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Students bring awareness to social issues Bedford Bobcats

Students Against Destructive Decisions

dominicktorro ’12

krislarosa ’12

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onday, March 14th, marked the start of the Week of Awareness set up by the Bobcats Club. The week was an effort to support students at Bedford High School, raise the awareness about The Bedford Bobcats (the local Special Olympics team,) spread Project UNIFY, and continue the “Spread The Word To End The Word” campaign. In order to understand the programs, it first is important to understand the difference between the Bedford Bobcats and Bedford High School’s Bobcats Club. They are not one in the same. The Bedford Bobcats is a local Special Olympics team that competes in regional and statewide competitions. The Bedford Bobcats compete in the Regional Basketball Games at Keene State University, whereas the Bobcats Club at Bedford High School is a group of students (both disabled and non-disabled) who meet to support integration of those with disabilities into the school. It is also a time for the students to have fun and do things that they normally do not have the opportunity to do during the school day, such as playing board games, completing puzzles or helping each other with homework. The Bobcats Club sponsored the Week of Awareness. In particular, junior Rachel Liff and senior Courtney Jennerjohn got the ball rolling on the start of Project UNIFY. Last summer, Liff and Jennerjohn visited the Special Olympics National Summer games in Nebraska and received infor-

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Students signed a poster to end the use of the “r-word” during the week of awareness hosted by the Bedford Bobcats. Photo courtesy of Rachel Liff.

mation on government grants for Project UNIFY. Upon their return, the pair wrote a proposal for the Bobcats Club to receive one of the grants. Liff, speaking about the grant said, “We received one of eighteen [grants] nationwide and started to work on putting things together in September and October. We had some meetings outside of school, but a lot of the work was done in Bobcats Club. Without the hard work of all of the members in the club, this week would not have been possible!” The Life Skills staff and students were a vital part of the project as well. Working with the money from the government grant, Liff and Jennerjohn have begun Project UNIFY here at BHS. The program’s purpose is to simply further the integration of students with disability into the school community and society as a whole. During the week, paw prints were available for sale for $1 in Bulldog Corner to raise money and awareness. Along with the purchase of a paw print, students received t-shirts promoting the project. Exact figures are

still unknown, but the club can safely say that over $700 was raised throughout the week. Liff commented, “Every thing we had is gone: T-shirts, wristbands, pins, stickers, everything. We couldnít be any happier. The Bobcats Club considers the week an overwhelming success; the ‘Become A Fan’ drive was a huge success.” The last day of the week was “Stop The R-Word” Day, and a guest speaker was invited to speak to students. Parker Thorton, a man with disabilities of his own, spoke to students about the use of the word “retard(ed)” and how it actually makes others feel. It is important to note that the word does in fact have proper uses, however, the word is often used in a derogatory sense, especially in high schools. Thornton’s message was “Words shape thoughts.” He continued to explain how improper use of the word “retard(ed)” could make others feel. He, like the Bobcats, is working toward a more integrated and accepting school, and, on the grand scheme of things, society as a whole.

rom is just around the corner and, while some may be buying dresses and planning hair styles, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is promoting drinking and driving awareness for the upcoming prom. Proms are notorious for partying and, a lot of times, underage drinking. The leading cause of death for those ages 15-20 is a car accident. That’s why the kids of SADD recently met with Mr. Hagen to discuss the issue. SADD members wished to hold an event at BHS to spread awareness, an event called “Every 15 Minutes.” The idea of the “Every 15 Minutes” organization is to represent the statistic that in every 15 minutes, someone dies as the result of an alcohol related collision. The members of SADD proposed the event to Mr. Hagen: every 15 minutes, they could pull a student from class, and every fifteen minutes a Grim Reaper would arrive to the student’s class to ‘claim their life’ and to make a point. This event would remind students of Bedford High School

that while drinking alcohol may seem to be harmless, it is a dangerous, and oftentimes lethal. Unfortunately, they will not be able to pull a student out of class every 15 seconds. Junior Hannah Zeltner, co-president of SADD said, “We really hope to reach other students in understanding the consequences of drinking and driving and to remind them that drunk driving accidents do happen and they happen more often than they should.” The students of SADD talked to Mr. Hagen about the idea of reenacting a crash scene, similar to what is performed annually at West High School. This also was not approved. Even though these ideas were rejected, SADD will still be sending a message. They have arranged for a speaker to come to Bedford High School to discuss drunk driving with students. The speaker is Dr. Wayne Goldner of Bedford. His son, Jason Goldner, died in a car crash due to drunk driving therefore he understands the pain of losing a loved one in a drunkdriving accident. The SADD students hope to make their point through his story. Junior Ellen Wheeler, co-president of SADD club remarked, “During the prom season, the talk of parties and drinking will inevitably rise and with the speaker coming we (SADD members) hope to remind students of the negative effects Students Against Destructive Decisions promote good decisions around the time of prom. Photo of under-age drinkcourtesy of wordpress.com ing.”

Student showcases: Senior Project AOK ashleykendrigan ’11 This article was written by senior Ashley Kendrigan as her Senior Project Application of Knowledge and has been placed with minimal editing in order to maintain the integrity of the article.

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e’ve all watched the Notebook- Noah and Allie dancing in the living room of the nursing home as she finally remembers who she is. Within a few minutes, she becomes confused and disoriented and violent. Although this story is fictional, it accurately portrays how an Alzheimer’s disease patient behaves towards the late stages of the disease. At this moment, more than 4.5 million people are suffering with Alzheimer’s. Most Alzheimer’s patients are 65 years of age and older, and Alzheimer’s disease is the 9th leading cause of death among people 65 years of age and older. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects part of the brain, causing it to slowly deteriorate and the nerve cells to die. Researchers cannot actually find the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, therefore a cure is currently not available. This leads to my senior project and how Alzheimer’s affects family members. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, it is nearly impossible to predict. Alzheimer’s disease affects the families more than the actual patient toward the final stages due to the fact that the patient is completely unaware of his/her surroundings. In order to raise awareness for this disease and to help out any loved ones who are suffering, it is important

to know how to handle the situation and be prepared. Here is what you can do1) Educate yourself- one of the most frustrating aspects about Alzheimer’s disease is not truly knowing and understanding the disease because no actual cause can be found. By visiting a site such as www.alz.org you can educate yourself and your family members. 2) Test early- the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat and decrease the strength of the symptoms. Blood tests, MRIs and neurological tests can be done to test a person, along with tests to determine if family members have the possibility of developing the disease in a later age. 3) Seek psychological help- Alzheimer’s disease is known as the “family disease” because the family has to constantly watch the patient and continue to guide them through everyday tasks. Seek counseling and always talk to other family members- you are not alone in this situation. Although there is no cure, there is medicine for people to take that will help ease the symptoms and that will provide some form of temporary relief. My senior project is to tell others about Alzheimer’s disease and help those who do not know how to handle having a family member or knowing someone who has a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. A person may feel helpless because there is nothing that can be done, but if a person is well educated and seeks

support, the experience can be focused more on spending time with the person. During my senior project on Thursday May 26th, I will be presenting different ways to help family members and symptoms of the different stages of Alzheimer’s. I will also be giving out purple Alzheimer’s awareness bracelets for people to wear that symbolize knowledge and being one person closer to everyone becoming aware of the disease. We do not know the exact cause, but it is possible to be educated. It is possible to have hope and most importantly it is possible to raise awareness by telling others that they are not alone and what we do know can help us through the situation. To view my research, a video on Alzheimer’s disease and the process through my senior project and how I have applied my knowledge, visit my Google web site at https://sites.google.com/site/kendriganaseniorproject/home. This provides research, links and my journal entries and journey through this senior project process. Because this link is to a web site, it is permanent and is available to anyone who wants to view it and be aware of Alzheimer’s disease. Within the next 10 years, researchers hope to discover the true cause and one day create a cure. For now, we must do what we can to make the process easier. However, know that you are not alone- for questions and further research visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.

O’hara leads new school publication: Lit Mag gabbypotter ’14

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here are several clubs in our school that are not given enough support and praise for the work that they do. The Literary Magazine Club is one of these organizations. It may not be very well-known, but it has an honest goal to assist the Bedford High School community of writers and artists. The magazine, that this club produces, is a series of short stories, poems, photography, art, recipes, funny stories, and songs, that gets published at the end of the year. There are many people within Bedford High School who are truly spectacular in the art fields, and this is a great chance to express yourself and share your talent with others. Currently, there are seven members who meet with Ms. O’Hara to discuss the

layout and content of the magazine. They would be thrilled to involve any new members who are interested. The goal of this club, as member Kay Heffernan says, “Is to get a creative voice into the Bedford community that would not necessarily get there without our help.” “Literary Magazine allows its members to embrace their creative side, to publish their art, and to make some new friends”, Heffernan explains. You do not have to be a member of the club to submit work. For people with creative talents, this is a great opportunity to get published and to display your talent. Also, the Literary Magazine Club can help you complete any works-in-progress that you may be strug-

gling with, so stop by and see what the club has to offer. So, if you have an artistic talent, or multiple, speak with Ms. O’Hara about the Literary Magazine Club. By the end of the school year, the Literary Magazine will complete and produce their second publication, which will be available for purchase by students, staff, and the Bedford community. You can support this club, even if you do not have a talent for writing or art, by simply buying a copy of the magazine that the club is producing. Let’s make sure to support the Literary Magazine in any way that we can, so that they can continue to help our school’s creative talent.

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