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Freshmen experience first day at high school

By Chloe Phillips

     Freshmen orientation day is where ninth graders are given the opportunity to come in before any other grades to familiarize themselves to their new environment in which they will be in the next four years. It begins and ends as any other school day from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

     Guiding the freshmen were the juniors and seniors who became “Mentors.” They wore bright blue shirts, so they could be seen clearly from down the hall for any lost or confused students. They are the students in charge of keeping track of their group and making sure they follow the special schedule set up for freshmen orientation day.

     7:30-8:15 was homeroom where attendance is taken, introductions are made by playing a game, This or That, an icebreaker used to make the students more comfortable with each other and their classmates. Also, students take the time to understand their schedule and practice opening their lockers if needed.

     8:15-9:15 was in the auditorium, which started with the Spike video and followed by Dr. Hartmann who goes over The Pledge. Freshmen then listen to the choir and are encouraged to sing along. The last activity is called “the informational session,” which just explains the rest of their day.

     9:15-11:15 was where the informational sessions began: the mentors guided the groups of freshmen to three informational sessions. The first session is Student Involvement, which was hosted in the lower gym. The students have a chance to see what clubs and activities they can join and meet current students in those activities where the student leaders discuss the involvement.

     The second sessions is called Meet the Principals, where the principals discuss who they are, what they do and their expectations for the students and the remainder school days in the auditorium.

     The third session is The Tour of SMFHS where mentors give the ninth graders an in-depth tour, explaining their experiences and covering important spots and people. They also took that time to get real with the students on what to expect, who their favorite teacher is and more.

     With the tour, each group stopped to take a hearing or vision test where the groups with rotate between them. 11:15-11:40 was be the time to eat and hit the refresh button with friends.

     2:00-2:30 was hosted in the main gym where teachers passed out shirts and the mentors participated in the pep rally activities, which included learning and singing SMFHS chants.

     “I didn’t know where any of my classrooms where and I was really afraid I’d get lost or walk into the wrong class. Today helped a lot, and I feel like I sorta know my way around,” freshman Jacey Citraro said.

     The mentors helped the freshman a great deal not only with finding their way around the building but also with classes and advice. Freshmen orientation day helps new students make friends and prepare for their high school career.

     “I’m definitely playing softball this year. I also signed up for a club the upperclassmen talked about which was, Hitting for Home, which I’m excited about,” Citraro said.

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16th annual Summit County Engineer’s Miniature Bridge Building Competition

 Tiny strips of wood, x-acto knives, glue-covered fingers and stressful problem solving all combined to create this year’s 16th annual Summit County Engineer’s Miniature Bridge Building Competition.

   Twenty-one schools in Summit county were able to enter the three-hour competition on Fri., Feb. 26 at the University of Akron. As long as the school could offer two or three students, they could participate. Some schools were even able to send more than one team.

    The participating high schools were Akron Early College, Coventry, Cuyahoga Falls, Firestone, Four Cities Educational Compact, Garfield, Green, Hudson, Manchester, Mogadore, Norton, Portage Lakes Career Center, Revere High School, Six District Engineering Academy, Springfield, STEM High School, Stow-Munroe Falls, St. Vincent St. Mary, Tallmadge, Twinsburg High School and Western Reserve Academy.

    I personally came with the Six District Engineering Academy, which is my career program. My teammates were Stow senior Stephen Morris and Cuyahoga Falls senior Alex Perdue. We competed alongside of some of our engineering classmates who were registered under their home schools.

    Engineering firms such as CT Consultants, Environmental Design Group, Euthenics, Osborn Engineering and many more posed as sponsors for the event. These companies are the creators for many of the bridges in northeast Ohio.

    The civil engineering companies also generously donated towards a scholarship for students who attend the competition. Participants then have to fill out a form and write an essay in order to be considered for the scholarship. Values change from year to year, and the amount has not been decided yet.

    Before considering any scholarship, we had to build our bridge. We were provided a limited amount of balsa wood which we had to use as the basis of our bridge. The flimsy material is challenging to construct with and is very easy to break. We used super glue in order to hold everything together.

    Our team laid out our design on a rectangular block of styrofoam, placed wax paper over the top and used the layers as a work space. We also used straight pins to keep the bridge trusses in place as they dried.

    Three hours passed fairly quickly, as each team ran into various problems or smoothly created their projects; a frequent but not devastating issue was the recurring situation of fingers being glued to the bridge.

    My team and I built our bridge with ease. Last year, as amateurs, we used too much glue and did not know how to properly construct anything in the time frame; we did not finish our design and the final product was messier than intended. This year, we finished with 15 minutes to spare, with every piece perfectly in place.

    Once each team finished and placed their masterpieces on one lengthy table, the judges checked each for specifications. They verified that each bridge was at least 14 inches long and had a minimum of 12 inches for the bottom trusses. Additionally, the structure could not have more than two strips of balsa wood laminated together.

    Judges also picked out the most aesthetically pleasing design for an award.

    One of the winners of the aesthetics made a miniature version of the Football Hall of Fame bridge in Canton.

    Although my team did not win any athsetic awards, we tried for the abilities portion.

   Each bridge had a hole drilled through the middle of the roadbed which then had a J-hook through the opening. A bucket with a 10 pound weight was then placed on the hook.

   One team member was then expected to lightly put cup-fulls of nuts and bolts in the bottom of the bucket to increasingly add more weight. Once the bridge busted, the team measured the bucket to see how much mass broke the bridge.

    After the structure failed, teams could visit a table of experienced civil engineers who could explain where and why the bridge failed.

    They told me and my teammates that our design was very strong and smart, but the distribution of the load on our bottom trusses was not strong enough. More triangles, the sturdiest shape in a structure, could have helped our design.

    The awarded points depended on the ratio between the mass of the bridge and the failure mass.

    My team’s structure weighed 23.6 grams and held 29.7 pounds. This ratio was not poor but definitely did not come close to the winning team.

    First timers, Hudson, won by a landslide with a very light bridge that held probably 4 times the amount ours did: their trusses were well constructed and were very strong.

    Each Hudson student won $100. Both Springfield teams won second which was given $70 and third place which received $50 each.

    Even though my team did not win any prizes, I still had a positive experience. I was able to compete alongside my friends and put all of my abilities to the test.

    Times like these are ones I will look back on when I am 30 and in a career practicing the same teamwork and problem solving skills needed in a simple, friendly competition as a student.

Powerpuff Girls return in 2016

Sugar, spice and everything nice with a little dash of Chemical-X are not the only ingredients in the new series of “The PowerPuff Girls.”

A modern take on the old classic has many nostalgic fans excited while also intriguing young children of this era for a little taste of the childhood many students had.

While the same storyline, villains and graceful butt-kicking will be recovered in the new show, the original voice actresses and theme song have been altered.

The starting women, Cathy Cavadini as Blossom, Tara Strong as Bubbles and Elizabeth Daily as Buttercup, have all been replaced by other, youthful voices; however, Tom Kenny’s role as the mayor and narrator has remained intact.

According to the LA Times, “‘The Powerpuff Girls’ will feature the voice talents of Amanda Leighton as team leader Blossom, Kristen Li as the bright and friendly Bubbles and Natalie Palamides as the tough-as-nails Buttercup.

Fresh talent does not seem to pose as an issue for many people as the recent ladies are sure to sound close to not if exactly like the traditional, tiny but spunky voices of the three super girls.

On the other hand, the improved theme song and intro are very different from 1998.

The new song is a punk-pop mixture titled “Who’s Got The Power?” by Tacocat, according to Comics Alliance.

Also, the style of the cartoon will be altered from the original. More of a crisp, 3-D illusion and more vibrant colors will be present in the updated version. Cartoon Network will be matching the look of the girls to some of their current shows like Steven Universe, Teen Titans Go and Adventure Time.

All changes put aside, this take on the original PPG is sure to revive many memories of the past and easily make new ones for young children.

The revamped version of the old classic is proposed to air sometime in April. Surely, if the cartoon disappoints and there is still a craving for animated, crime-fighting super girls, then one can turn to Netflix to watch the original series.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Super Bowl commercials bring disappointment

The Super Bowl is the time of the year almost all Americans gather together to watch one program. Some people watch solely because their team is the one playing in the game, but most seem to watch for the broadcasted commercials and the halftime performance.

Normally, the commercials consist unusually funny or heart-warming elements with the best advertisements debuting in the first half of the game. This year, I thought the advertisements were lacking in both departments right out of the gate.

Majority of commercials seemed to be appealing to an older generation with focuses on mortgages and automobiles, and directors did not use any abnormal aspects or situations during their advertisement that would set them apart from commercials seen during a regular television show.

Even my parents, who would be a part of the generation advertisers were seemingly targeting, found the commercials to be boring and confusing as figuring out what product was being endorsed in some ads took more time than should be necessary.

My family and I found ourselves rating the advertisements using a typical grading and giving most of the commercials a “C” with very few “B’s” and “A’s” throughout. Amongst the few “A’s” were the kind of advertisements we were looking for with abstract elements we were not used to seeing on a day-to-day basis.

The Doritos commercial featuring the pregnant woman undergoing an ultrasound while her husband teases the unborn baby with Doritos was on our list along with the Mountain Dew advertisement including the part puppy, monkey and baby dancing around a group of men.

Steve Harvey making fun of his own actions during the Miss Universe pageant in 2015 in a commercial supporting T-Mobile was the last ad on our list.

Following the first half of advertisements was the highly anticipated halftime show that included artists Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyonce. Coldplay sang a medley of their popular songs before backing out of the limelight and allowing Bruno Mars to sing his hit song “Uptown Funk.” During the middle of the song, Beyonce came out onto the stage with a group of girls and proceeded to have a dance off while singing the remaining lyrics of Mars’ song.

A dance off was a different approach than I had ever seen during a Super Bowl performance, and I found this to be the most exciting aspect of the game when compared to the bland commercials.