J2 News Stories
Online learning tips & tricks
by Jayden Osborn
Are you having an arduous time working on schoolwork from home? Are you overwhelmed and exhausted from all of the time you spend laboring over online assignments? Well, it may be comforting for you to know that you are not alone. Many of your friends, peers, and even teachers are experiencing the same emotions you are during this time. The end of the year is near but until then you may benefit from some tips and tricks to help you with your online learning.
Are you having a hard time focusing to read a book or a long assignment? Try searching for videos and audio readings of the text. Reading along with the video will help you stay more focused and understand the text at a higher level. Listening to audio recordings while reading will also help you retain the information you read.
Are you receiving loads of long instructional videos? Youtube and Kahn Academy are two sites with videos that are helpful but just too long. Try speeding up the video. In the bottom right corner of videos on these sites is a small gear shape (settings). By clicking this you will get the option called “playback speed” which allows you to increase the speed of the video in small amounts so that the video is faster yet still understandable. Students who use this practice recommend 1.5x to 2x speed.
Have you found that your hands and fingers are constantly cramping from all of the typing you have been doing? Then try out the voice typing tool in Google Docs. In order to do this, open a Google document, go to the “tools” option in the top left corner, scroll down to “voice typing”, and click the microphone icon. You can speak right into your computer and let the machine do all the typing for you. If you are a slow typist or a poor speller, this is a great tool.
Does it seem impossible to hit that page number requirement for your writing assignments? If you are using MLA format, there is no specific font type required (unless your teacher says so). This means you can use a font that is a bit bigger as long as it is easy to read and is still in size 12 font. For example, Merriweather and Verdana are great fonts if you are using Google Docs. Although this is helpful for length, make sure you are still meeting the requirements for the rest of the assignment.
During this time of uncertainty, some online resources have waived their fees and are letting students use these resources for free. It may be worth a search to see if some websites that normally have fees are now at your disposal for additional help in your math and science classes.
During these last few weeks of school, in these unusual circumstances, schoolwork may seem unnecessary and not much fun, but this is a great opportunity for you to finish the year on a high note. Investing time in your learning now when conditions are not ideal will pay off in the long run.
Comfort Foods in the Middle of a Crisis
By LaNae Eggers
A lot of people turn to food as their comfort when they are stressed and worried. In my opinion, now is the perfect time for people to turn to food as their stress reliever. We are all stuck at home so there's no better time to cook your favorite recipes.
For me, my favorite comfort food is biscuits and gravy, but only when it’s made by my dad.
My dad's biscuits and gravy has always been a family favorite. Anyone who has tried his gravy would say the same. He makes the gravy from scratch using sage sausage and sage seasoning. He also uses a lot of pepper in the recipe. At the end he usually adds a maple seasoning to add some sweetness.
As a family we also have a special way of making biscuits and gravy even if we aren't home.
We love making biscuits and gravy over the fire. We cook canned biscuits on a 2x2 board by spreading the biscuits over the edge to be a cup shape. The board is seasoned with butter from the multiple times we have used them. We spin the sticks over the fire to cook every side. When the biscuit is done we then fill it with extra thick gravy. It’s like portable biscuits and gravy since it’s in a cup!
I love topping my biscuits and gravy with grape jelly to add a little sweetness. Just a dollop for each biscuit.
Everyone should go enjoy their favorite comfort food while we are all stuck at home.
Gratitude: Two Parts
by Jayden Osborn
In trying times like these, it is easy to point out the negative things happening in our own lives, in our community, and around the world. Now more than ever it is important to focus on the positives.
Here’s one way: In your head make a mental list of five things that have made you smile over the past three weeks. This task isn’t that difficult, right? Now try to think of 30 things. That is a bit harder but nowhere close to impossible. Spending time thinking of the things you are grateful for – some of which may have come from this extreme change in our world – may help to brighten your day and help you enjoy this time.
I've been able to use this time in quarantine to do things that I enjoy but normally don't have the time to do. I've been spending a lot more time with my family, reading, and even watching some Netflix shows. Most of all I am thankful for the time I have used to try new things.
I have been able to improve my cooking abilities (which truly need some work) and have found lots of new recipes to prepare. I have been attempting to learn a few cords on the guitar. I have helped my dad fix up the house and got to even learn how to use a couple of cool power tools. I have also gotten to try my hand at making TikToks.
If you are curious here is my TikTok profile: Jayden Osborn
It is important to remember the things you are grateful for in times like these, but it is also great to expand your mind and body to new possibilities. If you find yourself with ample time, consider tackling something you've always wanted to try. Trying new things is a great way to bring some positivity during this time of uncertainty and an excellent way to pass the time. After all, once this is all over you will have something new that you can add to your gratitude list and be able to share with your friends and family.
by LaNae Eggers
With the situation we are all living in right now it can be hard to be positive and be thankful for the things that we still have.
When I sat down to think about what I'm thankful for, it made me realize all the little things that I forget about on a daily basis.
I’m thankful for my family and friends, food to eat everyday, getting to dance and play soccer, having good health, and the really nice weather we’ve been having lately.
Throughout this crisis I’ve also realized how thankful I am for the chance to go to school and see my teachers, and the privilege we have to learn new things. But I’m also thankful for my chance to do online schooling and learn in a new way.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity in the world right now, but I challenge you to sit down and write a list of 25 things you're thankful for and see how it makes you feel.
Recommended Viewing: Grey's Anatomy
by Gabrielle Wilson
With all of this time at home recently, catching up on Netflix is a must. Grey’s Anatomy is a show that keeps my attention. I highly recommend.
Grey’s Anatomy is a medical show with lots of drama involved. It takes place at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and follows a group of interns who later become attending physicians. One of the interns going on attending is Meredith Grey, the daughter of a famous surgeon. The series is based around her, but does follow the lives of the other characters in relation to her as well.
This show has new medical cases every episode, while carrying the drama and character growth throughout each season.
Personally I like this show because I enjoy watching all of the crazy drama, while also seeing interesting medical cases. The show isn’t realistic, but it definitely is attention grabbing.
Grey's Anatomy first aired on ABC in 2005, but can be found now on Netflix and Hulu. This show has 16 seasons, so it will keep you hooked for a long while if you’re looking for a show to binge.
A Binge Worthy Show: “You”
By Marissa Worthley
Binge watching shows on any streaming app has definitely become my new favorite pastime, and I think I’ve found the perfect show.
You is a show on Netflix that has two seasons with ten episodes each. Each show runs about 45 minutes; it’s perfect to watch on a rainy day with nothing to do but stay inside.
The show is based in New York and follows a guy named Joe. He seems like the “average joe” – a simple guy who works in his own bookstore and wants to find love in the big city.
While working in his bookstore one day, a beautiful woman catches his eye. When she goes to check out, they have a little moment and we find out her name, Guinevere Beck. After their encounter, we quickly learn that Joe isn’t quite right. He’s actually a stalker and a murderer.
Throughout the first season we see Joe’s obsession with Beck rapidly grow. He’s willing to take any measures to make sure nobody gets in the way of their relationship. At the same time, Joe is also trying to care for a neighbor, Paco, who has a troubled homelife.
Skipping forward to season two, we learn Joe has run away from his old life in New York and has moved to California under a new name, Will. Promising himself a fresh start and to not get caught up in love again, he quickly breaks that promise and falls back into his old patterns upon meeting (ironically enough) a woman named Love.
I would recommend binge watching this show because the episodes always end on a cliffhanger. It is very much a thriller that always keeps me on the edge of my seat wondering whether Joe will get caught. The series also does a good job of swaying the audience through Joe’s perspective, rooting for him to avoid getting caught, despite all the terrible things he has done. So, overall I would give this show a 10/10 rating.
All American Netflix Series Review
By LaNae Eggers
With all this time on our hands, a lot of people are sitting down to start new Netflix shows and series.
I highly suggest starting “All American.” The show can appeal to many people, from adults to teens.
In my opinion the Netflix summary of the show really doesn’t do it justice. Here’s the set-up:
Spencer James is an amazing high school football player that plays for South Crenshaw High (a smaller, poor school in California), but then coach Billy Baker recruits him to come play for his team in Beverly Hills. Spencer’s mom and his best friend Coop both tell him that he can’t pass up that opportunity. Spencer then has to move in with Billy and his family to be able to transfer. He has a rough start getting to know Billy’s son, Jordan, and the rest of the team, but he soon becomes a key player for the Beverly Hills team.
Throughout this show, the past comes out for everyone to see – things from both Spencer’s family’s past and his coach’s life – leading to lots of family drama.
In addition, South Crenshaw remains an important part of the storyline. Within South Crenshaw, there is a lot going on because of the people and the gangs on the streets of the town.
As the show progresses you get to see multiple sides of each character, and you go through a roller coaster of emotions when watching.
This show is on Netflix and has two seasons. I highly suggest going to watch it!
How I’m Busting Boredom: Reading
by Jayden Osborn
I am continuing to tackle my boredom by spending my spare time nose deep in a good book. I chose to read One of Us is Lying after I heard many others rave about the story. It fits right into my favorite genre because it is a suspenseful mystery that keeps me on my toes. Some reviews say that it is like The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, and I think that is an incredibly accurate explanation of the story.
Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Summary: After five students are caught with planted cell phones in their backpacks in Mr. Avery’s no phone classroom, they are given detention. While the group attempts to figure out who put the phones in their bags, there is a twisted turn of events. Simon Kelleher dies in detention after his water is poisoned with peanut oil. The four other students with him are now all suspects in his murder investigation. Each of them had a secret to hide, and Simon knew them all. Did someone want to hide their secret badly enough to murder? The four must figure out which one of them is lying about Simon’s murder.
Reaction: The story is told from each of the four characters who were in the detention room when Simon was poisoned. I liked this approach because as a reader I could feel what the situation was like from four different “high school stereotypes.” I also was surprised by the number of times I was enjoying the love story that is lightly woven into the story. I am not one who gravitates to romance novels, but the author did a great job just including enough to keep those romance lovers happy. I was also pleasantly surprised by the end of the book because I never saw it coming.
Rating: I give this book a four out of five stars rating because although I did enjoy the story, I did find it somewhat distracting at times to switch back and forth among four different points of view. However, I do recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery, romance, or even just loves YA books in general.
Learn more: One of Us Is Lying- Amazon.com
Games in Quarantine
by Brooke Hopkins
Due to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, millions of people across the world are quarantined in their homes and are only allowed to leave for necessities. The same is true here in Harrisonville.
For me, I’ve had to find things to keep me from going insane. Recently I have been playing games.
I have been playing video games such as Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Minecraft. I enjoy playing these games on a console because they are really fun. For some of the more realistic games like Red Dead Redemption 2, it almost feels like I’m actually in the game.
I’ve also been playing board games like Monopoly and Mexican Train Dominoes with my family. Mexican Train Dominoes was a new game for us, but it is becoming a family favorite. The object of the game is for the player to get rid of all of the dominoes in their hand onto their “train.”
It has been nice being able to play board games like these with my family because we don’t play them often. Although there aren’t a lot of benefits to this quarantine, I do think it is helping some families spend time together and bond.
Fellow students also say they have been playing games with their families, too.
“My family and I have been playing a lot of Mario Brothers on the Nintendo, and playing Yahtzee,” freshman Lauren Dale said.
“A newer game that my family and I have been playing a game called Jumanji Next Level, and Uno,” freshman Sophia Sparks said.
Of course, I’ve been playing iMessage games with my friends, too. iMessage games give you a variety of games to choose from, like eight ball, basketball, sea battle, and more. You can play them back and forth with your friends with the press of a button. You can download Game Pigeon on the AppStore for free.
If you are bored during your quarantine, I recommend checking your family’s game storage area to see what’s in there. Maybe you’ll find an old favorite or discover a new one.
Band members prepare for District Solo and Small Ensemble Contest
By Jayden Osborn
Harrisonville High School band members will head to Grain Valley High School to perform in the District Solo and Small Ensemble Contest Saturday, March 14, to compete with other high school students from the area.
The students will perform multiple pieces in front of a panel of judges and will receive ratings on their performances later in the day. The Exemplary ratings move on to perform in a statewide contest.
Each student participating in the district solo and small ensemble contest is responsible for preparing on their own time to get ready for their performance on the 14. In preparation for the contest, senior Landen Laizure spends a great deal of time practicing his contest pieces both inside and outside of school.
“I will be performing a solo as well as performing with a brass sextet and a trumpet trio,” Laizure said. “I prepare by vigorously practicing and making sure every aspect of my performance will be perfect.”
Some of the members who have previous experience with the contest are taking different approaches to their performance this year. Junior Selah Norman, who is preparing for her third year of district contest is performing a solo this year called Sonate by Poulenc. She is also in a flute trio.
“Previously, I have been more nervous because of my lack of experience,” Norman said. “This year, I feel confident, and I'm excited to play what I have prepared for people to hear.”
Much like Norman, senior Kaitlin Sheldrake is attacking her fourth year differently by challenging herself with more pieces to learn, prepare, and perform at the contest.
“This year will be different for me because I've grown a lot through the three years I've done it,” Sheldrake said. I'm taking on a lot more than I normally have done. and I think the work I have poured into each of them will show when I perform. I also am playing saxophone this year more so than the clarinet which is different for me.”
A few of the participants have also learned a few tips and tricks throughout their years of performing.
“Thirty minutes before my solo, I will eat a banana because it supposedly helps with nerves,” Norman said.
This year HHS has a substantial number of participants who will be attending the contest. Most of the students will be performing multiple times throughout the day either as a solo performer or in a small ensemble of other band members.
“This year will be the largest amount of people I have ever seen from Harrisonville High School go to district contest in the four years that I have participated. We actually reached the maximum amount of solos that our accompanist was allowed to work with, which is something I have not experienced in the past,” Laizure said.
Though the contest requires commitment and effort from the participants, it is a significant opportunity for them to learn and improve as a musician.
“I think this benefits us as musicians because it gives us the experience to perform and prepare by ourselves; there is no possibility for us to be carried by anyone else in a section,” Sheldrake said.
“It also teaches us time management: You are given your music, a date, and offered help, but nobody schedules your accompaniment meetings, nobody tells you when or when not to practice. It is all up to you to make time and further your piece on your own by the time contest arrives,” she said.
Vote! Vote! Vote!
By: Marissa Worthley
Seniors, are you tired of complaining about everything wrong at school? Well, here’s your chance to express those complaints!
On Tuesday, April 7, the Harrisonville School District is going to have two propositions (I+N) on the election day ballot.
Proposition I is a levy proposal that is seeking a 50 cent operating levy increase for the purpose of attracting and retaining quality staff through salary increases.
Proposition N is a bond issue that is a no tax increase issue for $22,700,000. From these funds, the school district will be able to improve safety and security, as well as replace aging facility components such as roofs, HVAC units, and boilers at the schools. Finally, these funds can also improve technology and playgrounds and pay for any other repairs/improvements that have been identified by the Hollis+Miller (architect) facilities.
Since Proposition I is a 50-cent increase and Proposition N is a 10 cent reduction, overall, it would be a 40 cent increase. To put this in perspective, additional taxes on a $150,000 home equals an additional $114 a year or $9.50 per month.
Superintendent Paul Mensching said people should get out and vote, particularly the seniors.
“In local elections where as few as one or two votes can decide the outcome, all eligible voters should become informed and exercise their right to vote,” Mensching said. “In the last local election, we had approximately 1,300 votes. If all of our eligible seniors voted, that would represent nearly 15% of the voters!”
Social Studies teacher Emily Terwilliger thinks students who are eligible should take advantage of their right to vote and make their voices heard.
“I think it’s important for us to exercise our civil duty,” Terwilliger said. “Our government is built on the wishes of the people, and if the government is to act based on those wishes, they would need to know what they are.”
Senior Brad Cox feels that it’s important for his peers to vote so for his National Honor Society project he decided to set up a voter’s registration table in the lunchroom for students of age to register.
“I chose this project because so many students at our school are not registered to vote and our community is greatly affected by low voter turnouts,” Cox said. “In order for students to receive higher-quality facilities and education, it's important for students to voice their opinions in the election.”
Another senior, Kaitlin Sheldrake, said she intends to vote in the election.
“I plan on voting so I can help make a difference in the community. The voter turnout isn’t huge so I know my vote will make a huge impact,” Sheldrake said.
“Become informed and VOTE! Your opinion matters!” Mensching exclaimed.
To learn more about these propositions, go to harrisonvilleschools.org underneath the Props I+N tab or attend one the community conversations on these following dates: Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m., at the Harrisonville Community Center; and Monday, March 30, 7 p.m., at the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce.
Heading to Heart of America
By Lilly Capen
The Harrisonville Music Makers have competed in several competitions within the area, but next Friday through Sunday, they will be in Nashville, Tenn., to compete in their biggest show of the season: Nashville Heart of America.
Show choir director Kip Mathew has been wanting for his Music Makers to compete in Nashville for quite some time, and this season was the perfect opportunity. This also was a great way for them to gain more experience. Approximately 30 skilled choirs -- as opposed to the usual 20 -- will be performing in this competition.
¨I think the only way to get better is to go in and go against experienced bigger choirs,¨ Mathew said.
Along with the larger competition comes a longer bus ride. It will take the group about eight and a half hours to get from Harrisonville to the destination. Despite the long drive, junior Madeline McGee is looking forward to it.
¨It's not always fun being cramped together with 50 people but you find a way to make it work and find a way to have a good time while doing it,¨ she said.
Senior Gabi Wilson is also looking forward to the trip; however hers will be a bit extended. After the competition, WIlson will be spending time with some family from both Nashville and Chicago, and later will be heading up to St. Louis.
¨I think that our last competition being a weekend trip to Nashville is making everything much more exciting,¨ Wilson said. ¨Our "theme" for our show is about growing up, so being a senior with that theme is making everything else so much more emotional every time we perform it.¨
Both the choir and Mathew feel that the Music Makers will do their best in order to achieve their goal.
¨I hope the students bring the same level of attention to the performance, and I think they will,¨ Mathew said.
McGee feels that the Music Makers will make Mathew´s hopes a reality.
¨We´ve all put our heads together and we´ve made it a goal to just do our absolute best and give it 120%,¨ McGee said.
Could Snow Days Mean No Days For Studying?
By Marissa Worthley
Second semester—the most stressful semester crammed pack full of assignments and tests before the end of another school year.
Because second semester also starts in the middle of winter, there are bound to be some snow days in the mix. While students enjoy periodic snow days, for some classes, though, interruptions to the school week can cause some anxiety.
With Advanced Placement (AP) tests, End-of-Course exams (EOCs), and college finals looming in the distance, teachers are feeling pressured to cover all the needed material for students to be successful.
Here’s why: Advanced Placement classes are rigorous classes through which students can earn college credit if they perform well on a national test given in the spring. Because these tests are administered across the country, the test date cannot be moved, regardless of how many snow days are called.
AP U.S. History teacher Emily Terwilliger says she can definitely feel the pressure of the approaching deadline from all these lost days.
“Snow days are very difficult because they can’t push the AP test back,” Terwilliger said. “We fall behind because we have to make up lost days, and sometimes that doesn’t even happen until after the exam.”
AP English teacher Valarie Ellsworth echoed those same thoughts. She said it’s hard to get her students back on track after snow days.
“In AP, as well as regular English classes, we lose time that has to be used to reteach or re-familiarize classes with what we are doing,” Ellsworth said. “That throws off the amount of curriculum we can get through before the AP test because those dates do not change.”
Although both teachers expressed how snow days can hurt education, they both said that they like snow days for the simple fact of being able to enjoy family.
However, junior Mary O’Reilly, who is enrolled in several advanced classes, says she likes snow days for a different reason.
“On snow days I try to catch up on my homework and my chores that I haven’t been able to do because of how busy I am with school,” O’Reilly said.
While snow days may have their setbacks on the educational side of things, it can still have its benefits for others.
“Honestly, it’s a love-hate relationship,” Terwilliger exclaimed.
“Petri Dish” aka Harrisonville High School
By Gabi Wilson
“Right now we live in a petri dish,” Nurse Linda Hipp said.
Hipp’s comment captures the current situation at Harrisonville High School: There are many viruses currently going around that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Students who have transmittable sickness need to stay home.
According to Hipp, the current illnesses going around Harrisonville High School include:
Many general viruses
Because of all the illness, many students have been absent. However, Hipp said not everyone stays at home when sick.
“The problem is that these students have a contagious illness, and they are exposing other students. Then it becomes more of a risk than a benefit to be at school,” Hipp said.
Many students agree that others should not be at school while they are sick, but students say the school attendance policy is the reason they don’t stay home.
“I came to school last week with strep because I didn’t want to hurt my attendance,” said junior Jiana Schrock. “I came sick because I wanted my finals opt-outs.”
Schrock is referring to the attendance requirements necessary to skip taking finals. Opt-outs for finals require a minimum attendance of 95 percent. However, a student’s overall attendance affects more than just finals opt-outs.
The following information, taken from the Harrisonville High School student handbook, page 24, explains the school’s policy.
“When a student’s attendance falls below 90%: The student will become ineligible for dances, field trips, and for participation in school sponsored activities, and involvement in graduation ceremonies.”
To put 90 percent requirement in more practical terms, students are allowed to miss eight unexcused days of school per semester. Often times when a student is sick to the point of missing school, they are absent for multiple days at a time. If the student has a virus, he or she might not go to the doctor. In this scenario, eight days per semester may not be enough leeway to remain out of trouble for some students.
However, students who visit the doctor can get an excuse note so their absence does not count toward their eight days.
Regardless whether students go to the doctor, their peers want them to stay home if they’re sick.
“If it’s not contagious then it’s not a problem, but like strep they shouldn’t be at school,” junior Ethan Murray said. “I was gone last Tuesday and Wednesday, and I missed half of Monday, leaving during sixth hour.”
Murray didn’t get a doctor’s note; therefore, the days he was out will count as part of his eight unexcused absences for the semester.
With all of the different illnesses going around, sometimes it’s unavoidable -- especially for student athletes.
“I've been sick since last Friday with Influenza B,” sophomore Haylee Bruton said. “I have dance, so I definitely gave it to someone else.”
Obviously, germs can’t be avoided completely, but Hipp said the most important thing is for students to take care of themselves. She recommends the following steps:
- Wash hands often
- Cover cough and sneeze
- Avoid drinking out of others’ drinks
- Maintain personal space
Saying Goodbye to the Game
by Lilly Capen
Since 1998, girls basketball coach Shawn Gibbs has been on the sidelines leading his players to victory. While students will still be able to find him in the hallways of Harrisonville High School as a teacher, he will be retiring from his coaching duties at the end of this year.
A big reason for ending his coaching career is the need for family time while it is still available. In the past few months, Coach Gibbs has gone through tough losses, including his father and mother-in-law. Along with the negatives have come positive aspects of life such as becoming a grandpa.
¨Those types of life events help you realize that your most valuable commodity on earth is time,¨ Coach Gibbs said. ¨I have a lot of things I still want to do, and I have people very close to me that I want to spend that time with.¨
He also has plans to help improve his community outside of the school district.
¨I am starting a family ministry for at risk kids/families at my church that I want to be able to devote my efforts to,¨ Coach Gibbs said.
The announcement of Coach Gibb´s departure has caused student athletes to reflect on what they have learned while on the court. His own daughter Natalie Gibbs, who is a senior this year, has played for him throughout high school.
¨The most important thing that he has taught me is to know your ‘why,’” Natalie said. ¨There needs to be a purpose for everything you do, and without a purpose, you won't do very well.¨
For junior Katelyn Vandendaele, knowing of Coach Gibbs´ departure has encouraged her to try extra hard and make him proud.
¨He does so much for us girls to make us better each day and takes a lot of time outside of basketball to prepare us for our opponents,¨ Vandendaele said.
While there will be things that she misses about having Gibbs as a coach, Vandendaele is also looking forward to next year as a senior.
¨I´m excited to play with the group of girls we will have next year because they are such a great group of girls and I love playing with them,¨ Vandendaele said.
Coach Gibbs also has memories and favorite parts of the game from the past 19 seasons.
"The best part is the relationships and interactions with my players and coaches,¨ Coach Gibbs said. ¨I will greatly miss being a part of their lives. I try to stay in contact with my players, however. I am still in touch with many of them going back all the way to my first teams.¨
Although basketball is a huge part of his life, Coach Gibbs had to take into consideration the timing of it all.
¨I love coaching basketball and it makes me very sad to say goodbye to my girls,¨ Coach Gibbs said. ¨But goodbye had to eventually happen and it felt like the time was right even though it is hard.¨
Robotics Gears up for Competitions
By Jayden Osborn
When students think about robots, the mind often conjures up images of lifelike machines similar to those seen in the movies. However, not all robots fit this description… including the machine being built by the Harrisonville High School Robotics team.
Although the appearance of this year’s robot has yet to be finalized, its specific capabilities have been established.
“This year the goal is to code the robot so that it can do some things on its own, control the robot to shoot foam dodgeballs into goals, have the robot spin a wheel, and at the end have it climb,” Chiodini said.
These are just some of the challenges faced by the Harrisonville High School’s Robotics team. The team is getting ready to compete at two events in the following months to show off their designing, programming, and building skills. The team will compete in Cedar Falls, Iowa, March 25-28.
The team is advised by math teacher Justin Sharp and led by senior Elizabeth Reece as public relations captain, sophomore Isaac Chiodini as programming captain, and sophomore Kenneth Reed as build captain.
“Our competition routine goes like this: The first day we load in all of our pit equipment, which includes everything we need for our work area, tools, etc. The second day is for practice matches where we compete with other teams’ bots and make sure everything works correctly,” Chiodini said.
“The real competition matches take place over a two-day period where we normally have about six matches with other teams,” he said.
Each robot must meet a specific set of requirements to be eligible to compete.
“Our robot is meant to fit within a certain size and weight parameter and isn't allowed to cost more than $5,000. I think right now, it costs a little over $1,000 and is 30 pounds underweight,” Reece said.
Of course, all of the robot’s build requirements must be completed on a deadline.
“Before March 25 we still have to put final touches on the robot as well as finish programming it. We also break the robot in a way to make sure we are able to fix the bot if it happens to break during a game in the competition,” Chiodini said.
The team has already spent many hours on their robot and will continue to work hard to achieve their high hopes for this year’s competitions.
“So far we have built the robot and have it running,” Reed said. “My goal for this year is to at least become a finalist at one of the two regionals we are going to.”
As a senior, Reece feels strongly about serving as a role model.
“Our goals are the same as they have been, to perform as well as we can, try and place high, and have fun doing it. However, being a senior means that I also have to set a good example for underclassmen as well as middle schoolers in Robotics,” Reece said.
No matter the outcome of the robot or score of the competitions, the team can all agree that Robotics is a great activity.
“What I've enjoyed most about Robotics is being a part of a team and making something that seems like an impossible task before you actually make it,” Reed said.
“I think Robotics has made me more of a leader type. I can't tell the difference between a nut and a bolt, but I could tell you where to look or who to ask. It's definitely made me more social, and I've made a lot more friends this way,” Reece said.
Participants also said robotics is a great opportunity for students who want to develop a new skill and learn how to create a robot from scratch.
“Robotics definitely has a place for everyone. You don't have to have any experience with building or programming. There's always a way to learn and help. Plus, it's a really fun way to introduce younger people to the types of careers that they might like and could pursue later on in life,” Reece said.
Harrisonville Wrestlers Qualify for State
by Brooke Hopkins
Update: Currently, Campbell and Weber are both still competing. Campbell is 2-0, while Weber is 2-1. On the girls’ side, Justice and Herrick are undefeated at 2-0, and Beachner is 2-1.
Six of Harrisonville High School’s wrestlers are in to Columbia, Missouri, to compete in the state championship on Feb. 20 through Feb. 22, 2020.
Harrisonville High School students Nonnie Justice, Chloe Herrick, Melaina Beachner, Kale Weber, Trevor Campbell, and Nick Ripperger are all heading to the State Championship for wrestling.
Justice, a junior, is returning to state this year to defend her state champion title.
Campbell competed at state last year as a sophomore. He placed sixth due to breaking his arm in his fifth-place match.
“It sucked that I had to forfeit my last match because of my arm last year,” Campbell said. “This year I plan on doing better because I have prepared more and worked harder than ever.”
Out of the six students going to state, two of them are freshmen: Chloe Herrick and Kale Weber.
“I’m excited that we have freshmen doing so well. It means that we have a young team that we can build on and it will get better and better,” Assistant Girls Wrestling Coach Shannon Lineberry said.
Even as a freshman, it is not Weber’s first time at a state championship tournament.
“I’m really excited. I have gone to state before for youth wrestling and I got first. I’m hoping for the same outcome,” Weber said.
This is will be Herrick’s first time competing at state.
“It feels great that I get to go to state but it’s also nerve-wracking,” Herrick said. “I feel like sometimes I’m expected to do well and always win, so it puts pressure on me sometimes.”
Although she is nervous, Herrick said she feels accomplished.
“I feel good. I feel like I’ve accomplished one of my goals, but I know that there is still work to be done at state,” Herrick said.
This year will be Beachner’s second time competing at state. Last year, Beachner lost her first match, won her second, and lost her third. Despite these results, she is planning to improve drastically.
“I’ve trained really hard over the summer. I haven’t stopped practicing and wrestling since state last year. I’m hoping to have a good outcome this year and end my season at the top of the podium,” Beachner said.
Life 360: Is it as beneficial as parents think it is?
By LaNae Eggers
Life 360 has made a large impact on teenagers' lives within the past year. However, not everyone is convinced that the impact is always good.
In a recent Instagram poll, it shows 52 percent of high schoolers have Life 360 out of 182 responses.
“I have Life 360 so I can accurately keep track of where my kids are,” said science teacher Amy Kump.
Kump says she mostly uses it when her kids are with friends and she doesn’t know what they plan to do.
Much like Kump, many parents say they use the app as a safety device to know where their kids are at all times, but students feel that there are different ways to do that without the app.
“My parents have my location on the Find my Friends app and on Snapchat,” said senior Amy Tracy, student without Life 360.
While there are many other ways to keep track of location many parents choose Life 360 because of the added benefits including seeing their kids’ top speed if they drive.
Students, though, aren’t always fans of the app.
“I don’t think Life 360 is all that great because it takes away trust between parents and their kids,” said sophomore Greta Maxwell, a student with Life 360.
There are other pitfalls, too. The app can also glitch and tell parents their kids are somewhere that they are not.
“One time Life 360 said that I was at a boy’s house when I was at my friends house who lives down the street,” Maxwell said.
Kump says that she doesn’t get on the app very often, but it just gives her confidence in knowing where her kids are.
Color Guard hosts competition
By Marissa Worthley
The Harrisonville High School Color Guard hosted a competition over the weekend on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. The competition had 53 schools in attendance with performances running from 9:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.; the Harrisonville Winter Guard performed at 1:30 p.m.
Guard director Amy Wilson was looking forward to the event.
“I was excited for Saturday. We had several schools who continue to come back to our competition which makes it really fun,” Wilson said. “We can watch their shows year after year. It was also a time for our team to show our skills and compete.”
Senior Ember Smith said she was also excited but definitely felt the pressure of putting on a good event.
“The other schools we compete at are larger,” Smith said. “Having a smaller school is pressure in itself; no one wants to come to an uncomfortable event. We also just want to ensure a good time for everyone coming.”
This is the third year that the color guard has hosted a color guard competition. Wilson started the competition for two main reasons.
“Our performance circuit, MCCGA (Mid-Continent Color Guard Association) allows schools in the circuit to host festivals as a fundraiser. I also wanted others outside of our community to see what a great school and community we have,” Wilson said.
Despite the pressure of hosting another good festival, Wilson was pleased with the outcome.
“Hosting was a huge success,” Wilson said. “We had a great day. All the schools reported back to us saying they had a great experience.”
“Overall I think it was another successful competition,” Smith echoed.
Harrisonville Girls Wrestling heads to Districts
by Lanae Eggers
As the girls district wrestling tournament approaches this weekend, the girls are ready to compete for the opportunity to wrestle at state.
The tournament will take place this Friday and Saturday at Pleasant Hill High School with 54 teams.
Junior Nonnie Justice is excited for the team to compete at districts. Her individual goals are to win state and districts.
“I want to wrestle good matches and take an individual title,” Justice said.
Sophomore Melaina Beachner thinks this year's girls wrestling team has grown and improved in many ways.
“This year everyone has developed their own skills and we are all working as a team/family and it’s making us stronger as a team,” Beachner said.
Coach Eric DeVenney just wants the girls to work hard, do their best and have fun.
“It is great having more girls out and more than doubling the size of the team,” DeVenney said.
Justice won state last year, so she has high expectations for herself this year at districts and state.
“I feel a little pressure from other people,” Justice said. “It puts a high expectation on me, but I already have high expectations for myself. I’m trying to make it a goal for myself so I don’t feel as much pressure.”
Beachner wants to qualify for state and get on top of the podium since last year she ended in second at districts.
Justice believes her team has a high chance at winning districts and qualifying for state.
“Everyone has been improving drastically, and everyone is at the level to compete and not just survive,” Justice said.
Harrisonville hosts show choir invitational this weekend
by Brooke Hopkins
Harrisonville High School will be hosting its annual show choir competition this upcoming Saturday on Feb. 8, 2020. Many of Harrisonville’s show choir students are excited about the event.
“I’m looking forward to the competition because I know that it will be fun. This is the last time I will be able to work behind the scenes with my friends,” said senior Dalton Schrock, Music Maker Dance Captain.
Although students are eager to experience another weekend full of show choir, they – and their teacher – are also anxious.
“The most stressful thing is putting all of the little pieces together in a week that almost always has a snow day,” Music Director Kip Mathew said.
“Running a show choir competition can get really hectic. Sometimes it feels like you’re running around for nothing, but eventually it all comes together. Harrisonville puts on a wonderful invitational,” senior Amy Tracy, Music Maker Dance Captain said.
Schools from all around Missouri and two neighboring states will make the trip to Harrisonville for the competition.
“There will be 19 choirs and 10 different schools from three states: Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska,” Mathew said.
Saturday will be an early morning and a late night for Harrisonville’s show choir members.
“Doors open at 6:30 a.m. for schools to start arriving and for anyone who needs to do some last-minute preparations,” said senior Jayden Osborn, President of HHS Show Choir. “I’m expecting this to last until around midnight. All of the hosts will stay after to clean up rooms and put things back together.” said.
For some Music Makers, Harrisonville’s varsity show choir, this will be their first time hosting a competition.
“I hope the experience will be fun. I’m excited to meet the choirs and eventually perform for them and show them how good we are,” sophomore Dawson Schrock said.
It will cost $10 to watch the choirs for the day. The first choir performing is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Harrisonville Music Makers and Forefront will be the last choirs performing before finals.
The Royal Roast Grand Opening
By Jayden Osborn
Life Careers students hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for their coffee shop, The Royal Roast with the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Feb. 7. The new cafe is located in room 901 at Harrisonville High School.
“Last year we served the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce coffee in the concession area, and it sparked great interest in what the Life Careers class is doing,” said Nicole Potter the Life Careers teacher. Now, to be able to show them our new space this year is really exciting.
Previously the Life Careers class sold coffee on carts and in the Commons area. Through donations and fundraising, the class was able to complete a fully functioning coffee cafe inside Harrisonville High.
“I think having a dedicated space just lends itself more to our students’ needs like having more student interaction with peers and serving the high school building,” Potter said. “The Royal Roast also gives all the students access to a place to hang out, get good coffee, and really integrate with the Life Careers students.”
Paraprofessional Aron Wilburn assists students in the coffee shop in the mornings.
“Every morning we look forward to opening our doors and greeting our customers."
Our new location and our new abilities to have special coffee have already increased our customer presence,” Wilburn said.
The Royal Roast is a way for students like senior Sylvia Thrift to see what having a job is like. You can find Thrift’s smiling face most mornings working the cash register.
“I am proud of myself because I enjoy helping people at the coffee shop. I want to make people happy. The coffee shop is really important to me because I want to work in a coffee shop after I graduate,” Thrift said.
In fact, Potter said each of the Life Careers students has a role in helping to make the shop run smoothly.
“We have students working on lots of different skills in the coffee shop. We have some students who are starting out by learning what a job is like, we have some students who already have jobs in the community, and we have students learning everything in between,” Potter stated. “We are really lucky to individualize for each one of our students’ needs and utilize their gifts and talents in The Royal Roast.”
The upgraded location does offer its challenges.
“The hardest part about the new shop is that there are so many people to help at one time, but I still enjoy working even when there are a lot of people,” Thrift said.
Wilburn sees the increase in customers as an opportunity for students to learn.
“Right now I assist Sylvia and the other students when the coffee shop gets too busy to manage, but the goal is to get the kids working the shop every day and eventually running the coffee shop independently without help,” Wilburn said.
The Royal Roast grand opening allowed the class to show off their hard work thus far but they continue to look forward to ways they can grow and improve the cafe.
“My goal is to eventually be a self-sustaining business,” Potter said. “We have a great start with our space. We can continue to work on getting the word out to the rest of our student population that we have this cool hangout space they can utilize.”
All in all the Life Careers class are very proud of their work in The Royal Roast. The students and teachers alike want to encourage everyone to try it out.
“If anyone has not yet come down to the coffee shop I highly recommend coming down. I believe that if everyone just gave it a try they would really like it and might even become a regular customer,” Wilburn said.
The Price of the Party
by Lilly Capen
For the first time in 50 years, the Kansas City Chiefs are Superbowl bound and those all throughout the Kansas City area are preparing a party fit for a victory.
Harrisonville High School junior Serenity Rodgers is gathering between five and ten friends and lots of family together to celebrate the big event.
This is not an every year event for her family, but they made a special case for their hometown team.
¨I am going to say I am a fan because my family are big football people,¨ Rodgers said.
Despite being a part of Chiefs Kingdom, she is not planning on blowing the bank this Sunday. Her family is spending around $150 on food, and their main meal is going to be pork nachos.
For Harrisonville Assistant Superintendent Jason Eggers, it is a totally different story. In preparation for this eventful weekend, he has spent about $450 on his family for the festivities.
A big reason for spending a large sum on the team is Conference Championship gear. He said that he definitely has spent more this year because of the merchandise such as T-shirts.
His Superbowl party is expected to be comprised of his family as well as two others. Eggers enjoys watching football in order to build connections with those close to him.
¨I think it is fun to entertain and enjoy the game with family and friends. We don't usually spend much on the actual party. Just a few snacks,¨ he said.
Junior Madeline McGee´s family has been waiting for this moment since the last time the Chiefs went to the Superbowl.
¨A lot of our decor came from our basement that´s been buried down there for years. I´d say 40 to 50 at most,¨ McGee shared.
While they are not planning on spending a lot on the Superbowl, it is definitely a big thing that they are not going to skimp on.
¨We´ve always been Chiefs fans but this year is different,¨ McGee said. ¨It´s a big deal that they are going to the Superbowl so we´ve really decked out,¨
Her party is expected to be attended by her parents, grandparents, brother, and her brother´s girlfriend.
As for food, they are making a meal that is more extravagant than in previous years.
¨My parents are ordering BBQ and my grandma is making a ton of stuff that we don´t usually eat,¨ she said.
Alongside family, food, and decor, Mcgee is excited for the game more than anything.
¨Whether it´s on TV or in real life, I always find myself watching and enjoying what´s going on, especially when we win!¨ McGee said.
Gearing up for the Chiefs
by LaNae Eggers
Kansas City loves their hometown team, the Chiefs. This has resulted in lots of Chiefs merchandise flying off the shelves throughout the season.
Some Harrisonville High School students are big Chiefs supporters, and it’s easy to tell by their clothing.
Katelyn Young, sophomore, owns around seven pieces of Chiefs clothing, including new championship gear.
Some people think that Chiefs’ clothes are overpriced, but Young doesn’t think they are too expensive -- yet.
“I don’t think they’re overpriced because they haven’t done super well in the past, but now the price will probably go up since we are doing a lot better,” Young said.
Some students support the Chiefs without owning clothes to prove it.
Junior Jaden Boyer likes the Chiefs but just hasn’t gotten around to buying any clothing.
“The clothing is really expensive, and I support the Royals more,” Boyer said.
Those who do want Chiefs merchandise have lots of options.
“I own a jersey, shirts, sweatshirts, and beanies,” Young said. “My dogs also have Chiefs clothes to wear on game day.”
In an Instagram survey of HHS students, most people said they own three to four pieces of Chiefs clothing within their wardrobe. Students also said they have been raised supporting the Chiefs, so the clothing is something they use to show their team spirit.
“I have been a fan my whole life and wear the clothes to support them,” Young said.
“Now I'm getting ready to purchase Super Bowl clothing, too.”