Smoke Signals
April 2009 • volume 40 • issue 06 • Peters Township High School

R e a l March “Madness”

Andrea Briggs

April 2009




Smoke Signals





April 2009




April 2009

Fatal Mistake
Gabrielle Brinsky
Staff Writer

911 call dispatchers are trained to ask
certain questions ...

April 2009


HOw DO you
GO Green?

“I carpool to
- Adam Meyers

Monica Paterra


April 2009

Smoke Signals

Campus Connections:
Building Stronger Ties

Eco Is In

Bethany Suchy	

Kaitlyn Richer...

Soccer or golf?

Which kind of
music do you listen

Not Rock

Which is better:
chocolate or fru...
Which Teacher are YOU most like?
Find out by following the spider web on the left. Simply choose the answer that best suit...

April 2009

Fishtank: Down to the Wire

Prom: Worth the Hassle
Amy Burzotta

Renée Wunderlich

Staff Writer


April 2009

Staying Strong: Motivation Tips
for the Fourth Nine Weeks
Averi Clements

Staff Writer

With the fina...


April 2009

Smoke Signals

Hurdling Over the Competition
Matt Schilling
Staff Writer

order to run in each mee...

April 2009

Smoke Signals

WBC: Hardly Classic


Taylor Relich

Sports Editor

The first edition o...
Voices Hall
in the

Where would your ideal prom be?

Freshman Elise Bigley
“On the beach”

Sophomore Jillian DeBolt
“At a ...
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April 2009 Smoke Signals Issue 6

  1. 1. Smoke Signals April 2009 • volume 40 • issue 06 • Peters Township High School R e a l March “Madness” Andrea Briggs Assistant Editor The month of March was filled with not only basketball brackets and dancing leprechauns, but also a preponderance of trips. The PTHS Music Department traveled to the city of Chicago for the Heritage Music Festival and brought home a slew of trophies and plaques recognizing their achievements. The Baseball team headed to Sumter, North Carolina to soundly defeat Lakewood High School. Girl’s Softball went to Hickory, North Carolina, but only managed to play one game against Trinity before they were rained out, returning a day earlier than they anticipated. The Girls Lacrosse team had better luck in Virginia, beating Western Albermarle High School 1110 in overtime. Photos by: Paige Burris, Heidi Eltschlager, Carly Ellis, Alex Boyer, and Taylor Lawrence Eco-Mania: GOING GREEN – Pages 4 + 5 opinion Little Scouts Day Care – Page 3 features Sam Fortna speaks out about the joys of track – Page 10 news Sports Inside Media Students Awarded for Video Produtions – Page 9
  2. 2. reference April 2009 Sunday Monday Tuesday Smoke Signals Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday April 2009 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 EARTH DAY 26 27 28 29 Hug An Australian Day DNA Day 30 National Dance Day 1 May 2009 3 4 5 World Press Freedom Day 10 Cinco De Mayo 11 Mother’s Day 17 6 12 Eat What You Want Day 18 24 World No Tobacco Day 31 26 Nerd/Geek Pride Day Smoke Signals is produced eight times during a school year by the students of Media II, III, IV Journalism and extracurricular staff at Peters Towship High School, 264 E. McMurray Road, McMurray PA 15317. Telephone: 724-941-6250 x.5379. E-mail: Commentaries, reviews, and opinion columns are the expressed opinion of the author and not of Smoke Signals, its advisor or the Peters Township School District. Member of the Pennsylvania School Press Association. ASSISTANT EDITOR Andrea Briggs NEWS EDITOR Stephanie Cotugno 21 27 28 16 Preakness Stakes Horse Race 22 23 29 International Jazz Day 30 Hug Your Cat Day Fill in the grid so that each column, row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes regions contain the digits from 1 to 9 only one time each. SPORTS EDITOR Taylor Relich MARKETING EDITORS Paige Burris Shelby Miller STAFF WRITERS Gabrielle Brinsky, Amy Burzotta, Averi Clements, Conor Jackson, Ian Jackson, Colleen Lugar, Monica Paterra, Kaitlyn Richert, Matt Schilling, Matt Sikora, Bethany Suchy Don’t repeat numbers! LAYOUT TEAM Paige Burris, Shelby Miller Taylor Miller ADVISOR Mrs. Sitler National Babysitter’s Day SUDOKU OPINION EDITOR Emily Estep MANAGING EDITOR Katie Ellis 15 National Wig Out Day FEATURES EDITORS Dana Hoelle Bridget Stasenko LAYOUT EDITOR Emily Correal 9 National Dance Like A Chicken Day Blueberry Cheesecake Day Smoke Signals EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Renée Wunderlich 14 Weights Measures Day 25 (Not Observed) 20 NASCAR Day 8 PROM No Homework Day Limerick Day 19 *Astronomy Day* 7 13 2 Puzzle courtesy of:
  3. 3. news April 2009 Fatal Mistake Gabrielle Brinsky Staff Writer 911 call dispatchers are trained to ask certain questions in order to tend to the situation correctly. According to the information they collect, the police are able to look out for their safety as well as everyone else’s. On April 4, 2009, a Pittsburgh 911 dispatcher left out the fact that Richard Poplawski was armed when she sent police to a Stanton Heights home to respond to domestic disturbance, causing three officers to lose their lives. The Pittsburgh dispatcher, who has had the job for less than a year, is currently on a paid administrative leave and is attending counseling. The 911 call taking center is now taking more precautions and making it a priority for dispatchers to report all information due to a recent implication. Early Saturday morning, around seven o’clock at Stanton Heights, Margaret Poplawski dialed 911 after she threatened to evict her son Richard, 22. She called in a request for police to come and take Richard out of the house. She had already told the dispatcher he was armed with a variety of weapons. When officers arrived at the house, she opened the door, not knowing her son was standing behind her. He was holding an AK47 artillery rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. Richard shot officer Paul Sciullo, 37, from inside the home. On the front stoop, officer Stephen Mayhle, 27, was shot and killed directly after Sciullo. Arriving for backup was officer Eric Kelly, who was also killed. Poplawski also fired into two neighbors houses and at nine other police officers. Due to this incident, mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny Councilmen are now correcting the 911-call center and how it will continue to operate. Ravenstahl plans to have a meeting in order to discuss the new changes being made. The call center uses a two-step process to assess a situation. The call taker collects the information from the incoming call so at any time in the call the information can be forwarded to police, fire, or EMS with one click of a button. Call takers and dispatchers are slightly different; a dispatcher is specialized for police, fire, and EMS, whereas call takers are not. State law requires the 911 service workers to ask certain questions prompted by one of the multiple screens in front of them. These questions are referred to as protocol; it contains “tombstone information” and hazard information. The call takers have something different shown on each computer, including previous records of the household, phone numbers, and maps. When Pennsylvania hires new call-takers, they have to meet very specific qualifications. They have hundreds of hours training and are always being cross-trained. As soon as their hours of training are completed, if they are not ready to work, they are immediately terminated. At all times, the 911 services have around twenty part-time call takers on payroll. Poplawski is being held without bond. His hearing has been suspended and now faces an April 17 preliminary hearing. He is being charged with three counts of homicide, attempted homicide, and others. Photo by Stephanie Cotugno By helping construct a paper-plate octopus during arts and crafts, junior Corinne Swoope and senior Alexa Barabti work together to create a positive experience for the preschool children. What In The World...? Smoke Signals Little Scouts Meet the Big Scouts Stephanie Cotugno News Editor To enhance the education of her Child Development II students, teacher Mrs. Sprowls created Little Scout Preschool with the inspiration to not only offer care to young children, but to provide an interactive learning environment for her dedicated students. Little Scout Preschool is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays to children ages three to five who live in Peters Township. Child Development II students who have successfully completed Child Development I, interact with children through activities like free play, circle time, art projects, games, songs, and story time. “Being with the kids during the preschool is such a positive experience. It’s not just fun for them, but fun for us too. I love interacting with each of them,” said sophomore Olivia Cramer. Each Child Development II student is presented with the opportunity to observe and interact with preschool children through the Big Buddy/Little Buddy program Mrs. Sprowls created. Serving as role models, each student is a Big Buddy to a preschooler, their Little Buddy. The one-onone attention is an activity the preschoolers really look forward to. During their one-on-one time, Big Buddies and Little Buddies can participate in the many activities the preschool has to occur including a chalkboard, toys, and a water station. As the high school students also look forward to the three days a week with the children, Tuesdays and Thursdays are used to prepare lessons and activities. Mrs. Sprowls dedicates those days to teaching the students about leadership, responsibility, and compassion. “Teaching is a lot harder than it looks,” stated senior Michelle Munne. The laboratory preschool was designed to be a model setting for high school students who are learning how to deal with children. With every session, students develop behavior management skills, appropriate disciplinary actions, and many other useful life skills and qualities that the students will be able to apply in their future like parenting and career opportunities. Compiled by Katie Ellis Bosnian man Miroslav Miljici blamed his mother-in-law for the break-up of his marriage, so he did what any logical human being would do: used a rocket launcher to attack her home. When she survived the attack, he tried to use a machine gun to finish her off. Surprisingly, his mother-in-law got away with only a few minor scrapes. Miljici has been sentenced to six years in jail for attempted murder. “As shown in several results, women today are a complex combination of altruistic and materialistic, vain and insecure, loyal and self-serving … [highlighting] the dichotomy in all of us.” A survey of more than 2000 women ages 18 to 34 asked the age-old question: brains or beauty? 75% of women surveyed said they’d be willing to shave their head to save a stranger’s life, but a quarter said they would make their best friend fat for life if it meant that she was skinny forever. Half of the 18 to 24-year-olds admitted that they would marry an ugly man if he was a multimillionaire, though 88% claimed that they would gladly give up their cell phone, jewelry, and make-up in order to keep a friendship. Women really are complicated, and this survey proves it. A group of Russian women have become famous for performing a synchronized swimming routine – at their desks. After filming the routine during their lunch breaks, the women won £3,500 for an Olympic-themed competition and the video attracted more than one million hits on YouTube. Worker Mosha Dugina said, “Most of the time we just sit by our desks and all everyone normally sees is our top halves. …We got the chance to show off a little and show people that we have beautiful long legs.” A copy of the video is on YouTube under the title “Office Synchronized Swimming.” A man in Saginaw, Michigan was stuck in his gas tank for four hours after attempting to retrieve a piece of paper that had fallen inside. Victor Harris tried to free his fingers before two hours before friends finally called the police. Another two hours later, Harris was pried from his Lincoln Navigator and taken to the hospital, where he received two stitches. Harris said he’s “learned his lesson and won’t put his finger back in the gas tank.”
  4. 4. features April 2009 Speak OUT HOw DO you GO Green? “I carpool to school.” - Adam Meyers Senior Monica Paterra Smoke Signals Computers Go Chic Staff Writer It was just a matter of time until computer makers designed a laptop small enough to place in a lady’s clutch, and Sony has done just that with its introduction of the Sony P-Series Lifestyle PC. This handy little gadget was initially intended to be marketed to the woman of the family. In fact, Sony’s own marketing material states, “ It’s designed for the fashionista in all of us…The spacing between the keys has also been engineered to help reduce typing mistakes, making it perfect for long fingernails.” Considering that most laptops have a high cost, this net book is priced at a reasonable onethousand dollars. Though the screen is a mere eight inches, its resolution rivals that of 15inch monitors, only weighing 1½ lbs. About the size of a business envelope, it certainly fits comfortably in a book bag, briefcase, or purse. A variety of hot colors are also available, including black, green, red and white, which leads one to believe that this little machine can be more of a fashion accessory than a powerful processor. In fact, reviewers are not impressed with the boot-up time, and its processing seemed to lag as well. If you’re looking for a convenient, portable way to access the Internet, you might consider the Sony P-Series Lifestyle, for your day-to-day, reliable computing needs. By: Conor Jackson Beyond the Bubble: Equal Exchange Renée Wunderlich Editor-In-Chief “I recycle.” - Mallory Karavolis Junior “I turn the lights off when I leave the house.” - Becca Lee Sophomore We are living in a global economy. The days of American dominance in production and agriculture are quickly fading into our history texts, making way for a future of international communities. And while this is an exciting transition into a new chapter of civilization, such change comes with a cost. Unfortunately, job outsourcing is not the only negative effect of this trend. An unfair market of over-worked and under-paid farmers in struggling nations are now reaping in the profits for a small group of powerful industry owners associates; family farms are forced out of business, and the common citizens suffer. Equal Exchange is, as it’s name suggests, an opportunity for struggling farmers of co-ops to trade their products in a safe and honest way – thus benefiting both the farmer and the customer. It is required for all family farms to use organic methods that are both earth-friendly and economically sustainable, the goal of the organization being to support both the family business and the environment in which they call home. The democratic farm environments supported by the co-ops provide high quality coffees, teas, chocolates and snacks ( all harvested without the use of harmful pesticides) that are sold at prices that enable the farmers to support their families and eventually become selfsustaining producers. Originating with it’s first established co-op in Nicaragua, Equal Exchange has expanded it’s farm support to other countries such as: El Salvador, Colombia, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Dominican Republic. Equal Exchange is headquartered in Massachusetts, and has both MySpace and Facebook pages where you can make a monetary donation or purchase their products. They can also be contacted through their website, Congratulations Science Olympiad Winners! Egg-O-Naut --1st place-Mike Malencia and Matt Malencia Physics Lab --1st place-Beth Herder and Kerriann Laubach Chemistry Lab --2nd place-Beth Herder and Kerriann Laubach Technical Problem Solving --2nd place -Cameron Kasrare and Danielle Devine Elevated Bridge --3rd place-Brent Mueller and Trevor Cowler Dynamic Planet --3rd place-Abby Zrimsek and Mike Malencia “I don’t go green!” Cell Biology --4th place-Brahim Shettima and Charanya Kaushik - Matt Subosits Freshman Fossils --4th place-Kerriann Laubach and Cameron Kasrare
  5. 5. features April 2009 Smoke Signals Campus Connections: Building Stronger Ties Eco Is In Bethany Suchy Kaitlyn Richert Staff Writer SAD students are participating in the first annual Campus Connections program, a unique project that takes the initiative to benefit fifth and sixth grade McMurray students by demonstrating a positive attitude and developing student confidence. SAD adviser Mrs. Gearhart is hopeful that the project will have a favorable effect on the younger students as well as the SAD members participating. “The most important goal the high school students and I would like to achieve is to make a positive impact on the elementary kids,” Gearhart stated. “We want the younger kids to be able to confidently approach the high school students. The McMurray kids should be able to admire the older kids as role models, but simultaneously, the SAD members should feel that they have done a phenomenal job in influencing them.” The SAD members will not only participate in tutoring the McMurray students, but they will also play in a role in developing key skills for the younger students to digest in years to come. “The key to the program is for the kids to have fun and build positive relationships with the high school students. Becoming closer with the high school students will not only build strong ties, but it also provides the fifth and sixth graders with an opportunity to experience meeting more people,” Gearhart said. “Hopefully the younger kids will not only look up to the high school students, but learn to make responsible choices from their influence. This way, the younger students will be more confident in their actions and in their choices.” The program’s success will not only depend on the amount of encouragement the fifth and sixth graders will receive, but also the long-term impact of the project. “My hope is that the older students will be blessed in return,” Gearhart admitted. I’d really like to see the positive attitudes the SAD students portray become synonymous with that of the younger students, because then it will be ensured that the younger kids really do look up to them. That’s the number one goal of this program.” FAshion Staff Writer The Buzz on Natural Makeup Colleen Lugar Staff Writer With the latest trend of “going green”, more makeup companies find it just as important to satisfy the environment as well as the consumer. An already popular brand is Burt’s Bees, one of the largest environmentally friendly companies on the market. Other makeup giants such as Almay, Physician’s Formula, and Origins are starting to offer eco-friendly products made with organic ingredients and packaging. For example, the packaging in Organic Physicians Formula is 93% biodegradable. Most organic foundation is powder, versus the messy liquid makeup that clogs pores by trapping oil. Most brands, if not all, have conveniently incorporated UVA/UVB protection from the sun’s rays into their products. Even if the beach does not look promising, daily exposure to sunrays is damage enough. A year of unprotected sun exposure is the equivalence of a week at the beach without sunscreen. Industry Leader Burt’s Bees considers it the company’s responsibility to present their consumers with a product that is respectful to them and the environment. Following natural standards is a must. This means ingredient purity, manufacturing, no animal testing, and biodegradable packaging. All of Burt’s Bees products are between Fish Tank 95-99.5% natural. Half of Burt’s Bees products are currently 100% natural, and the company’s main goal is to make every product that way. If you are looking to benefit yourself and contribute to the environment, Burt’s Bees makes a terrific investment. “I use the honey lip balm everyday and love it! The scent and results are wonderful. The price is right as well!” said junior Beth Herder. From shimmering lip shades to soothing lip balm, what more could a girl ask for? Shampoos, conditioners, and lotions plus lots more are also apart of this people and globe friendly brand. Spring is the season for fashion to go green. Over the past few years, environmental concerns have been given to media attention. Because of this, many companies in the fashion industry are using the environment to make a profit. The new trend known as Eco-fashion has modernized the fashion world, creating clothing that uses environmentally sensitive fabrics and responsible production techniques. Some of the materials used to construct clothing and accessories are cotton grown without pesticides, bamboo, hemp, and plastic recycled from soda bottles. Eco-fashions also do not use harmful chemicals and bleaches to color fabrics and are made by workers who are earning honest wages in a healthy workspace. “Eco-friendly clothing has undergone a major transformation”, according to www.environment., “It has gone from ‘hippie’ to ‘hip.’” Numerous designers have caught on to the eco-friendly trend and are creating their own lines for the warm months ahead. One of the pioneers of this movement is designer Linda Loudermilk. Her “luxury eco” line of clothing and accessories uses materials made from exotic plants including bamboo, sea cell, soya, and sasawashi ( Loudermilk hopes that people will be able to see that eco fashion can be “edgy, loud, fun, playful, feminine (or not) and hyper-cool.” Another fashion company gaining popularity is EDUN, founded by U2’s Bono and Ali Hewson in 2005. Their designs blend European culture with a tribalAfrican feel. EDUN’s mission is “to drive sustainable employment in developing economies” ( Many other eco-frienly fashion is available at A variety of clothing, accessories, and environmental news is available. Go Green Word Search B A V S O L A R P O W E R E I S N O I C O M P Z O R G A M N D P O B S R E E P E E N G U R C C A N V Y H T A A C H S E T L T A L I E D I C O S Y S U N R A T I O N L T L R R D T R T S T S I L N O P A P I B E Y A C U D E T I N G S C A N R T U T I O N U L O V E B A L R M O O L E N E E U D O D L P U R B A H C I Y H B E V M R O L N G R E N E Word Bank BIODEGRADABLE CARPOOL CLEANUP COMPOSTING CONSERVATION ECOSYSTEM EDUCATION ENERGYSTAR ENVIRONMENT HABITAT ORGANIC OZONE POLLUTION RECYCLE REDUCE REUSE SOLARPOWER VOLUNTEERS
  6. 6. Golf Soccer or golf? Soccer Rock Which kind of music do you listen to? True Not Rock Which is better: chocolate or fruity candy? I prefer to work alone. False Black! Fruity No Way! I read the sports section in the newspaper. Do you prefer red or black licorice? English Classic Red Which class would you rather take: AP Calc or AP English? Duh... Yuck! Visual No Do you like reality shows? Do you like to shop? Math Chocolate Are you more hands-on or are you a visual learner? Yes True Love it! I enjoy cooking. False Chinese Yes! HandsOn Which ethnic food is better? I consider myself a cat person. Mexican ‘80s Nope. Are you a bigger fan of the ‘70s or ‘80s? Football ‘70s Which is better: Football or Baseball? Baseball
  7. 7. Which Teacher are YOU most like? Find out by following the spider web on the left. Simply choose the answer that best suits your personality. After you find out which teacher is most like you, look to over here to read all about the teacher you are! Mr. Maize Mr. Maize loves Jimmy Buffet almost as much as he loves baseball - he’s even read Jimmy Buffet’s novels! When he’s not being a “Parrot Head,” he relaxes by watching Sports Center. Mr. Maize’s favorite subject in high school was Biology, but he always excelled in Physical Education. Mrs. Stevenson Mrs. Stevenson loves Grey’s Anatomy and Italian food. In high school, she excelled in English and she is a big fan of Toni Morrison and Amy Tan. In what little free time she has, Mrs. Stevenson (with a v not a ph!) loves to garden or hike with her grandson. She loves the ‘60s, is a huge fan of Billy Joel and would love to see him in concert. Mr. Farrell would rather see the Beatles live in concert than the Rolling Stones, but he’s a fan of heavy metal music. The Penn State grad is a very active person, and he usually exercises when he gets home from work. He loves Sports Center, football, and his favorite subject in high school was World History. Mr. Farrell Mr. Wilkinson enjoys speaking foreign languages, reading the newspaper, and eating black licorice. Reading, watching the The Simpsons, and eating Indian food are just a few ways he spends his free time. He considers himself a visual learner and would rather work alone than in a group. Mr. Wilkinson has a soft spot for mangos and would rather wear sweatpants than jeans. Mr. Wilkinson Mrs. Kowalczyk Mrs. Kowalczyk is a fun-loving person who likes Austin Powers, Mexican food, and Johnny Depp. When she’s not catching up on watching The Office, Mrs. Kowalczyk is spending time with her family or listening to music from her favorite band, Journey. She received her undergraduate degree from Carlow University and then graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Masters degree where she excelled in Biology. Mr. Compeggie “The present is called the present because it’s a gift!” A graduate of Cal U, Mr. Compeggie considers himself an outdoor person until the bugs start to attack. He loves Rascal Flatts and would rather see a Rolling Stones concert than a Beatles concert. Mr. Compeggie is an auditory learner who prefers to work alone, and he loves The Notebook and the Battlestar Galactica movie. Mrs. Wentzel is a proud graduate of Penn State University. She is married with two sons, Mitchell and Elliot. She taught at Cedar Cliff High School for 13 years, and has been at PTHS for the last 3. She loves Stephanie Plum novels and sunning on the beach. Mrs. Wentzel has a myriad of pets, including a cat, two fish, and a hermit crab. Mrs. Wentzel Mr. Luxbacher describes himself as an “outdoorsy” kind of guy. He loves fried chicken and would rather go on a ski trip than to a beach. He considers himself a tactile learner and enjoys Monty Python and Harry Potter. When he does read the newspaper, he usually turns to the sports section, and he’s a big soccer fan. Mr. Luxbacher Mrs. Gearheart Mrs. Gearheart has been teahing chemistry at PTHS for the past 9 years. She is often seen doing her very best to convince her students that it’s the best class around! Mrs. Gearheart is the proud mother of three children and she loves her husband. She can often be found at home or in the park running and biking with her kids. Mr. Walsh Behind that scary English exterior, Mr. Walsh is a pretty fascinating guy. He’s a fan of Clapton and his favorite part of the newspaper is the comics. After school, he exercises at South Park and cites his favorite ethnic food as “steak.” He’s a fan of black licorice and loves Huck Finn. When he finally does take a vacation, it’ll be somewhere hot so he can sit on a beach.
  8. 8. opinion April 2009 Fishtank: Down to the Wire Prom: Worth the Hassle Amy Burzotta Renée Wunderlich Staff Writer It’s that time of year again. No, it’s not Christmas and no, it’s not time for school to be over. It’s prom time: the dance that empties out both girls’ and guys’ wallets. The dance that makes boys palms sweat at the idea of asking a girl to go with him. The dance that requires hours upon hours of preparation. Is prom really worth all of the trouble? Yes. Some students argue what will be the most memorable moment of prom, the huge hole this dance will put in your wallet or the awkwardness of the pictures. According to parentingteens., with the cost of a gown, tux, tickets, limos, flowers, hair, makeup, and photos, the total cost of prom could reach up to $1,000. Although these factors are not pleasant, prom is worth the stress because there are many great points to the dance, such as getting pampered, wearing an elegant dress, and having a great date. Buying a dress makes Smoke Signals Staff Writer you feel famous, and seeing your guy clean-shaven in a nice tux is always something special, no matter how much it cost. Bonding with your friends over whose hair looks the best and which guy cleans up the greatest is always a fun conversation. “Prom can definitely be stressful, but it’s just something that you should experience. I understand it costs a lot, but I still think it’s something fun and different to do.” says junior Leeza Tselepis. So I ask again, is prom worth all of the trouble? Definitely. Although it’s expensive and at times awkward, it’s an event that everyone should go to. It’s something different to do and usually you don’t spend that much money, this is just a special occasion. So save up some money, buy a beautiful dress, compliment your guy for changing out of his grungy t-shirt, and smile big for the millions of pictures your mother is going to take. A Gentleman’s Guide to Prom Obama is Taking Away Our Rights Bethany Suchy Averi Clements Staff Writer On August 21, 2008 a proposed regulation in 42 U.S.C. § 300a7 (collectively known as the “Church Amendments”) was placed on public display at the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “This proposed regulation is about the legal right of a health care professional to practice according to their conscience,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. The regulation, also know as the “Conscience Clause,” allows those in the medical field to refuse to perform an abortion, distribute emergency contraception, or birth control if they feel that it is morally wrong. This does not limit hospitals and medical facilities from performing abortions or distributing pills either. It simply protects the autonomy and religious freedom of health care providers and organizations from liability for refusing to provide or fund these services ( Staff Writer Because this legislation was released towards the end of George Bush’s presidency, many leftists have criticized the “clause”. This was Bush’s “eleventh hour regulation,” wrote liberal journalist Jordan Lite, “[it] allows healthcare workers to nix treatments to which they have moral objections.” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights stated, “In just a matter of months, the Bush administration has undone three decades of federal protections for both medical professionals and their patients.” While Bush did support the proposed regulation, these extreme claims are inaccurate (www. Since the ruling of Roe v. Wade in January of 1973, Conscience Clauses have been enacted by Congress. This is not new legislation. The regulation that Bush has passed clarifies existing conscience clause laws, which have been used He Ian Jackson What is your Prom day routine? Leave school early, take a shower, get dressed, go to prom. Is it better to go with a friend or the person you’re dating? Dating, it means more. What’s the ideal place to hold the prom? for the past 36 years. It requires employers to certify that they are actually complying with these existing laws and it does not put new strictures on the provision of abortion or any other medical procedure ( Also, many state governments, including Pennsylvania, have also created conscience clauses in their state constitutions ( The bashing of Bush in the media and among liberalists has led Obama to consider removing the conscience clause from the constitution. Removing this clause would force healthcare providers to do things that they believe are morally wrong. This is a violation of our constitutional rights to practice freedom of religion. Even the slightest notion of any political representative considering removing any constitutional right should not be tolerated. If you would like to join the fight in preserving the conscience clause, add your name to the petition list at (The American Center for Law and Justice). Said She PROM With Prom just around the corner, girls from across Peters Township are sure to be looking up the latest hairstyles and makeup tips. And of course, before- and after-parties are being planned down to the tiniest details. Face it, boys -- Prom is an event best left for the ladies to deal with. Here’s what some of your fellow male Promgoers suggest for holding up your end of the deal: Don’t act like a pig at dinner. – Sam Fortna ‘10 Always make sure you match your date. -- Colin Mullett ‘09 Make sure you have the tux ordered plenty of time in advance. – John Flaherty ‘10 Leave school early on the day of prom; take any excuse to be lazy. -- Ryan Casaday ‘09 Don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth it. – Joe Halo ‘10 Just leave all the planning to the girls. – Ryan Schafer ‘09 Don’t say anything stupid. –Zach Pfeifer ‘09 By taking the time to put in a little effort of your own, Prom can be a pleasant experience for everyone... even for those (literally) wearing the pants in the relationship Said Amy Burzotta What is your prom day routine? Get out of school early then go to lunch and go get my hair and make up done Is it better to go with a friend or the person you’re dating? The person you’re dating. Going with a friend never works out. PNC Park. What’s the ideal place to hold the prom? What’s the best part of prom? On a boat, like the Gateway Clipper. Dinner. What’s the best part of prom? Getting all dressed up.
  9. 9. opinion April 2009 Staying Strong: Motivation Tips for the Fourth Nine Weeks Averi Clements Staff Writer With the final nine-week semester in full swing and the weather finally getting warmer, many students are heaving a sigh of relief as thoughts of summer vacation and the freedom of college life fill their minds. Now is the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the final weeks remaining in the 2008-2009 school year… right? Unfortunately, this is the time for the final academic stretch: a time when we need to put the icing on the cake of what was hopefully a good year. But as the year winds down and sophomoreitis, junioritis, or senioritis sets in (sorry, freshmen, but you have no room to complain), it can be hard to find the motivation required to live up to our full potential. Luckily, there are ways to summon up the energy for that final push that is needed to finish off the school year successfully. Reward yourself. School is a generally thankless ‘job’. Between the hours spent at PTHS and the homework that follows thereafter, most students generally work the same amount of time as an adult working fulltime. We, however, don’t receive a paycheck, and despite what parents may say about good grades being the best reward, everyone knows that’s a load of rubbish. So if no one else is willing to grant you a reward for your hard work, take it upon yourself to do so. Did you study into the wee morning hours for a big test one night? Spend a little extra time on Facebook the next night, or better yet, get some well-deserved sleep. Study for days in advance. After information is initially encoded into the brain, it is important to make sure that it can be easily retrieved during the big test. While it may seem like a pain in the neck at first, taking a few extra notes or reading over your study guide about a week before the test can be extremely beneficial in the long run (and put an end to homeroom cramming). This method of studying makes the learned information more familiar, and therefore easier to retrieve. As an added bonus, studying on a regular basis will make reviewing information more of a habit than a chore. Set personal goals. Whether you want to get a highpaying career, be accepted into a picky college, or just make your physics grade a little less depressing, setting goals will help push you that extra step to TVT make your dreams a reality. Start off small to get your ‘can-do’ attitude going, and then continue to push yourself harder until your greatest ambitions are realized. Setting goals helps to give even the tiniest amount of reasoning to why it is necessary to study such things as imaginary numbers or Beowulf. Pick a strategy that works for you. While others can offer endless amounts of advice, the basic fact of the matter is that pushing yourself is impossible if your method of self-motivation isn’t suited to your personality. Take a brief moment to psychoanalyze yourself. If you live for competition (and don’t mind being called a nerd), pick a supersmart friend and see if you can beat their score on the next test. Now that the weather’s improving, it might also help to lie out in the sun with a glass of lemonade as you complete your psychology study guide. You’re far more likely to stay motivated if you incorporate enjoyable aspects of life into your academic regime. As visions of summertime dance in our heads, it’s easy to slack off. But with the right strategy, even the student who cares the least will be able to push him or herself to the fullest. The Peters Township Media Department is proud to announce that six students and three videos received TVT Awards of Excellence at the 16th annual Teachers of Video and Television student festival on April 15th, 2009. Smoke Signals Movie Reviews By: Emily Estep, Opinion Editor Monsters Vs. Aliens Rated PG Thanks to the constant annoyance that was my five dollar, dark, blurry, 3D glasses, I cannot remember all that much of Monsters Vs. Aliens. The crippling effects of the glasses destroy any potential enjoyment that could be perceived during this movie. Although the title is self-explanatory, the film centers around four characters, the monsters, trying to take down a single alien. There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, but most of the attempts at comedy felt stressed. Even for a kid’s movie, the plot made absolutely no sense. Individual characters were entertaining, like ‘Bob the Blob’, but overall the movie fell short. Adventureland Rated R Easily the best movie to come out this month, Adventureland was filmed in our very own Kennywood Park, and has the nostalgia to go with it. The movie is about James, who has graduated college but now needs money for grad school. He gets a job at his local amusement park, and he quickly falls for another employee, played by Twilight’s Kristen Stewart. Adventureland is both funny and sweet, catering to your comedy needs while filling you with a sense of time well-spent. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live add just the amount of hilarity as managers of the park to make the movie funny but not over the top. Observe and Report Rated R Animation: “Before School” Gabe Bevilacqua Ben Roberson Public Service Announcement: “If You Can’t Do The Time” Steve Magreni Pat Walker Photos submitted by Mrs. Hodgins Frick Sports Highlight: “Girls Volleyball” Kristen Gioella Dan Makrinos I’m not entirely sure what to make of Jody Hill’s Observe and Report. It was either the typical, raunchy, Seth Rogen comedy, and was terrible, or it was a genius, dark comedy about the state of America. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s not the latter. Observe and Report, about a mall security guard trying to catch a flasher and win the heart of the make-up girl at the same, tries to be edgy and dark but ultimately tries too hard, making it annoying and almost embarrassing. Although it was miles better than its enemy, Paul Blart, Observe is a sad valley to the many hills of Seth Rogen’s career.
  10. 10. 10 sports April 2009 Smoke Signals Hurdling Over the Competition Matt Schilling Staff Writer order to run in each meet. You have to take it easy The 2009 track season is officially a day after two hard training days. underway, and determination is the key to winning MS: How often are your regular training each track meet. Personal goals must be set by track practices and what do you do in them? each individual athlete to succeed. In order to SF: Our practices are usually an hour reach such high standards, the runners must stay to an hour and a half long on any given day and in shape year round. Track members must attend each practice starts off with us running a couple of practice and train on their own to participate in warm up laps followed by stretching. Depending each competition. Junior hurdler Sam Fortna on Coach Scott’s mood will determine if he will discussed what it takes to be in track and what fans can expect from Peters Township this season. Matt Schilling: Let’s get straight to the point. What does it take to be in track? Sam Fortna: Well, it depends on the reason you join. If you plan on being on the varsity track team, then you have to be competitive to actually participate during the meet. The competition can be quite fierce. We normally choose our best three runners, hurdlers, and throwers for our away meets. MS: What routines do you do to keep in shape to compete for a starter in track? SF: Well, you must do your regular training, of course, but you don’t Photo By: Kayla Graninger want to be killing yourself everyday in Ryan Crall and Steve Smith run the 100 meter hurdles in practice. include crunches and pushups after the stretches. After those warm ups, we will separate into our specialties, (sprinters/jumpers/hurdlers/distance/ throwing), and the coaches, depending on the day, will have us run Indian runs, ladders (400m, 300m, 200m, 300m, 400m, etc.) or practice our form. MS: After running at the required practices, how often do you run on your own time? SF: Not as much as I would like to; only two to three times a week. I feel like I need more, but at least I get the five days a week from the mandatory practices. MS: What kind of goals do you set for yourself? SF: I keep track of all my race times and usually aim to simply be a little faster than I was at the last meet but this year, I actually had a chance to be in the top three and compete so that was a serious force that drove me this track season. MS: Finally, do you have any comments on track? Anything people should know? SF: I greatly enjoy running track. There are plenty of fun times but it is a competition-focused sport. Don’t come unless you plan to compete, or you can come along to hang out, but just don’t expect to stay for the long haul. Spring into Sports Taylor Miller Staff Writer As spring beings to peek out from behind the clouds, athletes from all across PTHS will begin to show their talent. Freshmen will be trying their hardest to impress coaches for future years, sophomores will continue to try to push ahead of the upperclassmen, juniors will be at the peak of their high school athletic careers, and seniors will be leaving their mark on the athletic program before they depart for college. With a few of the sports in the spotlight being track, boy’s volleyball, softball and baseball, Peters students will have plenty to talk about during the home stretch of school. The track team this year is looking to defend their WPIAL title, after wins at Mount Lebanon and Bethel Park. When asked about the future success of the team Coach Scott said, “Right now, the girls are undefeated and the boys are 2-1. They changed the section this year so it’s going to be tough. We’re looking to win the Washington Green Coaches meet. The upperclassmen are doing very well so far, and the freshman and sophomores are showing great promise. I expect us to finish in the middle of the pack.” The team seems destined for another championship with senior leaders such as Wesley Groll, Christian Brandstetter, and Katie Nerone, along with up and coming junior stars such as Chas UnderReview UnderReview “ Not a very good one.” Brian Hayes ‘09 McCauley, Kayla Keddal, and Stephen Tupta. The Juniors boys volleyball team is one that has stood in the shadows for years, but this year is showing some promise as possibly being one of their best seasons in years. Recent conference wins include a 3-1 game against Mount Lebo, a 3-0 shutout against Canon Mac, and a win against Central Catholic. The team already has more wins this season than in their previous three years and is now looking for a chance to make the playoffs. Last, but certainly not least, the boy’s baseball squad is ready for their season after their first WPIAL championship. Now its time for the players to show what they have been working on during the off-season. Expectations are high for the squad, and another shot at the playoffs is possibly in the works. Head Coach Joe Maize said, “Were going to take it one game at a time. The team is going to try to be successful in one of the most difficult sections in the WPIAL, if not the state. The past four WPIAL champs have come out of our section. Our goal is to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs and then take it from there.” With old titles to defend and new championships to achieve, the PTHS spring sports teams are needy to give it their all as they face the challenges of a new season. Who What is the best football teamfan are you? type of baseball in the NCAA? “ A Battling Buccos fan … rebuilding since 1992.” Connor McNamera ‘09 “I am not a baseball fan at all.” Luke Cellini ‘11
  11. 11. sports April 2009 Smoke Signals WBC: Hardly Classic Sports Briefs Taylor Relich Sports Editor The first edition of the World Baseball Classic had been shrouded in mediocrity, and this year’s was no different. American fans once again hardly paid any attention to the nationally televised games and the American team once again grossly underachieved. Many baseball aficionados agree that the WBC should be moved to a different time of year to attract more viewers and not affect MLB’s spring training. This is the root of the problem. Major League Baseball’s owners do not want their best players playing in an event prior to the season where they could possibly get injured. By moving the World Baseball Classic to a different time of year, not only would the event be more popular, but the American team’s performance would also have all their best players participating. The American performance in the WBC up to this point has been a travesty, with their most successful finish being a fourth place this year. This is simply embarrassing for a country that calls baseball its national pastime. Jay Mariotti, a former columnist for the Conor Jackson Chicago Sun-Times and frequent guest on the ESPN talk show Around the Horn, said they should just call the event the “Asian Baseball Classic” because the Asian teams take the event seriously and put their best talent on the field. Nations like Japan, China, and Korea have taken the event more seriously, and because of this they have dominated the event. Team Japan has won both World Baseball Classics up to this point (2006, 2009), mostly because they send all their best players. Although the event is entertaining and is played at a high level, it has struggled for support and could be discontinued. The fact that many of the games are played in the United States when most Americans don’t even care that much about the event is absurd. The teams that reach the finals should have the right to host most of the tournament. This might give the players something to play for, while at the same time presenting a sense of national pride. Hit it Hard Staff Writer MLB in My Own Words Taylor Relich Sports Editor With the beginning of each new MLB season comes overwhelming optimism, not only for teams like the Phillies and the Rays but also for grossly underachieving teams such as the Tigers, Pirates, and the Yankees. This season could shape up to be one of the most intriguing in recent history, mostly because there are few dominant teams. You might be asking how that will make it more interesting. Every What was your best B o eyr’ fso rBm aa n cke e etvbe a ?l l s p r Track “At tri-states I threw 196 and took 3rd place” -Chas McCauley ‘10 sask G i r l ’Bs a B e b a lel t b a l l “ When I hit two homeruns in one inning” The Peters Township Baseball pitchers in the rotation, including on his mind: winning. team has a host of young and senior Jack Hareza, sophmore Austin “I am feeling good and our talented underclassmen like Austin Hancock, junior Ricky Falascino , seniors this year are looking very Hancock, Ricky Falascino, Mike and junior Max Maszle. The need talented,” he said. The bat speed Shumpf, Justin Bianco, and Will for solid pitching is crucial to the and strong arm of Hareza will make McClure. With the loss of senior outcomes of games” a big impact for the Indians’ chance Returning senior starters for the section. In order to compete starters Pete Ross, Jim Rider, and Jordan Jankowski, the Indians will that will make a big impact on the in Section 3-AAAA they will have to need to develop that talent quickly team are first baseman Andrew beat rivals Canon-Mac, Upper St. to compete in their division. Gavlick, third baseman Jim Sams, Clair, Bethel Park, and Baldwin. The This means sophomores like and shortstop Jack Hareza are team will have to play every game left handed pitcher Austin Hancock, seniors who will provide veteran like it’s their last. who came off a tremendous year as leadership for the team. Hareza “The teams we will be a freshman- will have the opportunity missed last year due to an elbow up against are going to be tough, to play a key role on the varsity injury and is back with only one thing but I think we have the talent to be team. Will McClure, who better than them,” said is starting at catcher and sophomore Justin hitting the power in the Bianco. line up; McClure will need The team traveled to step up. The most to South Carolina from promising underclassman March 25 through is Justin Bianco who had March 29 and competed five homeruns for the against teams from the freshman team last year south. While the Indians and will be the starting were in South Carolina right fielder. they weren’t just having Mr. Maize, fun-they were there to entering his twenty third win, and that they did season as head coach going 2-0 beating the said, “We are going Photo By: Heidi Eltschlager teams they faced by a Max Maszle delivers a pitch to homeplate as Jimmy Sams plays to having five starting third base. large margin. team has a chance this season. Teams from the Cardinals who barely missed the playoffs last year, to the lowly Royals all have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. The only team in either league that is a complete lock for the postseason would be the Red Sox, who sport arguably the best rotation in baseball. With no clear favorite to win it all, this baseball season will provide the drama that baseball fans only get once every few years. In addition to the level playing field, there are two new cathedrals for baseball in New York, which will provide a nice subplot this season. Citi Field will be the new home of the Mets while a new rendition of Yankee Stadium will be the place the Bronx Bombers call home. Although you could argue that where a baseball game is played does not matter, it will be intriguing to see some of baseball’s greatest rivalries played out on new stages. 11 -Justin Bianco ‘11 Softball “Hit a winning run during a section game” Wrestling -Olivia Bovalina ‘10 Boy’s Volleyball “ When my team came back to beat Central Catholic after losing the third game” -Grant Kocher ‘10 T nmi S w iem n i s n g “When I won my first match” -Ronnie Fortunato ‘11 Boy’s Lacrosse “When our team won games last year” Indoor Track -Matt Kronkett ‘11 Girl’s Lacrosse “I went to Virginia and I blocked a lot of shots” -Anna Wassilchalk ‘10
  12. 12. Voices Hall in the Where would your ideal prom be? Freshman Elise Bigley “On the beach” Sophomore Jillian DeBolt “At a very nice hotel” Junior Taylor DiBart “In Peters Township” Senior William Bowler “Not where it is now” Who would your ideal prom date be? Freshman Brian Marchky “Shawn Johnson” Sophomore Olivia Ross “Zac Efron” Junior Anni Keffer “Casey Dunleavy” Senior Britney Miller “Hines Ward” What do the Teachers think? Mr. King “The Caribbean” Mrs. Fecher “My husband” Mrs. Wawrzeniak “Paris” The PT Minute Senior Jake Barney What three words best describe you? Weird, twisted, and enigmatic What’s the weirdest word in the English Language. Weasel What’s your favorite word? Word Make up a word and definition. Qwuahpowh-use as you please What’s one word you can’t live without? GAME (like the one you just lost)! Senior Stacey Conners What three words best describe you? Friendly, generous, and honest What’s the weirdest word in the English Language? Ghetto What’s your favorite word? Oh snap! Make up a word and definition. Dupidy. It means stupid What’s one word you can’t live without? Mummio and Daddio Mrs. Glass “Elvis Presley” Teac her With Mr. Repepi Min ute What three words best describe you? Outgoing, funny, and sarcastic What’s the weirdest word in the English Language? Cummerbund What’s your favorite word? Friday Make up a word and definition. Curmugin - to make mistakes What’s one word you can’t live without? Bethany