West Softball Continues to Build and Improve

Josh Preston

Despite a disappointing 6-17 thus far in the season, the West Jessamine softball team has maintained a high moral as they begin to reach the end of the regular season. With a rough 1-9 start in the first 10 games of the season, things didn’t look very optimistic for the rest of the season. However, according to freshman left fielder Taylor Hendrix, the Lady Colts might be beginning to right the ship going into the latter of the season. “The first few games were kind of rough, but we have really worked hard to improve over the last few weeks,” says Hendrix, “Each day we get better and we are all willing to do whatever it takes to win at this point.”
Coached by Michelle Baker and led by seniors Jessica Baker, Ashley Brunty, Ali Cox, and Alex Huffman, the Colts have only 12 games remaining to compensate for the disheartening first half of the season. “The seniors this year are amazing leaders. When we’re down in a game they pick us right back up. If we make a mistake, they tell us to brush it off. They are always encouraging us and showing that they will never give up on us in a game,” says Hendrix.

On Saturday, April 27, the Colts showed some improvement beginning with an impressive 8-2 win arising over a tough Garrard County team, who routed the Lady Colts earlier in the season in an error-ridden season opener.
“For the rest of the season I expect a lot. We are beyond determined to win our games and are ready for districts. We have been giving 100% effort and don’t plan on going down without a fight,” says Hendrix.

Come out and support your Lady Colts at their next home game on Wednesday, May 1st vs. Montgomery County!

Athlete of the Month: Hunter Miner

Josh Preston

This month’s Colt Nation athlete of the month is sophomore Hunter Miner. Hunter plays catcher for the West Jessamine Baseball team, and has to step into the position of a major varsity player this year. Having played tee-ball since the age of 5, Miner says he was more ready to take on the role. “Catching for varsity, and just being a part of the team as a whole have probably been my favorite parts of the year,” says Miner. With high expectations placed on the West baseball team since the beginning of the season, Miner says hopefully they can fulfill those expectations. “Our sights are set on State, which is our ultimate goal this year.”

Hunter says hopefully in the future he could play at the next level. “I think one day I could get a Division 1 scholarship. I believe that you get out what you put in, so with hard work, I think that a scholarship is a reasonable goal to set.”

Rolex Time

Mia Zanzucchi

A commonly known fact is that horseback riders are weird. Perhaps the strangest subcategory of horseback riding is eventing. At the Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event, 46 of the world’s most versatile horses and riders, some even former Olympians, competed for the coveted first place this past weekend. Because nothing makes more sense to an equestrian than doing complex routines requiring years of training and an unbreakable bond between willing horse and dedicated rider, then riding a 28 jump course of high, wide, and very solid obstacles while galloping over miles of hills, water, and road, and concluded with a speed driven course over 4’ jumps.

From April 24-28, the toughest equestrians and fittest horses from around the globe battled it out at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. On Wednesday the 24 was the jog, or inspection of the horses by official vets. April 25 (Leader Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe, NZL) and 26 (Leader William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning, GBR) were both dressage (the “ballet” of equestrians) days. April 27 (Leader Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo, NZL) drew the biggest crowd as each competitor rode a timed cross country course with 28 menacing, “natural,” and very solid obstacles. Cross country, considered the most dangerous because the minimum 3’ jumps sometimes don’t give way when hit by a horse’s leg, is the favorite phase of many spectators because the expansive course can be walked in its entirety. The final day saw day saw a drizzly round of show jumping, a timed discipline where the jumps are 4’ and higher, and only the speed demons survive.

New Zealender Andrew Nicholson, the first place rider on Thursday and Saturday, won with his second mount, Quimbo. In second place was first place rider William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain on his first mount Seacookie TSF. Andrew Nicholson scooped up a third place win on his first mount Calico Joe as well. The top American rider was Bruce “Buck” Davidson Jr., in fourth place on his mount Ballynoe Castle RM.

The Rolex Three Day CCI**** Event is the only event of its caliber on this side of the globe, and only the tough survive. Cross country alone accounted for five falls (automatic disqualifications, no serious injuries) and 10 other disqualifications, on-course retiring, and pre-course withdrawals. The other two days accounted for two additional withdrawals. But it’s all worth it. The winner goes home with $80,000, a brand new Rolex watch, and a mob of aspiring equestrian fangirls.

Each year, Rolex draws many horseback riders to Central Kentucky, and even sees a fair share of non-riders, albeit many are parents of equine fanatics. Almost 200 vendors, the biggest eventing competition outside of England and Australia, and the chance to meet new and interesting people that share a passionate love for horses makes Rolex a special place for equestrians across the continent. It’s a unique tradition that many avid riders fantasize over all year. I for one highly encourage even you equinophobics to give the Rolex Three Day Event a chance. Cross country day, hailed as the most exciting phase by many, is certainly my personal favorite.

Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo sat in first place after a double clear cross country run.

Top American rider Buck Davidson Jr. and Ballynoe Castle RM jump clear with 8 time faults.

Second place rider William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF.

First place rider Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo had only three time faults for a total score of 40.1.

Huffman’s Horoscopes

Justin Huffman

Aries (March 21 – April 19) – You will find yourself trying out something new. You will also fall in love with a Scorpio.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) – A potential future love interest will begin to appear more throughout your upcoming days. That person will likely be a Scorpio.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) – A Scorpio will make your upcoming birthday up to three times better. You will fall in love with them.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) – According to the stars, there is an extremely tough decision looming in your future. You also may fall in love with a Scorpio.

Leo (July 23 – August 22) – Exciting times for you are approaching! But be wary of danger alongside this excitement. Also, a Scorpio is your soul mate.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22) – You will finally receive some long-awaited recognition for your actions this month. Plus, you will find the one you’ve been looking for – a Scorpio.

Libra (September 23 – October 22) – Consider taking a close look at your spending habits. They may come back and sting you, like a scorpion.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) – You will find yourself surrounded by members of the opposite sex. It is your responsibility to live without breaking any hearts.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) – A confusing mess will confuse a relationship. Probably something involving your significant other loving a Scorpio.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) – Continue to work hard and you will find the key to your eternal happiness. The key could potentially be a Scorpio.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) – You will find difficulty coping with a vast change in your life. You will fall in love with a Scorpio.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20) – Someone will break your heart, but there will be a Scorpio there to help you pick up the Pisces.

Note: I do not stare into the sky nor do I examine and carefully study palms. Nothing in this article is to be taken seriously. Nothing.

Warren wins once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Mia Zanzucchi

“Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.”
-Normal Borlaug
Jessamine County 2013-2014 FFA President and West Jessamine High School junior Sarah Warren is one of 22 students worldwide selected to intern for the prestigious Borlaug-Ruan Internship. Borlaug-Ruan is an eight week international experience for visionary high school students dedicated to ending hunger in third world countries through agricultural and nutritional research and development. Warren is one of two interns traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to work with scientists and policymakers at the International Livestock Research Institute. In October of 2012, Sarah attended the World Food Prize with Jessamine County FFA advisor Mary Jennings. The World Food Prize, held annually in Des Moines, Iowa, is dedicated to providing people all around the world with food, an issue very prevalent in third world countries like Ethiopia. World Food Prize sponsors the Borlaug-Ruan Internships.

In addition to her work with the Jessamine County FFA and the World Food Prize, Sarah owns and shows goats and has a miniature pony named Emmy. She is also the junior class reporter, a Colt Nation contributor, and a marketing/social media committee member of the 2013 Kentucky State Fair Young Adult Program. “I hope to be able to make an impact on the global agricultural community. It doesn’t matter if you’re here in Jessamine County or half way around the world; where there’s fertile land and animals to be found, there’s people who need help,” Warren said.

Marci Smith: WJHS Teacher of the Year

Skyler Reisig

Ms. Smith is obviously a great teacher; she won teacher of the year! Here at West, we’re so proud of her. Students in her classes are fortunate too! She teaches advanced math and is also a part-time lab technician. She’s been teaching for a very impressive 16 years. When asked what makes her different from other teachers, she said, “I don’t tell as much. I let the students figure out things more on their own.” And when asked if she liked her career, she said this is definitely the place she is meant to be. So congratulations, Ms. Smith!

May Poetry Corner

Carson Ball

With Spring comes excitement in the halls of West
Spring styles include Alex Penman wearing a denim vest
Even Officer Wade is rocking a new blue uniform
While many seniors continue their search for the perfect college dorm

Teachers are frazzled as the year winds down
Clothes are bedazzled, leaving no reason to frown

Josh Blancet is taking charge of the baseball team
He wants to win state, that’s always been his dream

Mr. Yost is teaching the tale of Bin Laden
Grant Wells and Andrew Monell will never be forgotten
Summer is coming, the best time of the year
Hindsight is 20/20, so I’ll be looking in the rear
Intramurals are intense, the finals are here
Hufflepuff or Old School- which team will persevere?

Evaluating Enrichment: The Epilogue

Mia Zanzucchi

Now that the dreaded March ACT is over, the Triumph College Admissions ACT preparatory program has become a shadow of the past for West High Juniors. The ACT, which was administered on a state-wide level to every junior in Kentucky on March 5, plays a sizable part in the complex science that is college admissions. A good score can mean admission to a quality school with possible scholarships; a bad score can mean scrambling to get into any school period. Doing well on the ACT will also yield KEES money from the state of Kentucky for in-state use. For any college bound student, the ACT is kind of important.

But how much did the dedicated 25-minute, three times a week enrichment mini-period really do for students? WJHS was fortunate enough to get a grant for 500 iPads to use during enrichment to access the TCA website, but they had their fair share of problems from the start. A frustratingly long school code and login process combined with bad wifi connections made for some very angsty students. With less than half an hour, little progress was made in class.

While many students liked the idea of setting aside time for ACT prep, most were frustrated with enrichment’s execution. Students were expected to accumulate at least ten hours of program usage. With a series of technological problems, for many this meant mindless clicking around on the website outside of school. Still others used the site honestly outside of the enrichment period but struggled to get the mandatory ten hours, which will be considered as a test grade in math, English, and some science courses. Some weren’t even made aware of the ten hour rule until very close to the ACT itself.

“The idea was good and may have worked. But then we were expected to get ten hours, and that affected our English, math, and science grades. That put pressure on us to get the grade and not use the site to its full potential,” said Junior Cory Laird. Several other students expressed their frustration with having to accumulate ten hours of “study time,” especially those going in to enrichment with already high ACT scores. Each and every junior, whether they had never taken the ACT and were predicted to get far below benchmarks or had gotten two 35’s in a row, was expected to utilize TCA fully. “Enrichment was a useful tool for students to improve their ACT scores, and there are many kids that improved. But students with higher ACT scores should have had other options,” said one WJHS teacher, demonstrating similar opinions between both students and teachers. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And you certainly can’t make it drink the whole pond in ten minutes. And then punish it in three core classes.

Some core teachers were able to supplement their juniors with ACT help in their specific subjects. Precalculus teachers Mr. Miracle and Ms. Smith gave their students keys to logically narrowing down multiple choice answers in addition to quick calculator tricks. First-year AP Biology teacher Ms. Brown had students complete a practice science section (which is often the hardest because it comes at the end of the monstrous test) and AP Language and Comp teacher Mr. Corman went over grammatical basics in class. Those who actually paid attention to what their teachers were saying found their tips to be very helpful. When you have one minute per math question, a calculator trick that shaves off even 30 seconds comes in handy.

Now that the ACT is over, West has a plethora of unused iPads. Teachers are able to sign them out for in-class use, but many haven’t even touched them since the beginning of March. While having iPads at the ready is a plush luxury, students often question their purpose, wondering why cheaper laptops, or even cheaper prep books weren’t purchased instead.

Though many found fault in enrichment, the idea behind it was pure: to help students achieve success on a very important standardized test. What West Jessamine will do next year regarding ACT prep is still unknown, but it will probably look much different from this year’s experiment.

Three Things to Know About the New Elementary School

Jack Bandy

1) The board of education chose the name “Red Oak” following an exasperating selection process. Red Oak is the name of an old schoolhouse located about a mile away from the complex that also includes the recently-built East Jessamine Middle School. In addition to historical significance, Red Oak symbolizes the transformation students experience: from the small acorns of childhood to the mighty oaks of adulthood.

2) Red Oak will open next fall, accompanied by a thorough redistricting plan. The county will then have six elementary schools and aims to “tighten up” on attendance-area policies. These policies previously led to a situation in which close to 20% of Wilmore Elementary’s students did not live in the school’s dedicated attendance area.

3) The $13 million dollar structure is paid for by a “nickel tax”. This revenue is separate from other school revenue, and the district can only use these funds for infrastructure (not iPads). A “nickel tax” simply means that for every $100 of a home’s assessed value, the home pays about five cents in property tax for infrastructure. (For example, a home worth $65,000 would pay 650 nickels — $32.5 — towards this fund.)

Red Oak Elementary
Red Oak Elementary
(Photo: Jonathan Kleppinger/jkleppinger@jessaminejournal.com / February 22, 2013)

Eighth Best: the story of a fish and its pond

Jack Bandy

“I go to the eighth best high school in Kentucky” may soon become your most reliable pickup line. U.S. News named West High a “silver medal winner”, along with 1,789 high schools nation-wide, ranked behind 2,515 “gold medal” high schools. West ranked 8th in the state and 812th nationally.

Why not a gold medal? West’s “College Readiness Index” (CRI) is 36.6. Because this study was based on data from two years ago, this number accounts for the AP test participation rate and success rate of the class of 2011. To put things in perspective, the top 200 schools in the nation all had CRI’s above 60 — 100 being a perfect score.