Moving on? Here's some advice from a local boy...
by Melinda Lewis
With this year almost over, and a class of young men and women poised to embark into the what is commonly called the “real” world, The Smoke Signal aims to educate readers with advice from some of the best resources: our teachers. It is the intent of this ongoing feature to share the most important life-lessons (deemed by teachers) to our student-body before they graduate.
Dr. Patrick White teaches AP English IV and Psychology here at Riverdale; White acts as the sponsor of Riverdale Academy of Philosophy as well as a Dean, but some of his other hobbies might surprise you.
“I grew up here in Murfreesboro and graduated from Oakland High School back in 1985. I could tell you some stories about those years, but I'd better not. What happened in the eighties stays in the eighties.
For college, I went to MTSU and UTK respectively and have been teaching for 22 years (and still love it). My hobbies are reading, hiking, working out, and playing bass guitar. This part may be surprising for an English teacher--but I'm a metalhead and have played in bands with names like Guillotine, Raise the Dead, and Skulljack, just to name a few. I know, it's weird, but hey... that's me (if you'll ignore the objective use of that pronoun). My stage name was Dr. Killbass, and I was nominated for Best Metal Bass in the 2012 Music City Mayhem Awards, and a song that I wrote called “Grudge” was nominated in the Best Metal song category. But alas, I didn’t win either one. But it was nice to be nominated! Not bad for a middle-aged, bald English teacher, huh?
[If I could ensure students learned one thing] i t would be the same lesson that I need to relearn every day of my life—that all people are essentially the same. True, we have our exterior differences, but underneath we all have unlimited potential and, of course, very real fallibility. I strongly feel that all the differences we erect in our minds to separate the worth of individuals is superficial and short-lived. We're all just trying to get through the day. Let's recognize our similarities and cut each other some slack.
I would suggest [everyone have] some quiet time each day. Our poor little minds are constantly processing information, and they need a break periodically throughout the day. I make time daily for meditation, or ‘mindful awareness.’ Simply being aware of our thoughts and learning to release them is a lifelong skill that requires practice and discipline. But the research in psychology has proven its mental, emotional, and physical benefits.
I'd like to tell my eighteen year-old self not to waste any opportunities to learn. Take in as much from your classes as you can. There will come a time when you wished you had paid more attention in school when classes were free.
Whether you go to college or not, and regardless of your chosen major, life will require everyone to put in the hard work. You can choose if you want to pay now (at the beginning of life) or make installments as you go. For example, a doctor spends eight years in school plus a few years of residency. But the rest of his life is easier because he’s going to make serious mad cheddar. But a person who doesn’t go to college is likely to work a blue-collar job (or two) just to make ends meet. In the end, both people give their blood, sweat, and tears, but only one gets the cheese.”
We at The Smoke Signal hope this feature has shared some wisdom with the students here at RHS. We wish the class of 2013 success and all the best in the future.
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Preschool graduation mimics the real thing
by Kristen Lang, Staff Writer
As the seniors of Riverdale High School are preparing for the beginning of the rest of their lives, little feet prance around our hallways engaging in the same activities. Seniors are looking forward to spreading their wings by going to college. At the same time, the Preschoolers attending Riverdale’s Preschool want to spread their wings as well, but instead of college, they are looking forward to stepping foot into a kindergarten class.
The students of RHS that were considered as the preschoolers’ teachers teared up as they spoke about each individual child, giving many reasons why every adolescent was special. Emotions overwhelmed the cafeteria throughout the night; watching the slideshow, looking at the cute faces smile as they accepted their diploma from Mrs. Brandi Bontrager, throwing their graduation caps into the air, and all of the “teachers” were realizing that they were visiting with their preschool friends for the last time.
A sophomore in Mrs. Brandi’s 4 th period 1 st year class Kristen Reisser said, “This year would have never been the same if I didn’t turn my application in for Childcare. I’ve learned so much about interacting with children, how they learn, and what they look for in a person as their teacher. Surprisingly, I’ve realized that I’m not as nervous and shy when I’m directing the class in Childcare, as opposed to when I’m in English class.”
Reisser goes onto saying that she was very grateful that she won Teacher of the Year, and she hopes that a lot more sophomores participate in the class. She says even though it may seem intimidating because there aren’t a lot of underclassmen attending the class doesn’t mean that they can’t shine just as bright as a senior.
The teachers of the preschoolers were somber, but glad to see what they consider to be their children graduate. Those are bittersweet moments that can make anyone’s heart skip a beat. However, not only does Mrs. Brandi have Preschoolers to bond with and love, she also has the “teachers” or in other words her students. Mrs. Brandi puts her heart and soul into anything and everything she does which drives a perfectionist, like herself, crazy. No matter what obstacles are thrown in her way, she will go to the ends of the Earth just to make anything she has planned to work accordingly.
The fantastic mastermind behind the Childcare experience, Mrs. Brandi, says, “I love working with my high school kids as much as my little kids. I enjoy every moment I spend with them, and every lesson I watch. I get to experience what the high schools will do under pressure, and how intrigued the Preschoolers get into an activity we do. I do get emotional when I see all the little faces that I love go, but I am also very excited for the new preschoolers, high school students, and themes that will come along next year.”
I also took the Childcare class this year, and being a first year is extremely stressful and tough. When partners don’t handle their half of planning and we show up that day unprepared, is the worst feeling that anyone would receive due to the fact that in their heart they know Mrs. Brandi would not approve. However, going through the ups and downs of teaching those very intelligent toddlers, graduation hit everyone the same. Everyone in that class made some type of connection or relationship with one of those children that no one else in that class had. For me, I eventually built a relationship with a 4 year old buy named Trace. I told him that no one ever remembered my name and he said, “I’ll remember your name Miss Kristen.” That changed my perspective of the class for the rest of the year because I knew I wasn’t just a waste of space in the classroom; I influenced Trace’s day. Another moment that I will never forget was when Jackson was behind me at graduation, and I turned around and he gave me flowers! Those rewards are something that you don’t get from sitting behind a desk in an office as a CEO, they kiss your heart and make you realize that someone cares about you.
Student Council helps Habitat for Humanity build in Murfreesboro
Ultimate Frisbee makes its debut at RHS
by Amber Lowe Smoke Signal Staff Writer
Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that has grown quite popular in recent years and is now being played here at Riverdale. Often referred to as “ultimate,” this sport offers a fun activity combined with a competitive edge and a responsibility to sportsmanship.
Similar to many other sports, the object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to players in the opposing end zone. It is played on a rectangular field that is 70 yards by 40 yards, and teams are comprised of seven members. Games start with a “pull,” which is a throw-off from one team to the other. Once the throw-off is complete, the disc must be passed down the field. Players holding the disc are not allowed to move while holding the disc, therefore each player must work together in order to succeed in passing the disc. Though the number of players may seem small, it is the perfect size to harbor the friendship and comfort needed for competitive sports.
Sophomore Casey McClure says, “Ultimate is really great, and you make a lot of friends.” This is Casey’s first year playing Ultimate Frisbee, but he is already encouraging others to try it.
Casey’s friend, sophomore Alex Lyles, also advocates this activity; “It’s a lot of fun and easy to understand.”
Needless to say, this popular sport seems to be a positive addition to the athletic department here at Riverdale!
Special Olympics features Riverdale athletes at competition
by Daezia Smith
Riverdale’s Student council is dedicated to helping and improving the community in any way possible. Student council recently teamed up with the athletes from the Special Education classes for a day filled with Track and Field activities fit for the best athletes Riverdale has to offer. Together, the student council and Riverdale’s athletes competed against various schools while learning the meaning of healthy competition and teamwork.
When asked what the motivation was behind Student Council’s willingness to help with Special Olympics, Kay Starrett, the RHSSC sponsor, responded with “We are always looking for charities to work with and this one is right here, at Riverdale. We are always willing to help those who are in need.”
Aaliyah Garrett, the RHSSC Vice President who participated in the event, said that the best part about volunteering was “Seeing all the smiles on the kid’s faces.”
Following the Special Olympics, student council teamed up again with Habitat for Humanity and got down and dirty with the workers to supply housing for those in need. Those who volunteered found the work to be extremely rewarding if not somewhat tiring. In the end, everyone went home with smiles on their faces and satisfaction with the work done for the day.
Although the school year is coming to a close, student council remains active in the community and will continue to serve RHS and the community one project at a time.
Anticipation of summer game releases is high
by Dylan Lien
This summer is littered with loads of hotly anticipated games within the gaming community. For starters, Metro: Last Light releases May 14 th on PC, PS3, and X360. This is the sequel to cult hit Metro 2033, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic Russia; any fans of the Fallout games should certainly give this one a shot. Also arriving in May is Fuse, releasing on May 28 th for PS3 and X360. This game is the latest and greatest from acclaimed developer Insomniac; the original creators of the Ratchet and Clank games as well as the Resistance series. The game is co-op, making it great to play with friends; however any fan of shooters should give it a long look.
June kicks off with the cyberpunk game Remember Me, published by the struggling Capcom, and releasing on June 4 th for PC, PS3, and X360. The game has an intriguing premise in that it gives you the ability to alter other people’s memories, not to mention it has a female lead, which seems to be pretty much taboo in the games industry unless her name is Lara Croft. The game to focus your attention on all summer is The Last of Us, a new PS3-exclusive by the brilliant minds at Naughty Dog. The game aims to break the tradition of mindless zombie games with no attention paid to how the people still alive behave with each other as well as how they interact with zombies, this is perhaps the most hotly anticipated game in the gaming community right now.
The month of July is fairly weak with the only truly notable release being Shin Megami Tensei IV. The game is the first release in the popular series in over ten years; it features full voice acting for the first time in the series and is a great idea for the majority of 3DS owners. Finally, August marks the return to school for many, but there are many games coming out to distract you from that schoolwork you should be doing. Tales of Xillia will arrive fully-translated from Japan on August 6 th; any fan of JRPG’s should check this one out. August 27 th brings with it two gaming gems in Saints Row IV and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Saints Row IV is the wacky open world game and gives the player superpowers; fans of open world games should give it a look. Blacklist places you in the shoes of special agent Sam Fisher and charges the player with stopping a terrorist organization.
This summer, unlike the two summers before it, is littered with loads of AAA releases from big time publishers and big time franchises. The genres of these games are diverse enough that there should be at least one game that appeals to everyone. However, many of these games come from highly thought of franchises, so if you have not played the previous entries, it is highly recommended that you do so. Thankfully, there are plenty of quality games here to keep every gamer in the country busy leading up to the release of the next generation of consoles.
by Levi Higgs
People’s happiness and intelligence is composed of nothing but what they’ve chosen to
remember and what they’ve chosen to forget.
Choose to forget, and your happiness will likely improve.
Choose to remember and your intelligence will likely improve.
I have yet to find a way to actively improve both.
To think back on my life is only to think back to yesterday
When I thought back to the day before,
Where I did the same,
And so on
Until the Mondays and Tuesdays turn into thoughts and sensations,
Like a warm backseat car ride,
Or the sound of a base hit,
Or the ripple of a traveled puddle
Those are the things I chose to neither remember nor forget
Those are the things that my subconscious thought were important,
And I only need to think of yesterday to recall them.
Abusive relationships are frequent in high school
by Emily Ramsay, Smoke Signal staff writer
According to loveisrespect.org, one in every three teen relationships is abusive. To put it in visual terms, if three couples are walking down the hallway, odds are, one of them is not a healthy and loving relationship.
Dating violence can also be called relationship abuse, intimate partner abuse, dating abuse, and domestic abuse. Dating abuse is defined as a pattern of controlling behaviors one partner uses to gain control of the other. This control is not limited to physical abuse, but also includes emotional or mental abuse, such as name-calling, embarrassment, blaming the victim on the abuser’s actions, and giving gifts to ‘make up’ and apologize, and sexual abuse such as rape or pressuring their partner into sex they aren’t comfortable with.
A sophomore girl said,” I thought we had a perfect relationship. We constantly hung out, he would take me out to dinner, and he would call and text me all the time. He was older than me, and a few months into our relationship, he told me that he had waited long enough and wanted to have sex. He told me that he had given up so much to be happy and this was all he wanted in return. I felt guilty for making him unhappy and agreed despite being 14 and uncomfortable with the prospect of sex so early. Later, most of my friends barely talked to me. I never went to parties or stayed over at friend’s house because I didn’t want my boyfriend to get jealous. I was afraid to put pictures on Facebook in case someone else ‘liked’ it and he got mad. He would yell at me if my shirt wasn’t tucked in, I didn’t wear belts, or my jacket wasn’t completely zipped. I played it off as him just loving me, A LOT. If I wore something he thought was too revealing or too form fitting, he would call me names and accuse me of cheating on him. He would call me every night telling me what an awful girlfriend I was and saying I didn’t love him and that he would slit his wrists if I broke up with him. We broke up and got back together more times than I can count. Eventually, I wouldn’t date him again. I’m so much happier without always being afraid. I escaped the abuse and got out of the cycle.”
Many victims stay in abusive relationships out of fear, believing abuse is normal, low self-esteem, or because they are convinced that their partner loves them and will get better. Remember, it is not the fault of the victim that their partner is abusive. It is possible to get help and get help if you ask for it, and abuse is not love.
Abuse Warning Signs:
- Is not liked very well by my friends.
- Says I’m too involved in different activities.
- Texts me or calls me all the time.
- Gets extremely jealous or possessive.
- Accuses me of flirting or cheating.
- Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.
- Controls what I wear or how I look.
- Tries to control what I do and who I see.
- Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends.
- Has big mood swings, getting angry and yelling at me one minute but being sweet and apologetic the next.
- Makes me feel nervous or like I’m "walking on eggshells”.
- Puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.
- Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.
- Makes me feel like no one else would want me.
- Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.
- Threatens to hurt him or herself because of me.
- Threatens to destroy my things.
- Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way.
- Breaks or throws things to intimidate me.
- Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people.
- Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to.
Get help: Text “loveis” to 77054 or Call 1-800-799-7233 or talk to someone you trust.
Seniors list the songs that define high school
Music has the wonderful ability to act as a time capsule. With a single song, a collection of buried emotions can be uncovered, transporting the listener back to a moment in his or her life. As the seniors are reaching the end of this moment in their lives, we asked them to pick a song that captures their feeling of high school. This song could simply be the most played on their iPod or one with carefully chosen lyrics expressing all they wish to say. Without further ado, we present the time capsule playlist of the class of 2013.
Trevor Perry- “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi
Henre' Roshell- “Dat New New” by Kid Cudi
Lauren True- “You're Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins
Ryan Eagle- “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
Patrice Patterson- “Legacy” by Nicole Nordeman
Dreco Little- “Understand Me” by Chiefkeef
Kevin Randolph- “Chiddy Bang” by Opposite of Adults
KentoRia Chaney- “All Gold Everything” by Trinidad James
Kayla Hunt- “Life Ain't Easy” by Mac Miller
Boris Sitnikoff- “Broken Hearts Are For A**holes” by Frank Zappa
Brady McWhorster- “Great Expectations” by Diggy Simmons
Hunter Robinson- “Don't You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia
Justin Lester- “Waiting For the End” by Linkin Park
Jessup Manning- “Highway to H*ll” by ACDC
Zach Farley- “Bret, You Got It Going On” by Flight of the Conchords
Trent Pyrz- “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies
Jesus Lopez- “The Funeral” by Band of Horses
Haley Greene- “Time to Pretend” by MGMT
Jackson Jones- “Started From the Bottom” by Drake
Michelle Quarto- “Loser” by Beck
Ricardo Terry- “Wild Boy” by MGK
Logan Thigpen- “Wild Boy” by MGK
Caleb Seritt- “Wild Boy” by MGK
Hunter Allen- “Turn the Page” by Bob Segar
D.C. Dalton- “Highs and Lows” by Kid Cudi
Anthony Wilson- “Ambition” by Wale
Mitchell Maxwell- “Keep Ya Head Up” by 2pac
Nick Barnes- “Young, Wild and Free” by Wiz Khalifa & Snoop Dog
Jessie Boles- “I Might Be” Gucci Mane
Ariel Mayberry- “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti & Spear Head
Aaliyah Garrett- “Free” by Gavin DeGraw
Levi Higgs- “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Amber Lowe- “Could It Be Another Change” by The Samples
Daezia Smith- “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot
Dylan Lien- “High School Never Ends” by Bowling For Soup
Chastan Kirby- “I'm Just a Kid” by Simple Plan
Xander Binkley- “Reach Out to the Truth” by Persona 4
Melinda Lewis- “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
National Honor Society inducts 35 new members
NHS President Levi Higgs lights the ceremonial candle as the 2013 induction ceremony begins in the Riverdale auditorium on Friday, April 26. Go here for a list of NHS members, both new and current.
Visual effects companies are changing how we look at movies
by Emily Ramsay, Smoke Signal staff writer
Hollywood is often thought of as glamorous. Its film studios are crawling with the rich and famous. Behind the scenes, however, is a big problem. American visual effects companies are filing bankruptcy.
The issue really came to the attention of the public at the Oscars when the Life of Pi effects supervisor, Bill Westenhofer, was cut off mid-sentence by the JAWS theme. Like many other jobs, outsourcing is considered cheaper and more productive. There’s nothing wrong with getting more for your money right? In this economy, outsourcing deprives Americans of much needed jobs and often causes American companies to go out of business. The visual effects studios are no exception.
In reaction to the rude interruption at the Oscar’s, there have been several protests. A non- profit, The Visual Effects Society, asked California governors and legislature to give more incentives to visual effects companies to encourage patrons. Many supportive social networkers changed their profile picture to the color of the green screen, and advertisement to movies without special effects.
Films such as The Hobbit, Life of Pi, and Avatar would have been nothing without the visual effects needed to make the box office. In fact, if the visual effects industry can’t be fixed, more movie in the near future will not be as successful, or as pleasing to the eye, not to mention the further decrease of our economy. Just as Westonhofer said, “At a time when visual effects movies are dominating the box office, that visual effects companies are struggling.”
Now THIS is a good update
by Xander Binkley
Android 4.2 is the latest update to the android mobile operating system and it’s a welcome improvement. Among the new features is photo sphere and shared user accounts. The latter is mainly for tablets as android 4.2 premiered alongside a new tablet by Google, the Nexus 10.
Major improvements to the camera app come in 4.2. Aesthetically, the entire interface has been redesigned to a more fluid design. It has been compared to Instagram’s interface. Alongside the new interface is the new photo sphere option. A spin on the traditional panoramic shot, photo sphere can capture a full 360 degree view around one point. There is talk from Google about integrating user photo sphere pics into Google maps in the future.
New support for ten inch tablets is also expected as Google has added a ten inch tablet to the Nexus family. Currently only the newest Nexus products, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10, are receiving the 4.2 update, but there are plans to release it for the Galaxy S3. Galaxy Nexus owners will need to wait for their cell service provider to release the update after the provider finishes their own testing. Despite distribution issues, 4.2 is a great update, but really just leaves our mouths watering for Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.