This year has been all about change. Change is happening in the United States, from the price of gas to the election of Barack Obama. Change is affecting Americans in both positive and negative ways. Even though our New Year’s resolutions last year included change in America, we all can’t help but worry about how 2009 is going to work out. When Barack Obama was elected, many Americans were excited. They believe Obama is what this country needs. But let’s not put all the pressure on Obama. If we as a country want change, we have to all be willing to work for it. My New Year’s resolution is for good change to happen in America.

— Kristen Parece, Editor

Thoughtful Holidays


Due to the economy’s mess, average families have cut down on Christmas presents. Many parents are being laid off or have lost jobs due to the amount of jobs being cut. About 300,000 jobs were cut in the nation last month. In the first 10 months of this year, employers cut nearly 1.2 million jobs and the unemployment rate is now at 6.5 per cent. This is the highest unemployment rate since March, 1994 . For those whoare fortunate enough not to be affected by the economy, may you give to others who are. Give presents without getting into debt and have a wonderfulholiday.  

Talking About Obama


Dr. Weintraub’s global studies class has been following the election from the beginning and recently went on the Vineyard show Tank Talk to discuss Barack Obama and how kids are reacting to everything that’s happening. We had seven students from our class go on and answer questions. They answered questions such as who did you want to be elected, why did you want them to be elected and how are kids impacting and being impacted by the election. Almost every student in our class agreed that they wanted Obama to win the election, and they thought that for the first time a candidate really spoke out to younger kids and got their attention. One of the many things Obama stood for was bringing our troops home, and that was something we all wanted. We all learned a lot that day when we went to Tank Talk and really got to hear in depth the feelings our classmates had toward the election and what’s happening. We all had fun and I think it’s something we’ll always remember.



A 15-year-old girl, Symone Griffin from Nation Ford High School, has been invited to one of next year’s most exciting events — the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. She will attend the swearing in ceremony, inaugural ball and other events through the National Youth Conference. She got the invitation in March and while she is there she will also attend the Gala Ball, other speeches and discussion groups. She is due to be in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 17-21.

The trip is going to cost Symone’s parents $2,500. They did get help from her church, the Red Cross and the baby sitters courses. All the people who helped her got together and had fund-raisers and raffles. Symone’s parents have always been political. She was not able to vote in 2008, but she wished that she could. Having been able to do this has encouraged her to pursue her dream, which is to audition on American Idol.

Faith in Barack


On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama will take office, and President Bush’s term will expire. High hopes have been put in the arms of Barack Obama to achieve many things in his presidency, and I think he is capable of accomplishing all of it. My hope for his term is mainly to better our economy. Also I am anticipating his bringing home our troops. I’ve heard from many people who supported McCain that we can’t just hightail it out of Iraq, and we need to finish this war, but I believe that we aren’t accomplishing much except for losing our soldiers and spending thousands of dollars. Barack is inexperienced, I had been informed before he won the election, but I think he knew fresh ideas that won America’s trust and he is fully capable of bringing our country back to its original greatness.

Getting Involved


Isolation is something Islanders know best. We live in our own world here on the Vineyard. Well, I want to start living in the real world. Many of my peers feel the same way. What can we do to become involved? Sure, we can raise money, recycle and make the world a better place.  Tell me what happens to Island kids when we are forced to live in the real world. Will we be able to adapt?

Do we have any idea what it is like to be a civilian in Iraq during the war there? Getting an education is important to me and to many of the people around me. We all want to learn. This generation is facing a disaster so when is it okay for us, who are not too young and not too old, to step in and help? Not just in mediocre ways but actually make a real difference. Many kids of my age are oblivious to everything. We are a government run by the people and yet, according to Lions for Lambs, 2007, 70 per cent of high school freshmen in California cannot name the country that borders Minnesota, and 77 per cent of freshmen in the U.S. cannot name two senators from their home state. Even worse, 50 per cent of 8th graders cannot write or do math at grade level. When business failed and workers were unemployed, we called it the Great Depression so will you tell me what 50 per cent of our students not functioning effectively should be called?

Does Law Overcome Religion?


I just saw this in the news: a Muslim woman was arrested for refusing to take off her head scarf at a courthouse security checkpoint. This woman said that she felt that her human and civil rights were violated. Lisa Valentine was ordered to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court. Removing her head scarf known as a hijab is a religious violation. Valentine was accompanying her nephew to a traffic citation hearing and she was not allowed into the courtroom. She turned to leave and a bailiff handcuffed her and took her before the judge. I think this is ridiculous. If it is her religious belief to wear her hijab she should be allowed to wear it wherever she is. Don’t we have freedom of religion here in America? Is this a violation of that freedom — I think so.

Real Pirates


Who knew pirates still existed? Well in Asia they are attacking. There have been 124 attempted and successful recorded hijackings in 2008. The latest hijacking was of the Zhenhua 4 with 30 people on board. They were trapped for five hours when finally a coalition warship and two helicopters showed up and fired on the pirates. On Tuesday, pirates hijacked three vessels. In the latest seizures the pirates were holding 18 vessels. Pirates in Asia!