Athlete of the Month: Rachel Seals
By Colton Williams
Senior soccer play Rachel Seals is this month’s Athlete of the Month. Rachel is a senior at West and has been playing soccer for the West since the sixth grade.
She has been a big part of the Girls’ Soccer team’s success in recent years along with many of her teammates. She spoke on how important her teammates and coaches are, saying, “I’m really thankful to play beside a defender as good as Katie Mitchell and to have a coach as good as Coach Wright.”
The Girls’ Soccer team has not only been one of the best in the state of Kentucky, but in the entire country. All four years Rachel has been on the team, they have won their district and region. Rachel’s freshman year, the team made it all the way to the Final Four of the state tournament, and when the Colts had gotten knocked out of the postseason, the team that defeated them went on win the State Championship each year.
In addition to all of the team’s success, Rachel has also had many individual accomplishments over her career. Her sophomore year, Rachel was named All-Region Honorable Mention and All-Academic Second Team. In her junior season, she was on the All-District and All-Academic First Team as well as All-State Honorable Mention. So far this season, Rachel was once again on the All-District Team.
Speaking on the goals the team has achieved, and still wishes to achieve, Rachel said, “We’ve completed our first goal by winning the district so our next goal is to win the region. We’re just going to take it one game at a time and try our best to make a run as deep into the postseason as we can. Our ultimate goal is to play six more games which would put us in the State Championship game.”
Rachel is also a devoted student as well as a great athlete. This school year she is taking AP Calculus, College Algebra, and two classes at Asbury University. She will be attending college, as she has committed to play soccer at Campbellsville University.
Better Off With Logging Off
Undoubtedly, social media is an exceedingly effective tool in sharing information, forming diverse connections, and managing relationships. However, the advent of this technology has spawned many negative repercussions including the erosion of social skills, addiction and distraction, and loss of identity and self-esteem. These ever-growing problems in society are exacerbated by excessive dependence upon social media. For these aforementionedreasons, our 21st century world would be ultimately better off without social media.
The erosion of social skills as a product of social media is a testament to its toxicity. Social media communication is synonymous with impersonal communication. Communication via chat, tweets, etc. involves few facets of actual human interaction. Hence, vital social skills are diminishing among users as many do not know how to communicate effectively without the façade of an electronic screen. Likewise, many users make posts or send messages that they would never say in a face to face situation because they do not bear immediate consequences of the action; a blatant act of cowardice.
With the instant and constant access of social media, any user is susceptible to resultant addiction and distraction. Albeit hesitant to admit, many users commence their day by viewing the previous night’s “missed action” on their feeds, and check it again only a half an hour later. The cycle perpetuates itself throughout the day, so it’s reasonable to conclude that many users check their social media feeds between 20-30 times per day. The sheer amount of time wasted on such activities is a testament to the futility of this addiction. Furthermore, work, study, meetings, or family dinners are prone to social media’s prowling distraction. Frankly, the “information” we gather from our daily binges is worthless and often empty. This time could be better spent on something more beneficial such as studying, reading, actual conversation with family and friends, or learning a new skill.
Loss of identity and self-esteem through social media can bear witness to its destructive nature. With the amount of superficiality and selectivity that is put into a social-media “profile,” users often project their profiles as a veneer to their less-attractive attributes or self. Consequently, the true identity of a user is lost in his/her online persona or profile. Moreover, a user’s sense of value and self-worth are often contingent upon how many likes, retweets, etc. received on a post. A seemingly benign act of sharing a post is frequently rather an attempt to affirm one’s own popularity or esteem; users often feel inadequate if they do not receive as much acclaim on their post as did a friend.
Social media has warped regular lives into a stage show on display to hundreds or thousands of people. All users are actors on the set of social media; everything posted becomes a show of impression, and we are vexed if we give a bad performance. Until our destructive tendencies aforementioned subside, our use of such will be but denigrating and abusive.
2014-15 Boys’ Basketball Season Preview
The boys’ basketball season will be starting up soon, as tryouts have recently been completed and the team roster is set.
Last season, the varsity won the district championship and hopes to repeat that accomplishment this year. In addition, the team’s goals will progress as they take it step-by-step to try to win the region, and then hopefully go on to make a run at Rupp Arena for the State Championship.
This team is confident in their abilities and is hungry to achieve their goals. As sophomore Isaiah Okesson said, “We get buckets and we are winning region.” With statements such as that, it’s hard not to believe that this team will truly put together a special performance this season.
Head Basketball Coach Damon Kelley also commented on the team’s expectations for this season, saying, “I’m excited about our potential but recognize that we only return three players with varsity experience. How quickly our younger players adjust to the varsity level will determine how quickly we have success. Our region is loaded this year so we will need to grow together quickly as a team, but I believe we have enough depth to match-up with anyone as the season progresses.”
Coach Kelley also spoke on the team’s goals for the post-season: “West has won 8 of the last 10 District Championships, and we expect to get #9 this February. Once we get into the Regional Tournament, we will be experienced and ready to take our best shot to get to Rupp Arena, which is our ultimate goal.”
The Colts hope to get nine to ten players in on the action during the course of a game and play very aggressive offense and defense. They have more depth than they have had in past years, which they plan on taking advantage of. Kelley, upon being asked about the team’s play style, said, “Ultimately our style of play will be whatever gives us the best chance to win.”
Come out and cheer on the Colts as they open up their season December 2nd with a home game against Paris.
For more information on the Colts schedule for the entire season, visit http://www.khsaa.org under the “scoreboard” tab.
Do Teachers Support Spirit Week?
Sarah Marie Wright
Every year, our school goes through the ritual of spirit week: that amazing week where we get to dress up and get called out of class for pictures. In the madness of this week, have you ever wondered about the teachers? A few of our teachers when asked if they thought that teachers should participate agreed that while it wouldn’t rally the students to participate, teachers should show some school spirit.
While teachers at West like spirit week, most agreed that we lacked spirit. “I think it’s good, most kids enjoy it, and most kids participate. But in terms of school spirit I think our school sort of lacking,” said one teacher when asked what he thought about spirit week.
We have all the really pepped up kids that participate every day. Then there are the kids that could care less and don’t try to dress up. So what should we do about our “lack of spirit”? I think it’s time the Colt Crazies take a step and show their awesome school spirit at school and not just games.
Why We Should (Or Shouldn’t) Freak Out About the Ebola Virus
By Jessica Applebaum
The thought of a deadly disease is very horrifying, especially knowing that this dangerous virus we’ve been hearing about is in the United States. I’m sure everyone has heard or read about the Ebola virus. Chances are, some of what you have heard or read is untrue. We’ve all seen those terrifying fake articles on websites or Facebook that claim those who have died from Ebola are ‘rising from the dead’ or that Ebola is airborne. These artificial articles are meant to cause an ‘Ebola panic’ when we really shouldn’t be worrying about the Ebola virus.
One reason why we shouldn’t worry about the virus is because of the way it is transmitted. The virus is only transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, objects like needles that are contaminated and fruit bats and primates. Also, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the Ebola virus is not air or water borne, and there is no evidence that it is spread through mosquitoes or other insects.
The Ebola virus is a parasite, which means that it requires a host to replicate and reproduce its genes. There is new research from the Journal of Translational Medicine that certain cancer drugs may help contain the deadly Ebola virus. The drugs, Nolitinib and Imatinib, are two types of tyrosine kinase deterrence. Tyrosine kinase is an enzyme essential for the Ebola virus’ ability to reproduce and spread throughout the body. The enzyme, tyrosine kinase, transports phosphates onto amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. This affects the protein’s shape and function. Nolitinib and Imatinib halt the transport of these phosphates, therefore halting the protein’s activity.
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, says that the Ebola virus can be contained within four to six months, and he told a news conference in Beijing that the time frame is possible if there is “good isolation and good treatment of the cases which are confirmed,” and “safe burials” of those who die from the disease. The World Health Organization and the CDC report that 4,555 (current as of October 2014) people have died from Ebola in the last 10 months, but with the right precautions, we can stop that number from going up.
A few tips from the CDC on preventing the virus include:
• Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
• Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
• Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
• Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids, and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
• Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
• Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 100.4°F/ 38.0°C or higher) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
Educate yourself from the right sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical journals, or credible news websites, and don’t be fooled by fake articles published by sham websites. Ebola is a dangerous and deadly disease, but instead of being scared, fight against it by helping prevent the spread of it or any other disease.
Fall Fun for the 859
By: Emma Wiggins and Danielle Mullins
As the autumn months continue to fly by, there are always fun activities to fill your schedule with. You can enjoy the last warm days outside at the orchard or retreat indoors for a concert or musical. No matter how you choose to spend your time, here are a few ideas to make this next month a November to remember!
• Boyds Orchard- Boyds will be closing for the year November 19th! If you had a busy October, now is the chance to visit. The orchard is located at 1396 Pinckard Pike in Versailles, KY 40383.
• Alltech National Horse Show- Tickets range from $8-$16 for general admission each day. Enjoy this 4-day event at the KY Horse Park. This event was voted Horse Show of the Year by the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame.
• UK football- There are only 4 major games left, with only one being a home game. The last is on Nov. 8th when the Wildcats take on Georgia at Commonwealth Stadium.
• Daughtry- This band comes live to the EKU center for the arts November 10th at 7:30 P.M. Ticket prices range from $30 to $70.
• Josh Turner- EKU center for the arts will also be hosting Josh Turner on November 14th at 7:30 P.M. Tickets range from $30 to $55.
• ELF, The Broadway Musical- The Lexington Opera House will be performing ELF live. This is November 14th -16th and is a great way to kick off the incoming winter months. Tickets start at $40.
• Southern Lights- At The Kentucky Horse Park a beautiful array of Christmas lights, Christmas themed petting zoos, Camel rides, Christmas shops, and various Christmas events will be available. This starts November 21st and will end when December does. The public can enter at 5:30 P.M. and leave by 10:00 P.M. Tickets are $15.00 per car (up to 7 people) on week days and Friday and Saturday tickets are $20.00 per car (up to 7 people).
By Brooke Russell
Make chills run down my spine. Make my heart pound out of my chest. Make my stomach do flip flops. I want to scream, but the lump in my throat won’t let it out. Panic overwhelms me as I imagine what is going to happen. It’s the anticipation and adrenalin rush that keeps me paralyzed with fear. Give me the thrill of Halloween!
Whether it’s a scary movie, going to a haunted house or just the thumps and creeks that make our imagination run wild, fear is a thrill seeking high at Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, “Americans will spend $6.9 billion on Halloween horror.” Each year, consumers stock up on scary decorations, costumes, tricks and treats. This holiday offers something for everyone. Both children and adults enjoy the excitement.
So why do people love being scared? Most thrill seekers say that it’s the adrenalin rush that keeps them coming back for more! It makes them feel powerful and alive to see how much they can tolerate. Dr. Robi Ludwig explains, “Many of us have a need to expose ourselves to sensations which are different from our routines. This helps us to feel more stimulated by life.” It allows a safe way for people to experience fear.
As October 31st approaches, watch a scary movie, visit a haunted house and give yourself permission to face your fears. Make yourself feel alive! Be strong; test your limits in the horror behind the door. Scare me!
History of Halloween
By: Britt Fugmann
Every year on October 31st, we celebrate the holiday of Halloween. We celebrate, of course, by trick-or-treating, costume parties, carving pumpkins and visiting haunted houses.
What you might not have known is that the holiday originated from Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 19th century. It’s said to have first originated in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival was a celebration at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31st, the worlds of the living and the dead would overlap and the deceased would come to life and create havoc, sickness or damaged crops. Masks and costumes would be used to mimic or fulfill the evil spirits.
Trick-or-Treating has become a main tradition on Halloween. The trick part of trick-or-treat is a threat toward the household to play a trick on their property or on the homeowners if the children do not receive any candy from that particular house. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). This originated in Ireland and Britain.
Another Halloween tradition is costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages. October 1947 marked the year that the United States gave attention to trick-or-treating from issues of children magazines and by Halloween episodes of network radio shows. The custom had become firmly established in our culture by 1952 when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat; Ozzie and Harriet were bombarded by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show. Today, the first words that come to mind when someone says Halloween, is candy, costumes and scary movies. It’s fun to find out where our traditions come from!
Homecoming’s “Lame” Stigma
By Judianne Speach
Let’s face it: not many students go to the West Jessamine Homecoming Dance. I’m a junior, and having attended three years of homecoming, the attendance has only decreased. It dampens the fun and the atmosphere, that’s for sure.
So why is this? Why do most students choose not to go? Junior Michael Peck thinks that it’s because “people think they’re too good for it”. Likewise, Senior Megan Harvey says that regardless of whether or not people attend, “most have the preconceived notion that it’s going to be lame.”
Here’s what I think. The homecoming dance isn’t lame. The only reason it becomes “lame” is because no one goes. It only takes a couple groups of people to decide the dance is a good idea, and then suddenly everyone will go.
Sure, a couple things could change. The DJ the past few years has been mediocre at best. He never listened to students’ requests, and the music he played could’ve been better. Personally, I think all the school needs are colorful lights, an auxiliary cord, and a few students with a Spotify account.
Many students say homecoming dance should be at a different venue, but that would increase ticket prices. $50 for Homecoming and prom would result in complaints.
Several students have proposed the idea of having free food at homecoming. Of course, this comes with an extra cost, however, free food is enough to at least get more feet in the door.
Overall, although a few aspects could be improved, I suggest that next year everyone experiences high school homecoming. Whether or not you’ve been, girls, invite a bunch of your friends and give it a try. Or guys, ask a girl to go with you—trust me, she’ll want to go. Attending homecoming is a way to support the school and show your spirit. It’s not “lame”; if you’re with the right people, anything can be a good time!
Halloween Pet Safety
By JoAnn Swintosky
As October reaches its end, everyone is looking forward to Halloween. This holiday can be a great experience for both you and your fuzzy friends. However, there are certain precautions you should take before getting your Halloween started. Take these tips into consideration as you and your pets prepare for this spooky holiday:
Do not share your candy with your pets
While it’s always nice to share your treats with your friends, dogs, cats and other pets should not be given candy. Certain ingredients may cause discomfort or even be fatal to your animals. If you real-ly want to treat them, take a trip to your local pet store.
Keep dogs on a leash
Your dog might be dressed as an angel this Halloween, but he might not act like one. Both large and small dogs should be kept on leashes if walking with you this Halloween. This will ensure the safety of the dog and your fellow trick-or-treaters.
Pet costumes aren’t always the best idea
Not all pets are keen on being dressed up. Avoid tight-fitting clothes and hats that will obscure their vision. Unless you know that your pet is comfortable going out in a costume, it’s best to let them trick or treat in their birthday suit.
Keep pets indoors or under close supervision
Pets should not be allowed outside alone this Halloween, especially black cats. There have been many cases of animals being abused or even killed on this frightful night, so keep your animal friends indoors or close to you at all times.
Avoid dangerous decorations
Let’s face it: most animals like to chew on things. Keep wires and sharp objects out of reach or avoid them all together. Decorations such as pumpkin and corn don’t tend to cause problems for dogs or cats, but make sure to keep your smaller pets away from any lit jack-o-lanterns.
Follow these tips so that both you and your pets can have a spook-tacular Halloween. If you have any concerns that haven’t been covered here, just use common sense or check a reliable source, such as the ASPCA (American society for the prevention of cruelty to animals).
Principal’s Corner: Mr. McConnell
As I’m sure you all know, the Anti-Bullying Campaign is being broadcasted all over the school as well as on our website, and it has been one of Mr. McConnell’s many concerns for this month.
He has a very positive outlook on the campaign; so far 350 students have taken the pledge. He hopes that as a result of the campaign students will feel safer in school and that students will bring their issues involving bullying to the adults at our school, as well as their supportive peers. He feels (rightly so) that you can’t learn if you don’t feel safe.
As far as improvement, he states that attendance can be better at our school, and efforts will be made to connect personally with the kids that have truancy and attendance problems. Teachers, counselors and administrators will take measures to get attendance back up to the 94th percentile, rather than staying in the 93rd. Phone calls home and personal connections, he says, should help assist in alleviating the problem.
Another one of Mr. McConnell’s concerns is the focus on getting into more classrooms to observe our teachers while they are teaching their curriculum. The observations should be emphasized this coming month, according to McConnell.
It was interesting to see what’s going on in our school, and to see whether certain things are going well or if they need some improvement. Let’s hope that the things that need to be fixed are fixed and the things running smoothly continue to do so!
Reese Kemp: Sharing Your Wishes With Others
By Sarah Gibson
We all have that one wish in life which we dream could come true. Although genies may not be real, there is a Nicholasville teenager with a bucket list ready to help out others and make some wishes come true. Reese Kemp, who is 17 years old, attends WJHS and is living each day of his life trying to put smiles on people’s faces.
Kemp was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a debilitating disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines, which can cause stunted growth, lung infections, and many other serious symptoms.
He is now living his dream of meeting UK basketball players and attends more games than he ever wished he could.
For the past couple of years, he has decided to give his game tickets away to other people like he with wishes they never thought could be filled. This year, Reese decided to give up his Big Blue Madness tickets again, but this time, anyone can get them; the contest was open to anyone who could submit the best story as to why they deserve the tickets.
Through this and many other generous acts, it is clear to see that Kemp is like a giver that never stops giving.