Joe Maize Approves:
PT Goes to the
Volume 4 Issue 2
Peters Township High School
264 East McMurray Road
McMurray, PA 15317
Meet the Staff
Business & Sports Editor
Life & Style Editor
Special Features Editor
PT Focus & News Editor
Voices and Student Work Editor
Staff Writers & Layout Staff
People Features Editor
Smoke Signals is produced six times a
school year by the students of Media
II, III, and IV Journalism staff at Peters Township High School.
The staff adviser is Mrs. N. Sitler.
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.
entPT Focus pages 4-5
Coming to a Theater
Near You: 16-17
Life & Style: 10-11
Student Work: 22-23
Joe Maize Holiday Help:
The holidays are always
greatly anticipated, but after
visiting with family for a few days,
who wouldn’t want to get out of the
house? Before they drive you crazy,
here’s a guide to having a blast in
Pittsburgh. Following this remedy
to the ‘holiday slump’ will ensure a
great winter break with friends
and (maybe) family. Even without
having a plan for the day, Pittsburgh
is a terrific city to improvise in.
Visit Fat Head’s Saloon,
located on East Carson Street.
This restaurant’s menu includes
many Pittsburgh favorites such as fresh-cut garlic and cheese
fries, headwiches (sandwiches as big as your head), perogies,
etc. While waiting for a table or food, you can look through all
of their merchandise. Primanti Brothers in Oakland is another
great pick. Home of the “Almost-Famous” sandwich, this
restaurant represents traditional Pittsburgh. With its sandwiches
piled high with homemade fries, coleslaw, and Italian bread,
locals and visitors from far away flock to this restaurant.
Making a trip to Pittsburgh? Vanilla Pastry Studio is the
place to go to feed a sweet tooth. This shop is known for its heavenly
cupcakes. It has been mentioned in the Pittsburgh Magazine for
both its amazing butter cream frosting and bright atmosphere.
It is a great place to hang out and enjoy delicious desserts.
Having fun is guaranteed at Games N’ At. Even though
you didn’t grow up during the 80’s, you’ll still have a great time here.
For a flat fee of $8 an hour, you can get your fix of nostalgic games
you always hear your parents talking about. They also offer duck pin
bowling—4 lane bowling without renting those smelly shoes. The
old-arcade atmosphere makes this place even more memorable.
A definite site to visit is Highmark Sports Works by the
Carnegie Science Center. Scaling a 25-foot rock wall, becoming a
human yo-yo, flying high in a bungee harness, and riding a unicycle
are just a few of the things you can do here. A more holidayoriented approach includes visiting PPG Place. Embrace your inner
child skating around a 60-foot Christmas tree outdoors. There is
more than 2,000 square feet of ice to skate the night away. Inside
the building are gingerbread and train displays and a coffee shop.
Stopping by the North Side? The Mattress Factory is a
fun museum full of contemporary art that displays room-sized
works called installations. They are created on-site by artists
from across the country. Each exhibit includes educational
programs such as hands-on art projects, tours, and workshops.
The Waterfront has a variety of stores, restaurants, and
places of entertainment. Dave N’ Buster’s is one of the many fun
places to go when visiting there. This huge building houses a
multitude of gaming systems and is showcasing 11 brand new games
such as Doodle Jump, Connect 4, and QuadAir Hockey. Swipe a card
with credits that have to be paid for, and enjoy hours of enjoyment.
“The hardest part about the injury is probably seeing
him smile and wanting him back to normal, but knowing that this
injury has changed not only his life forever, but also my sister’s
and the rest of my family as well,” said sophomore Sam Abraham.
In September 2011, Marine Corporal Doug
Vitale, Abraham’s brother-in-law, was severely injured
when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. He lost
both legs and suffers from severe brain injuries. The
road to recovery has been a long one for Vitale’s family.
“His brain injury has been the biggest struggle because it
controls everything he can and cannot do,” said Abraham. Vitale
faced several strokes soon after the injury. Another challenge
was that every time Vitale showed signs of improvement, he
would get another infection or show problems with his brain
again. His family’s lives revolve around him getting better. Vitale
is now living in Tampa, Florida with his wife, Alexis Abraham,
Sam’s sister, in order to receive the best care. Although they
know it is for the best, this only causes more stress for the family,
as they hardly get to see them. “I cherish every moment with
them, and never take anything for granted,” said Abraham.
In order to deal with their new way of life, many
fundraisers have been held for Vitale and his wife. Semper
Fi and Wounded Warriors are major organizations that
have reached out to Vitale. There is also a fund set up called
“Cpl. Doug Vitale Fund Care of Washington Financial
Bank, 3616 Washington Road, McMurray PA, 15317” where
anyone can donate any amount of money to help the cause.
To commemorate the one year anniversary of
Vitale’s injury, this past September there was a “Hero
Walk” that raised almost $50,000. Vitale’s family has
now teamed up with an organization called “Tunnel to
Towers,” which is working in collaboration with actor
Gary Sinise. In the spring of 2013, they will hold a concert
which will also help raise money for Vitale and his family.
The goal of the fundraisers are to bring Vitale back
to Pittsburgh and back with his family. When enough money
is raised, a home will be built
here in Vitale’s hometown for
him and his wife. This home
will accommodate him in every
way necessary, and make his
life a little easier. It will also be
completely handicap accessible.
Any extra money raised will go
towards expenses Vitale and his
wife may face while they are not
able to work. “The support from
our community and friends has
been overwhelmingly helpful,”
said Abraham. With the help
of the community and various
organizations, Vitale will be
back with his family in no time,
and be able to start his new life.
Submitted photo and AP Images
Lip Dub Sparks School Spirit
The PTHS Media Department has the song and the path, props for the syncers, music playing while
sparked the imagination of the student body walking, and we made sure everyone was in the right place at the
and community once again. Representing right time,” said Squeglia. “I would just like to thank everyone
the talents of so many in the high school, for supporting our project,” stated Squeglia. Making everything
video club students created a lip dub to Katy Perry’s hit song happen including organizing a large majority of the Junior and
“Firework” to showcase school spirit and pride.
Senior classes was not an easy task to do.
The video was entered in a contest held by the Tribune
“The Media Department really appreciates when
Review. There were a total of 15 entries. The winner of the contest everyone is on board and supports everything we do,” said
received $5,000 for their school. Rules indicated that the video Squeglia.
could not be edited and had to be in one continuous take. Mrs.
The spark behind the the
Frick, the broadcasting teacher and video club sponsor, presented
“fireworks” of the first
the contest to the students in hopes that they would make it their
place PTHS lip dub were
next big project.
these video club students
Senior Hannah Squeglia was one of the main masterminds
along with sponsors Mrs.
behind the entire project, along with help from fellow senior
Frick and Mr. Bastos.
Christian Nossokoff who did all of the camera work. The two,
This victory was espealong with assistance from the video club and broadcasting
cially sweet considering
students, planned the entire lip dub. The outcome of the planning
the Media Department’s
was outstanding, but behind the scenes was where all of their
strict adherence to copyskills sparked a firework.
“We made sure all of the clubs and sports teams had
people represented, people to lip sync, timing worked out with
Photos by Tim Warne and Mrs. Boni
POWER RANKINGS: Overrated Holiday Traditions
Let’s be real, there’s all too many traditions that frankly are mediocre. As obvious as it is, Santa didn’t make the list. Sorry. In all seriousness,
happy holidays to all! Have a safe and happy holiday!
5. A Christmas Story
I feel like this one might upset a lot of people. Sorry, everyone! Is the movie good? Sure. Quotable? Check. An ample
use of almost 120 minutes of my life? Fine. And I’ll admit there’s almost an 100% chance that I’ll watch the film at least
once within the next few weeks. However, is it really worth a 24-hour nonstop marathon every year? No. Ralphie,
I get you’re a lovable character who wants a Red Rider BB Gun. However, let’s get with the times. What kid asks
for that anymore? Last time I checked, kids Ralphie’s age want Xbox 360s and PS3s. I mean, I’m not asking for a
slinky this holiday, am I? Ralphie and crew, you’ve enjoyed your stay, but now I’d just rather watch Elf.
4. Egg Nog
Take a sip. Wow, that’s good right? Take another sip. Not bad! And another. Okay, that’s decent. Take a fourth one. Yeah, just get
me a soda. Better yet, get me a mint. I need to get this terrible taste out of my mouth. What’s that? You’ve never had egg nog? Don’t
be deceived by the first sip, rook. It gets worse from here. Let me put it this way: by the time you hit the end of the second or third
glass of the beverage, you probably would rather a glass of 1965 milk. Who’s to tell me what drink I should have around the
holidays? I’ve already been convinced to eat several dozens of cookies in a matter of days, now I’m supposed to drink this
garbage? Ok, well I like cookies. Still, I’m taking a stand. If someone else offers you a glass of egg nog this holiday season,
kindly slap the person in the face, then force several cups of the abomination down his/her throat. Who’s laughing now?
3. Christmas Caroling
Don’t take this the wrong way, I love Christmas music. So why would I dislike several people coming to my door
spreading holiday cheer and singing? Uh, because of the people singing. Next time you get carolers, run to wherever
you’ve conveniently placed this magazine. First, find the awkward singer. This is the person that feels he or she is
really too cool for singing and just takes pauses throughout the song to recoup because he or she really isn’t feeling
this whole “Frosty the Snowman” thing. Second, find the person who doesn’t know the words. Somehow, this person
manages to lose where in the song the group is and just falls behind. This could also be the person that thinks they
don’t need the lyric sheet. Finally, find the try hard. You know, the person that has to be singing the loudest? The
person that has to “steal the show” and make sure the listener is looking and smiling at them. Ugh. Lastly, these carolers
have been singing for so long, that my door has been open long enough to allow several hundred bugs in my house.
2. Black Friday
I don’t get this “holiday.” Is it even a holiday? Regardless, why do you people do this? The night before I ate several
pounds of turkey, not to mention stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, pies, and other delicious
goodness. I want to sleep. I want to lay down on my couch and wake up sometime around noon tomorrow. Excuse
me, what do YOU want to do? You want to awake from your cozy, warm bed at some ridiculous time before the
sun is up to sit out in the freezing cold and hopefully sneak into a store just so you can wait in hour-long lines to
buy numerous things you don’t need at slightly lower prices? Yeah, have fun. I’ll be sleeping, like a sane person.
1. New Year’s Resolutions
Now to the credit of some, New Year’s resolutions can be effective and helpful. However, most people just give up immediately.
Oh, you want to get in shape? Chances are, that gym you just joined is going to be losing that same member in a few weeks. Oh,
you are going to start studying more every night? Let me know how often you choose physics over Tosh.O. The fact of the matter
is, New Year’s Resolutions are nothing more than “spur of the moment.” Want to hear my New Year’s Resolution? I’m going to
stop writing bitter articles during the most joyous time of the year. Well, at least I accomplished about as much as most of you will.
Girls’ Soccer Three-Peat
Kassianna Politis|.Staff Writer
The girls’ soccer team won another state title, making this
their third consecutive championship and became the number one
team in the nation, according to maxpreps.com. In the 2012 state
finals against Cumberland Valley, the team avenged their only loss
of the season. The Lady Indians turned a 3-2 regular season loss
into a historic 1-0 championship victory with the lone goal from
junior Emily Franty, and the assist of senior Olivia Roberson.
“I couldn’t believe I scored the winning goal at first but
once it set in, it was such a great feeling. Our victory was a team
effort though, we wouldn’t have made it that far without every individual persons’ hard work,” said Franty.
After a fantastic season, the girls scored 125 goals, giving up only
13. The team all together won their section, WPIALS, and the state
title this year.
“It’s unbelievable to have national recognition. We never
would have expected to be number one, but it’s an amazing feeling
to know that all our hard work is paying off,” stated sophomore
Senior Captain Abigail Lavigna stated, “To be the first
AAA team to accomplish winning states three years in arrow is an
honor and I am so lucky to have been a part of such an amazing
team and program.”
Although winning states multiple times looked easy, the
team had its challenges. Junior Megan Parker, the most experienced goalie on the team, tore her ACL in the spring and was out
for the entire fall season. This forced sophomore Carly Johns, a previous starting defender, to play goalie during this year, helping the
team make history.
A key to winning in any sport is friendship, trust, and
teamwork. The varsity girls clearly demonstrate this by hanging
out with each other off the field, becoming very close as a team.
In 2011, nobody thought that the team would win states
again because they lost so many valuable seniors from the 2010
championship season. However, they pulled together and won
states in 2011. Now, the girls are the team to beat in the AAA
league with three consecutive victorious seasons. In the last three
years the girls won 67 games, tied one, and only lost six. The players and coaches could not be more proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to the Peters Township Varsity Soccer
Team! Way to go girls!
Photo by Morgan Creehan
Two Is Better Than One
Two is better than one for the girls’ tennis team. Capturing both the WPIAL and state championship two years in a
row as well as a total of three times in the past four years, success seems to come naturally for these Lady Indians. “For our
team to win states two years in a row is a huge accomplishment, and it has made me realize how strong our team really
is,” said freshman Megan Hixon. Through injuries, endless challenging matches and competition amongst fellow teammates,
the tennis team rose together as a family and achieved success.
Photo by Morgan Parisi
“During the state competition, I was still recovering from
a hamstring strain so I had to rely on my team to win,” said sophomore Sara Komer. Due to the team’s hard work and perseverance,
their accomplishment became well within their reach.“It [winning
states] made me realize how great my teammates are and how lucky
I am to have such a great team,” stated sophomore Jen Holcombe.
By winning their doubles matches, Holcombe and senior Vida Komer contributed to the championship along with
Hixon and sophomore Morgan Parisi. Additionally, sophomore
Abby Cummings won her singles match to close out the victory.
Major credit was given to their coach, Brandt Bowman, as he
has lead the team to victory. “Coach Brandt has always said our
depth is our strength, and that is why the team has been so successful,” explained Hixon. Part of this depth is derived from the
competition amongst players to ultimately work their way up
to the top. “Because I had the opportunity to practice against so
many talented people, I feel like I have improved over the season,”
stated Hixon. The tennis champs have had quite the season, finishing with a 3-0 win over Unionville to capture the state finals
and an undefeated season with only one loss. For the Girls’ Tennis Team, another winning season was just a serve over the net.
Under Review: Bowls or Brackets?
Josh Glicksman|ManagingEditorInChief and Shane Dazen|SportsEditor
SD: With the meat of the college football season over and bowl
season lurking, the age old question begins to surface: “When will
college do away with the BCS System?” Fortunately, we have an
answer for you. Starting in 2014, the NCAA will implement a playoff with four teams battling for a spot in the national title game.
This is probably the best thing since sliced bread. The best teams
in the nation deserve a shot at the title, not just traditional powerhouses. Look back to 2009. Five teams were undefeated when it was
announced that Alabama would oppose Texas for all the marbles.
Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State were all kicked to the curb because they played in smaller, less important conferences. I would
have put my money on TCU or Boise State to beat Texas any day of
the week. It is again evident this year, as well. The SEC is the most
dominant conference in the NCAA, I’ll give them that. However,
they are always placed ahead of teams outside their conference in
polls regardless of whether they are truly the better team.
JG: I guess I can see your point, but the bowl system needs to
stay. The playoff system that will be implemented in 2014 is simply a joke. Four teams? That’s not nearly enough. If the NCAA
is going to head in the direction of playoffs, then they at least
need to give more squads a shot. However, if the league does
then extend the number of teams to play in the “postseason,” the
season will just drag on. There are too many teams in the FBS to
Athlete of the Month
It is challenging for any athlete to balance sports with academics. But balancing
sports, academics, and the duties of a class
officer? That can be more stressful than a
tied game in overtime, yet is the daily challenge of varsity soccer defender, Bryan Hall.
“Every opportunity I had, I would catch up on academics. I often work ahead, knowing that I will fall behind during the
week,” said Hall. As a member of the Executive Council and the
chair the Elections Committee, Hall needs this good work ethic to
keep up with his demanding schedule.
The boys’ varsity soccer team fought hard, but lost in the
first round of the PIAA State Playoffs this year. Hall has no regrets
about the season, though he still believes that the Indians should
have defeated rival Canon Mac.
The team has
“great chemistry” and,
along with the boys’ support, Hall feeds from the
energy of the crowd while
doing his part to defend the
goal. He plans on playing
club soccer in college, but
will never forget his time as
a Mighty Indian.
Photo by DJ Jaap
have a “fair” playoff system. If it stays at four teams, people will
complain. If it’s upgraded to eight teams, people will complain.
There will even be those that argue that all 25 ranked teams deserve a shot at the national title. Don’t fix what’s not broken. It’s
just going to cause more controversy.
SD: The point of the playoff is to give teams a fair shot at getting
into the national title game. I agree, the NCAA’s choice to include
only four teams is a joke, but I don’t get to make the rules. At least
FOUR teams get to duke it out for a spot. It’s better than two. It also
gives teams added incentive to battle every down, every quarter
until the end of the game because a one loss team, even a two loss
team, still would have a shot at playing in the postseason.
JG: The more I think about it, the more I realize I disagree. You
said that a four-team playoff will solve the problem of too many
teams being snubbed out of a shot at the national title simply because of silly factors such as a weak schedule. However, the final
standings usually leave the top two teams ahead, with several
other teams filling the places behind. When the NCAA shifts to
the playoff format, the problem absolutely will not be fixed. In
fact, it could very well just get worse. There are too many teams
that will end with the same record that will be fighting for the
fourth slot. So I guess my main question is, what is the NCAA
really accomplishing with the switch?
Athlete of the Month
Dedication is the true key to success. Junior soccer player Veronica Lastko exemplifies this attribute. Playing a key role on the
girls’ soccer team this year, it’s easy to see
how her devotion has paid off.
Peters Township Varsity Girls’ Soccer Team went all the way this year winning
WPIALS and states, but none of that would have been possible if it
weren’t for Latsko’s contributions. She was one of the key components to the team this year scoring over 30 goals. “Having a great
mindset, and being able to rely on my team is what pushes me to
do my best,” she stated. The girls finished with a 24-1 record, as
well as being the number one team in the country, as stated by Max
Preps. “It was exciting, really
fun and all of the girls are great
on the team,” Latsko stated.
But not only is Latsko a
great soccer player, she is also
an honor roll student. The combination of her good grades and
incredible soccer skills has landed her a scholarship to the University of Virginia where she has Photo by Erin Pakela
committed for the 2014-2015 school year. “It’s a huge relief, and
the pressure of having to worry about college is off my back,” Latsko stated. Dedication is the key to becoming great, and Veronica
Latsko has used it to unlock some amazing doors of opportunity.
The Grinding Controversy
If grinding is banned, attendance at the dances will plumGrinding at school dances have been a hot topic of debate
met, just as it has at the other schools who
the past couple of months, even resulting with a local school banhave tried to set a positive example. Mt. Lebaning it all together.
non, who recently banned grinding, has been
So what’s the big deal about the bump and grind? It is the
relentlessly ridiculed by morning radio talk
way our generation chooses to express ourselves, yet some people
shows and blogs across the internet. Middleare scrutinizing it. A few have even described this type of dancing
town High School of Rhode Island even ended
as “downright traumatizing.” I can’t help but imagine these are the
their homecoming dance early, due to students
people who wish we lived in a society like the one portrayed in the
protesting at the dance.
1984 film Footloose.
I have attended every single dance
Our generation is not the first to be condemned for the
since my freshman year. That comes to a grand
way we decide to move our bodies. Elvis Presley was criticized for
total of ten dances so far. Being a cheerleader, I
thrusting his hips, and the Michael Jackson crotch grab was extremely scandalous. These moves were eventually accepted by soci- am very involved in planning the Snowball Dance that takes place
every winter at the school. Snowball is one of the biggest fundraisety.
Schools are now trying to come up with effective ways to ers for the cheerleaders, and without it we would not be able to
stop their students from getting freaky on the dance floor. These support our school as much as we do. If grinding is forbidden, the
tactics include hiring DJ’s who create playlists that don’t include attendance will drop, and our organization will take a heavy hit.
So this is my appeal to you PTHS: keep it classy. Let’s stop
songs with a heavy bass, and don’t play fast paced songs. Students
who are caught dancing in an inappropriate fashion are forced to the grinding issue before our administration has to take action.
leave the dance immediately after their parents are informed of There is a line of appropriateness that should not be crossed. If you
their “inexcusable” act. Prior to the dance, students who are attend- would not dance that way in front your parents, do not do it at our
ing must sign a contract stating that they will not engage in vulgar school dances. Respect yourself, your dance partner, and others
behavior, such as grinding.
He said She said: Pick-Up Lines
LM: I hope you know CPR, because you took my breath away.
SD: If I got a nickel for everyone I saw who was as beautiful as
you, I’d have 5 cents.
LM: How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice.
I’m (insert name here).
SD: Did you have Lucky Charms for breakfast? Because you’re
LM: Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by
SD: You definitely work at FedEx because you’re checking out my
The One that Worked:
LM: I must be a snowflake,
because I’ve fallen for you.
SD: You’re so beautiful you
made me forget my pickup
Over a Text:
LM: People call me (insert
name here), but you can call
SD: Should we talk in person soon or just continue
flirting over the phone?
Off- Campus Lunches
It’s that time of day again. Anything that smells remotely
edible triggers a grumble in your stomach and
your friends are starting to look like walking
tacos. It’s lunch time. Lunch for today: Your
choice of yet another PB&J sandwich, made by
none other than mama bear (your mother), or a
chicken sandwich dipped in grease then rolled
around in some sort of “sauce.” Eating is a necessity; we literally
cannot survive without it. So why not make it as enjoyable as
possible? In the cafeteria, not only is the food choice questionable,
but you are also rarely able to sit with your best friends. Lunch is
supposed to be our time to unwind, but if your idea of taking a
break is sitting at a table with strangers while eating questionable
food in a cinderblock “box” with little to no cell phone service,
then you might need to redefine your idea of “relaxation.”
Being forced to eat in the cafeteria is also a major hit
on our pride as responsible teenagers and adults. Why not go off
campus for a quick mid-day snack? Liability. The school could be
held responsible if say, a student were to be hit by a car, even though
that is an extreme circumstance. I do see where they are coming
from. I mean, just walking through the school parking lot when
student drivers are behind the wheel should require some sort of
safety contract. For example, East McMurray road the speed limit
says 35 mph, but come on, is there really anybody going below 40?
But this country was not founded with a “you’re wrong,
I’m right” attitude. We need to compromise. Maybe we can petition
for a path and cross walks Donaldson’s Crossroads. That way
the parking lot will remain safe and students can even get some
exercise. It will also spur business for local stores and restaurants.
Maybe even the addition of a new Starbucks (I swear they are
taking over the world…or at least Peters). That is just one idea
though, if you have any others, try running them by the student
council. The bottom line is, this is a win-win for everyone, so let’s
make it happen.
Evolving the American Sitcom
Ever since the television became an affordable inhome product, the American
family has enjoyed a number of
sitcoms. The sitcom has been a
fixture in American society ever
since I Love Lucy. Families from
coast to coast have gathered
many evenings around their
family room TV to watch the
quirky adventures of everyone
from the Cleavers to the Tanner
family to Jerry Seinfeld & Co.
The common themes of these
sitcoms, whether that may be
the traditional eccentric family
or the odd couples, were always
matched with a studio set that
resembled a home or building
with one wall cut out and ste-
Photo by AP Images
reotypical characters to generate a relatable sense of warmth
and consistency that safe, traditional families enjoy. Besides
updated jokes, sets, and storylines, the American sitcom has
not faced very much change.
That is, until recent years.
The televised sitcom
is undergoing a bit of evolution. Granted, we, as a society,
are not completely prepared to
totally abandon our traditions,
but some are becoming dull.
Every fall, new television shows
are announced, either about an
family or a quirky group of
young people that you know
won’t make it past the first six
episodes. It’s because these
shows do not bring anything
new to the table. Who needs to
see more than two shows about
a group of friends who hang
out at a bar?
In recent years, a fresh
style of sitcom has appeared on
major networks which seem
to escape the simple standard.
These shows abandon the studio-style sets, the godforsaken
laugh track, and the typical
three camera shooting style.
Television writers refocused
their visions on shows that use
more deadpan humor (allowing
the audience to decide when to
laugh), handheld camerawork,
and actual buildings for sets.
The American adaptation of
the less successful British show,
The Office, stands as the clear
father of the modern American sitcom. Audiences quickly
fell for the real-life production
of this show. Now on its eighth
season, one can clearly see how
well America has received this
distinctive show. Emmy-favorite Modern Family and Louis,
as well as NBC’s Community
and The New Normal followed
quickly in The Office’s footsteps. The Academy is smitten
with these new shows, and so
are American audiences.
Granted, shows like
The Big Bang Theory, How I
Met Your Mother, and Two &
The Art of the Hashtag
It’s overused. It’s inappropriately used. It’s got too many
letters in it. It highlights a meaningless word. It’s the hashtag that
everyone has come to know and love.
Being the Twitter guru that I am, I’ve noticed that all too
many rookies misuse the privilege to make words become a blue
wonderland. Want to step your Twitter game up and impress all of
your friends? Here’s a few tips on how to become awesome:
1. Know your character limit per hashtag. Unless intentionally making it a long one, which rarely is effective, don’t go over
ten. And even that is pushing it. #Ilovegoingtograndmashousefortheholidaysbecauseshebakesgreatchocolatechipcookies exemplifies a horrible use of your pound sign abilities. Aren’t the point
of hashtags to see what other people have used the same key word
phrase? For example, #whenIwassix is perfect. Tell me what was
interesting and fresh in your six-year-old life, and you can check
out my tweet. Simple as that.
2. Don’t highlight meaningless words. “Had such a #great
time with the #family today. #fun.” How many other people are going to hashtag those same words in another irrelevant, also insignificant usage of 140 characters or less? If I were to then click on
the hashtagged word “fun,” it’s more than likely going to lead me to
some girl in Palo Alto, California tweeting about what a fantastic
night she had with her boyfriend. I don’t care about that. Sorry Palo
Alto girl. Here’s a basic rule: if you’re contemplating hashtagging a
single word, and a child at the age of seven or younger understands
what the word means, DON’T DO IT! Glad we cleared that up.
Photo by Byron Cohen
a Half Men, which still followthe traditional sitcom formula while adapting to the
times, still thrive. Their writing
appeals to large audiences with
raunchy jokes and a variety
of relationships. While these
shows may not be considered
Emmy-bait, they still possess unwavering followings.
is an inevitable part of life, it
does not mean the end of old
ways. American television
may be swaying from tradition, but it most definitely will
not be abandoning its tried
and true ways. With a grand
assortment of comedy shows
available to audiences, there’s
bound to be a show for everyone.
3. Don’t be a hashtag abuser. I have more clever names for
this type of person, however, I’m writing for a high school magazine so I’ll refrain. For example, NEVER
tweet anything resembling this: “Just got
back from vacation. #sad #Hawaii #beach
#sun #hot #summer #tan #takemeback
#pinacolotas #beautiful.” I understand
that you want more followers—everyone
does—but, that doesn’t mean you just have
to hashtag several words hoping people
are going to look at your picture or tweet
and follow you. Please stop. In addition to
Photo by AP Images
appearing like a hashtag novice, you also
abuse the “basic words rule” that I’ve recently created.
In conclusion, only use hashtags when necessary. If you
find yourself in the process of sending a tweet without a hashtag
in it, don’t fret! Everything will be just fine. The world won’t end if
you don’t include some unnecessary word that goes Avatar when
published on the web. Don’t force it. Let’s put it this way: guys,
you don’t force a pass or shot in a sport when it’s not there, do
you? Girls, you don’t buy clothes just for the sake of buying clothes
even if you don’t like anything there, do you? Ok, well maybe you
do. Bad example. Regardless, don’t feel obligated to include one (or
several) poor hashtag usages in any given tweet. Follow my advice,
and I promise, my opinion of your tweet game will increase. And
that’s all that matters. Right?
10 Life & Style
Skin care is important for everyone, particularly
acne-prone teens. It is a major
priority and responsibility to
keep your skin clean. Special
products can help improve the
appearance of the skin as well
as a good diet, fresh air and
exercise. A dermatologist can
definitely help find each person something that works for
them. It is hard to have a dermatologist on call 24-7, so here
are some dermatologist secrets
without an appointment.
There are a significant
number of mild cleansers that
are specifically for different
faces. First, you should determine your skin type, whether
it is oily, dry, or normal (or a
combination of the three) before selecting a facial cleanser.
Avoid cleansers with perfumes
Face the Beauty
or dyes to get the best results
and prevent reactions with other skin care products.
Look for specific ingredients for your type of skin
in order to properly cleanse it.
Retinoid, or Vitamin A, helps
with mild cases of acne and
pimples. Retinoid is a gel that
should be applied in small
amounts after washing and
drying your face. Another ingredient that helps acne-prone
skin is benzoyl peroxide which
also should be applied in small
amounts. However, be careful
not to get it on clothing or dyed
sheets, because the peroxide
will bleach anything it touches.
Salicylic acid helps dissolve oils
that block pores and prevent future breakouts.
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To slow premature aging and skin damage that will
show up years later, always apply sunscreen before going outside. Some makeup foundations
have sunscreen in them; but
layering foundation over moisturizing sunscreen will provide
extra protection for your face.
Make sure to reapply with you
are outside for an extended period of time.
If old makeup starts to
change in appearance or smells
different from when you originally opened it, it should be
thrown away. Dr. Garry Cussell, a cosmetic physician at the
Facial Rejuvenation Clinic in
Australia, recommends using
mineral makeup. It provides
adequate coverage and is not as
heavy on the skin, so it is not
as likely to block the pores and
cause breakouts. It is now time
to go natural!
It is a major priority
to keep your skin and body
healthy all the time. Cleansing and protecting our body
is just a daily requirement in
our life. Using natural products and adhering to healthy
lifestyle tips will make you feel
refreshed and strong.
AP Images Richard Drew
Workout in Disguise
Working out and eating right can be challenging,
especially as a student. Between
school, extracurricular activities, and spending time with
family and friends, it’s almost
impossible. We all know excising and staying active is a key
part in a healthy lifestyle. Here
are some healthy tips to squeeze
in workout time.
Staying active and doing chores are an easy way to
tie together what you have to
do and what you should do. A
new study, found on Web MD,
says that doing chores is actually as beneficial, if not better,
than working out. While you
are running on the treadmill,
your body is in one motion. But
if you are pulling weeds while
bending over, then your body
is in two separate motions, allowing you to burn more calories. So next time you are mad
at your mom for making you do
chores, remember it is actually
beneficial to you. During this
Christmas season, there will
be many opportunities to help
your family with chores, including shoveling the driveway
or walking the dog.
Another way to tie in
two aspects of your life is to find
a gym buddy. This will allow you
spend time with your friend,
while staying active. Go play a
sport and have fun doing it. It
won’t feel like a workout. The
trick is to disguise your workout. If you are cleaning, you will
not think it is a workout, and if
you are running around, laughing with your friends, you won’t
think of it as a work out either.
It is a great way to stay in shape
and have fun.
Tis’ the Season to be Spending
Don’t you just hate it
when you don’t get what you
want for Christmas and get
money instead? Most of us get
money from parents, siblings,
or other gift-givers. How should
you spend that extra holiday
cash? There are thousands of
stores hosting so-called “sales,”
but there are certain stores that
are the best to visit on December 26th.
“I like to go shopping after the holidays with my
Christmas money to Macy’s because I know they always have
great after-Christmas sales and
I love their shoes,” said sophomore Jill Ciaffoni.
Macy’s hosts an enormous after-Christmas sale with
nearly all items at least 15 percent off and for online shoppers,
free shipping. Additionally, all
fall merchandise is 30 percent
off, and all men’s and women’s
clothing have been reduced by
50-75 percent. But the amazing
deals on shoes are what attracts
most teens. It is best to go when
doors open at 7:00 or you may
miss out because of the limited
inventory. However, if you don’t
need to try on anything simply
go shopping online.
“My brother goes to
the Best Buy after-Christmas
sale every year to stock up on
a bunch of video games since
they’re all going for a good
price,” said freshman Brooke
From Black Ops 2 to
the iPhone 5, Best Buy has it all
with lowered prices after Christmas. Best Buy’s after-Christmas
sale lasts for three days, December 25-27, with free shipping
for any item online. All HDTVs
start at under $200 with choices
of LCD, LED, or Plasma televisions in all sizes. One of the big
draws for the Best Buy sale is
the up-scale phones they’re giving away for free with a 2-year
contract, offering many carriers. Computers, notebooks,
video games, and tablets are all
“If I do after-Christmas shopping, it will need to
be for dorm room stuff since
college is coming faster than
people think,” senior Jake Caputo said.
Seniors should head
on over to Target where all
home décor is discounted. Target is offering 75 percent discount of all seasonal merchandise while supplies last. Along
with 50 percent on all home
décor items needed for that
new dorm room. Online shoppers can save up to 65 percent
on all items.
Nothing beats afterChristmas sales where you can
save valuable money. Whether
it be for clothes, a video game,
or the perfect comforter for
college, it is always great to get
a good deal.
AP Images Scott Lieberman
12 Days of Kuhn
Legendary fashion icon, Mr. Kuhn, shows off his winter collection. His blue sweater, a gift from retired teacher
Mr.Scott, is his favorite item.
Joe Maize’s Holiday
Beloved Driver’s Theory teacher Mr. Joe Maize
icon at PTHS. During the holiday season, he do
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Box of ND
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Written by Shane Dazen and designed by Raelynn No
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Takes Flight in PT
ClutchLine Free Running is a
parkour group founded by six high
school students, Mike Erenberg,
Chris Buzard, Tommy Devine,
Christian Nossokoff, Kevin Crawford, and Adam Harsch. Moving
from one place to another and negotiating the obstacles in between
is what parkour is all about. It was
originally a training discipline that
developed out of military obstacle
course training. This group has turned an activity that most people in PT haven’t even heard of into a school-wide interest, and
for good reason.
Senior Christian Nossokoff helped get this group started. “It wasn’t anyone’s single idea. We all became friends in doing
it. We started individually and met by going to the same gym to
train, and we decided to do it together on our own team,” he said.
Parkour is extremely different from any other activity. “There
are no rules. No guidelines to follow, judges to impress, or even
a correct form to learn. You are free to express yourself in any
way you wish,” said senior Chris Buzard. Junior Mike Erenberg
agrees. “Parkour is an art, not a sport. It requires creativity and
some controlled athleticism,” said Erenberg.
something the bubble
hasn’t seen before and
ClutchLine Free Running may start the spread
of innovative activities
into the bubble. Check
out their YouTube channel ClutchlineFreerunning to see the group in
Photos by Tim Warne
E x pre s s i n g
afraid to step
out of the crowd can be a difficult
task to accomplish. Often the
hardest part is finding your
calling or place where you feel
comfortable to be yourself.
Charlie Meyers appears to have
found his by performing on
“Everyone I work with
is really cool. It’s neat when you
can be with a group of people
that isn’t afraid to express themselves, which is the one of the
best things about theatre, no
one is afraid to express themselves,” said Meyers.
role that actors and actresses
take on is drastically different.
“Portraying different characters
is easily my favorite part of theater because it is a lot of fun,”
said Meyers, “In one play you
are really happy all the time and
in another you have to be really
Meyers, though just
a freshman, is no stranger to
acting on stage. He has performed in more than a handful
of plays including Beauty in the
Beast (twice), Annie Get Your
Gun, Godspell, School House
of Rock Jr., The Night Thoreau
Spent in Jail, The Diviners, and
Willy Wonka Jr.
The Diviners, his
most recent play, took place
this fall. He portrayed the role
of Buddy Layman, a boy who
suffered brain damage during
the same drowning accident
that took the life of his mother. Character C.C. Showers,
portrayed by senior Brett DiCello, tries to get Buddy to face
his fear of water.
really stepped up his game to
take on this challenging role,”
said senior Brett DiCello, “I
hope I taught Charlie a little
bit more about theatre. It was
a really rewarding experience
to mentor such an eager and
hard working young talent like
Charlie.” Meyers hopes to continue performing on the stage
throughout high school and
college, and hoping to make a
career of it.
Photos by Julie Griffith
Freshman Charlie Meyers and
senior Brett DiCello act on stage in the fall
play, The Diviners.
Pritz Ponders His Future Sport
is a very
exc e pt i on a l
student athlete. As a student,
Pritz excels because of his
consistent work ethic and outstanding motivation. Additionally, he shows his true talents
on the court, where he shines
as a center on the varsity basketball team during the winter
and dominates as the volleyball
captain in the spring. He has
received Division-I scholarship
offers for both volleyball and
basketball. Pritz’s grades make
almost any school an option.
”For volleyball, I am
looking at Saint Francis,
Juniata, Carthage, and New
York University”, Said Pritz.
“For basketball, I am looking at
Bethany, Wheeling Jesuit, Penn
State Behrend, and Drake but
for both sports, I have received
a number of letters from different schools.”
Although this is an opportunity
that most high school athletes
only dream of, Pritz has this
rare opportunity at his fingertips.
Pritz faces a very
tough decision on which sport end it comes down to which
he plans to play in college, college gives me the best offer.”
knowing that he will not be No matter what Pritz decides
able to do both while trying to one thing is sure that he will
maintain his grades. “I definite- continue to succeed.
ly just want to play one
sport because keeping
up with my grades will
be tough enough,” Pritz
At the end of
the day the choice is up
to Pritz on what he truly wants to play; volleyball or basketball. He
said, “Recently I have
been leaning towards
basketball but at the Photo by Tim Warne
WTAE’s Player of the Week: US Army All-American Marching
Band: Richard MacKay
Junior Emily Franty was named WTAE’s player
of the week after she scored the game-winning
goal that lead the girl’s soccer team to their
third consecutive state title. John Meyer from
WTAE honored Franty in front of the entire
student body on November 29 and ran the
story on the evening news.
“I was nervous, I didn’t want to mess up or say
the wrong thing. Once it was going though it
was fun” Franty said.The girls soccer team avenged their only loss
for the regular season to Cumberland Valley last month winning
1-0 in the state finals. Repeatedly Franty thanked her teammates,
making it abundantly clear the bond these girls have made and
the pride they share over their incredible feat.
Photo by Emily Koch
Senior Richard MacKay has been selected to
play in the US Army All-American Marching
Band. MacKay is one of the 125 students selected from across the nation for this honor.
The band will perform at the half-time show
during the US Army All-American Bowl
game on January 5 which features the top 90
high school football players.
Apart from playing quads in our marching
band, MacKay also plays in the wind symphony, jazz band, concert
band, and symphony orchestra. Outside of the high school, MacKay
plays with the River City Youth Brass Band and attends the precollege music program at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Barney,
the band director, congratulated MacKay and said “He works hard
and has earned this honor!”
Photos by Mrs. Belcher
Seven Seniors Sign
On November 15,
2012, seven students
participated in a very
These students earned
opportunity to sign
for collegiate level
excites me most is
knowing that hard
pay off. It is such a privilege to be blessed with such an
opportunity,” senior Hannah Wilcox said. This is a once in
a lifetime chance for these students to continue playing at
the college of their choice.
“The opportunity to receive a quality education
and get my golf game to the next level [is what excites me
the most],” said Tom Nettles. Meeting new people, gaining
new experiences, and playing the sport they love top the list
of what these seniors are most looking forward to next year.
Congratulations and best wishes!
Photos by Alexa Kennedy
Seton Hill University
University of Kentucky
Design by Juli
Mrs. Pavlik is the director of the agency, P.T.H.S, located in a red and white
bubble. A group of super teachers, the Iron Demascal, the Incredible Compeggie,
Thor (Cervenak), Captain PT (Antonelli), Hawkeye (Walsh) and Black Widow
(Berger) lead the charge when the education of the students is threatened by
Laziness and his cohorts, Procrastination and Distractions, Mrs. Pavlik and her
team will need all their knowledge and BYOD devices to save the school from
New teacher Mrs. Polard gets a teaching job in a public high school for the
first time and encounters the A-list nice teachers’ clique. The always bubbly
Mrs. Gearhart, the sweet and cool Mrs. Baker, and their fearless leader, Mrs.
Degnan, take Mrs. Polard under their wing and educate her on how they rule
the school with kindness.
The Teacher Trap
Identical twins, Mr. Brado and Joey Cortese, separated at birth and currently
in two separate rival schools, discover each other for the first time at a
conference and make a plan to switch places, tricking Mr. Lesnett in order to
unite their schools and settle the feud once and for all.
The Homeroom Saga: 6th Period
After the birth of their half human, half vampire baby, Mr. Pinto and his wife, the
newly changed vampire, Mrs. Pinto, must round up a clan of good vampires to
protect their daughter from the Volturi, who are a group of evil, governing
vampires who highly disapprove of such a creature. An all-out battle unfolds as the
vampires, with the help of Mr. Farrell’s werewolf pack, fight the Volturi to bring
peace to the Pinto family.
Kevin Lawrence was a young new teacher getting ready to take on his first
teaching job at Peters Township High School. However, with a mistake in the
paperwork, he accidentally gets sent to work at a school at the North Pole
teaching young elves how to make toys in preparation for Christmas time.
After years of working there and learning the ropes of educating, the elves come
across his paperwork and realize the mistake. They then believe it is time tha
he retires from his job teaching at the North Pole and transfer to Peters where
he belongs to teach high school students.
The Tribal Games
In a wretched future, the authoritarian bubble of Peters Township is divided
between 5 school buildings and the Capitol. Each year, two teacher
representatives from each building are selected at random to participate in
The Tribal Games sponsored by the Tribune Review. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, “the Games” are broadcast throughout the
township. The ten participants are forced to defeat their competitors in an intense
and spirit-filled educating competition (also involving some gym class
challenges) while the students and faculty of Peters are forced to watch.
When social studies teacher Ms. Ingham is selected as the female representative
of PTHS, she and her male counterpart, Mr. Kuharcik, are pitted against bigger,
stronger educators, some of whom have trained, lectured, and graded tests for
their entire lives.
The Entertainment Must-List
With 2013 approaching quickly, now seems like a great time to remember some past pop culture greats. Current high school students
were born in the 1990’s, a decade unlike any other. The 90’s were the dawn of the Information Age, and brought a tremendous amount
of awesome movies, music, and TV shows. There are many reasons to be proud to be a ‘90s baby, and here are just a few.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie Smalls is no-no-no-notorious with the rap game. He didn’t There are no words good enough for Kurt Cobain, but I’ll try. He
just put East Coast hip-hop on the map—he dominated the scene. formed the grunge band Nirvana and served as its lead singer and
Consistently, he’s deemed one of the greatest rappers of all time, guitarist. Kurt Cobain is one of the most influential people to ever
and for good reason. During his tragically short life, he made only live, and he never had to try. He resisted being a spokesperson for
two albums, and yet more than fifteen years later, they’re still be- his generation because people tried to warp him into something he
ing quoted. His second album, Life After Death, went Diamond wasn’t. Undisputedly, Cobain was an extraordinarily kind person,
in 2000, one of only two rap albums to ever do so. Biggie became who spoke out for equal rights and acceptance of all types of peoknown as the “King of New York” because of his effortless flow, ple. He tirelessly promoted individuality and creativity. Cobain
stunning autobiographical lyrics, and charisma that allowed him hated the media’s interpretation of his lyrics because he wished for
to collaborize with anyone. Even after almost 20 years, his words people to feel the music first, not meaningless words. He never
wanted to be a legend, but thankfully, he is, and us 90’s kids have an
still hypnotize us and we still love to call him Big Poppa.
amazingly raw, real, and talented person to look up to.
Goodfellas is a movie that never loses its thrill, no matter how
many times you watch it. But that’s only part of its cinematic ge- Fresh out the box, stop look and watch, ready yet, get set, it’s All
nius. The cast, comprised of greats such as Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, That! Nickelodeon kids TV was aaalllll that in the 1990’s. The
and Robert De Niro, is unforgettable. The chills you get from programs were hilarious and insanely random, and there are no
Pesci’s “How am I funny?”, Liotta’s absolutely maniacal laugh, and TV shows out there today that can compete. Some of the best are
De Niro’s classic bar scene (where he doesn’t even have to say one All That, Keenan and Kel, and Hey Arnold!.
word), are indescribable. Scorsese’s masterpiece is crafted around
a true mob story, and its beauty lies in its morality. At one point, Easily one of the funniest TV shows of all time, Seinfeld originated
you want to be a gangster like Liotta. But then, you see his golden in the 1990’s. There are lines we still say today because of the Seinworld crash down and realize the life you have is pretty darn good. feld gang. “No soup for you”, “Yada yada yada”, and “TCB: You
know, taking care of business” are just a few fan favorites. And of
course, we all secretly wish that we had Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and
George as our friends.
Hot Shows on TV
Matt Mullan Staff Writer
Most people can agree that television is a pretty swell invention. The shows that are airing in this day and age are magnificent.
(Thus. February 7th, 2013 8pm
Community is a beloved show of
mine. The show is written so brilliantly and
the references will make any underground,
pop culture geek explode with happiness.
In my mind, Troy (Donald Glover) is the
star of the show. His clueless background
comments make me LOL (laugh out loud).
The comedy of this show is somewhat
random, not in the same sense as Family
Guy, it still follows its story, they just add
in some extra flair. It’s not a secret that this
show requires a certain comedic taste, but
give it a try and maybe this witty comedy
will become your favorite show too!
The Walking Dead
(Sun. 9pm on AMC)
AP Images Jordin Althaus
Parks & Recreation (Thurs.
9:30pm on NBC)
This witty comedy stars Amy Poehler,
Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari and many other
unknown actors that do a wonderful job. The
comedic timing in the writing for this show
is phenomenal. All of the actors bounce off
of each other’s personalities and contrast
with each other so well. The characters
aren’t very dynamic, but they all have quirky
traits that set them apart from the rest.
This heavy drama is in its third season.
The show is about the world in a postapocalyptic, zombie-infested world. It
revolves around a group of survivors
trying to find somewhere to be safe and
start a new life by learning to adapt to
these new living conditions. The makeup
and costuming of the “walkers” is over the
top. The other characters of the show are
based off of the original graphic novels
and are portrayed very well and are very
dedicated to making the show.
So if you’re tired of studying for that
APUSH test or you don’t feel like interacting
with real people on the weekends, any
of these shows would be a great way to
invest you time and melt your brain.
Bieber Comes to the Burgh
Teenage girls were not Bieber’s only fans at
his concert. Pittsburgh Penguin superstar,
Sidney Crosby was there as well as Abby Lee
Miller, star of the hit show “Dance Moms.”
Bieber is not only a fabulous singer, but he is
an incredible dancer. His talent for dancing
seems so natural.
“Justin was a fantastic dancer! He had a different routine for every song he performed
and his dance style resembles Usher. He says
that Michael Jackson is his inspiration and
showed some of his moves at the concert,”
said sophomore Angela Krak.
Bieber closed out his concert with
“Believe” on the piano. When Bieber left the
stage, the crowd was roaring for an encore.
Bieber returned to the stage and performed
“Boyfriend” and “Baby” leaving everyone
w i t h
Photo by Madi Start
Pop star phenomena, Justin Bieber
came to Pittsburgh on November 20, 2012
on his “Believe” tour. Tickets were sold out
before they even went on sale (ticket venders such as TicketMaster had already bought
them), making this concert one of the hottest of the year. Tickets were resold by other
venders at high prices. The “Believe” tour is
Bieber’s second concert in Pittsburgh, his
first being on his “My World” tour in 2010.
Carly Rae Jepson was set to open
the show, but due to an illness, she called
off. Coincidently, the concert was a day
before her birthday. Suspicious much? So
instead, there was a DJ who played popular pop music for about a half hour. Bieber
definitely made up for the lack of an opening act though. He entered the stage from
the rafters wearing huge wings and all white,
almost like an “angel-Justin-god”. Bieber
launched right into his hit song “All Around
the World”. Not only did Bieber perform
songs from his new album “Believe,” but he
also sang “U Smile,” “That Should Be Me,”
and Usher’s hit song “You Got it Bad,” a capella.
Design by Christine Gaab
Welcome to Briarcliff
a sadistic scientist, Dr. Arthur Arden
(James Cromwell), a stern Sister Jude
(Jessica Lange) as the warden of the
asylum, along with her brutal accomplice, Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe).
Each cast member seems to have some
skeletons in their closet, even the nuns.
This show doesn’t fall short of
what you would expect of a 1960’s insane asylum. In fact it exceeds expectations, and is not for the faint of heart.
The treatments used on the patients are
clinically insane in themselves. With an
experimental and brainsick doctor taking care of you, you can only imagine
the barbaric remedies conducted on the
Each episode leaves you with
the answer to one mystery, but a question to the next. Especially when it
comes to feeding the bloodthirsty creatures that dwell outside the asylum with
the unfortunate souls of those who did
not make it out of Briarcliff, or had the
chance taken away from them. No one
can quite explain how they got there
or what they are, unless their creator
hasn’t shown their face yet.
A new episode premieres every
Wednesday at ten o’clock on FX. Once
you watch it, you become infatuated
and utterly obsessed with what happens
next. With new characters and new
mysteries, there’s no telling what the
next move will be. Legend has it, once
you enter Briarcliff, you never leave.
Everyone can think of a few
people off the top of their heads who
they believe are crazy enough to be
in an insane asylum. After watching
the twisted yet captivating season of
American Horror Story, you might want
to rethink that. American Horror Story
Season 2 is set in the grave background
of an insane asylum, known as Briarcliff. Characters such as Grace (Lizzie
Brocheré) and Kit Walker (Evan Peters) are sent there after committing the
most crude and unjust crimes known to
man. The truth to their stories remains
in a fog, but with each episode more
is revealed. Little did they know, they
would receive punishments almost as
sickening as the crimes they committed
to place them there.
Briarcliff Manor proves itself to
include every aspect and nightmare of
what an ancient mental hospital should
have. This asylum comes complete with
Social Media: A New Role
We drastically depend
on social media in our everyday lives. Just think about how
often you check Twitter, Instagram, or the almost-archaic
Facebook. We can’t help it-- our
addiction is unstoppable. And
it’s not just in high schools, either. According to the Business
Insider publication, individuals between the ages of 18 and
34 update their social media
feeds about 7 times daily, and
this number continues to grow.
Social media isn’t
simply redefining the way we
communicate-- it is redefining
journalism as a whole. Journalists can reach a completely new
audience in a format that was
previously never thought to
be possible. With media websites such as Facebook, we are
now able to choose which news
articles show up on our news
feed, based on our own values.
Our influence is based on
our need to feel connected.
I, for one, can honestly say I
didn’t watch half of the London Olympics this past summer because I didn’t need to;
I could simply read Twitter to
find out everything I needed
to know. Journalists have capitalized on this idea in order to
reach a bigger audience. Almost every journalist with a
Twitter account updated followers of the presidential debates as they happened, live.
There is virtually no need
for TV when you can keep
in touch with politics while
connecting with your friends
over a social networking site.
From this, a bigger problem arises: how can an entire news story be told with
a picture, a status update, or
an 140 character tweet? Now,
more than ever, journalists are
tapping into the senses and
emotions of their audiences.
It is becoming the only way
to effectively reach readers.
Another issue we face with
social media is its ability to fuel
our celebrity obsessions. We are
granted access into the private
lives of our favorite role models. We follow celebrities on
Twitter and Instagram, and are
given a false sense of reality; we
feel almost as if we know them
personally because we know
basically everything about their
lives. For example, reality TV
star Kim Kardashian has over
16 million followers on Twitter,
and receives hundreds of comments and pieces of criticism
on every tweet she posts. Chris
Brown went so far as to delete
his Twitter account because of
the constant criticism over his
assault on Rihanna. Who’s to
say that these commentators
know everything that happened
and have the right to speak on
the issue to Brown? Another
example is the Twitter explosion over the recent breakup
between Justin Bieber and
Selena Gomez. Isn’t a breakup
hard enough, without having it
trending as a hashtag? Privacy
among celebrities is a growing problem that we are having a difficult time stopping.
Lastly, there is the danger
of quick reactions. One of the
greatest (and worst) things
about Twitter is that we are
granted instantaneous access
to facts, stories, and lies. This
leads to our almost always instantaneous reactions. Without any wait time, we say and
post things that we may regret
later on down the road. An example of a quick reaction gone
wrong is the war on Twitter
over the Traevon Martin murder case. The arguments made
the situation much harder on
everyone involved and affected
by it, and caused serious problems for the creators of the
tweets. The 21st century has
become an era that is almost
completely reliant on technology. @SmokeSignals Use it,
don’t abuse it! #socialmedia
Comparison of Two Terrifying Storms
The effects of Hurricane Sandy still linger in the North. Whether it was truly a life-altering storm or over-exaggerated by
media is debatable. Numerous southerners believe that since the storm was only a level one hurricane it made a far less significant
impact than most of the storms they experienced, especially Hurricane Katrina. Was Sandy truly as bad as reports? Listed below is
a side by side comparison for facts. Hurricane Katrina’s fatalities greatly outweigh those caused by Hurricane Sandy. Katrina caused
over 90 billion more dollars worth of damage than Sandy, and was a higher category hurricane. Overall, the effects of both hurricanes
have been devastating to the country as a whole. These storms contribute to the downfall of the economy, unemployment, and lives
lost. Although Katrina afflicted more people, the two hurricanes cannot be compared when each devastate countless communities
* Caused more than
8,000 deaths in the US
* Was a category three
hurricane and had wind
speeds up to 140 mph
* Considered the greatest natural disaster to
ever strike the US
* Caused the US 100 billion dollars in damages
and insured losses
According to the National Climatic Data Center
AP Images Jay Reeves
According to CNN
AP Images Mike Groll
* Sent over 400,000
people out of their
* Caused a minimum
of 11 deaths in the US
* Caused 67 deaths in
the Caribbean and 51
* Sandy cost the US
about 7 million dollars
due to the damages
December 2012 21
Christmas in…Spain, Germany, and France
Madeliene Maggs|Staff Writer
This time of year brings joy, celebration, and faith not
making gifts and decorations. Making gingerbread houses
only to those in our country, but also those around the world.
are especially common. Christbaumgeback, or “ChristWhether it be Christmas here in the United States, Navidad
mas tree pastry,” is also made for creating homemade orin Spain, Weihnachten in Germany, or les bonnes nouvelles
naments. Children leave letters on their windowsills for
in France, the holiday season brings people together to carry
Christkind, who will bring them the gifts. He is pictured
out family traditions. Similarities can be
as a winged figure dressed in a white robe
seen throughout the different cultures,
with a crown. December 6 is Nikolaustag or
as well as obvious differences. Let’s take a
“St. Claus Day.” The children of Germany
deeper look into other countries festivileave their shoes out in hopes of receiving a
ties during the holiday season.
small gift, or if they’ve been bad, a rod. Senior,
The Spanish holiday season ofJosephine Nitschmann, said, “I have always
ficially begins on December 8 with the
received something nice in my shoes!” On
Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Christmas Eve, the Christ Child sends a mesSpaniards worship the saint the Virgin
senger, Weihnachtsmann to the homes who
Mary, making this a very religious time
looks like “Santa Claus” and gives gifts like
of year. The celebration takes place in
Christkind. In some homes the door to the
front of the Gothic Cathedral in Seville
room displaying the Christmas tree is locked
with a ceremony called “los seises”, “the
until the parents wake their children at middance of six,” but is now performed by
night to see the now lit up tree.
ten men in costumes. Christmas Eve is
France calls its holiday season “Noel.”
referred to as “the Good Night,” or NoNativity scenes are displayed in many homes
chebuena. Oil lamps are lit in nearly evand are referred to as a “crèche.” An old traery house on this night. Most families
dition consists of burning a log from Christhave their Christmas dinner and attend
mas Eve to New Year’s Day. Christmas trees
People gather around a 150 ft.
midnight mass, before rushing the streets Christmas tree in Dortmund,
are not popular in France. On Christmas Eve
with dancers and other spectators. Children Germany celebrating the season. many have dinner and go to midnight mass.
look at the three Wise Men as their “Santa
The grand feast is referred to as “le reveillion.”
Claus,” who arrive on December 6 with gifts. AP images Martin Meissner
The menu includes a log-shaped cake called the
In return, the children fill their shoes with
“buche de Noel”, the Christmas log, but varies
straw and barley for the camels carrying the
depending on the region of France. The chilthree Wise Men.
dren place their shoes by the fireplace for Pere Noel to
Germany begins their festivities on December 1.
fill with gifts. Most children receive gifts on St. NichoThe season starts with baking cakes and cookies, as well as
las’ Day, December 6th, and parents on New Year’s Day.
What in the World?
If you thought the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center
was huge, you’ve never seen the one in Rio de Janeiro. In contrast to
Rockefeller Centre’s 22.5 meter tree with 300,000 lights, this Guinness World Record-holding tree stands at 85 meters tall with 3.1
million light bulbs. Over 100,000 people of Brazil join in the six
minute firework and tree lighting production to celebrate the holiday season and to symbolize peace.
In Essex, over 200 people anxiously waited to view the
town’s lights, including carol singers and a choir until they realized that the “on-switch” couldn’t be located. A group of organizers
searched for the light switch but could not find it for a full day!
As most have seen on YouTube, this holiday season has
brought Christmas decorations to a whole new level. A man in
Wells spent over $32,212 solely on 60,000 Christmas lights. He’s
been collecting for fourteen years and has now set up music on
a radio station in order to allow people to listen to his selected
Christmas carols while viewing the remarkable lights.
Don’t be surprised if you hop in a cab one day and a dog
is at the wheel. In New Zealand, some serious animal lovers are
attempting to teach local shelter dogs how to drive. One of these
dogs has had astonishing success, so he’s attempting an unassisted
spin in a MINI Countryman soon. The whole point of this program is to raise awareness to the extraordinary abilities of rescue
dogs that many people underestimate. You can teach an old dog
The huge tree featured in
Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Ap Images Silvia Izquierdo
Clay it Together...
As the second grading quarter for Ceramics students comes to an end, sculptors begin to put
the finishing touches on their work. Painting, trimming, and firing their final pieces for display.
Whether its wheel work or hand buliding, each student has a few original works of their own to
share with the school and the community.
Hayley Schaeffer , 12
Ciara Refosco, 11
Emily Koch, 12
Caroline Taylor, 10
Riley Partyka, 11
Evan Opeka, 11
Matt Cowler, 12
Gina Colosimo, 11
Harmony Shepardson, 12
Macy McKnight, 12
Design by Jenn Coffey
What is your favorite holiday TV special?