English class

Young Koh

Of all the classes that the common student dislikes, English class seems to get the worst of it. We understand that there is some educational value in reading the works of dead authors, but such an understanding still can’t keep us awake as we stare blankly at Marc Antony’s speech while our teacher spoon feeds us the translation of what Shakespeare is trying to express. Why can’t we simply have a more vernacular way or understanding these great works? Instead of “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks…” why can’t we have “Oh dang I see dat hot gurl up there”? Is there any importance in interpreting these works, or would it be the same to simply know the basic meaning and move on?

This process of interpretation infuriates us, but the fact that we have been required to do it to a certain degree in our middle-through-high school careers should ring a bell that it is an important process to master. Understanding the meaning and deeper meaning (and sometimes, the even-deeper meaning) of text is a skill we exercise daily as we communicate each other. In fact, the argument can be very easily made that our daily conversations are no less complicated to interpret than the dusty, hundred year old essays we have to read in class. For instance, “literally” holds a colloquial meaning for “figuratively,” and “fine” is often read as a thinly veiled expression of sorrow. Communication, be it verbal or textual, is a process by which we exchange ideas with each other. Even when it is unintended, the author of a hundred-year-old essay is conveying an idea to you. Communication loses its meaning when we can’t understand each other, and that is why the practice of interpretation is a very important part of our education. If we all speak only in the most literal terms, then gone are the days of artful and subtle flirting. We convey meaning through irony, through metaphor, through hyperbole, through all these devices without consciously thinking about it. The understanding of these devices and the mastery in their use allows for very dramatic story telling and even more effective flirting. As you read Shakespeare, try to appreciate the fact that it may be the most vulgar and violent thing you will ever read in your high school career. Even as we get knee-deep into the not understanding of Thoreau, the beauty of his excessive and complex language is in the practice of understanding of something harder than omg/lol. (Also, when you understand the essay, it is actually a very keen observation of life.)

As we continue our lives, we inevitably interact with other individuals along the way. How we handle that interaction will play a deciding role in deciding where we go in life. English class is disliked because it is boring and sometimes difficult, but also essential because it helps us to better handle that interaction.

West sophomore awarded FCCLA Regional President

Meredith Crockett

On Monday, March 10, West Jessamine sophomore Judianne Speach was awarded Regional President of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) of Kentucky. FCCLA is a national club that encourages family, careers and being community leaders, all of which Speach is known for. She was given this honor after a grueling series of interviews, applications and presentations.

As regional president, Speach is in charge of overseeing meeting, organizing projects, and training new members.

“This is a great opportunity to learn and grow as a leader,” Speach says simply. “I’m so thankful to be a part of this great program.”

Congratulations to Judianne on the great achievement. Keep representing West Jessamine.

West sophomore Judianne Speach led the FCCLA closing ceremonies after being installed as Regional President on March 10. Photo courtesy of Judianne Speech

West sophomore Judianne Speach led the FCCLA closing ceremonies after being installed as Regional President on March 10.
Photo courtesy of Judianne Speach

The pride and joy of Kentucky… That no one knows about

Josh Preston

There is a unique sound to the state. It is embedded in the hills, the valleys and the history of the commonwealth.

Bluegrass music: what do you think of it?

Unfortunately, this dying genre of music is all too often cast into a stereotype of “hillbilly” music. Now-a-days, it is almost outrageous the notion of someone our age listening to, and enjoying, bluegrass music. It is too “old-time,” it is too “country”… Yet there is so much more to this genre than meets the ear.

Bluegrass music was popularized by Kentucky’s own Bill Monroe (“The Father of Bluegrass”). In the early 1950s, Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys began to play this “new” style of music on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., and soon after, the genre attracted a diverse following throughout the country.

Though Monroe first broke this style of music out of its long-time shell of isolation in Appalachia, the style can trace its roots back to the Civil War and beyond. The style was a conglomerate of several influences brought forth by early settlers of the upper south and the Ohio valley. Still today, bluegrass music has a very Irish-sound, though it is also incorporated with a southern-gospel and Negro spiritual sound; Monroe characterized it as “Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin’. It’s Methodist and Baptist. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound.”

Soon after its propagation into the Opry music scene of the 1950s, artists such as Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, the Osborne Brothers and Jessamine County’s very own J.D. Crowe began to break off and mix in their own sound. Today, contemporary bluegrass artists such as Allison Krauss and Ricky Skaggs still produce music and carry on the age-old tradition.

Though you may think of just a “dumb hillbilly” pickin’ away at this style, there proves to be a lot more depth and complexity to the style. The main instruments -banjo, guitar, flat-steel guitar, upright bass, mandolin, fiddle – are all extremely challenging instruments to master. The upbeat and quick timing, characteristic to the genre, can exemplify the extreme talent one must possess to play this type of music.

So why not give it a try? You never know what you might enjoy listening to. Take to Youtube, look up some the bluegrass pioneers: Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, or even more contemporary artists Ricky Skaggs or Allison Krauss. Listening to this beautiful, upbeat music will not be met with disappointment. There is much more substance to it than what the teen generation listens to today. The instrumentation is not a simple computer-generated beat (rap music) nor is it perfectly engineered to maximize your listening experience. The beauty of bluegrass lies in its raw, pure nature. What you hear is what you would hear if you heard it live. Furthermore, bluegrass that isn’t simply instrumental carries a lot more meaning in its lyrics than does, for example, rap music. It tells a story; it is an anthology of the history of Appalachia.

I believe it is our duty as Kentuckians to be informed on such a pure and native music. It is scary to see the rate at which such a long tradition is declining and the ignorance people have towards the genre.

Take it from Allison Krauss: “You know, for most of its life, bluegrass has had this stigma of being all straw hats and hay bales and not necessarily the most sophisticated form of music. Yet you can’t help responding to its honesty. It’s music that finds its way deep into your soul because it’s strings vibrating against wood and nothing else.”

Dr. Wells selected as new principal

Bradley Phelps

The new principal of West Jessamine High School has been chosen from a field of 20 applicants. Current assistant principal Dr. Scott Wells will take over after 2013-2014 interim principal Mr. Ken Cox at the end of the school year.

Over the past few months, West’s site-based decision-making (SBDM) council has been conducting focus groups with parents, students, and teachers, collecting a wide range of information and opinions about what West needs in a new principal. Of the 20 applicants, only four were selected for interviews with our SBDM council, which occurred on March 5. The announcement of Wells for the position came on the morning of March 6.

Wells will be taking the place of current interim principal Ken Cox. The need for a one-year interim arose from the finalization of former principal Ed Jones’ demotion not happening until after the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Wells will begin his new role on July 1, 2014, and it is still undecided who will take his place as assistant principal.
Wells is a member of the Jessamine County High School class of 1981 and, after working in Florida for 20 years, returned to West to serve as a guidance counselor for a year and then as assistant principal for seven. Barring unusual circumstances, he has said that he “hopes to work at West until retirement.”

Regarding Wells’ short-term goals for when he becomes principal, he hopes to have a school-wide standards-based grading policy put in place by the beginning of next school year. Standards-based classes, operating on the concept of students being able to relearn material and retake assessments until mastery of learning standards has been reached, have been used by a few West teachers on a somewhat independent basis, but Wells would like to see this method of learning in every class.

Additional goals are to see a 0.5-point improvement in the school’s average ACT score, the addition of school wrestling and bass fishing teams (given student interest) and expansion of the arts programs, ideally allowing more opportunities for our bands and choirs to perform at various venues.

Wells also feels that West is approaching the point of being able to support an International Baccalaureate (IB) program concurrently with our already strong AP program and tentatively hopes to begin that process in 3-5 years.

Commenting on the daily aspects of being a school administrator, Wells stated that he “loves to be out and about interacting with students,” and looks forward to performing his duties as the new principal.

Y-Club goes to KUNA, ratifies proposal

Cale Canter


The Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) is a student-governed conference where students represent various countries in the United Nations as ambassadors, debating issues varying from poverty and world hunger to nuclear arms and environmental concerns. Members come from across Kentucky to participate in the conference, the largest youth government conference in the United States.

The West Jessamine Y-Club represented South Africa in the Kentucky United Nations Assembly in Louisville from March 13-16. Members Jesse Seales, Jonathan Miller, Cale Canter and Sean Seagraves drafted a proposal that would extend the United Nations policy on sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace to public schools across the globe. The proposal was ratified almost unanimously by the ambassadors of KUNA.

Members Abbey Bowe and Jesse Bronaugh represented Russia and South Africa, respectively, in the KUNA Security Council discussing global issues such as Water Usage and the Crimean Conflict, and passed a proposal to give South Africa and other nations absolute veto power over the Security Council.

Members Nicole Fielder, Joe Bandy and Fabian Leon participated as ambassadors representing South Africa, debating issues like Sugar Cane Fuel Research and Water Purification.

Monica Alden and Gentry Fitch acted as Parliamentarians, keeping time, records and chamber doors. Cody Emberton was a Media Corps videographer, documenting debates and General Assemblies.

Awards were given to the proposal authors for the ratification of their proposal on sexual harassment. Cody Emberton was named next year’s Media Corps editor for outstanding camera work, and the club as a whole won outstanding delegation for participating in all events and showing remarkable leadership.

If you are a junior, sophomore or freshman passionate about issues affecting our world and want opportunities as a leader in your community, contact President Abbey Bowe (abbey.m.bowe@gmail.com) or Mr. Cabrera (James.Cabrera@jessamine.kyschools.us). Meetings are held Fridays after school in Mr. Cabrera’s room.

2014 spring break hot spots

McKenzie Query

White sand beaches, gorgeous blue skies and salty ocean air surround you. You relish in the lush paradise, thankful for the long break away from reality. Lounging on your pink polka dot towel, you feel the beams of sun warming up your body. All you hear is the sound of seagulls carelessly flying above you and water crashing against the rocks on shore. You have no worries and no commitments. All of a sudden, the ocean fades away and you’re jolted with the sound of your name. You open your eyes and see your math teacher looking at you from across the room, waiting for the answer to the problem on the board.

If you’re one of these people daydreaming about spring break, you’re not alone. Many people have been planning their breaks since winter. Maybe they’re planning a ski trip to Colorado or heading up north. However, most teenagers travel to a sunny state because they’re tired of the cold, dreary Kentucky weather. For me, spring break is a time to relax and escape from the people, drama and the little town of Nicholasville. If you go to the typical spring break location sites, you might not be so lucky.

When it comes to hot spots, many families and friends fly to Siesta Keys, Florida, located on the West Coast of Florida. According to bayoaksonsiestakey.com, this white sandy beach is the number one beach in America. The beach is gigantic with beautiful blue water and soft white sand.

Another popular location is also in Florida: Panama City Beach. It is a city in Bay County on the Gulf of Mexico coast. According to visitpcfla.com, Panama City Beach’s slogan is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” due to the unique sugar-white sandy beaches of northwest Florida. Panama City Beach has always been a popular vacation destination for people living in the southern United States. The city is a very popular spring break destination and is even referred to as “The Spring Break Capital of the World.” This is due to the 100,000 or more high school and college students who arrive during the months of March and April.

Or perhaps you want to travel to Cancun, Mexico. Cancun is a city in southeastern Mexico. It is major world-renowned tourist destination. According to cancuntravel.com, you will never run out of things to do during your vacation. You can enjoy water sports, golf courses, one of their world renowned eco-parks or just lie back and relax at one of their fabulous spas.

No matter what you do for spring break – whether you stay in town, venture down south, or go somewhere colder – make it fun and make it memorable.

Academic team finishes season at state

Grace Rose

The West Jessamine Academic Team recently competed in the region 11 competition. The quick-recall team beat Scott County 45-17 and then Western Hills 33-13 in their first two rounds of competition. They then went on to defeat Woodford County 36-15, but ultimately lost to Dunbar in the finals. Nevertheless, the team finished in the top two in the region and was able to punch their ticket to the state competition. West also had six individuals move onto state for their written assessments.

At state, the quick recall team lost the first round, won the second and lost the third. Although faced with a loss at state, the academic team deserves congratulations, as it is a huge accomplishment to even make it to state.

Congratulations to team members Monica Alden, Cale Canter Jerod Crockett, Jed Chew, Jonah Dixon, Noah Dixon, Abbi Donelson, Nicole Fielder, Clay Fugate, David Fugate, Stephen Goodlett, Young Koh, David Lee, Shawn Murphy, Joseph Oaks and Amanda Settles.

The West Jessamine academic team at state Photo courtesy of Nicole Fielder

The West Jessamine academic team at state
Photo courtesy of Nicole Fielder

Colts baseball begin 2014 season

Noah Hayden

Commencing the 2014 season, the West Jessamine baseball Colts have high hopes: their eyes set on a region title and more.

“I definitely feel we have the talent to win region and even make a run in state this year,” said junior catcher Hunter Miner. “The leadership of the seniors this year as well as Coach Hamilton’s track record of winning will be huge.”

The Colts start out the season with an impressive 17th ranking as well as a pair of pre-season wins including a route of number 11 Lexington Catholic and a 1 run victory over PRP. The senior leadership will be a large factor in determining the season for the colts.

“This could be the best group of seniors that has come through the program,” Miner said. They have really stepped up so far and been great influences on the rest of us.”

The Colts have a winning tradition and will look to continue that this year. If the Colts can win region, it’ll be the first trip to the State Tournament since 2009, one of the most successful seasons in school history. These Colts have the possibility to be the best team to come through West Jessamine, and they are very aware; the team knows the goal and will be tough to stop. This could be a special year, so don’t miss out. Show up and support the Colts!

Shooting for goals: West archery experiences recent success

Allie Howard

The West Jessamine Archery team qualified for worlds when they shot an astounding 3310 at regionals on Feb. 14-15, taking home fourth. For a second year program, this is almost unheard of. West Jessamine is currently ranked first in the state for these second year programs.

According to junior Susanna McDaniel, shooting a 3300/3600 as a team has always been a goal. Assistant Coach Harding Ison-Bowman was so determined to reach this goal that he let the archers shave his head when they achieved it.

It’s this kind of dedication that helped the archery team to accomplish this goal. Be sure to support the archery team as they continue their season at nationals and worlds.

How to make a breakfast smoothie

Emily Kerns

Morning times are hard enough for teens, and the added pressure of making a healthy breakfast can seem stressful. Waking up, getting dressed and becoming mentally prepared for the day all overshadow the choices you make for breakfast. You’ve heard teachers and parents say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they are right! Having a healthy breakfast can make your day better simply by giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. Breakfast smoothies have proved themselves to be a perfect, healthy morning choice among teenagers, filling them with the nutrients they need to ensure that their bodies are functioning to the fullest. Here are some simple steps to make your smoothie:

• Blender
• Milk
• Fruit (whatever you like)
• Fruit Juice (orange juice, pineapple juice, etc.)
• Ice
• Yogurt

1. First, start off with one tablespoon of yogurt. Make sure the yogurt is at the bottom of the cup and you have enough room for the other ingredients.

2. You will need to put ice into your smoothie next. You can add more or less depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be. The more ice there is, the thicker the smoothie will be.

3. Add your fruit in the cup and fill it up halfway.

4. Now add one cup of milk and one cup of fruit juice to the mixture. Once you add them, the liquids should cover the other ingredients up to the fill line. Once this is done, you can seal the ingredients in with the lid of the blender

5. Blend your smoothie and serve!

Smoothies make the best choice for breakfast food in the morning, so instead of grabbing something that slows you down or even skipping breakfast, try using these five easy steps to making a healthy smoothie. Gather you ingredients, put them in your cup and blend! It’s the simplest way to give yourself the boost you need to go on with your day!