future status of Jerusalem, border security and water supply.

Last week Abbas called on Israel to comply with the terms of the road map, a U.S.-supported peace plan to solve the conflicts in the Middle East. Under the road map, Israel must halt West Bank settlement activity and Palestinians must dismantle militant groups. The Israeli leaders said that they are committed to seeing the plan through and have called on Palestinian leaders to abide by their agreements.

Who sparked all these peace talks? Believe it or not, our own George W. Bush. During his stay in Israel last week, Bush called on the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make “painful concessions” in reaching a peace agreement. These concessions include ending terrorist infrastructure and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. “The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people,” Bush told reporters. He also called on Palestinians to confront terrorists.

Believe it or not, it seems that Israel and Palestine are finally taking steps toward peace. Could this finally be the end to the occupation that started in 1967?

BT Vision

By Jordan Gonsalves>

BT is teaming up with Microsoft to offer its television service with the Xbox 360 console. With this new service partner contract, the Xbox live community will be able to watch television over the Internet or on your Xbox 360. This service will also allow access to BT’s library of on-demand content. Users will also be able to watch hundreds of movies and other digital content, including near-live football matches. One down side to the new television feature on Xbox live? You will not be able to record the program you’re watching. This might become a problem for your local cable provider because they may lose their television subscribers and money too. To receive this service, you will have to own an Xbox 360 and will have to buy the set-top adaptor that will connect to your Xbox 360. There has been no release date yet for when they are going to start selling the set-top receiver which is called V-box.

Deadly Avalanche

By Jock Cooperider>

In Montana this week a deadly avalanche swept through Whitefish Mountain Resort, killing two back country skiers, and many others may be still stuck under the snow. County sheriff Mike Meehan described the avalanche as massive. He said the slide area was several hundred feet wide while packing about 25 to 35 feet of snow. Avalanches have killed at least 17 people across the west since November 12. On average in the west, avalanches have killed about 25 people a year. In the 2001-2002 season 45 people were killed in avalanches, the most casualties in one season in 50 years according to the National Forest Service. The sheriff stated that over 100 search and rescue people have been working countless hours, hoping to find people still alive. This story is pretty amazing to me because my dad has been in this resort many times and his brother was there two weeks ago. I have never seen an avalanche, but I have seen tapes of them and they are pretty crazy.