Volume XIII, Issue 3 December 14, 2012
Christmas Traditions, see pages 4-5
This shot: Candy Cane Lane in Vacaville..
December 14, 2012
inside this issue ... Opinion Encouragement Tensions with Syria Christian Walks
2, 3 2 2 3
Featured Content Christmas Traditions Favorite Gift Ideas Cookie Drop Deck the Halls
Sports 6 Sam Starks Swims Basketball Scoreboards Features Finals Madness
The Back Page Guess what this is??
Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Ephesians 1:3 (the Message) Vacaville Christian High School 821 Marshall Road • Vacaville, CA 95687 (707) 446-1776 firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us at www.vchstalon.com Volume 13 Issue 3
December 14, 2012
The VCHS Talon, the student newspaper of Vacaville Christian High School, is a public forum for student expression and is published regularly by the Newspaper Production Class and Journalism Class. Opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of the administration, student body or advertisers. The Talon staff welcomes and encourages submitted letters, stories, cartoons, and/ or any other student feedback. See guidelines listed below. Editorial Board: Emre Basaran, Editor-in-Chief Ali Howard & Raquel Tucker, Content Editors Nick Russell, Copy Editor Andrew Grabowski, Graphics Editor & Senior Reporter Adviser: Mrs. Jeri McFadden Principal: Mrs. Janet Fogh
Please deliver all submissions to the Talon box in Room 102 by posted deadline. The following policies apply: 1. Unsolicited articles and suggestions for story ideas are welcomed, but no guarantee is made as to whether they will be printed in the Talon. 2. Letters to the Editor are to be signed when submitted to the Staff. Namesmay be withheld from publication only with the approval of the Editorial Board and Adviser. The Board will select the letters to be published. 3. The paper reserves the right to edit submissions for length, repetition, and suitability of content.
Words of Encouragement Have you ever had words said to you that destroyed you rather than building you up? Many times we say something and we don’t even realize it’s not encouraging to others. Instead of using our words to put others down, learn to build them up. Most of the time people do not think before they speak. This results in confusion and hurt feelings. Of course, we wouldn’t want to keep all of our thoughts bottled up, so we have to learn to release that frustration in such a way that isn’t hurtful towards others, and instead is calm and collected. Encouragement is something that can change someone’s day or even their outlook on a subject. We need to be encouraging not only towards the ones we love but also toward others in general. If someone does put you down, never let them get you down because “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” As the semester drags on and we come close to finals, everyone seems to become and more restless, stressed, and exhausted of school. It seems a generally drab and tired fog has settled over the school. Yeah, school is hard; yeah, it’s boring ... but never give up; never surrender! Soon we will all be kicking back on Grandma’s couch eating cookies next to the Christmas tree. Times may be tough and things may not be going the way you want them to, but just push through and fight and things will get better. You tell me is it better to just live a perfect, struggle-free life, and not to have to fight to move ahead and learn? Later, when the struggle has passed, you will look back and be able to say, “I got through that and now I am that much stronger.” Look ahead, not at the muck right at your feet, and things will begin to look up. Above all, look to God: He won’t leave you. Even when the going gets tough, never forget that there’s something more important, and that is God. The struggles of this world are by no means forever; your relationship with Christ is. If you live your life for God, and do your part, then He will make the rest happen. It might not be exactly what you want it to be, but it will be fulfilling. And don’t forget, in the mess of it all, you’re not alone. God will never abandon you.
Tensions High with Syria Tensions are high with Syria due to their stockpiling of chemical weapons. Recently President Obama issued a statement, warning Syria to put an end to their stockpiling. To put it simply, Syria did not oblige. The Syrian government has refused to acknowledge whether it possesses any chemical and/or biological weapons. They also said that if they were in possession of such weapons, they wouldn’t use them in a war zone or any other circumstance. Now you may ask, what does some foreign country, whose conflict is currently with its own citizens, fighting for freedom, have to do with us? While we aren’t on particularly poor terms with Syria, their “big brother” Russia is more of an issue. Over the years Russia has defended Syria both politcally and militaristically. During the Arab Spring Russia backed up the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when he was being pressured to step down. The chance of a global war being ignited is very near to becoming a reality. Students who are enlisting into the military may find themselves much more aware of an area of the world they are now only vaguely informed of. In 2011 the United States and Russia commited to a nuclear arms control treaty (START) and it was the first major step to preventing the use of nuclear weapons since the Cold War Era. If the US and Syria were to go to war, it would ultimately result in a nuclear conflict. Much like a game of tic-tac-toe, nuclear war will not result in a clear cut winner.
December 14, 2012
From the Talon Staff:
How to Maintain Your Christian Walk, ... even during Christmas Break
It’s not easy to keep up a genuine, growiing walk with Christ when the reminders of prayer in class, Bible studies at lunch, and chapel every Tuesday are not a part of our routine. And spending all day around fellow Christians who know us and encourage us is also a big help to stay faithful and focused in our Christian walk. What are some tips to maintain our Christian walks when we are away from these spiritual reminders?
Let’s get it out there: sin is appealing, and with that said, honoring God can be quite the struggle. -While the less-trodden path is a difficult one, in the end, it is worth it. A life lead serving the Lord is fulfilling; something you cannot take away from anything else that this world has to offer. That’s just the hard fact.
The hardest thing about being a Christian is being consistent, keeping Christ as the main focus and not letting the world distract us especially when we are away during summer or Christmas break. Reading the Bible daily can help keep our focus. Keeping our focus on God is of utmost importance. Keep God close and he will keep you close to himself. Filling your mind with the things of God will keep you from filling your mind with things of the world
Over the holiday, we are pulled from our usual schedule of going to chapel and having daily Bible class. We are forced to search for God on our own on this religious holiday. A good way to stay accountable is to get a partner that is equally dedicated to maintaining their spirituality, also make sure to attend church holiday functions and leave a time to read your Bible.
Over Christmas break I try to keep in mind that this break isn’t about getting presents and no school but it’s about Christ’s birth and being around family. A way I try to keep up with my walk with Christ is to give back as much as I can whether it’s volunteering at the Veteran’s Hall in Downtown Vacaville or giving my Ali Howard parents an extra helping hand around the house. During Christmas break, I keep my focus on God by decorating my house with spiritual and Christ-like decorations. Putting up things like the nativity scene and the angel on top of the tree. Whenever I see those decorations, it reminds me of why we have Christmas in the first place.
Zoe Martin During the holiday season, I stay focused on the Lord by remembering things he has blessed me with throughout the year. I remind myself how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and home to live in. Although I love to get into the Christmas spirit, I don’t lose track of Christ during this time because of reflecting Delaney Manuel on what he has done for me.
Andrew Grabowski During Christmas, I like to keep my focus on Jesus by giving rather than receiving. Christmas is all about what Jesus did for us, and I believe that by giving, you remained focus on that. Jesus died for us, and asked for nothing in return. Giving gifts also develops a serving heart, which in in Christ’s image
Laura Havens To keep my focus on God over Christmas break, I will work on giving gifts to others, just as Jesus gave his life for us. Giving to others can either be a physical gift, or as spiritual gift of love or joy. I will encourage others over break and reflect what Jesus wants Christmas to be about!
Lindsey Munar During the Christmas season, I try to keep my main focus on Christ. It is better to give than to receive. Giving gifts to family members and donating gifts to my church for the less fortunate children feels better than being spoiled with gifts because it is the Christ like thing to do. I get to truly be a servant for Christ.
our featured content
December 14, 2012
Droppin’ the Dough
Shelby Myska is the current head of the Operation Cookie drop this year. Operation Cookie Drop is where volunteers bake and distribute cookies to Travis Air Force base which then ships them to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. “My mom heard about it in November from her friend who is the base commander’s wife (Mrs. Sones) and she told me and I thought ‘Oh this is something I could do’. These cookies are being donated by parents who donated cookie dough
All photos by: Ali Howard
We polled the students whether they have a real tree or a fake tree.
Real: 43 Fake: 57
By Zoe Martin
and Otis Spunkmeyer who donated tubs as well. None of the cookies have been baked yet but Myska estimates about 6,000 and there will be 3,000 cookies that will be distributed. Many people have volunteered their time to bake cookies such as troop 195 and many parents and even some students. Myska ‘s mom, Mrs. Sones and maybe Mrs. Lester will be heading over to the gym kitchen at 1 o’clock to begin baking all the cookies so Mrs. Sones can get them to the base to be distributed quickly.
By: Ali Howard
It’s the Best Time of the Year Christmas is right around the corner. Many people are in the holiday spirit with accomplishing their annual traditions. Annual American traditions include many; leaving cookies out for Santa Claus, setting up either real or fake Christmas trees, and opening presents on Christmas morning are some of the traditions. This year, junior Seong Hwang participated in her host’s family’s traditions. “We put up lights on the house and up the tree a week after Thanksgiving,” said junior Seong Hwang. Many people are surrounded by extended family flying in from different places; or families flying out to see relatives for the holiday. A student from a big Italian family, freshman Vincenzo Vecchiola, has an Italian tradition. “My mom’s side normally has ten people come over and my dad’s side usually has fourteen family members come over. And we eat mostly pasta,” said freshman
Real or Fact
December 14, 2012
Vincenzo Vecchiola. Sometimes, traditions don’t always take place at home. “We always go to my grandma’s farm in between Vacaville and Dixon and have a huge dinner together. My aunt, uncle, and four cousins from LA come to the farm, my uncle from Oakland comes to the farm, and my aunt from Alaska comes to the farm. The guys always go play poker together then we go shooting clay pigeons with shotguns in the field and then Christmas morning is always on the farm,” said sophomore Nathaniel Short. Other annual traditions include white elephant gift exchanges and Christmas parties. “Every year my family has a Christmas Eve party,” said junior Johnny Benedict. White elephant gift exchanges are when people bring festive gifts and exchange them with each other; the main point is to entertain not to gain. “Every year my family has a white elephant gift exchange at my aunt’s
house,” said sophomore Zoe Martin. Christmas traditions also take place during Christmas Eve. “Well every Christmas Eve, my family and the family on my mom’s side get together at my house and have dinner, open presents from each other, play games, and just spend time together,” said junior Melissa Fitzgerald. Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world, not just America. For example, in Taiwan, the people try to celebrate America’s Christmas. “Back in Asia, people try to do an American way but we celebrate on Christmas day, dress up, and wear Santa hats. Not everyone has a tree and not every family does it. It’s not huge but it’s growing,” said senior Anakin Ueng. Being that Anakin celebrates here in America during Christmas, he and his grandma celebrate together with some of the Taiwanese traditions. By: Lindsey Munar
Deck the Halls with Christmas Spirit Fa La La La Lavish gold, green, white, and red fill the rooms designated for deck the halls bringing the highschool facility and students into the Christmas spirit. When walking into each room, each class was working diligently to put the finishing touches on their rooms before the judging on December 6. Each class for "Deck the Halls" was assigned a theme to decorate: the freshman’s theme was Santa's workshop in Miss Russ’ room, the sophomores theme was white sandy beach in Mrs. Mcfadden's room, the junior theme was I'll be home
for Christmas in Miss Sharpton's room, and the senior was a gilded golden christmas in Mrs. Stitt's room. The freshman were excited for their first deck the halls and baked treats to help them to decorate continuously. "Since this is our first year doing deck the halls, it was good but we were unprepared but a few of us pulled through in the very end to create our room." Haley Callan said. The sophomores, already having deck the halls once, discovered some tactics to help get the stuff they need in time. "It wasn't difficult decorating our room,
our theme was simple and the dollar tree was a great place to find supplies for our beach theme." Cassi Diaz said. The juniors continuously worked and played different Christmas music to make the time enjoyable and really get into the holiday spirit. "We laid everything out first and organized it to how we wanted the room to be presented it took a few hours after school to create the room we wanted." said Sam Starks. The seniors had some help but the reps discovered ways to get things done. "From having deck the halls all four years
it made me prepared for the lack of participants and helped me to prioritize the best things to do to have a realistic outcome for the room." Kaitlyn Breedwell said. But the preparation didn't stop there, right after the bell rang that afternoon students scrambled to their designated classrooms to work on their room till the last minute and the outcome really showed how much effort each class put in. Deck the halls is a wonderful school tradition that kicks off the Christmas spirit and really helps each class bond to create a winter wonderland. By: Delaney Manuel
What we want Top 10 Christmas Gifts Chosen By Students 1) Gift Cards/Money 2) iPod/iPhone 3) Camera/Lenses 4) Laptop 5) Headphones/Earbuds 6) Console Gaming 7) Clothes 8) Vacations 9) Sports Gear 10) White Elephant Gifts
December 14, 2012
Our Sporting Events Wrestling Meets Where San Juan Home Capital W. Campus Vintage* *Girls Only
When 01/03 01/08 01/10 01/10 01/11
Who San Juan Bradshaw Capital W. Campus Vintage
Guys Basketball US 31 39 52 34
Vanden Colusa Pierce Maxwell
Them 83 36 45 45
Upcoming Boys Games Where Home
Girls Basketball US 9 27 18 36 4 2 20 18
Woodland Chr Forest Hill Big Valley Chr Pajaro Valley Chico Granite Bay McQueen Millennium
Who Vallejo Photos Courtesy of Sam Starks
Them 69 70 66 32 63 85 49 42
Upcoming Girls Games Where Home
Who Vallejo Scoreboards by Raquel Tucker
Swimming Success When we think of sports, some of the first to come to mind are football, soccer, and basketball. However not all high school students compete on school teams. A particularly challenging and intensive sport, swimming, just happens to be a passion of Junior Sam Starks. “I started swimming with a local swim team in my neighborhood when I was probably like ten years old, but it wasn’t very competitive; it was just like swimming for fun,” Sam Starks said. By his eighth grade year, Sam decided that he wanted to take swimming to the next level: competitive swimming. “My parents made me start swimming when I was younger and I liked it, so I decided to try it competitively,” Stark said. Sam’s performances lead him to some impressive accomplishments during his eighth grade year. Amongst these was making junior Olympics. Due to his performance, he also receives an invitation to swim at swim meets in Washington every year. Swimming differs from your typical sport. “A lot of people think that you race to get first, but you race to better your time, so that you can qualify for bigger meets, and those meets are the ones you want to place in. You get points for first place, second place, or third place. You really just want to better your times at each swim meet, and the big competitions you want to place,” Starks said. Swimming competitively takes dedication. Sam practices twice a day, before school and after school, three times a week, and every Saturday. Sam competes against other teams in his LSC, around 50 different teams located in Northern California; the Sierra Nevada Swimming League. Sam is ranked 121st out of over 3000 male swimmers in California. “Try it,” Starks said. “It’s definitely fun, and it keeps you in really good shape.”
by Emre Basaran
December 14, 2012
Screams FINALS! * * Food for Thought: How to Eat for Success In a marathon, runners train for months before the actually race, preparing their bodies and enriching themselves with the best nutrients they can, allowing themselves to prevail. Why shouldn’t students give themselves the best opportunity to succeed in their midterms? The brain is a muscle like any other part of your body, causing it to either be fueled by premium fuel or gunk. Based on Livestrong.com, the best food to eat before a test are iron-rich foods such as ground beef and kidney beans. These foods help you remember the things you studied throughout the year. For early morning tests you should know that breakfast is truly your most important meal. Instead of the McGriddle, try to eat fresh fruits and whole grain breakfast foods, with a side of omega-3 enriched eggs. You should try to keep a consistent schedule in the morning, like don’t start drinking coffee the day of the test.
Studying Done Right
Remember that it is not worth the extra hours staying up to study for the exam, because you will most likely not remember anything you study and it will compromise the stuff you previously studied. Even while you are doing those long cram sessions, you have to remember to eat right in order to retain the subjects you studied. During study sessions try to eat granola bars with fruits and peanut butter is always a safe eat. Try not to eat too much because this can cause you to feel tired and slowwitted. Eating too little can cause you to feel hunger during the test, bringing even more distraction to the already difficult test. If you remember these simple rules and you remember to study then you will prosper on any test you encounter.
by Andrew Grabowski
A VCHS student holds his face in terror as finals steadily approach.
Finals are the bane of all students dropping grades There are other methods that will almost guarantee full letter grades. So what on earth are you supposed to do failure. photo illustration by Jeri McFadden about it, how do you prepare for a test that sucks the life “I look at my papers and acknowledge that I did the from your soul and your grades. work then I go and do something else.” Joshua Young said. With such a burden weighing heavily on all our shoulders certain methods must The general rules are actually study, and when you do study smarter not harder. be taken to pass all the finals. Flash cards and looking over the study guides given us are some good ways to guaranThere are certain ways to prepare that will be time efficient and optimize the tee success. amount of information obtained When studying spend focused time studying not distracted like playing games “I look back through past assignments and quizzes and tests so I can see what I while you stare at your textbooks. by Nick Russell have done wrong and I can reassure my fuzzy thoughts.” Cale Curtis said.
Visit our online newspaper at
December 14, 2012
the back page
Guess the Picture! The answers will be posted on www.vchstalon.com!
Student news magazine of Vacaville Christian High School