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Road to our snow days a slippery slope Emily Francis Copy Editor BEEP. You‟re awake. Snooze. You‟re asleep. Beep! You‟re awake again. You roll over. Time to actually move. Stumbling out of bed, you happen to glance out the window at the blinding white precipitation that has taken over everything you can see. Anticipation fills you as you run in your sleepy state to turn on KDKA. You tell yourself not to get your hopes up as the first five letters of the alphabet fly by and you pray that you don‟t see Freeport School District before you see those five magic words: Freedom Area High School: CLOSED. The immediate rush of relief hits you in the head like a soft brick and the sleepiness returns almost instantly. Go back to bed – we have a snow day today. Ask any high school student and they will tell you that snow days are the highlight of their winter. But does anyone actually know the long and grueling process that goes into deciding whether or not you get to fall back asleep? The only person that truly knows is Freedom School District‟s superintendent, Dr. Sofo. “Everyone that works with me is happy I make the decision and not them,” Dr. Sofo said as he explained the process he has to go through to determine any school cancellations or delays throughout the district. Dr. Sofo and the district have a contract with the Skywatch Weather Center, the same weather service the Pittsburgh International Airport uses, to send reports of weather warnings. The bus company our district uses, Rhodes Transportation, is another very important contact. The situation with the buses can make or break a snow day – if the buses can‟t start, neither can school. Other references Dr. Sofo uses are the local police departments and 911 Center to get the best and most accurate reports on local roads. If road crews can handle and clear the snowfall and icy roads by about 9 or 10A.M., we have a delay on our hands. And if they can‟t, you can go back to bed, because your bus will not be coming to get you. “If the roads are unsafe we don‟t have school,” Dr. Sofo said. Speedy Situations These decisions are made very quickly. While you‟re sleeping in your warm and toasty bed waiting for your alarm, Dr. Sofo is up and receiving different weather reports between 4:30 and 6a.m. It‟s important in making the decision on whether to delay or cancel school that the bus garage gets the word by 6a.m. at the latest. The first buses to leave the garage around 6:30 need to know if they‟re leaving or not. He also needs to give word to the local radio and TV stations. Keeping up with the twenty-first century, a new digital phone system was purchased and is an efficient device to use throughout the district for times like this. This phone

Is the snow and frost on your window enough to earn your school a delay or cancellation? There is quite a process done to determine it all. Jessica Rosenkranz, Photo Editor

system has been programmed with the phone numbers of Freedom families so that they get a message about the delay or cancellation for their child‟s school without having to check different resources. This way there aren‟t any mix-ups, and the goal is to decrease the number of students standing at their bus stop for 20 minutes, freezing, and wondering why their bus is so late. But don‟t forget about the teachers – Dr. Sofo also has to notify Dr. Staub and other principals in the district, so that they can tell their teachers not to come to school, or that there is a delay. Mr. Rosa, the President of the teachers' union in the high school, activates an automated phone chain to inform the teachers of the situation. Early Dismissals are Dismissed The biggest problem that can occur during this decision process is if an ice storm hits while buses are still out; this makes it very difficult for them and the kids to get back. Another major issue would be if an unexpected snow storm blows through while we‟re in school and we need to be dismissed early. This can cause problems in elementary schools because some kids wouldn‟t have anyone to meet them at their bus stops or houses. What criteria does the weather have to meet for Freedom to delay or cancel? In Dr. Sofo‟s opinion, if the wind chill or the temperature is below -5, kids should not be walking to their bus stops. And if an uninvited snow storm hits and brings over 4 inches, we also could be out of school. Making Unpopular Decisions Politics. They‟re everywhere. Yes, even among school districts. Numerous school cancellations affect the school calendar, as well as parents‟ and teachers‟ work calendars in a negative way. If we use all of our

scheduled snow days and more, the end of school will be pushed back, therefore pushing back graduation; and no one wants to be in charge of telling seniors that graduation is being rescheduled to a later date. Other things to consider are the surrounding districts and whether or not they are closing or delaying. Dr. Sofo keeps in contact with other superintendants to see what their decisions will be so that he can coordinate appropriately. “People talk,” Dr. Sofo said as he explained that students, and more importantly, parents, tend to get mad if Freedom is the only school in the county to not have a snow day, or, on the opposing side, if Freedom is the only school that does have a snow day. Gifts from Above Students are thrilled when they get a surprise day off. Junior Justin Baumiller said that he “explodes with joy” when he wakes up in the morning and finds a winter wonderland outside his bedroom. Senior Jessica Parson just looks forward to going back to bed, and freshman Louis Spanos gets excited for a fun day of playing in the snow. Students aren‟t the only ones that get excited, however. “You kids get out of school, but we are getting out of work,” Mrs. Hastings said. She spends her snows days in her pajamas, drinking hot chocolate and making cookies. “It‟s a gift,” Ms. Rolinson said, as she expressed her love of snow days. Getting a day off, whether from work or school, is for the most part a nice break. But what we don‟t appreciate are the early mornings and the many phone calls and reports that go out to send those magic words to us: Freedom Area High School: CANCELLED. Thanks to our great superintendent, Dr. Sofo. He knows how to make the right call, and how to make about 550 teenagers very happy.


FHS Press

21 January, 2010

New year brings new laws: Theater takes a “wright” turn Will our home state be affected?

Photo by Shannon Schimmer, News Editor

Heather Busse bites into a new law that has gone into effect at the start of 2010. Will this new law reach Pennsylvania’s fast food restaurants? Rob Deane Business Manager The New Year is here and it brought along some new laws to go with it. Some of them are more serious than others but nonetheless laws are laws. As expected, there are more cell phone laws. New for 2010: Oregon, Illinois and New Hampshire have banned texting while driving. There are now 19 states in which it is illegal to text while driving. Pennsylvania is one state that has no state laws on cell phones. All phone laws in Pennsylvania are determined by local legislatures. Same-sex couples will now be able to get married in New Hampshire. It is now illegal to smoke in bars and restaurants in North Carolina. This is a big deal because North Carolina is the country‟s largest tobacco producer. Restaurants in California can no longer use oils, margarine, or shorten-

ings with more than half a gram of Trans fat per serving. California is the first state to make this change but it is expected that other states, cities and fast food chains may make changes like this in the near future. Some of the other laws are less important, puzzling and maybe even a little amusing. In Oregon you must wear a seat belt while riding an ATV on public property. Lighters with pictures or designs that appeal to children are now illegal to sell in Louisiana. They are concerned children will think they are toys. Speaking of toys, in Arkansas toy guns cannot be sold if they look realistic. Teens will now need a parent with them to use a tanning bed in Texas. Fans of dog racing in Massachusetts will have to find a new hobby. The 75-year-old tradition is now illegal. No need to worry as there are no new laws here in PA.

Meagen Finnerty Editor-in-Chief Angorisis: a moment of recognition in a play. Eutrapely: pleasantness in conversation. Flagitation: act of begging. Dramaturg: a position in theater that deals mainly with research and development. Out of those four words, I bet none of them were recognizable. Unless, that is, you are in one of Miss Ross‟s theater arts classes. Each year, the Pittsburgh City Theater has a contest: students may submit any play that they themselves have written, and the winning plays will be produced onstage by the theater‟s professional actors. In order to help further develop each show and make sure all aspects of it can be accurately transferred from paper to stage, the playwrights are each assigned a dramaturg. Their dramaturg works with them one-on-one in order to ensure that there are no loose ends in the play, and that the play is fully developed. Because of a workshop Miss Ross completed over the summer, blocks six and eight have spent the year getting visits from their very own dramaturg, Tyson, from Pittsburgh City Theater. Due to Rebecca Flemings‟s senior project (the murder mystery), Tyson wasn‟t able to actively work with block six

until last month. Block eight has had the opportunity to get more in depth and thorough with him. Tyson‟s first visit came at the beginning of the year; while he did not participate in class, he sat in the center of the auditorium and observed students working onstage. That visit ended with students lining up on stage and delivering one fact for him: what their favorite colors were. After that visit, he began shortly working with block eight on the components of a play and many short exercises onstage. Block six had a long break before they got these lessons, and have only met with Tyson three times this year. Most students didn‟t know what to expect when they walked in and saw a Smart Board with large paper taped to it, like a large notebook. A better understanding came about when each student was handed a journal and class notes began. While taking notes is not a sight to be frequently seen in Miss Ross‟ theater arts class, Tyson feels that without the core knowledge of plays and the stage, no one can reach their full capability. Tyson will continue to visit the classes bimonthly. His visits will conclude with each student writing their own one-act play and submitting it to the contest at the Pittsburgh City Theater.

“Some of the other laws are less important, puzzling and maybe even a little amusing.”

Photo by Liz Brunner, Staff Writer

Ms. Ross’s eighth period performing arts class acts and learns to write their own plays with the help of Tyson, a dramaturg from Pittsburgh.

21 January, 2010


FHS Press

The long quest for the dress has begun Shannon Schimmer News Editor The Christmas dance has passed and the search for the perfect dress has finally ended, right? Wrong. January has hit, which means the next dress hunting season has already begun. With prom almost five months away, some people may wonder why the preparations begin so early in the year, but a majority of the female student population could answer that question with only two words: the dress. According to, the teenage population spends over $1,000,000,000 annually; $4,000,000,000 was spent towards attending a prom in 2005. With the pressure of our society telling us to be beautiful, teenage girls go to great lengths in order to make sure they look their best on the night of the big dance. Parents and boys may disagree with this pressure, but much of it comes from the girls themselves and the way in which they wish to portray themselves on the night of the prom. With the decision to be „beautiful‟ already in mind, the next step would be finding the dress that best brings out the beauty in each individual girl. Where to begin? Many girls begin the dress search months in advance via the internet. Searching things such as „prom dresses,‟ „homecoming gowns,‟ and specifications for a dress idea you may already have in mind lead to multiple websites for boutiques, department stores, and designer sites. Girls can scroll through photo galleries according size, color, or the ever

so important: price. Popular and frequently visited dress website examples are:,,,, and With a selection of categories on each site, there are hundreds of dresses to choose from. You could find a dress for over $500 or as low as $50. With our economy in trouble, it begs the question: where is the money coming from? About 56% of students will ask their parents for money for prom. One way to avoid the pricey dresses from designer websites, which would later include shipping and handling and any alterations needed, is to look for the dress yourself. Driving to shops and boutiques to look for a dress could minimize the cost and frustration of dress hunting. With hundreds of dresses laid out in front of you, you could guarantee the fit of the gown is exactly what you would need, saving money on fitting. Another great idea would be to head straight for the clearance rack. There is no shame in clearance when the money saved could be hundreds of dollars, and some of the nicest dresses can be found among them. Along with the hunt for the perfect dress, the guys put out money as well. The difference, however, is the time put into preparation. A simple call and fitting to Tuxedo Junction and assuring that colors match accordingly with their date is about as much „getting ready‟ the boys will need. So with prom a very short five months away: good luck, girls.

“...the teenage population spends over $1,000,000,000 annually; $4,000,000,000 was spent towards attending a prom in 2005.” You know the drill. Go there. Now. (Please.)

Shannon Schimmer, News Editor

Emily Winterbottom begins the search for her prom dress, starting with the many options on the World Wide Web.


This is madness No, these are midterms January is usually the time during the school year where most students want to beat their heads off of a desk in frustration. This is not only because it‟s dark, cold, and dreary outside; it's also because of those inevitable midterms. Really though, midterms are only for one week and then they are done. Still though, the tests bring stress. And despite the fact that many teachers give project-based midterms, that can cause even more stress if they don‟t also provide enough time to complete the work. The entire point of a midterm is to test the knowledge that a student has acquired in the first semester of the year. And in many classes, that happens. However, some project-based midterms could be too narrow to accomplish such a broad goal. For example, imagine a class where your midterm was to write a 10page paper on Ancient Egypt. Unless the class spent the entire first half of the year learning about Cleopatra and King Tut, then this really doesn‟t serve the purpose of midterms.

So why have such a major grade rest on something so narrow? It seems that if it‟s a core class, such as English, history, or math, then the teacher often has a test; but in electives, they typically have more of a project-based midterm. In some cases, that makes perfect sense. But when the project isn‟t testing the skills learned all year, it just doesn‟t. When projects make sense, they can be a good midterm. However, it can become extremely stressful for students who have many projects at the same time. To do quality work on each project, it would be great if teachers make sure they provide enough in-class time for students to begin their work. We personally know how stressful this whole experience can be, which leads back to the whole beating-yourhead-off-the-desk-in-frustration thing. The student editors of the FHS Press are not asking to get rid of midterms; they are an important part of the learning process. However, steps should be taken to make sure they are practical, and cover the material presented in the class.

FHS Press — Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief: Business Manager: News Editor: Opinions Editor: A&E Editor: Sports Editor: Photography Editor: Copy Editors: Design Editor: Faculty Advisor:

Meagen Finnerty Rob Deane Shannon Schimmer Jake Cruise Nolan Rider Bryan McSorley Jessica Rosenkranz Emily Francis, Jordan Kusich Karla Knauff Mr. David Hartman

Assistant Editors: Cole Leonberg Reporters & Photographers: Alahna Alderette, Alyssa Applequist, Liz Brunner, Rosalyn Nye, Ashlynd Robb, & Marques Muron Editorial Policies: FHS Press is the official student newspaper serving Freedom Area High School, in Freedom, Pennsylvania. The views presented herein are not representative of the school, faculty, or administration; they are solely the views of individual student writers. The newspaper accepts and strives to publish signed letters to the editor under 250 words. To submit comments, press releases, or letters to the editor, or to purchase advertising space in the paper, e-mail, or contact Mr. Hartman in Room 114.

Press Stop Liz Brunner Staff Writer My life is a scheduled mess. Some days I have school, practice, and then work until nine or ten. On top of that, I have school work that forces me to stay up even later. Really, it stresses me out, and causes a few pimples. If you have experienced this, let me be the first to tell you: welcome to high school. It may be a little late, but you might as well hear it. Your life is one hectic mess after another. The best part, no one will give you a break. People expect you to be able to multitask while the brain can really only focus on one task at a time. I wish I could tell you to suck it up and grow up. But then what kind of writer would I be? I‟d be the one who gave you all the simple and false solutions. This solution is not, in fact, to “suck it up.” In actuality, the solution is time, which no one seems to have. This is high school; it is the “time of your life,” not “let‟s get a lot of homework, join too many clubs, and

have no time to be a kid.” High school is supposed to let you chill back and live just a little before you get serious. Personally, I made the mistake. As I now have no time to even hang out with my friends or have a sit-down dinner with my family, I realize how serious being a kid is. I got serious the first minute I stepped into high school. I should have just laid back with my boyfriend and let time swallow us. Instead, I got serious about everything. I lost my boyfriend, my friends, and many other things. Yes, those people are replaceable, to an extent. Now I see why most freshmen are the way they are: childish. No offense, freshmen. That is something I wish to become again. I want to let everything go and just have some time for myself. That‟s my solution to your hectic life. Stop and give yourself time. Oh, and freshmen, don‟t try to grow up too fast. Time isn‟t a friend; it‟s an enemy.

21 January, 2010

FHS Press

Kisses and hugs Relationships should be sweet and silly Jordan Kusich Copy Editor Sex. Almost everyone talks about it. Almost everyone thinks about it. But does everyone actually do it? It seems that the usual line to achieve a physical relationship with someone is, “Come on. Everybody‟s doing it.” But here‟s the kicker: no. They‟re not. Sexual pressure is becoming more and more evident in today‟s high schools, Freedom included. I don‟t understand what all of the commotion is about: if they say no, they say no. I‟ve seen it ruin a relationship one too many times. Of course, I can‟t make your decisions for you. You‟re the only person that has power over what you do with your body. However, I am asking you not to let someone else try to pressure you into doing something that you‟re not comfortable with, or something that you don‟t feel you‟re ready for. That will only lead to further insecu-

rities, and eventually heaps of relationship issues. The point is: if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn‟t want to do anything they‟re not ready for, don‟t make them. Chances are it could really hurt your relationship. If things are going great as is, why throw sex into the mix? I know what you might be thinking; society builds up the idea of sex so much that some people think it‟s the way to have a good time. But so is going to Max n‟ Erma‟s just for the do-it-yourself sundae bar! And who has to be pressured into that? Whatever happened to going to a movie with your significant other and actually watching the movie? Those were the good old days, when couples could just hang out and enjoy one another‟s company. Sweet and silly, not hot and heavy. That‟s what I‟m really getting at here: let‟s bring the sweet and silly side back to high school relationships.

“...just for the do-ityourself sundae bar!”

ATTN: Juniors SAT Test Registration For March 13, 2010 at Freedom Area High School ends February 4, 2010 See Ms. Kaplin or Mr. Bennett for more information

Candy of all kinds



FHS Press

21 January, 2010

Letters to the Editor “I love MySpace, and YouTube, and other webDear Editor, I agree with the article Blocked by Sonic Wall. Because I have great grades and have a study hall, I have nothing to do in study hall, because anything I want to do I can‟t because everything is blocked, even pictures on Google. I love MySpace, and YouTube, and other websites, it‟s just irritating that we can‟t have fun in high school. We are all at least 14 years old and I think we can contain ourselves on a web site. It‟s not like we are 12 in the middle school, and don‟t really know right from wrong. I think the schools rules are so stupid, even being in the library, you can‟t play on notdoppler or teagames because they aren‟t word games. Sorry not every person in this school likes playing word games, we like socializing, and being on social websites, and talking to our friends. What else bothers me is that we aren‟t even allowed to IM. I feel like we are in a strict private school, and the funny thing is they have less rules than we do, and they get away with more than we do. I think MySpace should be unblocked because it‟s so stupid. We are going to in to the websites one way or another; why not just let us do as we please as long as we are on our own time? -Ciera Coombs, Sophomore

“I think [the newspaper] could be better.” Dear Editor, Every month I get a big stack of paper handed to me by a teacher. Surprise, it‟s the newspaper. But, I always end up throwing it in the garbage. Some of the articles are well written and interesting, and I like the way it‟s set up. It looks very professional. Honestly, not to be mean, but I think we‟re killing trees for no reason. Students look through it as soon as it is distributed, but it ends up in the garbage within the next five minutes. I really don‟t understand the point. Every month that I have gotten it, there has maybe been one or two articles in it that I liked and didn‟t waste my life reading. I think that it could be better. I think that the articles should be more interesting and more things people can relate to, people that aren‟t involved in sports, plays, and after school activities. I would like to see more real life things and stuff that really matters in the world. I don‟t think the newspaper is a lost cause but I think it could be a lot better. -Samantha Cunningham, Sophomore

“Kids like to have fun and will always pull pranks on their friends” Dear Editor, I picked up a copy of the FHS press last week and turned right to the car vandalism article which was the most interesting article in the newspaper in my opinion because it has both opinions within the article. But I am with Nolan Rider on this one. I think that some people are taking this whole “car vandalism” thing the wrong way. The spray paint kids use on the cars in the parking lot is not permanent. It comes off as soon as you wash it or it rains so what is the big deal. The only way this could get out of hand is when the paint is put in a spot where it could be hazardous to drive, for example, on the mirrors or windshield. And I know this has happened, but it was obviously not covering the entire mirror. If it was covering the entire mirror, then and only then should be the time when the police would have to be involved in something as silly as this. Kids like to have fun and will always pull pranks on their friends and there is nothing wrong with having some fun. If it really that big of a deal to you that someone might put washable paint on your car, then go catch the bus in the morning. Sincerely, -Francis O‟Connor, Sophomore

“I think activity should be gone permanently” Dear Editor, I agree with the FHS press staff. Activity period is a waste of time anymore. In the beginning of the year activity periods were good. But anymore it‟s become an annoyance. There is no set day that activity period is and that can become very inconvenient when making plans with teachers and friends. Most students just spend that time sitting in their class; only two to three clubs usually meet during activity period, but the remainder of the student body just sit in class. Students that are not in clubs are not permitted to leave class to go get work or check with teachers. Then after a morning of annoyance with times being changed and being late for your second class, you go through the rest of your day, and when you get out of your third class, you only have five minutes to get to your next class. I don‟t think the school should try to change and make our blocks shorter, I think activity should be gone permanently. -Ericka Farmer, Sophomore

“It would be nice to see how the team feels about the “dry” practices” Dear Editor, The article Seeing Green has good quotes from members of the swim team, it also tells us about the improvements the team is making. But if there is a solution to the constant problems with the pool we never know about it. You tell us that an attempt to a solution was made but you don‟t tell us what that was exactly. Although the article has some quotes it does not have very many and the quote it does have is not about how that member of the team feels about the situation with the pool. It would be nice to see how the team feels about the “dry” practices and if they feel that it is helping or hurting them. I also think it would be interesting to see if anyone is thinking of quitting the team because of the problems and if not it would be good to know that even though there have been problems the new team members as well as the old are not going to give up. However I like that the whole article doesn‟t focus on the problems. You tell us about the high hopes the team has for this season and the improvements the team is making. -Rose Brutout, Sophomore

Have anything to say about what you read in this months edition? Let us know at, or submit a letter to Mr. Hartman in room 114.


Tea cup piglets - Starbucks

NOT: Waking up early again - Midterms

Old dawg, new rhymes Nolan Rider A&E Editor The Blueprint 3 is infamous rapper Jay-Z‟s 11th studio album, which he released on his own record company: Roc Nation. What I found cool was that Jay-Z leaked his entire album online, free to the public. He was asked about the leak in an interview; he called it a “preview” and said he was proud of his work and wanted to share it. Jay-Z went to great lengths searching for well known talent to feature in this final installment of the “Blueprint” albums. Artists he collaborated with on the album include Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, and Alicia Keys. The album flows greatly and it seems that he chose these artists not just for their names and fame, but for their talent. The album already has two hits. “Run This Town,” featuring Kanye West and Rihanna, has sky-

rocketed on the charts and is continuously played on the radio. “Empire State of Mind” is a newer single and features Alicia Keys. Her harmonic voice and skill on the piano backs up Jay-Z's powerful lyrics and strong beat. They performed this hit at the 2009 MTV Music Awards and its popularity has only grown since then. These singles are just the first of many from the album. Every song has its place on the CD and a message to deliver. It is amazing to see how Jay-Z has evolved as an artist. He has matured in his music and his lyrics and this evolution led to a great artistic creation. I admire that Jay-Z still strives in and arguably still runs the business. In a genre of music where the artists lose popularity as they reach their late 20‟s, Jay -Z is still running strong as he nears the 40 mark. I guess that there are still some people out there who appreciate good music with a strong lyrical base. The Blueprint 3 has received mixed reviews

from critics. Some claim that, although it‟s not his best work, they thought anything he would be creating at this point in his career would be a train wreck anyway. Others accuse Jay-Z of tailoring his songs so that they will all be singles. I would have also believed this if I hadn‟t seen Jay-Z speak with Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher prior to the album's release. He spoke passionately about his work, and I was surprised to see that he spoke with much intelligence and seemed to have matured with age. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am not a fan of this genre of music. I downloaded the CD after hearing “Empire State of Mind” and I haven‟t been able to stop listening to it since. I would recommend checking this one out. If you‟re not interested in the entire CD, at least download the 2 singles. You won‟t be disappointed. Plus, the man is married to Beyoncé – enough said.

More than just a day off of school Jordan Kusich Copy Editor Find a window. Look outside. What do you see? Heaps and heaps of snow! It‟s the middle of January in western Pennsylvania, what else do you expect to be looking at? When most people think of snow, they think: “Oh God!” They see visions of barely maneuverable roads. They see themselves spending hours shoveling driveways, or walking outside trying to endure the freezing temperatures. But does anyone ever think to look at the bright side? Who thinks about the gorgeous white scenery, the fantastic relaxing snow days, and all the fun things you can do in it? Who doesn‟t love a good snowball fight? Or plopping down and making a snow angel? Skiing, snowboarding, the whole nine yards. But one of the most entertaining wintertime activities, at least here in Freedom, has to be sledding. Remember when you were a little kid, and there was nothing you wanted to do more than take your

brother or sister outside and sled ride with them? I don‟t see how growing up and getting into high school changes that feeling at all. “Sledding is such a fun way to connect with your inner child,” Sam Smith, Junior, says. It makes you feel like a little kid again, and with all the stress that we have to go through nowadays, you can‟t tell me a break from life in high school doesn‟t sound inviting. One of the best things about sledding is: you can go almost anywhere. There are tons of hills all over Freedom and Conway. I bet you your backyard has quite a few. It‟s convenient, it‟s easy, and it‟s so much fun. Another plus about the area: temperatures are never going to be so cold that you feel like you‟re going to freeze to death from being outside. All you need to do is throw on a pair of jeans, probably put some sweats on overtop for extra precaution, a sweatshirt, a coat, and some gloves and you‟re ready to go. Make sure you remember those gloves, though; bare hands plus freezing snow does not equal a happy ending. Everyone has those weekend days where they have nothing to do,

right? So instead of sitting around on your butt watching movies and drinking hot chocolate, why not grab a few friends, go outside, find a decent hill

and go sledding! You‟ll have the time of your lives right there in your backyard. Do yourself a favor, and save the hot chocolate for after your sled ride.

Ian Lint, Contributing Photographer

Rosalyn Nye fends off the Yetti with an icicle.


FHS Press

21 January, 2010

In Memoriam 2009

A recap of those we lost last year Karla Knauff Design Editor As 2010 is here, we mourn the loss of the many celebrities that passed in 2009. We lost many class acts, such as “The King of Pop," “The Most Trusted Man in America," a member of The Brat Pack, a guitar legend, “The Sexiest Man Alive,” one of Charlie‟s Angels and a man who could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. June 28 was the day local star Billy Mays died. He was probably one of the best known TV salesmen, most notable for Oxiclean and Orange Glo and most recognizable for his dark beard and distinct voice. Mays was born in McKee‟s Rocks, PA and attended Sto-Rox High School. Perhaps one of the greatest losses of the decade was Michael Jackson, who died June 25th at age 50. MJ was one of the most influential entertainers of all time, releasing legendary hits such as "Thriller," "Billie Jean," "Beat it," "Black or White," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in The Mirror," and "You Are Not Alone." Other major hits with the Jackson 5 are "I Want You Back" and "I‟ll Be There." Jackson lived a highly publicized life that made him known for his changing appearance and many accusations of abuse. He is notable for making the moonwalk and the robot. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; he has multiple re-

cords held in Guinness Book of World Records, one of which includes “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.” Jackson won 15 Grammy Awards, a “Living Legend" award, a “Lifetime Achievement" award, 26 American Music Awards (24 Solo, 2 with Jackson 5), “Artist of the Century,” 17 number one singles with sales between 350-750 million which made him the Best Selling Artist of History. Jackson donated over $300,000,000 to support 39 charities, as well as founded the Heal the World Foundation. Thriller remains to be the best selling album of all time. Another prominent figure in music that passed in 2009 was Les Paul. He was a jazz and country guitarist, songwriter, and inventor; he developed the solid body electric guitar that made the sound of rock and roll. Les Paul hosted radio programs on NBC radio and “The Les Paul Show”; he died of pneumonia on August 12. American broadcast journalist and anchorman Walter Cronkite died July 17. He worked for CBS News for 19 years and was nicknamed "The Most Trusted Man In America." He reported many historic and important events such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the start of WWII, the Nuremberg Trails, the Vietnam War, the death of JFK, Watergate, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. He had extensive coverage on the US space program during Project Mercury and the space shuttle launch. The Beatles' first TV broadcast in America was with Walter Cronkite. Farrah Fawcett, a beautiful '70s

icon and starlet died on June 25. Fawcett was most recognized for her role as Jill Monroe in the popular television series, Charlie‟s Angles. She won multiple Golden Globe Awards. Fawcett was a pop culture icon and sex figure of the '70s and '80s. She was known for the iconic picture of her smiling face in a red bathing suit and her trademark blonde hair. She was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and fully recovered. Unfortunately, Fawcett‟s cancer came back and she died shortly after her second diagnoses. Patrick Swayze: actor, dancer, singer-songwriter. He was most known for his films including the iconic “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” “Roadhouse,” and “Point Break.” Some of his other movies include “The Outsiders,” “Skatetown USA,” “Red Dawn,” and “Young Blood.” He was named People magazine's “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991. Swayze not only acted on camera but also on stage, starring as Danny in the production of Greese, and major roles in Guys and Dolls and Chicago. In late January 2008 Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV Pancreatic Cancer and died on September 14, 2009. Speaking of The Brat Pack, many included with that mourn the loss of John Hughes. He died at age 59 of a heart attack. Hughes was the producer and writer of many hit films like “National Lampoon's Vacation,” "Ferris Buellers Day Off,” “Weird Science,” “The Breakfast Club," “Sixteen

Candles,” “Pretty in Pink," “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck,” “Home Alone,” and “Home Alone 2.” Although Hughes died, his movies will live on as some of the greatest classics of all time. The young and beautiful Brittany Murphy unexpectedly passed away on December 20th of cardiac arrest. She was a popular actress and singer, starring in many top films such as “Clueless,” “8 Mile," “Uptown Girls,” “Sin City,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “The Devil‟s Arithmetic,” “Just Married,” “Little Back Book” and “Happy Feet.” She voiced Luanne Platter on TV‟s King of the Hill. Her final film, “Abandoned,” is to release in 2010. Another young talented star that died at the end of December 2009 was James “The Rev” Sullivan. He was the drummer and backup vocalist for the band Avenged Sevenfold. Sullivan was also the lead singer of the band Pinky Smooth and the drummer for a band called Suburban Legends. He not only played the drums, but also piano and guitar. He wrote many hit songs such as “A Little Piece of Heaven,” “Almost Easy,” and “Afterlife.” The cause of his death is undetermined. Many other celebrity deaths of 2009 include Natasha Richardson of The Parent Trap, John Updike, Ricardo Montalban, Don Hewitt, the creator of 60 Minutes, Bea Arthur from TV‟s "The Golden Girls," James Whitmore, and Dom DiMaggio of the Boston Red Sox.

Ever create a goal with the purpose of failing it? A new year, a new decade, and another set of resolutions for everyone. What is it about New Years that makes everyone feel like starting over? With a new calendar comes a new set of goals, especially for students and teachers at FHS. So what is it that everyone wants to improve this year? Grades? Health? What about good „ole Dr. Staub? “I‟m on a health kick,” the principal said; his resolution this year is to exercise more and eat right. Junior Deb Fanning is hoping that the new year will bring her a speedy recovery from her shoulder surgery, so she can get back into the pool where she belongs. Senior Adam Teets wasn‟t thinking about grades or health; he hopes that the new year will help him “to be more open minded about women, athletics, and about our purpose and being in the universe.” Fellow senior Zack Burns would like to “play a larger role in the global economy.” Sounds like these seniors are ready for the world. Teachers have their own opinions about new year resolutions. “They never work,” Ms. Ross said, as she explained that her resolutions are always the

Emily Francis Copy Editor


same: to exercise more and get more organized., but we all know that Ms. Ross will never accomplish organization. Other teachers are taking a different approach to the new year. Mr. Wargo never has a new year‟s resolution. He believes that one should try their best to be what they want to be every day, and not make special exceptions because of the new year. As a result, Junior Shannon Schimmer‟s additional new year‟s resolution is to be more like Mr. Wargo. Moving on to more realistic goals: freshman Brianna Haglan hopes to exercise more in the coming new year, and sophomore Adam Trasport is working on “not talking so much about beanie babies because the chicks think it‟s weird.” FHS is filled with character; each student and teacher hoping for a little more to be accomplished this year. But knowing this school, if you had a new year‟s resolution that you promised yourself, I‟m sure you‟ve either already forgotten about it or you have moved on to bigger and better things.

FHS Press

21 January, 2010

A preview/review for this/last season Movies for these dark, frigid months Well I‟m not sure if you people even read my reviews, but I‟ll keep writing them anyway because that‟s what I do. With the old year ending and 2010 in its earliest stages, one way to get out of the cold and kill a couple hours of your life is to go to the movies. Believe me when I say there is a plethora of titles out there that are sure to please. Out of sheer boredom, I saw four movies over break, none of which disappointed me. I watched the first attempt of biological warfare, a young man overcome poverty, racial discrimination, and learning disabilities. I witnessed a man step outside his realm of isolation for a chance at love only to have his heart torn apart. I rooted for the destruction of mankind, and saw one of the most beautifully created and original worlds to ever grace the silver screen. Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes is a tale of man who sees what others do not. Robert Downey Jr. plays this conceited, brilliant man with ease. He turns the beloved character of old into an action hero and a demented man who seems to resent law enforcement even though he is responsible for the imprisonment of many of the top notch criminals who previously roamed the streets of London. The writers even found a way to incorporate a love story in this film between Holmes and, ironically, possibly the world‟s most elite criminal. This movie kept me interested with its unpredictable plot twists. The answer to the mystery eluded me until Holmes himself explained the success behind the attempted destruction of Parliament by a dooms day machine, which uses weaponized chemicals to slaughter royalty. This attack would have left England vulnerable to evil rule. Did I mention that Jude Law was his Watson? Now you'll want to go see it. The Blindside The Blindside is a heartwarming real-life story of a young man who works

Nolan Rider Section Editor

Even though there wasn‟t a cast of Alist actors, they gave a performance I don‟t believe I have ever seen in the through poverty, race, and difficulties with cinemas. I don‟t think I have ever school in order to graduate with a GPA good rooted for the destruction of my own enough to play football for „Ole Miss. Michael species, but after seeing the purity of Oher, aka “Big Mike,” played by Quinton Aaron, the local people, and the corruption of gave a magnificent performance and mastered his my fellow man, I found myself revelcharacter with the use of his actions and manner- ing in the retaliation of the locals. As isms working with the few lines he is dealt. He is the humans perished in the film, I felt a taken in by a rich, white family who gives him a rush of adrenaline as the 3D world explace to sleep and another chance at life. The ploded around me and the human infilms ends in a way that left me with a feeling of vaders were killed off like the savages elation and satisfaction that most movies fail to we are. Please: if you see one movie in do. the next few weeks, go see Avatar. And don‟t be cheap: pay the extra couUp in the Air ple of bucks for the 3D experience. It‟s A surprising leader of the pack this so worth it. Oh, by the way, it's three movie season is Up in the Air. The ever enterhours long, so don't make plans that taining George Clooney once again outdoes him- afternoon. self, portraying a character devoted to obtaining 10,000,000 flier miles to be only the 7th person in With all these movies, I feel history to do so and also the youngest. Clooney‟s almost selfish wanting more, but there character Ryan Bingham is a deep individual is one more title that caught my eye who chooses to spend his life on the road, cutting that I haven‟t as of yet had the opportuhim off from the rest of the world. The storyline nity to see. Daybreakers is to be a releft me wondering about the origins of his past, freshing twist to the vampire genre that yet they aren‟t revealed through the movie. It has been overplayed for the last couple seems that Ryan has a revelation that maybe, just years with the emergence of the Twimaybe, life is better with company. He finds a light Saga. I was there for the release woman on the road that is as equally disturbed as of 30 Days of Night, and was enterhim and has a strange relationship with her, tained by the bloodshed of my fellow meeting in certain cities. After his sister‟s wedman by ruthless killing machines in the ding he starts to think that he may finally be Alaskan Wasteland. The reactions of ready to settle down, but he discovers a secret the audience may have been more enthat will shatter his new reality. tertaining than the movie itself. The cries of fear from some while others laughed intrigued me. Daybreakers Avatar Last and, oh God, certainly not the least seems to shed a civil light upon the is Avatar. This may be the greatest movie I have vampire race as they debate how to ever seen. I say that with no exaggeration. The approach the end of their race due to setting of this story is on the distant planet Panthe lacking in supply of human blood dora in the year 2154. Humans have destroyed because of our dwindling population. their home planet and are in search of precious I would recommend any of minerals on Pandora, which has a rich supply. these movies, but if you are only going This land is the most beautifully created piece of to chose one, make it Avatar. This art to ever grace the silver screen. I entered the movie won over my heart with its theater not knowing what to expect and a little beauty and raw emotion. I would love frustrated that I had just paid $11 for a ticket for to see it again on the big screen, and I some movie I had no idea about. I was soon will, without a doubt, be buying the proved wrong. I was instantly captivated by the BlueRay the second it hits store raw beauty and originality of this alien world. shelves. If at all possible go see this The special effects were amazing, the story line one in an iMax or in 3D. heart-wrenching, and the acting phenomenal.


Swimming through adversity Coach Sosko and the swim team battle through pool problems

Swim season’s very sad math problem 7 total practices + 21 days when the pool was broken +2 traveling practices to Sunrise pool + 1 total home meet + 1 meet moved from home to away + 2 rescheduled meets Meagen Finnerty, Editor-in-Chief

with a 0-1 record, but how much can you expect for a team that hasn‟t had a whole week of practice? Due to the water pump and the pool temperature problems the This year the swim team has faced adversity team has had to put up with, the season has become even before the season began, by either having to can- even more challenging than it should be. cel practice or reschedule meets. The team only had the There was even a period of time that the team chance to host one home meet, which was against Car- didn't practice for 18 days over Christmas vacation. lynton. They can‟t practice at their own pool so they have to be It also had two scrimmages where the swimbused to New Brighton‟s Sunrise pool. mers showed promise even without a place to train, Not practicing for such a long time can really making this one of the worst-best seasons they could hurt a team both mentally and physihave had. cally. Both the girls‟ and the boys‟ teams have started out The chances of the team being at a level to compete

Cole Leonberg Assistant Editor


Katie Lambert swims laps at one of the swim team’s rare pool practices last December.

26 very very sad swimmers

with teams that are practicing every day or even two times a day are not in their favor. Even with the problems they have been facing they are still continuing to make their times decrease. Junior Matt McKinney said, “I feel the team itself is stronger than ever before, but not being able to practice is really taking its toll on us all.” The team‟s chemistry is a lot different than past seasons, considering that they are all facing the same challenge of hardly having a chance to do something they love. Even without practice, the swimming season is still underway and needs the support of the student body.


FHS Press

21 January, 2010

Jocks who rock Matt McKinney

Embarrassing Moment

My coach is…


Losing his Jammer diving into the pool

Random and talkative

Kristi Tibolet

Least Favorite Part about Practice 4th quarter drill

(Basketball) Matt Willis

Lindsay Kitzman (swimming)

Reason for being Postgame Ritual an Athlete Inspiration from her brother

Favorite Sports Movie

Embarrassing Moment

Blind Side

Falling during his football introduction

My coach is…

Swimming Motivation

Always stressed about the state of our pool

Erika Barlow‟s face


Least Favorite Part about Practice Cold water!

Favorite Coach Reason for Jersey Number TINK!

“I wish I had a number.” :(

My coach is…

Sports Nickname

Think of what she Inspirational and could‟ve done tough differently Favorite High School Sports Memory Beating Aliquippa in 9th grade basketball

Tibbs, passed down from her brother

Reason for Jersey Number

Pregame Ritual

“Who cares? It‟s just a number.”

Always say a prayer

Pregame Music

Embarrassing Moment

Thunderstruck played over and over and over

Wardrobe malfunction

Reason for Being an Athlete She wanted to be like her big sister

Balancing act

Prioritizing between score and sports is tough for student athletes at Freedom Bryan McSorley Sports Editor As the holiday season came and went, we are now back to the grind that is the month of January in high school. With January comes the most important part of winter sports as section play heats up. This means long practices and a countless number of sore nights spent at home. With January also comes midterm projects and exams. This means torture for some student athletes as they have to juggle school responsibilities along with team responsibilities. Midterm exam time is without a shadow of a doubt the most difficult time for a student athlete during any of the sports seasons. As is often forgotten in high school sports, the players are called student athletes for a reason. Being a student comes first and foremost. However, it seems that the trend has become athlete first and student second in today‟s society. There is a constant power struggle between coaches and teachers today as coaches feel that sports are more important and teachers feel that their work is more important. Each side has their point, but the tough balancing act the student athletes must perform is what molds

them into successful adults. By being able to maximize their use of free time student athletes can perform well both in athletics and in the classroom. After the fall, winter, and spring sports season, the Beaver County Times honors the student athletes that were successful in juggling sports and school by earning straight A‟s. During the fall season only nine students out of the seven fall sports made the Times' Scholastic All-Star list. The honorable mention list included around 50 other student athletes. This low number of straight A student athletes could be caused by one of a few things: the rising level of education here at Freedom, the lack of fall student athletes at our small school, or the lack of time management by the student athletes who participated in a fall sport. Time will only tell how the winter athletes will deal with scholastic responsibilities in this extremely difficult time of the year. Failure often breeds success, so no matter how the dust settles after the midterms and section battles, one thing can be assured: these athletes will come out better people after working through the January struggles.

Bryan McSorley, Sports Editor

School work and sports has become a big dilemma for student athletes at Freedom during midterms.


FHS Press

21 January, 2010

Battling, but still winless Liz Brunner Staff Writer Pass. Dribble. Slam dunk. Score – another point for the boy‟s basketball team. As they begin their season, however, things have not been working out as planned. The team is practicing every week night (those that they don‟t have games, at least) from six to eight, hoping to increase the amount of games they win, and improve their record. So far, their record is a depressing 0-7. However, they are expecting to pick up the heat during the next few games. Sadly, the team's morale is down lately due to their not-so-attractive record. However, every night that their devoted fans show up, cheering them on no matter what, these boys get a little more pep in their step. The team always starts out with a good outlook on the game, hoping for a win every time. They can‟t say exactly what it is, but something keeps on getting them down. They‟re

certainly praying for a win next game, and hoping that with enough hard work on top of their tedious practice schedule, they‟ll be able to pull through. All of the starters have certainly been stepping up to give the game some heat. Seniors Shane Quinn and Luke Mesing have been trying their hardest to make their last year on the team a good one. Just like the upperclassmen, some freshmen are starting to step up as well. Freshman Nick Schwab has been getting some varsity time, giving the game some real heat, showing his passion for the sport, and getting noticed because of it. Franzee Barlamas and Brandon Prest, both juniors, are two of the team‟s top players. We‟re all hoping that these two, along with the rest of the boys on the team, can all work together and pull through with a win for the Bulldogs.

Bryan McSorley, Sports Editor

The Bulldogs try to run the pick and roll offense against Rochester.

Hitting the slopes Robert Deane Business Manager

Marques Muron, Staff Writer

Boe Bonzo grapples against his opponent.

Getting down to business Marques Muron Staff Writer With the wrestling season in motion, the boys have put forth more time and effort into their practices now more than ever. Having just wrestled four matches and two tournaments at Chartiers Houston and Macs, the boys have a record of 2-2. Even though the wrestlers have wrestled their biggest rivals, Southside and Burgettstown, the boys still have a long way to go to beat their record. There is more to come out of the boys this season; they may be young, but they are working up to their expectations. With last year‟s record 86, the wrestlers and coaches are determined to strive for more wins. It‟s not enough to just make weight with these

boys, it's winning the matches, getting points on the board, and making it to the playoffs. Junior Scott Merkel, who placed fourth in the Chartiers Houston tournament, said he wants to see everyone improve and have a winning record for the team. That is exactly what the wrestlers plan on doing. After the Mac tournament ended this weekend some of our wrestlers placed: Scott Merkel placed fourth in the 189 weight class, Heath Nye took fourth place in 135, Evan Mengel placed second in 103, and Boe Bonzo placed first in the 125 weight class. All the wrestlers are working hard to make each tournament and each match a win.

Winter is here and it‟s time to hit the slopes with Mr. Summers and the Ski Club. The Freedom Area Ski Club travels to Seven Springs a few times each winter for some outdoor fun. Mr. Summers has been in charge of the Ski Club for eight years. There are usually four to six ski trips every winter and the trips will run through February and into March. All of the ski trips are on Thursdays after school. The bus leaves around 2:45 and students arrive back at the high school around 11:30 p.m. This year, around 75 kids signed up for Ski Club; this is the most Mr. Summers has ever had sign up. He did say, however, that not all 75 kids will likely go on the trips. The majority of kids ski, but there are a handful of students that snowboard too. The prices are very

similar to last year. It will cost a student $56 for the bus, ski rental, and a lift ticket. For snowboarders, it will cost $62 for the bus, board rental, and lift ticket. Kids are allowed to bring their own skis or snowboards if they want to. The president of Ski Club is Brittany Stehle and the vice president is Jordan Mercandante. Seth Shidemantle is the treasurer and the secretary is Kevin Snyder. The ski trips are always a lot of fun. Junior Jeremy Canonge said, “I enjoy skiing a lot. The Ski Club is tons of fun because you can just have a good time skiing with your friends.” Skiing is not only lots of fun, but it is great exercise too. The ski trips are a great way for kids to be involved in an after-school activity. If anyone is interested in joining Ski Club they should talk to Mr. Summers.

Rosalyn Nye, Staff Writer

Breanne Prinkey overlooks the slopes at Seven Springs.

January 2010  
January 2010