All posts by Kaitlyn McGarvey

I'm a Senior in high school and I love writing. I'm attending the E.W Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in the fall and I couldn't be more excited!

Spring uplifts spirits after harsh winter

As the cold, snowy weather native to North America reaches it’s end, many people are beginning to feel the effects of the new weather. Girls are trading in their old sweaters for chic tank tops and boys are investing in a new pair of cargo shorts.

Something about the sunshine and cool air have long brought about happier, brighter outlooks on life but according to scientists, the “winter blues” are more than just a state of mind. Bad weather cannot only affect a person’s clothing, but can also alter their state of mind.

Seasonal affective disorder, also known by its appropriate acronym, SAD, is a psychological condition in which a person may experience seasonal depression during periods of bad weather.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock […] that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule.”

Website mentalhealthamerica.net said, “SAD is more common in people living far from the equator where there is less daylight hours in the winter. The most difficult months for people with SAD in the US seem to be January and February.”

This proves dually horrible for students living far from the equator, such as the students in northeast Ohio. With AP testing week upon some high school students and the bipolar weather constantly threatening the sanctity of springtime, students suffering from SAD can find themselves at the mercy of extreme stress.

Consult a doctor if signs of depression become apparent during periods of cloudy weather. Besides prescription medication, Vitamin D tablets can brighten symptoms of SAD as well as special UV lights.

Science Olympiad qualified for states

The High School Science Olympiad team qualified for the State Level Competition at Ohio State University on Sat., April 11.

Like any good success story, there is far more to the teams achievement than a simple victory. Their advancement to the State Competition almost did not happen despite the efforts of the team. Senior Kate Borthwick was reported to have placed in three of her four events but the team still made it by the skin of their teeth.

Despite placing in nearly all of their events, the high school Science Olympiad Team only proceeded because of a simple formality.

“We were called for seventh place, but only the top six teams qualify. But since Revere had two teams that qualified and only one could go, we won the sixth place spot by default,” senior Mia Hamilton said.

This is a fairly common yet odd situation. The similarities between the last time Stow succeeded to the State Level Competition and this latest success are striking. When the middle school Science Olympiad team went to the State Competition in 2010, it was because of this exact reason.

“I went to the State Competition [in middle school] and it was really fun. I got to be really good friends with everyone on my team and made a lot of memories in the process. [It is] really taxing, but the effort is worth it,” senior Schuyler Morris said.

In the end, the group proved that a positive attitude, hard work and a little bit of luck can really pay off in the end. Now, they are able to realize their potential even further.

Science Olympiad to compete in Akron University’s Regional Competition

The Stow Munroe-Falls Science Olympiad team competed in the Regional Competition at University of Akron on Sat., March 14.

Science Olympiad is an academic club that competes in science-related events at designated schools. These events are known as “invitationals” and are, for reference, very similar to Speech and Debate tournaments. Both involve multiple students from several schools competing in many different categories to prove their ability to display their knowledge about one of any several areas.

The challenges can range from recalling simple information about the skeletal system of the human anatomy to explaining an electric circuit to a panel of judges. These are tests that truly exemplify the talent, ability and skill of the people performing them and require an incredible amount of advanced preparation.

Most schools have an actual class period dedicated to Science Olympiad, but Stow’s team meets once a week for an hour to discuss plans for the next event they will attend.

“We have competed in three different invitationals, and this is the culmination of our season,” teacher David Helmick said.

These three previous invitationals have only been preparing the team for the Regional Competition, which will be held at Akron University. If the team earns a position among the top six Science Olympiad teams in this region, the team will proceed to the State Level Competition in Columbus.

This is not an unheard of feat. In 2010, both the middle school and high school teams qualified to go to the state competition. They returned home with their heads held high but without the necessary qualifications to proceed to the national level invitational.

Since then, the middle school team has dissolved, but the hope that the high school team will prevail still exists.

The team’s outlook has been overwhelmingly positive. Many are confident that this will be the year the high school Science Olympiad team returns to the State Invitational. The team is fired up and ready to give it their best shot.

“I think that if there is going to be any year where we go to states, [it is] going to be this year,” senior Mia Hamilton said “we have a lot of good, passionate people who have the same goal in mind so it is really easy to be motivated. I want there to be another award for Science Olympiad in the trophy cabinet and know that [I am] part of the reason why it is there.”

The results of the Regional Competition will be posted online at Stohion.com as soon as they are available.

Woodland hosts carnival for students

The staff of Woodland Elementary joined together with PTSA to host a fun, family-friendly dance on Feb. 11.

The dance included a variety of activities for students, parents and teachers to enjoy. In the art room, volunteers from the high school’s National Honors Society chapter painted faces and oversaw board games as well as helped sell pizza, tickets and water.

The gymnasium was decorated with festive banners and lights to create a fun dancing space where the kids could dance. There was also a DJ to help emcee the event as well as lead the dances like The Cupid Shuffle. At one point during the night, there was also a school-wide limbo contest.

Spike the Bulldog also made a special appearance during the night. While he was mostly seen over by the music room taking pictures and in the hallway giving high-fives, Spike also helped lead everyone in dancing The Cotton Eyed Joe and The Cha-Cha Slide.

“I’m really glad the PTSA and teachers helped put this event together,” said senior Courtney Herring. “I remember when I used to go to these things when I was [in elementary school], and now I realize how much [effort] it takes to put something like this together.”

The volunteers that helped with the event, both student and parent, rarely had a chance to stand still. Chaperones had to keep a close eye to make sure every event ran smoothly.

“I’ve been a part of Student Council for awhile, so planning dances and organizing committees is nothing new to me,” senior Brittany Lytton said. “Of course, when you’re working with really little kids, it adds a whole new dimension to things. I think it’s funny how [at the high school] the biggest problem is how many people are grinding. At [Woodland],  the biggest problem is people screaming in the hallway.  I was supposed to be giving away tickets for a free raffle, but most of my time was spent telling kids to use their inside voices unless they were in the gymnasium.”

Despite all of the time, energy, and effort it takes to organize the family dances, the effort always seems worth in the end.

“These dances really take it out of you, but when you see the kids get excited about pizza or games or something like that, [it is] worth it,” senior Molly Divine said.

Memories are being created as well as a  stronger community. Woodland and PTSA, as well as the other elementary schools, look forward to organizing more fun events like these in the future.