10 BOOKS of 2011
A product of the Stevens Point Journal & Boys & Girls Club
TOP 10 READS OF 2010 By Hanna Burch Our Voice Staff St. Peter Middle School Eighth-Grader
Middle-schooler shares her favorite books
told through her diary entries. Read this book as the starting point of a series that’ll make you laugh out loud.
There were two movies made off these books, but the books are a lot more detailed and portray Mia, the main character, much better. There are many books in this series, but they are short, fun, easy books to read. Mia is an honest girl who writes in her diary a lot, and her stories are
7. “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan -- The first book in this series was very recently made into a movie. Although, like most movies and books, this book was better. This book, and series, is about Percy Jackson. Percy is a demigod, or half human half god. His father is Continued on page 3
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loves to shop and is in a ton of debt. The book is very different than the movie, and I would say it’s much better than the movie. The hard thing about this book is the few English slang words and the currency difference, but 1. “Airhead” by Meg Cabot -- otherwise it’s a book that’ll make This is the first book in the Airhead you laugh at the main character’s series, my favorite series of books. personality. The series is a mix of science fiction and romance. “Airhead” is about 4. “The Angel Experiment” by full body transplants, which means James Patterson -- This is the first a person’s brain is transplanted book of a big science fiction series. into another person’s body. In Six kids, Max, Fang, Iggy, Angel, “Airhead,” a regular girl’s brain is Nudge, and Gazzy, are mostly put into the most popular person’s human but also have wings. They body, and the girl is not allowed to were experimented on as babies tell anyone that she isn’t the real by scientists, but luckily escaped popular person. At first, this book the science lab. A few of the kids seemed very cheesy, but when you have extra powers, but they all have get into it, it is very fun, interesting, unique personalities. These books fast moving and humorous to read. make you think a lot about life, and will intrigue your mind. 2. “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins- The Hunger Game series 5. “The Mysterious Benedict is a very popular series right now. Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart “Catching Fire” is the second -- This is a fun book with different book, and I thought it was the best challenges for the characters and one out of the Hunger Game series. for you. The author does a good “Catching Fire” has romance, job at making up scenarios for the action and humor. It is a great book series. I find the books in this series for anyone, from 12 year olds to hard to get in to, but once I’m past the first few chapters, I can’t stop adults. reading them. This book is about 3. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” four special kids who are given spy by Sophie Kinsella -- This popular missions. series was so good that it was made into a movie, which you might 6. “The Princess Diaries” by Meg have seen. This book is the first of Cabot -- This is the first book of a series, and it’s about a lady who another great series by Meg Cabot. s 2010 prepares to leave us, I look back on all the things I did and what I’ll try to do better in the New Year. This year, I read many great books. My overall favorite author is Meg Cabot right now. Here is my top 10 reading list of books read in 2010:
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By Hanna Burch Our Voice Staff St. Peter Middle School Eighth-Grader
he New Year is here, and everyone will be getting ready to celebrate 2011. Along with celebrating a new year, some people make resolutions for themselves that will make their new year better. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back to 153 B.C. New Year’s resolutions didn’t start on Jan. 1, but instead on the first day of a new year, depending on the type of calendar used. In 153 B.C., there was a mythical king of Rome, Janus. The Romans saw Janus with two faces: one looking forward and one looking backward. On Dec. 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back on the previous year and looking forward to the new year at the same time. They made promises to do better things to make the next year more successful than the last in order to please Janus. A little while later, the Romans began the tradition of trading gifts on New Year’s.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year’s Day to Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to Jan. 1. Some eighth-grade students at St. Peter Middle School have a few ideas for their New Year’s resolutions. Ginny Neufeld says she is going to try not to just walk into her sister’s room without asking. She also is going to stop eating emotionally. Laura Kelble says she wants to make sure that she shows her loved ones how much they mean to her every day. She also wants to try to be the best she can be at everything she tries. Zach Serafin says he would like to focus more on other people besides himself. He wants to do this so that hopefully people around him will be happier. Kyle Galloway would like to cut down on his
unnecessary bad language use and wants to widen his vocabulary. Katie Flees will try harder in sports and in school. She says that both are important to her and she wants to do her best at both. Brooke Filtz’s resolution is to be bold and courageous enough to stand up for something that’s not right, like bullying. She says this will be a challenge but it’s a good way to help someone if she’s standing up for them. So, in 2011, challenge yourself to be a braver, hard working and caring person who can make a difference in other’s lives. Source of history: http://ezinearticles. c o m / ? T h e - H i s t o r y - o f - N e w - Ye a r s Resolutions&id=245213
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-- This is a science fiction mystery novel about a girl, Miranda, and her life in New York. This book deals with the mystery and possibility of time travel. Throughout this book, many small things are mentioned and happen, but in the end they all connect. The ending was very well 8. “The Daughters” by Joanna Philbin -- Ever written, especially. Rebecca Stead thinks the plot wonder what kids of celebrities feel like? Well, this of this book out very well, and I enjoyed it. book tells the story of three girls whose parents are famous people. It shows that kids are not like 10. “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson -- This their parents, and it reveals the struggles behind is a historical fiction book about Isabel, a slave. the life of popularity. This book is about Lizzie, It tells of Isabel’s hard life, which includes losing whose mom is a supermodel. Lizzie always feels her mother and sister, and the cruelty of slavery. compared to her, until she discovers her own This is one of the best historical fiction books secret talent and finds out who she really is. I’ve read. Isabel’s journey is about friendship, 9. “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead love, and freedom. Poseidon, the God of the sea. Percy is given a special mission in this book, which is both dangerous and fun. These books tell how the Greek gods fit in to our regular human life, and are very adventurous to read.
Fun ways to stay busy during your winter break By Hanna Burch Our Voice Staff St. Peter Middle School Eighth-Grader
u r i n g the long, enjoyable and cold winter break, many students might run out of things to do and become bored. Instead of sitting inside playing video games, watching TV, chatting on Facebook or texting your friends, here are a few cool places to visit and things to do on your winter vacation that cost little to nothing. 1. Go to the library. The library is a great place to check out books, music and movies. The librarians are very nice and would love to help you find the perfect book to read, weather it’s an Alex Rider novel, “The Hunger Games,” or Twilight. There are also books on tape, which are really neat because you can listen to the story being told while you lie on your bed or maybe exercise. There’s CDs and tapes to check out too, and maybe now would be
a good time to explore different types of music instead of only listening to Beyonce or Train. 2. Hang out at the YMCA. The YMCA has lots to offer for teenagers, from the swimming pool to the teen hangout. While you’re there, check out the new exercise room (make sure you know how to properly work the equipment!), go swimming or hang out in the teen room. The YMCA is a great place to meet up with friends and update each other while having a good time. 3. Eat at Emy J’s. Emy J’s has coffee, tea, smoothies and, of course, ice cream. All the choices are
very delicious and yummy. There’s also Café Espresso, which has regular food choices to choose from, like sandwiches and burritos. With all these different choices, something is sure to trigger your stomach. 4. Ski at Standing Rocks. Standing Rocks is a little bit of a ways out, but it’s a great place to go downhill and cross-country skiing. If you’ve never skied, then now is the time to give it a try — just be sure to start on the bunny hill! 5. Sled, toboggan and ice skate at Iverson Park. At Iverson, there are a few wonderful hills to bring your sleds and go sledding for free.
There’s also an ice rink to bring your ice skates and glide around. In addition, Iverson has two toboggan runs, which are super fun to ride. If you like crosscountry skiing, there’s also paths and trails at Iverson to follow and ski on. 6. Go to the Museum of Natural History. This museum is located in the library on the University of W isconsin-Stevens Point campus. It has many interesting displays, plus a small gift shop. It is open and free to the public and is a fun but educational
Photos: Courtesy of Thinkstock
place to go.
or family members if they’d like their driveways shoveled. This is a great way to do service work, or earn a little bit of money.
7. See a movie at Roger’s Cinema. There are lots of great movies coming out, and once in awhile it’s fun to get together with friends So, on this winter and family to see a new break, make sure you have fun, be safe and movie together. be careful! 8. Ask your neighbors
MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION:
et’s face it. Junior and senior high school years are far from impeccable for almost all people. With the rapidly changing hormones, the “survival of the fittest” popularity competitions, and the strong desire to simply fit in, these six years of a person’s life are nothing short of chaotic. In my opinion, however, one of the most rewarding, as well as painful, aspects of junior and senior high school is finding a relationship. Whether that relationship is a quick fling, an average three-to-four month attachment, or a long-term, “made to last forever” commitment, it seems like each person is able to find a certain someone who they connect with in a very special way. Of course, it’s not very hard to find out what this “love” feels like. Simply tune your radio to the latest hits station, and almost every song you’ll hear will be a song about a relationship. Some songs, like Ke$ha’s “Your Love is My Drug” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” deal with the happiness of relationships, whereas songs such as Taylor Swift’s “Picture to Burn” and Apocalyptica’s “I Don’t Care” deal with the sad endings to relationships. There are even songs, such as Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again,” which deal with broken relationships that end up being fixed. Regardless, almost every person in a relationship experiences heartbreak eventually. There are ways to give an idea of what heartbreak is like, such as saying that “it feels like your heart is broken,” or that “you feel like you can’t go on.” Even though those may be true statements, there is truthfully no way to describe the wrenching pain of heartbreak. Heartbreak
is almost always distributed throughout the broken couple unevenly, as one person seems to get completely torn apart while the other seems OK with the breakup. I can personally speak from the “torn apart” point of view, and assure everyone that no one deserves to be put through that misery. However, this does not mean that a breakup is impossible to recover from, even if it seems like it is when the breakup occurs. I think all people who are struggling with this need to keep something in mind — we are all between 12 and 18 years old. We all have college to go through before we are even released into the “real world.” Therefore, the amount of relationships, plus the significance of the relationship that had just ended, will change very impressively. Speaking specifically to all teens who are going through the pain of heartbreak right now — everything will eventually get better. I
promise. All you need to do is let time pass. The more time that goes by, the more good events that will occur, therefore making your pain decrease more and more. So, for this New Year’s, I have a great New Year’s resolution that I believe many other teens would love to have as well — to move on. I will forget what once was, stop dwelling on the past, and move into the next chapter of my life, confident and happy in who I am. I won’t be broken down by what should no longer be an issue. That, readers, is something that everyone can enjoy.
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By Landon Nied Our Voice Staff Stevens PointArea Senior High Junior
CALLING ALL WRITERS! A
want your artwork or creative writing pieces published? If you answered yes to any of those questions, a student newspaper in Portage County needs your help. Our Voice, a monthly product of the Stevens Point Journal and The Boys & Girls Club of Portage County, needs newsa new student staff to p a p e r together? Do you write about issues affect-
re you a junior high or high school student in Portage County who loves to write? Are you interested in learning what it takes to put a
ing them, entertainment, fashion, books, sports and more. Co-founder Sam Dinga created the publication in summer 2006, recognizing that youths often are disengaged from newspapers. He created this publication to boost interest in reading and writing. Our Voice is delivered to all households in the boundaries of the Stevens Point Area Public School District with students in grades six to 12. It also is available at the Boys &
Girls Club sites. There is no fee to join the staff, and students can write as much or as little as they want. If you are interested in learning more, call adviser Nicole Strittmater at 715345-2249 or e-mail her at nstrittmater@ gannett.com.
Check the February issue of Our Voice for the next installment of
DREAM CATCHERS by
a St. Peter Middle School Eighth-Grader.
Book Giveaway at the
Grand Opening of the
Central Wisconsin Childrenâ€™s Museum New location on Main Street Downtown Stevens Point Saturday, January 8, 2011 10:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Purchase Books at: Bookfinders, Book Look & Book World. For more information call Cheri at: 715-345-5507. WI-5001227180
“Lock and Key” By Sarah Dessen By Danielle Pederson Our Voice Staff P.J. Jacobs Junior High School Ninth-Grader “Lock and Key” by Sarah Dessen is about Ruby, a girl who has nothing, and yet, that seems to be enough for her. Her mom is barely keeping her job at a lost luggage service, and then one day Ruby’s mom just leaves. Ruby is left to fend for herself. She is doing a great job except
for the water, heater and dryer not working and the cockroaches in the sink. When the landlords find out she is all by herself and there are signs of alcohol and drugs, she is sent to her sister’s house. It is the complete opposite of her old house. There is a double bed with a yellow comforter
and matching pillows and a bathroom of her own. Although she has all this stuff she isn’t quite happy. So that night she decided to run away. Even though she makes it out the door and across the lawn, her sister’s husband and dog chase her and catch her. On her first day of
school (a private school, I might add) she meets the boy. Ruby defiantly has troubles adjusting to this new life but somehow she slowly and steadily does adjust. Find out all of the twists and turns in this Sarah Dessen masterpiece “Lock and Key.” I loved this book, because unlike most books, it is something that almost brings you to tears. I think every girl will get what is going on in the book and be able to relate to it.
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Let your voice be heard: Write a letter to the Our Voice editor Do you have opinions about what is happening at your school or in your town? Are you passionate about politics and want to share your thoughts about what is going on in the world? If you’re age 18 or younger and live in Portage County, Our Voice wants to hear from you about these topics and anything else under the sun. Write us a letter about what is on your mind and we might publish it in an upcoming issue of Our Voice. Call Our Voice adviser and Stevens Point Journal reporter Nicole Strittmater at 715345-2249 or e-mail her at nstrittmater@ stevenspoint.gannett.com with questions or to submit a letter to the editor.
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DEAD OR ALIVE
Editor’s note: This is the fifth chapter of a continuing series. For Chapter 6, look for the February edition of Our Voice.
h, hello?” Angela’s voice wasn’t above a whisper. She wasn’t sure what to think. The boy, Luke, attempted to sit up, trying to say something, but his words were slurred and incomprehensible. Angela helped him to his feet. He shook his head, trying to clear it. Then he was able to clearly see Angela. To him, she looked like a beaten girl. Her body dripped with overwork and exhaustion, but she held her head high. Her face was dirty, but her eyes stood out. They were clear, innocent, big eyes that were compassionate and confused at the same time. Her clothes were in horrid condition, and her hair was a grimy, tangled mess. But he liked the looks of her. “Um. Hi. I’m LLuke.” He stumbled over his words. Angela gave him a weary smile. “Angela.” She said in a graceful, songlike voice. They walked upstairs and onto the land in silence, a silent understanding between them. Angela could tell that Luke was really grateful to have his feet on stable land.
got the idea that the men were waiting for something. A signal maybe. Or a message. For now, the men just sat around, slept, fought and swam. One late afternoon, Luke and Angela decided to go for another countless walk around the island. Neither one of them liked the smell of the cigarettes the men lit and wanted to get away from the scent. They switched directions and walked straight into the middle of the small forest. The leaves rustled under their shoes. They found a tree and shimmied up it. So far they had done this many times and it only took them a minute to reach the top. They sat opposite of each other on the branches. While making small talk, a bird flew overhead. It had long wings and a colorful body with a short black beak. It was the first animal that they had seen here. The bird was beautiful but it didn’t make a sound. It just soared over for a moment and flew back to wear it had came from. The sight of it reminded Angela of Fender. He had been at the back of her mind since Luke had arrived, but now she remembered him. She realized how much she missed him. “Luke, before you came here, or rather got off the boat, there was a dog ...” Angela started to tell Luke about Fender when her hand
slipped. She lost balance and her body was flung over the side of the branch. She gripped at air and grabbed for anything within reach as she tumbled down the tree. Branches scratched at her face and clothing and she squeezed her eyes shut so as to not poke them out. She hit the ground with a hard thud and lay there in a crumpled position. She hadn’t been able to try to land softly, just fell plainly to the ground from about 15 feet high. “Angela!” Luke yelled
By Hanna Burch Our Voice Staff St. Peter Middle School Eighth-Grader
His legs were wobbly at first, but the feeling wore off quickly. Angela helped steady him as they walked toward Toady. When he saw them, he did a double take in surprise and then frowned. “Well there. It’s about time you get up,” he said. “Hmm. Well if you hadn’t drugged me I would’ve been up sooner,” the boy shot back, clearly awake now. Toady growled but didn’t say anything. “Go sit down.” He lost interest in them and motioned the kids away. “So, Luke. Guess I’m not alone now with these awful creatures.” Angela tried to smile at him. Luke grinned back and replied, “Yeah, I would’ve joined you sooner if I wasn’t sick and drugged and if I knew there was a girl out here.” He cocked his head and gave half a grin. Angela blushed and looked away. Over the next couple days Luke and Angela got to know each other better. The men had also kidnapped Luke while he was biking to school. Neither one of them knew why they were here or what the men planned to do with them. They became each other’s companion and friend. They worked together, laughed together and went exploring around the island together. Toady and the crew hadn’t done anything yet, but the two captives
out in a panicked, scared voice. “ANGELA! Are you OK? Angela!” He half jumped, half climbed down the tree in three times as fast as it took him to get up it. He knelt down beside her and brushed her cheek with his thumb. “Angela?” He asked in a gentle voice but still gasped for breath. “Yeah,” squeaked Angela. She turned her head toward him and blinked. “Are you OK? Where are you hurt?” questioned Luke. “MMy ankle. I think it’s
sprained. Plus I’m pretty sure I have a ton of scratches and bruises.” She attempted to give him a reassuring smile. She could see Luke was worried. “Here, let me help you up,” Luke offered. “You’re pretty lucky if you only hurt your ankle. You could’ve been paralyzed or even killed if you landed the wrong way. We were pretty high up.” Angela rolled her eyes at his overdramatic-ness. “Seriously.” She grinned. He swung her arm around his shoulder and lifted her up in his arms then slowly placed her one good leg on the ground. She leaned on him and they started a slow walk/limp through the trees back to camp.
Many teens shrug at Wisconsin’s new ban on
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BY NICOLE STRITTMATER STEVENS POINT JOURNAL
“People shouldn’t be texting and driving,” he said. But it won’t stop him, either. “I’ll keep going until I get pulled over or when I see a cop I’ll stop,” he said while texting during his free period Monday. The only thing that would make Katie Flisakowski, 17, a senior, think twice about texting and driving, she said, is if she witnesses a crash or is in one herself. “I think the only thing that scares me is I’ve heard so many people die from texting,” she said. Corey Kraklow, 16, a junior, has seen firsthand the dangers of this. His cousin hit a tree while driving and texting last year, and he said that was a reminder that it is unsafe. But he also admitted to texting every time he drives. Kraklow, Jensen and Flisakowski said it’s just second nature to them. “You’re driving down the highway. Your phone vibrates. (You pick it up),” Kraklow said.
Eco-Friendly Toys “More people would be paying attention to the roads. A lot of people get into crashes because they’re not paying full attention,” she said. “I know a lot of people still are going to continue to do it, though.” Tammie Jensen, 18, a junior, said she texts every time she drives. “I just kind of do it. I don’t think about it,” she said. She said she texts without looking at her phone, so her eyes are always on the road. But “probably not my full attention” is on driving, she said. Jensen said she understands why the ban is starting — because texting while driving is unsafe — but she said she’ll still do it. “Truthfully, it’ll probably be like you see a cop, put your phone down,” she said. The same goes for Joel Plasky, 18, a senior at SPASH. He knows texting is dangerous and thinks the ban is “a good thing.”
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ixteen-year-old Erica Lorbecki is happy the statewide ban on texting while driving went into effect Dec. 1. Lorbecki, a junior at Stevens Point Area Senior High, has her temporary driver’s permit and said she sent a text while driving only once. She knows the dangers of being behind the wheel because her mother died in a car crash a few years ago. With or without a texting ban, she said she won’t send a text message while driving ever again. “It scared me. It was windy. I was kind of losing control. I was swerving around on the road,” she said. This law makes it illegal to drive “any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Lorbecki said she thinks the ban will make the roads a little safer.
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Stevens Point police plan proactive approach to fight distracted driving BY NICOLE STRITTMATER STEVENS POINT JOURNAL
ocal authorities are preparing for a new law that started Dec. 1 that allows them to stop drivers suspected of texting. This law makes it illegal to drive “any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Authorities can fine drivers $20 to $400 and deduct four points from their driver’s license for the first offense. Secondtime violators face fines of $200 to $800. This is a primary law, which means authorities can stop motorists suspected of this offense alone. Wisconsin is now one of 30 states and the District of Columbia that ban texting on a cell phone or similar electronic device while
driving, according to the Wisconsin DOT. “Some departments have looked at it as more of a reactive type of thing — if they have a crash, they go back and try to determine whether someone was texting,” said Officer Tim Obremski of the Stevens Point Police Department. “I think (Stevens Point police are) definitely going to want to take a proactive approach.” Obremski said officers see people driving “just texting away, or they have their phones between their hands.” Now authorities can address the problem. He suspects Stevens Point officers at first will give warnings to drivers caught texting to raise awareness. “If we have incidents where someone’s involved in a crash, I think there’s a lot better
chance of receiving the citation,” Obremski said. Lt. Jan Taylor of the Portage County Sheriff’s Department knows some drivers will continue to text. “I don’t think it’s going to be very common for us to see someone doing it. Even when people aren’t aware of this law or even before this law, if people see a squad car coming, they generally put the phone down in their laps,” Taylor said. Taylor said deputies will pull motorists over for signs of distracted driving. But they’ll have to prove the motorist was texting to fine him or her. Authorities will “probably have to see them texting,” she said. “More often, people crash and then we check their phones and find that they’ve been texting.”
Taylor said the texting ban in Wisconsin is a start, but more can be done to curb distracted driving. “Of course, texting is very egregious, but also is just talking on your phone, and that includes hands-free phones,” she said. “You can’t watch
Do you text and drive? et us know what you think about the new texting while driving ban in Wisconsin. Do you text and drive? Do you know people who have been hurt by distracted drivers? Our Voice want to hear your thoughts on the matter. Write a letter to adviser Nicole Strittmater to nstrittmater@ stevenspoint.gannett.com and we might publish it in an upcoming issue.
the road and physically manipulate the controls while you’re involved in a conversation.” In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed an estimated 6,000 traffic deaths and 500,000 injuries to distracted driving. Obremski, Stevens Point Area Senior High’s police liaison, knows not everyone will comply with the new law, but he is optimistic that most will. “I think, especially with the teen drivers, a lot of them are going to continue to text. That instant ability to communicate, they don’t want that hindered,” he said.
Still, driving requires “your undivided attention,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent David Collins. “Every time you drive, you are legally and morally responsible for safely operating a potentially destructive — and even deadly — force,” Collins said in a Wisconsin DOT news release. “No attempt to multitask in your vehicle, no phone call, and no text message is more important than a human life.”
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Published on Dec 20, 2010